Showing posts with label What Constitution?. Show all posts
Showing posts with label What Constitution?. Show all posts

Oct 17, 2016

The American Community Snoop

A sterling citizen for whom I have great affection opened his American Community Survey packet this morning. He demonstrated his sterlingness by actually reading questions and penciling in answers for two or three pages.

Then the sorry SOB looked into the mirror of his sterling soul and saw tarnish.   File 13.

The Constitution grants Washington the power to enumerate him, so there he stands,  hand dutifully up for easier counting,  giving the federal snoopers a pass on the Article One specification that he is subject to forced enumeration only once per decade, not at any over-secretion of the enumerators' window-peeping glands.

He decided that the demanded details of his life -- personal, professional, social, and financial -- were (1) an identity thief's dream and (b)  a facilitator for further nanny-state bungling and (3)  a violation of  Article 4 of the Bill of Rights.

He was unimpressed with:  "TheCensus Bureau is required by to keep your answers confidential." Perhaps that is because, on reading that, something reminded him of Lois Lerner who also pledged to obey the the law while in the employ of another federal tentacle required to observe strict standards of confidentiality.

Jan 1, 2016

Yes, George, a Happier New Year to All of Us

For my friends and enemies:  I'm afraid I must insist that you read Mr. Wills' review of the year just interred. If it is credibly reported that you don't, I shall disappear you with my magic ring, even if it gets me suspended from 4th grade.

Dec 19, 2014

The Pocket Pool Caper

I agree with my rulers in the federal trademark office. The brand name ComfyBalls is vulgar.

But in a saner world the federal language police would never be involved. We would all express our  attitudes by buying or refusing to buy pouched panties for vain males because of the name, price, or product merits.

In money, the bureaucratic dance is too small to move the needle on the most sensitive tax-money pissaway meter, but I still wish someone would pop for an audit. I suspect denying the Norwegians their trademark cost something like the price of a small bridge or a few month's of supply for a company of Marines.

Hmmmm. If I decided to build a money meter and called it the "Pissaway," would the feds send me nasty letters and later, if I refused to comply, nasty cops?


Please don't tell me about a "legitimate state interest" in forbidding coarse language and conduct. If you do I'll start yammering about Congressman Weiner and so forth.


I wonder if the Norwegians really designed ComfyBalls to more comfortably house a rolled-up odd sock.

Sep 23, 2014

There's nothing new about mulish tyranny

In late autumn,  510 years ago, seaman Christopher Columbus was in a painful bed in his rented house near Seville. After four voyages of discovery he was still "Admiral of the Ocean Sea"  by royal decree of Ferdinand and the dying Isabella, but  the title was becoming hollow.

The exhausted, gouty old Italian sailor was ending his days at the mercy of conspirators at the Spanish  court, sitting that winter in Segovia, nearly 400 miles of barely passable roads and ruts to his north. He needed to get there to plead in person for what he had been promised in 1492.

Three possibilities existed. One was a coach, for some reason not available to him. Another was the high-stepping Spanish horse, too fidgety for his racked old body.  Finally, the mule.

And here we get to the parallel ideas of 1504 and  2014, crony capitalism department. Samuel Eliot Morison  explains:

Columbus ... requested royal permission to ride a mule. The Andalusian horse-raising interests, it appears, had become so alarmed at the increasing employment of mules as saddle animals that a law had been passed forbidding their use for such a purpose. Columbus believed he could endure the gentle gaits of a mule but not the somewhat jittery paces of an Andalusian horse; so he applied to the King for a mule permit, and it was granted. (emphasis mine).

Columbus' remaining six months of life are interesting, perhaps poignant, but beyond the point here, which is that government was, then as now, in the hands of the greedy market perverts who will, for a price, decide who can sell what to whom and for how much.

It has become a little more subtle these days. Who can doubt the mule-ban followed direct bribes from horse breeders to someone privileged to whisper into royal ears.  In our democratic times,  the bribe takes another form, and the political payoff comes in votes. Voting blocs, actually.  For the thoughtless greens there is Solyndra, for instance. For the war hawk industry there are Halliburton and Blackwater, for instance. For general welfare-statist lobby there is Acorn, for instance.

