Pizza Order 2015

What’s more American than Pizza.

The Federalist: THIS Is What Ordering a Pizza Will Be Like If Big Government Liberals Get their Way

The following reminded me of a 2004 You tube video, amusingly this was made by the ACLU. The irony is almost as tasty as the pizza.

Big_Government_Pizza_3

Give the government all your info, and it will use it. 🙂

I wonder if I could get a little Lion on my pizza?

Oh, and when the Leftist Holier-Than-Thou PC Vegans take over, good luck getting any meat at all.

ACLU 2013 article on this “bubbling back up”

At first glance, the video seems laughable. A man calls his favorite pizza place to place an order, and he’s soon roped into a 1984-esque dystopia (with Windows 95-esque graphics) in which everything from his voting and employment history to his health records and library activity are “wired in” to a sinister uber-database, which the pizza place uses to bully him into ordering food he doesn’t want (because it’s better for his health) for an inflated price (delivery costs $20 extra because the customer lives in a high-crime area, according to the pizza place’s records). Uh, I used GrubHub last week and nothing remotely like this happened to me. Ha ha, ACLU #fail! …Right?

Not necessarily, says Lorrie Faith Cranor, a tech privacy expert at Carnegie Mellon University’s CyLab Usable Privacy and Security Laboratory. “It is actually not all that farfetched,” she told me via email. “I’ve shown this video many times in my classes and it is always a good way to start a discussion.”

What the video gets right

“There are companies that do gather most of the information that the pizza shop in the video has. I think it is less likely that information about library books would be available in such a profile, as libraries usually try pretty hard to protect information about what people read. But information about what magazines you subscribe to, travel plans, and clothing sizes is the sort of information that companies are collecting.”

The government also wants to collect everything about you, regardless of how inane it is. Plus after this was produced Facebook came into existence and now you have a whole new database of info, not just the NSA.

What it gets less right

“Companies don’t necessarily want you to know they have all this information about you, because people tend to find it creepy. So I’m not sure a pizza shop would really let on that they know all this. 

The government doesn’t want to let on how much it knows either, but ObamaCare wants all your medical records digitized so they can be found by anyone. 🙂

The video doesn’t anticipate location tracking or information that can be collected through mobile apps. The pizza shop does not know whether the customer is calling from home or work because he calls from his cell phone. It is not too much of a stretch to believe that companies may be able to pinpoint precisely where you are calling from on your cell phone in the future.”

They can know. So can the Government. Oh, and then there’s the Drones…

Privacy as perception: a user-experience design problem

What I find most interesting about Cranor’s comments is the interface-design aspect of privacy. If the pizza place simply didn’t mention everything it was doing behind the scenes to aggregate and interpret the customer’s personal data, and simply offered opt-in recommendations, it might not have seemed so dystopian to the customer. And in fact, this approach is what Google, Facebook, and other “all in the cloud” personal-data-integrators are all about. Don’t show how the data-mining sausage is made; just offer useful functionality.

Precisely. Sausage making is messy. Especially, if you’re the US Government.

A decade after the ACLU made this ham-handed video, a lot of what it depicts has come to pass, and we don’t much mind–because privacy is perception. This works both ways. Remember when Path got lambasted last year for uploading users’ iOS contacts into its database without telling them? Sounds pretty creepy, and the internet freaked out about it… even though apps had been doing this for years already, often for sound technical reasons. Instagram’s Terms-of-Service flap also stemmed from a perception problem. The new TOS sounded more creepy and privacy-violating than it actually was, so Instgram reverted to older legalese that was less emotionally “triggering” but more potentially privacy-violating.

Tech privacy in this decade is a lot weirder than the ACLU could’ve predicted in the last one. Do our privacy tolerances depend more on the subtleties of design and communication than on the brute-force capabilities of the technology itself?

Their is no privacy left and if there were Liberals would take it away from you because you’re a moron and they are so vastly superior in running your life for you.

That’s the irony.

Anyone for some Kale Chips… 🙂

Political Cartoons by Glenn Foden
Political Cartoons by Michael Ramirez
Political Cartoons by Bob Gorrell

You’ve been Data Mined

A key part of President Obama’s legacy will be the fed’s unprecedented collection of sensitive data on Americans by race. The government is prying into our most personal information at the most local levels, all for the purpose of “racial and economic justice.”

Unbeknown to most Americans, Obama’s racial bean counters are furiously mining data on their health, home loans, credit cards, places of work, neighborhoods, even how their kids are disciplined in school — all to document “inequalities” between minorities and whites.

This Orwellian-style stockpile of statistics includes a vast and permanent network of discrimination databases, which Obama already is using to make “disparate impact” cases against: banks that don’t make enough prime loans to minorities; schools that suspend too many blacks; cities that don’t offer enough Section 8 and other low-income housing for minorities; and employers who turn down African-Americans for jobs due to criminal backgrounds.

Big Brother Barack wants the databases operational before he leaves office, and much of the data in them will be posted online.

So civil-rights attorneys and urban activist groups will be able to exploit them to show patterns of “racial disparities” and “segregation,” even if no other evidence of discrimination exists.

