Odd Citizen

Odd Citizen
An Odd Citizen’s Search For Vanishing Freedoms

America and Argentina on Same Path

October 11th, 2013

Does this quote from an article about Argentina in the Financial Times sound familiar?

Ms Fernández’s approval rating has sunk to 33.5 per cent as Argentines are fed up with inflation estimated at 25 per cent, foreign currency shortages, corruption scandals, administrative incompetence and sagging business confidence. Polls indicate the government could lose its Congressional majority at midterm elections on October 27.

Just substitute Barack Obama for Ms Fernandez and America for Argentina and you have a good description of where our current government is headed.

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.

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.

Getting Real About Class and Race

November 10th, 2012

Let’s face it. The election just past has been analyzed to death by class and race categories. The Obama campaign is entirely about class and race. Obama is a mulatto, black enough to qualify by choice as black. He appeals to blacks on the basis of his race. He talks about class all the time — the whole election was saturated with talk about “the middle class” from both sides. But nobody talked about the Lower Class. And the Upper Class was also missing — substituted was the “rich,” the “millionaires” and the “billionaires,” who were defined as those people making $200,000 or more per year. So lets get real about this stuff and not worry about who it might offend.

First, the Lower Class: The lower class consists largely of blacks and a significant proportion of Latinos who’ve decided to adopt black habits and attitudes. Lower Class Blacks are chronically unemployed, on welfare, in jail and on parole. That’s just a fact. And the black family structure has been so devastated by modern black culture that 75% of black children are born out of wedlock. Where are the black fathers of these children? Out smoking crack, stealing and laying about. Is there anything to be admired in a culture where the main musical genre is represented by “gangsta-rappers” whose musical vocabulary is dominated by terms such as “ho” (Whore), Bitch (mother, grandmother, sister, girlfriend) and “Nigga” (Somebody tell me what that means to the black fans of this filth). Is there anything to be admired about a culture that denigrates education and insults those who are ambitious achievers by calling them “white,” “honkies” and “Uncle Tom’s?” Is there anything to be admired in a culture where less than 50% of the children graduate from high school?

Not all blacks belong to this lower class. In this sense it isn’t about race at all. It’s about culture. Barack Obama, although not a member of this economic class, appeals to the lowest impulses of this cultural segment. He celebrates vulgar black cultural icons such as thug-rappers in White House parties. He tells members of the lower class that their malaise isn’t their fault and promises goodies and handouts to lessen their misery, and they lap it up. After all, many of them do vote.

So while blabbing unceasingly about the so-called middle class, both campaigns never even mentioned the “Lower Class.” Were they ashamed to admit that in America such a category even exists? Or were they afraid to let the discussion illuminate the predominant racial composition of this Lower Class and all this implies?

Now the Upper Class: Neither campaign uttered the words “Upper Class.” In Obama’s vernacular these were the “millionaires and billionaires earning over $200,000 per year.” In Romney’s vernacular these were “the well to do earning over $250,000 per year.” Why not call them the Upper Class? Well that might imply that these people are the well educated, the financially successful, and the socially sophisticated. In Obama’s Marxist world these people got into the Upper Class by exploiting the people in the classes below theirs. So they shouldn’t be dignified by the adjective “Upper.” In his world view there’s nothing admirable about people who achieve more than their peers, unless they be Hollywood celebrities (preferably black ones), entertainers (preferably black ones) or sports stars (preferably black ones). Whereas in Romney’s case he feared having himself identified as a member of the Upper Class of high achievers and rich people. No matter his language, it didn’t work for him under the barrage of Obama’s leftist smear machine. He was and is a member of the Upper Class, which is where most of our successful politicians come from and continue to reside. Those that deny this are fools or liars. The Democrat politicians’ instinct to pose as people from humble, if not impoverished origins is an ugly leftist mannerism that I suspect most educated/informed voters see right through.

Race and Republicans: Fifty years ago the black culture consisted of mostly intact families. (The out-of-wedlock birth rate among blacks was less than 25% compared to 70+% today.) Economic conditions were poor due to some extent to segregation in the South and racial attitudes in the North. However, in the aftermath of World War II blacks were making progress after having their opportunities expanded in war industries and through migrations North and West. Although educational achievement lagged, there was hope. The country was awakening the idea that black people deserved equal opportunity and fair treatment in voting, education, and justice. The civil rights era had dawned under a Republican President, Dwight D. Eisenhower. The most vocal opponents to civil rights legislation and desegregation were Southern Democrats such as Robert Byrd, “Bull” Conner, and George Wallace, among many others. Robert Byrd, a Democrat icon in the U.S. Senate was even a member of the Klu Klux Klan (KKK). It is significant that at that time Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was a registered Republican, as was his father.

Subsequent to the passage of civil rights legislation, including court monitoring of state voting laws, court-ordered bussing of school children, quota-based hiring policies, came massive welfare expansions of the Kennedy, Johnson years. The black family structure was ripped apart and drugs and criminal activity among black men landed a large proportion of them in prison. The Democrats told them that they were not at fault, that their condition was caused by white racism and oppression. This mantra of the left continues unabated today under the supervision of President Obama and the lawlessness of Eric Holder, the supposed enforcer of the laws.

