Odd Citizen

Odd Citizen
An Odd Citizen’s Search For Vanishing Freedoms

Screwed by Obamacare

January 9th, 2015

It should not have been a surprise. My health insurance (Medicare Advantage, HealthNet SeniorCare) plan dropped my physicians, so I signed up for a Humana plan which the representative assured me included the physicians and medical center I use. That was in October, 2014. Then, the last day of December 2014 I was informed that an upcoming appointment would not be covered by my insurance. I then discovered that, between mid October and November, the plan I signed up for had been changed to drop all the physicians that I wanted. A complete bait and switch screw job. Maybe this would make a good class action law suit. At any rate, I’m now having to pay $2,500 more per year than I expected in order to keep the doctors I prefer.

Undoubtedly I’m among millions that have been harmed by this monstrosity called ObamaCare. The sad thing about it is that the Republican Party, which should be resisting this with all of its might is doing nothing. The U.S. government does almost nothing useful or of value to me — just taxes and hassles me with restrictions and regulations. It just gets worse with every passing year. 75% of what the federal government does is not only unconstitutional, it is completely wasteful and useless. We’d all be better off of have that 75% completely eliminated.

I consider myself a patriot. I served in combat as an artillery forward observer in Vietnam. I then thought the extra scars I took home were a minor price to pay for living in a free and prosperous country. But it seems that every year I can remember the country becomes less free and less prosperous. Fewer people consider “duty, honor, country” to be serious obligations of citizenship. In fact, I think most consider these words to be an embarrassment. We’ve witnessed a downhill slide culminating — no, just continuing — with the Obama/Pelosi/Reid/Holder/Sharpton/Jackson Democrats/socialists with little of consequence to resist them.

Is it really this hopeless?

Who Owns the Memorials & Parks?

October 2nd, 2013

The memorial structures and parks in Washington D.C. and elsewhere belong to the people, not to the government. The WW-II memorial celebrates the accomplishments of the soldiers who fought the war and the current government can’t take any credit, whatsoever, for that.

The behavior of the Obama administration, Harry Reid and his Democrat thugs in closing off these parks and monuments is at best shameful and at worst a disgrace. They have no right at all to do this. So why to they do it? They do it because a) they can, and b) because they think their political opponents will be blamed. That’s about as low as you can get, even in by Washington standards.

Time to Panic!

October 1st, 2013

The federal government has partially shut down. All “non-essential” personnel have been granted a vacation. Should we panic, should we riot?

It’s a perfect opportunity to ask yourself what impact the shutdown has on you personally. What activity of the federal government were you benefiting from before the shutdown that you now miss? What if those “non-essential” federal employees were laid off rather than furloughed? It might save you some taxes and some aggravation.

What it really proves is that most of what the federal government does is useless, expensive and wasteful. We’d be much better off if the government was reduced in size and mission by at lease 75%. Maybe more. These “non-essential” employees are, indeed, non-essential if not wasteful burdens on the country.

A Visit to Social Security Office

June 14th, 2013

Today I had a chore to retrieve a new 1099 from SSA on behalf of my elderly mother. A call to the 800 number yielded the conclusion that they couldn’t help me. I had to go to the local office, from which an employee could call my mother on the phone to get authorization for me to receive a copy of the 1099. The SSA says that they don’t recognize powers of attorney! Why the hell not?

Upon arrival at the SSA office I was immediately approached by an armed security guard. He asked if I possessed firearms, pepper spray, bombs, etc. I said “no.” I asked what was the purpose of this high-security and the guard said, “This is a FEDERAL facility.” OK, but it didn’t make much sense to me. I took a number and sat down on a steel bench to wait my turn. The hour I waited gave me time to observe several things. First, the guard was hand-searching every woman’s purse as she entered. Second, there were numerous signs posted which warned of penalties for attacking a government employee or carrying contraband into a FEDERAL establishment. The wall was also plastered, here and there, with signs saying “Please do not stand here.” The only reason I could discern is that these were blind spots in the surveillance camera coverage. In short, the place is run like a jail — and everyone entering is suspected of being a criminal. This was a government bunker.

