Thursday, June 28, 2012

First thoughts

On the SCOTUS decision today I only have a few thoughts.   The decision is here, and I did a quick scan of it to see what the actual decision was... again this was a comment at Hot Air and for now that is it.  I'm seeing what others have to say, of course, and take my own council not that of fear.

With no other fanfare -

= = =

From p.32 of the decision:

Under the mandate, if an individual does not maintain health insurance, the only consequence is that he must make an additional payment to the IRS when he pays his taxes. See §5000A(b). That, according to the Government,means the mandate can be regarded as establishing a condition—not owning health insurance—that triggers a tax—the required payment to the IRS. Under that theory, the mandate is not a legal command to buy insurance.Rather, it makes going without insurance just another thing the Government taxes, like buying gasoline or earning income. And if the mandate is in effect just a tax hike on certain taxpayers who do not have health insurance, it may be within Congress’s constitutional power to tax.

It MAY be within Congress’s power. MAY?

Oh, and you must take a positive action to purchase said goods he uses as examples. You do not pay a penalty for not purchasing gasoline, or for earning no income. Although if he is making THAT connection then welcome to the mandated penalty for gasoline purchase and to the penalty for not earning income. Won’t those be swell brand, spanking new taxes in the future?

And then this following:

The question is not whether that is the most natural interpretation of the mandate, but only whether it is a “fairly possible” one. Crowell v. Benson, 285 U. S. 22, 62 (1932). As we have explained, “every reasonable construction must be resorted to, in order to save a statute from unconstitutionality.” Hooper v. California, 155 U. S. 648, 657 (1895). The Government asks us to interpret the mandate as imposing a tax, if it would otherwise violate the Constitution. Granting the Act the full measure of deference owed to federal statutes, it can be so read, for the reasons set forth below.

Roberts then repeats this pattern at each instance showing that there is a similarity between a power to tax purchases and the power to tax inactivity.

He looks at the Child Labor Collection Tax which is a tax on those using child labor. An activity. For licensing taxes that is a fee given to those asking for the license to do certain regulated business. It is an activity. Nuclear waste surcharges is for an activity of shipping nuclear waste.

He then goes on to those tax incentives used to encourage conduct, and yet there is a stark difference between conducting such conduct to get a tax break, and not doing something and getting penalized for it. In the former if you do not purchase a home you are not penalized for it, you just do not get the incentives… but I’m sure that under some future Congress not owning a home can be assessed as a tax, so all you renters out there can look forward to that in the future. He also cites taxes on cigarettes, but you pay no taxes on them if you do not purchase them, so I guess we can all start to pony up for cigarettes we don’t buy as future Congress can do that, as well. Won’t that be swell?

By p. 40 we come to this lovely passage looking at the arguments against the tax:

A tax on going without health insurance does not fall within any recognized category of direct tax. It is not a capitation. Capitations are taxes paid by every person, “without regard to property, profession, or any other circumstance.” Hylton, supra, at 175 (opinion of Chase, J.) (emphasis altered). The whole point of the shared responsibility payment is that it is triggered by specific circumstances—earning a certain amount of income but not obtaining health insurance. The payment is also plainly not a tax on the ownership of land or personal property. The shared responsibility payment is thus not a direct tax that must be apportioned among the several States.
There may, however, be a more fundamental objection to a tax on those who lack health insurance. Even if only a tax, the payment under §5000A(b) remains a burden that the Federal Government imposes for an omission, not an act. If it is troubling to interpret the Commerce Clause as authorizing Congress to regulate those who abstain from commerce, perhaps it should be similarly troubling to permit Congress to impose a tax for not doing something.

And now you want to know WHY Congress can do this? This follows the above:

Three considerations allay this concern. First, and most importantly, it is abundantly clear the Constitution does not guarantee that individuals may avoid taxation through inactivity. A capitation, after all, is a tax that everyone must pay simply for existing, and capitations are expressly contemplated by the Constitution. The Court today holds that our Constitution protects us from federal regulation under the Commerce Clause so long as we abstain from the regulated activity. But from its creation, the Constitution has made no such promise with respect to taxes. See Letter from Benjamin Franklin to M. Le Roy (Nov. 13, 1789) (“Our new Constitution is now established . . . but in this world nothing can be said to be certain,except death and taxes”).

Is this a direct power GRANTED to the United States government by its people? If not it is in Amendments IX and X. Nice job on forgetting that little bit of the Constitution while doing contortions on tax powers to let Congress tax an inactivity that the Chief Justice cannot find a precedent for. Not one thing he cites is a tax power over inactivity and there is no cost for inactivity in any other tax by the federal government.

Don’t let that stop you from inventing one.

ajacksonian on June 28, 2012 at 12:03 PM

= = =

So limiting the Commerce Clause and the  Necessary and Proper Clause.

What was put in its place is the wide-open field of giving Congress the ability to tax ANYTHING YOU DO including doing NOTHING.

Don't earn any income?  They can tax you for that.

Don't have a Volt? They can tax you for that.

No home? They can tax you for that.

Say! No firearms?  They can tax you for that.

This is the power of tyrannical, compulsory taxation and this decision just gave the green light for that.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The state of World War IV

WWI – 1914 to 1918

WWII – 1931 to 1945

WWIII – 1946 to 1991

WWIV – 2010 to ????

There were some premonitions of WWI before 1914, in that era of the Imperial Powers painting as much of the map their color until the tensions in Europe grew so great as to create a tinderbox waiting for a spark.  That spark could have come from nearly anywhere, but was at Sarajevo with Arch-Duke Ferdinand.

