February 7, 2012

Tuesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (020712)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 7:15 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow later. Other topics are also fair game.




  1. This morning on the radio this curious blurb was announced regarding “Sovereign Citizens”. It prompted me to look it up.

    FBI: ‘Sovereign citizens’ are ‘sovereign killers’


    The FBI has now created a national strategy to address the issue, which includes briefing members of police around the country on signs of potential violent behavior from such people and methods to prevent it.

    Note where this fresh article was found…RT It is interesting how they distilled their information.

    Here are the google news results on “sovereign citizens” as you can see the narrative seems to be spinning up. http://www.google.com/search?q=soveriegn+citizens&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a#q=sovereign+citizens&hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=ELm&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&prmd=imvns&source=univ&tbm=nws&tbo=u&sa=X&ei=NCkxT9rwNcLr0QHVqfHrBw&ved=0CG0QqAI&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&fp=34b7357e2b27f8b9&biw=1024&bih=452

    Below is the FBI’s own description.

    Sovereign Citizens
    A Growing Domestic Threat to Law Enforcement


    The FBI considers sovereign-citizen extremists as comprising a domestic terrorist movement, which, scattered across the United States, has existed for decades, with well-known members, such as Terry Nichols, who helped plan the Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, bombing. Sovereign citizens do not represent an anarchist group, nor are they a militia, although they sometimes use or buy illegal weapons. Rather, they operate as individuals without established leadership and only come together in loosely affiliated groups to train, help each other with paperwork, or socialize and talk about their ideology. They may refer to themselves as “constitutionalists” or “freemen,” which is not necessarily a connection to a specific group, but, rather, an indication that they are free from government control. They follow their own set of laws. While the philosophies and conspiracy theories can vary from person to person, their core beliefs are the same: The government operates outside of its jurisdiction. Because of this belief, they do not recognize federal, state, or local laws, policies, or regulations.1

    It smacks of the DHS right wing terrorism threat report written by the Southern Poverty Law Center. What concerns me here is the broad nebulous definition of domestic terrorism that would encompass anyone who dissents against government actions or policies. By the FBI’s definition of who are likely terrorists it would lower the bar on search warrants, wire taps, etc. to mere fishing expeditions.

    I raised a related issue some time back regarding Holder and Obama’s desire of trying foreign terrorists in the criminal domestic courts. The net effect would be to subject anyone who dissents to the label of domestic terrorist. http://www.publiusforum.com/2009/11/18/the-rule-of-law/

    Related: The New Crisis? http://www.publiusforum.com/2010/03/30/the-new-crisis/

    Comment by dscott — February 7, 2012 @ 8:48 am

  2. You are correct. I’ve seen other indications to this effect in other headlines.

    If you invoke the Constitution, Big Sis thinks you can be tagged as sovereign-citizen extremist and part of a domestic terrorist movement, which conveniently picks up the entire Tea Party and so many others.

    Comment by TBlumer — February 7, 2012 @ 9:01 am

  3. The beginnings of the lost decade (US):

    “No Country For Old Men?” Bernanke Plan To Exterminate Savers Is Unsustainable


    The upshot of Bernanke’s plan to save the US government in borrowing costs with near zero interest bonds to help Democrats with their unsustainable spending binge is to drive savers into ever riskier investments. Once people learn to live under the new normal of risk, investing outside the country (capital flight) doesn’t seem so bad after all.

    On a personal note, I strictly avoid foreign investments due to volatility. At some point volatility becomes acceptable when all your offered is 1% in an inflationary environment of 7%.

    I would like to remind everyone of a major piece of the American success story is the foreign friendly nature of US investing and repatriation. Foreign capital is responsible for a significant portion of US economic power. When that advantage goes away, so does economic success. What Bernanke has done is to sacrifice the economy to save the politicians at the expense of the economically challenged and middle income earners. On the other hand, when market psychology turns to higher risk instruments, that means eventually the government must raise interest rates to attract a figleaf of buyers lest ALL the bonds be bought with printed money from the Fed.

