Odd Citizen

Odd Citizen
An Odd Citizen’s Search For Vanishing Freedoms

NASA’s Fuzzy Feelings For Muslims

July 7th, 2010

The Sun God has decreed that NASA’s primary mission should be to make Muslims feel good about their contributions (900 or so years ago) to science and engineering. See below an interview with Charles Bolden, recently appointed to head up NASA.

Routinely ridiculing President Obama and his administration has become so easy that it’s boring. But the bottom line is that NASA has outlived its usefulness. It was created as a propaganda play during the cold war. It has spent billions of dollars performing space stunts and bragging about its contributions to science and technology. It has spent more billions being involved in projects from automotive engineering to agriculture, none of it non-space related , cost effective, useful or even original. And now, spending billions more to enhance Muslim self-esteem is the ultimate absurdity.

It’s past time to pull the plug on NASA.

Net-Nanny for TSA

July 6th, 2010

The big bold headline on Drudge Report today reads BIG SIS BLOCKS WEBSITES WITH ‘CONTROVERSIAL OPINIONS’. Now that’s an article that a free speech attack dog can’t resist reading.

The short article describes an internal TSA email sent out to employees describing a net-nanny system to block access to “five categories of websites that have been deemed ‘inappropriate for government access’.” Among these are sites containing “Controversial opinion.” The categories are:

• Chat/Messaging
• Controversial opinion
• Criminal activity
• Extreme violence (including cartoon violence) and gruesome content
• Gaming

I guess pornography is OK.

What comes to mind here is that someone in TSA must have detected a lot of employee activity in these categories. Chat/Messaging and Gaming I can understand as consumers of employee paid time. Criminal activity is interesting, along with “Extreme violence”, so the TSA bureaucrats don’t get so worked up that they Go Postal.

As to “Controversial opinion” one has to ask, who decides which opinions are controversial enough to block? I hope OddCitizen.com is controversial enough to merit this award.

And finally, what nitwit bureaucrat working for Janet Napolitano thinks the agency’s employees are so juvenile that they need child-proofing software on their computers? Should such people even have computers in the first place? Who thinks that the TSA’s resources should be spent cataloging web sites to be banned by the blocking system? If the employees have so much spare time on their hands that they can surf around the web during working hours then they are redundant and should be fired.

Big Brother Bites Finance & Lots More

June 25th, 2010

No amount of indignation or ridicule is sufficient to describe the 2,000 page monster of a finance regulatiory bill, now called Dodd-Frank. Like the health care monster, this Demoncrat written and sponsored beast injects the government into every nook and cranney.

But why object?

    * It doesn’t address the problem that is supposedly its justification, “too big to fail,” real estate bubble, unwise leverage and derivative practices.
    * It was written by the same guys whose prior congressional activities were responsible for causing the crisis in the first place.
    * It leaves the two entities most responsible for the “crisis” (Fannie and Freddie) untouched and still toxic.
    * It seeks to micro-manage and regulate financial transactions that have heretofore been privately negotiated without serious problems.
    * It creates expensive new bureaucracies that will be no more competent or responsible than the ones we’re already suffering under. The SEC for example failed to notice Bernie Madoff’s shenanigans even when repeatedly notified.
    * Like all government reactions to perceived “crises” before it, witness Sarbanes-Oxley, this regulatory beast will have many unanticipated negative consequences, which will be very difficult to correct.
    * It branches out into regulating consumer finance, which has nothing to do with the main subject but is a pet project of the MLB (meddlesome-liberal-busybodies).

Dodd-Frank gives the government oversight of almost all financial transactions, large and small. Its supporters claim that the regulation of consumer finance is necessary to “protect consumers.” Provisions of the bill set up a spy network to monitor every detail of finance (“to prevent systemic failures”) and threaten individuals with fines and jail if they try to hide their transactions or refuse to provide government thugs with whatever financial details they request. See my previous article: Liberty & Democrats And while they’re at it, they want to regulate the internet. See: FTC Regulation of Internet

Isn’t it amazing what can be hidden in 2,000 pages of legalistic mumbo jumbo? And to do all this without addressing the real cause of the financial panic takes real talent. Fannie and Freddie are free to go their merry way sucking up government bail-out funds by the gazilions. Of course Goldman Sachs gains some assurances that rivals will suffer more than they do, and Obama’s “fat cat bankers” can count on future government fail-outs indefinitely.

So thanks to, Barney, among the most corrupt in the House of Representatives and Chris, among the most corrupt in the Senate, the country’s financial system will be in competent government hands and we’ll all be protected from the predators out there. But aren’t these the same guys whose previous policies and regulations were the root cause of the real-estate bubble and financial crisis in the first place?

Yah, sure!

More Bureaucratic Bungling Blocking Oil Cleanup

June 17th, 2010

A P.S. to the previous article describes how government paperwork is causing oil cleanup efforts to be thwarted.

BP Oil Spill: Against Gov. Jindal’s Wishes, Crude-Sucking Barges Stopped by Coast Guard describes how the Coast Guard’s bureaucracy is hindering the cleanup efforts. Hasn’t anyone in the government got the cahones to just cut through the BS and focus on getting the job done?

The BIG BUNGLING U.S. Government IS the PROBLEM. The bigger it gets the more incompetent it becomes! HACK IT DOWN TO SIZE!

Criminal Incompetence or Good Enough for Govt. Work?

