Beyond the Cusp

March 22, 2014

Can We Trust the Government Alphabet Agencies?

It seems every other week we read of yet another breach in security or illegal program spying on individuals, companies, foreign leaders of both friendly and not so friendly nations, and even agencies monitoring other agencies or even Congress. Then there have been the reports of the Administration using the IRS, OSHA, EPA and NSA among other agencies to spy on, impede operations of, obstruct functions in, intervene in daily operations or investigate personnel, personal, intimate and other sensitive information on organizations, businesses and people who they suspected might oppose or otherwise threaten the aims and objectives of their programs or even interfere with campaigning and electioneering that might oppose the President. The breadth, width and depth of these invasive policies have definitively proven that even if you have done nothing wrong or illegal you still might have much to fear and worry about from a government which appears to stop at nothing to compromise personal privacy of those they suspect of any opposition or even simply disagreeing with policies and intended programs. This past week we learned that the NSA not only has the capability to monitor and record every phone call and electronic communication of an entire nation and store the information for review for as long as a full month. Of course this revelation refused to identify the nation the Administration has chosen for such special consideration and inspection though I have a pretty good idea which nation has such a level of interest for such a deep and total level of spying and penetration into even the daily lives of every citizen and it is not the Russians, Chinese or any of the other nations which many American citizens would consider to be adversaries.

 

One of the most threatening and freedom chilling revelations was the level of inspection and extraneous required paperwork, reports, queries and intensive inspection that were utilized by the Administration through challenging the tax status or approval to applications for tax exempt status of agencies, organizations and other political entities which the administration had singled out as possibly having intentions to work against the reelection of President Obama. When it became obvious that many of the particular groups had identifying information or names containing phrases which included Tea Party, Constitution, Freedom, Conservative, Liberty and other identifiers the Administration suspected would indicate largely conservative, libertarian and constitutionalist groups which they considered to be political adversaries. There have been claims by some conservative and Republican sources claiming that these attacks were largely responsible for the apparent disappearance in the last election of Tea Party groups and have even blamed these reputedly illegal actions for Mitt Romney’s loss in the Presidential election. Of course whether those claims are truly valid is something we can argue forever as nobody will ever be able to prove anything one way or the other. The one thing I hope we could all agree on is such abuse of powers and using the brute force of the government for politicized gains is something that must not be condoned no matter who is committing such actions. What makes these accusations even more frightening is that apparently fellow citizens who work presumably for the public good performed these actions without objection or complaint. But then again, the Administration under President Obama has prosecuted both a higher percentage and larger number of whistle-blowers than any previous Presidential Administration in American history. They have also garnered one of the top spots for resistance and outright refusal to release information when responding to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. In many ways President Obama has operated in one of the most secretive and least transparent Administration ever while also having unheard of levels of malfeasance by government agencies and the worst records on protection and respect of privacy rights of individuals.

 

If none of the above worries you, then perhaps a few other bits of information might place things in a different light. The United States government is working in conjunction with a number of internet companies, technology companies, university researchers and the military on artificial intelligence research with an emphasis on algorithms and programs which can be used to predict both general behavior of the society and to find ways of predicting individual behavior through methods of simple observational data which can be gleamed using current surveillance and other related information. Another threat comes thanks to the Patient Protections and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) which will place all of people’s medical records and information in the hands of the most invasive department who already hold massive amounts of your personal financial information, as the IRS will now be tasked to handle your taxes and healthcare. Add to this the NSA and their abilities to record and analyze amounts of electronic data virtually beyond imagination and their working often at the behest of the FBI or the CIA through requests handled by Homeland Security Agency and couple these abilities and place them in the hands of an oppressive government and you are looking at the worst case combination of the most terrible predictions from the heart of political science fiction such as Huxley’s Brave New World, Orwell’s 1984, and throw in the idea of Carousel from Logan’s Run as the end treatment resulting from the use by Obamacare of a plan named the “complete lives system” for the allocation of very scarce resources, such as kidneys, vaccines, dialysis machines, intensive care beds, and others, as proposed and written by Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, health adviser to President Barack Obama. The future which is approaching faster than many of us can realize will either be a place of unbelievable progress and freedom or the most oppressive government which is intrusive to the point where personal liberties and freedoms will be but a fleeting memory and we will fear even exhibiting the slightest unaccepted action and our every emotional reaction will be picked up and recorded for analysis by biometric surveillance possibly provoking government interventions for the slightest hints of thought crimes.

