Archive for the ‘Tyranny’ Category

More Jersey Injustice

Posted: February 17, 2015 by ShortTimer in Government, Guns, Second Amendment, Tyranny
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Among other places, via HotAir, from NRA News:

Shades of Shaneen Allen’s tribulations in Jersey.

This kind of thing is just a reminder that Chris Christie is not a viable candidate for anything outside of New Jersey.

Two More Gas Tax Opinions

Posted: January 28, 2015 by ShortTimer in Energy, Tax, taxes, Tyranny

The first via The Federalist:

You can understand it only if you understand that in some minds there is a constant imperative for the expansion of government. The only question they ask is whether they can get away with it. When gas prices are low, they think they can, so that is what they advocate.

That summarizes the whole argument for.

The second is Charles Krauthammer’s opinion piece advocating a gas tax, titled “Raise the Gas Tax.  A Lot.

For 32 years I’ve been advocating a major tax on petroleum. I’ve got as much chance this time around as did Don Quixote with windmills. But I shall tilt my lance once more.

The only time you can even think of proposing a gas tax increase is when oil prices are at rock bottom.

32 years of advocating for a tax that no driver wants.  He’s got a much better chance that Don Quixote, because things like the gas tax end up with “bipartisan support” of big government activists on both the left and the right.

The hike should not be 10 cents but $1. And the proceeds should not be spent by, or even entrusted to, the government. They should be immediately and entirely returned to the consumer by means of a cut in the Social Security tax.

And that’s where Krauthammer’s entire idea fails.  “We’ll raise one tax so we can drop another” will never, ever, ever happen.  The first tax will be raised, the second will never go away.

The rest of his math is based on “savings” to an “average driver” that probably makes sense to someone from the east coast or DC who only has to drive a few minutes to work if at all (in Krauthammer’s particular case, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t drive anymore at all).  It’s a massive burden on people who live in geographically larger states.

It’s win-win. Employment taxes are a drag on job creation. Reducing them not only promotes growth but advances fairness, FICA being a regressive tax that hits the middle and working classes far more than the rich.

So “fairness” is to tax the provinces while the capital feasts?  Also, when has the tax system ever been about “fairness”?  If that were the case, we should get rid of all “sin” excise taxes right now, because those are made to modify behavior based on government using force to manipulate the economy.

A $1 gas tax increase would constrain oil consumption in two ways. In the short run, by curbing driving. In the long run, by altering car-buying habits. A return to gas-guzzling land yachts occurs every time gasoline prices plunge. A high gas tax encourages demand for more fuel-efficient vehicles. Constrained U.S. consumption — combined with already huge increases in U.S. production — would continue to apply enormous downward pressure on oil prices.

A tax is the best way to improve fuel efficiency. Today we do it through rigid regulations, the so-called CAFE standards imposed on carmakers. They are forced to manufacture acres of unsellable cars in order to meet an arbitrary, bureaucratic “fleet” gas-consumption average.

This is nuts. If you simply set a higher price point for gasoline, buyers will do the sorting on their own, choosing fuel efficiency just as they do when the world price is high. The beauty of the tax — as a substitute for a high world price — is that the incentive for fuel efficiency remains…

His FICA argument is nonsense because no tax cut will be passed.

His “altering car-buying habits” argument only works if you accept the basic premise – that people need to be forced to not buy “gas-guzzling land yachts”.

Also, there’s already a tax on buying anything that doesn’t meet an arbitrary, bureaucratic “gas guzzler” gas consumption decision:

Not that welfare recipients would be buying a Shelby.

Krauthammer’s argument is that we need to raise taxes to punish the consumer even more for personal decisions that Krauthammer’s decided are bad decisions.  Yay big government.

And finally, lower consumption reduces pollution and greenhouse gases. The reduction of traditional pollutants, though relatively minor, is an undeniable gain. And even for global warming skeptics, there’s no reason not to welcome a benign measure that induces prudential reductions in CO2 emissions.

Except it’s not a benign measure.  The power to tax is the power to destroy.  This is a tool to force people into what DC wants you to drive, not what you want to drive.  Their reasons hinge on the idea that you need to be coerced into their worldview.

If given the choice between a work truck that gets 12 mpg and one that gets 30 mpg, where all other features are the same, a business or an individual will take the one that gets higher mpg because it already benefits them.  Doesn’t matter if it’s $4/gallon or $2/gallon.  If given the choice between a performace car that gets 15 mpg and one that gets 35 mpg, other factors being the same, they’ll take the one that gets 35.  It still benefits them.

