June 29, 2015

You can’t make this stuff up: “How can something like this happen without prior warning?” [Darleen Click]

WSJ on broken Greece

THENS—Greece shut down its banking system, ordering lenders to stay closed for six days starting Monday, and its central bank moved to impose controls to prevent money from flooding out of the country.

The steps, a fateful climax to five years of debt crisis, put Greece closer than it ever has been to an exit from the euro and pushes the common currency itself into uncharted waters. The decision came after the European Central Bank—meeting in an emergency session Sunday—opted not to expand a lifeline of emergency funds that has been sustaining Greek banks while nervous depositors pulled their money out.

In response, European stocks slumped Monday and the euro fell. Greece’s stock market will be closed for as long as banks are not open to the public, the country’s Capital Markets Commission said.

On Athens’s rainy streets late Sunday, many ATMs had already been emptied. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s announcement that he would call a referendum on the economic terms that Greece’s creditors want for fresh aid sent many Greeks scurrying to bank machines over the weekend to grab what remaining cash they could.

“How can something like this happen without prior warning?” asked Angeliki Psarianou, a 67-year-old retired public servant, who stood in the drizzle after arriving too late at one empty ATM in the Greek capital. “I want Tsipras to tell me how I am going to make it through the week with €10 in my bag with rent coming up. It has never been as bad as this.”

Withdrawals at bank machines will be limited to €60 ($66) a day for each account, the government said.

Posted by Darleen @ 6:54pm
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June 29, 2015

China’s OPM hack: how to blackmail anyone in the federal government [Darleen Click]

But but but … the Federal Government has better things to worry about, like sprinkling dignity all around like magic fairy dust.

By now, it’s clear that hackers — believed to be tied to the Chinese government – stole files from the Office of Personnel Management that amount to a giant “how to blackmail anyone in the federal government” manual. This was America’s “cyber 9/11,” exposing an administration full of true believers in the expansion of government who can’t handle the most basic tasks of secret-keeping.

How does a government failure so consequential — a foreign power accessing 18 million confidential records, including the intimate personal details of federal workers’ infidelity, drug abuse, and personal debts uncovered during the background-check process for security clearances — happen?

For many Obama critics on and off the Hill, the answer lies in a troubling pattern of incompetent management from Obama appointees selected more for their political loyalty than for their expertise, skill, or leadership abilities.

Let’s stop giving the benefit of the doubt to Obama that this is stupidity and not malice. This administration has been too efficient in dismantling American institutions by any means necessary to ignore the it’s a feature, not a bug angle.

Before becoming the head of OPM, Katherine Archuleta had no background in the kind of work the agency does. Archuleta, a lawyer and former Clinton administration official, was national political director for President Obama’s reelection campaign. She served as the chief of staff to Secretary of Labor Hilda Solís, and was the City of Denver’s lead planner for the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Like the president, she has roots in “community organizing”: She co-founded the Latina Initiative, a Colorado organization aimed at getting more Hispanic voters involved in politics. (In 2011, the Latina Initiative suspended its operations, citing insufficient funding.) Nothing in this record suggests any expertise in the vitally important human resources and record-keeping functions OPM is supposed to serve. Before the hack, Archuleta’s primary goals at OPM appeared to be increasing the diversity of the federal workforce and implementing Obamacare’s changes to federal workers’ health-insurance options. […]

Her answers under oath in front of the Oversight Committee two weeks ago left Republicans and even some Democrats convinced she either knows exceptionally little about the state of her agency’s cyber-security or she’s comfortable lying about it, insisting that breaches aren’t really breaches and that obviously insecure systems are secure.

And the national “media” is too busy slapping rainbow stickers on everything to be bothered.

We are in the best of hands.

Posted by Darleen @ 5:36pm
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June 29, 2015

Kids show moral courage their parents lack [Darleen Click] UPDATED

Fight the NannyState

A school administrator from Indiana has told Congress that students in his district are trafficking in illicit goods on school property, thanks federal law.

And they’re doing it right out in the open in the schools’ lunchrooms.

“Perhaps the most colorful example in my district is that students have been caught bringing — and even selling — salt, pepper and sugar in school to add taste to perceived bland and tasteless cafeteria food,” said John Payne, president of the Blackford County School Board of Trustees in Hartford City, Ind.

“This contraband economy is just one example of many that reinforce the call for flexibility (with the rules),” he said, as reported in the Washington Free Beacon.

Flexibility, my ass. The Federal government has no business in local school lunches.

