Tag: government

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As a libertarian, I believe the proper role of government is to deliver the mail, defend the shores and get out of the way. But if the last decade has made anything obvious it’s that even that, apparently, is asking too much. And if government really is the last one in the room to get the joke, the […]

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Old Order Amish Meet New Order Building Codes in Wisconsin

 

85805777_133037278301 - Copy (2)I took a late lunch break today and attended a hearing in a packed Eau Claire County circuit court room along with 27 Old Order Amish men and several members of the community. Last year, I felt cases like this — where Amish got into trouble for building homes for themselves without smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, etc. — were a kind of rare religious liberty case. It seemed to be something historic in my sleepy town.

The fact is that this is the 13th Amish family in court, with five new cases that will probably soon be filed. It seemed the case might be kind of ho-hum, but it wasn’t. Circuit Court Judge Kristina Bourget held Amish defendants in contempt of court for failing to comply with the state’s new Uniform Dwelling Code (UDC) building permits. The judge ordered the Sheriff to placard-evict Amos and Vera Borntreger and their four children (including an infant) from their home located in Fairchild, Wisc.

The judge’s decision means that in the next few days the Sheriff must put the Borntregers out of their home, post a placard, and padlock the doors. Like many other Amish, the family is charged with two UDC violations: “Fail to obtain building permit” and “No sanitary permit.” Not only will they be homeless, they are being fined $42,700 — a bankrupting sum for family farmers of modest means. (Last year, the fines of several Amish families totaled $309,500.)

A Federalist Moment

 
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By a factor of nearly three to one, Americans believe that state and local government is more successful at solving problems than Washington, D.C. In the just-released Heartland Monitor Poll sponsored by Allstate and National Journal, 64 percent of respondents said that more progress is being made by governments close to home compared to just 26 percent who chose the federal government.

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I’m seriously beginning to think that Loki was right all along. In Marvel’s The Avengers, Loki (the villain), addresses a frightened and terrorized crowd in Germany, rendering a twisted, dark judgment on the nature of humanity: Loki: [to crowd] Kneel before me.  I said… KNEEL!  Is not this simpler?  Is this not your natural state?  […]

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From The Lamb’s Supper by Scott Hahn: Routines are not just good theory. They work in practice. Order makes life more peaceful, more efficient, and more effective. In fact the more routines we develop, the more effective we become. Routines free us from the need to ponder small details over and over again; routines let […]

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I used to believe that the sole role of government is to deliver the mail and defend the shores. I now realize that this is asking too much. Speaking of the mail, have you noticed that you never see U.S. Post Office and DMV employees in the same room at the same time? I’m beginning […]

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The Party Of Government

 

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Only one thing can be said with confidence about the upcoming midterm elections: that semi-retired lawyers will retain a majority in both houses of Congress.

Disgust with federal incompetence is seeping into our bones and Americans are not taking it in stride.

A Basic Chicken-or-Egg Question for Conservatives

 

Let’s forget about the mid-term elections for a minute and consider two fundamental facts: 1) government don’t work good (in the immortal words of Michael Barone); and 2) the modern American (Homo ironicus americanus), with his vintage clothing, white privilege seminars, environmental impact statements, interesting facial hardware, skinny no-whip lattes, shade-grown artisanal quinoa, etc., etc., is not the same creature that invented Coca-Cola, built the Golden Gate Bridge (under budget, ahead of schedule and using only private financing), whupped Hitler and Tojo and invaded the Moon (Homo virilis americanus).

Most reasonable people would agree that there is some relationship between fact 1 and fact 2, beyond mere correlation.

Why Doesn’t Washington Want Me to Have Clean Underwear?

 

laundryA while back, we had to replace our 12-year-old washer and dryer. Our old units were as basic as it gets: toss in laundry and soap, crank the mechanical timer and, bingo, clean clothes.

Once the washer gave up the ghost, we were excited to replace those dinosaurs with sleek new “High Efficiency” models. Today’s washers and dryers come with Ferrari styling, computer consoles and more lights than a Space Shuttle dashboard. Granted, the cheapest options cost double what we paid for our old units, but finally we could embrace the brave new world of bleeding-edge laundry innovation!

“They probably won’t get your clothes as clean as your old basic washer,” the salesman told me. He added that customers complained all the time, but there was nothing he could do. Government regulators insisted on “high-efficiency” washers and dryers; manufacturers had to comply.

Bring Back That Old-Time Elitism

 

In 1780, François de Barbé Marbois, a French diplomat, sent a series of questions to each of the 13 states. His goal: To compile a report, to be sent back to Paris, on the economic life of the new country. In Virginia, the questions were forwarded to the state’s governor, Thomas Jefferson.

Jefferson’s answers were eventually published as Notes on the State of Virginia. Among its most famous passages is Jefferson’s paean to agriculture:

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  (Note: For entertainment purposes only. – DD) The family I grew up in, like so many American families, was divided politically. On one side there was my mom and two brothers (the conservatives) and on the other there was my dad, sister and me (the right-wing nut jobs). As an adult, the milieu I […]

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Petitioning the Sovereign

 

I confess I haven’t really been following the whole Michelle Obama school lunch thing. I get the gist: The First Lady has the USDA revise the standards to make them healthier, but the new guidelines are unrealistic, so kids don’t eat the food (with all the attendant behavioral consequences), and schools complain. I figured that eventually reality will win out over this instance of leftist dogmatism, so why bother paying attention?

Today though, Bridget Johnson at PJ Media had an article that made me do a double-take. The background: Congress is working on a bill to give school districts more flexibility, and Mrs. Obama doesn’t like it. (Again, nothing really surprising here; call me when the USDA loses this fight to the 5th graders.) Mrs. Obama explained her motivation:

Michelle Obama… said at a roundtable yesterday with school leaders and nutrition experts that “so many kids write me every day” about the “health crisis in this country.”

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In one of my books, I wrote about the Veterans Administration’s active and deliberate assault on religious freedom, using our veterans as pawns in that effort.  In summary form, here’s what I wrote about the VA’s misbehavior in that arena. At funeral ceremonies in our National Cemeteries, VA management attempted to dictate the permissible content […]

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No, I’m not writing about his book and whether or not a Presidential advisor asked him to lie about the role of Social Security in our nation’s debt (which, to his credit, he declined to do).  This post is about his op-ed in The Wall Street Journal concerning the onset of the Panic of 2008. […]

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Governmental Personhood

 

The Right is known to profess, correctly, that corporations are people. They are made of people and thus have the same rights. But corporations are also beholden to the same responsibilities as people.

When a corporation does something that would be morally or ethically wrong in the case of an individual, the people and the corporation involved are rightly punished. They may have broken a law, or they simply may lose business because of unsavory practices. Either way, we know when a corporation has done something wrong because it has violated a tenet to which we hold each individual. The rules for corporations don’t change simply because of the label “corporation,” because it is still a “person.”

Your Government at Work (Social Security Outrages Division)

 

Using our taxpayer dollars, the government of the United States is confiscating tax refunds of those whose relatives (often their parents) may have received Social Security overpayments. In cases when parents have gotten the overpayments, the federal government sometimes goes after some surviving children, but not others. From the story:

No one seems eager to take credit for reopening all these long-closed cases. A Social Security spokeswoman says the agency didn’t seek the change; ask Treasury. Treasury says it wasn’t us; try Congress. Congressional staffers say the request probably came from the bureaucracy.