My visit concluded, after an additional half hour of waiting, with a visit to “the back”. I was escorted to a fairly large room with I’d guess 25 cubicles. I observed that only 5 or so were occupied. So, either the building plan over-estimated the need for office space and furniture, or the empty desks represented “slots” in the budget (money that could be spent on anything the bureaucrats desired as long as there were no employees to pay). The upshot is that if the desks had been occupied, I wouldn’t have had to wait so long. Or it’s just more evidence of government waste and mismanagement.

I admit that the employees in the bunker were all pleasant and patient — but did it have to take so long? Why are FEDERAL facilities increasingly becoming bunkers. Who are these people afraid of? You and me, I guess.

Why Are Government Agencies Arming Themselves Like a Military Force?

February 16th, 2013

One can see some excuse for the Department of Homeland Security to have some arms and ammunition, but what about the Social Security Administration and the Department of Education? Should each of these be stockpiling millions of rounds of ammunition? They claim it’s for training, but listen to Mark Levin’s comments, in which he says that during the Iraq War the military expended 5.5 million rounds per month. DHS has stockpiled 1.6 Billion rounds of ammunition, enough for 24 years of Iraq style War! The only possible explanation of this is that the government is planning for a contingency in which they will have to kill a lot of Americans.

See below Mark Levin on why are government agencies buying huge amounts of ammunition

Government Gone Mad

February 10th, 2013

If you don’t believe that government is out of control and a real threat to your personal liberty, take a few minutes to review video and the link below. (Courtesy of The Heritage Foundation.)

A Man Spends 8 Years in Federal Prison for a NON-CRIME

This outrage is almost beyond belief.

The Press: Enemy of the American People

October 1st, 2012

The following video by Pat Caddell, a former Democrat pollster is the most powerful indictment of the mainstream press that I’ve heard lately. It is depressing. It is a serious disease. Thank goodness we still have independent alternative sources of information via radio talk shows and the internet. Without these we’d be completely blind, deaf and enslaved. But don’t hold your breath. If Caddell is right this alternative too might soon disappear.

The solution, says Caddell, is for Republicans to get some backbone and push back. Call out the lies and the liars. Name names and don’t be cowed. These people are cowards. Don’t be intimidated by them, don’t try to be loved by them. They have poisoned a valuable institution of American liberty, and they must be reformed. It can be, and must be done.

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.

2016: Obama’s America

August 25th, 2012

Yesterday I went to see the new movie, 2016: Obama’s America, based on the work of writer Dinesh D’Suza. The movie convincingly details D’Suza’s theory that President Obama’s upbringing has made him a third-world style anti-colonialist/anti-imperialist who believes that America has to be brought down to the level of the average U.N. country — militarily, economically, diplomatically, and intellectually. This mentality, so common in the third world, maintains that the rich, successful Americans and Europeans achieved all their success as a direct result of exploiting the colonies’ resources. So based on this perceived injustice, Obama hates America, its history, its institutions and its world leadership. And his actions as president prove it.

The movie theater was completely packed. When the movie ended there was complete silence, not a person stirred for at least 30 seconds, then the whole audience broke into sustained applause. We’re told that the movie has risen to #3 on the charts in spite of the limited number of theaters, the limited showings and the lack of publicity.

I hope this is an omen for the upcoming election.

Addendum: Here’s another view of Obama’s background, his relationship with Communist Party USA member Frank Marshall Davis, who Obama refers to in his book as just “Frank.” See for yourself here.

China Disintegrating

August 23rd, 2012

In several prior posts I’ve predicted that China will eventually come apart at the seams. This is a country ruled by a brutal, corrupt dictatorship, with a banking system based on lies, and a real-estate situation more volatile even than that of the U.S. in 2008, growing discontent and a culture that permits poisonous baby formula and other toxic products to be produced and sold. A small minority of its vast population has achieved a western level of prosperity, while a majority still plows fields bare-footed behind oxen.

Now the evidence of decay and impending collapse is beginning to leak out. A recent article in WorldAffairsJournal.org describes declining economic performance and rising popular unrest and concludes as follows:

China is perhaps the most volatile society on earth, where even traffic accidents, like the one in Xian on Friday, cause rampages and riots with unmistakable political overtones. Therefore, top leaders, such as the hated Zhou Yongkang, know what is at stake now that the economy has begun to stumble. The Communist Party is at greater risk as each new indicator points to harder times—which is when people get desperate and stop fearing the government.

