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I do not do "current events" as I like to wait until facts come out and I have to grok on it until fullness is achieved.

This is a one-man operation that I get to after my day job and family. I am posting intermittently due to being on an enforced hiatus. All comments are approved before posting to prevent spam. Please, like and share my Facebook Page.


Trump's Tariff War

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I believe tariffs are a bad thing. If you read Economics in One Lesson, you will learn that tariffs are a tax on incoming goods. While that was the way the government raised revenue in the 18th and 19th centuries (no income tax), from the late 19th century to today tariffs have been used to boost the cost (and thus the price to you) of foreign goods above the same goods produced domestically as a protectionist measure. This is a Bad Thing in today's global economy because we import from and export to just about every other country. There is almost no product you can purchase today where all of the components are manufactured in one country. Also, if we impose tariffs on incoming goods, there is nothing stopping the country we imported from to impose tariffs on things we ship them. In the end, no one wins because the company loses business and the consumer purchases less because the price is higher.

It's been all over the news since Trump took office about the tariffs he has imposed on the EU, China and other places. "TRADE WAR!!!!" is what all of our news outlets headlines have been.

Did you hear about this news? From CBS: Trump says U.S., EU working toward "zero" tariffs and NPR: Trump And EU Agree To Work Toward Zero Tariffs. It turns out that the EU had a tariffs on a variety of US goods.

If you had listened to Trump himself, rather than what the MSM talking heads are saying what Trump says, you would have heard Trump say he "wanted to negotiate better trade deals with other countries."

So in a trade relationship with the EU, they slapped tariffs on our goods, while we had few, if any tariffs on EU goods. So Trump equals and exceeds the tariffs on EU goods, the EU threatens to escalate their tariffs and back-and-forth several times. Then Trump meets with the EU and says, "These tariffs hurt both of us. Let's eliminate all of them. What do you think?" In a not-very-amazing move, the EU agreed. I say "not-very-amazing" because when you look at it from a global business point of view, tariffs are unquestionably A Bad Thing.

So, Trump has done a Very Good Thing. With EU tariffs on US goods gone, we should get more orders from Europe for our stuff. More orders == more demand == more jobs. Now all he has to do is rinse, wash, repeat for China.

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The integrity of law enforcement

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The most terrible power of a Law Enforcement Officer, Federal, State or Local, is the power of arrest. When an LEO arrests you, this means to their belief and knowledge, you have violated a law and you need to be held to account for that crime. This simple act and the accompanying words, "You are under arrest for..." changes people's lives. Like the Dark Side of the Force, once you start down that path, it will dominate your future life. Guilty or innocent, your finances will be ruined, your family will be disgraced and your young children will not understand why this Bad Man is taking you away from them. That's all on top of any prison time you may have to serve. If you manage to get a "not guilty" decision from the jury, you are still out thousands, if not millions of dollars spent on your defense and there will always be whispers about you. In the words of former Department of Labor Secretary Raymond Donovan after his acquittal, “What office do I go to to get my reputation back?”

The following applies to ANY warrant, be it an arrest warrant, a surveillance warrant, whatever:

The integrity of an LEO has to be beyond question. His word when he appears before a judge to ask for a warrant has to be nothing less than impeccable. The LEO swears, "The information I am about to give is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth." Every piece of information use to obtain a warrant must be true. Either the LEO can produce the physical evidence, or testify that they witnessed/heard the information, or can produce the witness who made the statement. One hundred percent, nothing less. The truthful information in a warrant can't be 51%, or 67%, or 95%, not even if 99 44/100% of the evidence is true, the warrant must not be signed. To have any amount of false information in a warrant and presented as the truth to the judge, the judge will make the incorrect decision.

The reason why the word of an LEO must be impeccable is this: If the LEO is caught lying/falsifying information in a case, for whatever reason, every other case he has been involved with, not matter how tangentially, is now cast doubt on. Every case this LEO has been involved with, every person who has been convicted because of information he gathered and his testimony can now be retried. If that LEO has put 1,000 people in jail in a 30 year career, every one of those convicts can now sue the LEO and the jurisdiction that tried them. For every case he testifies in going forward, the first question any good defense lawyer will ask will be, "You lied in [this case], how can we trust and believe you now?"

Now let's get to the meat of the matter. Here is the application for a surveillance warrant presented to the FISA court to monitor Carter Page, and it's three subsequent renewals.

The "TOP SECRET/NOFORN" at the top and bottom of every page declares that there is information in this document containing information that has been classified as Top Secret. The NOFORN means that this information is not to be shown to any non-US citizen, even if they possess a TS clearance. The (U), (S), (S/NF) and so on at the beginning of every paragraph declares if that bit of information is Unclassified, Confidential, Secret, Top Secret or NOFORN.

Let's start at page 15 of the original application, with the first piece of evidence supporting why this warrant should be signed:

First, according to information provided by an FBI confidential human source (Source #1), [REDACTED] reported that Page had a [REDACTED].

Source #1, who now owns a foreign business/financial intelligence firm, was approached by an identified U.S. person, who indicated to Source #1 that a U.S.-based law firm had hired the identified U.S. person to conduct research regarding Candidate #1's ties to Russia (the identified U.S. person and source #1 have a long-standing business relationship). The identified U.S. person hired Source #1 to conduct this research. The identified U.S. person never advised Source #1 as to the motivation behind the research into Candidate #1's ties to Russia. The FBI speculates that the identified U.S. person was likely looking for information that could be used to discredit Candidate #1's campaign.