I guess that is one reason I rarely give full voice to the contempt I have for the Obama clique and all its predecessors back though Wilson, at least. The enemy is not so much the men and women of the statist left and the statist right. It is the corrupted idea they serve.

These elected royals didn't invent oligarchy, crony capitalism. They are simply its latter-day minions, tools of the thoughtless notion that they -- like all politicians -- have the right to dictate your every decision and reap the rewards from grateful winners in a government-controlled marketplace..

Jackasses, you might say. Not totally responsible for their actions, but surely in need of the greatest discipline.


The quoted passage is in the one-volume edition of Morison's "Admiral of the Ocean Sea," the Little-Brown 1942 edition, p. 664.

Jul 18, 2014

Taking a selfie? Put your pants on.

Ed Snowden has told the Guardian that your Officer Friendlies in the NSA just love your private parts and spreading them.

All day they whiz through your emails and PMs and Facebook offerings. Mostly boring stuff like your bank account, potitical contributions, stock investments, family troubles and so forth. Sometimes, though, they find something risible.

Snowden: During the course of their work, (NSA employees) stumble across something that is completely unrelated to their work in any sort of necessary sense, for example, an intimate nude photo of someone in a sexually compromising situation. But they’re extremely attractive.

So what do they do? They turn around in their chair and show a coworker who says, ‘Hey that’s great. Send that to Bill down the way.’ Then Bill sends it to George, who sends it to Tom, and sooner or later this persons whole life has been seen by all of these other people.

The NSA denies such a thing is possible because all their thousands of snoopers are Eagle Scouts who sing in the church choir,

Jul 10, 2014

New Yahk New Yahk

"Only there," a guy is tempted to say. But who the Hell knows what might be lurking in the pointy little political hackheads of, say,  San Francisco?


The bill would require that the costumed  (street) performers be licensed and go through a background check.

I once endured a long layover at La Guardia and took a shuttle into Manhattan for a looksee.  On my way from a lengthy Montana political gig,  I wore Levis, a largish buckle on the tooled leather, a snap-button ranch shirt, and "cowboy" boots. (You learn to dress local in that racket.) If, God forbid, I should do it again, "You're busted. You have the right to remain .... The charge is imitating Walt Coogan without a license." 

The wit-free councilman ramrodding the dress-code decree is Mickey Mouse.  No. Wait. I mean Dan Garodnick. Dan frets because. "There have been a number of troublesome incidents involving costumed figures who try to make a living by charming tourists."

And just what are these egregious acts requiring suspension of  probably a half-dozen basic human and Constitutional rights?

As AP has it,  "They include a person dressed as Super Mario who was accused of groping a woman. This criminalizes walking Gotham streets  dressed up as Joe Biden.

"And an Elmo figure pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct after unleashing an anti-Semitic tirade."

Or,  in other words, pretending  to be the Rev. Mr. Jesse (Hymietown) Jackson.

May 20, 2014

The Smokey Bear Gun Library ("adult" language)

It probably isn't as Mark Trail-twee as the Cabela's shrines, but the inventory came cheaper.

This guy in Wisconsin was a career game cop for the DNR. Over the years he busted hunters and took their guns, not because anyone had found them guilty of anything but because he accused them. This conforms to the letter of our tyrannical civil forfeiture laws, and Smokey would probably have endured to collect his pension except for one thing.

He kept them, if you believe the prosecutors. His excuse is that Wisconsin required him to have a home office, and that's where he stashed citizens' guns -- beginning in 2003, apparently.

I'm not going to take time to dig them out, but there are a number of TMR posts on the subject.  The general idea is that cops often have very nice gun collections assembled at astonishingly low costs.
And even if this guy had turned them in to his boss cops, there's that annoying Constitutional mumbo jumbo:

"...nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law."
It just so happens that I'm working on position statements for my 2016 presidential campaign and decided to focus on crap like this after reading about government agents' lust for free stuff.  The platform plank is brief and applies also to the more formal confiscations by regular cops, game cops,  the IRS and its 50 state affiliates, and God knows who else in our multi-million corps of bureaucrats with badges. To wit:

CIVIL FORFEITURE:  Fuck no. If you want to take a citizen's stuff, convict him of something first.