We Americans and Europeans are fools if we believe that China is the future of the world economy. It is a toxic dump based on lies, deceipt, and corruption. The sooner we remove our manufacturing base from China the safer we’ll be from the economic collapse and bloody revolution that is certain to come. Maybe soon.

Hollow-point bullets for the Social Security Administration?

August 20th, 2012

What’s going on here? Why have govenment agencies such as SSA, NOAA, and DHS ordered enough lethal ammunition to kill every living American 5-times over? What is the purpose of this armament? It can’t be used in war. Hollow point bullets are banned from use in war by international treaty. So who is going to fire them? Against whom do our government agencies, including Social Security Administration intend to use these bullets?

Major General: Why have government agencies recently purchased enough specialized for killing ammunition to put 5 rounds in every Amrerican?

This question needs to be answered by a congressional inquiry and made known to the American public. So far no answers have been forthcoming. This is not a conspiracy theory, this is real. Send your congressional representatives a question. Ask them why and against whom the non-military government agencies are arming themselves. Do it now.

Addendum:
Here’s an article giving the government’s response if you can believe it.

Syria’s Insurrection Imported to South Carolina

August 6th, 2012

Bashar Asad’s government has used its military forces to destroy its own citizens. They protest, he sends in the army to shell their cities. It’s about the most vicious, ugly example of tyranny I can imagine — short of the Communist butchery in Russia and China, and the Japanese rape of Nanking prior to WW-II. Could similar savagery by a government toward its citizens happen here in the USA? Apparently the U.S. government is already anticipating the possibility.

NOW, a U.S. Army sponsored think-tank (“Small Wars Journal”) has produced a study that envisions a Tea Party inspired insurrection in Darlington South Carolina and how the U.S. Army should deal with it, i.e., PUT IT DOWN BY MILITARY FORCE. The people of Darlington, you see, invoke the principles of the Declaration of Independence and dare to replace the present governing authorities with those chosen by and representative of the people. Of course, the authors of the study say that these citizens are inspired by anti-immigrant, racist ideas and they are armed and violent — as all tea party participants presumably are!

Could this be President Obama’s vision of a military force effective on American soil? Is this the logical extension of the Department of Homeland Security’s metastasis into everyday life from origins in airline security? Are these people for real? Yes, apparently they are.

READ THIS CHILLING REPORT:

(h/t AmericanThinker.com)
‘Full Spectrum Operations in the Homeland a “vision” of the future’. Then tell me if you don’t think American liberty is threatened by Washington.

Frustration Illustrated

July 27th, 2012

My frustration boils over. It seems to me that for my entire 69 years, as long as I can remember politics and government, things have become ever more ugly. By that I mean that government has become larger, more intrusive, more burdensome, and more expensive. My first political recollections was riding along in the front seat of my father’s Model-A Ford, seeing a campaign sign – Truman for President – and hearing my father say: “That son of a bitch, Harry Truman.” It was only years later that I realized my father’s frustration over how much damage FDR had done to America as a free country. It wasn’t until after the Eisenhower administration that I realized that the government isn’t an honest entity — that most of what government does and says is based on outright lies and deceit.

Later, in 1966, I proudly enlisted in the U.S. Army to fight in Vietnam against the brutal communists. I believed this was an honor and a duty and remain proud of my service. Others disagreed. The country by that time was losing its character, and under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson the government became ever more bloated, expensive and intrusive. I remember Johnson imploring the government to spend more money more rapidly to fight recession. What a cruel joke that was. The economy languished but the government grew and grew.

I’m certain that a lot of my fellow citizens feel as frustrated as I am, this in spite of some people I know who figure, “I’ve got mine, so why should I even care about the debt, the loss of liberties, and the economic mess?” There have to be some among us who are willing to stand firm against this ever-expanding menace we call the U.S. Government. So why can’t our elected congress back this down to something sensible? Play a speech, video below, on the House of Representatives floor by Representative Kelly. Shouldn’t the congress do something sensible for a change and remove these burdens rather than continue to pile them on? Kelly was speaking on behalf of HR4078, a bill to freeze regulations in place. How about a bill to rip out those and other regulations in their entirety?