WWII properly starts with Imperial Japan seeking to extend its power into Manchuria from the holdings it had garnered from previous conflicts with Russia.  That invasion and subsequent warfare is not considered by those in the West to have been part of WWII until Pearl Harbor, yet Japan had set its goals to hold off the USSR, capture foreign held overseas territories of other powers (UK, France, Holland) and generally expand its power in that region. That started in Manchuria in 1931 and would only end with the defeat of Japan in 1945.

The Cold War was global in scope, had many small wars contained within its context (Korea, Viet Nam, Afghanistan) and would eat up much in the way of productivity from the US and USSR that, while not all-out total war, was one of an earlier age of proxy wars.  These proxy fights were in all hemispheres and nearly every continent and would move the world from nuclear weapons delivered by aircraft to thermonuclear devices delivered by missiles to tactical nuclear devices delivered on foot with, thankfully, none of those devices being used as anything other than status symbols.  No one can rightly tally the death toll of all the proxy conflicts, those egged on by the two sides, and those taking advantage of Super Power stalemates to inflict their own brand of horror that no one would stop lest it turn into a mass conflagration.

World War IV starts out with a rising of tensions between Nations, mostly via 'terrorism' or the rise of Private War returning on land and at sea.  Unlike WWII we see no movement of armies to conflict for resources but, instead, see Private organizations using non-National systems to attack Nation States.  That is the fallout of the Super Powers doing nothing to stem the rise of such organizations and even fostering them for their own political reasons.  This has started the wholesale change-over of governments in North Africa spreading across venues in the region in what was called the 'Arab Spring' , starting with Tunisia.  From there came Egypt overthrowing its dictator and protests spreading to such places as Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Oman and Lebanon. 

The private organization known as the Muslim Brotherhood had been around since after WWI and had gained support in the post-WWII era from Saudi Arabia.  As an organization the Muslim Brotherhood espouses a radical form of Islam that is very repressive and does not respect civil rights as known in the West.  Over their time they have spun off multiple terrorist organizations like HAMAS and al Qaeda from its membership, and HAMAS is directly tied to the Muslim Brotherhood via their charter.  From that time when Super Powers ignored terrorist organizations, unless they backed them, of course, the earliest organizations were the PLO, FARC and HAMAS.  Of these the PLO is now nearly gone as it has turned into a kleptocratic organization in the Palestinian Territories, FARC has long since stopped being about spreading Marxism and is now just a large narco-terrorist organization that is being reduced year on year and forced out of its home base in Colombia, and it is only HAMAS that has been able to adhere strictly to their blood-drenched ways as they have firm ideological backing from members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Iran changing from a Cold War satellite Nation to an Islamic one was of little benefit to the USSR when it happened but a global body blow to the US, the Super Power Iran was aligned with.  Iran has spawned its own terrorist organizations, the best known of which is Hezbollah, which acts as a puppet overseas para-military force for it, helping to spread its own version of Islamic fundamentalism in the doing.  Iran has allies in its conflict with the West and they include Syria and now the semi-Communist Venezuela.  They are aided, to a degree at least, by Russia and China who see Iran as a foil to the US but may not really be enamored of the idea of an Iran with nuclear tipped ballistic missiles.  It is thought that Iran may have gotten its hands on an old USSR era nuclear warhead but lacks the necessary codes to use it and, thusly, examine its technology.  Of course the blueprints for a nuclear device can be had on the black market courtesy of Pakistan's A.Q. Khan the 'Father of the Islamic Bomb'.

Military venues are not the only ones for this conflict which is global.  Other venues include economics, sociology and criminal corruption.  These play out in the now imploding Western Socialist regimes that put into place taxation and power schemes that now have bankrupted Nations (Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland), are leading others into societal collapse (France, UK, Germany), both of which foster the spread of virulent Islam via the importation of radicalized workers from overseas and speed the decay of the local societies as they offer no incentives to be self-reliant and breed State dependence.  The question is which is collapsing faster: the societies or the States?  In truth they go hand-in-hand as dependence based social structures do not reward innovation, do not reward ingenuity and, instead, reward leisure time and pointless non-productive activities.  If the Roman Empire had debauchery to go with its Breads & Circuses, modern Europe has self-indulgence to go with its socialized medicine and retirements.

Other Nations in Africa, South America, Asia as well as large parts of the US and Canada see versions of this.  Russia has a lack of birth rate, relatively low productivity and an economy controlled by Oligarchs who are not bolstering the infrastructure of the Nation or its society but looking out for themselves.  In China an authoritarian regime imposes a non-economical birth rate, no controls over pollution, backwards agrarian systems and exploitation of its mobile youth (now growing older) to create vacant cities, vast power projects and gets rampant inflation, unrest and and internal social decohesion as its rewards.  No one will live in the make-work cities and if a few more bad years of Dust Bowl crop years hit, that will couple with a dying out agrarian culture and lead to mass upheaval within China, itself.  Marxism in South America is applauded until an economic crisis puts the currency and population at risk as happened decades before in Argentina, this is being done in Venezuela and Brazil can only stop this with its massive oil production until the Marxists there, too, decide to grab the golden ring and find that it is Fool's Gold only.

This societal collapse of Enlightened Western Ideology to the Marxist form of ideology has been an ongoing attack on the Enlightenment for nearly 150 years and more if the French Revolution is included  as a predecessor to it.  If this form of societal attack is included in the World War IV timeline, then the measurement of the start of WW IV gets pushed back a few years further to the 2007-08 global economic crisis.  That crisis was a culmination of decades of Progressive and Marxist policies pushing unsustainable 'entitlements' out of government's doors and onto populations.  This form of attack is a slow one, attacking not just the economy of a Nation but the moral support for the work ethic and achievement of individuals.  The greatest boom and expansion of liberty by the removal of manual toil happened with the Industrial Revolution and in the over 250 years since it began the greatest expansion of wealth, health and movement away from back crushing work has been witnessed.  Marxism offers all of the rewards, none of the pain and offers no way to sustain an economy to gain such ends: it is as much a religion as it is an ideology, as it only has a basis in faith within its environs of thought not with the actual world around it.