President Reagan’s successful reform of the welfare system, for a time, promised progress for impoverished blacks by encouraging employment, responsibility and self-esteem, and discouraging life on the dole. But activism and resistance from the left has caused the diseases of low expectations, victim mentality and an attitude of entitlement to persist among blacks. Not surprisingly their economic progress and educational achievement has languished.

The upshot of this is that the Republican message of enterprise, opportunity, responsibility and self-reliance does more good for blacks than the Democrat message, which is that blacks are not capable of competing in education, enterprise and leadership — so they most be sheltered and shepherded by wise liberals who will take responsibility for their welfare. The effective but never expressed message is that blacks are not capable of self reliance. They must be coddled by lowered standards, quotas and preferential government programs. So how is it that black people apparently respond at the ballot box to the Democrat message in preference to the Republican one? Are the Democrats correct in concluding that black people lack the mental capacity to make it on their own? Do blacks, themselves, accept that characterization? If not, that’s an opening for future Republican campaign themes.

Which brings us to the question of Latinos. First the question has to be asked: are Latinos a race? Or are they defined by a culture? Is race a defining characteristic, or is it the Spanish language that binds them together. Or should they be bound together at all? I’d argue that, once again, it’s a cultural and not a racial issue. Having spent several years in Mexico and Latin America I can assure you that “Latino” isn’t a race. In fact, most Latin Americans are acutely aware of class, some based on economic status, and some on ethnicity, in this case native Indian ancestry. But to define all Spanish speakers as a race makes not sense at all. Tell that definition on a white-skinned Spaniard and see what reaction you get.

So how do the Democrats leverage Latinos into their coalition? Well, for the Lower Class, mostly young Latinos who have adopted what is essentially a black cultural identity I guess that explains it. But a large proportion of the Latino population is in fact enterprising, educated and family oriented. Theirs is not a lower-class culture. It is not credible that they accept Democrats’ pandering appeal to the ignorant in the lower class. The only explanation is that Republicans haven’t grasped the reality that they can appeal to that segment of the Latino population that is culturally middle-class or upper-class. Many Latinos here in the Southwest (California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas) have lived self-sufficient lives since long before they became part of the U.S. Millions of others who immigrated here were then limited by language and education from wage jobs. Instead they turned to the free enterprise opportunities and built businesses and professions. They have thrived on American freedoms and opportunities. The Republican’s mistake has been to buy into the Democrat’s characterization of Latinos as a whole, being lumped in with the lower-class black population. If I were a middle class Latino who built a retail business or service from the ground up, as so many have, I’d be offended by this. Comparatively few of our Latino residents were illegal border crossers, so Republicans should not treat the whole community as questionable Americans. The political emphasis on illegal immigration paints this inaccurate picture. It is wrong and it is politically harmful. Surveys have shown that a large proportion (perhaps a majority) of legal citizens of Mexican origin resent illegal immigration as much as anyone else.

There are several politically relevant points to all of this. The first is that race matters very little in this discussion. What matters is culture. Culture, not economics or race defines class. The Marxist economics based definitions of class used by Democrat politicians to pander to one class while demonizing another are completely contrary to American culture and history. Have Americans now succumbed to the Marxist notions that the Lower Class (poor people) is somehow noble and the Upper Class (rich people) is evil? Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the Democrats’ Marxist ideology is supported by the indoctrination of children in government educational institutions and the leftist print and electronic news media. This notion is completely toxic and Un-American. Republicans must fight back against this Marxist ideology with an all-American message of progress, opportunity and prosperity through freedom for all.

The idea that those who will govern the country can or should emerge, as if by magic, from the Lower Class is patently absurd. Lower Class culture is neither admirable nor accomplished. We should wish for it to be improved and uplifted, not emulated and celebrated. Our elected public servants should be selected from the most admired among us. That means that public officials should have proven their metal as private citizens by rising into the Upper Class, and from there be selected by voters.

Republicans must first make up their minds not to emulate Democrats by pandering, especially not pandering that glorifies Lower Class culture, such as it is, or demonizes the Upper Class. Our message must be that a ladder of progress is available to all Americans of every class and culture. All it takes to get ahead in this country is willingness to climb that ladder — upward, from wherever one finds himself. We should stress that high achievement and wealth is to be admired and strived for by all who have that ambition. Republicans should be promoters of the idea that in America we don’t really have classes — we all belong to an admirable American class, the most privileged in the world. Race should be politically irrelevant and any temptation to pander to ethnicity should be quashed.

I’m enough of an idealist to still hope that there’s light at the end of the tunnel, and enough of a realist to realize that it won’t be easy. But giving up on the American dream of freedom, enterprise and opportunity isn’t an option.

Congress Authorizes $2.4 Trillion Binge

August 2nd, 2011

It’s not about spending cuts or debt limitation. Congress has just given President Obama and his regime the go-ahead to indulge in an additional $2.4 Trillion drinking spending binge. That’s the bottom line and it stinks.

Union Bunnies

March 3rd, 2011

This post will probably get me into a tiff with several of my friends who are teachers, but they already know my attitude, and most won’t read this blog anyway.

