By Nathan Barton
People constantly seek ways to place the Fifty States in various orders of “liberty” and “tyranny” and best and worst place to have a business, own a home, or retire. But it seems impossible to track everything that makes life miserable for residents and everyone else who has to do business in or travel through the state. Consider Michigan: I’ve been fortunate to only have to be in that stinking, politically-polluted cesspool twice in my life, but there are millions of people trapped in the place. Today, as pro-government, pro-state a magazine as American Legislator features an article about How Michigan’s Absurd Laws Criminalize the Entire Population.” The stats are mind-boggling, including how many more crimes they create each year, that 27% of the state budget pays for incarceration of convicts, and that its penal code has more provisions and sections than Carter’s Little Liver Pills. As Lady Susan pointed out in a recent commentary, what does it matter if it is the FedGov or one of the Fifty States that owns the land, steals the money, and trashes liberty? At least it is easier to escape Michigan to a more free state (relatively) like Wyoming or South Dakota, than it is to escape from the Fifty States to Mexico or Canada. Just don’t think going to Illinois is an escape…
Have you heard? Illinois (again) seeks to make it a crime to record conversations with the police. Undeterred by a state supreme court decision striking down an old law forbidding people from surreptitiously recording police encounters, the Illinois General Assembly has passed a slightly modified version of that same law, which now awaits a signature from the governor. A Democrat, I assume he will sign it. But then, so would most GOP types: they love the cops. This is evil as well as stupid: We have every right to photograph and record a cop, as we do to photograph or record ANYone in any public place (like a road or a sidewalk) or on our property, or the property of anyone who tells us we can. After all, don’t “we the people” own the streets and parks and sidewalks and courthouses and armories and post-offices?” Don’t we? Exactly HOW is a cop different than any sworn public official or military personnel? Or any armed, brutal, abusive gang member? (When we get right down to it: although I apologize to the people who are given a bad name because of the actions of 95% of their comrades.)
(For a good idea of what IS legal and illegal in photographing cops and others, visit Photography Is Not A Crime and read “Ten Rules for Recording Cops.” )
Godfather Politics poses the question, “Does the 10th Amendment Give States the Right to Set their Own Minimum Wages?” Good question, but the answer is NOT what GP says, because the answer is NO. The 10th DOES say that the FedGov does NOT have the power to set minimum wages for the nation. First off, the Tenth Amendment isn’t about “states’ rights” but about the POWERS of states. But second is the FINAL clause of that article: “… or to the people.” If we fail to address BOTH issues, we are sliding further into tyranny. But the article goes on and misses two VERY important questions: Where does the Constitution (or good morality) say that any of the States have any “right” (authority) to set minimum wage laws? And why does GOVERNMENT at ANY level, of ANY type, have ANY moral authority, any legitimate power (or any power at all except that of the gun, the handcuffs, the taser, billyclub, fist and boot) to say that John Smith and Jane Doe cannot agree between themselves on how much John pays Jane for her work? The answer is NOWHERE. There IS no legitimate power for the FedGov to dictate minimum wages for ANYTHING that it is not buying for itself, as one of the contracting parties. And there is NO legitimate, moral, authority for ANY government to decide what two private parties contract between each other. If a state (or city or county) government wants to say, “Our agencies will not buy anything from anyone unless the workers are paid at least a minimum wage of $X.XX per hour,” that is fine. But when they try to tell MegaCorp that ONLY sells to private individuals and companies how much to pay MegaCorp’s employees, they are doing so with NO LEGITIMATE AUTHORITY.
More about the NYPD and Ferguson grand jury decisions and their aftermath. Robert Scott, Interim Dean of Columbia School of Law emailed students, saying: “The grand juries’ determinations to return non-indictments in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases have shaken the faith of some in the integrity of the grand jury system and in the law more generally. For some law students, particularly, though not only, students of color, this chain of events is all the more profound as it threatens to undermine a sense that the law is a fundamental pillar of society designed to protect fairness, due process and equality.” So he is allowing the students (future lawyers, mind you) to delay their final exams for the current semester, until they can recover from the “trauma” of the Ferguson and NYPD grand jury decisions. This is absolute garbage, of course. If the law school students have not yet learned that the law as applied is dangerous, unfair, unjust, subject to bizarre incidents, and not to be trusted, it is about time (indeed, several years past) that they did so. It MIGHT make some of them realize that their myths about law and the profession they are seeking are just that: myths. It might even make them understand how depraved they are to want to make money off of people’s suffering and the unjust acts of courts and the 99.9% of attorneys that make the good ones look bad. If they are too “traumatized” by this, what will they do when they are defending (or prosecuting) someone and that mean old Nazgul starts screaming at them, or the jurors are more concerned with filing their nails than listening to the shysters rant and rave? Or when they find that their client lied and really DID chop up ten children and two puppies with a hacksaw? Please, how can we learn to properly despise and defend ourselves against lawyers when they are as wimpy and coddled as this?
Not “All Lives Matter” but “Black Lives Matter” because the first phrase has been “co’oped” by various groups who want to demean black people, and because the recent Ferguson and NYPD grand jury cases show that police are targeting black people and not “all people.” At least at Smith College, where the college president was forced to apologize to her students for a message in support of their “protests” of the grand jury decisions. Rather than applauding her (self-serving and bootlicking) support for their “holy cause,” they condemned her choice of words. What can I compare them to? The child who wants the nickel instead of the dime because the nickel is larger?
I suppose this makes some sense: after all, who uses the phrase “Work makes you free” anymore? Or “Remember the Alamo” or many other phrases? (You recognize the first better in the original German “Arbeit macht Frei,” I am sure.)
$404,155,000,000: Taxes Set Record in First 2 Months of FY15—but the deficit is still $179 Billion. The U.S. Treasury continued to rake in tax dollars at a record rate in November as the federal government closed out the first two months of fiscal 2015 with $404,155,000,000 in total receipts, according to the Monthly Treasury Statement released on Wednesday. To put the numbers into a bit more perspective, Heritage Institute notes: The United States spent $3.5 trillion in 2014, ran a deficit of $486 billion and has a national debt of almost $18 trillion. It is impossible for the government to spend less than it steals, it seems. How much more can be taken, and spent? On what? Rome at least understood that empire was intended to make a profit. Of course, today, there are many firms, and therefore many investors and corporate executives, that DO make a very handsome profit off the FedGov’s spending, to say nothing of the massive army of bureaucrats, mercenaries, and foreign kleptocrats that reap a staggering reward for throwing in with the empire.
I find those listings of state and city “freedom” to be quite amusing. It is really a listing of which state has the least amount of tyranny. The quality and type of tyranny varies from state to state, often dominated by the major industry in said state, but each state is equally unfree. There is really no degree of freedom. You are free or not free. Being “allowed” to fill out forms, pay fees and ask permission to exercise fundamental rights does not make a state more “free.”