See and hear the speech:

It is citizens like us who vote for representatives that become gods, kings, and princes when they get to office. They march up the glorious marble steps of the U.S. Capitol building and, can you blame them for swelled heads, they begin to think they should run the country. But they’re only elected to run the bureaucracy — a big difference indeed.

And if you don’t think Kelly is talking about Jackass regulations, wait until you read about Idiot Obama’s latest brainstorm. To Wit,
have a regulation that school punishments must all be apportioned by race, regardless of the behavior of individual students!! WHAT?

The insanity has gone too far. Maybe that’s the reason that the liberals are talking gun controls once again. They fear the citizens. These citizens are frustrated with excessive government power and intimidation. They realize, deep down, that the reason for the second amendment is the potential for military (the 2nd Amendment mentions “militia”, after all) use of weapons by citizens, not for hunting and target shooting, but against the repressive elements of a feared future government. We all hope it never comes to that, but we need to guard the second amendment in the meantime.

P.S. If some government spy is logging this article and I meet Janet Napolitano’s definition of a potential domestic terrorist, go to hell. You’re wrong. What I am is a proud, patriotic American who doesn’t appreciate seeing his country’s traditions and fundamental values destroyed by a gang of meddlesome liberal busybodies.

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.

Regards,

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.

Healthcare Law’s Growing Frustrations and Intrusions

February 10th, 2012

Increasingly a complaint about awkward or goofy health-related services is met with “But that’s the law. We have to do it that way.”

For example, CVS Pharmacy has been revising their web site for prescription refills. It used to work just dandy, and was fairly easy to cope with. Now, however, everything is wrapped in military level security, i.e., enter your user name, your password, your plan number, your group number, a recent prescription number, your name, your birth date, the name of your cat, and if you are not so frustrated that you’ve quit, your shoe size. A complaint about this awkward and unnecessary level of security gets the answer: “The health care privacy laws require it.” Well, should they? Do they actually? Is it just an excuse for programmers going wild?

We see this everywhere. New intrusive health care questionnaires, invitations to have an “expert” examine our living quarters, invitations to consult health-plan nurses. This is health-care by push. I tell them “Don’t call me, I’ll call you,” but they call anyway. Any day now I expect Mrs. Obama to knock on my door and insist on inspecting the contents of my fridge.

I go to my dentist’s lab to have a repair on a broken denture. The lab techs say they can’t do the job without permission from the dentist. Hey guys, this is warranty service. What possible benefit does this have to me, to be told I can’t have someone fix my denture without permission? Maybe my barber will have to get permission to cut my hair next time.

This is insanity and it needs to be stopped and backed up right now. My own frustration is at the boiling point. Friends and family tell me I’m a grump, but I maintain that they’re blissfully ignorant of a trend that could some day deprive us of all of our freedoms.

Speak up. Resist this insanity now, before it’s too late.

Sun God Shines Light on Future

January 6th, 2012

It just keeps getting worse. The Sun God president declares that he doesn’t need Senate confirmation for his appointments. He appoints the head of a toxic agency that is detached from congressional oversight and budgets, the so called Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The law and centuries-old practice regarding recess appointments has been ignored presumably because the Sun God believes that “consumers” desperately need more supervision of their finances. Chalk up another win for the emerging totalitarian government.

Eric Holder, the (AG) Enforcer in Chief, has led the way by giving congress the finger over Fast and Furious, the government-sponsored gun running operation that has killed some 300 Mexicans and a couple of American border agents as well. Holder thinks his duty is to protect black people from white bigots, ignoring actual documented election fraud and intimidation of voters by black thugs. Congress couldn’t do anything about that, so the green light is on, right?

Well, what the hell, he thinks. While I’m doing that I might as well do a double duty destruction run. I can destroy the U.S. military, which I detest, by reducing their ground troop strength by half a million men, yield to the Chinese ambition to dominate in Asia, and recover half a trillion dollars to spend on welfare checks for the masses — who will reward me by voting Democrat.

My friend Hugo, down in Venezuela showed how to stay in charge even if his country wasn’t doing all that well and most of his people criticized him. The Chinese are about to take over the leading role in the world, and look at how their leaders stay in charge year after year. Elections are just a historical fad. Modern countries with enlightened leaders need to have stability at the top.

