Archive for the ‘Government Reform’ Category

The DC Role-Playing Game Continues Over the Fiscal Cliff

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

Knuckle-draggers…

It’s as though it were a written script.  All the players are carrying out their performance with practiced expertise.  Given our past experiences with the leadership of both parties, one might guess that the outcome of the “fiscal cliff” crisis had been preordained.  It’s beginning to nauseate me to watch this same old crowd play the same old game without any hesitation.  Those of us who’ve watched these sorts of situations in the past have come to expect this sort of performance, as exemplified most recently the Debt Ceiling Deal of August 2011.  All of the actors know their lines, and the end of the plot will go as planned, while they throw in some plot twist for your entertainment.  As it seems we’re to be the endless butt of the insiders’ jokes, we might just as well prepare ourselves to be disappointed once again.  These people aren’t serious, and the leadership on the Republican side is downright hostile to conservatives, so we shouldn’t be surprised if they’re readying themselves to put another one over on us.  One can almost imagine the script, knowing the deal’s final composition has been determined already:

Boehner: “We’ll need to pass our own plan first, to blunt criticism from the knuckle-draggers.”

Obama: “I know, and I’m going to need to let Harry do most of my talking. Now John, just don’t be too rough on me in the press.  Throw in some of those tears-it drives your base berserk!  We’re still on for a round after the inaugural, right?”

McConnell: “I’ll let it leak to the press that I laughed at your offer.”

Reid: “Perfect! I’ll come out and say that the Republicans want to starve children and feed the rich their supper.”

Boehner: “Come on Harry, do you always have to lay it on so thick?”

Pelosi: “I just want to know if you’ll let me hold that gavel for a couple more years in 2013. We got rid of that dreadful Allen West, didn’t we?”

Biden: “Hey Barry, can I sit at the Resolute Desk while you’re in Hawaii? It’ll help me build my image for 2016.”

(Joint laughter.)

Obama: “Okay, John, let’s go with your plan.  You make the tough stance to get your folks aboard, but don’t blow it this time. They need to believe you gave it your all before caving.  The tears will help.”

Boehner: “Yessir, this ship is going down, and there’s no sense in getting people unnecessarily riled up. Let’s keep them busy with the deck-chairs, and when it all goes, they’ll never know what hit them.  Permit me to say, Mr. President, that you’ve been masterful this year.”

Obama: “Okay, we know what we have to do. We’ll say we did all we could. Questions?”

Boehner: “How long until we pull the plug?  Do we go all the way this time, ’cause I’d like to get sauced on New Year’s Eve.”

Pelosi(Laughing joyfully): “Oh, champagne! The bubbles always make me laugh.”

Reid: “I think we should keep them guessing, at least right up until Christmas.  We can probably work up another ‘Grinch’ deal with you as the star this time, Mitch.”

McConnell(Grumbling): “Why do I always have to be the heavy?”

Obama: “Because nobody’s going to buy a crying ‘Grinch.’ Other questions?”

Biden: “Has anybody checked out a 7-11 lately?”

All others: “Shut up, Joe!”

 Ladies and gentlemen, that queasy feeling in the pits of your stomachs can be explained not as some sort of premonition, but perhaps a little more like Déjà vu.  If it seems as though we’ve been here before, it’s only because we have, but in this case, even the names haven’t changed, because there are so damnably few innocents.  For those who may have forgotten how conservatives were betrayed in 2011, during the extended Debt Ceiling debacle, let me remind you that Speaker Boehner watched the House pass “Cut, Cap & Balance” knowing it would be killed in the Senate where he had already worked out the framework of a deal with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Barack Obama.  In short, while we were prodding our members to stand fast, he had already pulled the rug from beneath us, and as was disclosed during the aftermath, it was done at the urging of Mitt Romney because he didn’t want to have this fight impinging on what he assumed would be his Presidential campaign, a strategy history now proves had been a failure.  At the time the deal was struck in July of 2011, I along with many other conservatives urged the Congress to stand fast, because we knew that this was an election issue any Republican nominee ought not give away.

The truth seems to be that there is never a “good time” to do the hard things in Washington DC.  There’s always another election “right around the corner,” and there’s always another excuse to kick the can down the road a bit more.  Rational people will have known that there’s really no time like the present to take up these issues, and if the House of representatives won’t exercise the power we’ve given it, there’s not much point in having this collection of perpetual losers on the payroll.  If Boehner and his bunch aren’t up to the fight, either due to coziness with Democrats in the DC establishment, or merely as a result of cowardly political calculations, we must at long last send them home.

The so-called “fiscal cliff” and any sequestration is really a small divot compared to the disaster looming with more unbridled spending.  Republicans complain that the media complex will blame them, and it most assuredly will, but it will also blame them if they go along and the economy flat-lines as the result of tax increases on the productive segments of our economy.  It’s long past time to simply acknowledge that the media is going to blame Republicans, right, wrong, or indifferent, and there’s no point in wasting time with all of this whinging about the state of the media.  The media is what it is. It’s awful. Life’s hard. Get helmets.

Unfortunately, we don’t have any leaders currently serving in Washington who are willing to stand up and make a case. Instead, they’re looking to cut deals, any sort of compromise at all, and they’re willing to poke you in the eye while they reach for your wallets [again.]  Whether things are quite so collegial as my imagined exchange above, the fact remains that when all is said and done, more will have been said than done [again.]

This is the way things are(or aren’t) done in Washington. As you sip your coffee, watching the Sunday shows, know that somewhere behind the scenes, Boehner and the boys are cooking up another sell-out, and the script is already written.  As your country, your children, and the prospects of both are being bankrupted, you don’t need to wonder whether disaster can be averted. It won’t be.  Our leaders will cut a deal that will permit them to carry on the charade a little longer, purchasing only one more installment of delay for the coming disaster borne by their inaction.

Note: The site had been experiencing some difficulties with the comment system.  I now believe it to be repaired. Thank you for your patience.

 

 

 

Another Sign Atlas Is Shrugging

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

Prophet?

Long time readers will know that I am a fan of Ayn Rand’s greatest work of fiction, Atlas Shrugged, first published in 1957.  The famed novel  has developed a following over the years because it describes a frighteningly similar world in which the global economy has collapsed, while America remains as the last enclave of a free market, also on its way to collapse under the dogmatic application of the statist doctrine of mass sacrifice.   Through the novel, readers are transported to a world in which the news media has become a lapdog for the statists, economic news is contrived and rigged to hide the onrushing collapse, while most people go about their lives with self-constructed blinders by which they are able to permit themselves not to know or even notice the facts of their increasingly dire situation.  Rand never intended the book to be prophetic, and yet with each passing day, the global economy and the financial markets provide daily reminders of her fictional work.  Economic conditions have grown steadily more awful, and yet we find the media is unwilling to show the American people more than a glimpse of the truth confronting them.  It’s as though Rand’s fifty-five year-old novel is being acted out in real life, in a modern setting wherein the technology has changed, but acts merely as another shady disguise behind which to conceal the operative laws of nature.  It now appears that Atlas is finally Shrugging.

Government has become an enormous bully, not concerned with improving the economic conditions, but instead with concealing them, and companies across the nation have been forced to collaborate in the deceit. Consider the case of Comcast.  The company announced on Tuesday that it would be closing all of its California-based call centers, reducing their number nationwide from thirteen to ten.  The original announcement mentioned that the reason the California centers were being closed was due to the extraordinarily high cost of doing business in that state. According to the Mercury News, Comcast spokesman Andrew Johnson said:

“We have concluded that the cost of doing business makes operations in California expensive and very difficult”

Scott Anderson, the chief economist with Bank of the West is quoted in the same article:

“The cost of doing business in California is a well-known problem across the country and among business owners in the United States. With the fiscal problems in California, these expenses will likely get higher. Tax rates may rise in California.”

As bad as that may be on its surface, the truth is far worse.  After pressure from the state’s Senate President Pro Tempore, Darrell Steinberg(D-Sacramento,) Comcast withdrew its earlier announcement, backing away from a statement that made clear the cause of the decision for the California closures. From the Belleville News Democrat:

“Instead, it said the California closures were needed for cost efficiencies and to consolidate its Western call centers from 13 to 10, based on customer needs, “rather than geography.” It noted that many customers rely on self-help and online tools to handle their service questions, which meant it doesn’t need as many call centers as in the past.”

I would direct my readers to consider what follows in the same article:

That turnaround was greeted warmly by the Governor’s Office.

“It is unfortunate that Comcast’s announcement to eliminate jobs in California inaccurately placed blame on the state, but I am pleased to see the executives at Comcast taking responsibility and correcting the statement,” said Mike Rossi, the governor’s senior adviser for jobs and business development, in a statement.

The governor’s involvement came after Steinberg issued a personal invitation to Comcast executives to meet “to outline their issues and discuss what my office and the Legislature might do to resolve their concerns.” Pending a meeting, he urged Comcast executives “to reconsider their actions.”

Steinberg said he was “puzzled and extremely disappointed” that Comcast representatives had not contacted his office, which represents the Natomas area, until after making its public announcement.

This is what the beleaguered people of California have as a state government:  A Governor who is more concerned with appearances and blame than with the facts.  Notice that Comcast is still going to close the centers, and more than 1,000 California workers are still going to lose their jobs, but the company’s official statements now reflect a more politically acceptable cause for the closures.  This is the sort of crime-boss mentality that now pervades government, from the Federal Government all the way down to State and local institutions of government.  They are no longer concerned with stopping the bleeding, but instead merely concealing it from your eyes, or in this case, merely causing you to believe they hadn’t been the cause.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is precisely the sort of thing that Rand described in her famous novel, and indeed, she even described a breakdown particularly in California, but she was no prophet, much as some might by now be convinced to the contrary.  Rand unflinchingly described the world as it is, and what happens when a people come to believe they have no further need to adhere to the laws of Nature, and that the technologies invented and built by others somehow insulate them the necessity to know the truth, or to somehow evade the objective reality that has been established by the laws of Nature.

At all levels, our governments now join in the gruesome spectacle of pretending that what matters is not what has happened or that will happen, but instead who will be blamed.  The mad rush of politicians to twist corporate arms is another small sign that we are well on our way to a national demise, and I expect that these instances will become more frequent as politicians try to disclaim and evade responsibility for their respective roles in the looming disaster.  Even now, our financial markets are beginning to realize the truth of QE3 (Quantitative Easing, round 3,) and as they do, the market will begin to lose its luster as a concealment for the impending collapse, and the banking industry will no longer be able to hide the truth of the looming collapse by effectively counterfeiting the value of collateral. As real household median income has fallen by 8.2% under President Obama, and as the shrinking number of jobs have caused the number of low-wage workers to increase by more than 30%, it is going to become increasingly difficult to maintain the illusion that “all is well.”

As bad as the government and media collusion in this deception may be, what may be more frightening is that as economic conditions worsen, ordinary Americans will become more polarized, divided into two general groups on either side of the gulf described by the bold line of truth:  Those who see what is and are no longer willing to conceal it for any cause or contrivance, and those who will avert their eyes lest they be forced to grasp the nature of the horrors their continuing silence will have enabled. It is questionable whether disaster may be averted, but it is certain that if the American people fail to recognize the danger, there can be no avoiding it.  It is therefore fitting that as we approach the release date of the second installment of Atlas Shrugged, the movie, and as we watch politicians scramble to avoid blame all while continuing their unrepentant war against us, it’s more important than ever that we refuse to accept the comforting lies they tell.  Their attempt to conceal their responsibility in the impending collapse should not serve as our excuse to conceal our own as Rand’s unintended prophecy continues to manifest around us.
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Note: For those interested, here’s the trailer for the upcoming release of Part II of the movie Atlas Shrugged

 

Government’s Foolish Contempt of Nature: Daylight Savings Time

Sunday, March 11th, 2012

What Do We Gain?

I don’t think much of the time-shifts associated with Daylight Savings Time.  I think they cause too many people to have too many problems in adjusting, and I’m not talking about resetting their alarm clocks. Humans are like most other animals on the planet, in that our bodies adjust slowly to new schedules, and it’s simply no good for people to be compelled to wake up an hour earlier just on the whim of some government’s say-so.  It wreaks havoc with shift schedules in the workplace, and it causes all sorts of computer troubles as systems flip over, particularly where systems must remain synchronized.  I have no problem with the idea that we want more useful daylight working hours in the evening, as that’s helpful to me on the farm in some instances, but then let us just leave it there, permanently.  One way or the other, let us adjust our clocks as many as one more time, but then let us leave it alone.

As most of you will have already known, Daylight Savings Time grew out of an era of war.  It was first proposed by Benjamin Franklin, but it wasn’t implemented in the US until the First World War.  The idea was simple: By shifting the clock one hour in Spring, one could lengthen the hours of daylight available in the evening, the idea being to save energy and permit longer work hours in a lengthened period of evening daylight.  That might have made sense at the time, and under the necessities of war, but no longer.  In the 1970s, the Federal Government looked at the energy savings of the procedure and found them to be negligible.

At the same time, let us consider the huge expense imposed. I would argue that if we want the day with longer periods of light at the end, that we should simply do this current switch to DST and simply leave it there indefinitely, because the costs imposed by flipping back and forth is too great in human terms.  The incidence of heart attacks and suicides increases after the spring change, and in addition, as a computing professional, I know well the costs of systems changing their time.  Each year, in my own organization, the changing of the time results in a number of unavoidable failures among systems that must remain within twenty seconds of synchronization at all times to function.  There are manufacturing systems in which the time-sync is even more critical, but in any event, the organization in which I work requires one of we technical folks to be standing-by, ready to intervene if some system doesn’t make the shift in a timely manner.