Of course, if Michelle could make “healthy school lunches” a LGBTQQLMNOP issue, then those kids can be stopped cuz DIGNITY!

*************************************
Now preschools and even adult daycare centers are being targeted.

If the U.S. Department of Agriculture has its way, first lady Michelle Obama’s vision for what Americans should be eating will affect more federal programs.

The department is seeking to overhaul rules related to the Child and Adult Care Food Program, a program similar to the National School Lunch Program, except for day-care providers.

Day care centers are eligible for reimbursements from the federal government, provided there is compliance with their rules.

The USDA wants more vegetables and less sugar served to children and adults in day care centers.

“Grain-based desserts, such as cookies and cakes, would no longer be reimbursable, and children younger than 1 would no longer be offered juice,” the Lansing State Journal reports.

Facilities that deep fry food on-site could no longer participate in the program. “Prepackaged fried foods,” like chicken nuggets, would be allowable, so long as they are served “infrequently.”

The effect could be sweeping.

According to Mlive, at least 30 states “require day cares to use the program’s nutrition guidelines to receive licenses.” The program also feeds about 120,000 elderly or disabled adults each day.

Posted by Darleen @ 1:10pm
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June 29, 2015

Series of church fires [Darleen Click]

This

A fire that engulfed a small, predominantly black church in Charlotte was set on purpose, local officials said Wednesday. Now they are trying to determine whether the act of arson was a hate crime.

“Shock. Disbelief,” co-Pastor Rhonda Kinsey told Time Warner Cable News. “You hear about it, but you never imagine you would have a fire at your church.”

is

MACON, Ga. (AP) — A fire that damaged a predominantly black church in middle Georgia has been ruled arson, authorities say.

The fire was reported at God’s Power Church of Christ in Macon early Tuesday morning. Macon-Bibb County Fire Sgt. Ben Gleaton told local media outlets that investigators determined the fire was intentionally set but didn’t say what led to that conclusion.

disturbing

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Knoxville officials are investigating a case of arson at a predominantly African-American church. Officials say someone set fire to bales of hay outside College Hill Seventh Day Adventist, 1837 Brandau Street, and also burned the church van.

Hate

WARRENVILLE, SC (WFXG) – Massive flames tore through a Warrenville church early Friday morning.

“It happened so quick, it was just like a nightmare,” said Bobby Jones, pastor of Glover Grove Baptist Church. “That’s 33 years just gone down the drain.”

Or Hoax?

Investigate faster, please.

h/t Corduroyalist

Posted by Darleen @ 7:53am
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June 29, 2015

Where will you be when the heresy trials begin? [Darleen Click]

rainbow_borg

Posted by Darleen @ 7:41am
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June 27, 2015

“Time to legalize polygamy” [Darleen Click]

Because, how dare we deny love and dignity to those families who love “plurally”

The question presents itself: Where does the next advance come? The answer is going to make nearly everyone uncomfortable: Now that we’ve defined that love and devotion and family isn’t driven by gender alone, why should it be limited to just two individuals? The most natural advance next for marriage lies in legalized polygamy—yet many of the same people who pressed for marriage equality for gay couples oppose it.

This is not an abstract issue. In Chief Justice John Roberts’ dissenting opinion, he remarks, “It is striking how much of the majority’s reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage.” As is often the case with critics of polygamy, he neglects to mention why this is a fate to be feared. Polygamy today stands as a taboo just as strong as same-sex marriage was several decades ago—it’s effectively only discussed as outdated jokes about Utah and Mormons, who banned the practice over 120 years ago.

Yet the moral reasoning behind society’s rejection of polygamy remains just as uncomfortable and legally weak as same-sex marriage opposition was until recently. […]

Marriage is not just a formal codification of informal relationships. It’s also a defensive system designed to protect the interests of people whose material, economic and emotional security depends on the marriage in question. If my liberal friends recognize the legitimacy of free people who choose to form romantic partnerships with multiple partners, how can they deny them the right to the legal protections marriage affords?

Polyamory is a fact. People are living in group relationships today. The question is not whether they will continue on in those relationships. The question is whether we will grant to them the same basic recognition we grant to other adults: that love makes marriage, and that the right to marry is exactly that, a right. […]

To be clear: our lack of legal recognition of group marriages is not the fault of the marriage equality movement. Rather, it’s that the tactics of that movement have made getting to serious discussions of legalized polygamy harder. I say that while recognizing the unprecedented and necessary success of those tactics. I understand the political pragmatism in wanting to hold the line—to not be perceived to be slipping down the slope. To advocate for polygamy during the marriage equality fight may have seemed to confirm the socially conservative narrative, that gay marriage augured a wholesale collapse in traditional values. But times have changed; while work remains to be done, the immediate danger to marriage equality has passed. In 2005, a denial of the right to group marriage stemming from political pragmatism made at least some sense. In 2015, after this ruling, it no longer does.