There has been some speculation of an economic Pearl Harbor on the US in the 2007-08 timeframe, that could only have happened with a highly centralized set of government programs in the housing industry.  Those programs set up the removal of local oversight of loan guarantees via the creation of GNMA, and that allowed government programs to go through quasi-governmental organizations (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) via such things as the Community Reinvestment Act and its follow-ons.  This produced a 'bubble' in the US economy that would only be the first to show up due to government intervention in areas where governments have little understanding, knowledge or capacity to learn.  The 'Housing Crisis' of the 2007-08 timeframe brought on extra-constitutional measures to combat it, in the form of bailouts that were misrepresented when asked for, and direct payments to failing banks that had been forced into giving ever larger loans for houses that had very little extra real value to them.  Those nasty gears to ruin the economy are still in place in the US, but it is only the first and smallest of bubbles coming along through the economy.  It is to be followed by a higher education bubble that already is seen and dwarfs the housing bubble, and then a medical and retirement set of bubbles that have been decades in the making.  The shock of each of these on the US economy will be  huge, the ripples throughout the globe will be catastrophic.  It didn't really take a genius to stage an economic Pearl Harbor in the US as it was already headed for a major banking disaster due to government policy: it may have come a few months sooner due to outside actors wishing ill intent, but they could only precipitate what was going to happen, not cause it in the first place.

From the size, scope and scale of the events in WW IV, we can discern that this is a war without borders, without boundaries, where there is no respect for the non-violent nor the neutral, and everyone is at risk from those wishing to exert power over others.  It did not start with vast armies, navies and air forces attacking factories and then cities because the weapons being utilized play on something far more powerful than any bomb, any weapon: human nature.

The target is Nations but only in the understood context of what the basis for the Nation actually is.  A Nation is not a State, per se, although once it gets to a certain size it gains such apparatus.  The State is just the way to run a Nation, but the Nation basis goes further back than that in depth.  A Nation is only society when writ large, amongst multiple communities, but they are not needed to actual create that society as society begins further back and down than merely a collection of neighborhoods or cities.  A Nation is not any single city nor town, either, nor just a neighborhood although one gets closer to the actual scale with that last part, it is also a larger structure built upon something smaller.  Once one breaks a neighborhood down, street by street and block by block, we get to individual structures and within them reside families.  Pushing down to the family we get to see the beginning of the Nation State and, as said before, the State is only the apparatus to run a Nation.  Thus the Nation begins with marriage and those first bonds upon which we agree to set aside our negative liberties with respect to each other and not exercise them to the detriment of either.  With that bond the Nation is formed and it is a necessary prerequisite to the family and it is here that the attacks of World War IV are aimed.

It is aimed at you and your loved ones.

It is aimed to get you to act in an uncivilized manner towards your fellow man at all levels, to remove the patina of civilization from your spirit and put you back into a barbaric, animalistic state of being.  This is outlined in al Qaeda's playbook The Management of Savagery, which I looked at a bit previously a few years ago.  It is a system of wide-ranging attacks ranging from terrorism to internal societal corrosion to allow al Qaeda to influence the direction of that society toward decay and into a state of savagery which would then leave it open to control.  This is what worried the 18th and 19th century Great Powers and caused them to foreswear using Privateers because of the risk of them going Pirate.  In the 20th century that foreswearing meant going directly to funding Pirates, which we call 'terrorists' who were extra-National actors with no controls upon them whatsoever.  It turns out the worries of the old Great Powers was correct, but that the 'cure' turned out to allow a worse disease by going directly to unaccountable actors in the first place.  Perhaps a bit neater in its directivity, yes, but far, far worse in long-term results.

By the confluence of stupidity that allowed such non-National actors to rise up during the Cold War, by seeking to corrode societies via Marxist pay-off schemes, and through insane allocation of local power to the most distant form of government (that of the Nation State) the results upon individuals is one that requires much in the way of moral fiber and certitude to even stand up against this torrent of abuse.  The decay of civilized norms as seen in neglecting to address 'terrorists' in the Cold War or WW III, was just an artifact of the larger 'Politically Correct' movement in the West by Leftists.  This is coupled with the Leftist 'march through the institutions' of education, unions and government (if they were not already compromised to begin with) to consolidate a repressive mode of approaching speech, determining what topics were 'sensitive' (and thus to be avoided or papered over with a form of Newspeak), and determining who was and was not 'fit' for society.  In the institution of the press, the Left has wielded inordinate power by acting as a gatekeeper for decades on news, commentary and in those individuals they hold up for applause and those they just never mentioned.  Taken together, PC speech codes have infested multiple societies and have acted to repress freedom to discuss topics as wide ranging as 'how do we confront terrorism?' to 'how many teachers does it require to teach a class?' to  the use of the term 'racism' when it is applied to non-racially defined groups and organizations (like Hispanics or Muslims).  By conflating ethnicity with race, the modern Left has done a grave disservice to Western society and has acted as an internally corrosive force that has set aside topics of vital interest to the citizenry that cannot even be mentioned lest one be seen as 'racist'.  In fact doing that dilutes the term of 'racism' when it is applied to multiracial ethnic groups, which also dilutes the power of its use when further conflations are included with it: the Left not only destroys the language of their opposition but also the one of their own making.