Not so many years ago teachers’ unions were small and weak. Teachers considered themselves professionals, and as such they commanded widespread respect, individual contracts for 9 months of work, and judging by the high supply compared to overall demand, they were not underpaid.

Having attended 12 schools during my growing-up years I had a sampling of various schools and districts throughout the country. The quality of my education varied from mediocre to excellent, but on the whole I think it was adequate. Those of us who wanted to go on to higher education were reasonably well prepared. Classes were, on the whole, well disciplined and academic standards were upheld. I graduated from high school in 1961.

Then, starting some time in the mid to late 1960’s, a time when childishness, irresponsibility, and rebellious tantrums were widely celebrated in the popular culture there was strong growth of teachers’ unions. Teachers exchanged their status as professionals for the status of assembly line workers and truck drivers — “working stiffs” in the left-wing union argot. If memory serves me, there were two main unions, one backed by the AFL-CIO and the other by the Teamsters Union, an organization with a reputation for corruption and thuggery. By the early 70’s the unions had acquired control over most of the nation’s educational systems. From that time to the present the cost of public education has skyrocketed and student performance has slumped. The unions persistently called for and got higher pay and benefits for their members and fiercely resisted calls for performance evaluations and systemic reforms. Now the teachers unions are major contributors to Democrat politicians, along with trial lawyers and the environmental activist organizations. The Democrats elected with their money have returned the favor with ever-sweeter union contracts. That is where we are today.

Against this background we have the uncivil behavior of unionized teachers in Wisconsin and elsewhere. So it is no surprise that the reputation of teachers as respected “professionals” has been wiped out. Nationally those industries that have been most thoroughly unionized have self destructed, witness railroads, steel mills, automobile manufacturers, and others. Now the public school teachers are doing the same thing, and other unionized public employees are next in line. There is a lesson in here somewhere, but don’t expect teachers to teach it.

Shut it Down & Balance the Budget

February 19th, 2011

Senate Dems are moaning and groaning and fear-mongering about the prospect of a government shutdown because they don’t like the House’s new budget. So what would be the consequence of a true government shutdown? The consequence would be a saving of $10.27 Billion per day of shutdown. If the shutdown were to extend for 126 days that would eliminate the year’s $1.3 Trillion deficit!

Now, one need not do it all at once. Let’s just shut down the government on Monday and Friday. That would get us 104 days of savings, and most government workers don’t work more than 3 days a week anyway, so why pay them for five? The military could be allowed to schedule their shutdown days according to military necessity. This would be confusing to the enemy, too.

This leaves us with 22 days left in need of shutdown. The month of April would be a good candidate for this — tax reporting time. Or maybe just find another $225 Billion to cut out of the budget? Congress can add it in, so they can damn well take it out. Wouldn’t that be nice?


Obama’s Budget is Pimp-mobile

February 14th, 2011

It is hard to visualize President Obama’s 2012 budget in any sensible way. This $3.75 Trillion proposal resembles nothing more than a pimp-mobile, decked out with every irresponsible proposal he and his socialist cohorts could concoct. One has to be careful about interpreting the logic and intent of its various provisions because this could only make sense to its creator.

Only one thing is for sure. This isn’t America’s image of responsible budgeting, sound economic policy or sane government. Let’s hope the congress takes a good look at it and sends it to the wrecking yard, forthwith.

Oh, I almost forgot, here’s last year’s Harry & Nancy version.

A Little Medicine, A Lot of Bureaucracy

January 17th, 2011

Here’s a little personal story that shows why medicine is in such a mess.

Last week my elderly mother was startled while sleeping on a couch. She bumped her head on the coffee table leaving a small bruise, a little swelling and some soreness. It was obviously not a serious injury. She lives in an assisted living facility where the staff doctor wanted her to have an x-ray. She and I decided that we’d prefer to consult her own doctor and take the opportunity to ask him some other questions as well.

Mother’s own doctor seemed quite unimpressed by her injury, but in an obviously defensive move suggested an x-ray of her face and jaw. I was not alert enough at the time to ask him what kind of treatment could possibly be rendered even if the x-ray showed some kind of fracture. My suspicion is that nothing could have been done anyway, so the x-ray was a useless exercise to put Mother through.

The doctor’s office had an x-ray facility, but they said they couldn’t do that kind of x-ray. We’d have to go to a radiology lab. Here it got even weirder. Upon arriving at the radiology lab I asked whether they could do the x-ray, since the doctor’s lab said they didn’t have the equipment. The desk clerk couldn’t answer the question and wouldn’t disturb the technical staff, which was apparently at lunch.

I then tried to contact Mother’s doctor to get a clarification as to what “difficult” x-ray technique or equipment was needed and had prevented his office from doing the job. Contacting a physician by telephone, email or smoke signals is impossible these days — misunderstood instructions might result in a law suit, you know.

After an hour’s wait and no clarifying return call from the physician’s office we were escorted into the x-ray lab. The staff seemed confused about what had to be done. They were consulting manuals, discussing the case and buzzing around the equipment. After a while they told Mother to paste her face against the flat surface of the instrument. Some pictures were taken from the back of her head, some discussions ensued over the x-ray viewing screen. Then a couple of side angles were taken, more discussion. Another person was called in and I was excused on the basis that I took up too much room.

