Cogitation: Casuistry and The Laws of the Land

Recent Supreme Court rulings are what brings this Prepography cogitation on ‘Casuistry’ to you.  Actually, it is the majority opinions reaffirming several decisions that bring us here.  The US Supreme Court has ruled in favor of what many see as the federal government’s overreach of power in several cases.  In these cases, instead of reviewing the constitutionality of the law as written the majority decisions have apparently allowed political conscience to shape ‘legal’ judgment.
The Merriam-Webster definition of casuistry: casuistry noun ca·su·ist·ry \ˈkazh-wə-strē, ˈka-zhə-\ plural ca·su·ist·ries.  Definition of CASUISTRY 1: a resolving of specific cases of conscience, duty, or conduct through interpretation of ethical principles or religious doctrine 2: specious argument : rationalization
A majority of Supreme Court justices have speciously rendered judgment based on the divined or redefined ‘intention’ of the lawmakers vs ruling on the laws as written.  The majority opinion on King v. Bruwell (Affordable Care Act Subsidies Case) doesn’t even try to hide this fact.  The law, as written, has no bearing on how it is interpreted and enforced.  So, now every law written in the US is by precedent prefaced with  the statement “what the law really intended was…”.
This is not a political screed.  This is a word of caution for the readers of Prepography.  Make no mistake about it.  The lifestyle that the type of person who reads Prepography attempts to lead is antithetical to the future that our nation’s leaders (who increasingly look like an oligarchy) are trying to bring about.  Prepography readers seek the freedom to prepare as they see fit.  They also seek self-sufficiency so that they do not have to rely on “the system”.  This freedom and lack of dependency is a threat to those that wish to control every aspect of our daily lives.  Previously, freedom loving people were protected by the law but our nation’s leaders, on the bench and both sides of the aisles no longer seem constrained by the law.  In fact, our three branches of government almost seem to be conspiring to achieve a single desired outcome rather than serving as checks and balances on each other’s power.  Poorly written laws no longer need to be re-written, they can just be ‘interpreted’ by judges and an increasingly powerful Executive branch that is serviced by legions of bureaucrats.
It doesn’t take a genius to understand that it won’t take long for the government to use this new precedent to further encroach on the freedoms and rights of people and groups who stand in opposition to the path the country is currently on.  Dr. Thomas Sowell described the resulting situation very succinctly in his recent article Supreme Court Disasters:  “When any branch of government can exercise powers not authorized by either statutes or the Constitution, ‘we the people’ are no longer free citizens but subjects, and our “public servants” are really our public masters. And America is no longer America. The freedom for which whole generations of Americans have fought and died is gradually but increasingly being taken away from us with smooth and slippery words.”

Cogitation: Voter Fraud Is A Real Possibility

Voter FraudDespite what the open borders crowd and ACLU will tell you, yes it is: “.. in North Carolina, which compared its voter rolls against a federal immigration database. The cross-check of 10,000 voters found 1,425 likely non-citizen voters, including 109 illegal immigrants or so-called “Dreamers.”  And with elections being decided by a few hundred or few thousand votes, such as Al Franken ’s 312-vote win in the 2008 Minnesota U.S. Senate race, these numbers make voter fraud a real possibility.

“…two Old Dominion professors concluded that non-citizen votes may have been responsible for Obama’s 2008 victory in North Carolina. “Obama won the state by 14,177 votes, so a turnout by 5.1 percent of North Carolina’s adult non-citizens would have provided this victory margin.””

So you can’t buy beer or wine, or cigarettes, or get on an airplane, or cash a check, or pick up your prescription, without an ID, and that’s no problem. But to vote?  Come on down!  Show an ID?? Why, that’s racist!  You’re suppressing my vote!  What if I don’t have an ID? (Notice how we have evidence of voter fraud, illegals with IDs on the voter rolls, but the folks that fight against Voter ID Laws never seem to have actual evidence and numbers and real people with them that can prove that the law keeps someone from voting.  And actually, it can never actually keep someone from voting that is legally able to vote: all they have to do is get the required ID, and most states bend over backward to make sure that is easy and cheap to do).

Andrew’s Note:  I still get asked for my ID when I vote…I don’t think it’s a political statement or a sanctity of the ballot box issue…I think the election judge just finds it easier to find me on the roles…but I always say “thank you for checking ID.”

The Media-Military-Industrial-Government Complex

One of the original drafts of President Eisenhower’s famous speech warning of the rise of the Military-Industrial Complex written by speech writer Malcom Moos, reads: We must never let power, implicit in this combination, endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert, knowledgeable, and wise citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that both security and liberty may prosper. In the councils of government, we must jealously guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We can ignore it only at our peril.