June 17th, 2010

How much more clear can one be about the incompetence in government? I can’t add a thing to this:
More stuck on stupid: EPA vs. the Dutch
By Michelle Malkin • June 16, 2010 04:15 PM

It’s not just Obama, it’s intrinsic to Big Government. BACK IT DOWN!

Who’s Responsible: BP or BO?

June 4th, 2010

There has been a lot of noise lately directed toward the President. Why doesn’t he fix the leak? What is he going to do about the environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico? But let’s step back and ask ourselves what role the U.S. Federal Government can and should really play in this situation. Is the government bureaucracy really equipped with robotic tools and deep water technology needed to fix an oil well blowout? No, of course not! Government officials shuffle papers and drive desks. What possible constructive role should we expect from the Washington bureaucracy and the Prez.?

What the government can do, and from all indications what it is doing is to bollix up the works by imposing bureaucratic hurdles on those who have the capability of doing some good. The Corps of Engineers prevents Louisianans from building berms off of the beaches and marshes, the bureaucracy at Materials Management tells BP not to use a cut & cap strategy until after the dome and the top-kill strategies failed, ships loaded with booms sit idle awaiting government permission for their deployment, the federal government’s own plan to deploy burn-booms was not executed because the bureaucracy never purchased the booms that would be needed to implement the plan. And to top it all off, BO imposes a drilling ban and proposes new taxes that further damage the economy of the gulf region and the nation.

Somebody has turned down numerous offers to help with the mess, including large scale skimmers from abroad (Europe?), the use of oil-eating microbes, the volunteer efforts of Louisiana fishermen, and who knows what other help has been volunteered. If the government had any sense at all it could provide coordination and organization of these efforts, rather than discouraging them with a blanket of government obstruction. That would be constructive leadership.

Obama’s FTC Wants to “Reinvent Journalism”

June 2nd, 2010

Thanks to Coyote Blog’s Creating the American Provda for bringing this most chilling document to my attention. Here’s the FTC’s “Staff Discussion Draft” .PDF POTENTIAL POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS TO SUPPORT THE REINVENTION OF JOURNALISM

A new Federal Trade Commission document describes ways for government to tax, support and control journalism and consumers thereof. It is written in a bland bureaucratic style, suggesting that others “have suggested …” so-and-so. But read between the lines. No matter what this says, the U.S. Government in general and FTC in particular have no business whatsoever interfering with the practice of journalism.

Authoritarian governments always try to control information, whether by nationalizing the news media, controlling its distribution mediums, or like the government of Mexico, by monopolizing the the production and sales of newsprint paper. This FTC project is nothing but evil.

Please read this document. Then express your opinion by going to: http://public.commentworks.com/ftc/newsmediaworkshop. It might do some good to tell the bureaucrats that their project is unconstitutional and not appreciated.

We lose our freedoms by not actively protecting them.

Gutless, Toothlesss and Stupid

May 27th, 2010

Now we hear that “US troops won’t be used to stop illegal immigration”:

US National Guard troops being sent to the Mexican border will be used to stem the flow of guns and drugs across the frontier and not to enforce US immigration laws, the State Department said Wednesday.

So how are they going to do that? Ineffective and annoying checkpoints going south added to the annoying and ineffective checkpoints going north? The last time the national guard was deployed on the border they were not issued ammunition for their weapons. Now that’s really smart — armed forces without bullets. Only the Obama crowd could think of something more stupid than that — stopping the arms traffic southbound! “Hey! The other guys have guns! Those are the guys you’re being sent out to stop?”

I live just about 35 miles north of the border, so I’m intimately aware of the problems. We have traffic through my property all the time. In the past it had been friendly farm laborers looking for honest work. But lately the traffic has turned ugly — drugs and gangs. Where I used to greet and chat with the visitors, I now go out armed to confront them and send them on their way. The border patrol sometimes comes out, but never quickly enough to apprehend anyone.

From what I’ve heard so far this is just another example of the gutless, toothless and stupid Obama crew posing as fixers for everything from banks, to auto companies, to health care, to oil wells.

Exhaustion and the Cargo Cult

May 11th, 2010

What’s new today? Too much to complain about, that’s what:

Greece and all of Europe in a meltdown over excessive government spending on welfare programs and lavish unionized public employee compensation leading to massive public debt. Devaluation of the Euro is likely after they go through their own TARP (including a significant U.S. exposure), and it doesn’t work.

California in the same fix as Greece. Its debt rating has sunk to sub-junk status. California’s chance of repaying any bail-out is nil. They’ll default and bring down the whole U.S. economy. Massive hyper-inflation is the most likely outcome. And if not California, then several other states qualify as well.

Obama diluting and feminizing the supreme court. This means that the court will have to answer the question “How do you feel about this?” in addition to “Is it constitutional?” or even “Is it legal?” Kagen says the court (she) can right a lot of wrongs and protect the innocent and the weak.

World Health Organization, an out-of-control train-wreck agency (aren’t they all?) at the U.N. ignoring its own profligacy and uselessness proposing to international taxes on internet services and financial transactions in a wealth redistribution plan similar to the recent climate (mug the West) fiasco at Copenhagen.

Mrs. Obama (non-elected nanny) along with Federal Trade Commission (what?) is campaigning for government oversight of food production so as to slim down all those fatty kids. Just wait, we’ll eventually have people out in the street doing Chinese communist style calisthenics every morning then going to a public dining room to eat their granola rations and listen to political indoctrination.