Shortly thereafter the x-ray tech came to get me and said that Mother had refused to continue with the procedures. I realized that I should have been a lot more assertive from the beginning and asked why they were taking all of those shots when we’d come in for a simple image of one side of the face. I challenged the man who had come into the room belatedly and now had his back turned to me, asking who he was. He said he was the supervisor. I asked him what the hell they were doing. Why not get the single x-ray we’d come for and be done with it. The supervisor responded that they had a “protocol” that they had to follow.

Well now, I suspect that the “protocol” had a medical procedure number assigned to it and that they’d charge Medicare for a whole series of x-rays that were useless to us. We needed just one.

I’m waiting for a statement or a bill and will vigorously challenge it if Medicare or anyone is charged for more than one x-ray. I doubt that Mother’s doctor will ever see the x-rays they took.

From the very first of this story a little good judgment would have saved a lot of discomfort and expense. The medical system has become so bureaucratized and so legalized that no medical professional can be counted on to exercise good judgment or initiative, or to communicate with the patients. The result is bad treatment and out-of-control expense.

As for Mother, she’s fine. The swelling, bruise and discomfort are gone, but she worries about how much radiation she may have absorbed unnecessarily.

What Federal Government Services Do You Actually Appreciate?

December 29th, 2010

Senator Tom Coburn in a recent speech summarized succinctly what has gone terribly wrong with out Federal Government. And much of it has occurred in the last four years. This is worth a moment of your time to read and reflect upon.

It is a time for Americans who have never been involved in the political arena, in our Nation, to get involved because the future of your children and your children’s children depends on it. We have a very short window within which to recapture the economic renaissance in our country, and it is less than 4 years. If you look at what we are coming to in terms of debt-to-GDP ratio and in terms of the size of the government to the size of the GDP, we will be on an irreversible course that will eliminate American exceptionalism forever because the thing that made us free and kept us free was a fairly limited Federal Government. What we have in front of us is an attempt not to get it back down to a size that is manageable and within the intent of our Founders’ vision and the American people’s expectation; we have an intent to grow. The discretionary budget of the Federal Government, on the rate that has been passed by this body the last 2 years alone, not counting the stimulus, will cause the Federal Government to double in size in 5 years. We are 40 percent bigger than we were 2 years ago; actually, it is 38.6 percent bigger. We hear the average Federal employee now makes $72,000 and the average private employee now makes $40,000. We have added 170,000 new jobs in the government in the last 7 months, while we have lost three times that in the private sector. Things are out of whack. The only way they are going to change is if the American public demands it to be changed.

To put it in further perspective, if you are a member of a 4-person family, your family’s share of the $3.5 Trillion Federal Budget in 2010 was about $45,000, of which $20,000 will have to be paid by your children and grandchildren. Does that make sense to you? Is the “government service” worth the cost?

As citizens we need to challenge ourselves with a simple test: list on a piece of paper all of the services of the Federal Government that you benefit from and appreciate. Then total up the tax money you pay out to the Federal Government, the aggravation you experience from the bureaucracy and the enforcement activities of the government. Do you personally get your money’s worth out of your taxes and aggravation?

Here’s a list of Federal agencies for you to appreciate. Don’t just select an agency, say Education and say “Well, I’m all for education, so that must be worthwhile.” You must specify exactly and explicitly what the vast Department of Education is doing for you personally. If you say, well it gives money to our local school, then the questions have to be: what is that money spent for that benefits me, and why does that money have to be routed through the Federal bureaucracy that skims off millions to support lazy bureaucrats.

Illustration from Obama’s 2010 Federal Budget Explained in Plain English

I would wager that your list of “benefits” starts with national parks and federal highways, might include food safety inspections, and if you’re big hearted even national defense. If you look at the Federal Budget (and believe it to be honest) you’ll discover that a minuscule fraction of the total budget goes to the “services” or “benefits” that you can actually identify, know about and appreciate. For example, National Parks ($2.7 Billion) accounts for only 21% of the Interior Department’s $13 Billion budget, and Highway Construction and Maintenance (negative $263 Million) represents 0% of the Department of Transportation’s mammoth $75 Billion budget. So where does the rest of this money go? If it doesn’t benefit you, then why is it being collected and spent?

Please use the comment facility, below, to describe what specific Federal Government services you deem to be worth your money. I dare you!

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.

Cantor’s ‘You Cut': Well Intentioned Political Pablum

July 27th, 2010

House Republican Whip Eric Cantor has a clever web based campaign called You Cut. The idea is that citizens should suggest wasteful government programs then vote on the ones they consider most deserving of cutting or elimination. The winning program-cut would then be introduced as legislation and the votes of congressmen would be recorded for all to see.

For example, this last week the winning cut was a $100 Million subsidy for sleeping car services on AMTRAK. That’s a lot of money to subsidize first class treatment including private compartments, turning down the bed, first-class food service, and complementary entertainment. The service costs AMTRAK $396 more per passenger than it collects in fares. The difference is made up by a subsidy from the U.S. Treasury, i.e., taxes.

