Did Edward Snowden Break the Law in Revealing the Depth and Breadth of the NSA’s Surveillance of Citizens?

For those excoriating Edward Snowden for “breaking the law” I’ll say this: I don’t know and I don’t care. I don’t know, because I haven’t–and probably won’t–research the relevant laws, because I do not care whether he broke any in revealing the NSA’s surveillance of ordinary citizens.

Here’s why that is: ANY time a citizen shed’s light on government mistreatment of its citizens’ rights it is a Good Thing, no matter what his motivation, no matter what laws he breaks to do so. Any laws that even ALLOW the government to cover abuses are anathema to me, and should be to every citizen who lives; they are nothing short of being bad faith with the social contract the Founders recognized which establishes that government exists to protect our rights, not abuse or deny to us the free exercise of them. ANY law or regulation that provides cover for government abuse of citizens’ rights is illegitimate and has no moral force whatsoever, no excuse for existence save for the vile, reprehensible, utterly abhorrent excuse of defending that abuse of power, and that’s a raison d’être that in itself gives adequate cause to sneer at and openly flout disobedience to any such law or regulation.

Apparatchiks in the same party that gave us the death toll of Fast and Furious and Benghazi, the trampling of the First and Fourth Amendments in the AP scandal and the blatant IRS abuses of power have talked with relative comfort about disappearing Snowden. Yeh, what’s a little banana republic terrorist tactic between friends, eh? In the toxic atmosphere of an overweening, anarcho-tyrannist “feddle gummint bureaucrappy” that views everything with an US (the “gummint”) vs Them (former citizens, now subjects) it becomes obvious to anyone who’s not dumber than a sack of Shiite that the “feddle gummint” is cast adrift from a constitutionally-informed social contract designed to protect the rights of citizens and not the turf of politicians *gag-spew* and “bureaucraps” *gagamaggot*.

In such an environment, as I said, ANYONE who for ANY REASON brings government abuses of power into the light of day has done right, no matter what their motivation, no matter what any CYA laws or regulations say.

Doing the right thing, even for wrong reasons, is doing the right thing, no matter what.

One last thing: Edward Snowden may be weird. He may be distasteful in his personal habits, lifestyle or morality. I don’t know and I don’t care. I have seen hints about such things written by people condemning him, though hints only, as I skip over and simply note another ad hominem attack designed to discredit him in the eyes of stupid people. I don’t know Edward Snowden, and I do not particularly care to; not only that, I do not have to know ANYTHING about him apart from the fact that the information he revealed has so far checked out and that it reveals massive abuse of power by the federal government. THAT is ALL that matters in this brouhaha. Period.

Root and Branch: Extirpate the IRS

Conservative group’s lawsuit targets IRS employees personally

Look, folks, let’s just say it openly and without reservation: The IRS is simply evil. Period. I’ll accept no qualifications about “good people” working in the IRS. No, if they were truly good people, they’d find a job not working for an evil organization. Period. End of story. No excuses.

The fish rots from the head and from its inception, the IRS has rotted and is nothing but a poisonous evil whose sole function is to do evil and enable further evil to be done. Any lame justifications that it collects revenue for legitimate purposes fall, because most “feddle gummint” functions nowadays are constitutionally illegitimate (hence, based on lies, evil). Nope. The IRS has to go. Now, how to get there. . .

Pressure–and never, never, never stop pressuring–congresscritters to abolish the IRS and the oppressive, tyrannical, capricious income tax system it administers. Get involved in local politics in order to gain influence on political parties’ selection of candidates, at ever higher levels of government. Join with other “outsiders” to invade and take over the political apparatus of whatever party or parties you may have a chance to “subvert” to bring them back in line with constitutional principles.

And never, never, NEVER stop pushing back–twice as hard, and harder. If you are attacked, as the person and her organization in the linked article above have been, push back as that organization has. Make it as personal as the bureaucraps themselves make it. Hold them PERSONALLY responsible.

Keep it in bounds–not their bounds, the law’s bounds–but make sure they know it IS personal, because that’s the central meaning of The Founders’ Constitution”–personal, individual liberty and responsibility is THE central reason the Constitution was written to SET BOUNDARIES BEYOND WHICH GOVERNMENT MUST NOT GO!

The “feddle gummint” needs to be told to sit down, shut up and LISTEN to the PEOPLE. . . and then sit down and shut up–PERIOD!–wherever the Constitution says they have no business going.

Because That Makes Sooooo Much Sense

[N.B., I corrected the headline on the linked article to read as a more accurate reflection of the information in it.]