Chris Dodd is still pushing his “Let’s Whack Wall Street” financial regulatory scheme — as if its predecessor (panic-financial legislation), Sarbanse-Oxley, ever did anyone any good.

British Petroleum spilling oil, Muslim savages spilling blood, and politicians and meddlesome leftist busybodies spilling nonsense about Arizona.

New York mayor Bloomberg going to London to see if security cameras all over the place make the city safer. Hint — they don’t.

***

Exhaustion sets in when one sees too many negative things happening that don’t seen amenable to individual or even cooperative initiatives to solve them. However, when one recognizes that they are symptoms of a larger disease one can and must focus on the disease itself.

What do all of these have in common? They are all symptoms of leftist lunacy, the dismissal of all common sense, individual judgement, initiative, and propriety; all in favor of government bureaucracy and nannyism. They are all symptoms of looming tyranny — loss of individual freedom — power and control flowing to the political/bureaucratic structure. And citizens have not only allowed this to happen, but in many cases they’ve encouraged it by demanding goodies from government.

In essence, too many of our citizens have adopted a cargo cult culture. The cargo cults originated in Borneo during World War II when the natives saw parachutes loaded with free goodies dropping from the sky. They reasoned that with the proper invocation of the gods that this cargo would continue to fall to them. Our current cargo cult leader is Barack Obama, the Sun God.

The cargo cult culture is summarized in WikiPedia as follows:

Cargo cults tend to appear among people who covet the foreigners’ equipment but are unable to obtain it easily through trade or established traditions. Members, leaders, and prophets of the cults maintain that the manufactured goods of the non-native culture have been created by spiritual means, such as through their deities and ancestors, and are intended for the local indigenous people, but that the foreigners have unfairly gained control of these objects through malice or mistake.[citation needed] Thus, a characteristic feature of cargo cults is the belief that spiritual agents will, at some future time, give much valuable cargo and desirable manufactured products to the cult members

Doesn’t this remind you of those who believe the fruits of prosperity come from “spiritual means” and “are intended for the local indigenous people, but that the foreigners have unfairly gained control of these objects through malice or mistake.” i.e. somebody, the rich, the government, has the cargo but it belongs to the “local indigenous people” by right. Sounds like Obama, Reid and Pelosi to me.

Cargo cultists display sacred symbols in hopes of attracting cargo:

It is essential, then, that we focus our efforts toward curing the political disease, the leftward drift that produces these symptoms in the first place. Retire the Sun God and his minions. Educate the cargo cultists. Vote only for representatives, local and national, Republican, Democrat or Libertarian that promise and you firmly believe will actually reduce government, not just reduce its rate of growth. Fiscal responsibility may take a gold standard, it may take a constitutional amendment and changes at the Supreme Court. But ours is a resilient society — we may still have the willpower and self-discipline to fix the mess before it drives us all mad.

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.

Liberty and Democrats

May 7th, 2010

How often we hear liberal democrats brag about their efforts to prevent violations of our civil rights — the Patriot Act, Wire Tapping — Edgar Hoover and the Evil Bush Administration, etc.

Well, now we have bills in congress such as the so-called Immigration Reform bill that proposes national ID Cards, and the Financial Reform Bill that gives the government unprecedented power to snoop into every detail of our financial affairs.

Senator Shelby points out that:


“The Democrats’ new bureaucracy poses a threat to our privacy,” Shelby said, “Under section 1022 of their bill, the new bureau would collect any information it chooses from businesses and consumers including personal characteristics and financial information.

“Individuals could be required to provide the new agency with written answers–under oath–to any question posed by the bureau regarding their personal financial information.”

This information along with all other information collected by federal financial regulators can be used by the Office of Financial Research to monitor the entire financial system for so-called systemic risk.

I guess my ATM withdrawals represent a potential “systemic risk.” Do yours?

Now ask yourself which faction in congress wears the jack boots.

Regulatory Rapacity Revved Up

May 3rd, 2010

Here we go again. The “Finance Reform” bill in the house reportedly includes a provision to enable the FTC to regulate the internet. So what does the FTC have to do with finance reform? The Democrats can’t restrain their inclination to use every device at their disposal to clamp down on non-governmental economic activities. If it exists, tax it. If it moves, regulate it. If it still moves, outlaw it. And then, of course, members of government can extract bribes and campaign contributions from it.

The regulatory wrecking-ball never rests.

Serious Mistreatment of Wounded Soldiers

April 26th, 2010

The NY Times reported mistreatment of severely wounded soldiers. The Warrior Transition Units, having responsibility for treating some 7,200 wounded or psychologically damaged soldiers were supposed to be an improvement over the disgraceful conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center which were revealed in 2007. The article describes serious mistreatment of soldiers assigned to these units.

If the report is to be believed, it is evidence of mismanagement and incompetence at the highest levels of the military hierarchy. It is simply inconceivable to me that this breach of duty and human decency could be the result of callous disregard by those responsible, but maybe it is. No matter whether it is callousness or incompetence, it needs to be fixed — pronto.

These soldiers deserve no less than the best treatment we have to offer them.

Monkeys Manage Arizona’s Fiscal Affairs

April 16th, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


(caption: Arizona bureaucrats who manage the state budget)

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

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

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.