Some DC thug hitting them with yet another tax to tell them what to buy is only a good idea if you’re in favor of the DC thug hitting them with another tax.

Sorry, Chuck, the reason why people oppose it is because they understand it.

You know something is up when NBC’s Saturday Night Live knows something is wrong with the political process espoused by the Obama Administration.

Sharyl Attkisson, for those who don’t know of her, is an old-school journalist.  She finds a story and she pursues it, and no amount of political rhetoric and denials will dissuade her if she has a story.

She pursued Fast and Furious, Solyndra, Benghazi, just to name a few – and all because there are stories there that a good reporter would want exposed.  And they’re also stories that the Obama administration does not want exposed, because despite most of the media acting as a propaganda arm of the Democrat party, ultimately some people will hear and listen when they hear the truth – especially in contrast with handwaving and absurd denials.

sharyl attkisson

Her computers were hacked by some shadowy most-likely-government entity a while back.  I remember it coming up last year and writing about it thenTwice last year, in fact.

Now she’s got a book out and she’s elaborating.  The people in her story are mostly written about under pseudonyms for their own safety.

She speculates that the motive was to lay the groundwork for possible charges against her or her sources.

Attkisson says the source, who’s “connected to government three-letter agencies,” told her the computer was hacked into by “a sophisticated entity that used commercial, nonattributable spyware that’s proprietary to a government agency: either the CIA, FBI, the Defense Intelligence Agency or the National Security Agency.”

That “laying the groundwork for possible charges” is because someone buried classified documents deep in her computer.

Next big moment: Attkisson gets her computer checked out by someone identified as “Number One,” who’s described as a “confidential source inside the government.” A climactic meeting takes place at a McDonald’s outlet at which Attkisson and “Number One” “look around” for possibly suspicious things. Finding nothing, they talk. “First just let me say again I’m shocked. Flabbergasted. All of us are. This is outrageous. Worse than anything Nixon ever did. I wouldn’t have believed something like this could happen in the United States of America.” That’s all coming from “Number One.”

The breaches on Attkisson’s computer, says this source, are coming from a “sophisticated entity that used commercial, nonattributable spyware that’s proprietary to a government agency: either the CIA, FBI, the Defense Intelligence Agency, or the National Security Agency (NSA).” Attkisson learns from “Number One” that one intrusion was launched from the WiFi at a Ritz Carlton Hotel and the “intruders discovered my Skype account handle, stole the password, activated the audio, and made heavy use of it, presumably as a listening tool.”

To round out the revelations of “Number One,” he informs Attkisson that he’d found three classified documents deep inside her operating system, such that she’d never know they were even there. “Why? To frame me?” Attkisson asks in the book.

Media meta-reporter Erik Wemple (who’s so impressively attuned to everything news about news that he even asked me a few questions once) wrote several pieces on Attkisson’s encounters with electronic surveillance.

The first discusses computer intrusions as “worse than anything Nixon ever did”, and introduces us to “Jeff”, “Number One” and “Jerry Patel”, all of which are pseudonyms for various computer experts.  And in the first and into the second, we’re introduced to Don Allison of KoreLogic, who also diagnosed Attkisson’s computer, and is not protected by a pseudonym, but is behind a nondisclosure agreement for the time being.

And then there’s Wemple’s third piece, which talks about the strange case of a “spare” wire.

…By November 2012, writes Attkisson, disruptions on her home phone line were so frequent as to render it unusable: “I call home from my mobile phone and it rings on my end, but not at the house. Or it rings at home once but when my husband or daughter answers, they just hear a dial tone. At the same time, on my end, it keeps ringing and then connects somewhere, just not at my house. Sometimes, when my call connects to that mystery-place-that’s-not-my-house, I hear an electronic sounding buzz,” reads one passage in “Stonewalled.” She also alleges that her television set “spontaneously jitters, mutes, and freeze-frames.” The home alarm, too, “sounds at a different time every night” and when she checks with the alarm system, it indicates that there’s “trouble with the phone line.”

Phone, TV and computer service chez Attkisson all run on Verizon’s FiOS service. “Jeff” asks to inspect the exterior of the house in a check for anything suspicious. He finds a “stray cable dangling from the FiOS box attached to the brick wall on the outside of my house. It doesn’t belong.” “Jeff” says the cable in question is an “extra” fiber-optic line that could be used to download data and then send it off to another spot.

Attkisson takes a picture of the cable. Then she calls Verizon, which tells her that it’s not something they would have installed; they refer her to law enforcement. Attkisson doesn’t feel its a matter for the cops, and in any case Verizon calls back to say that they want to have a look for themselves as soon as possible — on New Year’s Day, no less. “Yeah, that shouldn’t be there,” the Verizon technician tells Attkisson.

