Tag Archive: Federal government of the United States


Domestic Spying Will Continue Uninterrupted

 

 

 

 

” I say “so-called” government shutdown because most federal activities will continue and most federal employees will continue to work. If you had plans to visit Yellowstone National Park, you’re out of luck until the government reopens. However, the NSA will continue to track our private conversations, the military will continue to expend blood and treasure protecting the interests of wealthy allies, and the federal entitlement system that’s the source of our future fiscal imbalances will continue to pump out the checks.

So while it is true that some of the federal leviathan’s tentacles will take a brief respite, its reach into practically every facet of our lives will continue largely uninterrupted.

Unfortunately, one of those tentacles that will live to see another day is Obamacare. As a libertarian, I would obviously like to see it completely dismantled. But the political environment is not friendly to this stated aim of House Republicans. Democrats still control the Senate and the law also happens to be the current White House occupant’s signature policy “achievement.” It would take overwhelming public opposition against reopening the government with Obamacare in place for the president to even consider agreeing to such a deal. The law might not be popular, but neither is shutting down the government over it. A mainstream media that is less sympathetic to an interventionist federal government would be helpful to the House Republican cause, but the opposite is reality.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Must Be More Of The “Hope & Change” We Were Promised

 

 

 

” Just 49 percent of Americans said they had a great deal or fair amount of confidence in the federal government to handle international problems, according to a Gallup poll released Friday. The previous low was 51 percent in 2007.

The public’s trust is even lower when it comes to domestic issues. Just 42 percent of Americans answered with a great deal or fair amount of confidence in the government to handle issues at home, one point below the previous low from 2011.

Democrats have far more confidence in the government than Republicans: 78 percent of Dems trust the government on international issues compared to just 35 percent of Republicans. “

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Part I Of A Two-Part Analysis Of Ethical And Legal Questions Pertaining To Whistleblowers Who Expose Government Wrongdoing

 

 

” Recent revelations about the extent and details of the massive NSA surveillance program have been made possible mostly by the actions of a single whistleblower, Edward Snowden, presently in hiding from the wrath of the US government, whose shameful and frightening secrets he has now made public knowledge. Despite repeated denials by its officials, it is now evident that the NSA runs a data-collection and spying network which collects masses of data on the private communications of non-US citizens, and some private communications on US citizens. It does so without requirement for any individual warrants for its targets, and without requirement for any probable cause with respect to any of the individuals whose communications are collected. Instead, the entire program operates under a broad procedure-based warrant system, whereby a special clandestine court hears submissions from the government in secret and then dutifully approves general procedures for mass surveillance, without any adversarial argument being raised by any other party. The warrants allow mass surveillance and storage of data at the discretion of NSA analysts, and these warrants are clearly at odds with the principle of eschewing unreasonable searches.[1]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phones Leave A Telltale Trail

 

” The NSA, through secret court orders served to U.S. telecommunications firms, scoops up metadata relating to almost all calls made into and within the U.S., which it can later query as part of a terror investigation. U.S. officials say that kind of work, in concert with other techniques, has helped thwart “dozens” of terrorist plots in the U.S. and overseas. Critics charge it represents an invasion of privacy.

The typical smartphone user can give off a total of nearly 100 pieces of highly technical data through calls, texts and other activities, according to research by Tracy Ann Kosa, a digital-privacy expert at the University of Ontario. This information includes the time that phones make contact with cellphone towers, the direction of the tower with respect to the phone and the signal strength at the time.

Ms. Kosa said much of the data is “insignificant on its own.” But “every little piece counts,” she said. “Think of it like footsteps—or calories.” “

 

 

 

 

 

 

Half Way There

 

Tenth Amendment Center

 

” Support for decentralizing power and rolling back overreaching federal acts continues to gain traction within the “mainstream” political establishment. Even some who generally support the DC-centric system seem to be recognizing that the federal government has completely torn itself away from the constitutional moorings meant to limit its power.

New York University Law professor Barry Friedman recently joined the Tenth Amendment Center in calling for a rollback of federal authority over both guns and weed.

Friedman’s Huffington Post article stands out in its consistent application of constitutional principle across the political aisle. The NYU professor grasps what eludes many American partisans: if the feds can control marijuana, they can control weed – and vice versa. And maybe they shouldn’t exercise quite so much control.

Friedman opens his article outlining the recent Kansas law nullifying federal gun acts, specifically provisions involving firearms manufactured and remaining within the state. He even includes the obligatory misapplication of the supremacy clause. But then, he suddenly goes all “tenther” on us.

Still, Kansas may be on to something. As the brewing collision of federal and state marijuana laws makes clear, there has to be some room for the states to have a say in what goods their citizens can possess and use. Eighteen states have legalized marijuana for medical purposes, and Washington and Colorado just did so even for recreational use. The problem is, what Colorado allows, federal law prohibits. Can the states opt-out from the federal laws?

But Friedman proposes a solution that illustrates the root of the problem: allowing the federal government to determine the extent of its own power.” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Debt Ceiling: Assets Available to Prevent Default

 

 

 

 

 

” The debt ceiling, or the legal limit the federal government may borrow, is set currently at $16.4 trillion.[1] In his latest report, Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner predicts that the United States will need to increase the debt ceiling sometime between February 15, 2013, and early March 2013.[2] The Congressional Research Service estimates the federal government will have to issue an additional $700 billion in debt above the current statutory limit to finance obligations for the remainder of FY2013.[3]

WHERE WE ARE

Congress is currently considering whether it should raise the debt ceiling. This is not new territory. Congress has raised, extended, or revised the definition of the debt ceiling 78 separate times since 1960,[4] including 11 times in the past 11 years.[5] However, raising the debt ceiling for the 12th time in as many years without recognizing and correcting systemic problems would have consequences beyond merely tapping revenue and assets to meet FY2013 budget commitments. Continuing to pass debt ceiling increases without proper spending reforms would be irresponsible.[6]

 

 

 

 

… How Much Government Would They Pay For?

 

 

 

taxes

taxes (Photo credit: 401(K) 2012

 

 

 

 ” Let’s assume that the two winners who will split the jackpot take the estimated $379.8 million lump sum. After all, with President Obama’s call for a tax increase on upper income earners, a call echoed by Warren Buffett, these newly minted millionaires could face a 39.6 percent rate—not the current 35 percent.

 

Suppose they’re smart, though, and take the money this year. Then the federal government keeps $132.9 million and the winners keep $246.9 million—less whatever state and local taxes they will owe.

 

Total spending in fiscal year 2012 was $3.54 trillion. Put in other terms, the government spent an average $9.7 billion a day, $404.1 million an hour, and $6.7 million per minute. Do the math, and that $132.9 million in tax revenue would fund the entire federal government for a whopping 20 minutes. “