Border Patrol Arrogance vs. Competence

April 5th, 2010

On trip last week from Tucson to San Diego and back we were stopped eight times at Border Patrol checkpoints. On one of these occasions, my brother driving the car, seeing no sign from the officer that he wanted us to stop, ran through the checkpoint at slow speed. The officer banged his fist on the top of the car and ordered us to stop. It was obvious that he considered this a gross violation of his considerable authority. He pointed out the stop sign ahead of us. I pointed out his passive behavior and he challenged me to characterize it more fully, obviously trying to pick a verbal fight. I was at a loss for words and said nothing, but pointed out that he was standing a distance away from the stop sign. He questioned us about where we came from, where we were going, and our citizenship then let us pass.


(an Arizona checkpoint on I-19)

Now one might accept this as just one more very minor example of inconvenience in the interest of border peace, drug control and crime prevention. My wife scolded me for being so petulant in the face of authority. But this same cardboard cutout, bang on the roof, demand that I recognize the authority of a FEDERAL OFFICER had occurred to me on a prior occasion. So this time I was doubly annoyed.

We are being conditioned to accept ever increasing scrutiny by government agencies. This includes air travel pat-down searches, automated traffic enforcement cameras, border patrol and DUI road-blocks. There is recurring buzz about the usefulness of government issued ID cards for everyone.

A Government Accountability Office report released in August 2009 concluded that Border Patrol checkpoints may help the mission, but due to inadequate data collection nobody really knows for sure how effective they really are or what they cost to operate. So there is no way to even evaluate whether these nuisances are worth the hassle. Like DHS’s airport security measures, the border patrol checkpoints certainly annoy a lot more honest citizens than illegal aliens.

So the question becomes, should honest citizens resist these seemingly petty infringements upon our liberties? What do we citizens imply (or invite) by putting up with one annoying infringement after another? When does an annoyance become the seed of a tyranny?

Vigilance is the price of liberty.

Little Tyrannies

March 22nd, 2010

We’re tied in knots about a lot of big government tyrannies like nationalization of the health care industry and student loans, nationalizing banking and automobile manufacturing, attempts to regulate CO2 emissions, obesity nannyism, socialist education programs, and massive new taxes. But like the weather, there’s little we can do directly and immediately to resist these big things.

But as government at all levels attempts to control more of our lives they do so by building bureaucracies. By their very nature these bureaucracies generate annoying little irritations and petty regulations. For example, when you go to the dentist or the doctor’s office you’re presented with a sheaf of small print paper having to do with your “medical privacy rights.” Now why I have to sign a form certifying that I have read about my privacy rights (when the doctor’s office maintains the information) — that’s a mystery to me. So I ask the receptionist what dire consequences will fall upon me if I refuse to sign? She says, I’ll just put down “refuses to sign” and attach the papers to your file. I have now struck a small blow against the jack boots of government tyranny.

The same goes for the census form. They can hound you to supply information you don’t consider a constitutional requirement, but short of water-boarding they can’t really force you to talk or fill in the form. There are penalties for supplying false information, but if you simply refuse to lift a pencil or talk, then what?

Martha Stuart and others learned a painful lesson. They were jailed for “lieing to the government.” The principle here is: Don’t ever, ever say anything to any government official. They can’t force you to say anything. They can and will use anything you do say to screw you, so shut your mouth. Omerta is the key.

The income tax code has become the main mechanism for government enforcement and thuggery. With health care mandates we will be expected to perform ever more involuntary servitude filling out government forms and being file clerks in our own lives. Save every receipt and tickie — that’s the way to avoid fines and possibly jail. As for me, I’ve simplified my life. I save nothing and still comply with the tax code by taking a standard deduction. When audited I simply conceded and paid but said nothing. It was far cheaper overall than spending my life as an unpaid government flunkie clerk. It may not work for everyone, but it will for many of us.

As a business owner during the heyday of the “energy crisis” and a related mania over “pollution controls” I was frequently pestered by demands that I fill out questionnaires about toxic runoff from my office parking lot (I didn’t have one) or fuel consumption by my fleet of vehicles (I didn’t have any) or workplace hazards from toxic chemicals I used to produce computer software. My policy was to completely ignore these pests. The questionnaires and demands went directly to the garbage can. I know that no government agency would take any more initiative than to send another request (which also was canned), and that the forms if returned would just end up in files somewhere, never to be seen again.

The moral of this story is that we can and should cease being intimidated into complying with petty, bureaucratic annoyances. If enough of us did this, it would send a true message to government that we’re not going to put up with the crap they dish out.

Even if non-compliance probably won’t slow down the bureaucracy’s dead-headed dishing out of annoyances, it does make one feel better.

School Reform With Shotguns

March 13th, 2010

President Obama, the nation’s uber-authority on education (and everything else) is prescribing programs to improve the performance of U.S. schools, particularly in Science and Math, so he says. Isn’t it odd that the more money the federal government spends on education the worse education becomes? Emphasis on Math and Science has become a mindless mantra. Meanwhile, cultural values and knowledge taught in history, political science, geography, and English grammar and literature have been replaced by a curriculum of diversity studies, sex (particularly the homo- variety) education, cultural relativism and deliberate ignorance.

While schools inspect students with metal detectors looking for dangerous weapons such as pocket knives and nail clippers no effort is made to enforce discipline in the classrooms. Let the little boogers do as they will — criticism and discipline will spoil their self-esteem. And oh, heaven help the little artist who depicts a firearm with crayons on paper. Call the cops! Lock down the school. Wait for the swat team.
MEANWHILE THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION IS PURCHASING MILITARY SPECIFICATION SHOTGUNS.