There’s a election coming up, but with things so bad in this country, with so many people not enjoying full government benefits such as food stamps and unemployment payments, we have a real crisis on our hands. I have the answers, thinks the Sun God, I am the salvation of the country. So I can’t just passively let myself be relieved from office by an ignorant, racist, tea party mob. No. I’ll just postpone the election for a few years until I have everything fixed and under my control. After all, I am your glorious benefactor, the Sun God, so who will stand up and prevent me from doing that?

Federal Boots on Neck of Gibson Guitar Co.

September 10th, 2011

This story is actually a couple of weeks old. In the midst of swirling insanity characterized by President Obama’s “jobs” speech, the FBI’s evidence tampering in the Gun Walker scandal, the gyrating stock market, chaos in the middle east, and other matters — in the midst of all this the Gibson Guitar raid by armed federal agents to enforce foreign laws sticks out.

From what I’ve read the raid originates in an obscure snippet of legislation inserted into an unrelated bill by environmental nut cases. It essentially treats wood as if it were a radioactive substance, requiring tracking and registration of wood that any country considers special. In the Gibson case the wood is from India. Indian law requires the wood to be finished by Indian labor. U.S. Government claims the wood did not meet this requirement, so it sent 20 armed agents into Gibson’s plants and headquarters to confiscate the wood and evidence of wrong-doing. Gibson’s CEO says the company hasn’t been charged with any crime or infraction.

As an aside, the government apparently told Gibson that they could avoid all this hassle if they simply moved their operations overseas!

The most disturbing thing about this episode is the increasing use of massive, military-style armed force by government agencies in raids of this kind. One could expect this kind of government hobnail boot assault in totalitarian countries, but not here in America.

A Potato, a Baseball and the U.S. Constitution

June 16th, 2011

If someone pointed to a baseball and told me it was a potato it wouldn’t tempt me to cook it for dinner. I don’t think it would tempt you either, no matter how authoritative the source of the statement. There is a fundamental and obvious difference between a baseball and a potato. But when it comes to laws then it boils down to what the definition of “is” is.

The U.S. Constitution was written by some very wise and well educated men who also expressed their thoughts succinctly and clearly. So it baffles most of us who read and understand the English language how the Constitution’s plain meanings have been mangled and bent to justify all manner of Federal Government powers and expansions. So I was particularly interested to encounter online a copy of the Constitution in the U.S. Senate website, with the original language accompanied by an interpretation. I guess this is what our Senators refer to when they need reference to the Constitution.

Now I’m not a lawyer by any stretch of imagination, and I do concede that much of the damage to our republic has been done by those worthies of the Supreme Court. So I’ll just mention a few things I found in Section 8, where the “limited and enumerated” powers of the Federal Government are specified, along with their interpretation for use by the Senators.

The first of these is the notorious Commerce Clause, which gives congress the power to regulate “interstate commerce.”

This clause has been used as a huge loophole to justify federal power to regulate and do almost everything, most recently by Democrats to justify the constitutionality of Obamacare and EPA regulation of carbon dioxide. The winds blowing across state lines are apparently “interstate commerce,” thus making the EPA’s regulation of airborne pollution Constitutional. So wind is “commerce”, flowing rivers are “commerce”, trucking and communication are “commerce”.

Look at the Constitutional statement on the left and then at the interpretation on the right, where it states that “the ‘Commerce Clause’ is one of the most far-reaching grants of power to congress.”
Can that conclusion be reached by the plain meaning of the Constitution in which “interstate commerce” was plainly intended to mean commercial transactions over state lines? A power needed to keep one state from taxing and regulating commercial transactions involving other states? YAH, YAH, I know that the Supreme Court was defenestrated during the F.D.R administration and hasn’t ever regained its courage to do its duty.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all government programs now justified by the Commerce Clause were re-examined, and those that did not involve actual commerce, i.e., commercial transactions, were shut down forthwith?

OK, here’s another little gem. The Postal Clause shown below:

Where in the original language does it say that “Congress may also punish those who use the mails for unlawful purposes.”? Was that a pet notion of the guy who wrote this interpretation for our dear senators?