Our systems experience a real jolt in the Fall, because whereas in Spring, we just lose an hour in our records, in Autumn, as the clocks jump back one hour, we gain those records but we have two sets of records tagged with timestamps from 01:00 to 01:59.  This creates significant confusion despite the appending of other markers, using sequential fields on records, because when we query the system for review of various events, we get multiple returns by time that make it difficult to sort out what’s gone on. Of course, this difficulty exists in Spring too, as an event that begins at 01:59 and ends at 03:05 will be recorded as having taken one hour and six minutes when it actually took just six minutes.  All of these things are repairable but it’s a good deal of work that my organization incurs twice yearly, and it’s really unproductive, lost, wasted work that gains nothing for the organization but headaches.  Frankly, I’m waiting for the Obama administration to propose bi-weekly time changes as a ‘stimulus’ program, given the uselessness of it all.

The whole time-change event can cause serious malfunction in manufacturing.  One steel plant in Germany suffered significant damage after a load of steel was poured an hour too soon due to the time change.  In a world where precision now dominates, and systems operate continuously, arbitrarily monkeying around with the time can be a dangerous affair, particularly when the costs all seem to militate against flipping it.  Of course, it’s too late to put a stop to it this time, but I would like to see more discussion of this.

Nowadays, Daylight Savings Time seems to be more of a sad tradition than a proposition serving any real and useful purpose.  Russia liked DST so well that they simply moved the time, and left it there.  I’d be happy with that, knowing this would be the last spring in which the society at large was compelled to endure all of the displacements.  In human terms alone, if we never do this again, we will at least prevent another season of time loss, expense, and aggravation, and while it’s too late to save those who will now account for this year’s spike in heart attacks and suicides, at least we will never endure it again.

The real culprit in all of this is a government that never tires of tinkering with our lives, down to the minute and second.  There are whole departments of government that deal with nothing but this issue, and I expect that if we view it through that lens alone, we could probably save a good deal of money.  In fact, in the computer industry alone, there are thousands of people who serve this time-shift and work throughout the year to minimize the sort of outages and disruptions that could get people killed.  If all of those clever people were freed to work at some much more useful purpose, imagine how much better our lives would be.  It’s like almost anything else imposed by a top-down view of governance, in that what once might have served some reasonable purpose has become a yoke around the necks of the people.

I don’t know anybody who likes the time changes associated with Daylight Savings Time, because for virtually all of them, it imposes more trouble in their lives than it is worth.  Some would like us to stay on Standard Time permanently, but most to whom I speak would prefer Daylight Savings Time on a permanent basis.  As one co-worker explained, “So in the winter, I’d be arriving at work as the sun comes up.  What does that matter to me?  I’m at work.  I’m indoors and the florescent lights are burning either way. At least I won’t be driving home as darkness falls in December.” That seems to be the attitude of many, and I couldn’t agree more. As we endure this interruption twice annually, we should ask if the costs of the time-shift haven’t grown too large, and whether it’s time that we pick one and stick with it.

 

Disability: The New Welfare

Monday, February 20th, 2012

Giving You All You Want

This has been the trend since the end of the 1990s, when “welfare reform” was enacted by a Republican Congress and President Bill Clinton.  Rather than remaining stuck in a system that pays in commodities and benefits, more and more people have been moved into a permanent welfare class defined by disabilities.  Some are legitimate disabilities, of course, but as I suspected then, much of it is trumped-up nonsense.  One of the biggest has been the growth among psychological disabilities, with vast numbers of people receiving benefits on the claim of ADD/ADHD.  This has created whole families who receive monthly stipends, each, as individuals, and a whole cottage industry of attorneys specializing in winning these claims has come into being.

According to one Fox News report, the number has ballooned even more in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008. In fact, according to the source article in the New York Post, many people are applying for disability just as their unemployment benefits are running out. This is simply another case of people seeing the public trough, and figuring out ways to get access to it.  Sure, there are certainly disabled people, but the numbers now applying for benefits as permanently disabled people defies credulity.  This has become the new permanent welfare subsidy, and most of the people who now receive it are able-bodied, but claim disabled minds.  If you wonder how the Obama administration is managing to bring down unemployment, this is part of the formula.  As people’s claims to the Social Security administration are approved, they drop off the roles of jobless, thus rigging the numbers a bit more in favor of the Obama administration.  All the while, disability claims have hit a record $200billion, as of January.

Everybody is entitled to their opinion, but I’ll gladly tell you mine:  I’ve said since the early 1990s that had I been born three decades later, I’d have been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD and pumped full of Ritalin, if my parents would have been gullible enough to fall for it.  Most of the kids diagnosed as such are just normal kids who need a little stern discipline, and while there will be those of you who will argue I am a Neanderthal for the suggestion, I’ve seen this up close, and I know what nonsense lies behind most of it.  Now, that diagnosis is being carried over into adulthood, and adults are likewise being newly diagnosed with these dread afflictions of the psyche.

Let me tell you the truth: Most of the people thus diagnosed as adults actually suffer a different affliction, and it’s called “Needaswiftkickaritis.”  In short, they’re children in the bodies of adults who are avoiding responsibility for the conditions of their lives, and passing on the duty to fund their materials needs to those of you who work.  I know a person who is part of this profile, right now, not one mile away, and that’s only because he brags about it.  He knows he’s scamming the system, and he’s actually proud of it.  Somebody at the SSA actually challenged his claim, I believe denying it, and then he went out and found himself one of the ambulance-chasers who specializes in these matters.  Bingo!  He won the lottery, and now, at 26 years of age, he will spend his days being fed, clothed, and housed by you because he “won’t hit a lick at a snake,” as goes the central Texas colloquialism.

This is one more instance where a big government program has been taken from its early intended purpose to something it was never intended to do, and we wonder why we’re going broke?  Where I work, we’ve even had people who came in, applied, went through our extensive training program, and then as they should commence work, announced that they would not be working for us after all, because their claims of disability have been approved.  Ladies and gentlemen, we cannot permit this sort of thing to go on.  When we reformed welfare in 1996, we failed to reform other programs to close loopholes that were even then being habitually abused.  Many of those who went off the welfare rolls in the intervening period have merely found another teat on the giant sow of government at which to nurse.  It’s time we wean some of these piglets, as they’re now milking the sow to death, and us with her.

Note to Big Government Statists: Leave Me Be!

Friday, February 17th, 2012

New Boss, Same as the Old Boss

Dear Miserable Big-Government Jack-booted Statists:

I don’t know you well enough to give you even the most vaguely intimate details of my life.  Why do you want them?  I don’t love you, and you don’t love me, so why can’t you let me be?  Why is my contract in employment any of your business?  If my employer is happy, and I’m happy, apart from the fact that you’re already taxing both to death, why do you need to know how much I earn per hour, or anything of the sort?  Why are you involved in the question of my health insurance?  Not only do you wish to decide whether I will buy health insurance, but also what it will cover.  Note to jack-boots:  I’m a forty-something man married to a forty-something woman and we’re not interested in contraceptive coverage.

Why will my health-insurer be forced to cover it?  Florescent lighting gives me a headache.  CFL’s particularly are the bane of my existence.  Why may I not choose what kind of light-bulb I will purchase? I don’t mind paying extra for the slight difference in efficiency. Why must I be condemned to a life of headaches triggered by these lights, just to suit you?

Of course, you’re not satisfied with this, are you?  Hardly.  You don’t want me to buy weapons, but to the degree you permit it, you don’t want me to buy too many at once, and you want gun stores to report me if I buy more than one at a time.  Why?  Are you afraid I’ll arm a gang of Narco-terrorists with them?  Like you did?  Of course, since we’re speaking of terrorism, let’s cover your general ineptitude.  You want to scan Granny’s wheelchair, but you refuse to “profile.”  Why?  Profiling has been a crime-fighting technique for generations because it works.  Why is it that you’re willing to subject women to body-scanning abuse by some of your pervert agents?  Will you treat my wife that way?  My adult daughter?  What makes you think we’re chattel for your amusement?

Speaking of our children, you now seem to believe it’s your business what we pack in our kids’ school lunches.  Why is it that elected officials believe that their busy-body spouses should have any say-so in what we eat or drink, or don’t?  We didn’t elect them, but even if we had, why do you believe it’s any of your business?  You don’t buy my food.  You don’t prepare it.  You don’t feed my children, so when you explain to me how you’re seizing my kid’s lunch to be replaced by such meals as you deem suitable, are you confused as to why I might be upset?

As all of this grows and grows, I have begun to wonder if you’re even aware of how sick of you I have become.  If you were a person, I would charge you with theft, stalking, harassment, and torture.  Since you do all of this under color of your official authority, you also do it at the point of a gun.  I wanted you to know this, and to know that I no longer consent. You are in violation of the constitution that acts as the social contract between and among us. You have taken on the role of dictator, and frankly, I’m not interested in being your servant since our compact declares that you will be mine.  I don’t want anything from you.  I don’t want a single commodity.  My state and local governments are going to receive the same talking-to, but since I know you are arrogant and no longer believe you need listen, I’m going to make this explicit:  Leave me alone. I don’t want your hand-outs. I don’t want your iron fist. I don’t want anything but those limited purposes for which you were created: Defend the country against foreign enemies and domestic criminals, and act as an objective arbiters in our own domestic squabbles.  You have no other legitimate purpose.

 

Leave me alone.

 

Obama’s OMB Director Jeff Zients Caught Hiding the Truth – Video

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

President's New Budget Liar

Barack Obama’s Office of Management and Budget Director Jeffrey Zients testified before Congress on Barack Obama’s proposed budget.  House Republicans spent a good deal of time and effort trying to get a straight answer on when our budget would balance by grilling Zients on Wednesday.  Unfortunately, Zients is another Obama liar.  He has no intention of telling you when, under Barack Obama’s budget proposals, the budget would balance, because under Obama’s ludicrous budget offering, it never does.  Let me say this again.  Under Barack Obama’s budget proposals, they merely slow down the rate at which debt is accumulating, in theory, but in practice, it will not slow down since they are assuming rosy interest rates on new and existing debt, and his administration is rigging the numbers.

Here are two videos of Congressmen trying to get a straight answer from this newly-appointed Presidential Budget Liar, who will not admit on camera that the budget will never balance under these proposals.  Never.

You can take what you want from all of this, but what is clear is that Obama is not interested in upholding his oath, but instead merely running our nation into the ground in opposition to his oath.

House Republicans Now Regret Debt Ceiling Deal

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Now The Claim They Didn't Know

What a bunch of liars!  Everybody with the discerning capacity of a gnat knew that the Debt Deal was a loser, and that the triggers and targets and sequestrations would all result in only one thing:  Massive defense cuts while the Obama spending machine chugs along.   Now that it has come to pass, some House Republicans are now expressing “buyers’ remorse.”  My suggestion to these simpering would-be Republican leaders is that if they think they now feel badly about the way this has turned out, just imagine their poor voters.  These members of Congress who were elected precisely to stand firm on this issue should understand something more:  If they think they’re feeling buyers’ remorse, they should see how their voters feel about having elected them. They feel badly?  Not badly enough!

This foolishness is their way of trying to repair bridges to voters, particularly the Tea Party, but I think it’s pathetic and will not work.  I think the voters who elected these members, all of them, should remember that these are the people who sold us out to Barack Obama on the basis that they needed to do so in order to save their own electoral skin.  As I discussed at the time of the “deal,” the entire episode was a display of sickening surrender by House Republicans, whipped into submission by a weak Republican leadership that is more willing to discipline its own members than to fight the leftist front.

Cowardice was the approach of the time, and it was all about their unwillingness to do the hard work of leadership.  It is this same troop of alleged “stalwarts” who shafted Newt Gingrich in 1995 over the government shutdown, as they went with Dole rather than Gingrich.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that is who the whiners in our House leadership is comprised of today.  Nobody on the conservative side of this argument should forget that these folks had a chance to stand up to the Republican leadership, and to stand against Obama and the Senate, in order to stave off this growing disaster.

Our military is now bearing the vast majority of the cuts under the auspices of this programmed sequestration and now we see Congressmen from defense-heavy districts complaining, after having voted for this pig in a poke.  They took what they thought was the easy way out politically, to try to safeguard their own necks, all because they were unwilling to fight.  To suggest that we need new leadership in the House of Representatives is to undersell the point:  We need new leadership everywhere among the Republicans, in the House, the Senate, and in committees.

Consider the case of Buck McKeon(R-CA), Chairman of the Armed Services Committee.  He backed the deal, and helped round up the freshmen members, and pushed them to support this plan, yet now he complains bitterly that the deal is no damned good.  Interviewed for The Hill article, he said:

“I voted for it because I was told the supercommittee couldn’t fail, because sequestration was so bad that they would have to come together on that,” McKeon said. “Well, obviously it didn’t work, so now we find ourselves in a very difficult situation.

“Can I go back knowing what I know now, and change my vote then? We don’t get that luxury around here.”

This is the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee complaining that if he knew then what he knows now, he’d have changed his vote.   If Buck McKeon were in easy shouting distance of me, I’d point out to this bonehead that THE ENTIRE CONSERVATIVE BASE OF THE PARTY KNEW, and was telling he and the Speaker, and the Majority leader all of this in no uncertain terms.  What sort of dismally bankrupt logic permits this man to now pretend that he didn’t know. He’s lying!  He did know!  They ALL knew!  The rare few members whose arms they could not twist certainly knew.  The members who they cajoled and prodded into joining them in surrender knew.

What then is this business about not knowing then what he knows now?  Somebody who lives in Chairman McKeon’s district should please let him know I’m calling him out on all of this. I may be nobody, but even this nobody knew!  Obviously, the Tea Party in his home district must be making a fuss, otherwise this useless whiner wouldn’t be out in the media whining about not having known how this would go.  How can any serious leader in the GOP claim not to have known?  The answer is that there are not now many serious leaders in the GOP in the House, so if the truth would be told, every last one of them who has been there over three terms should be bounced out of town on their asses at the next possible electoral opportunity.

