Open Season

It’s not often that I read a long article that starts off with me getting angry (remember, my general mood is best described as “irritable” at the best of times) and having my anger grow to nigh-ungovernable rage.  But this article managed to get me there quite effortlessly.  Here’s a taste:

On his way to hunt on his father’s land during the first week of December 2017, Hunter Rainwaters was driving a side-by-side through the property when he noticed an oddity positioned roughly 4’ off the ground. He popped the brakes, backed toward the object and looked in surprise at a trail camera belted to a tree.
“I didn’t see any words or stickers on it, but I knew right away it wasn’t ours,” Hunter Rainwaters recalls.
Following the hunt, he drove back onto the family property and spotted a second trail camera attached to a tree with several branches removed to allow for an unimpeded lens view. Rainwaters dialed his father’s cellphone, and described the two cameras: “I was shaken up when my son called and I knew immediately it had to be the TWRA (Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency),” Rainwaters recalls.
Deeply disturbed, Rainwaters arrived home later in the afternoon and took a look at the two cameras, mulling over whether to remove the pair. Two days later, with Rainwaters in limbo on what action to take — both cameras disappeared.

“The cameras were collecting pictures of us hunting, driving and just our lives,” he adds. “One of the cameras was even recording footage up to the back of my tenant’s house.”

That’s bad enough.  But it gets worse. (And I’ve added emphasis.)

Can the government place cameras and monitoring equipment on a private citizen’s land at will, or conduct surveillance and stakeouts on private land, without probable cause or a search warrant? Indeed, according to the U.S. Supreme Court’s (SCOTUS) interpretation of the Fourth Amendment. Welcome to Open Fields.
The vast majority of Americans assume law enforcement needs a warrant to carry out surveillance, but for roughly a century, SCOTUS has ruled that private land — is not private. Fourth Amendment protections against “unreasonable searches and seizures” expressed in the Bill of Rights only apply to an individual’s immediate dwelling area, according to SCOTUS.

Had the government agency mounted their little snoopies on utility poles on the public road off the property, I would have just shrugged.  But to come onto the land without a warrant or permission?

Somewhere, Feliks Dzerzhinsky is chuckling his ass off.

Me, had I discovered this shit on my land and ascertained that there was no label that it was government property, I think I would have moved well back out of range of the camera and performed a little long-range shooting exercise.

“After all, Yeronner, I actually thought it was poachers, scanning my land to see if there was any game for them to hunt illegally.  I never for a moment thought that this skullduggery could be the work of the Gummint!

(My other thought was to plant a Claymore mine at the base of the tree, but no doubt someone’s going to have a problem with this. )

Apart from my beef with the bastard government agency, my equally-enraged beef is with the fucking shysters on the Supreme Court.

Just as I don’t need some asshole judge to “explain” the meaning of the Second Amendment to me, I don’t need these turds to “explain” the meaning of the Fourth Amendment to me, either.

Private property is just that:  private.  And the sole function of government — any government — is to protect that right and ensure that it isn’t transgressed, by anyone.  Looking at the Fourth, I can see the problem:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

So, in the exquisite nature of lawyers to parse the law literally and look for loopholes, the word “houses” is taken to mean just the area enclosed by walls, and thus government agents can pretty much run roughshod over one’s outdoor property (just as the TWRA did in the above story), as often and for any reason they deem fit.

Izzat so?

Listen:  everybody knows that the nature of government — of all governments — is eventually to oppress otherwise law-abiding citizens.  The only way this can be preempted is to force the would-be oppressors to convince a judge that what they want to do has a clear and compelling justification.  If the judge is just going to sign whatever they put in front of him and pat them on the head as they go on their way… what’s the fucking point of having a judge in the first place?

I’ve said this many, many times on this blog before:  whenever you get a situation where an individual starts whacking government officials and agents, the vast majority of the time it’s because the government is messing with his property in some way or another.  So do not be surprised when landowners start taking potshots at these bastards.

And if I were sitting on a jury to judge a homicide charge against the landowner under these circumstances, I would die before voting for a conviction.