And where does it say that the Post Office must be a government monopoly?

And now to that clause beloved by politicians and bureaucrats, and tyrants, the “elastic clause”. Read the plain language on the left, then the explanation on the right.

The plain language specifies that the congress can “make laws necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution …“. The bold parts refer to those powers already defined in Section 8 and elsewhere in the Constitution. It doesn’t say that this is an ‘elastic clause’ that enlarges legislative power to let Congress do whatever they damn well please, but that’s the impression one gets from the description by the dear senators’ constitutional interpreter.

Of course, whole books are written on how the original meaning of the Constitution has been contorted and ignored to the detriment of the country. There are undoubtedly many learned experts out there who will tell me I’m uninformed and simple minded. But a potato isn’t a baseball, nor a baseball a potato no matter what the experts claim.

TSA – The Dawn of Tyranny

June 15th, 2011

TSA, the Transportation Security Agency, which was supposed to make air travel safe has morphed into a tool of tyranny. Our liberty is at stake. In the coming presidential election campaigns the candidates must make the TSA a serious issue. The whole “Homeland Security” monster needs to be slain. The TSA needs to be eliminated. It is a threat and a tool for the government to dominate us all. President Obama opined that the country needed a domestic force as powerful as the U.S. armed forces. He and his minions are creating such a Soviet style force in the TSA. See this article and the video below. You’ll be shocked, or maybe you won’t be.

PRESERVE YOUR LIBERTY. ELIMINATE THE TSA NOW.

Obama Regime Propaganda Department Enlarged

May 24th, 2011

Should the President of the U.S. to be spending public funds to campaign for his own re-election? Should the White House support a propaganda department? Well, it does, and today it expanded its staffing. According to and article in the Huffington Post (via FishBowlNY reporting a memo from the WH “This week, Jesse Lee will move from the new media department into a role in the communications department as Director of Progressive Media & Online Response”. Heretofore, according to the article, this type of work has been done by the DNC, presumably not at public expense like the current appointment.

How far does it go? Is the next step an effort to censor and silence critical voices through the forceful tools of the U.S. government? See the article immediately before this one.

Tyrants have propaganda departments. Tyrants suppress criticism. Little steps like this show the current president’s disdain for democracy, the American people, and legality. Little steps like this chip away at the liberties we should all cherish and defend. The White House Office of Propaganda is an abomination that should not be tolerated in our democracy. Contact your congressional representative and complain. Somebody in authority might have the courage to put a stop to this misuse of public office by President Obama.

Secret Service’s Chilling Lack of Common Sense

May 18th, 2011

The Secret Service grills a 13 year old kid for an innocuous comment on his Facebook page. He warned that President Obama should be aware of threats in retaliation for Bin Laden’s death. See for yourself whether this is a case of over-reaction by our government. Do we really want to be censored this way? Should we be afraid to even mention the Prez and boom-booms in the same post? Who’s watching, and how? Will I find a Secret Service agent on my doorstep due to careless interpretation of my words? I find this chilling, but it won’t stop me from expressing my own frank opinions.

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.

Depressed

March 19th, 2011

There is so much miserable bad news that it is depressing to write about it. That’s why it has been some time since the last article. But what really depresses me is that I have always been, at heart and in practice an optimist. I started and operated my own businesses, served in the military, never followed the crowd and always believed that America was a special country with special, can-do citizens. But the defeatism and weakness in evidence today is just too much. There is a thing called “duty” and it sometimes requires sacrifice. There is a thing called “honor” and this too sometimes requires sacrifice and making hardest decisions. And there is a thing called “country” that patriots sacrifice and sometimes even die for. So if ordinary citizens make real sacrifices in the name of duty, honor, and country, why do we elect politicians who are completely and utterly irresponsible, who cater to the most base and selfish interests of their constituents and themselves? Have we as a country lost the backbone, the duty, honor and country to hold these guys accountable, even if it costs us a little inconvenience or some imagined “free” bennies? If all of this seems ridiculous and starry-eyed to you, then you’re no friend of mine, you’re part of the problem.