Now who could be against elimination of this subsidy? It’s obviously a blatant waste of taxpayer’s funds. Rep. Cantor brought this proposed cut to the house floor and of course it was voted down by the usual suspects. It makes great theater, maybe good politics, too. But does it solve the real problem? No.

Mr. Cantor’s $100 million cut proposal ignores the fact that Amtrak costs the government $1.3 Billion per year (last estimate I could find). The real problem isn’t the first class subsidy, which appeals to the class envy of the voters. The real problem is the total subsidy. Why should the government run a railroad at all?

The answer to that is quite obvious when one investigates a little legislative history. In the last Amtrak authorization bill (part of the $787 Billion stimulus bill) Amtrak was instructed to improve commuter services between Washington, DC and New York, and between Washington, DC and Boston. Guess who benefits from fast subsidized train services between these cities?

In 2007 an amendment (S 257) to the Amtrak reauthorization bill was introduced in the Senate that:

-Prohibits Federal funds from being used for the operation of Amtrak train routes that have per passenger subsidies of over $200 during the first fiscal year after the date of enactment and over $100 after the fifth fiscal year of enactment.

-Requires Inspector General to submit a report that lists the new subsidy levels and states that Amtrak will terminate train routes that have per passenger subsidies above the set limits.

Of course the amendment was struck down on a party line (28-66) vote. Interestingly a few senators ducked the vote, including: Clinton (D-NY), Dodd (D-CT), Feinstein (D-CA), Kennedy (D-MA), McCain (R-AZ), and (surprise!) Obama (D-IL).

Rep. Cantor’s You Cut program is clever political theater, and it may even embarrass some Democrats and a few big-spender Republicans as well. I can’t criticize people who participate in the belief that they’re doing some good. Maybe they are. But the truth is that trimming around the edges completely misses the point that the federal government has grown so big, so intrusive, and so expensive that only a major reorientation of its major programs will fix it. Don’t just trim Amtrak, eliminate it. Don’t just trim Social Security, privatize it. Don’t just re-organize the departments of education, commerce, labor, agriculture, and energy, eliminate them and a host of unconstitutional others. The politicians are happy to have us do the edge trimming while they blithely water the greens.

I left a comment to the effect of the above paragraph on Cantor’s site, but it was tossed. Oh, well. That just proves my point. No guts, no real progress.

Another Attack on Your Wallet, Your Time, and Your Freedom

May 10th, 2010

In an earlier post I spoke out about the paperwork burden that Obamacare was certain to impose on all of us. Here’s another specific example: Health care law’s massive, hidden tax change Under this provision hidden in the law’s 2,400 pages all purchase transactions of $600 or more in goods or services would trigger the need for the buyer/payer to submit a 1099 form to the IRS and the seller. So under this law if you stock your shop with goods from 500 suppliers over a year’s time, and you buy more than $600 worth of goods from any supplier, you’d have to send out 1099s to and for each such supplier. You’d have to maintain records of the aggregate purchases from each supplier. Then, at the end of the year you’d have to comb through these records and mail out 1099 forms, maybe hundreds of them. Then comes an audit where you’d have to justify the accuracy of your involuntary servitude clerical work. And if you’re on the receiving end of these 1099s, heaven help you if one or more gets lost in the mail.

This is another of those government-growth-goodies that lurk in the health reform law. And can some Democrat policy wonk tell me why this is part of the health reform law — other than as a massive attempt to grab additional revenue?

Government grows, you pay.

Fed. Govt. Wastes $99 Billion on Climate Religion

April 12th, 2010

CBO Reports Federal Govt. “climate change” related Expenditures total $99 Billion over the past decade. About on third ($35.7 Billion) of that is appropriated in the Sun God’s stimulus package. If climate science were “settled,” then why the huge expenditure? See graph below:

I’d guess that’s a lot more than Exxon and “Big Oil” spent over the decade on contrary research and advertising, wouldn’t you? The government dipped into your pocket and spent $330 dollars per person, or almost a thousand dollars per family of three to pump up and support the global warming religion.

So much for separation of Church and State.

White House Computer Mess

January 15th, 2010

Email from White House (whitehouse@autoresponder.govdelivery.com):

Due to the high volume of messages received at this address, the White House is unable to process the email you just sent. To contact the White House, please visit:


Thank you.

My rejected email was in response to the self-promoting White House spam message I’d received earlier. From an administration that was supposed to be at the cutting edge of cyber-cool! No, just blowing smoke.

And now Mr. Orzag is complaining that the reason the Obama administration is so incompetent is that their computers are obsolete! And Biden is holding closed door hearings on transparency in government.


The Vegetarian Rattlesnake

November 18th, 2009

ABC News reported on Monday that the recovery.gov web site, which is supposed to track all the stimulus spending and the jobs “saved or created” is so screwed up that the data is garbage. (more here) The site reports spending and jobs saved for numerous congressional districts that don’t even exist. Not that the government would ever intentionally lie, not that. See:Media is discovering the count of jobs saved by stimulus is fraudulent.. This doesn’t surprise me. After all, it’s good enough for government work.

What shocked me is the cost of the government’s web site, $18+ Million dollars. As a programmer that makes no sense to me at all. How could a web site cost that much?