May 9, 2014

Mother's Milk; The Sour Tit

By virtue of of having been an operative for national Republicans, I remain, many years later, on the special sucker lists.  If they categorize it finely, I'm in the Venn overlap as one of the superannuated has-beens who is on record as having given a little money or service to The Stupid Party since leaving Washington.

It generally doesn't bother me because my delete button works well. It is the chore of only a few seconds to whoosh off to never-never land 24 hours worth of come-ons from Viagra peddlers, conspiracy nuts,  commercial sex freaks, and the fund raising arm of the party.

 It is only when I bother to read the stuff that I get disgusted enough to react, usually thusly:

"Look, you guys, if I want my intelligence insulted, I have dozens of local friends, relatives,  and acquaintances I can turn to."

The feeling can be generated by a mere partial reading of the gimme letters, such as today's under the subject line: "Today is Election Day:" -- a patent piece of nonsense followed by, "From this day forward, every day is election day." Spare me.

Then come a few paragraphs of GOP virtues (vastly overstated) and Democrat vices (mostly true, or approximately so). Then the kicker, and you're undoubtedly way ahead of me here:

But the truth is we can’t win without your contribution today. Contribute $14 today to secure historic victories in 2014.

They want fourteen bucks for A.D. twenty-fourteen.

"Get it? Huh? Doyah get it?" 

"Oh yeah. I see.  That's a rilly cool way to write it. At least as clever as Obama's demand for a $10.10 federal minimum wage because 'It's easy to remember'."


After substantial salaries and bonuses to the GOP functionaries, particularly those in the fundraising arm, the proceeds will be used to tune up the no'bortion trumpets, fire grape shot from the parapets at lavender-themed weddings; maybe even restore the draft to liberate Sevastopol and bring the sweet light of reason to Nigerian Boko Harams  -- you know, the ones stealing and peddling virgins at twelve bucks per because America doesn't care enough to send them money.

In other words, to buy dull votes for guys like Rick Santorum who are the flip sides of, for instance, Nancy Pelosi and Justice Wisina Latina.

Never mind the problems that could, and may well, kill us.

--Let's start with the unannounced domestic assault on every dime you've managed to save -- the planned c. 2 per cent  annual devaluation.

--Also the notion that it's completely our fault that Islamist thugs kidnap school girls and decapitate reporters and other undesirables.

--And that a federal SWAT team is a perfectly reasonable reaction to some screwball rancher who won't pay his grazing fees. And so on.

Send me a hustle note addressing things like that and I will, without fail, send you your fourteen bucks, probably more.


Ancient loyalties and current observations compel me to note that the Democrats are worse. Meanwhile, I entertain myself with the probably futile dream that libertarians  may one day get at least a "C-" in Politics 101.

Mar 21, 2014

Obama in a Vacuum

This is one result of a general desktop clearing, a real desk top with dust, odd pieces of paper, bent paper clips, and a somewhat dry sandwich segment.

"No matter what congress does, I am the President the United States and they expect me to do something about it."

It is an accurate quotation because I wrote it carefully in script which is readable even after weeks or months. Unfortunately, I can't recall the issue. Therefore I don't know exactly what the president was talking about. Of course, he probably didn't either so I don't feel too bad. 

It does make me wonder what he taught about the Constitution when he was a Professor of Constitutional Law to supplement his income from organizing street corners in Chicago.

Feb 17, 2014

Vote Vet

I always miss Travis McGee but especially so when I want to sort out some newish thing.

Of course, to miss Trav is also to miss Meyer, the hairy economist down F pier a ways. Trav could deal with a Puss Killian all by himself but  needed Meyer for political and economic challenges. Even a womanizing free-lance detective can use a little logical positivism once in a while.

My friend L* alerts me to the Veterans Party of America which seems to be some sort of evolution of an earlier (c. 2003--20??)  "veterans" party which didn't make it.  It has recently published its platform. On first reading it looks more libertarian and anti-statist  than anything the majors would dare put on paper.  Better yet, some of the more important parts of it seem actually doable.

In my guise as pure political operative, I'm forced to tell the VPA, "rotsa ruck." Our America is the place where third parties go to be ignored, then die. The logic of their arguments has nothing to do with anything because they don't have and can not get the billions needed to create a nice image on the electric teevee.