Standing up against such PC concepts which bombard you on a constant basis, and often is used in the absence of ever talking about a subject, means that the general citizenry is left unprepared for the problems that they as individuals and members of society will have to face.  It doesn't take a direct attack on religion or marriage to do this, although those are signposts on this road of disestablishing cultural norms, just simply making topics of wide ranging concern being beyond the pale to talk about in any meaningful way.  As Orwell pointed out, the end of Newspeak is Duckspeak, and if much of the repetition of magical phrases deploying racism, sexism, class warfare and other such items to denigrate anyone speaking about problems in those realms start to sound like quacking, it is because that is what it is.  Quacking.  Not coherent speech but the attempt to stop others from speaking coherently on a topic.  This, too, is a part of WW IV being waged upon you.

Attacks upon citizenry used to happen by foreign governments waging war upon Nations, this is now being done by governments upon the governed or by private organizations centered around tyrannical ends upon everyone.  Together the Left and Islamic organizations (Nation and non-Nation) seek a downfall of the Enlightenment Western Ideology based on Christianity and Individualism, and the attack is quite direct and blatant in these opening years of WW IV.  With that said those who are non-Western and non-Christian are also targets in a more active way as seen in places like Syria, Iran, Egypt, and India.

While this all sounds very bleak, I have also pointed out that the countervailing, indeed civilization enhancing forces, are already in play as seen in Dawn of a New Era.  That you are reading this is done due to multiple parts of this countervailing set of forces that are, in themselves, neutral tools but have civilization enhancing effects.  Moore's Law and Metcalfe's Law both push power up in scale for the individual via the cost per circuit on a printed circuit board and the power scaling of networks and intnernetworking. The proportion of civilized and skilled users of these tools tend to drive them in a certain direction, while those using them for ill and with malicious outlook are few.  Yet these tools of computer and network technology can be directly targeted via manmade weapons that cause an EMP and by natural sources like a CME.  The former would move WW IV into the 'bombs and guns of Nations' phase which would tend to be thermonuclear and swift, while the latter would level all of civilization on a rather deep basis.  The former would yield mere hundreds of millions dead within a year or two, while the latter would yield billions dead and perhaps as much as 2/3 of humanity in a year.  Hostile forces, in going after the infrastructure of modern civilization can bring modern civilization crashing down with rather serious effects upon those doing the acting.  Nature can do that to all with no malice at all.  Those waging such war do not think through its effects or may feel immune to it due to magical thinking processes dealing with religion and faith.

By using these tools, however, a number of effects are noticed, some of which appear to pre-date the widespread use of computers and networks and were built upon older and more centralized systems.  Concepts of Accelerating Change, Feiler Faster Theses and Disintermediation all started in the pre-Internet era and were noticed of effects of mass communication and dissemination of knowledge.  In a cumulative fashion they are representative of another concept I examined in Persuasion and Marketing called the Noosphere.  This was presented by by Vladimir Vernadsky and Teilhard de Chardin as the 'sphere of human thought' and it bears a striking resemblance to the World Wide Web save that it is something that has no physical existence.  The World Wide Web and Internet can be seen, conversely, as a physical manifestation of the Noosphere, not the cause of it. 

As an individual you take part in the Noosphere by being human and alive and the Noosphere serves as a non-substantial repository of human process knowledge available to all mankind.  It does have physical manifestations in such things as learning new tasks or in how fast you, as an individual, have adapted to a constantly ON information stream by processing information to knowledge faster than you did just a year ago.  The amount of information you can process through to end conclusions is, today, a huge factor more than you could a decade ago due to the nature of the medium involved and its interconnectivity.  If you were relegated to just a limited means of processing it, however, you would be swamped with information and be unable to make heads or tails of it.  Instead you have changed how you think very rapidly in the past decade and now conceptualize change of information in a very different way than a decade ago or just a bit before that in the hardcopy only era.  No one taught you how to do this.  No one gave you the set of mental tools to do this.  You found them on your own and did so faster than the group just before you did.

You would think that Progressives would laud such rapidly evolving and changing increase in capacity to understand the world around you and yet, instead, they do their best to utilize older means and methods of thinking that are not well adapted or even suited to the modern era.  And while Islamists do utilize this media and set of systems, adapting a rigid ideology and religious viewpoint to it... just like their Marxist and Progressive counterparts.  If they adapted they would lose their rigidity, their assurance of superiority and be required to rethink their approach to the world.  You do that constantly as it is a part of your natural born liberty and freedom to do so and you embrace it to partake of this rapidly expanding body of knowledge and process thought.  To do that requires a sense that tyranny isn't something that solely comes from outside of yourself, but from inside, as well.  Those who seek to utilize this new set of media and thinking process to ill ends find themselves confronted faster and deeper by those rejecting such tyrannical thinking modes and preferring, quite openly, freedom and liberty for mankind.

Because that is the path to victory.

Moral assurance within yourself when coupled with a highly ethical set of self-restraints upon your negative liberties then garners you the freedom to create a Nation and, within that, a greater society for all.  Nations and individualism do not go away in this, as the Progressives and Radical Islamists seek via their ancient negative bent,  but we come to a greater understanding of each other and then refuse to paper over the differences, avoid the hard topics and, most importantly, seek to live within our means while still offering charity to all in need.  If this is, indeed, a war being waged for your very spirit, your very soul, across all levels of culture, society, technology and governance, then it is you who must wield those might tools of liberty that are born within you.  While bombs, bullets, and tyrannically asinine ideologies are involved, they are the reactionaries to liberty and freedom seeking to crush your spirit and, when they can't do that, to take your life, instead.  This is a form of total war that doesn't involve mass production of war materiel, nor vast armies sent across the landscape to deal with enemies but is, instead, centered on you and your ability to adapt and renew your spirit constantly.  As your enemies are grimly remorseless in their backwards views, so you must be the smiling beacon of remorseless freedom and liberty and confront the clenched fist with an open hand.