Malcolm Moosvia General Thomas McInerney and the Military-Industrial Complex | SOFREP

Andrew’s Note: I wonder what President and General of the Army Eisenhower and Professor Moos would think of the rise of the Media-Military-Industrial-Government Complex?

Proclivity For Selective Enforcement – Today’s Quote

… I see the future going to the democratization of media largely through the internet. They can compete with the big boys now, and I have seen storm clouds that the second you start to regulate them, there is at least the possibility or indeed proclivity for selective enforcement, so we need to keep the media free and the internet free.

Federal Election Commission Chairman Lee E. Goodman via FEC chair warns that conservative media like Drudge Report and Sean Hannity face regulation — like PACs | WashingtonExaminer.com commenting on whispers of using the FEC to regulate political discussions in the media.

Government Creating Black Markets

The only markets government can create are Black markets and artificial markets auctioning off things that no one really ‘owns’ like the electromagnetic spectrum.  Why does government insist on creating black markets?

Black MarketBlack markets emerge when demand exceeds supply for highly regulated or forbidden commodities or when excessive taxation drives buyers and sellers to enter into illicit transactions.  Essentially, government creates black markets through laws, excessive regulation, taxation or a combination of the three.  Many of these activities arise out of the political elite’s ‘need’ to be perceived as doing something when the population is upset with a circumstance or tragedy.  Many of these laws are designed to do nothing more than to ‘protect’ people from themselves or their own poor decisions.  Other laws are designed to limit people’s choices to those sanctioned by the political elite or their influence block.

For example:  The temperance movement of the last century led to the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution banning the sale of alcohol.  This law didn’t stop drinking but it did outlaw the enormous, taxpaying, domestic alcohol industry and create a black market so lucrative that criminal gangs were willing to go to ‘war’ over distribution territories.  When the 18th Amendment was repealed by the 21st Amendment this alcohol driven gangland violence ceased.  Incidentally, prohibition didn’t just make millionaires out of the likes of Al Capone, it also catapulted the Kennedy family to financial prominence.

Some additional Examples of Black Markets:

Currency Exchanges:  I was traveling in East Germany…back when there was such a place and was approached by a black market currency exchanger…complete with black leather trench coat and a handful of cash.  He was offering an exchange rate about ten times the official exchange rate (I was required to change a certain amount of dollars to East German Marks when we crossed into the ‘Socialist paradise’).

Cigarettes:  With Federal taxes on each cigarette over 20 cents it’s no wonder that there’s a thriving business in black market cigarettes and counterfeit tobacco tax stamps.  Some of these cigarette bootlegging rings have even been tied to the funding of terrorist groups.

Cuban Cigars:  Are Cuban cigars really any better than Dominican cigars or American cigars produced by Cuban exiles?  They certainly sell at a premium since we banned their importation and sale.

Weapons:  As President Obama pointed out in the presidential debates and numerous times since…there’s a lot of gun violence in his hometown of Chicago.  With the strictest gun laws in the nation the outlaw element of Chicago is still able to purchase firearms and frequently uses them knowing that law abiding victims will be pleasantly unarmed.  Since this article was written there has been some loosening of firearms restrictions.

Sex Trade: Human trafficking and any form of slavery is abhorrent…however there have been men and women who willingly sell their favors since we inhabited the caves and no amount of prohibition and enforcement seems to have even decreased the incidence.

Drugs:  Of course the biggest black market of all is the sale of illicit drugs (illegal and prescription sold through illegal transactions).  The horror that our demand creates for the residents of Northern Mexico as well as certain other areas of the world is unprecedented and enough to make even a Chicago-land gangster like All Capone blanch with horror.  The profits created for these criminal organizations mean they are willing to take incredible risks and commit tremendous violence in securing their right to traffic in certain territories.  Even before state legalization, California’s biggest cash crop wasn’t lettuce or any kind of kitchen vegetable… it was marijuana.

Note:  I don’t encourage the use or abuse of any of the above (except for the controlled use of firearms for sport, training and self defense)…I just really don’t care what you do when it doesn’t effect me and the social and financial costs associated with prohibition effect me a lot and cause us to have incarceration rates higher than totalitarian regimes.  Let’s stop insisting letting our government take away our choices and give people their freedom back because it really is government creating black markets.  Let’s look at some black markets that aren’t so unsavory:

Farm Products:  It’s now illegal for farmers to sell many of their products directly if processing is involved (meat) or unless processing is involved (dairy).  Farmers have always made direct sales and often had roadside stands but the USDA is cracking down on these operations because they don’t have a rigorous, costly inspection scheme.  In one notorious act the USDA fined the owners of a 3 acre rabbit farm in Nixa, Mo nearly $100,000 for selling ‘unlicensed rabbits.’  The USDA backed down after they received pressure from the man’s senator but the regulations remained unchanged.