Now, Thanks to SunlightLabs we get some insight into how the government manages to spend $18+ Million on a web site that reports false information, i.e., garbage.

It turns out that the $18 Million isn’t even the total cost, because the garbage information fed into recovery.gov comes from another site called FederalReporting.Gov, and its cost appears to be another $19 Million. The whole mess didn’t become active until this October, eight months after the stimulus program was announced. Here’s a sample from that part of the circus:

The Office of Management and Budget required fund recipients to report on their stimulus projects by Oct. 10, which meant the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board had little time to get a reporting system up and running. In fact the board, on Oct. 10, pushed back the deadline 10 days to accommodate recipients who were having difficulty filing. The board originally anticipated federal agencies allocating funds would use their own information technology systems to transmit reports about awards. But that idea quickly faded.

The first bad sign was Grants.gov needed $5 million to get in shape,” says board Chairman Earl Devaney, citing the online doorway to all federal grants. “We can’t afford to fix all the broken systems in the federal government to make this work, and the agencies don’t have the money to do that.

Devaney decided to build something from scratch – almost. The Environmental Protection Agency already had a good thing going with its reporting system, which tracks regulatory compliance information from states, tribes, local governments and industry. So in mid-June, the board piggybacked onto EPA’s contract, awarding a $19 million task order to establish a stimulus reporting site. Within five months, contractor CGI Federal and the board had fashioned the blueprint for an old EPA data exchange into a financial reporting system intended to resuscitate the nation’s finances.

(Emphasis added.)

Translating, Devaney decided not to spend $5 million to fix a system they already had. Instead he spent $19 Million to make a new one, admitting in the process that it would probably, like all other government technology be broken from day-one. So it appears that the whole government fiasco (two web sites) cost something like $37 Million to set up. What it costs to operate I suspect nobody knows and nobody in government cares.

The cost of developing a web site derives almost entirely from manpower. If one deploys $37 Million for 8 months that would pay for 193 programmers paid $100 per hour, 60 hours per week. It looks like a plan to get the job done with a million monkeys on a million typewriters. Yes, CGI Federal, the contractor for the FederalReporting.Gov part of the site has to make a profit, but then they don’t pay their employees $100 per hour, either. Any way you look at it this $37 Million expenditure is a boondoggle.

To top that off, a private site called Recovery.Org appeared shortly after the stimulus was announced, and it has been in successful operation ever since. Recovery.org tracks stimulus money and detailed contracts in real time, broken down by state and city and even gives some job estimates. I contacted Onvia, the owner of Recovery.Org and asked how much money they spent to develop their web site. Unfortunately they didn’t get back to me in time for this article, but if the Onvia site took more than a dozen programmers and a few hundred thousand dollars to assemble, then I’ll send you a vegetarian rattlesnake from our Arizona desert.

Government = Waste

Tax Payers Screwed AGAIN by Geithner

October 28th, 2009

Here is Henry Blodget’s take on the upcoming re-bailout of GM’s financing company, GMAC.

But hey, what’s a few billion more?

Efficient Health Care

July 15th, 2009

Do you really want to have your health care delivered through this bureaucratic monstrosity?

The Cost of Looney Land CO2 Cap & Trade

April 14th, 2008

The Global Warming Hysteria now has some numbers associated with it. According to WashingtonWatch.com S. 2191, the America’s Climate Security Act of 2007 is projected to cost over $17,000 per average U.S. family. For that we could probably outfit (privately, not via. Nasa) a mission to another inhabitable planet and send everyone there.

Yes, folks, the nutty global warming frenzie does have a cost. A Big one! Throw out these ignorant bureaucrats and politicians. The bill’s original sponsor is Joseph Lieberman and there are many co-sponsors, including:

Sen Cardin, Benjamin L. [MD] – 10/18/2007
Sen Casey, Robert P., Jr. [PA] – 10/18/2007
Sen Coleman, Norm [MN] – 10/18/2007
Sen Collins, Susan M. [ME] – 10/18/2007
Sen Dole, Elizabeth [NC] – 10/18/2007
Sen Harkin, Tom [IA] – 10/18/2007
Sen Klobuchar, Amy [MN] – 10/18/2007
Sen Nelson, Bill [FL] – 10/30/2007
Sen Schumer, Charles E. [NY] – 2/28/2008
Sen Warner, John [VA] – 10/18/2007
Sen Wyden, Ron [OR] – 12/17/2007

…. Idiots ALL.

Global Warming and Global Food Hysteria

April 13th, 2008

Oh, OH. Global warming hysteria has led to substitution of crops for oil, which has led to higher food prices. One big government response to hysteria is leading to another big government cycle of panic then intrusive, expensive, corrupt and ineffective programs.

This week we’ve seen numerous and sudden stories popping up about skyrocketing food prices causing rioting and hunger in Haiti and various parts of Africa. Now, from Robert Zoellick, President of the World Bank, according to API:

“He called on governments to rapidly carry out commitments to provide the U.N. World Food Program with $500 million in emergency aid it needs by May 1.”