    Comment by dscott — February 7, 2012 @ 10:07 am

  4. It seems the DHS is also ratcheting up/down the definition of domestic terrorism.

    Homeland Security: You’re All ‘Militia Extremists’ Now


    So what drives militia extremism according to DHS now is “belief that the government deliberately is stripping Americans of their freedoms.” It is demonstrated by opposing “many federal and state authorities’ laws and regulations, (particularly those related to firearms ownership).” Would writing about those topics (as I am now) fall under “facilitation”? On its face, it’s hard to see how it could be excluded under DHS’s broad definition.

    Comment by dscott — February 7, 2012 @ 10:21 am

  5. Senator Portman’s letter to AG Holder on contraceptives in the Individual Mandate.


    Comment by Cornfed — February 7, 2012 @ 10:11 pm

  6. Moving the Goal Posts on the Individual Mandate

    The individual mandate will require that every legal citizen who is alive and breathing must carry a Health Insurance policy with “minimal essential coverage”. The HHS is in the process of promulgating rules to implement the mandate, prior to eventual enforcement on insurers (reducing the plans they can offer), on employers (defining the plan’s minimum coverage), and on individuals (fining those of us who either don’t have a plan or don’t have one with the right coverage contents).

    Here’s own the dialogue is trying to move the goal posts. The requirement is for MINIMUM essential coverage. We should only have to share the burden such that the mandate is providing a minimum safety net. But wait, what if the emphasis is on the second word: Essential. What items of health care AND pre-paid for via insurance should be considered “essential”?

    Here, Jonathan Cohn tries to explain away the new birth control mandate. It’s just part of most everybody’s plan already. (Let’s not mention the “If you like your current plan, you can keep it” promise.) Before Jonathan gets into specifics, he make sure “I feel your pain”, like Bill Clinton. “This is a genuinely complicated issue .. I have mixed feelings” … I do like you [Catholic charities], but I like President Obama’s administration more.

    After failing to assuage our feelings, after failing to distract us from self-defense reactions to protect our freedom of religion, he’s ready to introduce the New Language: black is white. It’s really not about “essential” coverage; it is about “comprehensive” coverage.

    You poor idiots are just confused. Sit down now, and I will patiently enlighten you. “The place to start is with the decision itself, since there seems to be some confusion about what, exactly, it entailed. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, virtually every American will soon become entitled to a comprehensive health insurance policy.” See, it’s all free. We’re giving you what you need. We want to give this to you, and you should WANT it; after all, don’t you feel ENTITLED to it? “Those who work medium or large businesses will be expected to get that comprehensive policy from their employers.”

    So just quiet down now. Let us do the heavy lifting of writing rules and regulations, so those meany lords known as Big Business can be properly told by govertment what to do. “But before that happens, somebody has to define “comprehensive.” That duty falls to the government.”

    See, we really do WANT to have to cause increases to your Employer’s health insurance expenses, and the increases they will then pass on to you. We, those who support the individual mandate and the actors on our behalf, the HHS, are just doing our patriotic duty. We’re giving you what you should ALWAYS have been entitled to, but are only legally entitled to it because we passed the AFFORDABLE Care Act. It’s at no cost to you, remember. It’s just defining a simple word, called “comprehensive”.

    Never mind that “comprehensive” is not in the law. The law only requires “minimum” essential coverage. Never mind that, even before the mandate has gone in effect, we’re already ‘moving the goal posts’ and growing “essential” into an ‘everything and the kitchen sink’ luxury health insurance plan that you otherwise certainly would never have signed up for.

    {Side Note to fellow individual mandate supporters: why the heck are you making me do this now, already? before the Supremes approved the law? Before more of the employer plans went away, a year or two into effect and implementation. Crap, we could lose this thing, the mandate, before getting Obama re-elected and cementing his legacy and thus the legacy that this entitlement is in a ‘has been and always will be’ part of the culture. But it’s too late now, and I’ll do my share to sooth the masses.}

    As I said in the first sentence, “…the controversy doesn’t seem to be going away.” So let me try to make it go away by pointing to some soothing ‘experts’. Maybe the silly upset people will listen to that.