Forgive me please, ladies and gentlemen, for becoming a bit hacked-off about all of this.  It’s unconscionable that the leadership of the Republican party in the House of Representatives would tell us with a straight face, and plenty of simpering, that they hadn’t known.  Boehner needs to go. Cantor needs to go.  McKeon and every other one like him needs to go.  I think we should question the sincerity of any member of the House, never mind the leadership, who claims that he or she hadn’t known.  In fact, I’m certain of it.  We told them.  We demanded Cut, Cap and Balance, and while it passed the House, it was already being undercut by the Speaker’s own negotiations.  No sir, they all knew.  All of them.

 

The GOP Establishment’s Willingness to Lose

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

How They see Us

Watching the post-South Carolina reaction of the GOP establishment and all of its various and sundry shills in media, I’ve come to the inescapable conclusion that there is a disease greater than Obama’s radical leftism that makes us vulnerable to him.  The Republican establishment is committed to destroying Gingrich because he’s not one of them, but I also think because they may not want to win.  If you listen to what they say, and compare it to what they do, it’s clear to me that staving off a candidate who Tea Party folk would prefer is more important to them than the possibility of losing the election. You shouldn’t be shocked that the establishment would prefer to lose to Obama, because in truth, they’re more interested in keeping their gravy train running than fixing the country, and there are at least three reasons this is true.

Culturally, the elite is more amenable to the ideas for which Obama stands.  Obama is a big government statist, and so are most of the people in the GOP establishment.  Their first response to any issue, much like Obama’s, is to imagine a government solution that will involve kickbacks and patronage jobs to their well-connected friends.  These people are all friends, left or right, and they tend to prefer the company of their establishment opposites to the “barbarians” and “riffraff” who constitute the base of their respective parties.  These are the people who descend from on high to participate with you in more humble fare when it suits their political ends. Otherwise, you’re the residents of flyover country, and your job is to shut up and do what you’re told.  They will not be hurt in the least by Obama-care, or any of the other plots and programs and government schemes concocted in Washington DC.  New health-care plan with death panels?  Not for them.  New regulations that make it impossible to start a small business?  Not with their friends.  An economic crisis that would make Herbert Hoover shudder?  It might make a small dent in their accounts, but the difference will generally be negligible.  The simple point is that Barack Obama offers no real threat to them, and besides, they’d prefer to drink cocktails with him than oppose him.  To this jet-set, you and I are unimportant, and our individual goals in life are so pedestrian.  They view us as they view the gardeners and mechanics and all the others they hire:  Important, but interchangeable cogs in support of their lifestyles.  Understand that I’m not talking about “class envy” here, because I surely do not begrudge them their relative wealth.  It’s their attitude that strikes me as fundamentally bankrupt, and it’s encapsulated in the sentiment: “I’ve got mine,” as they ignore the fact that you would like a similar opportunity to pursue your own.

The party insiders wants a safe nominee, who will neither cause them the loss of the House, nor even risk it.  They need to maintain control of at least one house of Congress in order to have the bargaining power necessary to shove provisions into legislation that will allow them to personally profit from the resulting market blow-back, and from insider information.  It’s what they do, and if the control of Congress is at least split, they will maintain that bargaining position. A “safe” candidate like Romney probably wouldn’t risk costing them the House, but such a candidacy might well not gain the Senate, or much of anything at all.  That’s fine with the establishment, so long as there are no losses.  The point is that Congress frequently functions as an extortionist’s protection racket, or plays favorites, and those who control the leadership are able to work out their own deals.  Worst of all, Gingrich is a guy who knows where some of the bodies are buried, and he’s exposed a few of them before.  Whether Gingrich would use that knowledge for reform is another question, but the establishment doesn’t wish to take any chances.

The party elite would just as soon lose because they hope the Tea Party will go away, and they see the re-election of Obama as a political repudiation of the Tea Party.  This is because the Tea Party has come awfully close to discovering how deeply the establishment’s profiteering runs, and the legislation the Tea Party-inclined Americans would like to see would upset too many profitable apple-carts.  More, the Tea Party is not under their control, and what they dislike even more than the party followers of their opponents is the somewhat less predictable nature of the Tea Party.  Tea Party folks don’t necessarily toe the party line, and it was mainly a number of their forerunners who in 2006 sat out the elections giving the House back to Democrats because of Republican over-spending.  These are Americans who don’t care so much about party, but instead are concerned with the general direction of the country, and the implications of gigantic deficits and debt.  These are the people whose wrath will be known in November 2012, and it is their energy that propelled Gingrich to victory in South Carolina.  One thing the party insiders hate is a segment of the electorate that can so easily overturn their plans, which is why when the Tea Party has come under attack from the left, they have generally sat by in silence,  saying little or nothing in defense of the Tea Party.  They are hopeful that the left will make some hay and beat down the Tea Party, because it’s a threat to the GOP establishment every bit as much as the left.  Re-electing Obama increases the chances that Tea Party will fizzle and go away.

These are the three most important reasons that the GOP establishment does not want a candidate with real Tea Party connections, and may be willing to lose in order to stave one off.  I’m not suggesting to you that Gingrich is necessarily a strong Tea Party candidate, but the fact that he is in search of a constituency while the Tea Party seeks a candidate may have made for a marriage of convenience, as South Carolina demonstrated.  What you ought to know and recognize is that the GOP’s elite are not very happy with the state of things, with Gingrich as the apparent front-runner at the moment, but they’re not done just yet, and if they can’t swing a candidate they want, many of them would just as soon lose as permit anything to bring their gravy train to a screeching halt.  It’s not merely direct and thorough reformers who they fear, but anybody who is not under establishment control.  The question for you may not be Romney vs. a purported non-Romney, but instead establishment vs. non-establishment, although for the moment, it seems the two are the same.

What The Media Talks About When You’re Not Looking

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

Dr. David Samadi - Regulating Life

Just a short while ago, I was retrieving a fresh cup of coffee, and I happened to hear something on the television that caused me to do a double-take.  FoxNews was on and America’s New Headquarters had a contributor on to talk about obesity in America, and the fact that obesity and even the classification “overweight” seem to have plateaued in the country.  The doctor, from Mt. Sinai in New York, a David Samadi, was discussing the implications of the new study showing this plateau.  The thing that caught my attention was not so much the discussion of obesity, but what this idiotic doctor was prescribing:  He wants new taxes, for instance, a “soda tax,” and he wants to reduce the number of fast-food outlets in the country. Excuse me?  Physician, heal thyself! This is the nature of the stories even allegedly “conservative” news outlets like FoxNews cover when most of us aren’t watching, and it almost always leans in the direction of socialism.

Let me say from the outset that like many Americans, I could stand to eat Five Guys burgers somewhat less frequently, but let me also suggest that it is none of this doctor’s business what I eat or drink, where I eat it or drink it, and most of all whether I am taxed for so doing.  Samadi’s view seems to be that he can issue prescriptions for three-hundred-million people, never having examined more than a few hands-full of them.  More, since he has no such authority or power or the ability to control, he exhorts government to do so on behalf of his preferred prescription for people the vast majority of whom he has never met, never mind examined or treated.  What sort of collectivized thinking permits this arrogant [expletive deleted] to sit there in a television studio and proclaim to all that he has the answers for your life, but that he needs government’s power to coerce and to tax in order to implement them?

There is something wicked about the minds of those who view their fellow men as cattle, to be poked and prodded and driven in a direction that they may not themselves wish to go.  It is born of a mindset that does not respect first and foremost the lives and rights of individual people. These people are those who I term “regulators,” who wish to regulate all persons in a given society of which they are members to conform to their view of what is right for all people.  Mayor Bloomberg’s various bans on salt or saturated fats in cooking oils are just two examples, but it is the mindset of a tyrant that is troubling in all of this.  I don’t need Mayor Bloomberg, Michelle Obama, or Dr. Samadi telling me what to eat, when to eat it, or whether I ought to have access to it at all.  It’s simply not their concern.  Or is it?

Now we arrive at the meat of this issue, because there is much more than burgers at stake here.  What is under examination is not whether they have the authority to control us, but how they derive such authority in the first place.  The answer is simple: They rely upon the faulty claims of the notion of “the public health.”  You may have noticed that they always portray this as a “public health crisis,” and as an “epidemic,” but this is a lie, and their authority in the matter only arises because of health-care, and the fact that government is the biggest player in that segment of the market.  They have routinely positioned the matter in such a way that they can make the claim that by virtue of governmental expenditures in this field, it therefore becomes an issue of public imperative.  Worse, by allowing their colossal medical expenditures and controls to grow out of all bounds, you have permitted them to enter this field, and thereby exert control over your breakfast, lunch, dinner, and evening snack besides.  More damaging still is the fact that the government is now the largest food provider on the planet. Again, I remind you: We have permitted this.

Here’s a basic rule of nature, and of civilization that the statists know and are now turning in their favor: If you are the provider of a thing, you can decide when to provide it, how to provide, how much of it to provide, and under what conditions you’ll provide it.  For instance, if I invite you to my home for a meal, since I am providing it, it is my natural right to determine all the particulars.  If you provide me a service without compensation, it is clear that I have no ethical or moral claim with respect to the manner in which you provide it. Only paying customers have any say-so in the matter.  The old adage “beggars can’t be choosers” should immediately leap into one’s mind.  That simple old adage merely paid homage to that which is self-evident, and yet it is this same concept that has been bent and twisted into the service of the state’s aggressive aggregation of power.  The strategy has been to blur the lines. Let’s see if we can reconstruct the approach.

First, we create simultaneously programs to:

  • Provide food to the poor
  • Provide health-care to the poor
  • Provide “health insurance” to the elderly

Do you see how this has mutated?  The idle poor are fed, but they are fed rations excessive for a person at hard labor, and we wonder why there is obesity? We then provide these same people health-care, and we wonder why there is a “public health crisis?”  Add to this that we simultaneous have a system of health “insurance” for our elderly that further obscures the difference between paying and non-paying, and at the other end of the spectrum, we now have federal food programs in schools, as the manner by which federal funds are dispersed and control exercised.

By exercising control over the disbursement of these commodities and services, the government is essentially putting itself in the position of the provider, and therefore has become the “chooser,” with all the beneficiaries effectively having been rendered “beggars.”  Those of us who are paying for this are the real providers, and yet we are now told it is a matter of “human rights” that we do this provisioning. Obamacare is simply the latest in this chain, but it’s hardly the only “improvement” to the system that has been foisted upon us in recent years, with the Bush Medicare Prescription Drugs program added to the mix.

With the government now being the largest payer in the health-care market, you can expect that it will naturally displace market imperatives in the delivery of health-care goods and services, and it will necessarily prioritize that delivery(death panels, for instance,) while reaching into unrelated markets to regulate those things that it will make the case as having some influence over the costs to government.

This then leads to the grotesque spectacle of Dr. Samadi appearing on FoxNews telling us what we can eat, where we can procure it, and what taxes we ought to pay along the way, as the whole miserable assembly comes lurching into plain sight.  You can be told what you can eat because you will [eventually] rely upon government to pay for your health-care.  The market can be told what it may provide, and how, because the government has an interest in reducing its costs.  The tax-payer can be told to shut up about it, since it’s virtually established as some sort of irreducible premise that every person ought to be somehow entitled to that which does not pour from the heavens, but must be obtained by human effort.  As you can therefore see, it is inevitable that government has now used this to become a dictator in every important facet of our lives, and all because somewhere along the march from our founding to present, we permitted them to make our needs the means to its ends.

When you consider that this is the sort of thing that is discussed on allegedly conservative media when most of the country isn’t watching, it ought to alert you to the underlying premises of the discussions in media many more of us witness.  What we should note is that in most every media outlet, there is a sort of inherent reverence for the state, and for the under-girding foundational constructs of collectivism, and we ought to be very careful not to ignore that these media outlets are fundamentally in favor of it, almost all of them, and widely across the board. It’s easy to dismiss this sort of news story as simple time-fillers on a weekend with no ongoing crisis-bound event on which to report, but I think we should be careful to see that is also a sign of what lies behind the blaring headlines, and it is key to understanding why the country continues to be dragged ceaselessly leftward.

A Century of Unreality: Shall We Begin Another?

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Trouble Ahead?

The last one-hundred years or so have been unlike any other in human history.  From heavier-than-air flight, to widespread personal modes of transportation, to microprocessors that churn through massive calculations at mind-bending speed, our technical sophistication has created a world that none alive two centuries before would have had the audacity to envision.  Even the greatest visionaries of the early nineteenth century could not have foreseen what has been accomplished by all of mankind, but particularly seeded in the West, and most particularly in America on the shoulders of one unalterable truth:  Reality is real.  What is, is, irrespective of what some profoundly pathological liar may say to a grand jury while on the witness stand.  No country in human history had ever paid greater devotion or service to this truth, and yet with the beginning of the progressive era, no country has worked harder to undo the reality on which its existence and its prosperity depends.  The question now confronting us, if we are brave enough to acknowledge it, is whether we have had enough of unreality and wish to return to our previous condition of growth and success, or instead remain fixed on a course of self-destruction in pursuit of an unreality for another century.

If we choose the latter, it will be a short century, for it shall complete our destruction.  One cannot survive by pretending one’s belly is full, any more than one can pretend it will be filled without effort.  Life is not sustained without action on its own behalf, and yet ours is a culture beset by the bankrupt notion that life may be lived without gainful effort.  How much time in any given day is devoted to the effort of doing nothing?  How many idle hours are exhausted in pursuit of relentless indifference to one’s own existence?  The number is now incalculable, and yet we can see its cost all around us.  This years marks the ninety-ninth that our nation has pretended that value can be created out of nothing.  The Federal Reserve system, enacted into law in 1913, promises to use the manipulation of debts in order to add more currency to our circulation, but it also promised that we would gain wealth by this process.  In 1912, sixteen US Dollars would have purchased for you one ounce of gold.  Now, one-hundred years later, you will need more than sixteen-hundred dollars to buy that same ounce of gold.  This is a measurement of the scale of our century-long unreality.