Obama Orders Fox to Investigate Hen House Guard

Yep. That’s right. The Zero thinks that no one will notice he’s directed Eric Holder to investigate his own performance as an enforcer of the rule of law. No news there, really. After all, recall the reports of an “independent State Department investigation” of. . . the State Department’s handling of the Benghazi consulate attack? “[I]ndependent,” MHWA. . .

Where is Torquemada when you really need him?

Individual Mandate Picking On Individuals to Tax: UPDATED

[SEE THE FOOT OF THE POST–in the “more” section–FOR AN UPDATE FROM FAIRTAX.ORG]

This post will be pinned to the top of the blog for a week or so. Newer posts will appear below this one.


 

 

 

It seems to me that “individual mandates” as delineated by Justice Roberts’ majority opinion in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius [pdf file] (the “Obamacare” decision) have long been with us. The “feddle gummint’s” taxation power, exercised through the IRS, has long treated different people differently, taxing some more than others, excluding some from taxation because of behaviors the “feddle gummint” wants to encourage, while taxing those “others” more because they don’t do something the “feddle gummint” wants them to.

It seems to me that the two Very Good Lessons we can draw from this decision are

1. ALL the Dhimmicraps (The Zero and his co-conspirators and the Mass MEdia Podpeople Hivemind and all the Academia Nut Fruitcakes, et al) who promoted Obamacare deliberately, maliciously and wittingly LIED THPOUGH THEIR TEETH to get the thing passed.
2. Justice Roberts very wisely (Niccolò Machiavelli would’ve handed him a gold star) didn’t leave it at obliquely pointing out what liars the Obamacare supporters are but placed the responsibility for fixing the mess where it belongs when he said of the Court:

It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.

Bingo!

My exegesis? If you abhor this law as much as you should, then get up off your fat lazy asses and WORK to elect representatives who will overturn it, and in the future pay more attention to electing representatives who genuinely have the republic’s interests at heart.

Continue readingIndividual Mandate Picking On Individuals to Tax: UPDATED”

Another Constitutional Amendment, Please?

How about an amendment excluding lawyers from holding positions as Supreme Court Justices or being elected to federal office? And while we’re at it, how about including term limits for EVERY federal office, elected and appointed? Oh, and throw in language carving out an exception to the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on “cruel and unusual punishment” for any elected or appointed “feddle gummint” official or bureaucrap. Since tarring and feathering have faded from contemporary use and become “unusual” and since the practice may be considered (fairly, I suppose) to be “cruel” we need that exception in order to properly chastise those who desire (and work and scheme and lie, cheat and steal) to be our masters.

Once such an amendment were passed (notice the subjunctive mood? *sigh*), perhaps a few “feddle gummint” goons could be tarred, feathered and given lighted torches to play with on their way out of town… pour encourager les autres, as it were. (Oh, that I would live to see the day!)

Take Back Your Government

What would you pay to get the tools to take back our government and save our country?

From the author’s preface to Take Back Your Government:

HOW TO SAVE YOUR COUNTRY

This is intended to be a practical manual of instruction for the American layman who has taken no regular part in politics, has no personal political ambitions, and no desire to make money out of politics, but who, nevertheless, would like to do something to make his or her chosen form of government work better. If you have a gnawing, uneasy feeling that you should be doing something to preserve our freedoms and to protect and improve our way of life but have been held back by lack of time, lack of money, or the helpless feeling that you individually could not do enough to make the effort worthwhile, then this book was written for you.

Take Back Your Government (Click for larger image)

The book is currently being sold by Baen Books in a bundle with Taxpayer’s Tea Party by Sharon Cooper and Chuck Asay. The cost for both books bundled together in any of a wide range of eBook formats is just $8. I’m currently reading my copy of Take Back Your Government in my web browser in the html version.

Taxpayer's Tea Party Manual

Santelli’s Chicago Tea Party

As seen at Cathouse Chat:

Go watch the video (CNBC doesn’t allow embedding of the thing).

Go vote in the poll.

Money quote:

“The government’s promoting bad behavior”– Rick Santelli

Well, *duh*. What do you call the 40+ year quagmire of the “War on Poverty”? (Hint: “promoting bad behavior”) What do you call the complete disinterest in enforcing immigration law? (Hint: “promoting bad behavior”) Heck, what do you call the TSA? (Hint: “promoting bad behavior”)

THAT’S WHAT OUR GOVERNMENT DOES. That seems to be its primary job for the last few decades: promote bad behavior and punish good behavior. Anarcho-tyranny at its fedgov finest…


Trackposted to The Pink Flamingo, Rosemary’s Thoughts, , Woman Honor Thyself, Conservative Cat, Right Voices, and The World According to Carl, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

People of the Light?