Source #1 tasked his sub-source(s) to collect the requisite information. After Source #1 received information from the sub-source(s), described herein, Source #1 provided the information to the identified U.S. person who had hired Source #1 and to the FBI. [REDACTED]

Notwithstanding Source #1's reason for conducting the research into Candidate #1's ties to Russia, based on Source #1's previous reporting history with the FBI, whereby Source #1 provided reliable information to the FBI, the FBI believes Source #1's reporting herein to be credible. [REDACTED].

Just to make things clear, Candidate #1 is Trump, Source #1 is Christopher Steele, and the "identified U.S. person" is Daniel Jones. Who is he? A former staff person for Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA). Jones raised $50 Million to hire Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele to generate this dossier. This same dossier which in January 2017 FBI Director James Comey briefed President-Elect Trump about, which was in Comey's words, "salacious and unverified."

Now, if this was an intelligence or counter-intelligence operation, indirect information given by a reliable source is considered acceptable and "actionable," meaning we can use this information to conduct the operation. Except this is a criminal investigation. For a court of law, a "dependable source" who vouches for the information they got from someone else won't cut it. Vicarious credibility (I trust Bob, who says this fact he got from someone else is true, so I believe the fact is true) does not exist in a court of law. Well, it does, but it's called hearsay and it's not admissible.

No criminal charges can be brought against anybody using any information that is discovered from Page's texts, emails or phone calls from this warrant. Because the basis of the warrant to gather that information was false, this corrupts everything derived from it. This is known as the "fruit from a poisoned tree."

Bottom line: On page 54 of the document, it reads, "I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing information regarding Carter W. Page is true and correct." Signed October [REDACTED} 2016, [REDACTED], Supervisory Special Agent Federal Bureau of Investigation. When we the people find out that the agent who signed this application, his name will be MUD.

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Conversations

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Some years ago, when the blogging thing was first taking off, here in Memphis we had blogger meets. We would get together at a restaurant and bloggers, left, right and center would discuss our politics, our struggles on the back end and all that stuff. I am kind of sad that those meets petered out.

Some of the books I am currently reading include Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals and the Communist Manifesto (Keynes, among others, are also in my queue). When Air America was broadcasting in Memphis, I would listen to it. I do these things to understand "that side" of things. I do not listen to and read things that confirm what I think, I include viewpoints that are different than mine because I want them to challenge me. I am not afraid to change my position on something when I learn something I did not know before.

And because I like quoting our Founding Fathers, let me quote Jefferson here:

jefferson opinionMany of my friends and acquaintances "lean Left," shall we say. There are several I love to have the deep, philosophical discussions on the issues of the day. There are several I want to take a mallet to in those kind of discussions and the rest we quietly agree to disagree and don't discuss politics at all. But as Tom says, I will never end a friendship over a difference of opinion. They might, I won't.

I bring this up because on one of the podcasts I listen to while driving from job to job, Dylan Marron and his podcast, Conversations With People Who Hate Me came up. His TED talk on the subject is here:

I want to sit down and have 4+ hour discussions with those who deeply disagree with me, to dig into their thoughts and beliefs, to challenge them to stand up to those beliefs. I also want them to return the favor. This is how we communicate with each other. I talk about communication in my earlier post At, To and With.

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The truth on Clinton's email server

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Okay folks, read it and weep.

Back when I had a website for my side hustle of IT services, I had an article on it where I stated that there was no way that the server for clintonmail.com was not hacked within hours of it coming on-line, considering there was no security (firewall, virus scan, etc.) running on it.

While Secretary of State, Clinton used this compromised personal server instead of the government's secure system to send and receive highly classified information. Think of it this way. You are in a high-stakes poker game, with millions of dollars on the table. If you have ever played poker or watched the World Poker Tour, you know most of what a player does is read the other players more than he does his own cards. If you're a good bluffer, you can convince a player with a stronger hand to fold, or a weaker player to go "all-in" and thus lose everything.

But what if another player knows what your cards are? Then the bluff won't work. It's one thing with a couple million dollars on the table, what if the stakes were thousands or millions dead? A nuclear exchange? Then those cards are a lot more important to keep secret. Someone had access to the objectives and capabilities of the United States in a crisis. The compromise of that information could have been devastating. The US Navy in 1942 met and defeated the Japanese fleet at Midway with a strategic advantage because we were able to read 1 word in 3 of their coded messages. Imagine if we were pushed to the edge of a nuclear exchange and the other side could read every word of our emails in real time. It would not have ended well for us.

My fears were confirmed last week during the Congressional grilling of Peter Strzok. Here is the video and partial transcript below:

[Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX)]: You said earlier in this hearing you were concerned about a hostile foreign power affecting the election. Do you recall the former Intelligence Community Inspector General Chuck McCullough having an investigation into an anomaly found on Hillary Clinton’s emails?

Let me refresh your memory. The Intelligence Community Inspector General Chuck McCullough sent his investigator Frank Rucker along with an IGIC attorney Janette McMillan to brief you and Dean Chapelle and two other FBI personnel who I won’t name at this time, about an anomaly they had found on Hillary Clinton’s emails that were going to the private unauthorized server that you were supposed to be investigating?

Strzok: I remember meeting Mr. Rucker on either one or two occasions. I do not recall the specific content or discussions.

