Odd Citizen

Odd Citizen
An Odd Citizen’s Search For Vanishing Freedoms

Dog-Shit Kerry — Again

April 22nd, 2013

Read how that reeking pile of dog-shit, John Kerry, compares families of Boston bombing victims to families of Islamists Killed By Israel During Raid On Gaza Flotilla.

This mess needs to be scraped off of the sidewalk.

Time to Ban Pressure Cookers

April 17th, 2013

It’s now clear that pressure cookers were responsible for the Boston Marathon bombings. We should not stand for this terrorism any more. It’s obvious the solution to the problem is to ban pressure cookers. Since the U.S. Constitution says nothing about the right to own pressure cookers, this shouldn’t be too difficult. The victims deserve a vote right away.

N. Korea Do’es and Don’ts

April 15th, 2013

There has been enough experience to show that N. Korea’s communist government can not be negotiated with — it doesn’t work. Offers of aid or trade have been tried and have not, and will not benefit us in any way. Negotiation with these people is futile and perhaps worse, it gives them a reason to continue their bad behavior. So the biggest DON’t is DON’t negotiate with N. Korea.

What then should be done?

1. Announce that we will use any and all missile launches from N. Korea as an opportunity to test and hopefully perfect our missile interception capabilities.
2. Equip S. Korea and Japan with nuclear missiles capable to striking N. Korea. Do it now.
3. The Chinese communists will be pissed. Tell them to get on board with a program to overthrow the Kim regime in N. Korea.
4. Make every effort to communicate directly with the N. Korean people and encourage them to overthrow the Kim regime.

Direct threats of nuclear attack, whether from N. Korea or Iran or elsewhere should be dealt with directly and strongly, not timidly. To give a nuclear adversary even the slightest hint of weakness might encourage an unwise and reckless action by the threatening party.

YIKES! WOW! Anita Moncrief!

August 27th, 2012

Anita Moncrief is a one-woman army fighting against socialism and Democrat corruption. Apparently she was an inside whistle blower against ACORN and continues the war. And what a warrior she is. I was completely unaware of her before stumbling on this video via Daily Caller. It’s a bit long, but very engaging. See it for yourself below:

This is a link to her blog, which has been hacked and to her new web home.

I’m blown away by her fearless indictment of Democrat dirty tricks and socialist scheming. You will be too.

The Greenie Tax

July 3rd, 2012

I’m dreaming of a new business that will make me filthy rich. It’s really quite simple. Now that Congress has the go-ahead to treat a mandate as a tax, I’ll propose to them the Greenie Tax. Wouldn’t the environmentally inclined be really pleased if all Americans practiced green policies, such as low flow shower heads, energy efficient appliances, solar panels on the roof, flush-thrice toilets (Al Gore model), alternate fuel vehicles, etc. Now that would transform the country, wouldn’t it?

Here’s how it would work. Of course nobody has the moola to do all of the above greenie-things all at once. But the Congress could mandate that every American should spend, say $2,000 per year on environmentally beneficial products. If they couldn’t prove they spent this amount, they would be taxed — see how clever this is? But how would the government know that a citizen had complied with the requirement? Easy. Each citizen would annually have to purchase a Greenie Inspection Certification. And that’s where I come in. My new business would inspect homes for a fee, of course, and insure that the requisite expenditures had been made. My company would then issue a Greenie-Compliance-Certificate, good for one year’s exclusion from the Greenie Tax.

But why stop there? How about a fitness and pantry content tax and certification? How about a political education tax and certification? Could a reading-list tax and certification be far behind?

Can you see how rich I’d become by certifying all of those good things the government wishes to mandate? Why, we’d be such a wonderful country if only the government could effectively regulate our lives down to the smallest detail. And my company will be at the heart of it.

Gabriela Saucedo Mercer for Congress

April 12th, 2012

Arizona’s congressional district-7 has for too long been represented by an embarrassment, Rep. Raul Grijalva. This low-life socialist promoted a boycott against his own state to support illegal immigration. He joins the race hustlers, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson calling for the lynching of George Zimmerman and has otherwise proven himself to be unworthy to represent the decent citizens of his district.

This election we have a good choice. Gabriela Saucedo Mercer, a naturalized American citizen born in Mexico is a true patriot and believer in liberty and free markets. She needs our support.

Porter Stansberry: Why your family owes $700,000

February 11th, 2012

With permission from the author, below is his entire article. Read it and weep. Then get busy reforming government and protecting yourself and your family from the predations of the political class and their greedy beneficiaries, i.e., most of our ignorant fellow citizens.

Weekend Edition
Porter Stansberry: Why your family owes $700,000
Saturday, February 11, 2012

Today… a review of what I think are the most critical facts in our country’s looming currency crisis. Most people still don’t understand the risks we face as a nation because of our feckless leaders and their reckless ignorance of basic economics.

What follows are facts. Nothing in this essay will be conjecture or opinion. I will make no forecast – at least not in this essay. So please, stop the political name-calling… and grow up. The problems we face are ours. All of ours. It doesn’t matter how we got here. It only matters that we begin to deal with these issues – soon. If we don’t begin to solve these core financial problems, they will certainly destroy our country.

Today, our national federal debt far exceeds $15 trillion. This alone is not a serious problem. The interest we pay on these debts is small – thanks to the trust of our creditors, who, for the moment, continue to believe America is a safe bet.