    “Back in the summer, [have I bored you already, beginning with a 'here comes a history lesson lecture' phrase? Oh, you are still ready. okay, here are the smart people you should listen to and respect.] …the administration…was heeding the advice of NON-PARTISAN IOM”. See, they did all this reseach. “cited, among other things” this and that and the other that I know you don’t have time to read. So, really, listen to these NON-PARTISAN experts. It’s for MOM and the CHILDREN. Let’s forget that infant mortality rates are very high. Let’s forget that there are many other means to control pregnancy that don’t require insurance, like self-control (abstinence) and like over-the-counter stuff (condoms). This is about “the health of both mothers and newborn children”. Aren’t you ashamed of yourself now, for being selfish?

    Those mean Catholic leaders. See, my experts were thoughtful and non-partisan, citing Research and Studies. None of this touchy-feely stuff like philosophy or morals. Cold hard facts people, facts that conveniently let me use that touchy-feely line that goes like this: “for mothers and the children”. It’s the Catholic “institutions”, one of those cold-hearted big bureaucracies. It’s the Catholic leaders (remember them, from the incest scandals?). They are being mean to the Non-Catholics. Never mind that they are ‘being mean’ by PROVIDING JOBS and being mean by PROVIDING JOBS WITH HEALTH CARE COVERAGE. That just isn’t good enough. THEY HAVE TO PROVIDE THE AMOUNT OF COVERAGE I SAY. “The administration said no”, oh so politely and patiently standing up to these meanies. But it wasn’t good enough. We’re just “asking religious institutions to spend money”. Please ignore my cleverness in using “asking”, when actually we’re TELLING them, and telling them with the force of government and fines, and every other Big Stick that government could then follow up with just because HHS promulgated one teensy tiny little rule. But no, “Critics” are the bad ones; only “critics” are upset here and protesting this new HHS rule. Thoughtful people are happy. It’s not thoughtful and caring people who are saying they don’t want to “spend money in ways that violate their faiths”. No, the only protesters of this rule are Big Dictator Catholic Leaders and Big Business Catholic Institutions. No complaints by real people with hearts and minds.

    “I can see their point.” Really now, I will pretend to be empathetic to show that I am the Nice Guy here. I can see their point, meanwhile, their point will be squashed and ignored; we’re doing this really anyway. IT’s For the Mothers and the Children. We’re the good guys.

    I’ve pretended to be empathetic about your feelings. Now I’m back to feel sorry for you for being stupid and ignorant. See, “strictly from a policy wonk’s perspective” (did that bore you enough to settle down? just using the words ‘policy wonk’, that I’m smart enough to be one and you are not?) If I didn’t bore you into stopping criticizing, maybe throwing out more boring words, like “….single-payer….employer-based system….Affordable Care Act… you pay/your employer withholds/this happens/that happens…” See, it’s all just boring ‘if-this / then-that stuff’, so settle down and just let us have our itsy bitsy rule. After all, remember my title to this piece. You are already paying for it. (Well, most of you are in existing employer plans, and my headlines ignores that my article gives No Stats on how many are NOT currently pay for this ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL / YOU WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN BORN HEALTHY WITHOUT IT coverage.

    “Your tax dollars already pay for birth control, directly and indirectly,” so all HHS is doing is removing the “indirectly”. Everyone will not only be able to see that they are directly paying to have “Minimum Essential Coverage”, the govt will even required you to PROVE you have paid for “Comprehensive Coverage” …ooops, I meant “Minimum Essential” coverage, cause if YOU HAVEN’T DIRECTLY paid for your share, then the Big Friendly Govt is goingn to fine you. It’s only because we care.

