Why Over Half of Prince’s Estate Will Go to the Government

maxresdefaultIt appears that the pop star Prince may have died without a will, leaving behind a multi-million dollar and growing estate. Although Prince has one full sister and five half-siblings, Prince’s family members will not be his biggest heirs.

Both the federal government and Minnesota’s state government will assess so-called “death taxes” or estate taxes on Prince’s assets, taking away more than half his estate. Between his physical assets—cash, investments, home, etc.—and his future royalties, Prince’s estate has been estimated to be between $300 and $500 million.

If Prince were married, he could have passed on the entirety of his estate to his spouse tax free. However, without a spouse, only $1.6 million of Prince’s estate will be free from Minnesota’s death tax and only $5.45 million will escape the federal death tax.

The combination of Minnesota’s top death tax rate of 16 percent, plus the federal government’s 40 percent rate, means that over 50 percent of Prince’s estate will go to the government.

Had Prince known ahead of time that he would die at such a young age, he may have been able to reduce the government’s reach into his estate through tax planning, but with a fortune as large as his, the government’s claim to his estate was inevitable.

While Prince was probably not all that concerned with the death tax—particularly since his early death was unexpected—he probably didn’t change his behavior all that much in response to the death tax. But most people who pay the death tax are not like Prince—they don’t have hundreds of millions of dollars, and some don’t even have a hundred thousand dollars in cash if their assets are all tied up in the value of their family business.

When the owner of a family business dies without leaving behind a large pile of cash or other liquid assets, the family often has to sell the business to pay the death tax. That can have devastating employment consequences. A 2014 analysis of the death tax by The Heritage Foundation found that its harmful effects on savings, investment, and capital reduces employment by 18,000 jobs each year.

While it’s tempting to think that the government’s reach into Prince’s massive estate isn’t all that harmful to the pop star or his heirs, the death tax has been devastating to many small businesses and the communities in which they operate. (For more from the author of “Why Over Half of Prince’s Estate Will Go to the Government” please click HERE)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

International Report Sends Terrifying Warning to Governments: ‘Prepare for Catastrophes Like Yellowstone Eruption’

It’s long been known that if the Yellowstone supervolcano were to erupt at full force the loss of life would be substantial and the effects on the world’s climate would be disastrous — water sources would be fouled, crops would fail, many people would die directly and indirectly.

In an international report that has recently captured headlines, scientists have attempted to quantify the threat of such catastrophes while also urging governments worldwide to collaborate on investment in scientific research to better prepare the world in hopes of lessening the impacts of such a calamity.

“I think the paper and its contents are very valuable,” said Bob Smith, a University of Utah researcher who has long studied the geodynamics of Yellowstone, even if certain websites tend to sensationalize the findings to the “point of annoyance.”

The warnings and recommendations are contained in “Extreme Geohazards: Reducing the Disaster Risk and Increasing Resilience.” The report was supported by the European Science Foundation and included an international cast of authors with expertise in such diverse fields as economics, health and earth sciences.

“It’s one of the only reports I’ve ever seen that takes a geologic perspective in thinking about hazards,” said Jake Lowenstern, a research geologist for the U.S. Geological Survey and scientist-in-charge of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory. (Read more from “International Report Sends Terrifying Warning to Governments: ‘Prepare for Catastrophes Like Yellowstone Eruption'” HERE)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

Has America’s Social Fabric Been Torn Asunder?

The government depends upon mass, voluntary compliance with the law for it to be able to enforce the rules on society as a whole.

Simple things like a general agreement that if the speed limit says 55 miles per hour, that we will travel somewhere in the general proximity of that posting, with the outliers risking a ticket.

The understanding that we drive on the right hand side of the road and that slower vehicles stay to the far right on multi-lane highways make the free flow of traffic possible.

But events over the weekend make a reasonable person wonder whether the constant fraying of the social contract has finally created a tear that is rapidly becoming irreparable.

In malls across the country, thousands of people congregated, not for the purposes of shopping, going to a movie or simply enjoying each other’s company, but instead with the goal of disrupting people from using the already hard pressed brick and mortar stores for their intended purpose.

At Minneapolis’ Mall of America, the radical Black Lives Matter group even went so far as to feint a protest so there would be a heavy police presence, allowing them to shut down part of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport during the height of the Christmas travel season. Beyond the obvious problem that their actions caused hundreds of people to miss their flights home, they deliberately placed thousands at an additional risk of a terrorist attack due to distracted security.

Mall disruptions also were reported in New Jersey, Kentucky and elsewhere around the country. When combined with flash mob convenience store robberies and random assaults by mobs playing the “knockout game”, it would be hard to not notice that something is badly amiss.