Still, as a citizen, I'll be a happier if the VPA platform gets all possible exposure and discussion. Starting with you, Trav and Meyer. Whadaya think?


*Interesting person. Along with another pretty girl some years ago, she started a business more or less from scratch. It thrives and has created jobs without, I believe, ever having asked government for a dime in subsidies, tax holidays, special tax exemptions, guaranteed markets (c.f. ethanol mandate) or the like. While she would never state it so vulgarly, I think her message to federal, state, county, and local authorities was: "I intend to do right, so please get your big hairy bloated bureaucratic asses out of my way so I can get some work done."

Feb 16, 2014

Stone zoned

The advisers to the governors of Smugleye-on-Lake have delivered  to said governors their plan for village governance. It is the brand new zoning code, the previous zoning code having been deemed insufficiently intrusive on Smugleyeites' assumed right to peaceable and reasonable uses of their property.

A full reading shatters my emotions. For all these years I believed i lived in a "house," or a "home." Alas, under the new regime I have been resettled to a "nonconformity." Now, I don't mind being a nonconformity, but being ordered to live in one is quite another matter.

Magnanimously, the governors will permit me to continue living in my nonconformity, and even to maintain it within narrow limits. I'm sure that is contingent on my continued good behavior, such as  promising never, ever, to complain or, especially,  to make fun of these fine public servants in any public forum.


For those interested, an update to the parasite/citizen ratio here in my village reveals 16 elected or appointed policy makers and three enforcers/technicians. this does not count cops and firemen and lawyers whose services we outsource. Nor does it count the various outside advisers we hire to advise our own advisers on on cool new laws. But lets just call it the 19, which amounts to one village regulator per 18 citizens.


As a matter of general interest and perspective, the new SOL land-use law governing a village of 341 souls, covers 101 pages. Densely.

The Securities Exchange Act of 1934, governing many trillions of dollars of commercial activity, contains 93 pages.

Sep 5, 2013

Last Burro to Bombay

It's a point for our side,  wookie-suiters who keep harping about Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms, even in the face of our war on terror or drugs or whatever else polls badly this week.

You'll all recall the federal "keep your sorry arse out of my sky"  edict creating the infamous no-fly list which you get on for good reasons, or silly ones, or none at all.

Washington said it violated no rights because if you wanted to get from Amarillo to Hong Kong you could always begin horseback and catch a clipper out of Frisco. Voila! Right protected. Your freedom of travel is preserved.

Comes now federal Judge Anna Brown who utters our favorite word to the bureaucracy: No. A burro does not equal a Boeing.

She said: "in light of the realities of our modern world," travelers "have a constitutionally-protected liberty interest in traveling internationally by air, which is affected by being placed on the no-fly list (and she) ... rejected the idea that "all modes of transportation must be foreclosed before an individual's due-process rights are triggered." 

It is an interim decision while she's learning more about the TSA appeal system for getting off the NFL.

Jun 30, 2013

A good judge is hard to find.*

if you're looking for one, try Iowa. A guy here named David Wiggins makes his living as a supreme court justice. He keeps beating our primitives over their little statist heads, making the point that constitutions are written for reasons -- even that Fourth Amendment which makes life so inconvenient for cops.

Last week he let a drunk (but not very, .088) driver go because officers had only  a sorehead's anonymous tip to justify stopping him.

"To hold otherwise would cause legitimate concern because such tips would let the police stop persons on anonymous tips that might have been called in for vindictive or harassment purposes or based solely on a hunch or rumor." 

Thank you, Your Honor.

If you're interested in a a lucid explanation of some constitutional limits on a cop's authority to invade your privacy, the Wiggins opinion in the case (PDF) is worth a read.

This is the same guy who wrote another Fourth Amendment stunner saying that if police stop you for a piddly reason, they need to be damned careful about searching you in hopes of finding an unrelated offense. Wiggins warned them  to shape up or face the liklihood of being required to explicitly tell you, "No, you don't have to let me search you for pot just because your dog got off his leash." This is State vs. Pals.

One other reason to like this guy. He earned the hatred of Rick Santorum hard-shells in Iowa by ruling -- along with all six other justices -- that banning gay marriage violated the Iowa Constitution. Santorum's alter-ego in these parts, Bob Vander Platts, saw a fund-raising opportunity and led a successful drive to oust three of those justices.