 

Where I have enormous hopes for the future, I also temper that with a healthy level of suspicion and respect for the potentials for misuse of coming technologies. When I worked as a production repair and test technician as well as an R&D technician with the engineers of a company which manufactured leading edge EEG and computer automated seizure detection systems using mathematical algorithms to detect and aid in diagnosing patients and which were used for sleep studies and treating and analyzing epilepsy and other disorders of the brain, I got a glimpse into how much we were able to determine about medical conditions and other systems simply through mathematical analysis of medical data. This was close to thirty years ago and the company had units which not only recorded up to sixty four channels of EEG but also did seizure detection and analysis in real time even with processors as slow and primitive as were available back them. I also had the pleasure and honor of working with the most intelligent person I have ever had the privilege to know, a gentleman who designed circuits and had an understanding of electronics as well as higher math that was astonishing. I was honored when he chose for me to work on any project and realized the full potential of monitoring and predictive analysis which was available at that time and cannot even begin to imagine where those areas of science, medicine and electronic monitoring have progressed to and attained. That is part of why I have a deep respect for the potentials for government to use technology in intrusive and subversive ways which can be turned against the people in order to control the population under the guise of working for the betterment of mankind. For one frightening example of such simply do some research and read about the “complete lives system” and take a few deep breaths and try to relax with that knowledge and knowing it is at the heart of the government’s healthcare plans for the United States.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

April 20, 2012

The Real Presidential Choice Facing the United States

The loud, cacophonous, clamoring back and forth has only just begun. The candidates of the two main parties will be speaking in opposing terms battling each other on every possible subject exaggerating even the slightest crevice of a difference until it rivals the Grand Canyon. We can expect full-throttle vindictive salvos to be thrown by the Super-PACs even should either candidate choose to stay positive and avoid personal attacks. This coming election has the potential to be the most contentious in recent history if not in all of history. Putting it in the most basic terms possible, we can safely predict that either side has no plans on taking any prisoners and go straight for the jugular of the opponent aiming to render them broken beyond repair if not simply and utterly destroyed. So, what will be the issues most likely to be the main themes of the election and which one will be the singularly most vital question voters will need to address.

The most obvious issues according to the press coverage they are receiving are jobs, taxes, unemployment, the economy, gas prices, and the disparities concerning Warren Buffet versus his secretary. As important as all of these issues may be, they will very likely prove to be secondary when the judgment of history is written some time much later in the century. The underlying theme between the candidates on each of these contentious issues will be the role of government should play in finding the solution. One side will place great importance on the steps the government must take to assure that the people are given the tools to solve any difficulties they are facing while the other candidate will stress getting government out of the way and allowing people to empower themselves without government meddlesome interference. The two sides will argue on which is more advantageous, making the wealthy pay their “fair share” in taxation such that the government will have sufficient funds in order to address and solve the problems the people are facing while on the other hand the argument made claims that allowing the wealthy and everybody else to keep more of their wealth by lowering tax rates so those who are the engines that generate the jobs, such as small businesses, have the additional funds to enable them to invest and employ more people. These themes will be the foundation beneath the discussion on other subjects as well.

Take health-care and health insurance, both of which promise to be a hot potato for both candidates, and again the discourse will revolve around how much responsibility should be granted to the government and how much should remain with the individual. How this particular debate plays out will be of great interest as President Obama can reasonably claim that he molded Obama-care using Romney-care as the prototypical guide. Romney will stress that at least Romney-care was Constitutional as it was a state program while Obama-care is not Constitutional being a Federal program and thus against the limitations placed on the Federal Government by the Constitution. For many in the electorate it will be required of Romney that he convinces them he had a turning point on the idea of government getting so fully involved with health-care thus placing distance between his current position and the position allowing him to sign the Massachusetts Health-Care Insurance Reform Law.