It is not only in our currency that we permit such self-fraud.  We permit it primarily in our government, and in our daily existence, because it is easier to accept a beautiful lie than an ugly truth, and we are so much more comfortable with the former.  How many Americans now do no labor, today, tomorrow, or any time in the future, and at no time in the recent past?  How many Americans create no new wealth, but instead rely upon others to maintain the flow of their daily bread?  This number now measures not in the tens of millions, or even one-hundred million, but more than one-half of all Americans now receive regular disbursements from government for something other than goods, labor, or services rendered.  It happens at all levels of government, and in all levels of society.  From the poorest to the richest, we are a nation now ruled by the majority who constitute the beneficiaries of an all-encompassing welfare state.  I must compare modern American thinking to an iPhone commercial, but rather than “apps,” it seems for every imaginable want, need, or desire, we have a program now dedicated to providing them to any who demand it.

Food?  We have a program for that.  Medicine?  We have a program for that.  Contraceptives?  We have a program for that too.  Even if you want Internet access, or cellular communications, somewhere in America, under the auspices of some governmental hand-out, we have a program somewhere to suit your demands.  If you need a grant to start a “Green energy” project, we have a program for that too.  We can offer you millions if you wish to produce fuel from corn.  Do you need to advertise your products overseas?  We have a program fit to your purposes.  Education? Got it!  Housing? BINGO!  Do you want a tax break for converting your land into a nature preserve?  We have that nestled somewhere in legislation as well.  There is no limit to the imagination of politicians as to what they might at any moment convert into a so-called “public good,” which in economic terms means something that the free market cannot easily provide to all who want or need it at a price they are all able to pay.  The theory goes that government must then intervene to make sure there is equitable distribution in sufficient quantities to meet the demand, or at least subsidize its payment.

Guess who gets the bill?  You may assume you already know the answer, but do you?  I don’t think most people realize the full scope quite yet. It is true that if you pay taxes into this creature, but take none of the loot, you are among those who have a glimpse of its full unreality.  Multiply this by decades, forged of the servitude of your life stretching out before you, unto death, and spread like a virulent rash to your children and then theirs, in each day and in every moment, grabbing a little more of the life that should have been yours to live, and then theirs, and so on.  I noted with dismay that in the tax return of Newt Gingrich, nearly one-million dollars on just more than three-million dollars earnings had been wrested from him, constituting some 32% of his earnings in that year.  I complain about the total bite the federal government exacts from me, and yet it pales in comparison.  I wish to know in the name of justice why it is that people who earn so much have so much taken.

I wonder how many jobs he might have created with the additional million dollars, or the investments he might have made that would have birthed jobs in the enterprise of another. Most of all, I wonder how that money was squandered in payments to people who ought to have done for themselves that which he and those like him are compelled to provide at gunpoint.  Don’t misunderstand me, as I doubt Mr. Gingrich is suffering, but that’s hardly the point as I consider the scale of the problem.  We have millions upon millions for whom reality has been excised from their lives, allegedly as a matter of “compassion” or “humanity,” but I contend to you that those who live in perpetuity by the exertions of others deserve no compassion, because they do not themselves exhibit humanity.  To be human is to think, and to think is to recognize reality and integrate that knowledge into the consideration of all the choices with which one is confronted.  Only a primitive brute goes through life grasping and grabbing and looting, and yet this is the picture of humanity with which we are scolded.

Each is told that his or her needs is a legitimate claim on the lives and labors of others, and this is an unreality of the very worst sort, and it is at the root of the immorality driving our national decline.  There are those who will claim that “we must have safety nets, for those who cannot,” but I tell you that no such obligation exists except by the willful choice of each individual, but never through the coercive, forceful arm of the government in the name of the public.  Friday, giving a campaign speech, Barack Obama insisted he should pay more in taxes.  Let me ask you: What prohibits it?  Can he not send a check as a donation to the US Treasury?  You see, the truth is that he is not satisfied that he should give to the causes he holds dear, but that you must also.  It is not good enough that an action that should be a function reserved to private charity be left to the vagaries of human choice.  No, you must be compelled.  In this way, you cannot decline to support the un-rehabilitated drug  user, and you may not regard each case on its merits, but instead will be compelled to treat them all as being of equal value, and equal need, irrespective of fact.

This unreality, that the statists name “compassion” is merely a substitute for another word, which when viewed through the lens of those who must provide it can only be “slavery.”  We are now a nation of slaves and slavers, and the truly ingenious expression of this has been the development of a growing class who are both.  It is impossible for our nation to persist in this fashion, and the culmination of a century of social unreality that exceeds the scrupulous adherence to physical reality that has permitted our technological advancements.  It is becoming so thorough that soon, our social unreality will overrun our technological respect for nature’s realities that we will begin to regress.  In truth, this is the secret of so-called “progressivism,” inasmuch as it is not progression but regression by any measure.

Only a fool holds that one can live without effort, or exist interminably by the efforts of others, and yet this is precisely the stated object of the so-called “progressives,” and it is the unreality that they must peddle.  We are now coming to it, in a time when unreality will crash into reality.  We will be faced with many choices when this occurs, and the problem is that in crisis, mankind has a terrible history of reacting against reality’s bite with even more egregious unreality. What shall we do?  Is this to be the last generation of Americans, as that term had come to mean barely more than a century ago, or is this the time when Americans will reach for reality, and demand a respect for it among men and governments?  Time will tell, and yet I know it seems to run ever against us, but still I wonder in the end: Mustn’t we yield to reality, one way or the other?  I think so, and I suspect this will be a rude awakening through which the fragile among us may not long endure.

Why Government Isn’t Like Business

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Why Is Government Constituted?

Like most people, I’ve changed my thinking on a number of things over the course of my life, and one of them is the idea that government ought to function as a business.  I once believed that if government could only function with the efficiency of corporations, it would be phenomenal, and make much more sense.  I hear or read this proposition raised from time to time, mostly by people who are discouraged by the wastefulness of governments, and I share their frustrations though I now differ with their conclusions.   Many things have helped shape my opinion, but over the course of time, nothing has done more to change my thinking on this than seeing government in action, up close and in person.  My first experience with that was as a soldier, of course, and along the way to where I am now, I’ve held a temporary position in federal government employ and what I learned there, and since, has made me decide I had been wrong.  It’s not that government can’t be made more efficient, or more careful with our money, but that government is not a business, and if it were to operate like one, we would all shortly regret it.

Imagine a government that can flow into new endeavors by shifting its focus by direction from the top.  Businesses do this very thing all the time, and frequently to the inestimable benefit of employees and investors.  Even if an institution of government could behave this way, would you want it to do so?   Various statists will argue that such a government would be a grand institution, and return much value to its investors, also known as “tax-payers.”  The problem with this is that no company gets to decide the size of investors’ stakes in the business. No company is empowered in law to dictate greater investments, but at least a company has paying customers.  Government has a few who pay various fees of little consequence, but it cannot rightly be said that government has customers, since theirs is a captive market.

Companies try to obtain greater and greater shares of the market, in order to increase their investors’ profits, but governments with such an imperative would soon overrun every boundary we had previously imposed upon its growth.  In fact, our government is already squeezing out private enterprise, and the fact is that with a captive market, government can squeeze out as much as it is institutionally and politically able.  The last dozen years give witness to the fact that the proportion of the total economy the government dominates is increasingly oppressive.  Government already has a legal monopoly on coercion, and it lends that monopoly power to various enterprises on a continuous basis.  Some of these enterprises are government-owned, or formed, and a few more are simply companies that have figured out how to get their fingers in the government’s pie, but in any event, what results is not the sort of government most Americans would want.  It’s plain to see that a nation like Cuba has a governmental monopoly on everything, and Michael Moore’s panting endorsements of Cuban health-care notwithstanding, I think it’s fairly clear this is not a model we should follow.

Of course, there are those who argue that rather than at this very fundamental level, we could simply use common business practices to make government more efficient.  I wonder what efficiencies people seek in government?  Do you want them to become more efficient at tracking you?  Do you want it to become more effective at regulating you?  Do you want it to be more aggressive in taxing you?  I think not.  It is true to say, and I am certain that you will agree, that we can do things to make government accomplish more with less, and to likewise spend less altogether, but what that means is the ability to strictly limit the stake of the so-called “investors.”  Therein lies the problem:  All too often, those who bring business management experience to government see a vast ocean of potential revenue, and notice that unlike in the businesses to which they’re accustomed, the only limitation on their expenditure is their periodic requirement to stand for re-election.

Let us be circumspect in suggesting that we want government to function like business.  They have entirely different imperatives in a society such as ours.  Government exists for the purposes of defending the nation, minting the money, policing the criminals, and preventing commercial and civil conflict from becoming violent ones by the administration of an objectively moral law.  There is damned little else government should do, and can do effectively, and yet it is in this manner that we are told we must extend government’s power to encompass functions over which it has no just claim.  You might tell me some vaunted majority wants this or that, but does this legitimize the claim?  Can an orderly vote by wolves legitimize their consumption of the sheep, if they happen to be the more numerous?

This illustrates the most fundamental reason government must not function like a business:  Business is a voluntary endeavor, and it is business that must seek the agreement of others, and must find those who will purchase its products and services by choice.  Of all our founders, the one who might well have understood this more thoroughly than any was George Washington, and while it is in dispute as to whether he said this, it is nevertheless true, and whomever its actual source, it is a worthy idea:

“Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”

Imbuing such an entity with the purpose of business is as great a danger as I can imagine.  For those who argue that government should function like business, I wish you’d reconsider as have I.  I realize most think of this premise in terms of the tendency of government to be so wasteful, and the desire for greater efficiency, but we do not ever gain these efficiencies, and government grows only more powerful.  The government we now have all too often mimics the aspects of business that when empowered with monopoly and coercive power to implement its will, becomes a grave threat to its stakeholders.  Imitations of business practices do not make of government a business, and we must bear in mind its actual constitutional role, and limit it to those duties with great fervor.

Mitt Romney Is a Big Government Stooge

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

What to Wear When You're Shoveling BS

I’ve had just about enough of those who would like to pretend that Willard “Mitt” Romney is anything but a big government stooge.  American conservatives should run from this man as if they’d stumbled upon a leper colony.  There’s simply no excuse for the pretense we here from those in the GOP establishment that this man is a conservative.  In this video of an interview with Romney on Wednesday, what is revealed is that he still favors governmental mandates for health insurance.  Once again, Romney argues that his is a position of fiscal responsibility, and personal responsibility, and therefore conservative.  If you believe this is what constitutes conservatism, you’ve been horribly misinformed, or you’re dishonest, and I will not permit this lie to go further.  Let us be clear that when government mandates anything upon the individual, it is fundamentally restricting their rights, and arrogating to itself the choices people ought to be able to make in a free market.

What Romney offers here is just socialist bilge, clothed in a statist’s lies, and it’s time to put an end to it.  Watch the video, H/T Rich Lowry at National Review:

Hogwash!  Let’s consider briefly what he has said in this interview.  Romney offers that since the people of Massachusetts still favor his healthcare plan by a ratio of three-to-one, we should assume this is a good program.  In a state where more than 60% of the electorate leans Democrat, and only 26% lean Republican, what Romney has just admitted is that Democrats in Massachusetts support his healthcare plan, because 60-26 is already more than two-to-one.  This would be fine if he were challenging Barack Obama for the Democrat nomination, but it is entirely unbelievable unacceptable for a candidate seeking the Republican nomination.  Who expects Willard to repeal Obamacare?  Not I.  No approximately conservative person can view his justification of the Massachusetts mandate and fail to notice that it is merely another socialistic, big-government, welfare-state solution.

He spends most of this clip trying to explain why a mandate is a conservative idea.  It’s not.  A conservative knows that government has absolutely no role in healthcare whatever, unless its for soldiers or veterans.  That’s a conservative reality.  What Willard hopes is that by making this contextual shift, you won’t notice what he’s done in making this claim. He constructs it this way:

Proposition: It is right for individuals to pay their own way.

Conclusion: Then it is right for individuals to be compelled to pay their own way.

This is a ghastly lie. Let’s look at the real logical constructs underlying Mitt’s grotesque characterization and definition of conservatism as applied to this context.  What Romney here pretends is that the government has no choice but to provide goods and services, in this case, health-care, to any who desire it, or who can make some claim of need.  That is a lie. Government may say “no,” at least until people like Mitt Romney run it.  What Romney pretends is that you will be compelled to have insurance so that if you need healthcare, it will be paid for and you will thus not become a burden on tax-payers.  Let us be blunt: The only reason people are permitted to become a burden on tax-payers is because governments and tax-payers(or voters) allow it.  The real conservative solution is not to mandate healthcare coverage, but to begin the much more important and difficult chore of telling people “no.”

When Romney pretends his healthcare mandate is “conservative,” he’s lying, and he knows it.  I will not support Mitt Romney for any office, whether dog catcher or President, because he is a liar.  When you see politicians making these sorts of statements, you know they are avoiding something, and in this case, it is the real underlying question: Why do you think anybody ought to pay for your healthcare?  That is the first question an actual conservative must ask, and any jack-ass in a suit can propose mandates in the face of false suppositions about who ought to pay.

Health-care mandates aren’t conservative.  What they are is a method by which to get some who use little healthcare to pay for the healthcare of those who’d rather not pay, but it’s been all dressed up in the costume of personal responsibility.  Here’s personal responsibility:  No pay? No healthcare!  That’s conservatism.  That’s the free market.  That’s what I expect politicians to tell people, because it’s the truth.  Anything else is a lot of tyranny, and we have too much of that as it is.