So let’s analyze this. Haiti, which has had stockpiles of food rotting and being eaten by rats in Port au Prince customs warehouses — due to government actions, and African countries with brutal leaders like Robert Mugabe and others who a) destroy productive white-owned farms, b) refuse food aid that is from genetically modified seed, and c) salt away monetary donations in Swiss bank accounts (activities the U.N. and World Bank routinely ignores or excuses) — these guys deserve urgent food aid? What about the last batch? So we’re about to be treated by a call for a world organization to control food prices. Sound dumb and unlikely? Don’t kid yourself.

What’s causing the rising prices? Croplands dedicated to bio-fuels, corn crops for ethanol? Could this have something to do with rising prices? Of course it does. What’s causing the riots? Rising prices, partially. Failed big government programs, tariffs, politics, corruption? Yes, mainly those.

So an environmental panic sponsored by the U.N., various governments and their big-government cheer-leaders leads to higher food prices. SURPRISE! And failed international and U.S government aid programs fail to work due to corruption on all fronts. SURPRISE! And the proposed solution is more big government and international programs. NO-SURPRISE! Control oil. Control the air. Control the farms. Control food! More control leads to less of everything. Control Government would be a better and more effective solution.

Nasa – a $17.3 Billion Boondoggle

April 7th, 2008

For my $70 share of Nasa’s $17.3 Billion proposed budget I’d gladly take the money and let NASA fold. It has completely outlived its original purpose, which was to impress the Russians during the Cold War. The space shuttle is a miserable mistake technologically and economically, and the space station is a huge waste of resources. The proposed manned Mars mission is a waste of tax money.

As a technical person I’m easily impressed by technology. I love gee-wiz-bang stuff. But I don’t see any good reason for the U.S. Government to be engaged in this mass entertainment project using funds extracted by force. If enought people really valued NASA’s programs enough they could contribute private funds to a private version thereof and get their jollies. As for me, I’d like a $70 tax reduction.

Qwest, Inc. – The Pride of Zimbabwe

February 16th, 2008

I’m writing this with my neck crooked over the phone. It hurts. I’ve been on hold for over an hour waiting to report an outage in telephone service from the monopoly landline provider, Qwest, Inc. This type of outage happens regularly, every time it rains here in Southern Arizona. This is why I call Qwest the Pride of Zimbabwe, a real third-world telephone company.

So much for public utilities monopolies! What else should I expect?

Grand Monuments and Repressive Regimes

February 11th, 2008

The Romanian tyrant Nikolai Chauchescu built grandly, huge buildings to hold and glorify his brutal regime. His largest building, the People’s House (later renamed Palace of Parliament), unfinished at the time of Chauchescu’s execution, has 3.5 million square feet of indoor space. It is now the world’s second largest building. The largest is the Pentagon.

Before Chauchescu the kings and emperors of Europe and Asia built grand palaces and castles. The Chinese Communists built the Great Hall of the People in Tiananmin Square. The Russians housed their tyrants, royal and communist in the Kremlin, and Rome housed its dictators in palaces. Hitler was a fan of grandiose architecture too. The interesting thing about this is that, as a general rule, the more repressive the regime, the more grandiose is the architecture in which it is housed.

Although we don’t know for sure what motivates this, it is a fairly safe guess that tyrants recognize a link between grandiosity in architecture and intimidation of the populace, a useful ingredient for tyranny.

But another aspect of monumental architecture is that it strokes the egos of those who work there. What member of the U.S. Congress, what staffer, would not have his ego inflated walking up the steps of the U.S. Capitol to go to work. What president wouldn’t feel more powerful and wise when living and working in the splendor of the White House, as compared to a normal home/commute/office experience?

How would you feel each morning walking up these steps to your office?

If you look around, you’ll realize that everywhere in this country the government buildings are larger, more lavish, more monumental than anything else around them. Is this really necessary? Couldn’t government workers and elected officials go about their business in regular commercial space, such as office towers and industrial parks, strip malls and detached office buildings? Wouldn’t this cost a lot less than housing government offices in monuments?

I’ve heard others respond that these monuments also bolster the patriotic pride of citizens. After all, “we are the government,” say my critics. We should take pride in these physical manifestations of American power and glory they say.

But let’s think about it clearly. Are we proud to be Americans because of government power and glory, or are we most proud of our freedoms and achievements as citizens. Do these monuments glorify America or the government they house? Is the government the master, or are government employees “civil servants”? Is there any symbol of patriotic pride more powerful or moving than the stars and stripes?

As for me, I think the monuments do more to destroy democracy than to glorify it. Even though the Lincoln Monument brings a lump to my throat and the capitol building leaves me in awe, I’d gladly see it all bulldozed and the ground salted over so nothing will ever grow there again. As part of that renovation only the essential constitutional functions of government should be relocated. They should be moved to quonset huts located in Kansas corn fields. This would provide government employees and elected representatives with an environment suited to the proper attitude about their importance and true role in American life.

See Quonset Hut below:

Mountain view optional:


At $10,000 per year, is the U.S. Government Worth It to You?

February 4th, 2008

The latest federal government budget or $3.1 Trillion is hard to comprehend unless reduced to bite sized numbers. With about 300 million U.S. population, this amounts to $10,000 per person, man, woman and child. Does the U.S. government provide you personally with $10,000 per year in services? Is it worth $40,000 per year for a family of four?