Attkisson is a sensible, common sense reporter who follows leads to write reports of real life events.  She is neither Kolchak nor Mulder.

At one point, Attkisson gets a visit from pseudonymous “Terry,” who has “connections to the three-letter agencies.” “Stonewalled” takes it from here:

Terry tells me of a conversation he’d had with my husband back in 2011. He’d noticed a white utility truck parked up the street by a pond. “I didn’t like that. I didn’t like it at all,” he tells me now, shaking his head. . . . “I didn’t like it because I recognized the type of truck and the type of antennae it had. And if you look” — he points up the street — “there’s a direct line of sight from where it was parked to your house.” My husband, who once worked in law enforcement intelligence, had on several occasions in the past couple of years mentioned the presence of nondescript utility trucks parked in our neighborhood — trucks that were working on no known utility projects. Neighbors noticed, too. Ours is a small community filled with people who pay attention to such things. Some of them worked for the three-letter agencies.”

That’s the kind of thing that would make other reporters at least a tad intimidated, if not a bit paranoid.  Of course, if she lives in a neighborhood full of cops and retired spooks, this might be the amateur hour Obama G-men trainees trying to stake out people whose lives are Tom Clancy novels.

Jazz Shaw and Mary Katherine Ham have been following the story at HotAir as well, with their own opinions on the hacking and journalistic intimidation, as well as reminding us of James Rosen’s encounter with the Obama administration.

My feelings remain much the same as they did last time.

Maybe it’s as a result of too much X-Files, Shadowrun and Project Twilight in the 90s, but I find this government spying stuff is damn creepy.  From the NSA’s massive computer and phone data mining to electronically targeting reporters, it’s like 90s conspiracy-themed entertainment has become 2009-present reality.

I’m sure there’s a pop-culture scholarly way to compare Nowhere Man and The Net to current events, but it’s less fun than it is disturbing when you think about it for too long – even if Attkisson and her three-letter agency neighbors are precisely the kind of people who are adept at navigating that kind of world.

From my9NJ, last month:

shaneen allen pa nj

27 year-old Shaneen Allen wanted to protect her family. She took a gun safety course, applied for and was granted a concealed carry permit and she purchased a gun.

“One of my family members, he thought it was appropriate for me to get one because I’m a single mother and I have two children and I work two jobs and I work late and getting up at that time of night I got robbed twice last year and he felt the need for me to get my license to protect me and my kids,” Allen explained.

However, while Allen, from Philadelphia, was covered to carry a gun in Pennsylvania, she made the mistake of crossing into New Jersey with the weapon and now she’s facing a mandatory minimum of three-years in jail.

Allen said that she didn’t know her permit didn’t apply to New Jersey so when she was stopped for a minor traffic offense she told the police about her gun and her permit to carry. In this case, being honest may have cost her.

“The judge tried to tell me that telling the truth messed me up, my life up and the cop said the same thing. Me opening my mouth and speaking out he said I’m one out of ten people that spoke up and was honest and that got me in trouble,” she said.

She’s facing a lot of prison time for the mistaken assumption that she has rights:

After hearing about the case, most people thought there’s no way she would do time for an honest mistake. Well, yesterday she was in court and she can now face a maximum sentence of 11.5 years in prison. Ten years for possession of a weapon and another 18 months for possession of the bullets.

Hollowpoint ammunition is illegal in NJ.  Hollowpoints to NJ legislators are scary evil death bullets.  To those who understand how guns work, they’re effective at energy transfer and thus more effective at stopping threats to one’s life, and they also tend to not overpenetrate and are thus safer for anyone who might be standing behind a threat to someone’s life.

Allen’s attorney Evan Nappen discussed how a person with no prior offenses could end up spending a decade behind bars for being honest.

“New Jersey’s gun law is as unforgiving as a prosecutor or judge wants to make it. Either of those two, the judge or the prosecutor could have taken steps to relieve Shaneen from this situation, but it didn’t happen,” he said.

Nappen said that not only did the judge not dismiss the case, but the prosecutor will not allow her into a pretrial intervention to avoid jail time.

And now her life is being destroyed:

Allen is a single mother of two boys with no criminal record who was working three jobs at the time she was arrested. She said she got the gun to protect herself because she was working late nights. Now since the incident, Allen has lost her jobs, is in danger of losing her house and is struggling to support her family.

“I’m not even proven guilty and I have this hold on my criminal background right now and it’s stopping me from working. Every time they run it they’re gonna see pending or unlawful possession. I feel like I’m already made a criminal,” she said.