Not talking about Mass Media Podpeople whenever “people of the light” are mentioned.

See Orson Scott Card’s article at The Rhincerous Times of Greennsboro, NC. A taste:

Would the Last Honest Reporter Please Turn On the Lights?

by Orson Scott Card

October 20, 2008
An open letter to the local daily paper — almost every local daily paper in America:

I remember reading All the President’s Men and thinking: That’s journalism. You do what it takes to get the truth and you lay it before the public, because the public has a right to know.

This housing crisis didn’t come out of nowhere. It was not a vague emanation of the evil Bush administration.

It was a direct result of the political decision, back in the late 1990s, to loosen the rules of lending so that home loans would be more accessible to poor people. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were authorized to approve risky loans.

What is a risky loan? It’s a loan that the recipient is likely not to be able to repay.

The goal of this rule change was to help the poor — which especially would help members of minority groups. But how does it help these people to give them a loan that they can’t repay? They get into a house, yes, but when they can’t make the payments, they lose the house — along with their credit rating.

They end up worse off than before.

This was completely foreseeable and in fact many people did foresee it. One political party, in Congress and in the executive branch, tried repeatedly to tighten up the rules. The other party blocked every such attempt and tried to loosen them…

…It’s not too late. You know that if the situation were reversed, and the truth would damage McCain and help Obama, you would be moving heaven and earth to get the true story out there.

If you want to redeem your honor, you will swallow hard and make a list of all the stories you would print if it were McCain who had been getting money from Fannie Mae, McCain whose campaign had consulted with its discredited former CEO, McCain who had voted against tightening its lending practices…

More, much more, at the LINK.

Interesting that it would take a lifelong Democrat to upbraid the Mass Media Podpeople Hivemind so unequivocally. Maybe, if there remain even a few more–a remnant of honest, decent men and women–such people in the Democratic Party (and hopefully a few in the Replublican Party as well), just maybe there is hope for the republic of the Foun ders that once was.

I’ll not hold my breath, though. Rather, I’ll use it to cheer such folks on. Way to go, Card!

h.t. Jerry Pournelle’s mailbag


Trackposted to Blog @ MoreWhat.com, , Faultline USA, DragonLady’s World, The Pink Flamingo, Leaning Straight Up, Cao’s Blog, Democrat=Socialist, Conservative Cat, and Right Voices, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Conspiracy of dunces or…

…a conspiracy to create dunces?

But first, some housekeeping: this is an open post. Link to this post and trackback.

Now, to the topic of this post. Jerry Pournelle is no wild-eyed conspiracy nut, but he does note something interesting about America’s broken system of public education:

Of course if the goal is to see that the children of people rich enough to send their children to private schools, or to have a stay at home parent to home school, will get far ahead of everyone else regardless of intelligence or merit, we may achieve that goal.

So, what are our choices? That all the “smart” people who tell us to just do more of the same that has resulted in sub- and illiterate high school and college graduates over the past 30+ years-just spend lots more doing it-are too stupid to pound rocks and too prideful, greedy and power-hungry to admit their educratic edicts have made a ruin of public education?

Or, is it really a plot by self-designated elites to breed serfs?

Of course, Pournelle also mentions “…Vonnegut’s wonderful story Harrison Bergeron…” (IMO, one of the few really good Vonnegut works). Yep. Harrison Bergeron is definitely where the dark side of “No Child Left behind” seems to point…

Kept after school at The Uncooperative Blogger. And “writing lines” on the blackboard at Linkfest_Haven

The Sad State of Education

[Although this was posted Monday night, consider this Tuesday’s 0PEN P0ST. Link and teebee away, folks. Questions? Ask ’em in comments.]

No, the “Sad State” is not a locale. *sigh* And it’s not limited to the United States, from what aquaintances in Australia, Britain, Canada, France and elsewhere tell me. It seems the West as a rule is intent on committing suicide and educational malpractice is just one of the chosen means. But this post only deals with a few limited aspects of the problem in the U.S.

This recent (one of many, many such) discussion at Chaos Manor touches briefly on just one aspect of the deplorable state of education in the U.S. While I think Dr. Pournelle’s probably correct on the fundamental issue of reading comprehension (which evidence indicates has declined even further from the deplorable state reflected in the 1992 NALS), the problem of reading comprehension is much more complex than simply poor decoding, as I am sure he’d agree.