I wonder what the next education reform will look like.

Which Party Should Collect the Garbage?

February 9th, 2010

Tucson, Arizona is engaged in a discussion about whether local elections, now partisan, should become non-partisan. So the question arises, do Republicans and Democrats differ at the local level? Yes, absolutely, said Tom Volgy, University of Arizona professor of political science and former Democrat mayor of Tucson. In a recent appearance on Arizona Illustrated Mr. Volgy used the example of garbage collection, which some say is a non-partisan activity.

Volgy said (as accurately as I can remember), “Democrats hire garbage men and pay them well. Republicans contract out the job and the contractors pay the minimum possible. So yes, there is certainly a partisan difference.” In essence, Volgy says Democrats regard garbage collection from the viewpoint of rewarding city workers. The Republicans (for shame) regard garbage collection as a service to be performed efficiently at lowest cost to the citizens. To my mind that’s about the clearest, most succinct summary of the difference in outlook between the two parties that I’ve ever heard.

Thank you Mr. Volgy for your insight.

P.S. The only thing I’d add is to question whether garbage collection should be a municipal service at all. A couple of decades ago I lived in San Francisco where fiercely competing private garbage collectors provided the best, most efficient and least costly collections I’ve ever seen. They’ve now gone over to a municipal service that stinks.

Madam Speaker: The President … Our Glorious Leader?!

January 28th, 2010

The start of every State of the Union speech begins with the grave announcement that the “supreme one” has arrived. “Madam Speaker: The President of the United States of America,” he gravely intones. And then the clapping can begin.

What he should say is: “Madam Speaker: The Chief Bureaucrat of the United States Government.” That, after all, is the president’s actual role. The congress makes the laws, the president manages the bureaucracy. The United States is not led by its president nor by its congress. These are the servants of the people, not their masters. We Americans don’t want nor do we need leaders in federal high office. We are not a club, not a corporation, not a ball team. We are individuals who go about our own business in spite of government, not because of it.

Did I somehow get this wrong? Are we a “people” organized and directed by a “leader”? Do we march about doing the work of the nation? Do we have a “national purpose?” Do we have “national goals?” I say nonsense, BS.

Live Free or Die.

Whores – a Lesson & a Warning

January 18th, 2010

From Larry Klayman’s recently published book, “Whores” we get some insight into the ugly political maneuvers that politicians routinely use to provide themselves with loot and political advantages at public expense. We also learn how the political realm includes not only elective office holders, but also the corruption of the judiciary and the bureaucracy at the highest levels of our government.

Until reading this book I could not have believed that the self-dealing corruption, ass kissing, and outright criminality was so prevalent and vile as it is. The corruption of the judiciary was nearly unbelievable. I could not have believed, until recent years, with the advent of the internet as an alternative news outlet, that the press was as blatantly complicit in this corruption as it is.

After reading the book some thoughts and reminiscences come to mind:

In high school I used to always walk around with a smile on my face, which attracted the attention of bullies. And each year I’d have to have it out with a bully to establish a reputation and preserve the peace for the rest of the term. It never took more than one fist fight, and being a geek not a jock, I always lost. But it didn’t matter. My ‘rep’ as someone not to fool with, my legend so to speak, was established. From then on I could go around with a grin all I wanted — after the shiner healed.

Why the smile? Well, I always thought of people as basically good and honest, even if occasionally wrong when they disagreed with me. The conspiracy theorists and cynics never impressed me, because conspiracy takes too much discipline to maintain secrecy, and cynics denied the fundamental incentives most people have to do the right thing. And further, as essentially a loner, I never believed or understood how people could so completely ignore their better instincts to behave as members of a gang, covering for and protecting their cohorts with artful lies and deceptions.

During my career as a market research consultant and entrepreneur I was privileged to meet and provide services to a fair number of senior executives, most from small to medium size high-tech firms. All that I met were honest people dedicated to building successful companies. I never met a crook, a cheat, or an illegal schemer among them. Maybe I was just naive or lucky, but that’s my experience and observation.

Although I did some work for large companies my observation of these firms revolved around their bureaucratic aspects, but I suppose I was never entwined in their politics enough to become cynical or suspicious. Big company bureaucracy was enough anthropology for me. And whether private or public, I firmly believe that bureaucracy contains the seeds of evil, the potential for its use to create great harm, but to use it for evil requires evil political leadership.

All of which leads to politics. Whether in government or in large organizations, politics involves the trading of favors to create and perpetuate a hierarchy. This commonly also involves the promulgation of a mythology and an ideology. These justify and support the political hierarchy, often at the expense of the greater public. The mythology evolves to reassure the public that the politicians and the institutions they occupy are honest, well intentioned and disciplined. The ideology is spun to corral a particular constituency’s support for the politician and his party.

The most misleading aspect of politics, in my opinion, is the degree to which we citizens rely on the myths and ideology to guide us in selecting and supporting our politicians and, indeed, our political system. In doing so, and by involving ourselves in earnest disagreements over ideology and mythology, we are distracted from the power games that are being played behind our backs by the politicians, senior bureaucrats, the judiciary and the mainstream news sources.