“There are no doubt complexities that come with White Americans working for racial justice. White privilege can lead to a chronic case of undiagnosed entitlement, creating poor listeners, impatient speakers who talk over others, and people unaccustomed to taking orders. Nevertheless, the movement for racial justice needs more White Americans to get involved. And it’s our responsibility to help each other get involved–and get involved productively,” Jon Greenberg  (High School Teacher) wrote, linking to a blog post that claims quoting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to black women is a violent and “cisheteropatriarchy” act.

Apparently that $5 word means: Cis- Hetero Patriarchy is class based oppression of gender and sex and racism is the class based  oppression of nationality and race and apparently they use “rape” analogies a lot. So quoting Dr. King to a black person is ‘mind rape’, apparently.  😦

Greenberg was the recipient of the Courage in the Pursuit of Social Justice Award from the the University of Washington chapter of the American Association of University Professors.

The fabric of our society, and consequentially our organizing spaces, are weaved together by the ongoing legacies of colonization, genocide, slavery, white supremacy, and cis-hetero-patriarchy. (Praxis)

So, Yea

I’m Male.

I’m White.

But I’m not a Christian.

But I dislike the Gay Leftist Control Freak Mafia.

I am a Fan of “The Dukes of Hazzard”

I value The Constitution.

So please, data mine this…

The granddaddy of them all is the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing database, which the Department of Housing and Urban Development rolled out earlier this month to racially balance the nation, ZIP code by ZIP code. It will map every US neighborhood by four racial groups — white, Asian, black or African-American, and Hispanic/Latino — and publish “geospatial data” pinpointing racial imbalances.

The agency proposes using nonwhite populations of 50% or higher as the threshold for classifying segregated areas.

Federally funded cities deemed overly segregated will be pressured to change their zoning laws to allow construction of more subsidized housing in affluent areas in the suburbs, and relocate inner-city minorities to those predominantly white areas. HUD’s maps, which use dots to show the racial distribution or density in residential areas, will be used to select affordable-housing sites.

HUD plans to drill down to an even more granular level, detailing the proximity of black residents to transportation sites, good schools, parks and even supermarkets. If the agency’s social engineers rule the distance between blacks and these suburban “amenities” is too far, municipalities must find ways to close the gap or forfeit federal grant money and face possible lawsuits for housing discrimination.

Civil-rights groups will have access to the agency’s sophisticated mapping software, and will participate in city plans to re-engineer neighborhoods under new community outreach requirements.

“By opening this data to everybody, everyone in a community can weigh in,” Obama said. “If you want affordable housing nearby, now you’ll have the data you need to make your case.”

Mortgage database

Meanwhile, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, headed by former Congressional Black Caucus leader Mel Watt, is building its own database for racially balancing home loans. The so-called National Mortgage Database Project will compile 16 years of lending data, broken down by race, and hold everything from individual credit scores and employment records.

Mortgage contracts won’t be the only financial records vacuumed up by the database. According to federal documents, the repository will include “all credit lines,” from credit cards to student loans to car loans — anything reported to credit bureaus. This is even more information than the IRS collects.

The FHFA will also pry into your personal assets and debts and whether you have any bankruptcies. The agency even wants to know the square footage and lot size of your home, as well as your interest rate.

FHFA will share the info with Obama’s brainchild, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which acts more like a civil-rights agency, aggressively investigating lenders for racial bias.

The FHFA has offered no clear explanation as to why the government wants to sweep up so much sensitive information on Americans, other than stating it’s for “research” and “policymaking.”

However, CFPB Director Richard Cordray was more forthcoming, explaining in a recent talk to the radical California-based Greenlining Institute: “We will be better able to identify possible discriminatory lending patterns.”

Credit database

CFPB is separately amassing a database to monitor ordinary citizens’ credit-card transactions. It hopes to vacuum up some 900 million credit-card accounts — all sorted by race — representing roughly 85% of the US credit-card market. Why? To sniff out “disparities” in interest rates, charge-offs and collections.

Employment database

CFPB also just finalized a rule requiring all regulated banks to report data on minority hiring to an Office of Minority and Women Inclusion. It will collect reams of employment data, broken down by race, to police diversity on Wall Street as part of yet another fishing expedition.

School database

Through its mandatory Civil Rights Data Collection project, the Education Department is gathering information on student suspensions and expulsions, by race, from every public school district in the country. Districts that show disparities in discipline will be targeted for reform.

Those that don’t comply will be punished. Several already have been forced to revise their discipline policies, which has led to violent disruptions in classrooms.

Obama’s educrats want to know how many blacks versus whites are enrolled in gifted-and-talented and advanced placement classes.

Schools that show blacks and Latinos under-enrolled in such curricula, to an undefined “statistically significant degree,” could open themselves up to investigation and lawsuits by the department’s Civil Rights Office.

Count on a flood of private lawsuits to piggyback federal discrimination claims, as civil-rights lawyers use the new federal discipline data in their legal strategies against the supposedly racist US school system.

Even if no one has complained about discrimination, even if there is no other evidence of racism, the numbers themselves will “prove” that things are unfair.

Such databases have never before existed. Obama is presiding over the largest consolidation of personal data in US history. He is creating a diversity police state where government race cops and civil-rights lawyers will micromanage demographic outcomes in virtually every aspect of society.