Another subject will be the balance between oil, coal, nuclear, natural gas and green energies which will ensure a sufficient supply for the future while also improving the environment. This will also revolve around the role of government regulations, licensing, involvement and promotion in each of these forms of energy generation. What will be of particular interest on this subject is whether either candidate will have a singular position and remains consistent on their message when talking to the different audiences. Will their position ring with the same message when they are speaking in Texas as when they are talking energy in San Francisco. This is something that both extremes on this issue from the coal and oil workers and the strident environmentalists should be interested and both candidates should be fully vetted and revealed if their message is overly adjustable and tailored for the separate audiences. Energy policies are often a good indicator with which to test the honor and honesty of candidates as the wide gulch between the two extremes between differing audiences provides temptation for candidates to adjust their rhetoric tailoring the message to fit the audience thus proposing contradictory positions at different times.

But what is the seminal issue of this coming Presidential election? When looking at each issue it becomes obvious that even more than has been the historic norm, the role of government in our lives and in all segments of society are going to be the central theme. We are faced with a significant difference between the two candidates. The choice is whether we desire to restore government to the restraints of a limiting Constitution or if we wish to transform the way we interpret our Constitution towards making government proactive by removing the limitations over the role of the Federal government. Will we choose to restructure the United States by dismissing Constitutional constraints or reestablish a restrictive Constitutionally limited governance United States? This is the choice in the starkest of terms with which to demonstrate our choice when we enter the voting booth this November. Either we retain the guards against unlimited government power or transit to a government that can dictate every item in our lives. We will be choosing whether we place the individual over the government or place the government to be preeminent over the individual. Which one do you trust to make all the choices going forward, each individual person with the rights and responsibilities for their own actions or the bureaucratic governance making the choices taking the responsibility for all consequences and doling out rights as they find necessary. Do we desire the responsibility derived from individual liberty or the comfort of simple compliance derived from communal group-think?

Beyond the Cusp

October 25, 2011

Our Constitutional Challenge

The Constitution of the United States of America is coming under challenge. There are forces wishing to replace the Constitution or, at a minimum, completely change the fundamental meanings of its parts in order to strip the people of their independence and rights while empowering the State and those in power such that the United States will be transformed into a socialist, top down, all powerful, centrist controlled institution. This will be done using dual methods ib order to assure the transition by one method or the other. The two paths to bring on this centralized, all powerful, redistributive state will be through financial collapse and through over-regulation making the government into a police state where nearly every part of life is regulated by one or another agency established by acts of Congress and allowed to stand by the courts. The American people need to wake up and bring this heinous plot to an end and do so starting with the next election cycle and not give up until the original intents of the American Constitution have been reestablished and the Federal government brought to heed the people. From time to time I intend, as the muse strikes me, to write articles on this subject attempting to shine the light of truth on the steps that are necessary if the United States experiment in liberty is to continue and hopefully succeed.

Many have spoken and written about the imperative to replace President Obama in the 2012 election. Where that is true, it is simply insufficient to elect somebody other than President Obama to take over the White House and the Presidency. We need to make sure whoever we choose to replace President Obama will be sufficiently true to the Constitution and not just another President who will continue the spending and over-regulating of Americans. Look back at all the Presidents since 1900 and you can count the number of Presidents who supported faithfully the letter and the spirit of the Constitution on one hand. In my estimation, the only Presidents who were Constitutional strict constructionists were Taft, Eisenhower and Reagan; with a possibility of including Truman, but probably none other. Under every other President starting even before the twentieth century we have had them enlarging the Federal footprint by one means or another.