So… what’s the problem? The main problem is the amount of debt we owe continues to increase at a faster and faster pace. This is exceptionally dangerous for two simple reasons. First, there’s simple math. When numbers compound, the result is geometric expansion. And that’s happening right now with our national debt because we continue to borrow money to pay the interest. And we have done so for about 40 years. Think about it this way: How big would your debts be today if you’d been using credit cards to pay your mortgage for the last several decades?

Even worse, our debts are compounding at an accelerating pace because we lack the political ability to limit the federal government’s spending. Please understand… I’m not pointing the finger at any politician or either political party. I’m simply pointing out a fact: This year’s $3.6 trillion federal budget is 20% larger than the entire 2008 budget. And while our government has grown at a record pace, our economy hasn’t. It has hardly grown at all. Thus, this will be the fourth year in a row we set a record for deficit spending. Never before in peacetime has our government borrowed this much money. And now, it’s borrowing record amounts every year.

This combination of borrowing record amounts of money (during peacetime) and continuing to borrow the money we need to pay the interest is setting the stage for a massive increase in total federal debt levels. Why is this happening? Don’t our leaders realize they can’t continue on this path?

Well… the problem isn’t so simple to fix. What we face isn’t a $15 trillion problem. It’s actually much, much bigger…

The $15.3 trillion we owe today is really only a minor down payment on promises the federal government made to its most important creditors – the American people. Not yet included in our debt totals are the $15 trillion shortfall in Social Security (thanks to the Democrats), the $20 trillion unfunded prescription drug benefits (thanks to the Republicans), or the $115 trillion unfunded Medicare liability (thanks to the Democrats and Republicans).

Most people ignore these looming liabilities because they obviously will never be paid. In fact, the federal government’s total obligations today – including all future obligations – is more than $1 million per taxpayer. And that’s if you assume all 112 million taxpayers really count. (They don’t. Only about 50 million people in the U.S. pay any substantial amount of federal income taxes.)

But here’s the funny part… While everyone seems ready to ignore these obligations, we’ve already begun to pay them. Our spending on Medicare and Social Security already greatly exceeds the $800 billion in payroll taxes we’re collecting to pay these benefits. (Total spending on Social Security and Medicare last year was more than $1.5 trillion.) And that means our actual debts will continue to compound faster and faster every year, assuming nothing is done to curtail these benefits.

I want to make sure you understand this fact: It doesn’t matter how much (or how little) Congress chooses to cut its discretionary budget. The promises we’ve already made to Americans in the form of Social Security and Medicare guarantee that our debts will continue to compound faster and faster, every year. How do I know?

Once again… let’s return to basic math. Right now, we’re spending (at the federal level) $2.4 trillion per year on transfer payments and interest on our national debt. That doesn’t include any of the other functions of the government – nothing else. Meanwhile, we are only collecting $2.3 trillion a year in income, payroll, and corporate taxes.

Let me make sure you understand this: Even if we cut every other government program – including the entire military budget – the federal revenue collected still wouldn’t be enough to merely cover the costs of our direct transfer payments. Not even close. And every year, these payments will automatically grow.

Here’s another way to look at the same basic numbers, but on a macro scale. Right now, total government spending in the U.S. equals $7 trillion per year. (That’s federal, state, and local.) Total interest paid in the U.S. economy on all debts, public and private, equals $3.7 trillion. The size of our total economy is only $15 trillion. Thus, we are currently spending $10 trillion (out of $15 trillion) on our government and debt. This is unprecedented in all of American history. This financial structure is unsustainable – and extremely unstable, given our debt levels.

There’s the bigger problem. (Yes, it gets worse.) The political solution to our soaring deficits will most likely be higher taxes. Yes, technically that’s a prediction… And I promised no predictions in this piece. But let’s face it. You will never see the federal government make dramatic, meaningful cuts to its promised benefits – not when half the country pays no federal taxes and more than 40 million people are on food stamps. So it’s not really a prediction – it’s a political reality. Will higher taxes save us?

No. You cannot squeeze blood from a stone. The federal debt isn’t the largest obligation we suffer under. Americans hold nearly $1 trillion in credit card debt. We hold nearly $1 trillion in student loans. Total personal debt in America is larger ($15.9 trillion) than all of the federal debt. In total – adding up all of our debts, public and private – Americans owe close to $700,000 per family. It is not possible to finance our federal government’s spending via taxes because the American people are broke. Total debt levels in America are the highest – by far – of any developed nation.

Tax the rich, you say. Well, of course. But marginal rates in many places are already greater than 50%. Tax rates this high don’t work… They actually reduce tax revenues as people move their economic activities elsewhere to avoid taxes… or even simply forgo working.

Don’t forget, the very wealthy can simply leave. James Cameron – director of blockbuster movies Titanic and Avatar – recently did just that, buying a 2,500-acre farm in Canada. John Malone, chairman of Liberty Media, likewise told the Wall Street Journal that he bought a farm on the Canadian border specifically so that he could leave the country whenever he wanted. “We own 18 miles on the border, so we can cross. Anytime we want to, we can get away.”

Think I’m exaggerating the risks of real capital flight from the U.S.? Well… let’s look at the facts. According to the latest IRS report, the number of Americans renouncing their U.S. citizenship has increased ninefold since 2008.

How then will the government’s spending be financed? Well, I promised no predictions. Not today. But I will remind you that since 2008, the Federal Reserve has expanded the monetary base from roughly $800 billion to nearly $3 trillion. That, again, is a fact. Feel free to draw your own conclusions about what the Federal Reserve is likely to do in the future if the U.S. Treasury is faced with a financial need that can’t be met.