While I am frustrated with these enemies at all levels, I do not hate them as they are so close-minded that they refuse to think that others can govern themselves.  In that doing they show themselves to be the ones lacking self-governance and want to hide that through power over others.  Some of these enemies are horrible, yes, but all of them are pitiful and to be pitied for their lack of civilized understanding that no government can make men good and that no religion can force you to be moral.  By seeing the world in those ways these enemies of mankind show themselves again for what they are: barbarians, tyrants and despots.  They seek your fear.  They seek your submission in silence.  I give them pity and openly for they could be much better people if only they learned how to control themselves and saw that this is the greatest way to create the greatest good for all mankind.

This World War will have an end date.

Either with the end of mankind.

Or with our venture beyond our home into that unforgiving wilderness that requires you to be civilized or it kills you most quickly.

I will be the good soldier in this war and defend myself so I can help others with an open hand.  The racking of the bolt is to remind the uncivilized that there are penalties to be paid, and it is best not to incur them in the first place.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Identity Politics Calculus

President Obama has put Identity Politics on display with his attempt to put forward an immigration policy (and having that being questioned by Neil Munro from the Daily Caller) that would selectively not enforce immigration law upon certain categories of illegal aliens.  Unfortunately as Congress has already debated and not passed versions of such laws, President Obama has forgotten that his duty is to uphold the laws set by Congress as this is an Article I power given to Congress and not delegated as a policy issue to the President.  Presidents can have 'feelings' about laws, but the job of the President is to enforce the laws of Congress and to let Congress know when he thinks such laws have problems and work with Congress to get such laws amended.  That is the job of President as Head of Government: execute the laws set by Congress.

Now, beyond the fact there is no Constitutional standing for a President to set such a policy, this move can also be seen in the Identity Politics prism as a crass play (and one known by President Obama as not being able to stand a legal challenge, but that would take time) to pander to Hispanic voters.  When playing the Identity Politics game, however, an action to try and get support from one group can often show insight into how a politician views other groups within his or her support domain.  In other words, such a policy direction will give an insight into how other groups that traditionally support the Democratic Party are being viewed by President Obama.

A few groups come to mind for this:

1) Big Labor – In theory the Labor Unions would love to have new, young Hispanics as part of the dues paying membership.  Unfortunately the timing of events is such that with the defeat of the Big Labor led recall vote in WI of Gov. Scott Walker, and by the direction of Public Employee Unions (and general labor law) amongst other States such as IN, IL, NY, CA... note that these are not typical 'Red' States... and having asked for and not gotten President Obama to show up on their behalf in WI, Big Labor is getting a message from President Obama: Nice knowing you, send cash!

Unfortunately no matter how many new, young Hispanics come in, the general tenor of the population towards Unionization (not just PEUs but all Unions) is in the decline and in the modern era of being able to compare job offers, individuals can often find a better job without Union overhead than one with Union overhead.  Putting in a raft of new, young illegal aliens and helping them to find work in preference to Citizens also means that these individuals will tend to be at the lowest end of the pay scale and not readily amenable to Unionization.  Plus in shops where low skills and low costs are needed, these individuals will be in direct competition with Unionized labor.  While there are pipe dreams from Big Labor on getting a perennial raft of new union members, the fact is that unions are being side-lined to a very small part of the work force over the last 5 decades and are now in single digits for percentage of the overall workforce.

2) Hispanics – Even with a naked pander, this is something that if the Democratic Party wanted to get done in 2009-2010 it could have done so as it had majorities in both Houses of Congress.  Any promises made by Democrats are, thusly, coming with a built-in discount on future expectations: if you can't pass this as law when you have both Houses and the Presidency, then what good are you?  Naked pandering can back-fire if it is seen as an insult to the intelligence of those being pandered to, and that is the risk of this piece of political calculus by President Obama.

The other factor that plays into the identity politics game is that Hispanics are in the majority Roman Catholic.  In passing Obamacare and then setting it up as part of a 'War on Women' on mandatory payment for contraceptive services, the process of Obamacare is running straight into a 1st Amendment clash with religious organizations that provide health care, and the main point on this pushback is... the Roman Catholic Church.  It is a piece of political calculus to try and bring religious implementation of moral doctrine into secular domains, against all the protections against such in the US Constitution, and by taking on the RCC the Obama Administration also ends up taking on Hispanics.  As this is an ongoing set of legal battles, they do not fade from the view of the devout, and President Obama can be seen as giving the back of his hand to religious moral teachings while trying to offer a carrot on immigration policy.  Being coerced and cajoled to just 'play along with the man' is not a good recipe for success especially when you have railed about the excesses of the power structure when out of office.  By taking up such means beyond what is given as law, President Obama also then brings into play another splinter of Identity Politics.

3) Legal Immigrants – Play by the rules and uphold the systems.  Those who apply to become citizens, learn civics and then demonstrate what they know to get citizenship are having their hard work demeaned by President Obama who is offering goodies to those who refuse (for whatever reason) to join the legal system and play by the rules.  It doesn't matter how long they have been in the US, who brought them, or any other thing: once they are adults they are given adult decisions to make and must act as a good citizen of their Nation of origin.  Legal immigrants do this, they uphold the Law of Nations and domestic law by doing this.  Illegal aliens do not do this and erode the Law of Nations and domestic law of the US and any Nation that has treaty obligations with the US on immigration.  No matter how 'nice' someone is, there is a difference between upholding the law and not upholding it, and special favors are not to be given to those who do not uphold the law as a matter of policy.

