I subscribe to a myriad of email lists from lots of different political organizations, including Project Veritas from James O'Keefe. You might remember him as the activist filmmaker who created a series of undercover videos that forced ACORN out of business to change their name.
These emails routinely end up routed to the spam bucket, probably the result of people who either didn't realize they signed up or got tired of seeing them and clicked "spam" instead of "Unsubscribe." That action sends a message back to Google's e-brain, essentially telling the system that because lots of people seem to think this is spam, it probably is.
I check my Spam folder every few days and add the misdirected newsletters' email adddresses to my address book, which seems to route things to my inbox .
I've seen lots and lots of misdirected mail. From eBay, Amazon, Craigslist, MoveOn.org, The GOP, The DNC my dentist, my eye doctor...the list goes on and on. But what I haven't seen on them is this:
A message from Google, implying that O'Keefe had used previous communications to scam recipients.
I'm not big on conspiracy theories, but like I said, I've pulled plenty of list-type messages from my spam folder, and I've never seen any of them with this red warning emblazened across it.
In fact, just this morning, Michelle Malkin's newsletter was also in my spam box. Not surprising, because I just signed up for it, and her email wasn't in my inbox. But it didn't have a big red scary warning splashed across it. (Yet?)
And just to clarify - I have seen this red message before but only on emails from real scammers. You know the type - the ones that claim to be from Paypal, your bank, or a Nigerian prince asking for your account number and password.
So, I had to ask: Why is Google now telling people that James O'Keefe is an identity thief?
Never underestimate the dynamism of the tradition-bound. After all, there are traditions of critiquing traditions. There are traditions of maintaining traditions, and traditions of getting rid of traditions.
We are all traditionalists. Try to look at things that way, and you will be surprised ...
Why is the public not more aware of this carnage [afflicting birds and bats]? First, because the
wind industry (with the shameful complicity of some ornithological
organisations) has gone to great trouble to cover it up ... Second, because the ongoing obsession
with climate change means that many environmentalists are turning a
blind eye to the ecological costs of renewable energy. What they clearly
don’t appreciate — for they know next to nothing about biology — is
that most of the species they claim are threatened by ‘climate change’
have already survived 10 to 20 ice ages, and sea-level rises far more
dramatic than any we have experienced in recent millennia or expect in
the next few centuries. Climate change won’t drive those species to
extinction; well-meaning environmentalists might. [Emphasis added.]
In contrasting economists Pigou and Coase, Steven Landsburg's essay reminds us, in my reading, that there can never be an end to politics, and freedom should not be conceived as being a blissful end state void of politics, but ought to be regarded - much in keeping with the motto of our blog - as little more than a reversible episode on a scale of imperfect approximations -- see also my post Why the State Persists:
A man walks into a bar. He orders several rounds, downs them, and
staggers out. The man has got plastered, the bar owner has got the man’s
money, and the public will get stuck with the tab for the cops who have
to fish the man out of the gutter.
The man pulls into a gas pump. He sticks his BP or Sunoco card into
the slot, fills up and drives off. He’s got a full tank; the gas
station and the oil company share in the profits. Meanwhile, the carbon
that spills out of his tailpipe lingers in the atmosphere, trapping
heat and contributing to higher sea levels. As the oceans rise, coastal
roads erode, beachfront homes wash away, and, finally, major cities
flood. Once again, it’s the public at large that gets left with the
In both cases, Kolbert endorses the “fair and logical” solution: The
man should be taxed to incorporate the costs that his choices impose on
the rest of society.
I like this game. Can I play too?
A man chooses to build his house on the oceanfront instead of 100
miles inland. This makes him especially vulnerable to rising sea levels
and therefore leads him to lobby for a carbon tax. The man gets his
house; the builders and contractors share in the profits, and the
public at large bears the consequence of higher gas prices.
Some people want to burn a lot of carbon, which raises global
temperatures, imposing costs on owners of oceanfront property. Other
people want to protect their oceanfront property, imposing costs on the
people who want to burn a lot of carbon. A journalist at the New Yorker
convinces her readers that the only “fair and logical” solution to this
conflict of interests is to come down entirely on the side of the
property owners, leading to the implementation of suboptimal policies.
The journalist gets paid, the magazine editors congratulate themselves
on the influence of their writers, and the general public suffers the
Should the property owner and the journalist be taxed for exerting their malign influences?