Wiggins came up for retention one cycle later, and VDP went after him, too, but blew it. Many folks in the Vander Platts pews had become less excitable, allowing Wiggins to make his case that that the process of constitutional law was far more important than the outcome of any given issue. (As an aside, that was the same approach Bork took before an audience of excitable senators, and don't we wish he, also, had carried the day.)

I'm trying to phone His Ineptness to suggest he appoint our Justice Wiggins to oversee all FISA court cases. So far the call goes straight to presidential voice mail. I'm not really angry, though. According to the news he is up to his ears in trying to give Africa seven billion of our dollars so they can have electricity to charge their iPads, and isn't that just what we elected him to do?


*You often get the other kind.

Justice Waterman dissented in this recent case, continuing his pattern of telling Officer Fife, "Whatever Barney Wants, Barney Gets."  (The Pals case again.) Unfortunately, he's a long way from his retention vote.


May 23, 2013


Oh my! So much going on in the world. It's more than a fellow can examine in detail, so he is impelled to take the easier path of pronouncing cosmic truths:

1. Stockholm and London are under attack by revolutionary forces. The lesson is that an advanced society does not benefit from providing free candy to lure in tribes not all that far from the Stone Age. Excluding the Irish, of course.

2 Of course we've all wondered, "Why does the Inner Party kill its citizens by remote control and use the tax authority of the state to browbeat and destroy those whose speech appears to be Crimethink?"  Why, because it can, and because it makes governing ever so much more convenient if every bipedal drone in the country knows it. And fears it.

Apr 11, 2013

Memo to the IRS

Welcome to my blog, and I hope you enjoy reading it more than I enjoyed  sending you that check day before yesterday. It again amounted to the price of a very nice Colt 1911 which, as you may know, is a robust yet concealable  heavy-caliber weapon capable of accepting high capacity magazines.

(It usually doesn't,  because most fellows like me tend to tuck it in our pants and a special big magazine is uncomfortable. Too, a magazine in my pants that sticks out a long ways may, depending on exact positioning, confuse certain onlookers about my social intentions.)

But anyway,  as I say, welcome to my site, and I really don't care if you read it because when I publish something  to one and all, I think I agree with you that I indeed do give up what you fellas and gals are calling an "expectation of privacy."

Now, about my email:

Piss off.

If the first place, it's none of your damned business what I write to the pretty lady in Ohio.

In the second,  you are wasting money. Even if i did forget to report the profit (about $8.50 if I recall correctly) from that garage sale I held back in 1997, I doubt I would detail it in an electronic letter to my spiritual advisor or my vet.

One of your lawyer guys defends your sneaking, unconstitutional practices with,

"...if a service provider fought the (subpoena only, no warrant)  search request, it would likely result in "protracted litigation," meaning that any leads from the emails would be "stale" if the IRS ever obtained them."

So, you mean that all you have to do is claim administrative inconvenience as an excuse to pry open every confidence of my life and I'm supposed to light up with an awed understanding. Like Zing go the strings of my heart?   

Apr 4, 2013

Note on the formerly free state of Connecticut

As written by free men and women some years ago:

Connecticut gun code of 1650:

"All persons shall bear arms, and every male person shall have in continual readiness a good muskitt or other gunn, fitt for service." 


As written this week by a quite different breed:

The bill text is here

It is tough going but probably essential reading. If you can't be bothered, I suppose a fair summary is this: "Your natural right of armed self-defense as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed; you may or may not be granted a limited privilege of preserving your life and property. We, your elected and appointed masters,will decide."

Crying solves nothing, but a tear or two here would not open you to any important criticism. 

Mar 8, 2013

The Rand Paul Filibuster: Condensed

Eight hours is a long time to listen to even an articulate libertarianish thinker drone on. So, for what it's worth, here's how it might have been said:

"Obama, Holder, and even some famous Republican munchkins say they own plenary shoot-to-kill authority over American citizens on American soil.  No warrants, courts, due process or any other technical mumbo-jumbo which just slows things down. 

"All they need is a sincere belief that the death-marked American is a bad guy who might do wrong. 