The first black president, quite brilliantly, has built a quasi-reparations infrastructure perpetually fed by racial data that will outlast his administration. (NYP)

No Escape

Public and Private Surveillance

The Public-Private Surveillance Partnership

By Bruce Schneier Imagine the government passed a law requiring all citizens to carry a tracking device. Such a law would immediately be found unconstitutional. Yet we all carry mobile phones.
National ID Card: Social Security
National Health Card: ObamaCare

If the National Security Agency required us to notify it whenever we made a new friend, the nation would rebel. Yet we notify Facebook Inc. (FB) If the Federal Bureau of Investigation demanded copies of all our conversations and correspondence, it would be laughed at. Yet we provide copies of our e-mail to Google Inc. (GOOG), Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) or whoever our mail host is; we provide copies of our text messages to Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ), AT&T Inc. (T) and Sprint Corp. (S); and we provide copies of other conversations to Twitter Inc., Facebook, LinkedIn (LNKD) Corp. or whatever other site is hosting them.

The primary business model of the Internet is built on mass surveillance, and our government’s intelligence-gathering agencies have become addicted to that data. Understanding how we got here is critical to understanding how we undo the damage.

Computers and networks inherently produce data, and our constant interactions with them allow corporations to collect an enormous amount of intensely personal data about us as we go about our daily lives. Sometimes we produce this data inadvertently simply by using our phones, credit cards, computers and other devices. Sometimes we give corporations this data directly on Google, Facebook, Apple Inc.’s iCloud and so on in exchange for whatever free or cheap service we receive from the Internet in return.

The NSA is also in the business of spying on everyone, and it has realized it’s far easier to collect all the data from these corporations rather than from us directly. In some cases, the NSA asks for this data nicely. In other cases, it makes use of subtle threats or overt pressure. If that doesn’t work, it uses tools like national security letters.

The Partnership

The result is a corporate-government surveillance partnership, one that allows both the government and corporations to get away with things they couldn’t otherwise.

There are two types of laws in the U.S., each designed to constrain a different type of power: constitutional law, which places limitations on government, and regulatory law, which constrains corporations. Historically, these two areas have largely remained separate, but today each group has learned how to use the other’s laws to bypass their own restrictions. The government uses corporations to get around its limits, and corporations use the government to get around their limits.

This partnership manifests itself in various ways. The government uses corporations to circumvent its prohibitions against eavesdropping domestically on its citizens. Corporations rely on the government to ensure that they have unfettered use of the data they collect.

Here’s an example: It would be reasonable for our government to debate the circumstances under which corporations can collect and use our data, and to provide for protections against misuse. But if the government is using that very data for its own surveillance purposes, it has an incentive to oppose any laws to limit data collection. And because corporations see no need to give consumers any choice in this matter — because it would only reduce their profits — the market isn’t going to protect consumers, either.

Our elected officials are often supported, endorsed and funded by these corporations as well, setting up an incestuous relationship between corporations, lawmakers and the intelligence community.

The losers are us, the people, who are left with no one to stand up for our interests. Our elected government, which is supposed to be responsible to us, is not. And corporations, which in a market economy are supposed to be responsive to our needs, are not. What we have now is death to privacy — and that’s very dangerous to democracy and liberty.

Challenging Power

The simple answer is to blame consumers, who shouldn’t use mobile phones, credit cards, banks or the Internet if they don’t want to be tracked. But that argument deliberately ignores the reality of today’s world. Everything we do involves computers, even if we’re not using them directly. And by their nature, computers produce tracking data. We can’t go back to a world where we don’t use computers, the Internet or social networking. We have no choice but to share our personal information with these corporations, because that’s how our world works today.

Curbing the power of the corporate-private surveillance partnership requires limitations on both what corporations can do with the data we choose to give them and restrictions on how and when the government can demand access to that data. Because both of these changes go against the interests of corporations and the government, we have to demand them as citizens and voters. We can lobby our government to operate more transparently — disclosing the opinions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court would be a good start — and hold our lawmakers accountable when it doesn’t. But it’s not going to be easy. There are strong interests doing their best to ensure that the steady stream of data keeps flowing. (Bloomberg)

FBI ALLOWS CRIME

The FBI gave its informants permission to break the law at least 5,658 times in a single year, according to newly disclosed documents that show just how often the nation’s top law enforcement agency enlists criminals to help it battle crime.

The U.S. Justice Department ordered the FBI to begin tracking crimes by its informants more than a decade ago, after the agency admitted that its agents had allowed Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger to operate a brutal crime ring in exchange for information about the Mafia. The FBI submits that tally to top Justice Department officials each year, but has never before made it public.

Agents authorized 15 crimes a day, on average, including everything from buying and selling illegal drugs to bribing government officials and plotting robberies. FBI officials have said in the past that permitting their informants — who are often criminals themselves — to break the law is an indispensable, if sometimes distasteful, part of investigating criminal organizations.

“It sounds like a lot, but you have to keep it in context,” said Shawn Henry, who supervised criminal investigations for the FBI until he retired last year. “This is not done in a vacuum. It’s not done randomly. It’s not taken lightly.”

A spokeswoman for the FBI, Denise Ballew, declined to answer questions about the report, saying only that the circumstances in which its informants are allowed to break the law are “situational, tightly controlled,” and subject to Justice Department policy.(USA Today)

But cavalierly, yes. All while they are watching us. And suing states, and trying to control voter registration, and harassing citizens for their own agenda.