These facts prompted me to focus the latest issue of my Investment Advisory on a step-by-step guide on how to prosper during the coming crisis. I just published the issue yesterday. You can learn more about my letter and how to get immediate access to my research here.


Porter Stansberry

P.S. You may do whatever you’d like with today’s essay. Feel free to pass it around to your friends – or anyone else who may be interested in these ideas. Be prepared for lots of nonsense about making the rich pay their “fair share” and pie-in-the-sky projections about how the entitlement system could easily be reformed.

Jobs: a Silly Goal

September 12th, 2011

Once upon a time the Eastern-born city manager of a Western city decided that his citizens needed a better breakfast diet. He declared that the city’s goal should be to create more steaks and more eggs. To implement his program he went out into the countryside and implored ranchers to produce more steaks and poultry farmers to produce more eggs. He said he’d do whatever was necessary to help them produce steaks and eggs. But the program didn’t work. And here’s why.

The ranchers told the city manager that they don’t produce steaks. They raise cattle, and among the benefits of cattle raising are steaks. No cattle raised, no steaks produced. And similarly, the poultry farmers explained that they don’t raise eggs, they raise chickens. Unless the city manager could help them raise more chickens his citizens wouldn’t get more eggs.

All the current palaver about “producing” jobs is nonsense. Jobs are produced by a growing economy, by companies making money and expanding. The government can’t do anything at all to “produce” jobs. What it can and should do is whatever it takes to help businesses thrive, make profits and grow. And that’s largely a matter of reducing the size and scope of government, itself. Reduce taxes on business. Reduce the massive blanket of regulations and mandates that smother businesses. Support a sound currency. Get out of the way and let Americans work they way they know how to.

Arguments are being made that the problem is a lack of demand and a lack of employment. Consumers don’t want to spend because they don’t have jobs. Or business won’t hire because there’s too little demand. But both of these are false arguments. What do you think would happen if some businesses found a way to offer gasoline for $1.00 per gallon, or even $2.00? Would there be demand for that? Of course there would. And the business that offered this bargain would have to hire lots of new workers and a lot of supporting businesses would also spring up. So why has the government put most of the continental and offshore oil and gas exploration areas off limits? Why does the government make hundreds of new rules that slow down and gum up the works of creating new businesses?

Jobs are created by business growth. So if you want jobs you have to be a cheerleader for business success. If you’re in government, you should step aside and let the ambitions and skills of America’s entrepreneurs and investors loose. They’ll do the job.

What Debate?

September 8th, 2011

Last night’s Republican “debate” like most previous political debates amounted to little more than some candidates dodging spitballs from a couple of “reporters” intent on producing a “gotcha” moment. This is a format that extracts nothing of substance from the participants. It leaves the spectators with a choice based on appearance and body language.

Maybe that’s as deep an impression as most potential voters can absorb. But I think a majority of Americans are smarter than that. They would appreciate having a way to evaluate the candidates’ character and thinking about matters that concern them. This lowest common denominator debate format doesn’t produce anything useful.

Tea Party Debt Solution is Backward

August 1st, 2011

The American people have, once again, been screwed by their elected representatives. A concoction of lies, false promises and unrestrained spending passes for a “compromise” solution to a real problem. The government spends and promises too much year after year. The debt ceiling deal continues this tradition unchanged.

So what went wrong this time? Shouldn’t we be happy there were no obvious tax increases in the “compromise”? I don’t think so. In fact, I think the Tea Party and the Republicans blew it this time by not joining the Dems and asking for massive new taxes. Now, just hear me out.

The argument made by Dems is that there would be “massive pain and suffering” if valuable government programs were cut, so just raise taxes on the “rich”. The Reps demanded spending cuts and said the economy would suffer if taxes were raised. So what happened is what always happens. The Dems promised candy and the Reps promised ipecac. Guess what sways voters? Not discipline. Not logic. Avoidance of pain is a more powerful persuader than disciplined reform. So what’s to be done?

What about the Reps one-upping the Dems and demanding tax increases large enough to match the current yearly deficits? If these tax increases were a flat 10% of all economic activity, hitting rich and poor alike, no exceptions, then it would theoretically raise the $1.5 Trillion needed to pay the year’s deficit. The tax should be called the “Political Irresponsibility Tax” or “Obama’s Social Services Tax” or something. And this is important: The tax should be collected in cash, not withheld. Every citizen should be required to cough up the tax each year. Would that be painful? You bet it would. Would citizens question its value and necessity? Of course, that’s what we need and want.

We need citizens to suffer the actual consequences of the out of control spending. Currently nobody can summon up an image of the useless government programs financed by deficit spending. But a $5,000 to $10,000 check written to the IRS each year might focus their attention to reality. Only then will Washington’s drunken binge be brought under control. And, furthermore, we could call this a bi-partisan solution.

Debt & Deficit Blabber

July 29th, 2011

What you’re hearing from our elected congressional “leaders” is all lies and cowardice. Let’s recognize that in two years the Sun God and his minions have increased federal spending by over $4 Trillion dollars. What’s keeping congress from whacking off that $4 Trillion right now? Cowardice. They think we’re dumb and inattentive. They think we won’t notice that a 10-year promise to not spend $1 to $2 Trillion means anything we can count on. It’s total BS meant to deceive you and me.