Romney is no conservative, and I each time he claims to be one, I am going to point this out as another reminder of why he is nothing more or less than a big government stooge.   Romney’s healthcare mandate in Massachusetts is one reason conservatives must not support him, but the greater and more important reason to reject Romney is because he’s lying.   Conservatism doesn’t use pretenses like this to sell bad ideas that destroy liberty by their implementation, and actual conservatives know better.  At least, this one does.

 

A Conservative’s Dilemma

Saturday, December 17th, 2011

The Choices Before Us

I’ve been receiving a number of emails today, some of which were authored by those who think I’ve been too rough on Congressman Paul, Governor Romney, or Speaker Gingrich, or any of the other candidates I may have from time to time examined.  A couple of very important and consistent conclusions can be drawn from all of these emails, and I thought it would be proper to consider them together with you.  Nearly every one of the notes goes on at length to defend the candidate in question, and each of them goes on to tell me in one way or another that I’m falling for some media narrative or other.  This suggests a confusion about what I believe, and I’d like to clear that up for readers, both new and old.

With Newt, I’m “too harsh” because I’m a “Beckerhead,” despite the fact that I’ve been critical of Beck at times.  With Mitt, I’m “too inflexible” because I’ve noted that he’s been all over the place on various issues. In the case of Ron Paul, I’m being told that I don’t know what conservatism is, despite spending much of the last half-year discussing that very subject.  So arises the question: “What’s the truth?”  The truth is that like so many of you, I am unhappy with the current roster of choices, and none of them offer me much hope with respect to electing a “conservative,” as I conceive that term to mean.

Of course, this necessarily leads to the question as to what constitutes a “conservative.”  Various people will offer you a range of definitions, and the dictionary will focus on the notion of “conserving traditions,” but I think that’s a tortured application of a term that in our political context has almost no discernible, concrete meaning any longer.  In part, it stems from the redefinition of terms over the last century or more of political discourse.  The statists sought cover under the labels “progressive,” “socialist,” “liberal,” and more recently, “libertarian.” We’ve concocted new terms to try to differentiate, and most of them have been misused or misapplied with absurd results.  Of all the abuses of terminology that makes me angry, it is the misuse of the terms “liberal” and “conservative.”  These two have been stretched and twisted and reshaped until they in no way resemble the people who claim them as labels.  What this argues for is a little truth in advertising by way of labels.  I’ve tired of this nonsense in respect to the way in which it is used to pigeon-hole people into associations with beliefs and ideas they do not share.

Rather than try to tell you a definition under any of the bastardizations of the modern usages, I’m going back to a time when these terms still had some meaning.  I wish to go back to the days of our founding to explain to you what it is that I believe.  In the end, you will brand me with any label you find useful, but I would have it that you understand at the very least what I believe, and take from that understanding what it implies about the sort of candidates I choose to support.

In the era of our founders, I would have been called a “liberal,” in the precisely classical sense that characterized Thomas Jefferson’s inclusion under that label.  It would in no measure imply the sort of collectivist reflex with which the current uses of the term “liberal” are nowadays stained.  In the specifics of my belief, I need little beyond this from the preamble of our Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,[74] that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

I believe that such a government must regard the people it serves as its master, mindful of their individual rights in all things.  In this respect, I see government in the place of an honest umpire, neither for nor against any particular person, but in favor of a standard of right and wrong according to an objective set of rules the object of which is only the guarantee of those rights.

I also believe that government, in pursuit of the guarantee of those rights, must exercise its delegated authority in the name of an organized defense.  This means I believe in a vigorous national defense, but it also means I do not believe the purposes of our government should include military conquest. It means that I believe in a strong enforcement of our laws against criminals, but it also means I do not believe law should be placed in the service of plunder by some citizens of others.  It is this last that under modern constructs and usages characterizes me as a “conservative.”  I believe acts of government must serve all citizens simultaneously.  In today’s political discourse, there are those that would thereby label me a “libertarian,” and again, I would reach merely to history to make my case that it is not the object of government, as envisioned by our founders, to redistribute wealth or favors or benefits.  In this, I adhere to the sentiments of James Madison:

“If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may appoint teachers in every State, county and parish and pay them out of their public treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may assume the provision of the poor; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads; in short, every thing, from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress…. Were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for, it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited Government established by the people of America.” — James Madison

This would nowadays be called a “libertarian” by some, but this does not answer all that a government is or must do. It merely speaks to what a government must not do.  Madison here offers a warning that our nation’s government has long ago discarded in reckless pursuit of the very objects against which he warned.  This is not the government of our founding, nor the government of its re-framing under our Constitution.   The argument of some is that we have a living constitution that permits reinterpretation, but that would be a detestable reinterpretation itself.  Our founders thought this Constitution ought to be flexible, and so it is, but not in the manner now described by modern “liberals” who I call “statists.”  The framers of our Constitution laid a foundation for our republic, and for change of its laws, and most important among the things they enshrined in the Constitution are the only valid method by which it was intended to be flexible.  Article V:

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

If you want to know the means by which ours was to be a “living constitution,” there in Article V you will find it.  Notice that it does not say that the meaning of the law is to be amended by reinterpreting its words.  It gives us the ability to change the meaning of the law by changing the law itself, either by the Amendment or Convention procedures as outlined therein.  I am a strong believer in this, because I know full and well how the statists have long preyed upon the ignorance and indulgence of the American people.  It offers me some hope that so many now finally understand what has been at stake in the progressive era, begun arguably with the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt, but nevertheless in full swing by the time of Woodrow Wilson’s inaugural.

This would at first make the case of those who say I am therefore a modern-day “libertarian,” but I eschew that definition by virtue of all that term has now come to encompass.  Under this definition, I would necessarily reject any foreign involvements at all, but this is not so. I recognize as all conservatives do that there is the matter of reality from which one cannot escape.  Am I satisfied with the manner in which we have tended to a changing reality?  Hardly.  Am I satisfied that the measures we’ve undertaken were “necessary?”  Not at all.  Despite this seeming contradiction, I believe that we must fundamentally address this if we’re to  restore our constitution to its proper meaning.

As an example, I don’t believe the method by which we’ve circumvented the Constitution’s restrictions on military establishment is right and proper.  In our modern world, with push-button warfare of potentially devastating arms, it is necessary to consider that we ought to have not only a standing Navy at sea, but also a standing Army, which we do in fact have, even if Congress has continued the charade of no appropriations to that purpose for more than two years in technicality.  The National Security Act of 1947 does not amend the constitution, but merely adds to the charade.  I believe we ought to  amend the constitution to provide for this necessity rather than carry on with the fiction.

One must look at Madison’s quote above, in consideration of the government we now have, and wonder which Amendments provided for the growth of all those things against which he had warned.  The answer, of course, is simply: There haven’t been any.  Nowhere will you find an amendment providing for the welfare state, or education, or NASA, or a million other things that were considered by our framers as obscenities.  Whether I support them or not, still we have not amended the Constitution to permit them, but have instead acted on the notion of “necessity” as a matter of pure political expedience.  For this, I would be called a “radical” inasmuch as I present the radical notion that we ought and must adhere to our Constitution, or dispense with it and call our government something else, but it is not the government prescribed by the US Constitution, and has not been for many years.

This will lead inevitably to the question put forth by the adherents of Ron Paul, who will argue summarily on the basis I have outlined that I must be his kind of “conservative.”  This too is erroneous, for in fact what troubles me about Dr. Paul is that which has troubled me about much of modern “libertarian” dogma with respect to matters of national security: An unwavering belief in the absurd, the impossible, and the Utopian.   It is the key consideration among such “libertarians” that we must not involve ourselves in any matters but trade beyond our border, but since that will remain largely within the conduct of the private sector, the government need not be involved.

This is a lie, and an abrogation of our responsibility to the truth.  When Thomas Jefferson dispatched the Navy and its Marine forces to Tripoli in combat against the Barbary pirates, he did so not as an adventurist, but as a defender of American shipping.  It is preposterous to suggest that one’s trade will be sufficient intercourse with the world, because in truth there is yet another underlying and fundamental flaw that lies at the heart of such contentions: The abiding assumption that all others are guided by a similar reverence for those natural, unalienable rights of man that government exists to guarantee.  As Michele Bachmann said in Thursday night’s GOP Debate on FoxNews, only a knave or a fool believes this to be the case, and yet with nearly every dose of modern “libertarian” thought to which I exposed on the matter of defense and foreign policy(including Dr. Paul’s,) this juvenile, almost hippie-like presumption about the motives of all men emerges to a degree and extent that makes of their positions a laughing stock in the face of reality.

Contrary to the latter-day peacenik propaganda, we do not all “cherish the same things.”  If that were so, there would be no crime and no war and no strife anywhere among men, and yet it persists in our world, in our nation, and even in our neighborhoods and homes.  No unreality is more dangerous than such an assumption of the sort of Utopian relation of men and civilizations.  For what purpose do we have a government if not to defend us against those who do not share our views of the rights of man?

Damn me if you please, or if you feel as though you must, but do not permit yourself to believe I have not fully considered these issues.  Of late, I’ve given consideration to little else.  This entire blog is in service to that consideration, and to arouse yourselves to the belief that I would so casually entrust the future of this country, or its government to somebody on the basis of an unthinking support is patently absurd.  I don’t care if you call me “conservative” or “libertarian” or “liberal,” because I know in our current context, all those terms have lost their original meanings, but this much I do know:  I know what sort of candidate I would happily support.

I would support a candidate who shares my reverence for the Constitution in terms of the government’s relationship to its masters: We the people.  I would support a candidate who understands that our government now needs vast reforms, that some would call “sudden and relentless,” because our government has inverted its role in our lives, by which means it has become the master and we have become its servants.  I would support a candidate who understands the cruel and dangerous realities of our world, and is willing to act to bring our government and its operations into compliance with them by legal, constitutional means.  These are all the things, in general, that I would support, but I will not support any candidate absent any of these to any substantial degree.

These are the characteristics of the candidate I would support, but therein lies my personal dilemma, whatever you choose to call me:  None of the candidates now in the field have shown me that they are substantially, and in the greatest measure, what I believe such a candidate ought be.  I suspect the rapid climb and descent of one candidate after the other means that while many of you may not share my views entirely, the greater number of you are dissatisfied with your choices, and you now find yourself choosing from among what you consider an imperfect lot. In truth, I expect many people feel as I do in this matter, but this may be the nature of the choice we will have in 2012, and I fear, as do so many of you, that it will be insufficient to the grave national tests that lie ahead.  This may be my dilemma, but many of you share in it, and I wish for you the wisdom of Solomon.  We cannot afford to see this infant be rendered in halves.

Ten Reforms to Save America: Reform Number Six

Monday, November 21st, 2011

Time For Change?

One of the problems that has always plagued us is the clear disconnect between taxation and electoral responsibility for those who legally raise them.  It’s not accidental that Tax Day is April 15th, a full six months before election day. I want Americans to hold elected representatives responsible for the fiscal condition of the country, and the taxes that condition will naturally necessitate.  Since our Federal elections are held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November of even years, I think we should move tax day to the first Monday in November.  The truth is that for quarterly filers, this won’t make so large a difference, and in the main, it would seem a symbolic measure, but I think that it’s a worthy symbol.  After all, many voters go to the polls thinking about what they want, but for a change, I think it would be better if when they start marking their ballots, they instead should be thinking about the costs.

Of course, this presents another problem that needs to be reformed.  For some of those voters, the day they file their tax return is an occasion for celebration rather than a day of mourning.  Some of that is because a fair number of people over-withhold throughout the year in order to avoid getting hit with a big tax bill, but more of it is because some people get refunds in excess of what they had withheld in income taxes altogether.  You might ask yourself how it is possible that one can receive a refund higher than one has paid in, but Congress has an answer:  The Earned Income Tax Credit.  Effectively, all you need to do is earn a minimal amount of income.  It doesn’t take much income to qualify, and then you are eligible to receive a credit that may be more(and usually is) than the amount of income taxes you’ve had withheld.

One of the constant scams is people who receive various welfare benefits will work a couple of months out of the year, at a low wage job or two, and this will be enough “earned income” to make them eligible for free money.  Some recipients actually refer to it as their “IRS Bonus check.”  I kid you not.  This program is also why we have 47% of tax return filers who pay no net income taxes.  For this segment of the population, there is no stigma attached to tax day, because for them, by the time April 15th rolls around, they’ve long since submitted their returns, gotten their refunds including their credit, and they’ve spent it.

Some of you will doubtless think I’m joking, or that I have somehow concocted this as some sort of literary device, but I assure you that it is real, and that like so many extensions of the welfare state, it acts as a disincentive to work.  Therefore, along with moving tax day, I submit that we make another law: No tax refunds of any ind in excess of what has been withheld.  It’s contrary to the notion of welfare as a hand up, and it’s opposed to the notion of the tax code as a program to raise federal revenues.  So long as we’re stuck with the 16th Amendment and the grotesque tax system it birthed, nobody should be receiving money as a net gain from the system of taxation, and besides: We’re constantly reminded that everyone should have some skin in the game.  I think that’s true, but when I say “everyone,” I actually mean it.  Combining these two reforms as one single step will cause more serious evaluations of candidates by voters.  If we’re going to save the country, it’s one more thing in the laundry list that we’ll need to fix.