Since a large number of Hispanic families are first or second generation of legal immigrants, they have a large stake in upholding the legal process and are demeaned by being told that now they shouldn't have done the right thing and followed the law and that those not following the law will be granted special protection from the law by not having it applied equally to them.  If a President is short of funds and personnel to uphold the laws set by Congress he needs to say so and send the ball back into Congress' court to either find more funds, amend the law or change the enforcement of it to fit the will of Congress.

4) Poor Working Citizens – If you are poor and still have a job in this economic climate, you are in a select class of people that are doing the hard scrabble work of providing for your family to keep their heads above water.  Now with a change of enforcement policy, you will be competing against illegal aliens who can undercut your pay (albeit under the table, but that is a problem of getting employers to follow the law) and take your job while being protected from deportation by the federal government.  The working poor are on the front lines of this problem and if citizenship is demeaned for them, and special favors and protections are given to those who do not follow the system, then those putting such policy in place can only be seen as hostile to the working poor.

This is a demographic that votes in preponderance for Democrats historically, although some of that has been eroding the last 20 years.  The Democratic Party was once the standard bearer for the poor in America: the citizens who vote who have been given support by Democratic politicians and institutions to continue voting in the goodies from government.  Government is, however, now broke, by and large, due to the giveaways and wealth transfer from working rich to working and non-working poor.  When nearly half of the population pays no income taxes (yes they do pay into SSA, but that is not investment, just a tax) and when half of all households get some form of government support (local, State, federal) then there is a class that is expected to show gratitude by voting for those giving them the handouts.  Those handouts are not economically based and breaking apart the budget of not just the US, but all of Europe and other Nations that have embarked on this foolhardy scheme of over-taxing the rich to give goodies to the poor.  Now the door of participation in the economy can be seen only as being undermined by protecting illegal aliens and the working poor American Citizen is being told that they will be forever in the working poor to non-working poor by government fiat of unconstitutional policy.  You aren't just being told the game is rigged against you, those doing that telling are now doing the rigging right before your very eyes and they want to shut the door on the pathway towards the middle class and achievement... as the goodies system collapses and soon won't be there for you, your children or any other of your friends who are also part of the poor in America.

5) Black Americans – This demographic represents 10% of the electorate (give or take and it varies by State) and voted in the 90% range for President Obama.  President Obama has done nothing to help out African-Americans in the US and is actively trying to hurt the working poor Black American Citizen who partake of being part of the working poor Citizenry.  All of the problems seen for the working poor, in general, are double for the Black community which has had its once coherent neighborhoods broken up through 'Urban Renewal' (started by President Truman), and then put into government supplied housing (as part of the 'Great Society' under Johnson): all large scale policies meant to impoverish Black Americans, take them out of being home owners, and then break up the multi-generational culture by putting housing in place that barely catered to a two parent family.  Putting in 'activists' and race baiters, and then adding in goodies through the CRA for home loans (after destroying the community based S&L system via 'securitization' ushered in by Nixon), the Black community has been pushed around, broken up and had its once vibrant culture eroded and corroded to the point where being young and black in America corresponds to being unemployed, single and often with a rap sheet added on.

At some point the African-American community will start to walk away from identity politics as it has now made the poor, poorer and the rich aren't even being brought down into the middle class, and yet the government coffers are running on red ink and soon won't be able to provide any support that was promised to the neediest by politicians.  If the Democratically backed 'Jim Crow' laws of the South weren't just plain awful, then the plight of Black America would be seen as the true tragedy it really is.  In many ways those who did the abusing of Black America under 'Jim Crow' then changed over to the goodie providing culture that did even worse than just killing you: it impoverished you, took your property under legal fiat, densified your population into government housing that would have made the USSR cringe, cut off pathways to excellence by degrading Public School performance by softening the rigor of education (this is the tragedy of lowered expectations), and now seeks to lock a large percentage of the Black Community into poverty by depriving yet another generation of opportunity by protecting another identity politics splinter: Hispanics.  This is pitting the legal poor against the illegal alien, and raising tensions between Black and Hispanic communities.

All in one policy presentation.

This is the problem with 'identity politics': no one is just one thing.  And when you promise new goodies and protections at the expense of other parts of the splinters that are at the root of 'identity politics', the end state is not a coherent group voting for you and, in fact, the likelihood of chaos increases no end as faction is set against faction on the most personal of scales possible: within families and communities.  At that point government is seen as the causer of the problem, not the upholder of equality of application of the law.  Chaos is what happens when you don't apply the law equally to all: it makes the system one of favors, not of process.

That is why we have a Constitution guaranteeing equal application of the law and protecting the rights of all Citizens.

When you announce you are no longer doing that, you are announcing that your will is above that of the elected representatives of the People.

That never ends well.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Lack of doctrine, secrecy and the "kill list"

For a rarity the NY Times actually has a piece that will stimulate some discussion and it involves the "kill list" of President Obama.  This is the list of overseas terrorists that deserve to get attacked by our UCAVs (or drones in less precise terminology) and to get sudden death out of the skies.  This list was criticized by the Left during the term of President Bush (43) and then dropped off of the grievance list for the Left with the election of Obama.  Thus it is indicative of being a purely political grievance based who is in office and what their party affiliation is.

The way that President Obama makes this "kill list" up is that he is presented with baseball card sized pictures of individuals and their terror resume on the back and he gives a yea or nay on each one.  This is done in secret, so the actual methodology may vary, but that is the gist of it.  There is discussion about how much power a President has as Executive and what Constitutional protections one gets as a citizen working with terrorists while overseas.  Will Cain, talking on Real News from The Blaze (on GBTV) worried about the powers of a President in a war on terror that has no definitive end point to it (aka 'perpetual war' is the idea).