Stand pat. Don’t raise the debt limit. Prioritize spending of what the IRS collects. End Obama’s $4 Trillion binge right now. Not over 10 years, NOW. Then trim $15 Trillion over 10 years. That might make a difference. Anything less is a fraud.

What to Cut? NO. What to Keep.

July 26th, 2011

The budget “crisis” is entirely backward. The pols are arguing about what to cut. The discussion should be about what to keep. They need to assume that the whole government is a pile of manure, and perhaps there’s a pony in there somewhere. Their job should be to find the pony and shovel the rest out into the fields.

I’ve made this appeal before. What part of the federal government’s programs would you want to keep? What programs to you personally benefit from? You’ll have to think long and hard to identify anything personally beneficial and worth keeping.


July 10th, 2011

Let’s face it. The NASA Apollo moon landing project was one giant publicity stunt designed to one-up the Russians during the cold war and burnish the image of a young, inexperienced president. While the moon landing was a source of pride to Americans and a thrill to watchers worldwide, it was not a significant contribution to science.

Since then, NASA has spent billions of dollars on the space shuttle and the space station. The shuttle was supposed to be able to land, refit and fly again within a few weeks at a cost of a few tens of million dollars. The reality is that it couldn’t turn around in less than three months and each flight cost half a billion dollars. The thing was a kludge from the start. Just look at the picture and tell me if I’m wrong. Some say the shuttle was only justified as support for the space station and the space station was only justified as support for the shuttle. If you think that’s success you must be a government employee.

In between flights NASA has involved itself in everything from nutrition to automobile technology to rubber bands to global warming alarmism. It’s contribution to technology is miniscule to non-existent. Its cost has been exorbitant.

In light of the need to cut government down to a reasonable size, NASA is an agency we should be happy to sunset. RIP NASA.

Governing by Tantrum

April 10th, 2011

The $38 Billion “cut” is a painful slashing of the U.S. government budget say Democrats. It’s the best we can do say Republicans. Neither party has disclosed exactly what will be cut. Who, then, will bear this horrible pain?

The Obama democrats, while in control of the presidency and both houses of congress, have increased the deficit by over a BillionOOPS! TRILLION Dollars, without even passing a budget. And the community organizer complains that his is the party of adults? Let’s face it, the majority of both parties in congress are a bunch of crybabies throwing tantrums. They ignore the really important questions while squabbling about trivia. The American people are not so stupid that they perpetually lied to and fooled by such behavior.

As a voter you should ask yourself these questions before the next election:

  • Do I get any “valuable service” from government? If so, what specific service is it and am I getting my money’s worth?
  • Do I believe that government spending stimulates the economy? If so, should the government get the money from taxes or borrowing or both. Are there any ultimate limits on the amount of borrowing or taxation?
  • Does the Federal Government really run the country as is so often repeated, or do citizens run the country?
  • Does the president run the country or does he run the bureaucracy? If he runs the country, should he?
  • Should it be the government’s business to regulate moral behavior? If so, mine or someone else’s?
  • To what extent should the government be the source of charity in this country and internationally?
  • Does government regulation of your life improve your life? What regulations are these?
  • Does government regulation of the lives of others improve your life? What regulations are these?
  • Are members of congress and Washington bureaucrats all smarter than you are? If smarter, should they be allowed to control your life choices, pocketbook and preferences?
  • Do you currently use government subsidized “investments” such as light rail, high speed rail, Amtrak, corn-ethanol, solar panels, windmills, etc. Do you anticipate future benefits from these subsidies?
  • Do you think the government does anything economically or efficiently? If so what?
  • If the government is competent to run health care, then why are Medicare and Medicaid bankrupt? What makes you think that they can do a better job with this than they do with Amtrak or the Post Office?
  • GDP is defined as the entire economic production of the U.S. economy. At what level is government borrowing unwise, at 100% of GDP (where it is today), at twice GDP, at 6-8 times GDP where Obama’s party is steering it?
  • Should American soldiers be committed to combat under the command of French generals, or any non-American commanders?
  • Should American soldiers ever be committed to combat without a plan for them to win the struggle? Without any plan or goal at all?
  • Is the U.S.A. a special country, or is it just one among many, nothing special?
  • Should an American president bow in front of foreign kings? Should he apologize for America’s history of success? Should the president be a proud American patriot?

Perhaps by my phrasing of these questions I’ve stacked the deck in favor or my own point of view and preferences. But I dare any liberal democrat or RINO to answer these questions completely and honestly without then questioning his own political beliefs and loyalties.

Clarity About Spending

April 7th, 2011

What politician, what voter in his right mind could consider the Obama/Democrat “current path” on the (Paul Ryan budget) graph below to be a rational choice? I’ve not heard any democrat apologist justify that kind of path. It can’t be because they don’t see it. It may be because they just don’t want to deal with it now, during their term in office. That would take personal integrity, honesty and courage, none of which these people possess.

So the blather about government shutdown goes on. The furlough of some 800,000 would leave the government employment about where it was when Obama came into office. These people are “non-essential” so useless. Fire them all. That will make a start at saving money.

I can’t identify a single federal government service I’ve received in my lifetime. I’ve paid out taxes that should entitle me to fire at least one government employee who’s never done anything beneficial for me … and maybe another who has burdened me with regulations, paperwork and hassles. What about you?

Hope For the Future

April 5th, 2011

In the video, above, Representative Paul Ryan outlines the vital need and rationale for his proposed U.S. Government budget.