We have essentially allowed a gang to be created within our political system. It is a voluntary association of political players who mutually support, discipline and reward one-another by preying on their constituents, the citizens, you and me. This gang does not recognize any limitation of law or morality with regard to its activities. Its leaders do what they please, The gang members kiss ass to rise in the political hierarchy, all the while proclaiming their good intentions and support for the constituents. Loyalty runs up and rewards and discipline run down the hierarchy. What rankles most about this situation is the difficulty of dislodging the gang from institutions we, ourselves, should own.

Curiously, preservation of a corrupt political system relies on its ability to corrupt the citizens, themselves. A citizenry that recognizes no need for self-discipline, thrift, sacrifice, or duty in its own behavior, favoring only its own apparent comfort and advantage over everything else — such a constituency will not question the gang’s behaviors. The gang bestows favors, it’s constituency consumes them, and the gang’s secure future is assured.

Evidence of this corruption of the citizenry is evident in blindness to the looming disastrous fiscal consequences of entitlement programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. It is apparent in the willingness of citizens to ignore the economy crippling results of high taxes, heavy handed regulation, environmental and energy manias and government nanyism. And the willingness of citizens to let the defense of the country, once a duty of every male citizen, to be born by a professional military force, even if this requires recruitment of females, this is evidence of moral corruption. Oh, well, we rationalize, we’ll muddle through and I’ll get mine before it all comes crashing down.

If, on the other hand, the constituency actually holds true to its political mythology, such as American exceptionalism, duty, honesty, peace through strength, personal freedom and justice for all; and insists on its ideology, such as limited government, budget discipline and transparency, then the gang can be driven out, broken up and banished until next time we get lazy, selfish and complacent.

Given all of this, it is difficult not to become a complete cynic. But I still believe most people are well intentioned and good. So I’ll keep my smile and stand up to the bullies when necessary. And I’ll do whatever I can to fight back against the gang, whether locally or in Washington, D.C.

Shameful PC From DOD In Ft. Hood Report

January 16th, 2010

Ralph Peters, retired Army officer describes the “Hood Massacre Report Gutless and Shameful.” This report by the Pentagon bureaucracy avoids any mention of Islamic Terrorism. Peters writes:

The answer is straightforward: Hasan’s superiors feared — correctly — that any attempt to call attention to his radicalism or to prevent his promotion would backfire on them, destroying their careers, not his.

Hasan was a protected-species minority. Under the PC tyranny of today’s armed services, no non-minority officer was going to take him on.

This is a military that imposes rules of engagement that protect our enemies and kill our own troops and that court-martials heroic SEALs to appease a terrorist. Ain’t many colonels willing to hammer the Army’s sole Palestinian-American psychiatrist.

I downloaded the .PDF file containing the report (a .PDF that didn’t allow text to be copied!). It had the following word count:
* Islam, Islamic (0)
* Jihad (0)
* Muslim (0)
* Radical (12) (only in the context of “self-radicalization” and “individual radicalized”
* Terrorist/Terrorism (7)(in footnotes 3, reference to terrorist database 2, reference to Pentagon programs 1, and a web site 1)

From the report :

Each year, more than one million people in the U.S. are harmed by workplace violence, and an estimated 17,000 take their own lives in their place of employment. The portrait of the “disgruntled” employee who “goes postal” …..

So the Pentagon regards Hasan’s action as a common instance of “workplace violence” similar to the other 17,000 cases they cite. And then they go on to sympathize with people who “self-radicalize” or even fall victim to “group dynamics” from “small groups.” Hey guys, Al Qaeda is a large group you’ve been fighting for several years! See below:

Recent research has focused on why individuals become terrorists. Although some people self-radicalize as individuals, more commonly small groups of people self-radicalize together. Group dynamics can foster the dehumanization of targets and the drive to commit violence. In addition, the path to terrorism often involves some real or perceived rewards for participation, the desire to address grievances, and a passion for change.

This is politically correct psycho babble of the lamest and most harmful kind coming from the U.S. Department of Defense. What kind of willful blindness enables them to believe and publish such crap?

Shame on Secretary of Defense Gates and shame on the Joint Chiefs of Staff for letting this piece of rotten garbage see the light of day. Oh-oh! Perhaps they actually believe it!?

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:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact

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.

GEEZ!! WHAT IDIOTS!

Google & The Internet Sewer

January 13th, 2010

Today we have news that Google is threatening to end its internet operations in China. The reason given is that the company has experienced a high level of cyber-attacks against its headquarters operations, such attacks originating in China. Google says that some of these attacks succeeded in stealing valuable information from the company’s computers. And reading between the lines, Google has been justifiably criticized for going along with the Chinese government’s censorship regime, which is undoubtedly a constant administrative pain in the butt as well.

Let’s face it. The internet is a sewer, and the fact that we can get anything useful from this sewer is something of a miracle. Over 90% of all email traffic is spam. The vast majority of non-email traffic is criminal activity designed to steal software, music, and personal data, or alternatively, to destroy the ability of servers to provide web sites and other services.

Several years ago, after I had invested over a year of effort and thousands of dollars of my personal capital in a software venture, the software’s keys were quickly cracked by numerous Chinese-based software piracy web sites. The web site marketing my software got lots of business, nearly all of it from people using the pirated keys. This traffic was 100% theft, generating no revenue for me. Most of this traffic was Chinese.