Fuel:  When I was in Iraq the Maliki government legislated the price of gasoline at an artificially low level (seems to me it was around 50 U.S. cents per gallon).  consequently, fuel was in such short supply that it wasn’t available through gas stations.  Much of the Iraqi produced gasoline was actually smuggled out of the country and what remained was sold at huge premiums on the side of the road.

Information:  I’m not talking about state secrets here…well maybe a type of state secrets…I’m talking about provisions like the one in the Affordable Care Act (how misnamed) that makes it illegal for tax professionals to suggest that their clients not take all the deductions to which they are entitled because it affects the eligibility for tax credits and subsidies…that’s right if you make too little you have to pay your tax credit back.  If your Modified Adjusted Gross Income goes below the Federal Poverty Level ($23,550 for a family of four) the Federal government wants the State government to take care of you.  If you create a set of rules…don’t make explaining the rules illegal.

Labor:  If someone taking 100% of the fruits of your labor is slavery…at what point does taxation become fractional slavery.  Don’t get me wrong, I have no issue with reasonable taxation but ‘reasonable’ has a different meaning to a New England ‘liberal’ or Hollywood mogul than it does to the libertarian minded.  There has always been a black market for labor but I’ve noticed a marked increase in recent years as the economy has tanked and taxation has increased.  Black Market labor manifests itself through a number of mechanisms including cash payments, ‘casual labor,’ off the books side jobs, illegal ‘subcontractor’ arrangements and the hiring of illegal immigrants.  The largest increase I’ve seen in black market labor is among those receiving Social Security disability.  The ‘disabled’ find cash jobs, often for short time periods, to supplement their government benefits and there is no reasonable mechanism for them to report such income without endangering their overall benefits status.  That said, I’ve actually tried to hire the Social Security ‘disabled’ to perform jobs that were within their capability but have always been refused either because of their sense of entitlement or the logic of making half to three/fourths the income without work or taxation trumps showing up, having a boss and rolling up your sleeves.

Prohibition has NEVER worked and if you try to regulate human activity through mechanisms such as prohibition, excessive regulation and even some licensure schemes all you end up with is powerful bootleggers, increased corruption (both public and private) and the potential for gang violence to secure distribution territories.  There’s another group that gathers tremendous power out of prohibition and regulation schemes as well and that’s governments,  By identifying a ‘problem’ and solving it with a prohibition our political elites get to create a mechanism to ‘police’ the violators….and you can’t have a ‘war on drugs’ without a tremendous amount of tax dollars diverted into prosecuting that ‘war.’

I propose to you that we can eliminate the majority of the black market activity if we limit regulation, reduce taxation and remove prohibitions on ‘crimes’ that are primarily issues of self harm.  What other black markets do our governments unnecessarily create?

 

Internment Camps in the US? – Today’s Quote

Well of course Korematsu [the War era Supreme Court ruling upholding the internment of American Citizens of Japanese descent] was wrong.  And I think we have repudiated [Korematsu] in a later case.  But you are kidding yourself if you think the same thing [internment] will not happen again…  It was wrong, but I would not be surprised to see it happen again, in time of war.  It’s no justification, but it is the reality…

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

A Deadly President – Today’s Quote

President Obama has just stated a policy that he can have any American citizen killed without any charge, without any review, except his own. If he’s satisfied that you are a terrorist, he says that he can kill you anywhere in the world including in the United States.

Two of his aides just … reaffirmed they believe that American citizens can be killed on the order of the President anywhere including the United States.

Professor Jonathan Turley via Washington’s Blog (with video)

Andrew’s Note:  Believe it or not we do assassinate U.S. Citizens without any due process…I’m not talking about killing an unlawful combatant on the battlefield who also happens to be a U.S. Citizen…I’m talking drone strikes ordered by our Commander in Chief against a U.S. Citizen who he knew was a U.S. Citizen.  Even if you trust this President with such unconstitutional power will you trust the next?

Propping Up The Dictatorial Regime – Today’s Quote

We saw first hand how monies from American taxes were used for a corrupt dictatorial regime.

Secretary of State John Kerry

Andrew’s Note:  Let’s hope ‘we’ don’t see this closer to home…

Utter Incompetence and Blind Faith – Today’s Quote

One of the painfully sobering realizations that come from reading history is the utter incompetence that is possible among leaders of whole nations and empires — and the blind faith that such leaders can nevertheless inspire among the people who are enthralled by their words or their posturing.

Dr. Thomas Sowell via Random Thoughts

Spreading The Wealth To Concentrate Power – Today’s Quote

Those who want to “spread the wealth” almost invariably seek to concentrate the power.  It happens too often, and in too many different countries around the world, to be a coincidence.  Which is more dangerous, inequalities of wealth or concentrations of power?

Dr. Thomas Sowell via Random Thoughts

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