Gohmert: Mr. Rucker reported to those of you, the four of you there, in the presence of the ICIG attorney, that they had found this anomaly on Hillary Clinton’s emails going through their private server, and when they had done the forensic analysis, they found that her emails, every single one except four, over 30,000, were going to an address that was not on the distribution list. It was a compartmentalized bit of information that was sending it to an unauthorized source. Do you recall that?

Strzok: Sir, I don’t.

Gohmert: He went on the explain it. And you didn’t say anything, you thanked him, you shook his hand. The problem is it was going to an unauthorized source that was a foreign entity unrelated to Russia and from what you’ve said here, you did nothing more than nod and shake the man’s hand when you didn’t seem to be all that concerned about our national integrity of our election when it was involving Hillary Clinton. So the forensic examination was done by the ICIG — and they can document that — but you were given that information and you did nothing with it. And one of the things I found most egregious with Mr. Horowitz’s testimony, and — by the way Mr. Horowitz got a call four times from someone wanting to brief him about this, and he never returned the call. [emphasis mine]

So it has been proven that 1) Hillary had an unsecured email server, 2) she was using to conduct high-level government business, 3) it was secretly sending 99.999% of her emails to a foreign entity unrelated to Russia (which could have been forwarding them on to Russia, no one knows at this point).

The first two bits of information were common public knowledge well before the election. The third point was speculated and assumed, but not proven until now. This email server issue is nothing short of an unmitigated disaster and Biblical-scale blunder. If you wanted this woman to be President, I am not mad at you. I am saddened that you chose to ignore glaring compromises of Clinton's character, where she felt she didn't have to follow the rules and didn't care about keeping the secrets of the United States secret. This could have led to a showdown where we would have been on the losing side.

Think about that, very carefully.

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Radicalization of Radicals

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By the nature of physics, a vehicle with the steering wheels in the back (relative to the direction the vehicle is moving) can cause the vehicle to turn sharper, in less distance and for less turning of the steering wheel. When done properly, this is a great enhancement to the control of the vehicle. Done improperly, a catastrophe can occur.

The other day, Tom Perez, who is chairman of the Democrat National Committee, said this on The Bill Press radio show:

"What's this tell you about where the Democratic Party is going today?" Press asked the DNC chair.

Perez said his daughters both texted him about their excitement over Ocasio-Cortez's win.

"Because, she really, she represents the future of our party," Perez said, complimenting the self-described Democratic socialist for running a "spirited campaign."

The future of our party. I hope that the context of Mr. Perez’s remark spoke of Ms. Ocasio-Cortez was, “young, female, minority” identity politics. While Conservatives are concerned about the ideological position of a person and what their plans are if they win office, Democrats generally look to checking off demographic points. If Mr. Perez was lauding Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’ political outlook as a “Democratic Socialist,” then they (and we as a result) are in deep trouble. Because she represents the amount of radicalization for the Democrats that has increased exponentially with every generation since the 60’s.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez in her campaign promoted a “Santa Claus” government, with free single-payer health care, federally guaranteed jobs, free college education, and the abolishment of the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE).

If John F. Kennedy had been teleported from 1960 to 2016, he would, by his views not only been a Republican, he would have been to the Right of Trump. Think about that for a moment. The mainstream Democrat Presidential nominee in 1960, who was considered radical at the time because he was a Catholic, his views 56 years later would be considered a Right-Wing Hatemonger by the same party that they nominated to lead the country. This bellwether is why Conservatives use the term “run to the left” for Liberals and why Ronald Reagan (who was a Democrat in 1960) said in 1962, “I didn’t leave the Democrat party, the party left me.”

The radicals became radicalized in the early 2000’s, which led to the election of Obama in 2008 and his eight years in office. He was at least a borderline Socialist but never openly admitted it.

This radicalization continues its’ run to the Left today when Bernie Sanders (an openly admitted Socialist) became a viable candidate for the Democrats last bid for the White House. Of course, he never had a realistic chance going up against the Clinton Machine, but that’s beside the point. The fact-of-the-matter is, a significant number of Democrats “felt the Bern” and thought a Socialist as president was the best option for the country.

In statistics, one data point is nothing. Two data points can indicate a rough direction. With the primary win of Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, and her likely election to the House (I don’t know if there is even a Republican running in that district), there will now be two Socialists in Congress. I am confident there will be three or four of them after the 2020 elections.

And then we have The New Republic, Bernie Sanders Is Not the Left.

This author makes no pretense about his views:

Sanders and his supporters have helped push the Democrats to the left, but the party has yet to truly embrace its left flank.

I suppose it’s a rhetorical question, but “why must the Democrats ‘embrace its left flank’?” If there were more than a minuscule few on the left flank, wouldn’t that then be the center? Why should the Democrats embrace the left flank and not the right flank?

A quote from the article:

…Sanders has never been a figurehead to everyone in the American left. His primary bid did draw the support of many leftists, but leftist voters in the United States aren’t spoiled for options—or at least they weren’t when Sanders launched his long-shot bid for president. That’s changing now, and it’s putting Sanders’s politics in perspective. He does not occupy the left-most band of the spectrum.

It’s certainly true that Sanders is to the left of most Democrats. But contrary to how he’s often portrayed in the media, he is not a doctrinaire leftist. His principal benefit to the left has been to mainstream certain beliefs—namely, that access to health care, education, and living wages are rights, not luxuries. But Sanders is not a revolutionary. His views aren’t even entirely consistent with democratic socialism, the political tradition he claims. It’s one thing to call for breaking up the big banks, and quite another to call for the nationalization of private industries. [emphasis mine]

When you couple the author’s call for the Democrats to “embrace their left wing,” then lament the only Socialist in the halls of DC power isn’t far enough to the left, then my statement of “radicalizing of radicals” rings true.