 

Ten Reforms to Save America: Reform Number Five

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

Returning Balance to Government

One of the problems most people acknowledge is that the power of the federal government has expanded so that it can no longer be effectively restrained as a matter of the checks and balances with which we are familiar.  One of the ways this has been accomplished is through the constant diminution of the sovereign authority of the states.  The concept of federalism is moribund, if not dead, and it has become clear to citizens that to affect anything of consequence most often entails dealing with the federal government.  Congress and presidents have felt empowered to inflict and impose mandates on state and local governments to a degree that is contrary to the entire notion of a federal constitutional republic.  Some wonder if this isn’t the natural result of the civil war, in which some of these issues were central, but the truth is that no other cause has inflicted more harm than the adoption of the 17th Amendment.  Until we restore the voices of the states, as sovereign institutions, there can be no fixing what is broken in Washington DC.  The 17th Amendment served to centralize power in Washington in a way that destroyed the balance of power.

Prior to the 17th Amendment, the members of the United States Senate were chosen by the legislatures of the several states.  This meant that the voice of the state governments was heard loudly in Washington, as their own sovereign powers flexed their political muscles.   There are those who claim that the 17th Amendment served to democratize the process, but the truth is something else again.  What really happened was to instead turn the senators into a sort of super-congressman, but rather than being equals, they now speak not for states as equal partners in the Constitution, but as elected masters of constituencies.  When they had been chosen by the legislatures of the states, they still spoke to the will of a state’s people, but through the indirect process of representation.  Since the legislatures are chosen by voters, and since the state governments are geographically closer to their people, the people have the ability to control them more effectively.  Moving this process to a direct vote of the people has served to water down the particular interests of state governments.  In short, in the name of democratization, the people were tricked into dis-empowering the states.  The costs have been grave.

It has also served to make things a good deal easier for the lobbying crowd.  There’s no necessity to maintain offices in fifty state capitals, as well as in Washington DC.  It’s one-stop shopping, and there’s no sense to pretend it’s otherwise.  Prior to the 17th Amendment, lobbyists had to work the state legislatures in support of national legislation, but state legislators frequently managed to pull the plug on federal bills that they saw as diminishing the power of the states.  Senators may have voted in Washington, but the nature of that vote was frequently responsive to the legislature back home, since that’s where the Senator was chosen.  As we should all know by now, most politicians are consumed with maintaining their power, so that they could not help but be attentive to the voice of legislators back home.  The problem with the will of the people as expressed through a direct election is that it is too diffuse and too distant.  A Senator that represents even a sparsely-populated state like Nebraska still needn’t be as attentive to his people as he would of necessity be with respect to his legislature.   The senator from a densely populated state like California needn’t pay attention to the people at all on day-to-day legislative matters.

When you consider the spending proclivities of the Federal government, what becomes clear is that it began to accelerate, and non-wartime debts first became politically feasible only after the states’ voices had been silenced in the Senate.  The states had a vested interest in restraining the growth of the federal government.  It is far more difficult to impose taxes at the state level if the federal government is raising them at every turn.  Worse, with the federal government imposing spending priorities on the states, it became even more difficult for states to manage their dwindling resources.

Taken together, all of these make a strong case for repealing the 17th Amendment.  The difficulty lies in the political proposition:  The people will need to be convinced that it is in their long-term interest to give up power over one branch of government in a direct way, that their state government, over which they exercise infinitely firmer control can manage it on their behalf.  Most people cringe at the thought.  It’s not every day you ask voters to give something up to which they have been accustomed, particularly in restraining their own direct voice.  Once they understand the issues at the heart of the matter, many people come around as they realize their direct voice has done no better, and may have done the harms I’ve described.  Our Constitution’s framers had been brilliant in creating the necessary balance to create a natural offset in powers between the federal government and the states, but the 17th Amendment destroyed that clever idea.  At this late date, if we’re to restore that balance, we must return to the framers’ notion of checks and balances, and the repeal of the 17th Amendment is a great place to start.  If you want to save the country, you may want to start right here.

Ten Reforms to Save America: Reform Number Four

Saturday, November 19th, 2011

Is This How It Works?

Whatever we may do about the limiting of congressional terms, or the length of service of Congressional staff, one of the main reasons to tackle that problem is the revolving door between Congress and the lobbying interests in Washington DC.  Whether representing trade groups, corporations, unions, or other groups, the problem is that the lobbyists often know the lay of the land, both physical and political, better than many members of Congress.  Too often, members and staff leave those offices to become lobbyists, and with equal frequency, we find lobbyists becoming Congressional staff.  This cozy relationship will be ended only by doing something drastic:  We must enact a lifetime ban on lobbyists from serving in government, and government  officials or staff from going to work in the lobbying racket.

Once again, I can hear the squealing of all the pigs at the DC troughs: “You can’t do this to us!”  Yes, we the people can.  When most Americans think of politicians leaving office for the private sector, they think of them returning to work in some profession or field that takes them back home, away from Washington DC.  All too often, when politicians depart government service, where they land is in some lobbying firm.  This frequently applies to staff too.  For most Americans, this isn’t considered to be “private sector employment,” but instead merely “public sector looting.”  It’s part of what makes Washington DC stink of corruption, and most Americans suspect it is the reason we have so many complex and convoluted laws.  Naturally, the American people are right about that, but in most cases, they have only the a glimpse of how thorough the corruption is.

The other problem is that the American people have been conditioned to view lobbyists as the source of the problem.  They’re not.  Lobbyists are a symptom just like the runny nose, achy muscles and spiking fever that tells you you’ve been infected with influenza.  The virus is already there, and while you can treat the symptoms, and it will at least make you feel better, your body still must combat the illness or you’ll never recover.  Everybody harbors and image in their mind’s eye of some lobbyist, a briefcase full of cash, and some elected or appointed official waiting greedily to be in receipt of the loot.  The problem is, this isn’t what actually happens in most cases.  Outright bribery of that sort would be caught fairly easily, and the people involved would be dealt with under existing law.  It’s not to say this never happens, because it does, but that’s a fairly stupid politician or lobbyist who gets caught in that fashion.

Instead, there are other ways to enrich themselves, and most involve a kind of extortion racket, or kick-backs, or insider information to be used for personal profit.  Imagine you’re a business, and imagine  the business you’re in is one regulated in some fashion by the federal government(but which industry isn’t?)  Imagine that some politician introduces a bill that you know will effectively destroy your company, or make it easier for a competitor to displace you in the market?  Your inevitable response would be to play self-defense, and you would do that by lobbying Congress.  You might contribute to campaigns and parties, but in all cases, you’d try to make happy everybody who holds your business in the palms of their hands.  This kind of extortion racket is common, and what you discover is that the number of legal contributions “enticed” by this method is scandalous.

Naturally, this works the other way too, as a matter of offense.  Do you need a “competitive edge” in the market?  No problem for Congress.  They just pass a bill that either directly or indirectly fouls the business of your competitors, and “Bingo!” To ensure a Presidential signature, you make sure the provision is attached to the most popular legislation, or at least something certain to get the approval of those who run the show.

Imagine yours is a large concern.  One way to pay off folks for their good deeds on your behalf is to provide them information that will enable them to make a killing in the markets.  A bit of info here, and a little investment there, and before you know it: Instant Congressional millionaire.  Of course, the member just happened to “get lucky” in the market.  Consider how frequently members of Congress get in on the Initial Public Offering of stock in a company commencing public trading.  It’s obscene.  It’s not easy to get in on an IPO for most people, and insider information is frequently a good head-start.  Some have suggested that Congress ought to be forbidden from investing in things related to that on which they’re currently legislating, but the problem with this approach is that the Congress now legislates on every matter under the sun.

Apart from the ban on lobbying, there is something more we can add to this reform, and that is to require members of Congress and their staff to convert their investments into cash savings.  That way, as the value of the dollar goes, so goes the value of their savings.  Under such a regime, the Congress would have every reason to safeguard the value of the dollar by prudent fiscal policies, and you could bet they’d be eye-balling the Federal Reserve a good deal more closely.  Many suggest the use of blind trusts, but the problem is that most things called “blind trusts” aren’t really blind at all, as Governor Sarah Palin recently pointed out in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.

Of course, all of these suggested reforms still only address part of the issue.  The biggest part of the problem is that Congress is involved too deeply in business at all levels, and in all respects.  This has become the biggest problem we face: As long as Congress can stick its nose into any business for any reason at all, to impose their notion of “regulating interstate commerce” as they see fit, under whatever outrageous definition they concoct, and with courts willing to interpret the Constitution that way, we’re in serious trouble.  It means they will always have some way to dig their claws into not only business, but also into our lives and our pockets.  We need a wall of separation between business and state at least as thorough as the one that’s been erected between church and state.  If we wish to save America, we’ll need to tackle this too.

 

 

Downgrade 2.0 on the Horizon?

Saturday, November 19th, 2011

There They Go Again

Just when you think the fools in Washington DC could scarcely do more damage to our country, they show up with the latest crisis and debacle to prove your theory wrong.  This one has been coming since the day John Boehner and the boys cut the deal with Harry Reid and his henchmen.  It’s been in the works since Barack Obama decided his best re-election strategy would be to run against a “do-nothing Congress.”  (We should be so lucky.)  The lines are drawn, and now the super-duper, mega-whopper debt committee is having trouble agreeing to the cuts that were promised when the deal was made back in August.  Surprise, surprise!   Gomer Pyle could have seen this coming, but clearly, John Boehner and Eric Cantor did not.   This game stands to create financial havoc with another debt rating downgrade just in time for Thanksgiving, and just like the last round, it’s being engineered so that the Republicans either agree to a ridiculous deal, or have one thrust upon them via the “automatic triggers” built into the deal to which they agreed back in August.  Either way you slice it, it’s a lose-lose for GOP, and as usual, conservatives will get the blame, and this is the reason why we cannot afford more establishment Republicans.

Consider the cuts in question.  At present, the deal required that they cut $1.2 Trillion from the next ten years of federal spending.  This means lopping off a mere 3.5-4.0% of the projected Federal spending over the period, but perhaps less, depending upon whose projections you believe.  This is a small amount in that gargantuan sum of money, and yet what the Obama administration and the Democrats intend to do is to see most of it come from defense cuts.  The salient point in this discussion is that none of the cuts under consideration even seriously begin to reduce the Federal expenditures now forecast in excess of revenues.  Worse, Democrats are playing fast and loose with the terminology, counting tax hikes as “spending cuts.”  More bizarre is the fact that Republicans are now largely accepting that characterization.

What this means to you and I is that by cutting the deal back in August, not only did Republicans get a black eye by getting the blame for the first downgrade, but all they have done is to postpone the bad news into the on-rushing Holiday season, when the bad news will multiply, and they’ll find themselves playing the scapegoats again, this time less than twelve months before the next elections.

Back in July, I warned you about this deal, and that in fact, more had been said than done.  As it turns out, virtually everything I expected would happen has now happened.  The Balanced Budget Amendment went down to defeat in the House.  The Republican leadership in the House has revealed that its bargaining position is awful, and it’s all because when they had the chance to make a stand back at the end of July, they failed.  They played to political expedience, and short-run damage control, but now the bill has come due, and it’s going to be paid at our expense, and at the expense of the defense of our nation.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’ll tell you what I believe:  Until we clean up the Republican party and the insiders, the deal-makers, and the surrender-monkeys, we’re not going to make much progress.  Each and every time one of these people who promises to stand tough ultimately folds, we need to send them home.  No “ifs, ands, or buts.”  Our country can’t afford any more of this brand of tepid leadership.  No more pastels.  We need bright, bold colors, and we need them fast.  How do we expect to hold onto the House next fall, never mind capture the Senate or the White House, if our alleged leadership can be so easily talked into a suicide pact with the devil?  It’s something we will all be forced to consider, as the Democrats force a crisis and at least one more time, Republicans will take the blame.  Can you imagine the laughter over at the White House?

Ten Reforms to Save America: Reform Number Three

Friday, November 18th, 2011

This Ain't No Tea Party

Of all the things we tend to overlook when we examine the corruption and inefficiency of government, the one area that seems always to escape serious examination is perhaps the most important cog in the outrageous machine:  Professional congressional staff.  The truth is that these people are frequently tasked with the authoring of legislation, and their elected members or the committees for which they work seldom see the final form of the legislation.  If making law is like making sausage, then these are the meat grinders who decide what subtler elements and sometimes major aspects of legislation will be included.  These people aren’t elected, and yet their effect on legislation is profound.  They manage to attach goodies to legislation that have no business in the bills.

Some of the worst are committee staff, where large and complex bills numbering into the thousands of pages frequently emerge.  You don’t think individual members, or even committees of them write all that legal jargon, do you?  No, of course not.  You can’t be tied up with menial chores like crafting legislation when you have a tee-time to make with lobbyists, and a full cocktail party schedule to keep with the DC smart set.  Instead, most of this legal legwork is turned over to staff, and this is where some of the worst abuses can occur.  The necessary reform is simple:  Congressional staff must be term-limited too.

I can hear the complaints from half a continent away, as those staffers recoil in horror at the proposal that they too should be subjected to limits upon their service.  Too damned bad.  The growth in their sheer numbers has been astonishing.   The fastest way to begin cleaning up the mess in Washington DC includes getting these staffers rotated out, permanently.  My argument will be that no member of Congressional staff ought to be employed for more than ten years, life-time, meaning no retirements, no special carve-outs, and no goodies for them.  Of course, there will always be corruption, but to remedy that, you move the pieces around some.  Make it impossible to spend more than one Congress on a given committee’s staff. The committee staff, for instance, of the Ways and Means committee, has far too much power.  It’s time to “spread the wealth,” I believe, and move them around as “temps” which they will be.  Yes, they’ll still have nifty salaries, and of course they can receive benefits just like any other civil servants, but not one damned dime or perquisite more.

There are other things we must put in place with staff:  They must undergo drug-testing, polygraph examination, criminal history and background checks, and be subjected to automatic IRS audit every year they serve the Congress.  Most importantly, to stop the “revolving door,” there must be a lifetime ban on lobbying Congress after their congressional service has ended, and lobbyists may not be eligible to work as Congressional staff for at least ten years after having been a registered lobbyist.  That’s right, I can hear the screams already: “It’s not fair.  You’re singling us out.  Why are you scapegoating us?”  Tough beans.  The simple fact is that it is not in the interests of the people of the United States to let Congressional members accrue undue power, never mind their staff.  They’re already in a position to profit from insider information, so there’s no sense pretending this isn’t a serious problem.