    “Is that so wrong?” Of course not. “The critics may think so.” But I know you are not a Cold-Hearted Critic. You are not ‘one of those’, the Big Catholic Leaders, in their funny pointy Pope hats. You are not ‘one of those’, the Big Institutions that pretend to be “Catholic” with special morals but really are just a big places that employs lots of non-Catholics. We’re just trying to look out for the little guy.

    Was HHS so wrong? Am I so wrong? “On balance” (see, I’m not an extremist dictator lunatic nor is that polite small “a” administration), I am not wrong. You must be like me, so you are not wrong and must also see that, since you are already paying for it, what’s the big deal? Now, if all those loud “critics” would just shut up so we nice people, who care about giving you what you either already have or are entitled to, can just get on to giving it to all of you. (Forget that, in giving MORE to you — and you and you and you — there has to be someones we are taking from.)

    Everyone knew we past “comprehensive” coverage in the Affordable Care Act. In fact, everyone should now that you are ALREADY paying for birth control. Nothing new here. If you liked your current plan, you are keeping it. Some “critics” are making an issue out of nothing. Nothing to see here, folks, please move along.
    /end sarscasm.

    Comment by Cornfed — February 7, 2012 @ 11:10 pm

  7. “Pssst. You Already Pay for Birth Control.”
    Jonathan Cohn
    Jonathan Cohn, Senior Editor

    February 6, 2012


    Comment by Cornfed — February 7, 2012 @ 11:11 pm

  8. It is a bad thing that people of faith are paying for things they don’t believe in (sorry, the military doesn’t count as something you can opt out of paying for).

    It’s worse when you require people who object to it to provide it for their employees, and to provide it at their facilities.

    Comment by TBlumer — February 7, 2012 @ 11:30 pm

  9. Extremely Troubling:

    Ter·ror·ist (Noun): Anyone Who Disagrees with the Government


    The Department of Homeland Security and police forces label anyone who they disagree with – or who disagrees with government policies – as “terrorists”.

    Don’t believe me?

    Well, according to a law school professor, pursuant to the Military Commissions Act, “Anyone who … speaks out against the government’s policies could be declared an ‘unlawful enemy combatant’ and imprisoned indefinitely. That includes American citizens.”

    And according to an FBI memo, peace protesters are being labeled as “terrorists”….

    …For example, the following is considered terrorism or suspected terrorism in modern America:

    Protesting anything

    Questioning war (even though war reduces our national security; and see this)

    Criticizing the government’s targeting of innocent civilians with drones (although killing innocent civilians with drones is one of the main things which increases terrorism. And see this)

    Asking questions about pollution (even at a public Congressional hearing?)

    Liking online privacy

    Paying cash at an Internet cafe

    Asking questions about Wall Street shenanigans

    Supporting Ron Paul or being a libertarian

    Being anti-tax, anti-regulation or for the gold standard

    Holding gold

    Creating alternative currencies

    Stocking up on more than 7 days of food

    Investigating factory farming

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXKfEsgLLRU&feature=related speech by Sen Rand Paul. Now could the recent TSA actions against Rand Paul, a Senator, be interpreted in a different light? This is scary. A proposed bill before the Senate.

    Comment by dscott — February 8, 2012 @ 9:45 am

  10. The new face of Domestic Terrorism

    Don’t look now FBI and DHS, but the National Geographic Channel is a hot bed for terrorism under the guise of … Doomsday Preppers


    Actually a very clever use of a pool for aquaponics and micro scale farming. This something that could be used in the third world for sustainable development.

    Comment by dscott — February 8, 2012 @ 12:46 pm

  11. I’ve seen commercials for this, and have wondered why the people involved are so dumb as to let themselves be filmed by a hostile entertainment media, which has caused me to further wonder if these doomsday preppers are really plants (or if some of their members are, so they can utter outrageous things “undercover”).

    Comment by TBlumer — February 8, 2012 @ 12:48 pm

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