I can’t understand how anyone can look at the past 100 years of history and not see what has happened to the people under the rule of Socialist governments (100,000,000 dead by democide in the past century and rising every day) and say, “The Socialist system is sound, it’s just the right people weren’t in charge.”

I hate to tell these people, there never can be “the right people in charge” because a single person and especially a group of people will never have the pool of knowledge, the reasoning ability and the incorruptible character required to do the job properly. When the government owns and controls the means of production (which is the very definition of Socialism), the centralized control that is required to manage that system can never quickly enough or correctly allocate the resources at its’ disposal efficiently to meet the needs of the citizens.

We can also look at these Socialist governments and see that those in charge never truly wanted for anything. It was the poor schlubs at the bottom who starved to death eating mud pies while the ruling elite got fat.

Socialism has failed spectacularly 90% of the time it’s been tried. The other 10% are still in the process of eating themselves and haven’t gotten to the end stage yet. The Chinese are stubbornly trying to remain Communist, however since they took control of Hong Kong in 1997 and their involvement in global trade, they have been dragged kicking and screaming into a somewhat market-type economy.

Insisting Socialism works and not having a single successful example while saying all of the failed Socialist governments to date have failed because of “not the right people in charge” or “that wasn’t true Socialism” are exemplifying the adage, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.” A system where a few people are in charge of most everything while everyone else is forced to work against their own self-interest is going to fail, every time it’s tried.

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Watch out for this kid

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Last week, I attended a CPAC365 forum sponsored by The American Conservative Union. It was very interesting, I got to see HUD Secretary Ben Carson speak and I almost got to interact with Art Laffer (of the Laffer Curve), however it seems he wrenched his back (he’s 80) and could not make the flight.

Someone I did meet was an 11-year-old young man who was covering the event like a reporter and was also interviewing people. His dad is his cameraman and driver, as they have traveled over 50,000 miles doing this since he was eight. His website is Phoenix Rising in America. I admire this young man because he was able to articulate what he wanted to do to his parents to a level that his dad left his job to pursue and help him in his quest. I wish him and his family all the best.

As a personal note, my son was a bit younger than this young man when I developed my mental health issues. My son showed similar potential in his own areas, however my illness cut off his promise because I was not there for my son and I have regretted that loss every day since. I try to help my now adult son, but that weight of his lost potential is a heavy albatross around my neck every day.

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A Reading of the Declaration of Independence

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I missed this yesterday. Listen to this. If this does not cause tears to come to your eyes, shivers to run up and down your body and a base anger against those who seek to oppress others, then please leave the United States for you do not belong here. This document and the words therein are truly timeless and speaks to every generation. If listening to this does not stir something within you, then you do not yearn to breathe free.

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Happy Independence Day!

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This is one of those things that need to be said every year.

I don't celebrate the 4th of July, because I don't know what is special about that date. If we celebrate the 4th of July, why don't we celebrate the 24th of August? We celebrate New Years Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. So it sticks out as a sore thumb to me as to why we celebrate July 4th and not Independence Day.

To know the history of the world, not just the United States gives you the true context and the deep significance of Independence Day. On July 4th, 1776 AD, there were several dozen countries in the world, most if not all some kind of Oligarchical Monarchy. Just to be clear, an "Oligarchical Monarchy" pertains to a monarch (King or Queen) that more or less ruled with the permission of the powerful people (lords and other nobility) of that country. The 13 colonies in America was the first time in all of recorded history that a colony had successfully fought it's way to independence from the mother country. While many other countries have been liberated from control of their mother country since then, the vast majority of these separations were with the permission of the mother country.

The men who started and led this insurrection knew that if they did not triumph in this fight for independence, those who survived the battlefield would be hung as traitors. Not a quick or elegant way to go in those times. You were not dropped in such a way as to break your neck making the death quick, you were hoisted upwards and left to strangle, slowly.

Through the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution, our Founding Fathers codified a government that is ruled by the People, not the People ruled by the government. That concept was totally absurd at the time. I seriously think that kind of independence is the kind to celebrate by calling it for what it is, not just by the date.

Do not, under any circumstances wish me a "Happy 4th of July." However I will happily celebrate with you the Independence Day of the United States.

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Why Liberals are terrified right now

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With the news of Justice Kennedy retiring, Liberals are having a shit fit because Kennedy is the infamous "swing vote" that almost sides with the more Liberal judges on social issues. President Trump has been appointing strict Constitutionalists to the lower courts and there is no reason to believe that he will not continue on that path with his pending SCOTUS appointment.

This means that there will be a solid four strict Constitutionalist votes and one part-time Constitutionalist in Mr. Roberts (whom long ago I said I can never use the title "justice" with him). With the two oldest Justices being "living" Constitutionalists (Ginsberg, 85 and Breyer, 79) If Trump is re-elected, it is entirely possible he could and would fill those seats with strict Constitutionalists as well.

This, of course, has Liberals in a full on seizure mode. Why? Simply put precedents like Roe v. Wade and Obergefell v. Hodges will be in great jeopardy of being overturned.