I’ve slotted this post into the “Two Minute Hate” category at the top;  let me tell you, the hatred is going to last a lot longer than that.

When You Lose Insty

…or, to be more precise, when you get the mild-mannered and polite Professor Glenn Reynolds to launch into a wonderful rant:

And all the “public health” people complaining about this can go fuck yourselves. You squandered all your moral authority rushing to line up in favor of the Black Lives Matter protests because you valued politics more than health. Now nobody will listen to you, because you’re a joke. If people die because you squandered your credibility, that’s your fault. You’re not disgraces to your profession, you’ve made your profession a disgrace.

Couldn’t have put it better myself.  Our public health officials are either a bunch of timorous nannies, or else a bunch of ferocious control freaks.  (And yes, I could have embraced the healing power of “and”, to use another Insty-phrase.)

Speedbump #279

From Townhall we get Kurt Schlicter, who is a reasonably good polemicist, as polemicists go.  All goes well with his latest piece, until this point:

Things are a mess, and the Democrats are doing everything they can to make them messier. They are holding onto their precious pangolin pandemic panic like Brian Stelter grips a pie, ferociously fighting to keep hope dying by denying our kids school and millions of us a livelihood, all to eek out a win in November.

What, are we five years old, and using phonetic spelling?

THE WORD IS “EKE“, NOT “EEK”.   FFS, IT’S A WORD CONTAINING ONLY THREE LETTERS. HOW DIFFICULT CAN IT BE TO GET THEM IN THE RIGHT ORDER?

Do they even have editors at Townhall ?

Americans Second

Looks like the fix is in again:

U.S. employers keep roughly 600,000 foreign H-1B visa workers in jobs throughout the United States, according to an unprecedented report released by the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency.
The total number of resident H-1B workers has successfully been kept secret for decades, mainly because Fortune 500 companies do not want voters to recognize the massive outsourcing of jobs for themselves and their college graduate children.

Based on personal observation, I think that about a quarter of the above number live within a square mile of my apartment, but that’s a topic for another time.

Whenever people show faith in the powers of “the market”, I want to kick them in the balls.  Here’s why.

In the normal course of events, “the market” can and should address the problem of shortages by creating a price increase — in this case, if there are apparently not enough Americans to fill the skilled positions needed in Corporate America, the pressure is put on salaries so that existing skilled workers can change industries to take advantage of the higher wages, or (in the longer term) prospective employees can adjust their training from, say, a university-centric Women’s Studies major into an IT profession.

But that would Cost The Companies Money;  and gawd forbid that costs rise, affect the balance sheet and, most importantly of all, jeopardize executive management bonuses.  So said companies lobby the government saying, “Oh we need  skilled workers, and these lazy idle Murkins don’t wanna do the jobs so please pretty please O Benificent Government, can we import furriners to save us from going out of business?”

Whereupon Congress, whose members are all either stupid, unpatriotic or else beholden to Corporate America for campaign contributions (I know:  massive overlap) will turn around and say, “Sure thing.  Get these H-1Bs from anywhere you like — say, India or China — and just add a zero to your next contribution, will you?”

The fact that these foreign workers stay a while then go back to their home countries taking their expertise with them, is, of course, irrelevant.  (I should point out that I myself was one of the above H-1B workers back in the 1980s, except that I had skills which my sponsoring company did not possess at all, AND I was coming over as a senior executive to implement a brand new business model which I had created back in the Old Country and made successful.  Also, I stayed and became a U.S. citizen, and the rest you know.)

So “the market” works fine, mostly — except where the sticky and incompetent fingers of Gummint get placed firmly on the scale of surplus : scarcity, and the results are what we see now.

There’s another part of the article which engendered a scowl from me:

The USCIS report admits that “no unique identifier exists for all H-1B petitions in the USCIS electronic [system of record, so] we use a methodology of statistical inference.”