Even our assumed driving rules are under attack. On the Washington, D.C. Beltway, a group of approximately fifty motorcyclists caused a delay as they uniformly slowed down across all the lanes bringing traffic to a standstill. As they got moving again, they aggressively cut cars off from passing, and even went so far as to drive north bound up the south bound lanes. There did not appear to be any political or other message in the motorcycle foolishness, but instead the mass act of civil disobedience seems to have been done just because they could. However, it reveals the fragility of our common understanding about the need to follow the rules.

While it is usually dangerous to draw broad societal assumptions based upon flash mobs at malls, roadways or even political protests blocking bridges, it is safe to note that these occurrences are becoming significantly more frequent.

And it is fair to tie this civil disobedience to President Obama’s continued attack on the law as a whole. When the President doesn’t enforce the nation’s immigration laws, people naturally believe that if the law isn’t going to be enforced then it is null and void, and the fabric of our nation’s social contract is torn.

When Obama nullifies sentencing decisions for thousands of drug dealers and others, releasing them back into their former neighborhoods it sends a message that the system was wrong and the fabric tears a little more.

And when the left and some on the right make those who seek to enforce the laws, targets for attack and murder, creating a schism of fear between the protector and the protected, the fabric itself becomes unrecognizable.

The social fabric that binds America together as one has always been fragile, and to complete the fundamental transformation that Obama strives to achieve, it must be torn asunder from top to bottom in a wholesale surrender of the current rule of law to another set of laws composed not through consent, compromise and agreement, but instead through forced acquiescence.

America should not worry about getting on a slippery slope away from rule by the consent of the governed, because we are already half-way down the slide and few have noticed.

As more and more people read the news and wonder what is happening to their country thinking that the craziness that seems to ooze from our government is an anomaly rather than the forced new normal under Obama, a ballot box response erupts if there is a trusted alternative.

Something to think about as we head into the presidential primary season. (For more from the author of “Has America’s Social Fabric Been Torn Asunder?” please click HERE)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

How the American Government Is Trying to Control What You Think

NASA tweeting that Congress should give it more money so our astronauts won’t have to ride on Russian rockets. reporting overly optimistic statistics on jobs saved and created by stimulus funds. The Department of Health and Human Service Web site encouraging the public to “state your support for health care reform” during the congressional debate over Obamacare.

These are just some recent examples of the executive branch using our tax dollars to shape our opinions. Unlike the National Security Agency’s personal data collection or the overuse of “secret” stamps to withhold information, this government-produced propaganda receives almost no attention. But that doesn’t mean this “third dimension” of government information is not a problem. America becomes less democratic when the $3 trillion executive branch uses its resources to tilt the debate in its favor.

Of course, a democratic government has an obligation to inform and be transparent. Citizens need to know the government’s policies and plans. We have a right to know which companies receive government contracts, how to collect insurance benefits and social security payments and what public school educational reform will look like. But too often, the government uses its information machinery to do more than simply inform us about a policy. Sometimes, it tries to persuade us to adopt a particular position, regardless of its efficacy.

Consider, for example, the Department of Labor’s campaign to raise the minimum wage, a topic on which there is considerable debate. Raising the minimum wage, the Congressional Budget Office points out, will eliminate some jobs. Still, the government devotes a Web page to the topic that proclaims, “See how raising the national minimum wage will benefit America’s workers.” Americans are invited to tell the Labor Department why they “support raising the federal minimum wage.” Twitter users can see a video of a squiggle of mustard spelling out “#RaiseTheWage” on a hot dog, a reference to the recent interest group advocacy to pay fast-food employers more money. The Labor Department’s Web page treats raising the minimum wage as an unalloyed good and labels possible job losses a “myth.”

Such aggressive communications are neither novel nor exceptional. Government agencies historically have made a habit of crossing the blurry line between informing the public and propagandizing. (Read more from “How the American Government Is Trying to Control What You Think” HERE)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

This Many People in the U.S. Believe the Government Is an Immediate Threat

biggest-tech-companies-team-object-government-spyingAlmost half of Americans, 49%, say the federal government poses “an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens,” similar to what was found in previous surveys conducted over the last five years. When this question was first asked in 2003, less than a third of Americans held this attitude.

The latest results are from Gallup’s Sept. 9-13 Governance poll. The lower percentage of Americans agreeing in 2003 that the federal government posed an immediate threat likely reflected the more positive attitudes about government evident after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The percentage gradually increased to 44% by 2006, and then reached the 46% to 49% range in four surveys conducted since 2010.

The remarkable finding about these attitudes is how much they reflect apparent antipathy toward the party controlling the White House, rather than being a purely fundamental or fixed philosophical attitude about government.