Coase’s key insight is that all of these externality problems are
fundamentally symmetric. The question is never “how do we stop A from
harming B?” but instead “should we let A harm B, or should we let B harm
A”? A consequence of that symmetry is that no abstract principle [...] can possibly be used to guide policy. Any purely abstract
argument for preventing harm from A to B is an equally good argument for
preventing harm from B to A.
Should we tax the man who comes out of the bar and passes out in the
gutter? Maybe. But if your only argument is that the man should not be
allowed to harm the rest of us at no cost to himself, then your
argument also shows that we should not be allowed to harm the man (by taxing him) at no cost to ourselves.
Should we tax the man who drives a gas guzzler? Maybe. But if your
only argument is that gas guzzlers cause harm to others, you’ve got to
face the fact that taxes also cause harm to others.
Who, you might ask is Ted Yoho? Ted, God bless him is not really important to know unless you're from north central Florida or a lobbyist in Washington, D.C. But Ted is an example of what is happening to the GOP all over the country whether the establishment likes it or not.
I will admit that until a few days ago, I had never heard of Ted Yoho or that there was even a primary held recently in Florida. Yoho is important to know because he defeated 12 term Republican Congressman Charles Stearns in a safe Republican district. Rep. Charles Stearns is a pretty decent 12 term conservative Republican according to the Heritage Foundation with a score of 80% (average for House GOP is 65%) and 7th out of 25 from the Florida delegation. By comparison, Allen West has a score of 69%.
Yet, on August 14th, Ted Yoho, a large animal veterinarian and political newcomer defeated this 12 term incumbent running by attacking the NDAA, Patriot Act, neoconservative strains in the GOP, and out-of-control spending. Yoho points to his reading of the Federalist Papers, taking courses at Hillsdale College, and studying the US Constitution as motivations for his run for Congress (and the fact that he thought Stearns was not schooled on these issues).
Yoho represents a much larger trend that is not just a Tea Party trend within the GOP. The Tea Party story is, in my eyes, partly a reflection of the reactivation of conservatives to get engaged in the GOP but also something much, much more. There is something so much bigger that is beginning to percolate that even those of us within the movement itself have probably failed to grasp and recognize as well.
The libertarian view of government is beginning to take over the GOP. It is decidedly not Tea Party in the sense of what those in the mainstream press and many who call themselves Tea Party activists call it. Rather this new insurgent philosophy of government, that used to be relegated to the sidelines of mainstream political thought, has hit critical mass. It is popular and it is about to explode.
The philosophy of limited government and general distrust that large human institutions are any more capable of ruling lives than the individuals living them is taking hold in America. This is certainly not a new philosophy as many will point out when discussing the origins of the Revolutionary War and the philosophical discourse at the nation's founding. But the modern libertarian view of politics is different in ways that reflect real world experience watching socialism, fascism, keynesianism, and an ever expanding police state all over the world. With the power of the internet used to spread the ideas of libertarianism and, perhaps more importantly, show abuses of government power, people are being introduced and buying into the philosophy in larger numbers than ever before.
The story of Ted Yoho is becoming more and more common. In fact, it is so common that I don't even notice it even though it is everywhere. If it is present in congressional and senate races then you can be certain that it is even more prevalent at the state, county, and municipal level. I know of scores of state representatives in my state of Michigan that would be described as libertarian or at least with a strong libertarian bend which was not the case even 5 years ago.
Everyone who visits this blog is very familiar with Rep. Ron Paul who has been a consistently lonely congressman for nearly his entire career. Suddenly, and almost inexplicably in 2007 after launcing a quixotic presidential campaign on a shoestring budget his support exploded to the point that he could raise millions of dollars in one day! Then, in 2010, his son Rand Paul wins a senate seat in Kentucky. State representative Justin Amash wins a congressional seat in west Michigan. Now in 2012 libertarians are coming out of the woodwork. Michigan will soon have its second libertarian GOP congressman when Kerry Bentivolio wins the 11 district seat. Thomas Massie is all but assured a win in Kentucky.
There are probably many, many more who I am failing to mention which leaves only one question - is this a temporary flash in the pan or the future? The answer to that question is purely demographic and, as I'm sure anyone who follows Ron Paul or Justin Amash will tell you, the people in this movement are almost all under 40 with those under 30 being even more prevalent. From my experience, young people entering the GOP are comprised of two types: those who are libertarian leaning and those who find politics fun and want to stick with winners. That is a demographic trend that suggests we are just seeing the leading edge of the movement.
Our future is bright and it is officialy time for the GOP establishment to worry. We are coming and we are growing.