Her lawyer did make some good points and had no problem understanding that gun control has racist roots:

When asked for a comment on the case, Evan Nappen, Esq., stated, “New Jersey has a history of racist and sexist gun laws. Women are denied the means of self-defense against larger stronger men.”

New Jersey’s earliest gun laws banned Blacks and Indians from possessing guns. Apparently, not much has changed. End the madness. Pass the national carry reciprocity law in which gun licenses would be recognized by every state and be treated much like drivers licenses. No more innocent victims of New Jersey draconian, racist, sexist gun laws, that are out of step with the rest of America.”

original6465700x700 gun control favored by racists photo by oleg volk-

Now, let’s put this NJ obscenity in context of the Constitution:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

I must’ve missed the asterisk that adds *except in New Jersey, where the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall result in 10 years in prison for possession of arms and no less than 1 1/2 years for possession of ammunition for said arms.

Even with the Heller decision’s half-unconstitutional assertion that only arms in common use are protected (which is wrong and it’s wrongness is explained here), Shaneen Allen’s rights would still be inviolate.  The McDonald v Chicago and now Palmer v DC victories make it clear that you can’t have outright bans on possession of firearms or even carrying of firearms.  In no world does the right to bear arms mean you can’t bear arms.

otis mcdonaldOtis McDonald of McDonald v Chicago, to put a face with the name.

The NJ law is wholly unconstitutional, as it denies the natural right of self defense to people from outside the state (and inside the state, too).  If you’re a tourist in NJ, you’re either a criminal or a target.  If you’re a peaceable, peaceful citizen who’s working hard to obey laws, you’ll find yourself the target of the state and statist supporters who demand you be crucified in the name of hoplophobia.

In contrast to the perpetual media stereotype, and interestingly if you’re on the left and don’t understand that gun rights are universal human rights for everybody, in the Chasing NJ video, it’s the heavyset white guy who’s defending Shaneen Allen, while the black woman demands she be made an example of because it becomes the responsibility of the “registered” gun owner to know every law that can be used against you, even if such laws cannot coexist with the Constitution.

The Constitution is the law of the land, so that argument should be moot to begin with, but assuming the Constitution has no weight in NJ (which apparently it doesn’t), then there’s still the idea that a loyal minion of the state must know all the laws.  I don’t think the black woman demanding Shaneen Allen be crucified has ever heard of laws like the Lacey Act, the Migratory Bird Act, or Wickard v Filburn, which are laws and rulings that mean a clever law enforcement officer could arrest her for the clothes on her back and make a charge stick based solely on the content of the cloth.

The law certainly could get her if she decided to have lobster for dinner one night, so anyone advocating the position that there should be radically different state laws – especially those that somehow operate in absurd violation of the Constitution – had best start getting reading.  “Ignorance is no defense” works if you have 10 or 20 or even 100 laws, not when you have thousands of feet of laws on bookshelves.

And unlike those examples, again, there also is not a specifically enumerated right in the Constitution specifically outlining that the pre-existing natural right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

If NJ were to treat the Thirteenth Amendment like they do the Second Amendment… well… actually things would be about the same for Shaneen, but for the woman in the media telling Shaneen she needs to go to prison for a decade things wouldn’t be so good.  She’d suddenly be wondering how she and Shaneen are being treated so poorly and not understand that it was her own desire to undermine the Constitution.

Also, if NJ Governor Chris Christie wanted to be a serious candidate for president, Shaneen Allen would already be released.

But he’s a RINO who supports illegal aliens and more unconstitutional infringements on citizens’ rights.

Longer version here.  Remember, this is the guy who actively said he will bankrupt the coal industry.

Now, here comes a mandate for 30% cuts in emissions, which are already low.

From WSJ:

WASHINGTON—The Environmental Protection Agency will propose a draft rule on Monday seeking a 30% reduction in carbon-dioxide emissions by 2030 from existing power plants based on emission levels from 2005, according to two people who have been briefed on the rule, setting in motion the main piece of President Barack Obama‘s climate-change agenda.

The rule, scheduled to be completed one year from now, will give flexibility to the states, which must implement the rules and submit compliance plans to EPA by June 2016. States can decide how to meet the reductions, including joining or creating new cap-and-trade programs, deploying more renewable energy or ramping up energy-efficiency technologies.

Either buy carbon indulgencies from Global Warming High Priest Al Gore or throw money at Solyndra or go out of business.  And soon the American people will be experiencing brownouts and blackouts and power loss that will be blamed on the greedy power companies.  There will always be kulaks or counterrevolutionaries or people who are not significantly revolutionary enough who are the cause of misery, never the actual tyrants who engineered it.