What has been missed is not is this doctrine effective (or short term effective but long term counter-productive as Buck Sexton puts it), which is to say is the 'targeted killing' doing 'the job', but is that a proper doctrine or just a tactic in this war?  Again as the Left loves to point out 'terrorism is just a tactic and you can't wage war on a tactic'.  That is, however, incorrect as terrorism is a methodology in search of founding principle and it is different than war fought with some terror techniques used by accountable actors: terrorists who fight under no flag are not accountable.  Will Cain has problems with al Qaeda in Yemen morphing into some anti-regime force that even has ideas of putting together some sort of government, and is it right to go after them in this process?

Thus we have a doctrine that may be a tactic, a tactic which is a methodology and soldiers who aren't.

This is what you get after a century of twisting words and concepts around to fit political expediency: duckspeak.

From this you get the idea that both the Left and the Right have not one bit of a clue as to what they are talking about.

I cannot set matters straight on a large scale but can discuss what the actual principles are behind all of this (not the political twisting which is pure Progressivism/Liberalism/Socialism/Communism at work, and plain to see) but these matters of soldiers, war, methodology and tactics.  Those are dead simple to figure out, if you bother to study warfare.  What I will lay out is just practice of what I've written about before and following the path of what Nations are and what war is, and how it is waged, one can also discern powers granted to Nations via their citizens to conduct Public War both against Public and Private enemies of the Nation.

Lets start with the enemies since they are the simplest part to tease out.  Public Enemies to a Nation are other Nations and those working for them with the assent of that Nation.  They aren't gangsters roaming around with Tommyguns, by and large, although if they are funded by another Nation to do so, then they are Public Enemies.  Criminals are an enemy to the private peace by disrespecting internal law and may be a threat to the public writ small, not the Nation writ large, and are thusly civil criminals.  A Public Enemy is a Nation that is waging war against our Nation and a Private Enemy is a citizen or group of citizens who act on their own accord against one Nation which is a threat to all Nations by trying to overturn the order of Nations.  Public Enemies you can make a peace treaty with and expect to have that respected.  Private Enemies you can deprive of property and their lives, no peace can be made with them as they respect no international law amongst Nations nor do they abide by the most primal of civilized behavior to set aside our ability to make Private War to have society and a Nation.

Pirates, terrorists, brigands and those who just seize power and consider themselves accountable to no one and to be a law unto themselves, those are Private Enemies and they make Private War.  What they cause is terror, and they are terrorists, and that is a part of what they are, not just what they do: it isn't a tactic but is a characteristic trait of waging Private War that is unaccountable.  These ones are not soldiers as soldiers are part of an accountable military that has a structure, that has published codes and laws they adhere to and can be punished under, they wear uniforms, they do not wantonly attack civilians and other non-combatants and they adhere to standards set by a government of some sort.

The preceding paragraph answers the question of those who espouse wanting to overthrow a Nation: they can say as they wish, but do they actually put forth the accountability system by uniform, published codes and laws, people who publicly run them to be held accountable... that sort of thing makes them soldiers to a government that is trying to gain power by force of arms in a civil war.  They must do all of those things to get that status.  Even further their nascent government must be recognized as legitimate somewhere not just inside their country but by another Nation: they are seen as a legitimate brother Nation by some existing and established Nation.  Without these things you can talk about overthrowing regimes as much as you like, but you aren't a soldier, just one causing terror on their own with no accountability, no cause and nothing you will adhere to so as to justify your activities.

As a recent example, the rebels in Libya at least managed to hint at putting some sort of governing board together along with some written rules, and even tried to form up into semi-discernable ranks.  They actually failed miserably at doing any of these things, but it was enough to garner support from other Nations (mostly in Europe) who were willing to back their cause (which they couldn't figure out beyond 'kill Gaddaffy').  In a place like Syria, say, the population that has been going through an uprising really hasn't gotten its act together, mostly because they have been killed by the regime, threatened by both al Qaeda and Hezbollah, and generally are coming to realize that this major struggle for power between these terror organizations is just getting a lot of people killed.  If you want to go after Asad for his murderous directions, then do not miss the other actors also doing a bit of murdering of civilians on their own in the coercive direction.  As one local in Homs said to the leaving Blue Helmets: while you are here no one is fighting.  Getting Asad is not really an end goal if you want to stop the fighting, as the terror organizations will then be left to do as they will in the power vacuum.  With no one to support there, you will get chaos and a possibly fracturing Nation State along ethnic and religious lines (which could become a reality if the Kurds decide to secede and join their cousins in Iraq and petition for that).  If you want to save the civil population in that scenario, then you are chasing a fairy tale unless you are looking at a major declaration of war against Syria for... no real reason at all as it is only a murderous regime without much in the way of natural resources beyond those phosphate mines that provide it with the basis for chem/bio/nuclear devices.

OK, maybe that is a good reason.  But someone at the National level must make it, tell why it is important and then be willing to send a few tens of thousands of troops in.  Russia already has a few thousand boots on the ground and they are doing doodly there.  Guess they go into the 'well armed non-combatant category': cowards with guns.  Lots of threats, no action.  Loverly.

Now to get back on course, it would seem, on its face, that President Obama is acting in a kinda-sorta terrorist way with those "kill list" things he plays solitaire with.  Should Deuce of Clubs Ahmed 'The Weasel' Mohammed be put on it?  *flip* Oooooo... Ace of Spades 'Killer' Karzawi shows up, so 'The Weasel' gets saved by bigger fish!  Perhaps it is done in a game of poker with each chip representing a UCAV and the ten spots being Hellfires.  I'm sure they have some logical way to do this involving a high degree of chance and waffling.  Be that as it may, the President is the head of a Nation and, thusly, accountable internally and externally to other Nations for his actions.  The people he is going after are terrorists making Private War (not that Public sort) and fall within the Executive power to defend the Nation (all enemies foreign an domestic).  Should American Citizens helping terrorists be put on cards to play with?  Maybe the next round will be Pinochle....