Then, just about a year ago, my server was experiencing a large increase in traffic designed to bring down the server, a large number of so-called “denial of service” attacks. It was large scale and ugly. Analysis of the traffic indicated that it originated in China. So now my server blocks all Chinese originated traffic. This has left me with a much quieter, more peaceful environment, though the denial of service attacks continue intermittently from other sources — probably bot-nets.

Parenthetically, many of the latest probes originate in the Amazon “clouds” located in both the U.S. and Europe. I wonder if the Chinese are renting “cloud-time” for their attacks? Oh well.

The lesson here is that the internet sewer is receiving a lot of its pollution from China. The Chinese people care nothing for intellectual property and apparently consider theft to be an honorable occupation. The Chinese government cares a lot about controlling information and from many reports engages in cyber-thuggery, theft and attack as a matter of policy.

Google would be right to pull the plug on China. The internet would be a cleaner sewer without any Chinese participation.

Muslim Agents Managing U.S. Anti-Terrorist Policies?

January 10th, 2010

Bill Whittle on PJTV interviews government intelligence agents in a video called The Islamic Infiltration: Inside Our Government, Armed With Our Secrets. (Free registration required) In this video, unnamed “former agents” claim that everything the U.S. federal law enforcement agencies do to counter Islamic terrorism is guided and filtered by advisers associated with the Islamic Brotherhood and Hamas. It further claims that political correctness prevents the government from accepting the result of a study the government, itself, commissioned. This study established that the mainstream doctrine of Islam supports the terrorists, not the PC-style moderation and pacifism that some political leaders would want to be true and proclaims to the public at every opportunity.

In today’s news environment with PC entering into the handling of the knicker-bomber, the Ft. Hood jihadist, and everything else about Islamic terrorism, this report is easy to believe.

If true, it screams out for investigation and correction.

TSA: Bureaucracy To The Rescue

January 9th, 2010

From Reason.tv via BigGovernment.com:

Good Enough for Government Work?

Homeland Security is Hopeless Bureaucracy

December 28th, 2009

Bureaucratic blather about “procedures and protocols that have been in place for years” and “what happened to the screening process.” is all that President Obama’s Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano offered when questioned about the attempted bombing of the Northwest Airlines jet last Friday.

This is the same Janet Napolitano who publishes a booklet warning that U.S. Soldiers returning from wars and members of patriot militias, even bloggers are potential jihadists or maybe dangerous presidential assassins based on their rightest/constitutionalist beliefs. This is the same Janet Napolitano whose Transportation Safety Department (oops!) published its entire operational manual on-line. This is the same Janet Napolitano who can’t bear to utter the words Radical Islamic Terrorism.

First of all: FIRE THIS CLOWN Napolitano. Appoint someone who recognizes that terrorists are waging war. They are not isolated, petty criminals. We need to reach out and touch them — with hellfire missiles and special forces strike teams. If Maj. Hasan and young student Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab can find Al Quaeda, so can we.

Second: The mission should be to go after people, not things. The Israeli security people concentrate on profiling and screening people. El Al, their airline, hasn’t had a serious hijack or bombing in years. perhaps they’re doing something right. The absurdity of current airline screening was illustrated by Bruce Schneier in an interview he conducted with Kip Hawley, head of TSA in 2007. Schneier pointed out that the banned liquids, which might contain dangerous explosives, are simply tossed into a bin in the middle of the screening area. Is this dangerous or not? Somebody isn’t thinking clearly. Hawley even joked that “Screening ideas are indeed thought up by the Office for Annoying Air Travelers and vetted through the Directorate for Confusion and Complexity, and then we review them to insure that there are sufficient unintended irritating consequences so that the blogosphere is constantly fueled. ” Can Janet top that one?

Third: The people that need to be infiltrated, monitored, screened and prevented from doing their ugly jihadist deeds are all Muslims, every one of them. In order to establish some kind of reasonable security it is necessary to monitor radical Muslim activity worldwide. Strip searching grandmothers at airports is an insane waste of energy and a slap in the face for honest travelers.

Political correctness and prissy foreign policy gets people killed.

Smoking Wreckage

December 24th, 2009

In my minds eye I visualize the current before Christmas scenery. No white Christmas and carols there. No jingle bells. I visualize a general walking across a devastated, shredded battlefield, among the dead bodies and broken machines of war, still smoking and burning. The general could be of either army, the victor or the vanquished. It wouldn’t matter to this scene.

So here we are, on Christmas Eve, and Harry Reid has battled for his vision of government control and eternal beneficence through regulatory domination of those evil insurance companies. “The peasants will understand,” he muses, “after a few have felt the sting of the lash. We’ll decorate the white house Christmas tree all in red ornaments next year, maybe with faces of Obama, Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot, Hugo Chavez, Che and Castro. That would be joyous.” As he walks through the wreckage, hands clasped behind his back, head bowed, Harry’s cell phone rings.

It’s Nancy, breathless. “Good work Harry,” she purrs sweetly, “I knew you could do it. But now we need to start our reconciliation, don’t we? Do you know of a good place for us to hide while we carve up the booty?”

“I dunno,” replies Harry. “But we better do it quickly before the Chicago boys get into the act. They’re really greedy, you know.”

“Yes, I know.”

Over the battlefield more storm clouds are gathering. Lightning strikes in the distance. The smell of death mixes with ozone and the dust becomes pungent as the rain begins. Harry hangs up the cell phone and pulls up the collar of his great coat. “Not only that bitch to contend with,” he says between clenched teeth, “but another vote. And now that everyone knows what it cost in bribes to get this far, every soldier I have left will be demanding boodle-for-fight after reconciliation. One just can’t count on loyalty these days.”