We’ve heard this proposal described as “extreme” but what is really extreme are the mindless increases in spending that have already been built into the government’s spending. If anything, Ryan’s proposals are modest, but a good start. Let’s back Rep. Ryan and his plan for the good of our children and the future of our country.

Silly Civil Discourse

February 22nd, 2011

The “big news” here in Tucson over the weekend was the announcement of National Institute for Civil Discourse with sponsorship by former presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton. The new organization
National Institute for Civil Discourse (See here.) initiatives will include:

  • Convening major policy discussions with elected officials, policymakers and advocates on topics that tend to generate polarized positions.
  • Promoting civil discourse, civic engagement and civic leadership.
  • Organizing workshops and conferences in Washington, D.C., Tucson and across the country.
  • Promoting a national conversation among prominent public figures from government, business and media regarding challenging political issues in a non-partisan setting.
  • Developing programs and research centered around the exercise of First Amendment freedoms conducted in a way that respects both the ideas of others, and those who hold them.

When you read the description and listen to the interviews with its directors Brent Milward and Sally Rider there’s no indication of how this institute is supposed to actually have any effect on the civility of political discourse. In the absence of a defined methodology this is simply another way to burn public funds and let political luminaries pose as saintly examples of polite politics and publicly lacrimonious sympathizers for victims of an ugly crime.

My suggestion to make the new organization really effective is to draft Sheriff Dupnik as an enforcer. He would be tasked to arrest, jail and in some cases even torture anyone accused of “uncivil discourse”.

Separate Seating Preferred

January 16th, 2011

The parties should sit separately at the State of the Union speech as they have done traditionally. It is beneficial for the citizens viewing and hearing the speech to see what positions are backed and which are opposed, and by whom. We are at a point now when the tide of “progressive” job-killing, liberty limiting programs of the past 65+ years must be resisted, torn down and buried. It is not a time to compromise with the political left. All this talk about accommodation and civility is a Potemkin Village put up by leftists who worry that their cherished programs are about to be demolished. They need to be demolished.

I, for one, want to see what my representatives cheer for and what they boo!

Sane Thoughts, Insane Murderer, Unwise Politics

January 10th, 2011

RECOMMENDED: The Scary World of Jared Loughner; Dems Target Political Speech By Chris Stirewalt This is a well reasoned discussion of the political “do-something” climate already swirling around this weekend’s murder rampage by Jared Loughner.

Government Rules & Terrorist Targets

November 24th, 2010

The current bruhaha over TSA’s naked body/grope screening is symptomatic of Federal attitudes towards everyone. In the “mind” of the bureaucracy, we’re all potential criminals and miscreants.

Just take note of the signage at any Federal facility, post office, park, government office building, etc. The first thing you’ll notice is a series of stern warnings not to cheat, steal, befoul or otherwise act unrespectfully or irresponsibly. See an example from one national park below: (Also, a previous article: Signs of Government Arrogance)

Then, in case you needed to have it, rules of conduct:

And of course, a warning to “Use the Toilet:”

And of course, fire safety and motor vehicle restrictions:

So in the context of normal federal government practice of treating all citizens as potential criminals, we have TSA saving us from terrorists. Let’s examine the procedure:

1) If you get through the metal detector without an alarm, you can go on the airplane. No box-cutters, no sir! You’re safe.

2) But if you have an artificial knee or hip, or a pacemaker, then you set off the buzzer. You need a body scan or a pat-down to search for what? For the metallic object that set off the metal detector? No, not that. They’re searching for plastic explosives hidden in your underwear.

3) If you’re a person with metal parts in your body, then you’re a potential terrorist bomber.

4) If you’re a bomber equipped with plastic explosives just be sure not to set off the metal detector.

Let’s see. The logic is that people with artificial joints or pacemakers, or who forget to take off their belt with a metal buckle, are the most likely to be terrorists. No, that would be profiling, so they have to randomly pat-down old ladies, children, and airline crew members. Makes perfect sense if you are a government bureaucrat.

The truth of this logic simply isn’t. Box cutters, double edge razor blades and nail clippers won’t work to take control of an airplane when the cockpit door is reinforced and locked, and the pilot is armed. Guns can’t be concealed in properly x-rayed luggage. My suggestion is to offer free air-fares to any properly credentialed law enforcement officer who is willing to carry his loaded weapon on-board. This would greatly reduce the potential for a terrorist to use hostages as leverage to take over an airplane.

The bombers have to be dealt with long before they get to the airport. For this we need to infiltrate intelligence agents into Muslim society here and abroad. The only proper way to deal with terrorists is to arrest or kill them before they can do harm. If one of them gets to the airport then some careful profiling and screening is definitely in order. The insanity of screening every passenger as if he is a potential terrorist is obvious.

It is shortsighted to believe that terrorists will forever concentrate on passenger air as a target. We’ve already seen air cargo, commuter trains (Spain & Germany), sporting events (Olympics), Hotels (Mumbai) and other targets attacked. The fact is that shopping malls, NASCAR races, political rallies, cruise ships, and other mass participation targets, some of them with huge built-in publicity potential, cannot have escaped the interest of terrorists. To believe that TSA type screening would even be possible to guard against attacks on these kinds of targets is foolish.