"Hey GOP! You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile."
As the Gratuitous Omnivorous Parasites threaten violence against the Paulians. Of course, violence and the threat of violence are government's method, and the method of government's political parties, too. if the fat cats' hold on you is ever threatened.
On December 15, 2011 Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which contained a provision giving the President of the United States the authority to indefinitely detain Americans who were classified by the President as terrorists or provided material support for terrorists or terrorist organizations. This is the story of how one man (and his office staff) helped expose this dangerous provision and has nearly killed it.
The NDAA is an annual bill that works its way through the Armed Services Committee and includes all the mundane funding and provisions outlining military spending, personnel strengths, and procedures for the country's national defense. The act works its way through the Senate and House committees and then goes to the floor of each chamber for passage and is signed by the president. It is not unusual for there to be arguments about funding issues and discussions about how the military operations/wars are being conducted, but there is usually very rarely Constitutional 'controversial' material that ever comes to light. [It is worth noting that Don't Ask Don't Tell came through these committees but I don't find that a Constitutional question but I recognize that it was very controversial]
Last year, that all changed.
The NDAA had worked its way through the appropriate committees in the Senate and House with little resistance.It moved through the House committee chaired by Rep. Buck McKeon (R) on a 60-1 vote and became HR 1540. The bill then passed the House on May 25 on a vote of 322-96 (only 6 dissenting Republicans). It passed through committee on November 15th in the Senate chaired by Sen. Carl Levin (D) on a 26-0 vote and became SB 1867.
Freshman Congressman Justin Amash (R-MI3) has made it a habit of reading all the legislation that he votes on and posting all of his votes and reasoning on Facebook. He began this process when he served in the Michigan State House of Representatives and has continued it now in Congress. He and his office in reviewing the NDAA recognized that Sections 1021-1024 of the NDAA of 2012 contained new 'clarification' of what the President's new powers were to be. As a lawyer, Amash quickly recognized the vagueness of the wording within the new provision and saw that it could be construed as giving the President broad new detention privileges while denying the defendant any legal recourse.
Now before we go any further it is important to point out that Amash is a freshman legislator in Congress. This is in a chamber where seniority rules decisively and completely. Rarely are freshmen allowed to introduce legislation. They serve on the lowliest committees and are expected to follow along and not cause trouble. The new Congressmen also know virtually no one in the chamber except maybe fellow members from their home state so their ability to find the 'go-to' guy or gal is almost zero. Finally, since they have barely been serving (in Amash's case in this example May of 2011 he'd been in Washington only 4 months) they certainly don't know anyone in the Senate either.
In May this NDAA of 2012 which includes the provision in Sections 1021-1023 for indefinite dentention passes the House with minimal resistance - especially from Republicans. Rep. Amash recognizes the danger of the law and also opposed Section 1034 which gives the President sweeping ability to conduct extended military operations. With the military operations in Libya hot on the minds of Americans this was probably seen as a good way to get some public opposition to the NDAA.
Over the next few months Amash begins to meet more of his colleagues and develops a friendship with Senator Rand Paul (a clear ally politically both on governing principles and he is the son of Rep. Ron Paul who endorsed Amash in the August 2010 Republican primary). Amash describes the potential risk for the new provision and Paul convinces a few Repbulicans and Democrats in the Senate to oppose the law.
By this point, Amash is recognizing that the indefinite detention rule is a nonpartisan issue that people from all over the political spectrum should rightly oppose. He then goes on the offensive both on Facebook and (allegedly) during the House Republican strategy conference where he actively opposes House Armed Services Chair and long time member Buck McKeon.
Imagine the scene if you will. In December, before most of the Republican delegation of Congress (Boehner, Cantor, McCarthy, etc.) Amash rises and addresses the group to explain how the NDAA Section 1021-23 provides for the power of indefinite detention of American citizens. He cites the specific language and tries to convince people who probably have little knowledge of him that the nearly 20 year veteran and chair of the powerful Armed Services Committee is mistaken. McKeon counters that Amash is flat out wrong.
The battle then leaves the room and heads to the ethernet.
McKeon writes a rebuttal to all of the 'misinformation' about the provision and has it posted at Redstate.com. Amash counters with this post rebutting the rebuttal. Amash manages to sway a few more Republicans including Representatives Huizenga and Walberg who are also new members from Michigan.
Amash starts hitting the ether hard on Facebook calling all of his 'followers' to call their representatives knowing that many are not his constituents. Still, he only has 18,000 followers or so in a nation of 310 million people to put the heat on Congress.