The ancestors of Liberals (crusading "do-gooders" who want to impose their morality on everyone else) pushed through the Eighteenth Amendment, the Constitution's only foray into social issues. It proved to be such a [sarcasm]wonderful success[/sarcasm] that it was repealed by the Twenty-First Amendment only fourteen years later, the only Amendment to have that "honor." So these "Social Justice Warriors" turned to the courts to impose their will on the People. The reason why Abortion and SSM (same-sex marriage) are hotly fought debates across this country is because We The People didn't settle these issues, nine people wearing black robes in Washington did.

As I said in A Legacy Built on Sand, precedents like this that can be easily overturned (in this instance, "easily" is a bit understated) because someone with a different political perspective holds the office now and can undo improperly done things.

I never have been and most likely never will be in favor of any kind of direct democracy. Our Founding Fathers hated the idea of mob rule, which is why they created this government as a Constitutional Republic. That being said, there are in rare instances of large and dividing social issues like these, each State should put these issues to an "up or down" vote and make it unreviewable by the Judiciary (aka California's "Proposition XX was overturned by judges today..."). That way, the citizens of the States can decide the issue for themselves. Some States will probably vote in favor of abortion and SSM, some States "yes" on one and "no" on the other, and still other States will vote "no" on both. And just to be clear, while I am using abortion and SSM together as examples, each example needs to be treated slightly differently.

The issue of abortion pertains to the legality of performing an abortion in that State. If Arkansas does not allow abortions but Missouri does, I would not be against Arkansas pro-choice "family clinics" offering transportation to abortion clinics in Missouri where a woman could get an abortion. Hawaii may support SSM, while Montana might not. There is nothing preventing a same-sex couple from traveling from Montana to Hawaii and getting married. Under Article 4 Section 1 of the Constitution, a valid marriage certificate issued by Hawaii must be accepted by Montana. It doesn't matter if the certificate is for Mary and Mike or Richard and Randy.

And just because I'm a flexible guy on this "direct democracy" thing, we could revisit these (and other social subjects) every, say 20 years. That way if social norms change and evolve, the laws specific to these social subjects could evolve as well.

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SCOTUS 2018 Decisions

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So here are (to me) the six most important cases to roll out of this Supreme Court session. Five of these were serious dealings in favor of individual liberty and against those who wish for discretionary government control. The last one will severely hurt small businesses, no matter what.

MASTERPIECE CAKESHOP, LTD.,ET AL.v.COLORADO CIVIL RIGHTS COMMISSION ET AL.

This was a "punt" by SCOTUS, leaving the decision about the Constitutionality of the law itself undecided. I am okay with this, because I am in favor of the feds keeping their nose out of state business unless it crosses state lines. That being said, when the state government is actively against selected (group or individual) people for whatever reason, then it becomes a SCOTUS issue.

The court found in favor of Masterpiece Cakeshop in that the Colorado Civil Right Commission was openly hostile to and prejudiced against the baker. Part of the decision reads:

Held: (a) ...Indeed, while the instant enforcement proceedings were pending, the State Civil Rights Division concluded in at least three cases that a baker acted lawfully in declining to create cakes with decorations that demeaned gay persons or gay marriages. Phillips too was entitled to a neutral and respectful consideration of his claims in all the circumstances of the case.

(b) That consideration was compromised, however, by the Commission’s treatment of Phillips’ case, which showed elements of a clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious beliefs motivating his objection. As the record shows, some of the commissioners at the Commission’s formal, public hearings endorsed the view that religious beliefs cannot legitimately be carried into the public sphere or commercial domain, disparaged Phillips’ faith as despicable and characterized it as merely rhetorical, and compared his invocation of his sincerely held religious beliefs to defenses of slavery and the Holocaust...

Yeah, I like limiting the power and authority of unelected government bureaucrats who make up their own rules.

JANUS v. AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE, COUNTY, AND MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES, COUNCIL 31, ET AL.

This will hurt the public-sector employee unions very badly. This is actually the second case like this one, however, the first case, FRIEDRICHS, ET AL., PETITIONERS v. CALIFORNIA TEACHERS ASSOCIATION, ET AL. was undecided due to Justice Scalia's unexpected passing, thus making a 4-4 split. In both Janus and Friedrichs, public sector employees resented having to pay dues to a union that they didn't belong to and didn't believe in the political objectives of those unions. The unions and government in both states agreed that the unions would represent both union members and non-union members, even if the non-members didn't want the representation of the union.

The fees confiscated from paid by non-members are "fungible" money, meaning that once it is received into the general fund of the union, you cannot say one way or the other that the money was or was not spent on any actions that the non-members objected to.

I am all for collective bargaining for those who want it and individual bargaining for those who don't want collective bargaining. If the non-union members end up with a worse deal than the union members, They are free to join the union. If the non-union employees get a better package than the union because, you know, they might perform their job better and know they don't have the "protection" of the union, then the better performing teachers might jump the union ship.

NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF FAMILY AND LIFE ADVOCATES, DBA NIFLA, ET AL. v. BECERRA, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF CALIFORNIA, ET AL.

You can tell how overbearing this law is by the first sentience of the decision:

The California Reproductive Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care, and Transparency Act (FACT Act) was enacted to regulate crisis pregnancy centers—pro-life centers that offer pregnancy-related services. [emphasis mine]

My question is, why weren't the clinics that are pro-abortion pro-choice clinics regulated under the same act? If this law required pro-life centers to advertise free or low cost abortions, why wasn't the pro-choice centers required to advertise the pro-life options? The rabid pro-choicers will undoubtedly say, "they offer adoption or other pro-life options as part of their information package." Of course they do. I'm sure the woman is given a brochure on adoption... that's 2nd from the bottom of 18 brochures about family planning, aftereffects of abortion, etc. while being carried on a whirlwind from waiting room to recovery room. And of course, the staff would never say the words "you could give the baby up for adoption" or let the woman see the ultrasound of the fetus while assessing how best to terminate the fetus.

