Saturday, August 23, 2014

Bagpipes and brain death Federal Government style

Our Federal apparatchiks really don't believe that they're accountable to the people. And given the way they are cossetted and never fired or laid off or otherwise held accountable for their actions who can blame them?  There needs to be a massive paring of the Federals - let's start at a 50% reduction and see if anyone notices anything but significantly improvements in the living environment.

I wrote two weeks ago about two New Hampshire teenagers having their bagpipes seized at the northern border by US Customs & Border Protection. This would be the same "border" "protection" agency that has turned the southern border into an express welfare check-in for any of the world's seven billion people minded to show up there.

My fellow Granite Staters - 17-year-old Campbell Webster and Eryk Bean, of Concord and Londonderry, New Hampshire - understood that if you go to a highland fling a couple of hours north in Quebec you're now obligated to get your bagpipes approved by US Fish & Wildlife.

Because that's just the way it is in the Land of the Free.

So Messrs Webster and Bean got their CITES certificate and presented it to the US CBP agent at the Vermont border crossing.

Whereupon he promptly confiscated their bagpipes on the grounds that, yes, their US Fish & Wildlife CITES paperwork was valid, but it's only valid at 28 ports of entry and this wasn't one of them.

Nor is any other US/Canadian land crossing. So, if you're a piper in, say, Pittsburg, New Hampshire and you want to play in a competition in La Patrie, Quebec 20 minutes north, you have to drive four-to-five hours south to Logan Airport in Boston, fly to Montreal and drive two hours east to La Patrie.

Because that's just the way it is in the Land of the Free.

When the CBP agent seized Messrs Webster and Bean's bagpipes, he told them - with the characteristic insouciance of the thug bureaucracy - that they were "never going to see them again". But thanks to the unwelcome publicity the Homeland Security mafiosi were forced to cough 'em up.

Pointless, expensive and stupid is no way to go through life Mr. Federal Employee.

But wait!  There's more!  The Federal Fish and Wildlife service is even more viciously cretinous that implied above.  Once again Steyn:

And presumably, for the intervening 24 hours, their bagpipes will once again be seized by the feds, so here's a link to the petition they launched last time in case the government is minded to keep them.

By the way, here's an email to one bagpiper from Wildlife Inspector Rosemarie Levandowski - because at the Department of Fish & Wildlife bagpipes are designated as wildlife rather than fish. Because a wildlife inspector needs a bagpipe like a fish needs a bicycle. Here's what Inspector Levandowski writes:

Good afternoon,

After reviewing the certificate, I do not see a exception for crossing at the non-designated port of Champlain, NY. The certificate will either have to be amended to include Champlain or you can apply for a stand alone Designated Port Exception Permit (application attached). Given the time frame on this, It will not be possible to cross through Champlain. Also, there is fee of $238.00 involved with each crossing- entering the U.S. and leaving the U.S.

Feel free to call me with questions.

Rosemarie Levandowski
Wildlife Inspector
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
237 W. Service Road
Champlain, NY 12919

Gotta love that "also": Every time you take a bagpipe in and out of the United States it's a $476* round-trip fee.

Demanding a CITES certificate for bagpipes is a burden upon free-born citizens. Restricting the paperwork's validity to only 28 ports of entry is an unduly onerous burden. Requiring the bagpipers to come back on the Wednesday to those 28 ports of entry because the inspector's washing her hair on the Tuesday is an even more onerous and insulting burden. And charging an American $476 to play his bagpipe in Montreal is a shakedown racket unacceptable in a free society. Tyranny starts at the edges and nibbles its way in. This bagpipe regime is tyrannous, but it will not stop there.

As I said before, where is "the party of small government" on this? When will they pipe up?

Or do bagpipers have to loot and riot to get any attention from anyone who matters?

The annual Highland Games at Loon Mountain, New Hampshire are a significant economic boon to the state. But it's hard to see many Scots or Canadians willing to undergo the torments of US Fish & Wildlife and the risk of losing treasured old pipes, even if they can afford the 476 bucks. So see you, jimmeh!

American is economically sclerotic because it's being hyper-regulated to death. But as I concluded last time:

The degeneration of "law" into regulation is a problem. The post-constitutional order is, too. But something bigger is in play. To remain free, a people need something more basic - the spirit of liberty. Once you've lost that, there are no easy roads back.

In this republic, in 2014, there is little evidence of "the spirit of liberty".

Maybe there's a Fish & Wildlife form we can fill in to get it back...

Hattip Mark Steyn

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