Nevertheless, the fact that so very many high school and college grads are such poor functional readers, needing to actually struggle to decode the text, and thus actually read very little of consequence (why struggle with difficult concepts unless absolutely necessary when struggling with the coded text is difficult enough?) and comprehend so little, so shallowly, what they do read is extremely troubling.

(Have difficulty parsing long, complicated, convoluted sentences? Blame your teachers, in part.)

A subliterate democracy is in serious trouble. On many levels. An obvious area of concern is that of an informed electorate. If you have the stomach for it, listen to some blow-dried newspuppets for a while. Even “reading” their prepared scripts is too much for these airheads. Seldom does a newsreader notice that some other subliterate has handed them copy that contains misused words or amphibolous construction, let alone more problematic, outright lies. Why? Because their shallow education and lack of breadth and depth of reading has left most of them incapable of even knowing when they are spewing gibberish.

But no problem. Most of the people who get their information from such “sources” can’t tell, anyway.

And that’s a real problem. Combine arrogant elitism and greed with subliteracy (the typical problems of elite so-called liberals and their welfare plantation serfs) and it’s no wonder “progressive” social programs are disasters, felled by unintended (to put the best construction on it) consequences. Combine cowardice, greed and subliteracy (but three of faux “conservative” problems) and the recipe is just as disasterous.

In each case, only one of the variables is open to much amelioration via public policy, and that’s the true literacy rate.

Of course, changes there seem next to impossible, as long as the least competent to direct education are influencing what is taught and how. I mean, of course, professors of education in colleges and universities whose faddish experimentations with generations of American students have been largely instrumental in creating the cesspool that is public education today. And who could neglect to mention the politicians and educrats from Washington D.C. down to State legislatures who have made huge strides toward creating generations of stupid American sheeple?

Washington D.C. Easily the worst school system in the country. And Congress is directly responsible for administering it. Yeh. The more congresscritters can make the rest of the country like D.C….

And public school administrators. *sigh* Bless their little pea-pickin’ hearts. Or perhaps I ought to say, little pea-brained heads. Not exactly dumber than rocks, but certainly the most proximal stumbling blocks to most children’s early education. (Love the redundancy? 🙂

What to do? I’m with Pournelle on several remedies.

1.) Teach them to read. No, really read. There are vanishingly few children who cannot be taught to read with greatly better proficiency than is reflected in the latest NAAL report. Oh, BTW, only folks who are both able and willing to drill down into the actual report will discover that. The website could easily mislead (well, by outright lies, in a few cases *sigh*) people into believing things have improved since 1992 with the summary statements and topic headlines. Remember: it’s a highly-politicized topic and the report is heavy on CYA.

2.) Put control of local curriculum and teaching methodology back at the local level. Period. Some schools will excell. Some will end up “excelling” only in mediocrity. Others will be abject failures. But in any case, the schools need to be completely the responsibility of the local citizens, no matter how dim-witted and uninformed they may have been made by their own educatinal experiences. There are almost always enough people who both care about there children’s education and are capable of rational thought to make locally-managed (no, really: no state or federal “mandates” funded or otherwise!) to make a go of it.

3.) (This one is not Pournelle’s formulation) Give productive work to education professors. Breaking rocks or cleaning cesspools or something. ANYTHING but letting them corrupt another generation of teachers.

It’d take some shakeout time, but in the end removing remote management by educrats and politicians and stifling dumbass “schools of education” this pseudo democratic republic just might have a chance of surviving.

Otherwise, we’d better get ready to hand the keys over to China.

(BTW, I’ve alluded to this before, but a quick restatement here might be in order. While I began my pubschool journey well before half of the Americans alive today were born, I do not consider my own education to have been untouched by the idiocies we see around us today. My own gradeschool through high school years [college and grad were private schools] were filled with pap. I was always amazed at my gransparents’ educational depth-especially after I began to be exposed in college to many of the things they learned in their high school years. Yep. Though three of my four grandparents did attend college, and two attain degrees-one advanced degrees-their personal libraries of high school texts contained significant cultural literacy that I never even had classroom exposure to in college! Or grad school… Glad am I for my grandparents’ examples of continuing education apart from formal schooling… Oh, yeh, my parents, too, I guess. heh 🙂

Kept after school at Basil’s.

[Minor update for proofreaders: No, I’m NOT going to correct any more typos. I will change the batteries in my wireless keyboard, though. 🙂