Republican agreement with the “immediate threat” statement has been higher during the Obama administration than was Democratic agreement during the Bush administration, thus accounting for the overall rise in agreement across all national adults. (Read more from “This Many People in the U.S. Believe the Government Is an Immediate Threat” HERE)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

The Legitimacy of Government Has Cracked

Battle_of_Guiliford_Courthouse_15_March_1781Alaska’s prolife legislative majority took the mistaken action of accepting case law in regards to “medically necessary” abortions, and as predicted, wasted their time parsing through it in order to discern a tiny opening and a moral lifeline to grab, through statutory law.

The “hierarchy of law” is an ancient concept that some laws are more important than others. In our rancorous and increasingly nonsensical political climate, everyone accepts this idea. Just which laws are more important than others is where the argument exists.

In order of priority, once upon a time, natural law reigned supreme, followed by constitutional law, statutory law, common law and, way down at the bottom, case law.

Long ago, through a drawn-out process that was aided by cowardice, ignorance, ambition and pride, the legislative and executive branches of government, on both the state and federal level, abdicated the field of battle in our political wars to the judiciary, which creates case law. You may have read it was never meant to be this way. There were remedies to this usurpation, but they were only seldom exercised.

What is worse, the existence of natural law (inherently placed in the heart of man), and common law (unwritten laws of tradition), have been expunged completely from the cultural debate; constitutional law has been allowed to morph into “whatever the judiciary says it is”; statutory law has been permitted only if the judiciary likes it; and case law, the body of opinion that the judiciary creates by applying the other laws, has been elevated to god-like status.

It has trumped the laws that actually were God-given to us, on Mt. Sinai.

Law schools don’t like to do much else except have the students study case law, case law, case law. Ask any lawyer. Case laws are thick, heavily foot-noted, buried deep in the judicial archives, and are understood only by the lawyer class — which, of course, includes judges, who take the thread of a decision and expand meanings, definitions and applications … and are only understood by the lawyer class.

Indeed, the lawyer jokes that we, and even lawyers, love to tell are based upon this dimly understood but universally sensed fact.

The legitimacy of government has cracked in our society. It is through, finished, wiped out, and you could point to Roe v. Wade as the starting point, but there are many others further back that are equally, if more subtly, significant.

Case law has been maintained only by the desire for the coherence of a public and political order at the expense of a moral one. Yet order and coherence itself are destroyed by such “laws”, even if not immediately recognized.

A moral society really is not the business of government. That belongs to religion, which has demoted itself out of the cultural debate, except in things the government likes. A significant reason for this is socialism, where morality and charity, long the universe of religion, has been turned over to government, with compliant clergy cheerleading the way.

A political answer through statutory law, nullification, impeachment or even secession, are constitutional and political remedies that can be sustained only by a culture that understands the natural and constitutional law, yet when was the last time you heard natural law preached from any pulpit? Or constitutional law properly explained at any institutional level?

Well, at this writing, it appears that Tennessee is going to give it a try.

In his best-selling book Nullification, Thomas Woods had predicted this would happen: that states would begin to awaken to the fact that the entire system of Judicial Activism has no foundation in the Constitution, but rather relies upon 1) the judiciary’s own encroachment, 2) the legislative, executive and state willingness to permit it, and 3) public Constitutional ignorance, that thinks the system is meant to operate in the way it has.

Several things are bound to happen: 1) the courts will “nullify” the state law; 2) the Lamestream Media will ridicule the Tennessee action as akin to Jim Crow racism; 3) having satisfied their profamily constituency that they did all that they could, the legislature will cave in … MAYBE.

I say “maybe” because, at some point, it’s not going to happen. Just who/what/when/where, I don’t know. But at some point, it will. We study history for a reason. Natural Law can be defied only so long. The audition for “Who Wants to Make History?” is wide open.

It’s not Constitutional rocket science. What it needs is the one thing that makes it all happen: courage.

The Alaska legislature, which had absolutely no problem nullifying potential new federal gun laws, might be hesitant to do so in other things, yet it ought to consider a plethora of court decisions to nullify: starting with Roe v. Wade, Kelo v. New London, Obergefell v. Hodges, etc.

But, what does it take to rouse us from lethargy?

The progressive zeitgeist has forcing us to accept convoluted case law for generations, and we are used to it. Those who resist will be branded, ostracized, arrested, fired, fined, or imprisoned. I’m sure you’ve noticed that these are not future or theoretical events anymore.

And, what’s left? Perhaps, ultimately, execution. Governments do that, you know.

The latest absurd “laws” perpetrated by the lawyer class through the courts, on the state and federal level, have no real remedy other than the evangelization of our culture through religion. Sending messages to our sympathetic government officials, running for office ourselves, or even nullification, will have no effect unless the people understand, accept and are taught the Natural Law. What’s more, most law-makers merely act through the tiny and ever-shrinking windows left open to them by the tyrants.

The Tennessee action is different, but it is going to require allies in other states. My first bet is with Oklahoma, then perhaps Wyoming, Montana … and why not Alaska?