The United States faces complete and utter economic ruin caused by the irresponsible spending by politicians at every level, local, state and federal. The obligations taken on in support of public employee retirement programs, social security and medicare, and now Obamacare are simply beyond anything the government is able to confiscate no matter how high taxes are raised. The politicians balk at spending reductions in the billions of dollars, when they should be cutting back in the trillions. There have been several detailed proposals for $400-500 billion reductions (Ryan & Paul), plus a government report detailing $100 Billion in waste and duplication. But our gutless politicians can’t do any better than propose $6 Billion reductions, 2 weeks at a time. And the citizens look on at this as if it matters not to them at all. I don’t know anyone other than welfare moochers who can name government benefits they actually benefit from personally, and that come anywhere close to being worth the taxes they’re paying, or that others are paying on their behalf.

The prospect of imminent hyper-inflation ably described by John Williams of Shadow Government Statistics has me so depressed that I’m actively accumulating assets that I think might survive the imminent demise of the dollar. As a bonus, Williams exposes the utter mendacity of government produced statistics measuring inflation, GNP and unemployment, among others.

The U.S. used to pride itself in being a world leader. Now our empty-suit president, the community organizer, holds meetings about school yard bullying, picks brackets for sports, goes on vacation to Rio while the world wonders what the U.S. policy on Libyan democracy is. We don’t have to fight everyone’s wars, but there should be no doubt that the U.S. backs the rights of people striving for freedom and democracy worldwide.

The Japanese have been dealt a terrible blow by the historic earthquake and tsunami which caused a nuclear disaster. We should all wish them well and provide any help we can afford. But it just troubles me no end that somebody, Japanese, American military, someone, didn’t send in some big honking generators to the power plant so they could run their cooling systems immediately after the disaster was known. Maybe there’s a reason?

There is no shortage of energy in the world, but there is a lack of will to generate it, dig for it, or pump it. The U.S. is still the third largest producer of oil in the world behind Russia and Saudi Arabia. We didn’t get that way by doing nothing. But now our government has been captured by an ideology that says it is evil to extract energy from coal, oil and natural gas. So vast resources of these minerals are off-limits from exploitation. The off-shore, Alaskan, Bakken, and Rocky Mountain areas have enough oil and gas to keep the country growing through energy use for centuries. Why, oh why, does the federal government place these resources off limits to exploitation? It makes no sense at all if you are a can-do American.

“Yes, we can.” “Si, se puede,” a Mexican-American radical activist motto was co-opted by Obama for his campaign. But whatever needs to be done to restore the economy and make American as great as it should be is met by “Maybe we shouldn’t” or “We’re too weak” or “We’re too guilty.” This is a low-class, self-defeating attitude that leads to nothing but sloth and failure. As a community organizer, Obama’s only accomplishment was to teach people to beg for government handouts. His housing project, the target of his organizing efforts remains a cesspool of poverty, misery and murder to this day.

We deserve better than this. Our representatives need to start doing their sworn duty and fix the mess in spite of the presidents, congressional democrat leaders and weak-kneed RINOS that created it. But the fix starts with the determination of citizens to elect representatives who have honor, honesty, substance and backbone. And then perhaps the old American success story fueled by individual achievement and ambition will peek through the liberal-progressive-collective fog and take us on to ever greater heights of achievement and success. Maybe we can once again be proud of ourselves by acting as can-do, individual, successful Americans who don’t need to apologize to anyone.

Addendum: see Garland: “Pres. Obama, I too am exhausted defending you.”

Civil Discourse? Who Are You Kidding?

January 17th, 2011

See: I do not want civil discourse

Well said. Enough said.

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!

Folly of the Whole Earth Simulation Model

December 6th, 2010

After the blowout of the Global Warming Scare some in the science establishment are scratching around for their next big project. A few European scientists envision a giant simulation model encompassing everything knowable about the earth and man’s activities thereupon.
(See my prior article on this subject.

Contributory to this vision is a recent article entitled: The 70 Online Databases that Define Our Planet The databases are most interesting but, to the extent that popular culture and internet clutter define our “planet” we have a long way to go before such a model could even be prototyped. But that doesn’t mean the notion is without menace. The article states:

The vision is that a system like this can help to understand and predict crises before they occur so that governments can take appropriate measures in advance.