DEA TRACKING YOU

A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.

Although these cases rarely involve national security issues, documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin – not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges.

The unit of the DEA that distributes the information is called the Special Operations Division, or SOD. Two dozen partner agencies comprise the unit, including the FBI, CIA, NSA, Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Homeland Security. It was created in 1994 to combat Latin American drug cartels and has grown from several dozen employees to several hundred.

Now, it’s combating YOU. 🙂

So you want to commit crime, do it FOR the FBI and NSA.

Gee, that makes me feel better…

Big Government

MSDNC’s Melissa “I’m Bat shit crazy” Harris-Perry on Detroit bankruptcy: In the case of Detroit, the reason that the tax base has become so small is because a loss of population, right? So folks out, they are not there to pay the taxes on the homes and the kind of deterioration is what you see in the numbers you’ve suggested. But this lack of tax base is also exactly the kind of thing that many Republicans would impose on us, even when our cities have sufficient populations, even when our communities have sufficient populations. This is what it looks like when government is small enough to drown in your bathtub, and it is not a pretty picture.

Okay… so, let’s go ahead and get this straight. Detroit has been a bastion of All Thing Progressive for decades, with the government and its pension funds and etcetera spending themselves into oblivion while residents have been fleeing the accompanying signs of economic and social depreciation — which effectively worsened the problem of too much government spending by shrinking the available tax base and cutting into revenue — all of which has finally led to the inevitable conclusion of Detroit’s fiscal ruin.

Despite this entirely liberal achievement, Harris-Perry tries to use the example of Detroit to criticize Republicans for… wanting to lower taxes? (Blaze)

In a city that averages about 14 arsons a day, there are only 11 arson investigators, down from more than 20 in 2009…

And you wonder why Progressive Liberalism should be declared a Mental Disorder…

Obama

And for Liberals it feels good to give the poor a fish, or even better the “rich” person’s fish. Or a “free” or “cheaper” fish that looks like the “rich” person’s fish.

You deserve it. You’re “owed” it.

Problem is, then they don’t know how to fish. And if they never learned how to fish to begin with, then you have a person dependent on you for their fish.

Which, for Democrats, works for them. That’s what they like. They can control you, you are their slave if you can’t or won’t fish and they give it to you.

If you don’t earn it, is it really yours??

It’s white rich people’s fault you didn’t have it after all…

BIG BROTHER OBAMACARE UPDATE

Would you trust thousands of low-level Federal bureaucrats and contractors with one-touch access to your private financial and medical information? Under Obamacare you won’t have any choice.

As the Obamacare train-wreck begins to gather steam, there is increasing concern in Congress over something called the Federal Data Services Hub. The Data Hub is a comprehensive database of personal information being established by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to implement the federally facilitated health insurance exchanges. The purpose of the Data Hub, according to a June 2013 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, is to provide “electronic, near real-time access to federal data” and “access to state and third party data sources needed to verify consumer-eligibility information.” In these days of secret domestic surveillance by the intelligence community, rogue IRS officials and state tax agencies using private information for political purposes, and police electronically logging every license plate that passes by, the idea of the centralized Data Hub is making lawmakers and citizens nervous.

They want INFORMATION. 🙂

They certainly should be; the potential for abuse is enormous. The massive, centralized database will include comprehensive personal information such as income and financial data, family size, citizenship and immigration status, incarceration status, social security numbers, and private health information. It will compile dossiers based on information obtained from the IRS, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, the Veterans Administration, the Office of Personnel Management, the Social Security Administration, state Medicaid databases, and for some reason the Peace Corps. The Data Hub will provide web-based, one-stop shopping for prying into people’s personal affairs.

BIG BROTHER KNOWS EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU….

Not to fear, HHS says, the Data Hub will be completely secure. Really? Secure like all the information that has been made public in the Wikileaks era? These days no government agency can realistically claim that private information will be kept private, especially when it is being made so accessible. Putting everyone’s personal information in once place only simplifies the challenge for those looking to hack into the system.

However, the hacker threat is the least of the Data Hub worries. The hub will be used on a daily basis by so-called Navigators, which according to the GAO are “community and consumer-focused nonprofit groups, to which exchanges award grants to provide fair and impartial public education” and “refer consumers as appropriate for further assistance.” Thousands of such people will have unfettered access to the Data Hub, but there are only sketchy guidelines on how they will be hired, trained and monitored. Given the slap-dash, incoherent way Obamacare is being implemented the prospect for quality control is low. And the Obama administration’s track record of sweetheart deals, no-bid, sole-source contracting and other means of rewarding people with insider access means the Data Hub will be firmly in the hands of trusted White House loyalists.

So if you think the IRS targeting Tea Party groups was bad, just wait for the Obamacare Navigators to be unleashed. “Trust us,” the administration says, no one will abuse the Data Hub. Sure, because that has worked out so well in the past. (rare.us)

I suppose the idea of — oh, I don’t know — the government spending less, and not making promises that it can’t afford to keep, and people instead using more private-sector, free-market means and reaping the benefits of the subsequent economic growth, isn’t an option, then?

And people making choice that Home Superior Liberalis don’t like is just not an option.