Now some might say that giving government agents the power to spy on and arrest or kill terrorists sets a precedent that could be used to suppress any non-government-approved group or activity. But isn’t that what is being done with organized crime? Yes, the killing part isn’t done domestically, but it is done abroad. One could argue that foreign terrorists on American soil should be handled the same way as al-Qaeda terrorists in the cross-hairs of a Predator drone are handled. Tight laws and procedures governing the anti-terrorist effort, combined with zealous oversight of the personnel involved would be vital. And this approach would relieve innocent American citizens from being treated a criminals when we travel, gather for events, and go about our private and public activities.

It’s time to reform government security attitudes and practices, starting with TSA and extending to all other government facilities and activities.

Only $200 Billion Reduction? Pikers!

November 10th, 2010

The President’s Commission on debt reductions is composed of sissies who want to send the budget to the salon for ‘do’, when it should be sent to a barber shop for a true haircut. Or better yet, it should be submitted to a bunch of loggers for a clear-cut. My suggestion for easy and permanent spending reductions starts at $393 Billion, twice the commission’s figure, and then goes on from there. See here.

And that’s just a start. See this.

Beating The Entitlements Tar Baby

October 23rd, 2010

A provocative Forbes Blog article was referenced by Maggies Farm Blog: Why The GOP Will Never Cut The Size Of Government by Rick Unger. The article rightly observes that if you “[a]dd the 42 percent for Social Security and subsidized health care and the 23 percent for other entitlements and net interest […] you get to 65 percent- or roughly two-thirds of our total federal expenditure.” The author then concludes that the American public, including tea party participants, won’t ever let these entitlements be significantly cut, so the federal budget is permanently stuck-on-overwhelming. We’ve got our fist in the belly of the tar baby.

The magnitude of the entitlements, not even including the looming trillion-plus dollar addition of Obamacare is an unavoidable fact. It is also an unavoidable truth that a large portion of the U.S. citizenry has paid into these (social security and medicare) programs and relies on them. But it is also an unavoidable truth that these programs are fiscally unsound if not already bankrupt. So any way you parse it, something has to be done. If we leave things as they are, taxation and borrowing will inevitably be unable to sustain the burden, and the entire economy of the country will collapse.

But first, let’s look at the one-third of the budget that is not entitlements. Within this portion of the budget are most of the liberty-nicking and draining, annoying and harmful regulatory measures that make government increasingly odious and the private economy and life in general increasingly burdened. The vast majority of these bureaucracies produce absolutely nothing of value for individual voting citizens. (I dare you to take an inventory and list Federal Government activities that actually benefit you personally.)

For an interlude we may be able to ignore the entitlements mess and direct our attention to reducing the intrusiveness of government into our every-day lives. We may be able to celebrate and encourage individualism and self-reliance by drastically reducing or better yet, eliminating departments of government like Education, Commerce, Labor, Energy, Transportation, EPA, HHS, and other burdensome, expensive and useless bureaucracies. (I wrote about this here, here, and here.) That would distract some of the attention from entitlements, as millions of bureaucrats would have to find civilian employment. Just removing these people from the future retirement cost burden of the government and reducing taxes needed to pay and equip the bureaucracies would have a major stimulating effect on the economy. And that’s even before the economic and spiritual uplift from tax reduction and elimination of red tape, regulation and harassment that would follow.

After successfully hacking back the federal bureaucracy and regulatory apparatus, thereby stimulating the private economy and renewing a sense of can-do private initiative throughout the country, it would then be possible to think seriously about the problem of entitlements. The first thing to do about this is to allow younger people to opt-out of these government programs, with a final drop-dead date for phasing them out completely. This reduces the future entitlements problem, but pops the Ponzi-scheme that allows current and near-term eligible people’s benefits to be paid from revenues collected from new participants. We’re then left to rely on the so-called “trust funds” which the government has already looted, leaving behind government IOU’s. Here is where some pain comes in. The pain will be apportioned mostly to the younger generation who will have to pay for their own private retirement and medical plans, and will also bear the tax cost of redeeming those government IOU’s. A newly buoyant economy will help, but it will still hurt. The irresponsibility of generations of politicians and voters has a cost — no escaping it.

Then, after four to six presidential election cycles have passed, assuming that the will to reform can be sustained — as it might be through evidence of progress and success — the country can emerge from its encounter with the entitlements tar-baby, stronger, better, and more self-confident than it has ever been before. And the best of it is that we’ll preserve our freedom.

Why I Go To The Tea Party

October 13th, 2010

I’m not a party guy, not a joiner. I don’t like crowds. But I’ve gone to each of Tucson’s Tea Party events. Why?

The picture below summarizes my motivation. This is Raul Grijalva, my representative in the U.S. House of Representatives. Here’s a guy who so dislikes the idea of enforcing existing immigration laws that he calls for a national boycott of his own state of Arizona.

Here’s a guy who votes 100% lockstep with Nancy Pelosi for insane spending, government takeovers, and crushing regulations and taxes. This man is an embarrassment to Arizona.

So what is the alternative? Fortunately we have a wonderful alternative to Mr. Boycott his own district. The alternative is Ruth McClung. She’s young, articulate, and sensible … not to mention beautiful and gracious.
Here’s her picture:

Ruth is a physicist working for local aerospace company. She’ll vote for sensible measures to restore sanity to the Federal Government.

Can she win? She’s got my vote and I’m sure the vote of many others in this district, but we have to face the fact that this district was gerrymandered specifically to elect the likes of Raul Grijalva. This election will be a real test of whether the American electorate can be sensible enough to vote for principle and freedom rather than class envy and racial pandering. I actually have hope that the people are wiser and more independent-minded than they sometimes appear.