This is a clear case of the state government restricting the freedom of speech by requiring an organization to say/display/advertise a position and an option that is antithetical to their purpose and mission. I am very glad California was kicked to the curb. To show my ideological consistency, if this was a pro-life state that was forcing Planned Parenthood to post pro-life posters, I would be happy that PP got the nod and the states law knocked down.

TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, ET AL. v. HAWAII ET AL.

This was the case of a court actively interfering with the lawful daily business of the President. Trump enacted a 50-day hold on immigration from seven countries, Chad, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen. This list was developed by the State Department and Homeland Security under Obama. These countries were selected because either:

  • They have no functioning national government so we have no one to confirm the identity of an applicant,
  • The records of that government are unable to satisfy our government agencies as to the identity of an applicants information, or
  • They are an actively hostile foreign power and thus have reasons to issue false documents to people meant to infiltrate the US for the purposes of spying or sabotage.

Here's what the decision said:

After a 50-day period during which the State Department made diplomatic efforts to encourage foreign governments to improve their practices, the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security concluded that eight countries —Chad, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen—remained deficient. She [Acting Secretary of DHS] recommended entry restrictions for certain nationals from all of those countries but Iraq, which had a close cooperative relationship with the U. S. She also recommended including Somalia, which met the information-sharing component of the baseline standards but had other special risk factors, such as a significant terrorist presence.

I'm sorry, I don't think there's a lot of Muslims in either Venezuela or North Korea, so #MuslimBan doesn't seem to fit quite right. Also, those countries with a majority of people who practice the Muslim faith (Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen) make up less than 10% of the worlds Muslim population. Again, #MuslimBan doesn't hold up to the truth.

The lower court took into consideration the campaign statements of Candidate Trump. It looks to me that the lower court didn't adhere to the "Four Corners of the Law" standard that Judges should use for every such case before them. SCOTUS did adhere to the Four Corners principle, meaning they looked at the Presidential Proclamation that started this whole kerfluffle. The read what it said, noted the sections of the US Code in the proclamation, then read those sections of the US code and the majority (IMO, this decisionreally should have been a 9-0) concurred that the law of the land gives the President the discretionary power to enact such requirements and limit or withhold all immigration from those countries for not meeting our baseline documentation requirements.

CARPENTER v. UNITED STATES

Okay, let me make this clear. If you have a cell phone or tablet with you, that device is constantly broadcasting your location. If you're going to do something bad, don't take the cell phone/tablet that has your name on the account to where you're doing the bad thing. Carpenter was an idiot for doing this. Turn it off and leave it somewhere far away from the crime you're going to perform or have someone drive it around away from where you are while you're doing bad things.

I believe the court acted properly here in it's judgement of the location data obtained without a warrant is inadmissible in court, because no business should willingly surrender any of a customers' personal information to the government. To do so violates the trust between the company and the customer. If the police don't want to expend the manpower necessary to follow a suspect, then they should have to get a warrant.

The bad news is there is a device called a Stingray that can imitate a cell phone tower and have phones exchange their data with the Stingray, while the Stingray then passes your data to the real cell phone tower so you don't know you're being monitored. This technology has already been used by hundreds of local law-enforcement agencies thousands of times. Look for the use of these devices to increase.

The one "SCOTUS Screwup" that I saw was SOUTH DAKOTA v. WAYFAIR, INC.

This decision has kicked the whole "internet tax" debate on it's head. Up until this decision, a mail-order transaction has been free of sales taxes unless the seller has a store in the same state as the buyer. Why is that? Think of it this way. The tax structure of the county and state where I reside currently is like this:

  • State Sales tax of 7%
  • County sales tax of 2.25% on non-grocery items, up to $1,600.
  • County sales tax on groceries 0.25%
  • Then there are several suburbs who also tack on a 0.5% or 0.75%

That this means that a company with a mail-order component to their sales now has to know all those rules, the addresses of the customers who might or might not be subject to that municipality tax, plus the address of the state, county and municipal tax collection offices entitled to those taxes.

Now multiply that by 3,300, because that's approximately how many counties there are in the United States. In the end, it means that any small business (which is 80% of all businesses in the US) now has an accounting and tax-liability headache the size of Mount Everest.

As a solution, they could either sell their wares through Amazon (which already have the necessary numbers of accountants and lawyers to surmount this Everest of paperwork), they could pay a service to keep track of all of this (both of these options would cut into their already small profit margins) or as a last resort, stop selling on-line entirely.

So there you have it, four cases where the court upheld individuals First and Fourth Amendment Rights, a smack on the nose of those who seek to interfere with the legal and lawful affairs of the President as he properly discharges the duties of his Oath and Office. And last but not least, a stupid decision that will cost thousands of businesses sales and profits.

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New stuff!!!

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Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls! Have I got some news for you!

First, I have finally compiled my personal library, it is #5 of the banner rotation. Please take a gander at what I am reading and my reviews. If you click through to Amazon and buy it, supposedly I get a small commission. I'm not betting my house payment on it though.