The same malign alliance between a corrupt political class, rapacious public-sector unions, and an ever more swollen army of welfare dependents has been adopted in the formally Golden State of California, and in large part by the Obama administration, whose priorities — “health” “care” “reform,” “immigration” “reform” — are determined by the same elite/union/dependency axis. As one droll tweeter put it, “If Obama had a city, it would look like Detroit.”…

Like Detroit, America has unfunded liabilities, to the tune of $220 trillion, according to the economist Laurence Kotlikoff. Like Detroit, it’s cosseting the government class and expanding the dependency class, to the point where its bipartisan “immigration reform” actively recruits 50–60 million low-skilled chain migrants. Like Detroit, America’s governing institutions are increasingly the corrupt enforcers of a one-party state — the IRS and Eric Holder’s amusingly misnamed Department of Justice being only the most obvious examples. Like Detroit, America is bifurcating into the class of “community organizers” and the unfortunate denizens of the communities so organized. (Hot Air)

And the Obama roadshow is coming to a neighborhood near you, soon, very soon!

“A government big enough to give you everything you want, is a government big enough to take away everything that you have.”


134894 600 The Big Sell cartoons

 

Be Seeing You

“There’s no expectation of privacy” for a vehicle driving on a public road or parked in a public place, said Lt. Bill Hedgpeth, a spokesman for the Mesquite Police Department in Texas, which has records stretching back to 2008, although the city plans next month to begin deleting files older than two years. “It’s just a vehicle. It’s just a license plate.”

Number Six: What do you want?
Number Two: Information.
Number Six: Whose side are you on?
Number Two: That would be telling. We want information… information… in formation.
Number Six: You won’t get it.
Number Two: By hook or by crook, we will.
Number Six: Who are you?
Number Two: The new Number Two.
Number Six: Who is Number One?
Number Two: You are Number Six.
Number Six: I am not a number! I am a free man!
Number Two: [laughs]
Chances are, your local or state police departments have photographs of your car in their files, noting where you were driving on a particular day, even if you never did anything wrong.Using automated scanners, law enforcement agencies across the country have amassed millions of digital records on the location and movement of every vehicle with a license plate, according to a study published Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union. Affixed to police cars, bridges or buildings, the scanners capture images of passing or parked vehicles and note their location, uploading that information into police databases. Departments keep the records for weeks or years, sometimes indefinitely.

As the technology becomes cheaper and more ubiquitous, and federal grants focus on aiding local terrorist detection, even small police agencies are able to deploy more sophisticated surveillance systems. While the Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that a judge’s approval is needed to track a car with GPS, networks of plate scanners allow police effectively to track a driver’s location, sometimes several times every day, with few legal restrictions. The ACLU says the scanners assemble what it calls a “single, high-resolution image of our lives.”

“There’s just a fundamental question of whether we’re going to live in a society where these dragnet surveillance systems become routine,” said Catherine Crump, a staff attorney with the ACLU. The civil rights group is proposing that police departments immediately delete any records of cars not linked to a crime.

Law enforcement officials said the scanners can be crucial to tracking suspicious cars, aiding drug busts and finding abducted children. License plate scanners also can be efficient. The state of Maryland told the ACLU that troopers could “maintain a normal patrol stance” while capturing up to 7,000 license plate images in a single eight hour shift. (FOX)

Larry Elder: Someone did an experiment to test an old tale — that a frog placed in a pot of cool water, which is then slowly and continuously heated, will be boiled to death. By contrast, if thrown directly into scalding hot water, the frog jumps out. But it turns out that, no, once the water got hot enough, the critter hopped out of Dodge.

This raises a question. At what point does the continuous growth and intrusiveness of government make people wake up? This is not just a matter of theory or philosophy. People are hurting — as a direct result of President Barack Obama, his party, and the inability of the GOP to make the case for a smaller, less expensive and less intrusive government.

For five years, we have watched as President Barack Obama successfully pushed the following “redistributionist” agenda for building an economy: Take from the most productive to stimulate the economy by redistributing money, often with political consideration involved or attached; allow bureaucrats to pick winners and losers in the market; issue feel-good, top-down regulations that cost jobs and do little to improve conditions; and dictate the terms of health care with ObamaCare, a monstrosity that places one-seventh of our economy under the control of the federal government.

The results are in.

This is the worst economic recovery since World War II. Unemployment remains high. So many able-bodied people are dropping out of the labor force that the “labor force participation rate” remains near a 30-year low.

In 1900, government at all three levels took about 10 percent of our income. Today, government takes nearly 50 percent, or twice as much as people say government should. Yet when pollsters ask Americans how much money should government, at all three levels — state, local and federal — take from them, their answer has been consistent for decades: 25 percent.

Why, then, aren’t politicians in Washington, D.C., cowering under their desks, as angry constituents pound on their doors?

People, in the abstract, talk about freedom and liberty. But government dependency is so widespread that we accept the benefits — unaware that the costs are much higher than we think.

Nearly half of the federal budget goes to the three major entitlement programs: Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. All of these programs address problems that the Constitution never intended. How do we know? Earlier presidents, citing constitutional reasons, rejected congressional attempts at growing the government.

In 1822, James Monroe, our fifth president, cast his only veto in rejecting an expansion of the Cumberland Road, even through it stood to economically benefit his home state of Virginia.