"Then they sing us the lullaby 'Of course we wouldn't really do it. Well, hardly ever anyway, just when we're pretty sure we need to.' But we demand the authority.

" The idea of entrusting my life or yours solely to the competence, judgement, and good will of guys like that  -- or anyone, for that matter -- scares Hell out of me. How about you?"

"So the answer is 'No'."

"We like to trumpet the moral and practical superiority of government by law rather than men, so let's get with the program. Thank you and good night."


Aside No. 1: Joel has a related take on "dangerous people"  over at his place.

Aside No. 2: Television news. as usual,  is missing the point by parsecs. The morning gruel -- especially on MSNBC --  is turdfully dense with panicked concern about (1) Whether all this means Sen. Paul will run for President and (2) whether it "exposes a rift in the Republican party."  For krissakes Joe, Mika, the point here is whether or not the  DoD should program into the president's football the coordinates of every coffee shop known to harbor loud-mouthed nonconformists.

Mar 1, 2013

Fat and fingernails

I begin -- weakly but necessarily  -- with two disclaimers.

The first part of this report is based wholly on a Fox News item, so a certain little journalistic two-step is required, to wit: I believe I have never before performed such a questionable act, and I pledge not to repeat the offense.

The second part is less immoral but still academically suspect. It is snippet of my personal life which happened prior to the invention of the internet. It can not be documented, hence is outside the realm of scholarly,  peer-reviewed history. In other words, you'll just have to trust me on this one, Sidney.


Fox jumped on the story of a little  Massachusetts school kid whose parents received a letter from his school. The lad failed to study for his Body Mass Index test and was found officially obese which, manifestly, he is not.

The report explained that the local school blamed the silly fat letter on  mandate from Mass Bureau of Nutrition, Body Mass, Child Traumatizaton, and Parental Guilt. Both mother and son reacted calmly to the teevee questions, much more so than appropriate. While one rather objects to an elementary kid saying "bull shit,"  these are the times that try kids' souls, and I, at least, would have forgiven him  the vulgarity and applauded his concise expression of absolute truth.

The mother -- who mostly opined that the BMI was not a great metric for determining appropriate weight  --  should have said it, of course, like my very own sainted mother almost did long ago.


The state sent around a public health nurse to examine all the tykes in the realm, including my fellow kindergarten matriculants at Carpenter school. I passed handily -- clean ears, no head lice, no unnatural suppurations of disgusting bodily fluids.

Except for my fingernails. Mom always trimmed them. (Even in those days the family consensus was that I was not to be trusted with dangerous instruments.) She clipped them in a curve following the natural line of the finger tips. The nurse was horrified. and entered a sharp remark on the take-home health form (cc: school files; state Bureau of Meddling files; and, for all I know, Harry S. Truman.) It said that responsible mothers trimmed nails straight across.

You must understand that my mom's reaction to utter nonsense was nearly always a resigned sigh. "Hell" was not in her vocabulary; "heck" and darn" were suspect. But this one got to her and I recall pretty well: "If she doesn't like the way I cut your fingernails she can just kiss my (pause) A-double-Ess." 

Well said, Mom.


Jan 29, 2013

Chip 'em, Dan-O

Did I just hear Senator Schumer say we will use a "social security card biometric identifier?"

And you thought I was just kidding around when I said that for ease of administration the administrators think biometric ID is a really fun idea.

A little research takes some of the fun out of  mocking this because, so far, Senators Schumer and McCain are stopping short of the ultimate step. They're not quite ready to herd 320 million American citizens into the veterinary clinics for outpatient surgery. Vets? Sure. Who has more experience in slipping neat little computers/RF transmitters into flesh? Guernsey, Lhasa apso, citizen, what the Hell. Meat's meat.

The vote whores, or  immigration reformers if you insist, say for the time being  they can settle for a Social Security card that records your fingerprints or your digitized face. It will be a while before they announce that people are losing their cards and hiring top geeks to modify them and generally not playing nice.  And if you can chip a baboon for 80 bucks, max, why 80 times 320 million is only...


The 1985 libertarian argument was: Want to reduce the illegal immigration problem? Start reducing the free stuff inherent in merely metabolizing in this country.   It  is also a good 2013 argument.