The Obama administration is already claiming credit for everything that was done by Bush 10 years ago and that is coming to fruition now.  The Chamber of Commerce (though reprehensible on amnesty) has already come forth warning that the new regulations will cost upwards of $50,000,000,000 for energy producers.  Watching the second Obama video above, he outright states “the companies will pass those costs onto their customers” – you will foot the bill for this.  The EPA is already setting up a legal bulwark to prevent anyone from assailing their new regulations – they’re spending your money to raise your power rates and cut your access to energy and now they’re spending your money on their lawyers to crush anyone who would oppose them.

As usual.

regulations grow freedom dies

Remember Fearless Distributing, the ATF’s plan to create crime in Milwaukee?  Or the score of other crime-creating ATF programs in the last year or so?  Apparently just like the ATF’s Gunwalker Operations like Fast and Furious and Castaway, they’re just going to go ahead and never answer any congressional inquiries and simply expect to never be held accountable.

From FOX:

Rep. Darrell Issa has subpoenaed the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for information about what he calls a “dangerously mismanaged” program, which originally was launched to get crime guns off the street.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which Issa chairs, has been looking into complaints about the program for months. Under the operation, ATF agents set up storefronts in multiple cities to try and entice criminals to sell their crime guns, unwittingly, to the government so they could be traced. But their tactics and missteps, including using mentally disabled people, drew criticism.

Issa, R-Calif., claimed this week that the ATF has stonewalled him by withholding documents and shown a “complete lack of cooperation.”

“I have no choice today but to issue the enclosed subpoena,” he wrote to ATF Director B. Todd Jones. “… The time for hollow promises is over.”

Yup, now is the time for coverup and the media to carry the Obama administration’s water.  For those who say FOX is a conservative news outlet, it’s worth reading how this story is written when it comes to the ATF’s actions.

Under the operation, ATF agents set up storefronts in multiple cities to try and entice criminals to sell their crime guns, unwittingly, to the government so they could be traced. But their tactics and missteps, including using mentally disabled people, drew criticism.

If you’re not familiar with it, read the Journal-Sentinel article.  There aren’t “missteps” that drew criticism.  The entire operation is based around the premise of creating crime in order to say they fought crime.

Details on problems with the program first emerged last January, when The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported on missteps in Milwaukee under the program known as Operation Fearless. In that operation, thousands of dollars in merchandise, as well as several guns, were reportedly stolen from ATF agents.

Again, “missteps”, like this was Chevrolet launching a car with wipers that didn’t work.

Details of other similar operations in other cities later emerged, including claims that one operation was located across the street from a middle school. House committees are now investigating, on the heels of the controversy over the botched anti-gun trafficking Operation Fast and Furious.

And here we get to a big one, and a whopper that somehow exists across the media.  Operation Fast and Furious was not botched.  It did just what it set out to do.  It armed the cartels, got guns to the cartels, blamed American gun stores, and got people killed… and when F&F guns were found at murder scenes, ATF supervisers were practically “giddy” (in the words of whistleblower John Dodson).

There was no “botched” about it.  Fast and Furious worked as intended – just the intentions are so insane that people refuse to accept it for what it was.

When congress began questioning whodunnit, the local ATF guys like Bill Newell gave non-answers, the higher-ups gave no answers, and the paper trail consisted of the DOJ issuing redacted blacked-out non-documents to congress while shredding the real thing:

That's not a print of Malevich's "Black Square".

The FOX story continues, but with watered-down treatment again:

ATF agents, though, have defended the storefront program, saying lawmakers overstate the problem.

“Putting this into context, there were deficiencies with the storefront operations, but there have been many successes and it still remains a viable technique when managed well,” ATF Deputy Director Tom Brandon told lawmakers recently.

The operation in Milwaukee, despite its flaws, resulted in dozens of arrests.

“There were deficiencies?”  The ATF defends it, despite it being a crime-creating program, because people will report it without asking why, and without simply restating what it did and how it did it.

Dozens of arrests are meaningless as a statistic against crime, and dozens of arrests when a fedgov agency is off creating crime being used as a defense is horrible.

It’d be like if the Army said of the My Lai Massacre, “Putting this into context, there were missteps, but we got a body count of 347 probable enemy, so it still remains a viable technique”.

Again, keep in mind this is FOX that’s writing the bland media line about what the ATF did.  Other outlets simply don’t report it at all.

The only reason this stuff has continued is because the press refuses to do their job.  And the few hard-nosed real reporters left are left hung out to dry for doing their jobs.