According to Monroe’s biography on the University of Virginia’s americanpresident.org: “Although Monroe personally supported the idea of internal improvements, he balked at the federal government’s role in the American System being proposed by Congressmen Henry Clay and John C. Calhoun. They wanted a series of federally financed projects designed to improve and update the nation’s roads, bridges, and canals. Monroe worried, however, that federal payments for such internal improvements would expand even further the power of the federal government at the sake of state power. Where would the limits be drawn?”

Economist Walter Williams writes of Presidents James Madison, Franklin Pierce and Grover Cleveland, and how they quoted the Constitution to turn away congressional attempts to spend money because, they argued, the federal government is unauthorized to do so.

Fast forward to ObamaCare and the Supreme Court. Twenty-six states sued over the law, arguing that the individual insurance mandate — which requires every citizen in the country to purchase health care insurance or face a fine starting in 2014 — was unconstitutional. But the court, citing Congress’ authority to tax, let the mandate stand. In their dissent, Justices Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito said, “The entire Act before us is invalid in its entirety.” Further, they wrote, there is a “mountain of evidence” that the mandate is not a tax. “To say that the individual mandate merely imposes a tax,” wrote Scalia, “is not to interpret the statute but to rewrite it.”

In the end, of course, we get the government we vote for. Given that information gets filtered out through the Axis of Indoctrination — Hollywood, academia, and media — how much hope is there that people will wake up?

The smart, the well-connected, and the well-educated will be fine. Their previously depressed stock portfolios have returned, as companies learn to do more with fewer workers. High-end real estate is back, and the top 1 percent has regained the wealth lost during the recession — and then some.

The very people whom the left says it cares about are hurting. But rest assured, these elites care about them. They just have a strange way of showing it.

Political Cartoons by Bob Gorrell

 Political Cartoons by Nate Beeler

 Political Cartoons by Bob Gorrell

Covering The Smarter Government

nixon

Does anybody really care about an office break-in with possibly wide-ranging political implications? After all, the president isn’t a Republican.

Well, here’s a story about one anyway. John Hudson at Foreign Policy reports:

The offices of a Dallas law firm representing a high-profile State Department whistleblower were broken into last weekend. Burglars stole three computers and broke into the firm’s file cabinets. But silver bars, video equipment and other valuables were left untouched, according to local Fox affiliate KDFW, which aired security camera footage of the suspected burglars entering and leaving the offices around the time of the incident.

The firm Schulman & Mathias represents Aurelia Fedenisn, a former investigator at the State Department’s Office of the Inspector General. In recent weeks, she raised a slew of explosive allegations against the department and its contractors ranging from illicit drug use, soliciting sexual favors from minors and prostitutes and sexual harassment…

The State Department, which has repeatedly disputed Fedenisn’s allegations, denied any involvement in the incident. “Any allegation that the Department of State authorized someone to break into Mr. Schulman’s law firm is false and baseless,” spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

Which given the Obama Track record means of course they did it!

And there you have it. If Psaki denies it, that’s the end of it. Everybody knows that the word of a State Department spokesperson is as good as pyrite.

Also, John Kerry absolutely wasn’t on his yacht as Egypt exploded into chaos last week, and it doesn’t matter that he was on his yacht because he can work from there. Oh, and the Benghazi attack was caused by a YouTube video, which had nothing to do with it and they never said it did, and it’s okay that they said it did, because it was the best information they had at the time, even though everybody knows that’s not true.

Got it? Now shut up. (DC)  🙂

#2: A top official at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau could not tell the House Committee on Financial Services how many Americans are being monitored through the agency’s secretive data collection program Tuesday.

Mind you this was an Obama program that was absolutely crucial to protect the citizen from the evil predatory capitalist exploitation of the mortgage and credit industry!! 🙂
Don’t you feel safer?

OBAMACARE UPDATE

‘We’ve made huge swaths of your government more efficient and more transparent, and more accountable than ever before,” President Obama claimed Monday.

But the very next day, AP reported that a “computer system problem” has caused his administration to delay yet another piece of ObamaCare for at least a year.

The delay stems from a conflict between the law’s premium penalties for smokers and its restrictions on insurance rates. While ObamaCare forbids insurance companies from adjusting rates based on health status, it does let insurers impose a significant premium penalty on smokers.

At the same time, the law forbids insurance companies from charging older people more than three times what they charge younger people. The problem is that the premiums for an older smoker can end up more than three times that of a young smoker once you include the penalties.

Late last month, Obama’s tech-savvy regulators quietly told insurance companies that they simply couldn’t figure out how to get their computers to square the two.

“The system currently cannot process a premium for a 65-year-old smoker that is more than three times the premium of a 21-year-old smoker,” it explained.

And a fix could take at least a year.

Frankenstein has a Broken leg, missing his heart, has a bad knee and tennis elbow, bad eye sight, poor hearing, spinal problems, a brain hemorrhage, and weezes like a 65 year old chain smoker, but he’s ok. Trust me! 🙂

Meanwhile, the administration tacitly admitted last week that its promise of real-time verification of a consumer’s eligibility to buy subsidized coverage at an ObamaCare exchange wasn’t exactly panning out.

