Imagine No Taxes

chains_broken11On Tax Day, I dared to wonder what happiness I might pursue with the money I earn but never see. I asked readers to join me in the exercise and imagine what they might do with the money they lost to taxes last year. Reader Mike Mahoney added this insightful comment:

 

I would probably wind up spending it on protection, roads, litigation services. If one looks at tax receipts and the portion of the budget that is enumerated as a power to do things in the constitution you’ll note a similarity. The rest is all done on borrowed money. So, if I didn’t pay taxes I would still pay.

Mike lands a fair point. Government certainly provides a value. In the absence of particular government services, we would need to pursue alternatives, thus incurring expense.

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Priceless: Sebelius ….

The NYT reported that Democrat Kathleen Sebelius, who served as a Kansas governor before becoming Obaman's HHS chief, is considering a run for US Senate in the November 2014 election in Kansas.

The response from the Kansas GOP Chair, Kelly Arnold is this: "If Kathleen Sebelius wants to come back to Kansas to run for office, we will pay her bus fare."

Love it. For the record, under HER governorship, the state data systems were a mess, a horrible mess. It took Republican Governor Brownback to clean them up.

 

 

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MVA Files Final Legal Briefs in Lino Lakes Case

Charging that City actions which “skewed factual information” and “suppressed opposition” were an “abuse,” on April 3 and April 10 attorneys for the Minnesota Voters Alliance filed post hearing and reply memorandums against the City of Lino Lakes for violations of the Fair Campaign Practices Act. The memorandums are the final legal steps in the matter, and now it’s up to the Office of Administrative Hearings to make its decision on this matter.

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NBC: Isn’t it great to have a multi-billionaire pour money into politics?

Let’s do a thought experiment. If Charles or David Koch got invited onto NBC’s Today show to talk about their efforts to advance their political agenda, would either or both get partnered with Savannah Guthrie for a softball interview? Would their interview include suggestions that one of them should run for President? Kyle Drennen at Newsbusters notes that two weeks prior to Michael Bloomberg’s appearance on Today, the network took a much different approach to money in politics:

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Essence of the Constitution

In his column today, George Will lauds a short new book by Timothy Sandefur, The Conscience of the Constitution: The Declaration of Independence and the Right to Liberty. Will provides a short course in the original understanding of the Constitution and the Progressives’ effort to remake it in the name of “democracy.” Please check out his column.

The column presents a useful reminder of the difference between modern liberals and modern conservatives. They go to the roots. The differences are wide and deep.

Drawing on what Publius referred to as discoveries and improvements in “the new science of politics,” the Founders created a frame of government designed to limit the powers of the government by the system of checks and balances with which we are all familiar, at least by reputation. The powers of the government were limited in the interest of liberty.

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LPR issue coming to head at Legislature

A license plate reader (LPR) that many Minnesota law enforcement agencies have and the data it collects can know where you were five days, five weeks, five months, even 5 years ago.  The data the LPR collects and disseminates can be used to get an individuals daily routine down pat.  Just review the Star Tribune articles about former Mayor R.T. Rybak and reporter Eric Roper.

The emerging technology, which can read 1,800 license plates per minute from a device mounted on a dashboard, roof, or fixed on a bridge as is being done in past or now on the Minneapolis Broadway Bridge is a tech-tool for crime fighting.

Usage of LPR's raises issues of civil rights, civil liberties, privacy, and accountability.  This debate has played out on the floors of the Minnesota Legislature in debate, but is coming to a Conference Committee soon.  Both legislative bodies, the House and the Senate, have passed their versions of the bill that's attempting to regulate the use of this vacuum cleaner of data.  Read more at Open Secrets blog. 

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Two paragraphs, so much consternation

At the state convention, the nominations committee has to report on the qualifications of the candidates seeking endorsement.  From the MNGOP state party constitution;

Nominations Committee.

A.
To be eligible to be considered for endorsement or election, candidates for statewide
nonjudicial endorsement and candidates for National Delegate or Alternate must meet all legal
requirements and submit nominating petitions to the Nominating Committee containing the
printed names and signatures of a minimum of 2% of the State Convention Delegates.

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The S Word, Part II: Our Fathers’ House

Years ago, a bunch of people I’ll call The Original Bloggers wrote:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

Or at least impel them to think about it.  I mean, we’re just thinking, here…

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–

Let’s talk about Liberty.  The NSA is snooping on your phone calls.  The IRS is selectively sandbagging the First Amendment.   The federal and state governments are attacking the First Amendment (FEC regulations, sueing businesses that don’t recognize gay marriage on First Amendment freedom of religion grounds, placing gag orders on politicized investigations). You don’t even have the freedom to pick a healthcare plan that works for you anymore.  Your Fourth Amendment rights are out the window if someone tells the cops you might have traffic-sized lots of pot in your house; your property can be forfeited even if you’re never convicted.  The Tenth Amendment is effectively a dead issue; the Feds can claim absolutely anything is their jurisdiction ever since FDR turned the Commerce Clause into the dominant statement in the Constitution.

They’ve even started walking over the Third Amendment, for crying out loud.

So then what?

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If Everyone is Special...

A few years back, the TSA started implementing Precheck security lanes. These lanes were designed for frequent fliers with a long-term travel history and later expanded to include those who have underground background checks to enroll in the Global Entry program. And for a while it worked great.

Those of us who qualified for Pre-Check could expect much shorter security lines with experienced fellow travelers who knew what they were doing. And we didn't have to take our shoes off or our laptops or liquids out of our bags. By streamlining and improving a process that can be one of the more frustrating parts of flying, it significantly improved the overall travel experience for those who were part of it. After years of moving in the wrong direction, there was finally step in the right direction to make flying somewhat less of a hassle. Three cheers for Pre-Check!

Recently however, I began to notice that the lines for Pre-Check were getting longer and longer to the point where the "regular" security lanes had shorter lines. And more and more of those waiting in line with me didn't fit the profile or an experienced or trusted traveler. What had happened to something that was actually working well?

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Disclosure, Part 4

In a series of posts earlier this year [12, and 3] I wrote harshly of the inner workings of and motivations behind the pro-same sex marriage political action committee MN United, founded by Democrat Party insider Richard Carlbom.  It turns out, based on more recent results, that I was not harsh enough.

Perusing the 1st Quarter 2014 filing made by the MN United PAC at the state Campaign Finance Board makes for surprisingly interesting reading.

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Corrupt crony capitalism

Recently, I’ve written about a corrupt government agency that’s titled the IRRRB, aka the Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board. In this post, I wrote about something that the IRRRB funded:

It was a company with direct ties and allegiance to the Democratic Party. After Republican President Richard Nixon’s resignation over the Watergate scandal the business created an “innovative small donor fundraising program called the Dollars for Democrats program,” according to the Meyer Teleservices website.

This afternoon, I wrote this post to talk about how the IRRRB resurrected that program with a little twist:

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