In fact, on the vote in December to adopt the Senate version (which was basically the same as HR 1540) Amash succeeds in getting 43 Republican defections instead of the previous 6.The bill still easily passes the House and becomes law after President Obama signs it a few weeks later. If this were the end of the story, it could almost be viewed as a Don Quixote mission where we might give the Congressman an "atta boy, thanks for trying, keep your chin up."
But the story was only beginning.
Through those 18-20,000 followers there was intense outrage. They did call their Representatives. And told their friends. And those friends told their friends. And... well you get the picture.
Suddenly, at town halls Congressmen were getting questioned about their NDAA vote and pilloried if they voted for it or praised for voting against. The NDAA issue was showing up in the presidential campaign as Ron Paul would use it to point out the growing power in Washington and it even came up at a presidential debate where all the candidates except Huntsman and Paul said they would have signed it (as Obama did).
Stories about the NDAA and its detention provisions are no longer just contained on ACLU and InfoWars websites but it's also appearing in the Washington Post and International Business Times. There is a definite possibility that the Armed Forces Committees in both chambers will have to revise or potentially remove the provisions entirely from the NDAA 2013 bill!
The indefinite detention provision is close to dead. I believe we have reached critical mass and one man has maintained just a little bit of our liberty. It is very important to recognize that even one person can have a profound impact if they are tenacious and don't settle on 'just voting' or just speaking out once or twice. I am proud to say that Justin Amash is my personal Congressman but hope that you see he is defending the liberties of not just my district in West Michigan but those of all Americans.
Keep up the heat until the indefinite provision is killed. Call your Senators and Representatives today and tell them to axe this un-Constitutional provision from this year's NDAA and beyond. Here is the Congressional Switchboard #1-866-220-0044 and here is a little 'how-to' when calling Washington D.C.
Don't forget to wish Rep. Amash Happy Birthday on April 18th on Facebook. You might even want to send him your two cents (maximum donations up to $2500 I'm sure would be accepted as well.)
Politico today has a piece profiling US Representative Justin Amash and his similarities in voting, etc. to presidential candidate Ron Paul. The article is fairly neutral yet pointing out the dangers of a willingness to oppose your party's leadership and stand alone at times in votes.
“The biggest similarity between [Ron Paul and me] is that we are two people who will vote our conscience. We are not there to please the system, please the establishment,” Amash told POLITICO.
Of course, the establishment has some serious problems with this — and that could threaten Amash’s political future.
Republicans who dislike Amash said that Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor are disgruntled about his “holier-than-thou” approach, and colleagues have frequently accused Amash of grandstanding.
“Most members in the [Michigan] delegation realize that when you’re in the majority, sometimes you have to take votes that stink to move the agenda forward. He’s not a team player,” said a high-ranking official in the Michigan delegation.
Rep. Candice Miller, who oversees the whip operation for the delegation, is said to have given up counting on Amash as a reliable vote. “That’s not the first time I’ve heard that,” she remarked once, when told that Amash would be a “no” on yet another vote, according to a staffer who was present.
This is the every day struggle for those who wish to try to vote their conscience when their party is violating their principles. This is why the GOP establishment is uneasy with an Amash congressional seat and anyone really who bucks the powers that be. Be sure to read the rest of the article. Only time will tell if Amash drains the swamp in DC or drowns in it.
I Am the Unibomber. At least that's who I feel like I am based upon the questions asked at AmericansElect.org.
From their website:
THE GOAL OF AMERICANS ELECT is to nominate a presidential ticket that answers directly to voters—not the political system. American voters are tired of politics as usual. They want leaders that will put their country before their party, and American interests before special interests. Leaders who will work together to develop fresh solutions to the serious challenges facing our country. We believe a secure, online nominating process will prove that America is ready for a competitive, nonpartisan ticket.
Below are a few of my answers to questions they ask:
I thought this was an interesting question. My personal point of view is that other people's income is none of my business. Thus my "unsure" answer.
I thought this was an interesting question. Do I think states could do better? Yes. I don't think, however, that the federal government needs to take over this role.
Am I the Unibomber? No. But after answering quite a few questions I'm starting to feel that I live outside of the mainstream. Not that I'm concerned about how I think. I'm more concerned that others will force me to think like them. And based on this survey, they'll be glad to use the federal government to do that.
(For the sake of the Echelon program, I am not the Unibomber.)