Under ObamaCare, only those who don’t have access to “affordable” insurance at work can buy coverage in an exchange, and only those below certain income levels are eligible for tax subsidies.

Rather than a high-tech instant check, the administration told states they could simply take the applicants’ word for it when it comes to their employer-provided coverage, as well as their “projected annual household income,” without the need for “further verification.”

The reason Obama’s regulators gave: There’s still “a large amount of systems development on both the federal and state side, which cannot occur in time for Oct. 1, 2013.”

The Government Accountability Office had warned in June that the administration was behind schedule getting the ObamaCare data hub up and running.

The administration also admitted earlier this year that — even with a nearly four-year lead time — it would have to put off a key piece of the small-business exchanges that was supposed to let employees at small firms pick from a range of plans best suited to their needs. “Operational challenges” was the excuse given for this delay.

To be fair, states aren’t doing much better when it comes to “smarter” government. The Washington Post reported last week that Connecticut will delay almost a third of the functions they’d planned for its insurance exchange Web portal. Oregon, Nevada and other states are also cutting back on their ObamaCare websites.

But the stakes are much higher at the federal level, particularly when protecting personal data is involved. Here, too, Obama’s “smart” government falls short.

Public.Resource.org revealed this week that the IRS inadvertently exposed the Social Security numbers of as many as 100,000 taxpayers on a government website. The group described the IRS’ data security efforts as “unprofessional and amateur.”

These are the same sort of government bureaucrats, mind you, who’ll be in charge of securing vast amounts of the far more sensitive data ObamaCare will collect on millions of Americans once it goes into effect. (IBD)

And they are doing a great job so far. You can have complete trust in them. Or else!
For 85 percent of Americans, he claimed, the only change they’ll experience is superior coverage.  For virtually everyone else, there will be competitive exchanges in place starting next year, from which they’ll be able to select affordable coverage.  And if some people still aren’t able to pay those new, lower rates, the government would step in with subsidies to make up the difference. 
And you know Obama ALWAYS keeps his promises.
So Shut up! 🙂
Political Cartoons by Bob Gorrell

Political Cartoons by Lisa Benson

They are Watching You

“It’s all about the data this year and Obama has that. When a race is as close as this one promises to be, any small advantage could absolutely make the difference,” says Andrew Rasiej, a technology strategist and publisher of TechPresident. “More and more accurate data means more insight, more money, more message distribution, and more votes.”

“They are way ahead of Romney micro-targeting and it’s a level of precision we haven’t seen before,” says Darrell M. West, a leading scholar on technology innovation at the Brookings Institution. “[The Obama campaign has] been able to work on it under the radar during the Republican primary season.”

“More than 40 percent of all our donors are new, and a lot of them are coming in because of things like this,” says Messina. “Call up our website and try to donate on your phone and then do Romney’s. … Those things are important, because people are busy and people want to help us and they think about — ‘Oh, yeah, I saw the president on TV. I want to give them money. How hard is it?’ ”

Adds Nicco Mele, a Harvard professor and social media guru: “The fabric of our public and political space is shifting. If the Obama campaign can combine its data efforts with the way people now live their lives online, a new kind of political engagement — and political persuasion — is possible.” (Politico)

*******

Washington Post: A federal department ruled last week that the Forest Service violated a Spanish-speaking woman’s civil rights by calling the Border Patrol to help translate during a routine stop, saying it was “humiliating” to Hispanics and an illicit backdoor way to capture more illegal immigrants.

The ruling by the Agriculture Department’s assistant secretary for civil rights could change policies nationwide as law enforcement agencies grapple with how far they can go in trying to help the Border Patrol while not running afoul of racial profiling standards.

Assistant Secretary Joe Leonard Jr. said calling the Border Patrol automatically “escalates” encounters between Hispanics and law enforcement. He ruled that the Forest Service cannot routinely summon the Border Patrol for assistance and said the agency now must document suspected racial profiling nationwide.

“Given the increased risk of being questioned about immigration status during an interaction with [Border Patrol], the policy of using BP for interpretation assistance is problematic in all situations because it places a burden on [limited English proficient] individuals that non-LEP individuals do not experience,” Mr. Leonard ruled.

The case stems from a 2011 incident in Olympic National Forest in Washington in which a Forest Service officer encountered a Hispanic couple who he said appeared to be illegally harvesting plants on the federal lands.

The couple didn’t speak English and he didn’t speak fluent Spanish and, anticipating that situation, he called the Border Patrol for backup and translating.

But when a Border Patrol agent arrived, the couple fled. The woman was apprehended, but the man jumped into a river to try to escape and drowned. The Border Patrol took the woman into custody but released her several days later, reportedly on humanitarian grounds.

The Northwest Immigrant Rights Project complained to the Agriculture Department, which oversees the Forest Service, and last week’s ruling was the result.

Matt Adams, legal director of the project, said the Border Patrol has been expanding its reach in the Northwest and that has meant more encounters well away from the border.

“They’ve got nothing to do out there as far as their traditional mission, that is enforcing people coming through the border. So in order to justify those expanded numbers, they utilize these other tactics,” Mr. Adams said. “At the end of the day, they can drag in bigger numbers, but it’s not focused on the border.”

His group is challenging other federal agencies’ use of the Border Patrol for translation services, and has filed requests under the Freedom of Information Act seeking logs for how often agents are used for translation.