Second, I have added to the link roll to the right Civics 101. A "short form" (10 minutes) podcast from New Hampshire Public Radio, each episode gives an easy-to-understand explanation of the subject at hand. It is wonderfully well-balanced, being totally apolitical with each subject. I was actually shocked while listening to #125 about the police. The SME (Subject Matter Expert) started talking about Ferguson and he started commenting on how the police were ticketing citizens for BS stuff to generate city revenue, like I said when it first happened.

I am currently working my way through all of them, I'm getting in 8-10 a day. I am enjoying them immensely.

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Trump's Secret Immigration plan

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I have been having it out with several of my liberal (small "L") and liberal-leaning friends today on Facebook about Trumps' Zero Tolerance policy, which includes separating children from their families while awaiting processing. I was shopping in a couple stores after work, trying to formulate how to explain what's going on, when I was hit by an epiphanial thunderbolt.

They are right. Trump is being very cruel and he is doing it intentionally.

That's when the second epiphanial thunderbolt hit me with what he is trying to do. It's obvious Trump does not like the current immigration situation, it's why he campaigned on a border wall. Now that we have all of this Liberal outrage over the current Zero Tolerance policy, Congress is now considering legislation to reform the immigration laws we currently have on the books and that Trump is enforcing to the maximum degree.

I have not heard any talking head expound on this, I may be the first with this idea.

If the immigration policies are rewritten to the point that the US becomes inhospitable to illegal immigrants, you don't need to build a wall on a border no one wants to cross. Physical walls can be climbed over, tunneled beneath and broken through if what's on the other side is worth it. If you get through that wall and the next thousand miles is an inhospitable wasteland, what's the point of getting through the wall in the first place?

I know why they do it. We are the only country in the world that can claim immigrants from every other country in the world. People spend two months locked in a shipping container crossing the Pacific to get here, they overload floating conglomerations of junk that sane people wouldn't use to cross a stream and cross 90 miles of open ocean to get here, they cross miles of open desert on foot or jammed into uncooled tractor-trailers. I understand all that. They risk their lives to escape abject poverty, war-torn countries, drug wars, religious persecution, all to come to a place that speaks two words to them: OPPORTUNITY and FREEDOM. Our ancestors who passed through Ellis Island thought the streets of America were paved with gold. These people who risk their lives to get here must still believe that on some level. I thank God every day that I was born here and I got the privilege to defend those ideals for thirteen years.

If any other country had what we had (or even more of it), these people would be going there, not coming here. All that being said, if we let any one enter at any time, this would not be a country. Life is inherently unfair and not everyone gets to grab a brass ring. But I digress.

There is another layer to this, again that I have not heard from anyone before. Trump is not going to get the immigration law he wants, that's a guaranteed outcome, even with the Republicans. But for every aspect (Democrat generated to be sure) that Trump doesn't like, He's going to use those Democrat-supported points to beat every Democrat over the head that supported the kooky parts of this immigration bill. Any potential "Blue Wave" will get dashed into inconsequential foam on the Shoals of Trump.

Even the timing for this is perfect, because the legislation should be crossing Trump's desk in the September-October time frame, when the campaigns are in full swing. This could flip a lot of wobbly Democrat seats, and put secure seats (like those in California) in jeopardy.

I could be wrong, I've been wrong before. All that being said, I see this situation, no matter the outcome to at a minimum not hurt Trump and probably help him while severely hurting the Democrats.

Trump is using this Zero Tolerance to lance an infected boil on the United States as a whole. The immigration issue is an issue that has greatly divided us. To lance and drain it, squeezing out the infection (and I am NOT implying illegal immigrants are the infection, rather our treatment of them) and causing short-term pain will heal it and make the US better and healthier in the long run.

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This needs to be said

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I am in the middle of reading Is Administrative Law Unlawful? by Philip Hamburger. Every page is sending chills up and down my spine because what the author is saying is codifying into words a lot of thoughts and concerns I have been having myself on this subject that I could not bring a coherent voice to say. The book review for this book is being written as I read it.

Several friends have complained about Trumps separation of children from adults who are trying to enter the United States. One was complaining about the "Zero Tolerance" policy currently being used on this subject.

A couple things to consider on this subject:

  • If the previous administration hadn't been letting people in with "a wink and a nod," thereby prompting more and more people to try, the current administration wouldn't be trying to hold back a human wave. ICE is currently trying to enforce the laws the previous administration told them specifically not to uphold.
  • For the "children ripped out of their parents arms," the adults were going into a general holding facility, think a prison or jail setting. Think real damn hard about this, would you want children to be loose in a situation like that? One second of inattention and the missing child would be found later, raped and dead.
  • Also, those who claim to be family, may not be family. People seeking wouldn't lie about something like that, would they?

In this video, Mr. Thomas Homan, the acting Director for ICE lets Rep. Nanette Barragan (D-CA) have it with both barrels. The fireworks start at the 7:00 mark.

"I know of no method to secure the repeal of bad or obnoxious laws so effective as their stringent execution."

- Ulysses S. Grant

Zero Tolerance is the expected standard for Law Enforcement Officers. LEO's cannot, should not and MUST NOT have any discretionary enforcement leeway. If you want the laws to be more merciful, tell your Congressman and Senators to alter or abolish them. If LEO's have the ability (through law or by policy from their management) to turn a blind eye to law-breaking, then we DO NOT HAVE A NATION OF LAWS, NOR JUSTICE, NOR FREEDOM. We have a nation of favor-seekers, willing to do anything to earn the blind eye of LEO's to be turned toward them.