Free Speech and Justice

October 6th, 2010

There is a group, led by a guy named Fred Phelps and his wife, calling themselves a church. This group rotinely assaults the funerals of fallen soldiers, claiming that their deaths are due to sinful behavior and homosexuality. These demonstrations are unbelievably ugly and offensive. The Supreme Court is considering whether their behavior constitutes protected free speech as guaranteed by the constitution.
(sorry for the ad)

I contend that it does constitute free speech, but it also constitutes an assault of the most vicious kind. We all have the right of self-defense, and when assaulted we have the right to defend ourselves.

The Supreme Court, if it has any sense at all, should rule that what Fred Phelps and his followers say is free speech, but that the manner and place of their demonstration constitutes assault. Therefore, the families and friends of the fallen soldiers have the right to send a pack of dogs to tear the assailants to shreds in self defense.

That’s free speech and justice.

Needed Branch of Government: House of Repeal

July 15th, 2010

The Washington Times in its article “Finance bill favors intersts of unions, activists” points out some of the blatent paybacks and race bias that characterize Democrat mega-legistlation (2,400 page) being blindly jammed down the country’s throats. It’s just what we need, 20 more offices of minority and women inclusion.

The bill would create more than 20 “offices of minority and women inclusion” at the Treasury, Federal Reserve and other government agencies, to ensure they employ more women and minorities and grant more federal contracts to more women- and minority-owned businesses.

The agencies also would apply “fair employment tests” to the banks and other financial institutions they regulate, though their hiring and contracting practices had little or nothing to do with the 2008 financial crisis.

“The interjection of racial and gender preferences into America’s financial sector deserves greater media exposure” before Congress debates and passes the massive 2,400-page bill, said Kevin Mooney, a contributing editor for Americans for Limited Government’s daily newsletter.

This is just one more of the many reasons why the current congress and executive need to be booted out and replaced. They’ve gone completely wild with their power. Under the guise of financial reform they’re creating new bureaucracies and carving out preferences to reward favored constituencies, including racial preferences. They’re passing inane and insane laws that may stay on the books for decades to come unless the situation is corrected. But how?

If ever we’re able to elect a sane, disciplined set of representatives, they’ll have a huge job wiping out this and other liberty destroying monstrosities. It would be a better procedure to pass a one-page bill that would force a 2-year sunset for ALL legislation passed in the last 25 years and further specify that no replacement bill may contain any part of the sunsetted legislation, no replacement may cover more than a single subject, and that any replacement must fit into 20 typed pages or less. Furthermore, congress shall have no more than 90 days to replace a bill, after which it will expire forever.

Then, to prevent this regulation through mega-legislation from ever re-appearing, we should have a constitutional amendment establishing a “House of Repeal,” whose elected representatives would be charged with repealing already passed legislation. A two-thirds vote of both houses of congress could override the repeal, but the President could veto the congressional over-ride.

The Legislative Shredder, what an idea!

Mexican Border Terror

June 16th, 2010

Shown below is a map of the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, a half million acre preserve that buts up to the border with Mexico. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has declared a portion of this park along the border line unsafe for American Citizens.

I am personally concerned about this because I live about 10 miles north of the park’s border along the major route between Tucson and Sasabe, the Mexican border town adjacent to the park. This highway, route 286, although heavily patrolled, still channels a major amount of illegal traffic in people and drugs.

The nearby Mexican border town of Nogales, Sonora has seen drug related murders constantly increasing. Tucson’s Arizona Daily Star reports:

There were 136 homicides in 2009, up from 126 in 2008 and 52 in 2007.

Through March 23 of this year, there have been 79 killings, according to a tally maintained by El Imparcial newspaper in Sonora.

For a population of about 21,000 (in yr. 2000) that’s a lot of murders, although not yet reaching the terror level in Juarez, across the border from El Paso.

There have also been pitched gun battles between police or military and drug gangs in the past year, and that the level of violence continues to increase. In March, this year, the deputy police chief of Nogales was murdered by drug gangs.

The conventional wisdom is that this violence hasn’t yet, and probably won’t spill over the border into the U.S. However, recent events such as the discovery on 8 tons of marijuana in a Tucson house this week, the murder of rancher Krentz, gangs against gangs near the border, the shooting of a Sheriff deputy a month ago, and now the closure of American territory to American citizens shows that this is wishful thinking.

As I’ve mentioned earlier in these blogs I’ve seen a lot of illegals cross my land and in the past. When these were honest farm laborers looking for work, I had sympathy for them. Two of my college years were spent at what then was Mexico City College in Mexico and I have a warm regard for Mexico and Mexicans. However, with the violent drug trade pushing violence directly up to my house in the desert I’ve become very apprehensive. The recent murder of a local Arizona rancher, Mr. Krentz, it has made it clear that those of us who live near the border are potentially exposed to this violence. Although I don’t consider myself an alarmist, the closure of the lower part of the wildlife refuge reinforces this and gives me chills. The route followed by the drug gangs who make this zone toxic leads directly north through my property.

Philosophically I’d love to have open borders, so Mexicans would be welcomed here, and Americans, likewise could invest and enrich the Mexican economy. In an ideal world we’d both gain. But this is obviously not an ideal world, especially here on the border. As a combat veteran of the Vietnam war I’m completely comfortable around weapons but not in any way an enthusiast. When I left the army I thought I’d never again have to carry a firearm for personal protection. I still don’t relish it, but do so occasionally when confronted with foot traffic from Mexico. However, I also realize that the drug gangs are far better armed than I am — revolver against AK-47 is not a fair contest.