It’s the dirty secret in Washington DC that everybody knows, but few dare acknowledge:  Congressional staff serves as an unelected continuum from which there is no escape.  Voters can fire the top three members of each party on every committee, but still the same program runs.  If you wonder why, the answer is because behind the scenes, the politicians have been relieved of their legislative responsibilities and instead focus on fund-raising, while their staff carries on most if not nearly all of the member’s legislative work.  By the time you consider the impact of Committee staff, the effect is astonishing.  More, there is co-mingling between branches, where staffer X who works for Congressman Y is married to Senior Adviser A who works for executive branch Secretary B.  These sorts of back-channel relationships are well-known to the insiders, and they’re all players in the same game.  They know the rules, they know the way in which “things get done” in Washington, and you as the voter, so remote from this distant capital, have no idea what they’re doing, or why.

There’s no doubt that many are conscientious and diligent, but if we’re going to regain our control over this government, it must include an in-depth examination of Congressional staff, and perhaps of executive branch staff as well.  It’s all much too chummy in Washington DC, and while you think these people are adversarial under our two-party system, most often, that’s a show played out in front of the press.  Behind the scenes, it’s the staff carrying the water, and there’s no denying that they’re very collegial across the board.  Many of them have their own political aspirations, and it is in this way that we wind up with a permanent political class entrenched in the halls of power.  If you want that changed, you’d better add this to your list of reforms if we’re going to save America.

Ten Reforms to Save America: Reform Number Two

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

What Most of Them Need

If we are to save this country, we must begin to clean out the permanent political class that infests Washington DC.  Some of our elected officials serve across generations, and while some may make the argument that it’s not always a bad thing, I can think of too many reasons it’s awful.  Once in power, if the politician can sustain power through one or two re-elections, the politician begins to accumulate favors, but also accrue debts to be paid in favors, whether to lobbyists or other members.  The longer they stay, the more powerful they become, and with that power frequently comes arrogance.  At some point, what typically happens is that they forget about you until the last two months of an election season.

The only way we’re ever going to tackle this is by limiting their terms, their benefits, and their various perquisites.  For those who would argue that this somehow limits voter choice, I thoroughly reject their claim.  This is to suggest that any of these people are indispensable, but I know that for every long-serving member of Congress, there are thousands of people in their home states or districts who are equally qualified, diligent, and ambitious enough to do the peoples’ business. It’s time to drop the charade:  There isn’t a single one of them that couldn’t be easily replaced with another competent American.

I would argue that rather than simple term limits, we limit total federal elected service.  (We’ll get to the un-elected folks in another article.)  I propose that we limit elected federal service to a maximum of sixteen years. You can serve three terms in the House, one in the Senate, and one as President or Vice President, or any other combination that adds up to a maximum of sixteen years.  These terms need not be consecutive.  This should be a lifetime limitation. The limit is hard, meaning that if you seek re-election to your office, but your limit on years will expire before your term, you will still leave office upon the expiration of your limit.  In that way, if you had been elected to three terms in the House, and then one in the Senate, if you sought re-election for a second term in the Senate, you would be eligible only to serve the first four years of that second Senate term.

The idea is to restore the notion of a citizen legislature, and also to return more power to the states.  This proposal would accomplish this by making the political farm teams of state and local politics far more important to the nation as a whole.  It would also negate a goodly bit of the accumulated power that some long-serving members now wield.

The other thing we could add to make this interesting is to write into the necessary amendment that sixteen years of service does not make one eligible for retirement benefits.  I think we would all be better served if the politicians could derive no back-end benefits from their service.  To be honest, I can’t understand for the life of me how we let them construct such endless benefits for themselves.  Limiting their service ends any “moral” claim they might make to such benefits.

The other thing is that I would expressly forbid grandfathering of years already served.  At the point this amendment would take effect, any already having attained sixteen years or more of service would be ineligible for re-election.  You want to get rid of the bums?  This is the way to do it, and this would get rid of most of them. Are you sick of Harry Reid? Mitch McConnell?  Nancy Pelosi?  John Boehner?  Yes, this would rid us of these all.

The greatest two benefits of this system would be to eliminate the extensive kingdom-building in which politicians engage, and destroy the incentive to do so in the first place.   The real system is comprised of people many of whom use their time to consolidate their stranglehold on their office, and once they have it firmly in hand, to use their office to enrich themselves.  I don’t think we should let them linger there so long.

If you want to save the country, this step is critical.  Nothing spoils our nation so much as the competition for dollars to fund earmarks that are effectively vote-buying schemes of one description or another.  We should cut this off, and the way to do that is to say that there is no such thing as unlimited elected service.  Let them return to private life as our founders intended.  To those who say this will cheat democracy, I continue to dismiss their claim.  I am fairly certain that an overwhelming majority of my readers are at least as fit to serve as those who now occupy those offices.

 

Ten Reforms to Save America: Reform Number One

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Over the next several days, I am going to be bringing you a series of ten proposals derived from our national experience, and from a long list of suggestions from my readers.  Each day, I intend to bring you at least one in this list of ten items, so that you can consider their merits and flaws.  Since one of the items is now on the verge of being proposed in the House of Representatives later this week, I have decided that for several important reasons, we should begin there.  Our federal spending has grown out of all control, and Congress is looking for ways to avoid the pain.  The solutions Congress is now considering actually threaten the future of the country.

The first of ten reforms is a Balanced Budget Amendment.  That amendment must have as its primary purposes the following simple ends:

  1. Maintain the fiscal and financial stability of the United States by limiting the accrual of new public debt
  2. Restrain the growth of Federal spending as a proportion of the total economy of the United States
  3. Force Congress to live within a budget by restricting their ability to easily raise taxes
  4. Pay down the existing public debt over the longer run

These are the obvious purposes for a Balanced Budget Amendment, and any proposed amendment that does not meet these criteria is not a serious attempt at reform, and may even sew the seeds of revolution.

To maintain the fiscal and financial stability of the United States is critical in limiting the budgetary impact of existing debt, and to fulfilling our various spending priorities.  It is also important in the chore of maintaining the value of our currency.  Each additional dollar printed or digitized into circulation diminishes the value of every previous dollar.  Each time the federal government borrows additional funds, more money is put into circulation by the Federal Reserve.  To balance the budget would stop our national bleeding, and also limit the damage to the value of our money.

A serious proposal for a Balanced Budget Amendment must include a limit on how much of the economy the Federal Government can consume.  I think that proportion should be tagged at fifteen percent, but others would be satisfied if we could peg it to eighteen or twenty percent.  I would be willing to accept the twenty percent number if it was written specifically to include money spent in the private sector in order to comply with federal regulations, laws, and mandates.  This limitation would have the effect of making Congress deal with unfunded mandates and regulatory costs of the laws they impose, and the executive branch enforces.

In tandem with a limitation on Congressional authority to increase revenues, this would have the combined effect of putting the pinch on Congress and compelling them to control federal expenditures.  Any limitation to increase taxes should include a bare minimum of a two-thirds vote by both houses of Congress, although I would prefer three-fourths.

The last thing a Balanced Budget Amendment must do is set aside some proportion of the budget for the purpose of reducing the principle owed on the public debt.  In short, we should be buying down debt by constitutional mandate, a little at a time, but as the debt is paid down, any savings derived from reduced interest payments over the longer run should be plowed into reducing the debt at a greater rate.  Think of it like making the monthly minimum payment on your credit card, but rather than always making that minimum payment, instead continuing to pay that same initial payment amount.  Over time, the amount going to pay down principle increases while the amount spent in interest continues downward, ultimately at an accelerated pace.

These should be the bare essentials to be considered in the drafting and adoption of a Balanced Budget Amendment.  As of this writing, the House Republican leadership is working on a form of a Balanced Budget Amendment that contains no such restrictions, and might well lead to skyrocketing taxes.  In this sense, the version of the Amendment now being advanced by the Republican leadership may equate to a national suicide pact.  It may also be merely a stunt, but in any case, it is a dangerous proposal because it puts no restrictions on Congress.

If there’s one thing experience has taught us, it is that Congress is frequently irresponsible when it has the unlimited, unrestricted ability to spend the public treasure.  A serious Balanced Budget Amendment is the first step among several that will begin the lengthy process of regaining control over the United States by its people.  Don’t settle for half measures and recipes for disaster.  While the Republican leadership is working to shaft us again, we must let them know that their tepid proposals simply will not suffice, and will not be accepted.  This is our country.  It’s time to let them know it.

House Republican Leadership Prepares to Screw You Again

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Weak, Pathetic, Ineffective

This is absurd.  Speaker John Boehner is now behind a move to bring a “clean” Balanced Budget Amendment to a vote in the House of Representatives.  The Amendment in question would provide no protections against runaway government, or limit the ability of Congress to raise taxes.  Roll Call is reporting that the Republican leadership is willing to consider the weakened, unrestricted version of the amendment in what will surely be the most ridiculous act of self-defeat in a long string of them by this House Leadership.  The Democrats like the “clean bill”  because it’s going to present a huge “get out of jail free card” for them.   In the form that is now under consideration, the Amendment would serve as a club over the head of people who wish to reduce the size and scope of government.  It’s another pathetic surrender, and it’s not acceptable.

What’s at stake is this: The amendment now under consideration is stripped of any requirements to cut spending or limit taxation.  Under this so-called “clean” version of the bill, if Congress wished to spend 100% of our GDP, the proposed amendment would permit it, and permit or even require that Congress raise taxes to support it.  In short, this proposal is a national suicide pact.  Earlier this week, 31 conservative organizations signed a letter published by Americans for Tax Reform to John Boehner insisting on the stronger restrictions.  From the letter:

“Unless tax hikes are taken off the table, reckless lawmakers will increase taxes to pay for these new bloated spending levels, rather than bring spending in line with revenues. A ‘clean’ BBA provides the excuse big spenders seek to raise taxes and grow government,”

This is exactly correct.  The letter continued:

“Any lawmaker committed to restoring American solvency cannot seriously vote for a BBA that does not include a super-majority requirement for tax increases,”

It’s not surprising that John Boehner would seek to do this for the sake of political expedience, but what is shocking about this is that it will undoubtedly be used to either punish the entire economy, or to politically attack Republicans.  Let me explain the way in which it will be used for the latter purpose, since the former is self-explanatory.  What will happen is that a number of House Conservatives will revolt against party leadership over this(and they had damned-well better,) but this will mean the Amendment will go down to defeat, and this will enable Democrats to say “We voted for a BBA, but Republicans obstructed it.”  The details and the truth won’t matter.  The President will claim: “See, we tried to get a Balanced Budget Amendment, but those darned Republicans stopped it.”

The way to prevent a disaster is to introduce the stronger version of the Amendment. This means it may go down to defeat, but if it does, it will have been defeated with Democrats’ votes.  That would flip the narrative, and place the burden of defending a bad position on Democrats.  What Boehner’s surrender promises us is a complete disaster of unrestricted tax increases, or the loss of the House majority, or both.   Boehner isn’t fit to lead.  He doesn’t understand the concept.  He’s a deal-making, arm-twisting surrender monkey, and if the GOP majority survives this disastrous leadership for another two years, it will have been a miracle, but Boehner must go.  Cantor isn’t looking any better.

Obama Administration Rejects Congressional Subpoena

Saturday, November 5th, 2011

Obama Cover-up?

The Washington Examiner is reporting on the Obama administration’s rejection of a House Energy and Commerce Committee Subpoena for additional documents related to the Solyndra scandal.  Apparently, this president is above the rule of law.  Congress is carrying out its duty to investigate why tax-payers were effectively robbed of a half-billion dollars under the auspices of a “green energy” initiative.  The Obama administration is keen on hiding this entire fiasco, and now that the committee has looked at all the documents from other federal agencies, they need to look at documents related to the case from the White House, but as the administration’s response makes clear, there will be no further cooperation.  Clearly, his lawyers don’t believe they must respond to legitimate subpoenas for documents pursuant to the oversight role of Congress.  The lawyer is claiming executive privilege on behalf of Obama because the committee vote was along partisan lines, there is no need to answer it:

“I can only conclude that your decision to issue a subpoena, authorized by a party-line vote, was driven more by partisan politics than a legitimate effort to conduct a responsible investigation,” Obama’s counsel, Kathryn Ruemmler, wrote in a letter to the top Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce committee.

(read complete response here)

I want my fellow Americans to remember this.  Essentially, what you should understand is that you don’t need to worry about Obamacare, because it was passed by a party-line vote.  You needn’t sweat it. Just ignore it.  When the federal revenuers come to collect money from you pursuant to Obamacare, you just go ahead and tell them “Hey, I’m sorry, but that was passed by a party-line vote, so no thanks.”  See what that gets you.  Enjoy your jail cell.

The most important claim made by the Obama’s attorney, Kathryn Ruemmler, is that the committee’s subpoena was “overbroad” and thus interferes with the confidentiality interests of the executive branch.  This, from an administration that continues to make claims about its transparency. The problem is that this letter suggests that the party-line nature of the vote is what makes the subpoena invalid, but my question is:  Would the intrusions on the executive privileges of the Obama administration be less if this subpoena had been issued by a unanimous vote of the committee?  No. They’d still make the same claim.  Don’t be fooled by this partisan-ship claim of the president’s attorney.  This is all about hiding the truth.