Or maybe you rationalize that someone richer is paying for it. Your family doesn’t pay that much. So why worry?

If anyone out there gets $10,000 per year (per person) in value from the U.S. Government, I’d like to hear in detail what services you’re getting that are worth that much. And then I’d like to know what portion of that you pay personally.

Important Affairs of State — Baseball?

January 16th, 2008

Has anyone realized how absurd it is for the Congress of the United States and the President of the United States of America (TATA!!!) to be using up the public’s time and the public’s treasury on the regulation of baseball? Where in the constitution is it written that the U.S. Government should regulate sports? Or steroids for that matter? The business of the U.S. Government is conducted by a bunch of schoolyard brats with their childish games. Send Mitchell, Waxman and playmates back to the sand box to play with plastic buckets and shovels.

Tyranny’s Tools

January 14th, 2008

The jack-boots are clicking on the cobblestones, and congress is providing them with tools.

“Your paper’s please! I said, present your ID papers!!!” BAM! “Must have been a filthy terrorist. Have to remember to clean my pistol tonight. Damn, I wish he didn’t splatter so much.”

The “Real ID” act has passed the senate. What are these people thinking? The Real ID act presumes that the federal government somehow has the right to license every citizen. Chips in the ear are too expensive, so they’ve decided to pervert the driver’s license just like they’ve perverted the Social Security number. Quoting an article in c/Net News:

“If the act’s mandates take effect in May 2008, as expected, Americans will be required to obtain federally approved ID cards with “machine readable technology” that abides by Department of Homeland Security specifications. Anyone without such an ID card will be effectively prohibited from traveling by air or Amtrak, opening a bank account, or entering federal buildings.”

So if we can’t travel, open a bank account or enter federal buildings without government issued ID, what can we do? Pretty much requires government approval to live, doesn’t it? So what will the free market do? It will do what it always does, provide alternatives such as counterfeit ID’s, black markets, etc. Which will result in more government oppression, until if we still have any courage left the whole thing will blow up. As it should.

This is really ugly. Some states are resisting the move on the grounds of compliance costs. All should resist on the basis of constitutional freedoms — in the spirit of “The government shall make no law ….” This all came from the Department of Homeland Insanity, but Congress is fully to blame.

And if you think this isn’t serious, look at what the new labour government of Australia has decided to impose, national censorship of the internet, China style. I wonder when that wonderful idea will trickle into the Washington crowd’s agenda? They’ll need to add censorship to finish the job started with the Real ID! Just revoke the ID and that will really shut you up, won’t it?

Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act

December 1st, 2007

It’s getting closer and closer, the jackboots are clicking on the cobblestones. The U.S. Senate is now entertaining SB1959 which provides a government agency to examine the speech and conduct of Americans to see if we are engaging in “violent,” “radical” activities or about to commit Terrorist Acts. Gee, I think we should have a commission to examine the conduct of congress in this regard. A committe to investigate “Violent Defacement and Homegrown Terrorism Against the U.S. Constitution.” Now wouldn’t that do some good?

The really terrifying aspect of this is that this monster (HR1955 – see below) passed the House of Representatives with only 4 dissenting (voice) votes — the reps were afraid to have their votes recorded. What will the senators do? I doubt one in 25 of them has even read this bill. You should read it. (Thomas – Search for SB1959) It will give you cramps after you puke!

Department of Homeland Insanity

November 5th, 2007

My thanks to my friend George Elliott for bringing this to my attention. Refer to
Thomas — Search for Bill Number HR 1955

A new Thought Police Bureaucracy

“Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007 (Engrossed as Agreed to or Passed by House)[H.R.1955.EH]” introduced by Rep. Jane Harmon (D) of California, creates a new bureaucracy dedicated to figuring out who among us American citizens is a terrorist or potential terrorist — ignoring, of course, any Islamic connections to terrorism. If you don’t believe this, read the bill and the comments by Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D) of Texas (senior Member of the Committee on Homeland Security and Chair of the Subcommittee on Transportation Security and Infrastructure), who says, commenting on the bill (see Congressional Record):

“Many years of civil rights jurisprudence and law have been ignored and thrown out the window when the racial profiling, harassment, and discrimination of Muslim and Arab Americans is permitted to occur with impunity. These practices show a reckless and utter disregard for the fundamental values on which our country is founded: namely, due process, the presumption of innocence, nondiscrimination, individualized rather than group suspicion, and equitable application of the law. We cannot allow xenophobia, prejudice, and bigotry to prevail, and eviscerate the Constitution we are bound to protect.
The securing of our homeland and protection of our national security is on the forefront of my agenda. However, using 9/11 as an impetus to engage in racial profiling, harassment, and discrimination of Muslim and Arab Americans is not only deplorable, it undermines our civil liberties and impedes our success in the global war on terror. We must fight our war on terror without compromising our freedoms and liberties.”

This is insanity – squared! Ignore the Islamic fundamentalist hate-mongers and study the American public to seek out subversive, terrorist influences and ideas. Maybe more on this later.