What the card game represents is not doctrine, but methodology and piss poor methodology at that.  A doctrine is a stated and set way of doing things to reach an objective, and drone strikes are just a means to that end, not an end in and of itself.  Apparently we have had a couple of Presidents treating it as an end in itself that churns out dead terrorists.  That isn't good because you have no idea what it takes to make the card list.  And because no doctrine has been set by the President, the decision falls into his lap.  He shouldn't have to figure it out on a case by case basis, just have the one or two iffy decisions cross his desk.  In other words: doctrine is the means to delegate authority and set up the goals and objectives and the objective qualifications for making the "kill list".  Without a set criteria you are just playing cards.

This card playing isn't disturbing because it is done in secret, per se, but that it has to be done at all by the President.  If there was a set doctrine with criteria that gets you on the list, then that would be PUBLIC and you wouldn't need the secret card game.  Period.

That is what a President is supposed to do.

Are there objective things that can be cited that can get you on the "kill list"?

There sure are!

The State Dept. has a list of known terrorists.  Let them know they are all on the list and can be vaporized without notice any time, any where, by anyone the United States authorizes to do so.  That doesn't matter if you are eating humus at your local falafel shop, spelunking in outer Uzbekistan, doing the disco in on vacay in Juarez.  You are a Private Enemy of the United States, you have caused us harm to get on that list and if we can get you we will.  Even better as you have caused monetary harm, we will seize your property as it is forfeit to the damages you have caused and since you aren't going to pay up, your stuff will be taken to help defray the cost of damages you have inflicted upon the Nation.  That is called 'taking' and Congress can authorize that to civilians to do for it, or the President can have soldiers seize it from those we are at Private War with.

Who are those individuals?

They are on the Terror Watch List.

You make the list, your stuff can start vanishing around you.  Hope you didn't like that BMW too much... its been airlifted to a US run chop-shop in LA.  Or Bengal, or wherever we want to run it.  Or it was sold at auction to the highest bidder in Moscow.  Good luck getting it back from the Red Mafia, you know?  Or do you want to be in debt to them?  Sucks being a terrorist, huh?  You could always turn yourself in, you know?

That last part is important as it helps to define just what other sort of people get to make that list.  Anyone who makes Private War on the United States, citizen or non-citizen.  You are no longer abiding by the Law of Nations, you are no longer considering yourself to be under any law, you are waging war on your lonesome and you only get Constitutional protection when you turn yourself in to the proper authorities.

There, that is two ways to do things and get the President less involved and the people who are much (much, much, much) better at making decisions into the loop.  These are called 'subordinates'.  You delegate duty to them.  You give them well defined and set orders and they snap to attention and carry them out... sort of like what Valerie Jarrett expects of the Obamas.

To make it perfectly clear: it doesn't matter where you come from, the moment you decide to wage war on your lonesome against the Nation, you have declared yourself to be its enemy.  Want your name cleared?  Turn yourself in.  Mind you where you end up next is under a court martial, not a civil trial, so the military can determine if you are a legal or illegal combatant or a civilian (that is the grand Choice #3 that they get in case you aren't actually a bomb throwing nut, and by deciding that your chance of a civil trial is essentially nil).  Too bad that President Obama was so hot on closing Gitmo that he forgot (or never learned) that military law is its own beast and quite something different from civil law.  Sucks when you are a Progressive/Socialist/New Party/Democrat who can't be bothered to learn the Constitution or history, isn't it?

What is even better about such things defining a "kill list"?  You can put those who give material aid to terrorists on it, as well.  Or at least their material aid and point out that if good old Ahmed 'The Weasel' is having roast goat and rice over at your house, you can be summarily vaporized with him.  Oh, if he is going for a spin in Rolls Royce, it could also disappear into some lovely auction house in Singapore, too.  Sucks that.  Maybe you can authorize someone to get that sweet Beemer in Moscow for you, huh?

Such a list is self-delimiting: it has a limiting principle to it and requires next to no Presidential overhead beyond thinking up the criteria for the "kill list".  Even that can be delegated to someone who knows what the hell they are doing... I would NOT suggest Eric Holder, as he is clueless and playing far too Fast & Loose with Fast & Furious.  Get someone who actually knows the Constitution and a bit of military history, who isn't politicized to hell and gone, you know like the JCS, to do that thinking up for you.  Sign off on it.  Then you get an extra round of golf in every few weeks!  What a sweet deal!  You would get Transparency and the appearance of semi-competence or at least the ability to sign your name on a couple of things here and there and far less overhead to boot.  Boy, wouldn't it be grand to have a semi-competent President?  I'm not holding my breath for one, btw.

Setting doctrine is public.

The decisions get delegated to competent subordinates.

They do their duty knowing they have a good and objective "kill list" and are allowed to go after targets of opportunity.

The troops can do a bit of taking, get it signed off and get a few sweet cars to drive around and maybe a villa or two to sell off.  Along with those crates of AKs and RPG rounds.  The $300 Nikes are just gravy.

See, all those dusty tomes and tracts I've gone on about, de Vattel, Grotius, Pufendorf, those guys we can't bother to read any more, they actually told you what to do, why to do it, when to do it and how to do it, and left up methodology to operational concerns as they would vary over time.  What you do to get those put against you, that is invariant as it is all about human nature.  That hasn't changed any from the beginning of time.  Remembering that it hasn't... that's the hard part.