Don't like the laws? Good for you! I'd like as little as possible too, please. And that goes double for the too-numerous-to-count regulations that also encumber us in our daily lives. Please include the federal, state and local levels in that divestiture of unnecessary, burdensome, interfering and encumbering laws and bureaucratic red-tape.

All I want for Christmas this year is a government that can fit into (and obey) the Constitution.

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I’m not sayin’, I’m just sayin’

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A while back, in the post Oh, This is Delicious I made two predictions where I spoke about Mueller indicting a Russian company and how it was a very stupid thing to do. Admittedly I got the Manafort prediction wrong, but I think this will make up for it: And it’s all clearly explained here: Mueller is Trying to Keep Evidence from Defendants in Russian Trolls Case.

I spoke about the "discovery" phase of a criminal trial, where the prosecution must turn over all of the evidence, even the exculpatory evidence ("exculpatory" meaning it shows that you didn't do the crime you're accused of). I make a point of this because this is not a cornerstone of our legal system, it is the bedrock of it. In order for a person or company who is accused of a crime to properly defend themselves, they have to know what they are accused of doing and all evidence concerning the matter.

Except the Muller team doesn't want to turn it over. They are currently petitioning the Court to either totally bar the release of all evidence to the accused Concord Management and grant access only to their "domestic representation" (i.e., the US-based lawyers). Maybe, sometime in the future, two teams of lawyers (a second group of lawyers for the defense and a group of government lawyers not associated with the prosecution) could petition the court and if the two teams agree, let Concord Management see some of the evidence.

I don't care what reasons Mueller's team give for this reasoning, the accused cannot prepare an adequate defense if they cannot see the evidence against them. This legal Cirque du Soleil tells me the Muller team has exactly zero evidence. Thus, they are trying any legal maneuver they can to keep from publicly showing they are assholes.

If this motion is approved, or the indictment is not withdrawn, or the indictment is not thrown out of court, we will know without a doubt the fix is in. Stay tuned.

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Trump's NFL Judo Move

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On June 4th, Trump cancelled the event where the Philadelphia Eagles (who I am told won the Super Bowl, I didn't watch) were scheduled to meet with Trump in the White House the next day. CNN even says so: Trump cancels Philadelphia Eagles visit to the White House.

Here are a couple of Torrey Smith's Tweets about the cancellation:

So many lies smh Here are some facts 1. Not many people were going to go 2. No one refused to go simply because Trump 'insists' folks stand for the anthem 3. The President continues to spread the false narrative that players are anti military,

There are a lot of people on the team that have plenty of different views. The men and women that wanted to go should've been able to go. It's a cowardly act to cancel the celebration because the majority of the people don't want to see you. To make it about the anthem is foolish.

Let me say up front that not one Eagle took a knee for the Anthem during the regular season. I also want to make clear I agree with Mr. Smith in that I believe a majority of NFL players are not anti-military. It has been a small minority of players who are kneeling and I will give those kneelers the benefit of the doubt that they are not anti-military.

What the CNN article doesn't say is in the security arrangements to visit the White House, everyone planning to attend an event like this has to submit an application with their name and other information for a security check. Eighty people submitted their applications to attend the White House event. Why is this important? You have an invitation to be part of a delegation to meet the President. You have to go through the effort to submit paperwork. I can understand, say, five people out of eighty might have to cancel at the last minute. Sickness, injury, family emergency, whatever. Those are, in Project Manager terms, "known unknowns." When seventy of eighty people cancel, that's a hearty "FUCK YOU" and an attempt to embarrass Trump. The White House was planning for seventy plus people attending, not ten. The prospective publicity photo released to the press, which should have been 30+ people would have been five, including the mascot. Trump would have been skewered by the press even if he had gone ahead with the event.

Judo is an Asian Martial Art. "Ju-Do" actually means "The Gentile Way" and this art teaches how to use your opponents own weight, inertia and body against them. I specify this because this past Friday, Trump answered some question on the White House Lawn on his way to the G7 Summit. This is what he said:

I'm gonna ask all of those [NFL players] to recommend to me ... people that they think were unfairly treated by the justice system and I'm gonna ask them to recommend to me, people that were unfairly treated, friends of theirs or people that they know about and I'm gonna take a look at those applications.

So why is this a brilliant Judo move? Trump directly addressed the main point that the NFL players were kneeling for, namely "social injustice," then said, "I will look at pardoning anyone you say has suffered "social injustice."

This puts the NFL players in an untenable position.

  • They are going to have to submit some names, or Trump wins outright because by submitting zero names, the players admit by omission that there is no "social injustice."
  • Whatever names they submit will be examined to almost the minutest detail. They would have to submit people like Alice Marie Johnson, whom Kim Kardashian advocated for at the White House and won her freedom. This means they can't submit names of those who have multiple violent convictions, deep gang ties, etc. Well, they can, but then the NFL players would look like fools.
  • Trump is under no obligation to pardon or commute the sentience of anybody.
  • If the NFL players do submit names and they are released, they will be in Trump's debt and will be forced to say nice things about him. They may follow up with sarcastic comments in the next breath, but that will only expose the players' hypocrisy and hurt their credibility, not Trump's.

I don't see Trump coming out on the bad side of any of these possibilities, even with a hostile press. I may have to start addressing Trump as "Mr. Miyagi." Start watching at 55 seconds.

Well played Mr. Trump. Well played.

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