For his part, Committee Chairman Fred Upton responded to this rejection in scathing language:

“We have been reasonable every step of the way in this investigation, and it is a shame that the Obama Administration and House Democrats continue to put up partisan roadblocks to hide the truth from taxpayers. Solyndra was a jobs program gone bad, and we must learn the lessons of Solyndra as we work to turn our economy around and put folks back to work. Our judicious and methodical work over the last eight months has garnered tens of thousands of pages of documents from DOE and OMB that have proven we are on the right track. Now, we need to know the White House’s role in the Solyndra debacle in order to learn the full truth about why taxpayers now find themselves a half billion dollars in the hole. The White House could have avoided the need for subpoena authorizations if they had simply chosen to cooperate. That would have been the route we preferred, and frankly, it would have been better for the White House to get the information out now, rather than continue to drag this out. Our request for documents is reasonable – we are not demanding the President’s blackberry messages as we are respectful of Executive Privilege. What is the West Wing trying to hide? We owe it to American taxpayers to find out.”

This is setting the stage for a conflict between House Republicans and the Obama administration on an unprecedented scale.  As usual, the Obama administration is obfuscating, obstructing, and otherwise attempting to thwart this investigation into the scandal arising from their approval of loan guarantees to the now bankrupt Solyndra, because this would likely reveal the depths of the crony capitalism inherent in the green energy  initiative.

So what will Congress do if the Obama administration ultimately tells them to pound sand, as it now seems certain to be the case?  I suspect with Speaker Boehner’s tepid leadership, nothing will happen, which is why the Obama administration is responding in this manner.  They know that Boehner simply won’t call for an impeachment, in part because Boehner will consider it pointless since the Senate will never take action on it, and in part because Boehner is afraid of controversy, and instead simply wishes to get along.

Enough is enough.  It’s time that Congress demands the President and his administration comply with the subpoena.  As usual, the response to the subpoena came late Friday after most Americans check out on news.  The Obama administration is betting that the House of Representatives is a toothless paper tiger.  Sadly, with leaders like Boehner and Cantor, they’re likely to have been right in that assessment.  Meanwhile, the American people are taking a beating at the hands of this administration, and its corrupt crony capitalism, which hands out favors to friends and big-money donors while stiffing the American people with the bill.

When Left and Right Complain about Lack of Transparency

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

It's for Your Own Good

You know it’s ugly when the President’s own friends join with the right in trying to prevent the implementation of a new policy permitting federal agencies to lie to the public about the very existence of documents.  The Washington Examiner is reporting that the American Civil Liberties Union and Judicial Watch are both coming down hard against the Obama administration for its proposed DOJ regulatory change that would permit the denial that a document exists, making it no longer subject to a FOIA request, other than to say it does not exist.  The Obama administration through its lackeys at justice are promising this would only be used in a few limited circumstances, but both the ACLU and Judicial Watch are calling this nonsense.  It’s only a matter of time before such a policy would be abused to the inestimable detriment of the American people, and it should be prevented.

They both make a strong argument that this would effectively shield some government operations from judicial review, and this is a dangerous precedent to set, and they suspect it will lead to eventual abuse.  I concur.  The problem in these matters is that in almost every case, such rules could be extended to cover almost anything, and this would lead to abuses of a whole new dimension.  Judicial Watch is concerned that this could be used to justify further obfuscation on White House visitors logs, and they have every reason to believe it.  From the article, Chris Farrell, director of investigations for Judicial Watch notes:

“Every day,” Farrell notes, “the Obama administration misrepresents and conceals the true, complete record of who is going in and out of the White House — all the while proclaiming themselves champions of transparency. It’s truly Orwellian.” The proposed new rule could add a patina of legality to the refusal to acknowledge the existence of the visitors logs as White House documents. Despite its flaws, FOIA is one of the few checks on excessive executive branch power. It should not be weakened by Obama’s proposed “license to lie.”
This is indisputably true.  Every request of the White House is met with more obfuscation, and it’s a dangerous progression.  For a President who has repeatedly claimed to be concerned with transparency, this is merely another indication that such claims are mere political posturing, with no substance behind them.  In truth, it’s fitting for an administration so thoroughly superficial in all its pronouncements.

Occu-Pests Don’t Speak For Me

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Do They Speak for You?

I am tired of the notion that these people speak for the 99% of us who are not billionaires.  I’ve grown frustrated listening to their complaints, offered with feeble-minded attacks on wealth, money, and the general notion of capitalism.  There’s a problem with those who lead these Occupy efforts:  They don’t give a damn about this country, its people, or any of the things about which they pretend to care.  Instead, what interests them is cultural rape.  They intend to change this country without your consent, in its laws, in its culture, and in its economics.   The leaders of the OWS movement are simply predators, and while they claim that violence is against their principles, they incite it, they provoke it, and they use the poor misguided folk who are following them to act as their buffer.  BusinessInsider published an interesting piece on the larger aims of the Occupy movement, and I’m afraid the American people have no idea about how thoroughly these people have developed their designs on America.  They’re going to attempt to re-write your Constitution, while you sleep, and as you watch the latest news on the silly stories of the day.

They imagine themselves as a modern-day version of the framers of our current Constitution, laboring in secret to present us with a new Constitution, in order to save us from ourselves.  Let me state emphatically that if they manage to carry off this coup d’etats, I will oppose them, and violently, if need be.  Let me throw down a marker now, so that all may know my position:  If the Occupiers, their leaders and benefactors succeed in trying to foist on the great mass of the American people some foreign system of government, which it now seems is their clear intent, I will be among the counter-revolutionaries who they will be forced to kill.  Write it down.  Bookmark it.  I will not surrender to these people, because in the main, they do not have my consent, and they do not speak for me.  Ninety-nine percent?  My ass!

Ladies and gentlemen, I would like for you to consider what the Occupy movement really has in mind.  This isn’t about the typical complaints, and it isn’t merely about some bankers, some tax rate, or some scheme for  redistributing your wealth.  It’s much more insidious than that, and you need to know that when the poor schmucks who follow the lead of this manufactured movement wind up looking stupid on television, it’s not because the movement has no firm goals, as we all first thought, but because the rank-and-file Occu-Pest doesn’t know what those goals actually are.  In order to understand what it is that they’re going to attempt, you must first understand some history, and I’d beg of my readers to educate themselves with a sense of urgency.  The leadership of this movement is trying to create a bit of theater, in mimicry of a historical event, and you must understand its importance if you’re to have any hope of confronting them.  You in the Tea Party had better pay close attention, because many of you will already know this history, but I am going to show you how they intend to use the weight of history against you and your beloved Constitution. If you wish to know how they are going to attack you, you must know that the past is prologue.  You must know that none of this is really new, but the manner in which it will be done is novel.  Finally, I think we can begin to see what they intend, and for once, I think you ought to know it so that you can do something constructive in opposition.

First, I would like you to acquaint yourselves with the Committees of Correspondence.  These were shadow governments that our founders formed in order to confront the British empire.  These committees were used to oppose the British and essentially superseded the colonial legislatures.  This was the method by which we eventually arrived at the pre-revolutionary state that would lead to the Declaration of Independence and our ultimate separation from the British. It is important to understand that those who are leading the Occupy movement are attempting to carry out something similar, although their desired ends are much different.  They intend to use a seemingly democratic movement to undermine freedom via the state, and they intend a quiet take-over.  Many have referenced their intentions, but it’s clear that most don’t quite understand.

The first thing necessary to their movement is the claim to legitimacy.  This is the meaning of all of this “99%” garbage they’re throwing around.  The truth is, they don’t speak for one percent of one percent of one percent of Americans.  Nevertheless, this will be their claim, and they will try to establish the providence of that claim through the use of media.  As we’ve seen, many in the media are in bed with the Occupy movement, and in at least one case Breitbart has uncovered, they are the media.  Don’tbe surprised when you find that they are now going to claim to be of you, by you, and for you, the American people.  Last week, I reported to you their plan for a national assembly, and now here’s their plan for creating this illusion:

1. The Occupy Wall Street movement, through the local general assembly, should elect an executive committee comprised of 11 people or some other odd number of people that is manageable for meetings. Ideally this committee should represent each city in the U.S. that is being occupied.

2. The executive committee will then attend to local issues such as obtaining permits, paying for public sanitation and dealing with the media. More important, the executive committee shall plan and organize the election of the 870 delegates to a National General Assembly between now and July 4, 2012.

3. As stated in the 99% declaration, each of the 435 congressional districts will form an election committee to prepare ballots and invite citizens in those districts to run as delegates to a National General Assembly in Philadelphia beginning on July 4, 2012 and convening until October 2012.

4. Each of the 435 congressional districts will elect one man and one woman to attend the National General Assembly. The vote will be by direct democratic ballot regardless of voter registration status as long as the voter has reached the age of 18 and is a US citizen. This is not a sexist provision. Women are dramatically under-represented in politics even though they comprise more than 50% of the U.S. population.

5. The executive committee will act as a central point to solve problems, raise money to pay for the expenses of the election of the National General Assembly and make sure all 870 delegates are elected prior to the meeting on July 4th.

6. The executive committee would also arrange a venue in Philadelphia to accommodate the delegates attending the National General Assembly where the declaration of values, petition of grievances and platform would be proposed, debated, voted on and approved. The delegates would also elect a chair from their own ranks to run the meetings of the congress and break any tie votes. We will also need the expertise of a gifted parliamentarian to keep the meetings moving smoothly and efficiently.

7. The final declaration, platform and petition of grievances, after being voted upon by the 870 delegates to the National General Assembly would be formally presented by the 870 delegates to all three branches of government and all candidates running for federal public office in November 2012. Thus, the delegates would meet from July 4, 2012 to sometime in early to late October 2012.

8. The delegates to the National General Assembly would then vote on a time period, presently suggested as one year, to give the newly elected government in November an opportunity to redress the petition of grievances. This is our right as a People under the First Amendment.

9. If the government fails to redress the petition of grievances and drastically change the path this country is on, the delegates will demand the resignation and recall of all members of congress, the president and even the Supreme Court and call for new elections by, of and for the PEOPLE with 99 days of the resignation demand.

10. There will NEVER be any call for violence by the delegates even if the government refuses to redress the grievances and new elections are called for by the delegates. Nor will any delegate agree to take any money, job promise, or gifts from corporations, unions or any other private source. Any money donated or raised by the executive committee may only be used for publicizing the vote, the National General Assembly, and for travel expenses and accommodation at the National General Assembly ONLY. All books and records will be published openly online so that everyone may see how much money is raised and how the money is spent each month. There will be no money allowed to “purchase” delegate votes as we have in the current government. No corporate “sponsorship”.

(H/T Business Insider.com)

This is a continuing attempt to make all of this look organic, but more importantly, to legitimize it and to pretend that they speak with authority for the ninety-nine percent they claim to comprise.  In effect, they are trying to create the appearance of an analog to the 1770s and the Committees of Correspondence.  Of course, the next part of their plan is even more insidious, and it is to replace the US Constitution by methods not unlike those employed to replace the Articles of Confederation, except that they will have nothing like the support among the American people that supported revising our Articles of Confederation.  Back when it was first suggested that our first form of government (Articles of Confederation) be revised, that’s what the delegates had been tasked to do.  Instead, they crafted an entirely new constitution and presented it for ratification.  In some contexts, this might have been considered a treason, except that any such claims have been made moot by the subsequent ratification and adoption of our Constitution. Most Americans forget that George Washington was our first president under this current constitution, but that he was not the first President of the United States.  Under the Articles of Confederation, that was the presiding member of Congress, who happened to have been Samuel Huntington (March 1, 1781 – July 9, 1781.)  Most people don’t know this because they aren’t taught it, along with so much else in our precious history.

Once you realize what Soros and the others who are driving this intend, it becomes obvious what their methodology will be: They intend to speak on your behalf, and to trump up a movement to convince those in government that they are speaking on your behalf.  There’s only one way to prevent this, and you should fight against it with full resolve. Confront them by telling your representatives in Washington DC that the Occu-pests don’t speak for you.  Confront them by telling the media, loudly and often, that the Occupiers don’t speak for us.  They’re trying to capture the legitimacy born of their 99% claim, but you and I know they don’t speak for anything like the 99% they claim.  It simply doesn’t exist.  There is no overwhelming desire on the part of the American people to replace or radically amend the United States Constitution. I will consider all such radical propositions as they are: Acts of treason.  Also, be aware that this other phony movement, Americans Elect, exists to try to change the way we elect Presidents.  It’s full of Soros shills too, and as I’ve reported before, I cannot trust anyone or anything related to the aims of that man or the multitude of organizations he funds and backs and manipulates.

This movement is being manipulated for one ultimate purpose:  To destroy and replace the US Constitution.  There is nothing else but that goal.  I consider the people leading these Occupiers as fomenting insurrection, while actively plotting treason.  I realize many of the rank-and-file Occupiers don’t understand this, however there will come a point at which they will begin to endanger the Republic, and in their mindless, unthinking support of this Marxist movement, they are assisting to destroy the United States.  In the sense specifically, they don’t speak for me.  They don’t speak for ninety-nine percent, or anything near that number.  They are the loud and vociferous cacophony of ne’er-do-wells who have in largest measure contributed to our current state of presumptive decline.

Ladies and gentlemen, these people and their leadership do not speak for me.  They do not speak for anybody I know personally.  I don’t know any person who actually supports them.  I don’t know a soul who thinks we should ditch our Constitution, never mind by the dictates of some Marxist cabal of Soros flacks.  I don’t know one person, anywhere in my extended circle of friends and family who actually believes in anything the Occupiers are espousing.  None.  Maybe you do, but I’d like to know from my readers:  Do they speak for you?  Do they?  Is George Soros acting on your behalf?  Somehow I doubt it, but rather than make any assumptions, as the Occu-Pests have done, I’m not willing to speak for others.  If the Occupiers don’t speak for you, you should let your government, and the media, and every person you can find to tell them that fact.

They don’t speak for me, and I’d rather die than submit to the mobocracy they envision.