That didn’t take long, did it?

Insert all the I-told-you-so’s here.

Not that I expect any apologies from the #LoveWins crowd — history begins with them and being a Social Justice Brownshirt means never being held accountable.

Posted by Darleen @ 12:56pm
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June 27, 2015

How you get there matters. Still

Regardless of where you stand on same sex marriage, ObamaCare, or the very idea of “unintended discrimination,” the process of how we interpret and apply law — and what counts as liberty, in the sense it was intended by the founders and framers and to the extent it exists in a representative republic — is crucial to the protection of the individual and a the frustration of the state, whose natural impulse is to forever increase it’s own power. It should be of no debate that a country forged in revolution against a faraway King and whose political and social ideas are expressed in the Declaration of Independence, was born of a distrust of centralized authority and a desire for liberty, which was always defined by negative rights. Separation of powers was a key element to the genius of our Constitution, a crucial check on the coalescing of power around a single unified entity. And yet what we have today is an Executive that makes law; a Legislative branch that makes law; an administrative state that makes law; and a SCOTUS that makes law.

That’s about as unified as one centralized federal power can get.

Proper interpretation of law — and adherence to the process, when it is joined with a clear idea of what it is we think we’re doing when we interpret — is one of the foremost safeguards of liberty, in that it assures the stability of law and in so doing allows for equality before it. Without a fixed and repeatable process, the rule of law is surrendered to the rule of caprice, the rule of whim, the balk assertion of power — all carefully camouflaged as legitimate “interpretation.” It is not: in the context of legal hermeneutics, certain conventions apply. First, the court, in order to even begin the process of interpretation, has to acknowledge that the text presented them was intended; these seems fairly self-evident, but too many ideas of interpretive theory would try to kill off the author(s) in order to claim power of the meaning of a text for themselves. Second, because we are dealing with law (and not, say, Joyce’s Ulysses), legal convention requires that the texts produced by lawmakers and handed over to courts for application and interpretation must be as clear as possible in their practical expressions. That is to say, because we want laws to be understood, they need be written in such a way that the intent behind them is as clear and unambiguous as it can be made to be. This is how convention serves intention, and why we use convention as one of the tools to determine intent. In law, that convention is crucial: because the force of law carries with it the potential for fines, imprisonment, and even death in some instances, we insist that it be clear and easily determinable. Bad law that isn’t clear should be returned to the legislative branch for revision.

Unfortunately, we now have courts that believe it is their job to rewrite the bad text of the legislature to comport with what they claim is their intent. But if a court is aware of a legislative intent that doesn’t appear in the text of the law in any comprehensible way, they aren’t “interpreting” it at all. They are laying claim to knowing what it means regardless of how someone not privy to that hidden and unsignaled intent cannot possibly be expected to be. Whether it’s turning “penalty” into “tax” or turning “by the state” into “by the state and also the federal government and IRS,” these acts of judicial presumption are arrogant and immoral. No one would ever allow that a court can write the law as it so sees fit, even in contradistinction to the legislative branch who wrote it.” And yet when they do so, but do so using the emptied signifiers left them in a text whose intent they either dismiss, invent, or claim special knowledge of, this is precisely what they are doing: they are rewriting law, creating new texts from the ones presented them, and then attributing their *own* superlegislative intentions back to lawmakers, whom they claim to be “helping” by rewriting statute.

As Justice Scalia points out in his dissent to Obergfell, Anthony Kennedy simply does not have the authority to determine “settled law” for 300+ million people using “it just feels right” and “it’s time” as a legal and coherent jurisprudential rationale. The State does not grant one “dignity,” nor should it, and Justice Kennedy doesn’t get to find the (surreal) “right” for people not to be lonely. He likewise doesn’t get to decide, as he did in the housing decision, that organic statistical dispersion is somehow de facto proof of “unintended prejudice” — a ruling that suggests that whites, or any wealthy people who, because of their wealth, must be *kinda* white, are necessarily bigoted *even if they don’t know it,* all because they have more than someone else, and as a result live in areas where those without the means typically do not. This “disparate impact” racialism is a recipe for the very dangerous and illiberal “equality of outcome” proposition used by socialists everywhere (w the political leadership exempting itself from the consequences, naturally). Not to mention, it is based on fundamental inequality before the law, with certain groups granted special “rights” it is not the Court’s place to grant.