It’s raining harder. The ground has turned muddy, somewhere sloppy, elsewhere sucking at Harry’s boots as he walks. The great coat leaks even with the collar pulled tight around his neck. Harry is feeling miserable and depressed. He contemplates the corpse of a dead enemy soldier and veers sharply to his left. “And then there’s the Supreme Court,” he whines. “Those jackals will be asked to rule on the constitutionality of our victory. We have a few allies in the court, but can we count on them? Hell no. Not yet. But maybe in the future.”

Suddenly the scene changes. Segue into a sunny courtyard. It is filled with wheel chairs and stretchers. The sun beats down though “hallelujah clouds” just like the cover of a bible school prayer book. Except for the missing limbs and grievous burn scars the occupants look normal and happy. The Federal Government has provided them with Socialized Health Care. What a blessing.

Sin Bins and GLSEN

December 16th, 2009

Two stories, almost too ugly to be true … the British have a nanny Children’s Secretary named Ed Balls. He’s proposing to expand a program characterized as “Sin Bins” wherein closed circuit tv cameras will be installed in 20,000 homes of “the worst families” per a Daily Express article quoted below: (tip to TheUnbrokenWindow.com for finding the story)

THOUSANDS of the worst families in England are to be put in “sin bins” in a bid to change their bad behavior, Ed Balls announced yesterday.

The Children’s Secretary set out £400million plans to put 20,000 problem families under 24-hour CCTV super-vision in their own homes.

They will be monitored to ensure that children attend school, go to bed on time and eat proper meals.

Private security guards will also be sent round to carry out home checks, while parents will be given help to combat drug and alcohol addiction.

This is the kind of insanity one gets when government pretends to be the ultimate nanny.

The second story has been developing for a while. Barack Obama has installed a “School Safety Czar” named Kevin Jennings. Jennings is the author of a book called “Queering of Elementary Education: Advancing the Dialogue About Sexualities and Schooling” advocating a gay agenda in schools. He is also the founder of GLSEN, an organization dedicated to promoting homosexuality and pedophilia among grammar school children and adults. Since Jennings became a government official GLSEN’s current activities have been exposed. These include lewd reading lists promoting homosexual activities among school kids, homosexual activities between adult men and young male children, promotion of homosexual practices such as “fisting” for children 7-12 years old, and such other descriptions which make me want to puke. (Read this material linked above, if you have a strong stomach for filth.)

I suppose Mr. Jennings and Mr. Balls are both experts in child rearing according to some twisted leftist definition. But these two stories illustrate the insanity of letting government intrude into the lives of private citizens. These “experts” pretend to know what’s best for you and your children. I cringe every time a politician starts talking about “Our Children.” Whose children?

I can’t speak to the amazing and dismaying willingness of the British to tolerate the growing surveillance society and the likes of Mr. Balls. But I can speak to the utter depravity of letting Kevin Jennings be a “Safe Schools Czar.” The fact that he was appointed and that, after what has been revealed about him, Jennings remains in a position of power speaks to President Obama’s utter contempt for his country and its citizens.

Don’t say it can’t happen here. It already is.

Another Hatchet Job on Our Wealth and Freedom

December 11th, 2009

The Pelosi-Democrats have done it again. They’ve passed a bill that is designed to hog-tie the U.S. free market to the detriment of us all. This is like Sarbanes-Oxley, the hastily assembled monstrosity that was supposed to address the problem of corporate misconduct, but which instead imposed an ugly burden on small and rapidly growing businesses by bureaucratizing corporate governance. The new, so called Financial Oversight Bill reaches out its tentacles to regulate everything from payday lenders to the operation of hedge funds and private investment companies. I’ll have to check with my bookie to see if he’s affected too. The House passed the bill with no Republican votes and 27 Democrats voting against it.

Obviously the Democrats in Congress are blaming the current economic situation on the alleged misdeeds of private finance and industry. But the current situation is demonstrably not a failure of regulation or too little regulation. It is the result of politically motivated government efforts to tip the mortgage market to favor those who couldn’t afford houses, to keep interest rates too low for too long, to force banks to make no down payment loans to opportunists and deadbeats, and to entice Fannie and Freddie into buying packaging and reselling securitized mortgages, among other misdeeds. It was then blown into red-hot fever pitch by the shouts of “fire in a crowded theater” by Bernanke and Paulson. And the regulators either couldn’t see the problem because they were incompetent and lazy, or they saw the problem and let political considerations keep them silent. Why should we think that additional regulators would be any more effective, competent and alert than the dunces we already have?

Let’s hope the Senate comes to its senses and kills this socialist cancer before it metastasizes.

What is needed is a citizen’s regulatory agency which would have the duty and the power to take a hatchet to government programs, regulations and agencies that are incompetent, lazy and unneeded. This would eventually eliminate about 80% of the existing government activities, reinvigorate the economy and make us all freer and happier. We wouldn’t even miss the rot that would be hacked out.

Of course Geithner, Cox, Frank and others would have to pay their taxes and penalties, others would go directly to jail, and Obama, Reid and Pelosi could step down to the local level and resume their work as meddlesome liberal busybodies employed by homeowners’ associations, and our congress could become part-time.

Yes, I’m dreaming, but wouldn’t that be an improvement?

« Previous Entries Next Entries »