Last week’s ruling relies in part on an executive order issued during the Clinton administration that says language is interchangeable with national origin, which is protected by federal law.

Groups that push for English-language policies in the U.S. called the new ruling illegal and said the government appeared to be granting special language rights to illegal immigrants.

“The ACLU and illegal alien rights groups are well aware that American courts have never upheld their argument that language and national origin are equal, so they battle out these disputes in private between the agencies in order to come to a settlement where both the courts and the taxpayers are absent from the table,” said Suzanne Bibby, director of government relations for ProEnglish. “This is their new strategy because they know they will lose in the courts.”

A spokeswoman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which oversees the Border Patrol, said the agency is reviewing the ruling but is committed to civil rights.

The union that represents Forest Service employees didn’t return a call seeking comment.

In the proceedings, the Forest Service fought on behalf of its officer. It pointed to an operational memo with the Border Patrol that said they are allowed to back up each other. Since Forest Service employees generally are not trained in Spanish, Border Patrol agents are particularly helpful in backing up encounters with Hispanics, the agency said.

Mr. Leonard’s 40-page ruling underscored deep mutual distrust on both sides in the town of Forks, in northwestern Washington.

Town residents who told the review board that the Forest Service officer involved in the 2011 stop was known for harassing Hispanics and for working with the Border Patrol.

Meanwhile, the Forest Service officer said he felt like the Hispanic community had been “tracing” his movements.

Mr. Leonard was skeptical of the officer’s reasoning and said he found the complaints from the community more convincing.

The ruling doesn’t reveal the names of those involved.

Underpinning the ruling were some key legal arguments: First, that the complainant was entitled to visit the national forest; second, that a law enforcement stop affects the availability of the service provided by the national forest; and third, that the Forest Service must take steps to protect those with limited English, including making them not feel unduly threatened.

“A policy that causes individuals to actually flee from the service being provided does not provide meaningful access,” Mr. Leonard wrote.

************

Judge Andrew Napolitano:

…Nevertheless, what Jeffersonians are among us today? When drones take pictures of us on our private property and in our homes and the government uses the photos as it wishes, what will we do about it? Jefferson understood that when the government assaults our privacy and dignity, it is the moral equivalent of violence against us. Folks who hear about this, who either laugh or groan, cannot find it humorous or boring that their every move will be monitored and photographed by the government.

Don’t believe me that this is coming? The photos that the drones will take may be retained and used or even distributed to others in the government so long as the “recipient is reasonably perceived to have a specific, lawful governmental function” in requiring them. And for the first time since the Civil War, the federal government will deploy military personnel insidetheUnitedStates and publicly acknowledge that it is deploying them “to collect information about U.S. persons.”

It gets worse. If the military personnel see something of interest from a drone, they may apply to a military judge or “military commander” for permission to conduct a physical search of the private property that intrigues them. Any “incidentally acquired information” can be retained or turned over to local law enforcement. What’s next? Prosecutions before military tribunals in the United States?

The quoted phrases above are extracted from a now-public 30-page memorandum issued by President Obama’s secretary of the Air Force on April 23. The purpose of the memorandum is stated as “balancing … obtaining intelligence information … and protecting individual rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.” Note the primacy of intelligence-gathering over protection of freedom, and note the peculiar use of the word “balancing.”

When liberty and safety clash, do we really expect the government to balance those values? Of course not. The government cannot be trusted to restrain itself in the face of individual choices to pursue happiness. That’s why we have a Constitution and a life-tenured judiciary: to protect the minority from the liberty-stealing impulses of the majority. And that’s why the Air Force memo has its priorities reversed – intelligence-gathering first, protecting freedom second – and the mechanism of reconciling the two – balancing them – constitutionally incorrect.

Everyone who works for the government swears to uphold the Constitution. It was written to define and restrain the government. According to the Declaration of Independence, the government’s powers come from the consent of the governed. The government in America was not created by a powerful king reluctantly granting liberty to his subjects. It was created by free people willingly granting limited power to their government – and retaining that which they did not delegate.

The Declaration also defines our liberties as coming from our Creator, as integral to our humanity and inseparable from us, unless we give them up by violating someone else’s liberties. Hence, the Jeffersonian and constitutional beef with the word “balancing” when it comes to government power versus individual liberty.

The Judeo-Christian and constitutionally mandated relationship between government power and individual liberty is not balance. It is bias – a bias in favor of liberty. All presumptions should favor the natural rights of individuals, not the delegated and seized powers of the government. Individual liberty, not government power, is the default position because persons are immortal and created in God’s image, and governments are temporary and based on force.

Hence my outrage at the coming use of drones – some as small as golf balls – to watch us, listen to us and record us. Did you consent to the government having that power? Did you consent to the American military spying on Americans in America? I don’t know a single person who has, but I know only a few who are complaining.

If we remain silent when our popularly elected government violates the laws it has sworn to uphold and steals the freedoms we elected it to protect, we will have only ourselves to blame when Big Brother is everywhere. Somehow, I doubt my father’s generation fought the Nazis in World War II only to permit a totalitarian government to flourish here.

Is President Obama prepared to defend this? Is Mitt Romney prepared to challenge it? Are you prepared for its consequences?