Too, John Roberts doesn’t get to pretend he can see the secret intent of a statute passed by lawmakers who didn’t bother reading the thing that, on practical perusal, *explicitly signals an opposing intent* (one that was backed up by clips of Jonathan Gruber bragging about how state exchanges were intended to drag Governors who wanted federal funds along, kicking and screaming if needs be).

Regardless of what would-be philosopher kings and queens decree from their high benches, the US was designed as a representative republic, and the Constitution gives the federal government limited powers, leaving the rest to the several states and to the people, who are meant to self govern within the context of a civil society. Using Civil War amendments (ironic, given that, as amendments, they were ratified by the states — not thrust upon an unwilling populace by a single vote of the Supreme Court) to crack the 150-year-old “right” for the federal government to define marriage, begs credulity: the people who wrote and ratified those amendments had in mind a specific use for them; they never intended to give a future Court leave to empty them of their context and specifics and expand them to usurp powers that are more properly left to the people.

When we allow Courts to claim that their rewriting of law is in fact an expansive “interpretation” of law, we are giving in to a linguistically incoherent idea of what it means to interpret and turning the process into a will to power. Kennedy disregarded the intent of the 14th Amendment, clear not only in its plain text and historical context but also in its legislative history. He has effectively deconstructed what in our history “liberty” has meant (see Thomas’ dissent in SSM case) and rewritten that entire history, deconstructing it and inverting it, much like our culture has done w terms like “tolerance,” which no longer means a right to offend but instead has become a right not to encounter offense, no matter how unintentional that offense may be.

Ted Cruz puts it very succinctly when he notes “Not only are the Court’s opinions untethered to reason and logic, they are also alien to our constitutional system of limited and divided government. By redefining the meaning of common words, and redesigning the most basic human institutions, this Court has crossed from the realm of activism into the arena of oligarchy. (http://www.nationalreview.com/article/420409/ted-cruz-supreme-court-constitutional-amendment).

Arbitrary law brings with it the necessity of police state, because to enforce unequal law one must rely on oppression. On tyranny. Messy “interpretive” thinking creates the kind of consequences we’ll soon see, when same-sex couples begin suing religious institutions who refuse to perform their ceremonies. There’s a REASON Hillary Clinton’s campaign wouldn’t come out and say that the tax exempt status of a church not comporting with the Unites States of Anthony Kennedy may be in jeopardy.

Incidentally, you’ll note that I don’t mention the liberal justices. And that’s because their votes were pre-ordained. No one expected any different. Which is as much of a tell in re: our modern justice system as is any other I can think of.

We live in a post-constitutional period. And those currently celebrating the trees are too blind and overcome with superficial bliss to see that they are actually wandering deeper into a forest that will eventually envelope them, and from which they will never be able to find their way out.

Posted by Jeff G. @ 9:17am
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June 26, 2015

Think SCOTUS’s newly invented “fundamental right” to same-sex marriage ends here? [Darleen Click]

Let’s see how Canada is faring, shall we?

Posted by Darleen @ 7:29pm
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June 26, 2015

Muslim terrorists celebrate Ramadan by slaughtering “infidels” [Darleen Click]

Not that anyone really cares when the Left is celebrating yet another victory in its war against traditional Judeo-Christianity

Terrorists gunned down dozens of tourists on a Tunisian beach, left a severed head atop a fence outside a French factory and blew up a Kuwaiti mosque Friday in a bloody wave of attacks that followed an ISIS leader’s call to make the month of Ramadan a time of “calamity for the infidels.”

There was no confirmation that the attacks were a coordinated effort ordered by ISIS, but the suspects who attacked a U.S.-owned gas factory in southeastern France left the terrorist army’s flags next to the severed head of their victim, and an ISIS affiliate claimed responsibility for the deadly Kuwait blast.

Posted by Darleen @ 1:59pm
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June 26, 2015

SCOTUS: Mothers and Fathers are henceforth irrelevant [Darleen Click]

and probably pretty hatey, too.

Time to ban Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and substitute Government-approved Adult Guardian Day.

“The Supreme Court of the United States has descended from the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Story to the mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie.”

~~Justice Antonin Scalia

Posted by Darleen @ 1:18pm
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