There are numerous challenges here. Nobody yet has the computing power necessary for such a task, neither are there models that will can accurately model even much smaller systems. But before any of that is possible, researchers must gather the economic, social and technological data needed to feed this machine.

Today, we get a grand tour of this challenge from Dirk Helbing and Stefano Balietti at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. Helbing is the driving force behind this project and the man who will lead it if he gets the EUR 1 billion he needs from the European Commission.

It’s indicative that these scientists envision governments benign interventions as a solution to crises “before they occur.” But at least this author acknowledges the current limitations in modeling technology and information that make this project impossible at present. Yet, just as in global warming, the author says “researchers must gather the economic, social and technological data needed to feed this machine.” In other words, whether or not it makes any sense it deserves massive support. With a proposed budget of EUR 1 billion a lot of scientists could get enthused, and maybe the U.N. will become involved with the support of the U.S. Government — why not?

There is something about statistical collections, the composition of aggregates that is irresistible. In economics this is called macro-economics. The illusion is that if you can measure something, then you can control it. If you can measure GNP, then you should be able to manipulate it. It doesn’t work that way because aggregates are abstractions, they aren’t things. For example, government wants to regulate average fuel efficiency of automobiles, which is an aggregate of the efficiency and usage of multitudes of automobiles. There is no lever that can directly affect the aggregate. The only way to change it is to motivate the purchasers and drivers of automobiles to change their preferences and habits. Of course, government can force changes by regulation of individual conduct, but it can’t directly manipulate the aggregate, itself. Ditto the GNP, or unemployment, or other popular economic aggregates. You can’t push here and get a direct result there. Without influencing the micro part the macro part just measures but does not define nor truly embody the aggregate.

The idea that a model built from aggregating a vast multitude of data would be a suitable mechanism for scientifically fixing what ails the world is pure folly and foolishness. Perhaps the proper way to treat this is with the ridicule that it deserves, but that didn’t work with the global warming scam, and it probably won’t with this. Too many careers, too much political power and too much money is potentially involved.

Given that this global model idea endangers our liberties and exposes our resources to plunder, we should kill it now before it grows and consumes us.

Congress Bans School Bake Sales

December 6th, 2010

In its latest nanny-state outrage, the federal government wants control of your child’s fork. In a series of recent legislative and regulatory moves politicians want to control your weight, your diet, your medications, your food suppliers, your children’s diet, and your bake sales … what’s next, your haircut?

This latest Nanny State Gone Nuts legislation tries to impose after-school meals on the nation’s school systems, regulate the food that can be served in school cafeterias and vending machines, and BAN CAKE SALES FOR FUND RAISING. Isn’t that wise and wonderful? The bureaucrats declare that the kid’s moms cakes and cookies are dangerous and must be regulated. From the Daily Caller article:

The new nutrition standards would be written by the Agriculture Department, which would decide which kinds of foods may be sold and what ingredients can be used on school lunch lines and in vending machines.

The new standards would likely keep popular foods like hamburgers and pizza in school cafeterias but make them healthier, using leaner meat or whole wheat crust, for example. Vending machines could be stocked with less candy and fewer high-calorie drinks.

Bake sales and other school sponsored fundraisers that sell unhealthy foods could also be limited under the legislation, which only allows them if they are infrequent. The Agriculture Department would determine how often they could be held.

Republican leaders are reportedly attempting a procedural maneuver to block this liberty attacking, $4.5 Billion abomination which passed by the lame-duck House 264-157 last Thursday.

Whether or not this thing gets signed into law, it should be regarded as a “Constitutional hanging offense” by any legislator who voted for it. We who still love our liberties need a lot fewer of you guys in congress and will do everything in our power to kick you out.

Too Bad Good Not to Post

November 30th, 2010

Here’s a story everyone should read about the total idiocy of our Federal Government, particularly but not limited to the TSA. (from http://RedState.com )

TSA search of soldiers returning from war.

A bureaucracy is an organization specifically designed to relieve anyone participating in it from taking responsibility for anything it does or making any judgment or decision at all. It is for this reason that bureaucracy is the most evil of all human inventions and the main tool of tyrants and the most prolific source of oppression and misery.

Read this story and remember it when you vote and pay your taxes.

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.

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