But civil disobedience, and suffering the consequences that result from it, might be what is required. Suffering and evangelization is a slow process, and no one likes that idea, but “slow” also translates into “more permanent”. It involves things that are not gladly performed, such as prayer, penance and sacrifice. It also needs leadership.

We have reached rock bottom, but such a situation has its advantages. To rebuild, we must turn to Faith, and if our shepherds refuse to lead, then the sheep must show them the way.

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

Here’s the New Term US Government Is Using for Human Rights, Global Development

The-US-GovernmentThe U.S. government says it will begin using the term “sexual rights” in discussions of human rights and global development.

The statement at a U.N. meeting this week comes after years of lobbying from groups who have argued that the U.S. should show global leadership on the rights of people of all gender identities and sexual orientations.

The statement, posted on a State Department website, says sexual rights include people’s “right to have control over and decide freely and responsibly on matters related to their sexuality, including sexual and reproductive health, free of coercion, discrimination, and violence.” (Read more from “Here’s the New Term US Government Is Using for Human Rights, Global Development” HERE)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

Obamacare Administrators Fail to Protect Individuals’ Personal Data Entered on Obamacare Website

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) did not implement auditor recommendations to protect personal information at, Politico reported.

An official told lawmakers that CMS “has not yet implemented auditors’ recommendations that it conduct privacy impact assessments on systems that store personal information,” states Politico.

This is cause for concern considering the Office and Personnel Management (OPM) news that more than 21 million individuals had their sensitive information, including Social Security numbers and family and personal data, accessed by hackers because of a data breach.

“The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has identified a cyber security incident potentially affecting personnel data for current and federal employees, including personally identifiable information (PII),” said OPM in a statement on June 4.

At a House Science, Space and Technology Committee hearing on the OPM data breach, Gregory Wilshusen, an information security expert at the Government Accountability Office (GAO), said he is not aware of any efforts by CMS to act on GAO’s recommendations regarding the Obamacare website. GAO recommended in September 2014 that CMS and HHS “implement security and privacy controls to enhance the protection of systems and information related to” (Read more from “Gov’t Agency Fails to Protect Individuals’ Personal Data on Obamacare Website” HERE)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

Feds Spent $2 Million on Sexist Program to Have Wives Nag Men About Chewing Tobacco

Since 2012 the government has spent nearly $2 million on a campaign to get women to nag the men in their lives to quit using smokeless tobacco.

The National Institutes of Health has sponsored a continuing grant for the Oregon Research Institute to “evaluate an innovative approach that encourages male smokeless tobacco users to quit by enlisting the support of their wives/partners, both to lead smokeless tobacco users to engage in treatment and to help them sustain abstinence.”

Researchers had already “established that women can be readily recruited” to get their husbands to quit chewing tobacco, but now the project is going a step further with a multimedia push that includes a website with an interactive and tailored support plan . . .

The program is raising eyebrows among taxpayer watchdogs, health advocates and activists on women’s issues, who see the expenditures as wasteful and gender pandering.

“American women don’t need the federal government spending money to get us to nag our husbands to stop using tobacco, we do that just fine on our own,” said Penny Nance, president and CEO of Concerned Women for America, a conservative women’s group. “Even if it were a worthwhile effort, we are $18 trillion in debt. We simply can’t afford it.” (Read more from “Feds Spent $2 Million to Have Wives Nag Men About Chewing Tobacco” HERE)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.

US: More Than 21 Million Affected by Government Data Breach

Hackers stole Social Security numbers, health histories and other highly sensitive data from more than 21 million people, the Obama administration said Thursday, acknowledging that the breach of U.S. government computer systems was far more severe than previously disclosed.

The scope of the data breach — believed to be the biggest in U.S. history — has grown dramatically since the government first disclosed earlier this year that hackers had gotten into the Office of Personnel Management’s personnel database and stolen records for about 4.2 million people. Since then, the Obama administration has acknowledged a second, related breach of the systems housing private data that individuals submit during background investigations to obtain security clearances.

That second attack affected more than 19 million people who applied for clearances, as well as nearly 2 million of their spouses, housemates and others who never applied for security clearances, the administration said. Among the data the hackers stole: criminal, financial, health, employment and residency histories, as well as information about their families and acquaintances.

The new revelations drew indignation from members of Congress who have said the administration has not done enough to protect personal data in their systems, as well as calls for OPM Director Katherine Archuleta and her top deputies to resign. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican, said Archuleta and her aides had “consciously ignored the warnings and failed to correct these weaknesses” . . .

House Republican leaders — Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Whip Steve Scalise — also called for Archuleta’s resignation and said President Barack Obama must “take a strong stand against incompetence.” (Read more from “US: More Than 21 Million Affected by Government Data Breach” HERE)

Follow Joe Miller on Twitter HERE and Facebook HERE.