For those not familiar with bureaucrat-speak, “statistical inference” means “we took a wild-ass guess”.  Or, to be more polite:

For years, [DHS] has deliberately not stored [visa worker] information into their databases. They only enter selected information into the computers. That was deliberate so that no one could know what is going on. We have sent in all kinds of [Freedom of Information Act] requests, and often the response is “we don’t keep track of that.”

And to make matters still worse:

“Close to a quarter of the records — dealing with workers who often make $100,000 a year or more — there is no Social Security number.”

In other words, we let them in, and allow a situation where people don’t necessarily have to pay taxes.  How charming.  But it gets worse (and I’ve added emphasis):

The failure to track legitimate H-1B documents and workers — or to punish groups for using fake H-1B documents — is routine. For many years, business advocates have kept legislators in the dark by splitting and subdividing oversight of the visa-worker economy between the Departments of State, Homeland Security, and Labor, he said.
This fragmentation has helped to minimize awareness of the scale among journalists and the public. For example, very few reporters describe the scale of the H-1B population to their readers, and most rely on talking points from business advocates who say the program brings in 65,000 or 85,000 “high skilled” workers each year when companies cannot find U.S. workers.
In reality, up to 85,000 H-1B visas are given out to companies each year, while roughly 15,000 are provided to non-profit groups, including hospitals, research centers, government agencies, and hospitals.

Now let’s add a little “China is asshole” to the mix:

The new USCIS report does not estimate the number of fake H-1B documents in circulation despite myriad cases of fraudulent work permits and made-in-China green cards.

And in India, procurement of green cards is an entire industry, catering to U.S. corporations — I’ve seen it in action at first hand.

Several years back, I posited the situation where if one won a large foreign lottery (e.g. Euromillions), whether it would be better to bring the earnings back to the U.S. and pay the 40% tax, or just to vanish into a European tax haven like Monaco with the (untaxed) millions.  My conclusion was that I wouldn’t do that, because I am of course a loyal American citizen.  As I read stuff like the above, however, I’m starting to think that “loyal American citizen” is rapidly approaching the status of “sucker”.

Change my mind.

Straight-Out Bullying

Oh, this looks like fun:

Recently Breitbart News reported that six eBay employees were named in federal charges for intimidating critics of the company with a cyberstalking terror campaign, now a recent article from the New York Times outlines how many Silicon Valley companies have been using similar intimidation tactics for years.

The Times states that Silicon Valley companies regularly employ “trust and safety” teams staffed with former police officers and national intelligence analysts. Their work includes protecting executives and intellectual property, preventing blackmail attempts, and watching out for fraud and theft. But, in some cases, Silicon Valley’s intense focus on reputation and brand can lead these teams to take excessive action.

Read the whole article for details.  Beware the Red Curtain Of Blood (RCOB) that may come over your eyes, as it did mine.

Looks like some corporate executives need a good ball-kicking.

And by the way?  The inability of law enforcement to deal with this shit properly is what enables the Tony Sopranos of this world to flourish.  And even without that, bullying only works on fearful people.

Don’t be fearful.  Just be prepared to be enraged.

Enough Already

You know, there are people in the news who really shouldn’t be, because they’ve made themselves pretty much irrelevant to the world by now.  If they ever made a contribution to society, that’s now over and I can’t see them ever doing anything of worth or value ever again.  They are the grains of beach sand in society’s bathing suit, the stones in society’s shoe, the ticks on society’s skin.  As such, I don’t want to see or read about any of the following ever again:

  • the Royal Ginger and Duchess Caringslut
  • Gwyneth Paltrow
  • Hillary Clinton (unless she’s doing the perp walk in prison orange)
  • Bill Clinton (ditto)
  • any of the Obamas
  • George Clooney (unless he’s releasing a new Oceans movie)
  • Lena Durham
  • the entire Kardashian coven, and their assorted consorts

I will make an exception for impending imprisonment (see the Clintons above) or obituaries — maybe.

All these festering carbuncles have been in a media spotlight for too long (mostly undeservedly), and they need to disappear from it.  Hooked stick, yank off stage, toss in a dumpster somewhere, fade to black, The End.

Feel free to add your personal social irritants to the list.