Teddy Roosevelt, the first President of the twentieth century, gave birth to the Federal Government land-grab known as the National Parks System which has gobbled up over one third of the total land in the United States and controls vast swaths of land under which are the nation’s largest energy deposits in either coal or oil. Under Woodrow Wilson we changed the US Senate into simply a second House of Representatives by making the Senators directly elected by the people as well as his signature act of passing the Federal Income Tax Amendment. Amendments 16 and 17 probably have done more damage to our Constitutional Republic than almost anything else one can think of. They ended the fiscal independence of the people and brought the age of State’s Rights to a close, two fatal cuts into the heart of our system of government as put forth by the Founding Fathers. Franklin D. Roosevelt, where to start, just the name FDR makes any Constitutionalist’s blood run cold. Social Security, Minimum Wage, and almost countless more. FDR would have also killed the sanctity of the Supreme Court when he attempted to pack the Court because they were an impediment to his larceny against the Constitution. Lyndon B. Johnson ranks as an equal to FDR in my opinion. The Great Society, Welfare, Federal Funding for Education, War on Poverty, Medicare, Medicaid, Gun Control and so much more. President Nixon gave us a period of Price and Wage Control, Removed the Gold Standard for our Money, instituted the Environmental Protection Agency, the Clean Air Act, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration which provided for an endless number of bureaucratic regulations. Jimmy Carter gave us the first large scale bailout when he bailed out Chrysler while also introducing Americans to a couple of new phrases, malaise and the misery index. George H. W. Bush, William Jefferson Clinton and George W. Bush all mostly added and aided many of the earlier programs simply by increasing their scope and funding. Each had their own expansion of the Department of Education with new initiatives which mostly resulted in detracting from education while opening many school systems to mass cheating on test scores and grade inflation in order to meet the new goals while adding nothing to the actual education of the students. During each of these presidencies our ranking in education amongst the nations of the world has steadily declined. Also, as these Presidents all supported the overreaching of the Federal Government and its monstrous bureaucratic regulating mechanisms, the government simply granted itself more power and influence over every segment of the lives of the people through the simple actions of mission creep. Every Federal Agency will, without any outside urging needed, grow and expand writing new regulations and redefining its purview wider and more inclusive simply to survive and grow. Most of the numerous agencies that make up the Federal government now act in a similar manner as an infection in that they continue to grow and take over more and more areas and spread their affects over a wider and wider segment of the population and will, also like an infection, eventually kill the host body which is the American people. It must be mentioned that George W. Bush did have one signature addition to expand government called the Medicare Drug Benefit Program which will add untold billions, possibly trillions, to the Medicare budget. And finally, we have Barack Hussein Obama. I am not even going to bother to state his other destructive acts beyond one, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obama Care.

The one item of note is that it has been Presidents from both the Democrat and Republican Parties that have collectively added to the monster we call the Federal Government. Both parties have fed and grown the monster at the people’s expense. So, it is not simply going to be sufficient to defeat President Obama as it is to choose the candidate who will enforce and engage the Constitution in all of their actions and who is willing to, at the very least, stop the madness and growth of the Federal Bureaucracies. But, oddly enough, who ends up as the next President does not have to be the sign of an ongoing crisis as there is another way to put the brakes on this runaway spending and overreaching by the Federal Government, and it is completely doable. Even if both parties and all the third party and independent candidates for President are people who will try to expand the government and steal our liberties, we can nail that door shut and deny them that power.

The fastest way to rein in the Federal Government is through the House of Representatives. Ask those who remember what happened when the voters turned over the House of Representatives to a large group of new faces who were all behind cutting spending. President Clinton was still in the White House yet the budget was greatly reduced, Welfare Reform was passed, and the United States not only achieved a balanced budget, it actually had a surplus. Unfortunately, many of those fresh faces either lost reelection or eventually succumbed to the Washington Succubus which seems to turn everybody to the dark side given sufficient time. Truth of the matter is the American voters have the power every two years to completely change the complexion of the Federal Government simply by changing the makeup of the House of Representatives. In the Constitution; Article 1; Section 7; Clause 1: reads, “All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.” Control the House of Representatives and you control the purse strings of the Federal Government. Once the House of Representatives decides that no money will be spent on any item, idea, department, or function of the Federal Government, that particular function or item is dead in the water. Simply put, the Federal Government cannot spend any funds unless it is initiated by the House of Representatives. Many people, partially due to the impression presented by the press, believe that the President draws up a budget and then presents it to the Congress for ratification. That only continues with the cooperation of the House of Representatives. Should the House of Representatives grow a backbone and defend their Constitutional turf, they can write the budget and should they stick to their guns, then the President in the end will have little choice but to adjust and live within the limit of what the House of Representatives insists upon. The one difficulty is should the President push the issue to the point of the Federal Government shutting down, the House of Representatives can send the President sufficient funds directly appropriated to keep just essential services such as the Military and other services which the public considers necessary and place limitation limiting the continuing funding solely for such services. Under such conditions, with steady and strong leadership, the House of Representatives, acting responsibly, should be able to win popular support and force the President’s hand. So, the one guaranteed path to putting the Federal Government back under the control of the people, is to first elect candidates to the House of Representatives and then stand behind their moves to limit spending, possibly even balancing the budget. Imagine that.

Beyond the Cusp

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