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El Jefe
The wife's been bugging me for a power of attorney. With my extended work trips abroad, she needs the flexibility to take care of business while I'm gone, or if I cash in prematurely.

Hoping for a phone number to check office hours at the local army base, a google search got me several numbers, all wrong. I finally clicked on the Judge Advocate General (JAG) web site.

The legal assistance pull down menu gets you the standard and useless mission statement, office location (which I already knew) and driving directions.

No phone number.

I clicked on the directory menu. Nothing visible after criminal law. Need to scroll down but cannot without a common access card (CAC) to navigate the site. (I might need criminal law after all, should I run across the web site builder.)

Dreading what was to come, I went to legal assistance anyway.

I knew the place well from my time on active duty. There were soldiers, milling about, filling out forms. This must still be the place.

At the welcome desk there was a small sign, with an arrow for the direction impaired, that powers of attorney were handled down the hall, first door on the right.

When I got to the first door on the right, there was another sign, with requisite arrow pointing back the way I came, indicating the services I sought were handled in the office with the first sign. No doubt this all arranged by a JAG officer hopped up on Sun Tzu:
Engage people with what they expect; it is what they are able to discern and confirms their projections. It settles them into predictable patterns of response, occupying their minds while you wait for the extraordinary moment — that which they cannot anticipate.
The eager captain behind the desk handed me a list of 50 or so conditions that I needed to check off to be covered by my special power of attorney.
"Isn't there a general power of attorney, like the one I got several years ago, that covers all this?"
"The banks won't accept general powers of attorney anymore."
Seems as though troops deploying to Afghanistan have gotten into all sorts of money troubles. The average 18-25 year old soldier, and their spouses, are just as financially immature as other young Americans. More than a few soldiers saw bank accounts drained by unscrupulous loved ones while serving in a combat zone.

A tragedy? No, that's not how a government bureaucrat thinks. Another opportunity to enfeeble his constituents and enlarge his domain. You know, let no crisis go to waste.

So I checked off about 20 items I wanted covered and several minutes later a private came out with 20 pieces of paper.
"Sir, please fill in your name and your wife's name on these forms, but don't sign until you're in the notary's office."
"You mean all of these documents need to be notarized? Individually??" 
What was once covered in two pages, now takes twenty.

If there is an epithet for American exceptionalism it can be found in the uncontrollable growth of our sclerotic bureaucracy: Cops busting lemonade stands; prosecuting teachers for hugging students while the TSA gropes 3 year olds; permits for every conceivable device that can be taxed to fund ever more bureaucrats.

If you believe that we all belong to government, like Obama and his deluded sheep believe, then you've already ceded control of your life to others.

And that extraordinary moment of Sun Tzu's will come. For many it will be on their deathbed, denied that life saving procedure by some faceless Obamacrat. Or possibly when a mother finds herself imprisoned for criticizing the local caudillo, busted by her own ten year old daughter in casual conversation with the neighbor you had barbeque with yesterday.

In that moment you'll realize that you are a slave, long ago trading freedom for security. What could be less American.

As the private returned to his office I asked, "Is there some guy with a bus driver's hat, sunglasses and a moustache getting a cut of all this?"
"Never mind, I already know the answer. Thanks for your help."
When my wife saw the stack of forms she laughed. "I'll call my sister," she said, as she trashed the lot.

On its way is a two page general power of attorney, made possible by other than government means.

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