The political winds that swirl around border enforcement are stirring up a lot of dust. But the bottom line truth is that when peaceful American citizens begin to fear for their own safety and the safety of their families, then it’s time to cut through the bull-shit and send in the troops. That’s what we did when Pancho Villa raided across the border. That’s what we need to do now.

And Mr. Obama, a word of advice: Don’t you dare send in troops without weapons or without ammunition.

Oil Spill Solution?

June 8th, 2010

In case you haven’t seen this, it’s worth a look. I was impressed and wonder if this technique is being used currently in the Gulf, and if not, why not?

It sure would beat the hell out of “kicking ass” as the Sun God proposes!

Exploding Growth of Free Market Healthcare

April 28th, 2010

What happens when the world’s only provider of free market medical care converts to a socialist system? Where do the patients go? Where do the doctors and nurses go? Where do the researchers go?

They won’t be allowed to operate in the U.S. in competition with government regulated facilities. They’ll go abroad to open and operate private, free market medical services. Medical tourism takes off.

As an investor I’m betting on a big surge in for-profit offshore medical services. The demand will be overwhelming because the U.S.A will no longer provide high quality free market medicine for Americans and foreigners alike. The only alternative will be privately owned facilities in countries like Mexico, India, Thailand and elsewhere.

Obama, Reid and Pelosi can get their offshore care in Cuba.

Illegal Immigration — A Sensible, Workable Solution

April 27th, 2010

On October 30, 2007 I wrote a post (click here) suggesting a practical, common sense solution for the problem of illegal immigration. Essentially, I proposed a system whereby those who wished to work temporarily in the U.S. would purchase an insurance policy. This policy would have several purposes:

1) The policy would pay for any extraordinary public or private expenses that the worker might cause due to criminal activity, hospitalization, welfare costs, etc. Mexicans now pay “coyotes” (human smugglers) from $2,000 to $3,000 for transport across the border. This same sum would pay for quite a handsome insurance policy for a year’s work. A U.S. based employer might be willing to pay all or part of this policy premium.

2) The policy becomes a legal immigration document. No additional bureaucracy would be needed. It could all be done through private insurance transactions, leaving the worker free to enter the country and leave at the expiration of his work or the policy’s one year term.

3) There could be a rebate at the policy’s expiration if no claims were paid from the insurance. This would be an additional incentive for the worker to return home when the policy expires.

The original article, linked above, discusses the benefits of this approach from the viewpoint of those who oppose Mexican illegal immigrants on cultural or economic grounds, and by those, like vegetable growers, who want the benefits of Mexican labor.

This is a solution that doesn’t involve shouting.

Monkeys Manage Arizona’s Fiscal Affairs

April 16th, 2010

Earlier this week I started to prepare an article about Arizona’s government spending, observing that over 20 years the population has grown by 80+% while the state government’s expenditures have tripled. As a result, per capita spending has risen from $500 to $803, a 60% increase. So then I sought to figure out where the extra money was going. No luck. Arizona’s budgets and government expenditures are a black box. The web site published by the state is virtually useless, providing no useful detail at all, and no useful historical data for comparisons.

A comprehensive report describes government spending transparency via. web sites in each state. Arizona ranks at the bottom of that list with a virtually useless website. The only states ranking worse than Arizona were those having no web sites at all.

At this week’s tax day tea party I was able to confront two Arizona legislators, asking why this shouldn’t or can’t be corrected. State Representative Vic Williams, a purportedly conservative republican opined that: (summarizing)

The creation of such a web site would be impossibly complex and expensive. He thought it would cost millions of dollars and wouldn’t work anyway given the complete mess that exists between the state’s incompatible and obsolete computer systems. And he says various departments are constantly swapping allocations and spending in such nimble ways that there is no way to it can be accurately accounted for.

I asked Rep. Williams if this wasn’t evidence of a serious management problem that should be corrected. If spending is, indeed, so chaotic as he claims,then there is not only no transparency, there is no control or accountability either. He shrugged and excused himself.

Later on I confronted State Senator Frank Antenori with the same question. Senator Antenori stated that the state does, indeed, have a web site that provides department level data, but to get details of what the money is actually spent for (staffing levels, salaries, pensions, benefits, equipment, and detailed by program, etc.) I’d have to request the information from each department. He thought this was sufficient transparency — so I’m sending him a link to the survey, above.

Combining the blasé attitude of at least these two legislators toward informing citizens of what actually goes on in the government with the miserable opaqueness of these operations, it is no wonder that Arizona finds itself in fiscal difficulty. The state’s fiscal house resembles the monkey house at the zoo — but at least that has an outside view.

(caption: Arizona bureaucrats who manage the state budget)

Sen. Antenori wanted me to congratulate him for his role in reducing the budget this year by a claimed 20%. But I can’t even figure out whether the budget has actually been passed and signed by the governor. Also, I’d ask the Senator: a) What about the proposed 17% increase in sales taxes on the ballot next election, and b) What percentage growth in spending occurred each of the past five years? How was this extra revenue spent? And finally, having claimed a 20% reduction, I’ll congratulate him when he hacks off another 25% from the remaining budget.

And don’t you dare tell me this would jeopardize education and public safety.

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