Odd Citizen

Odd Citizen
An Odd Citizen’s Search For Vanishing Freedoms

Remembering Our Communist Enemies

July 31st, 2010

Bret Stephens in the Wall Street Journal (July 27th) reminded us of some statistics that should be kept at hand next time someone uses the U.S. experience in Vietnam as an example of an unjust or unjustified war.

From WikiLeaks to the Killing Fields

All in all, America’s withdrawal from Southeast Asia resulted in the killing of an estimated 165,000 South Vietnamese in so-called re-education camps; the mass exodus of one million boat people, a quarter of whom died at sea; the mass murder, estimated at 100,000, of Laos’s Hmong people; and the killing of somewhere between one million and two million Cambodians.

We should remember that this butchery was committed by our communist enemies against their own people. And we should remember that this occurred after the U.S. hastily retreated from a war it was reluctant to actually win.

A Compliment For Pres. Obama

July 31st, 2010

I really do wish I could write more about good things. It gets tiresome railing about the destruction of our country, but too much of the news is bad.

Finally, I read an article in the Wall Street Journal (July 30, 2010, pg. A4) entitled “Obama Defends Teacher Policy.” He says he’s in favor of merit based evaluation of teachers, including merit pay, charter schools, and maybe even vouchers. Did I go too far? Whatever the actual extent of the President’s commitment, he deserves congratulations for standing up against the teachers’ unions, liberal pressure groups, and fellow Democrats.

Now if this meritocratic thinking would only extend to reducing the role of federal money and bureaucracy in eduction — but now I’m dreaming.

Anyway, Mr. Obama, you said something true and right. My Compliments to you for that.

Diversity By Stealth, Or Else!

July 29th, 2010

Yet more stealth legislation from the Sun God regime: (from Politico)

Deep inside the massive overhaul bill, Congress gives the federal government authority to terminate contracts with any financial firm that fails to ensure the “fair inclusion” of women and minorities, forcing every kind of company from a Wall Street giant to a mom-and-pop law office to account for the composition of its work force.

There are reported to be 20 new boards and commissions provided for in the so called “Finance Reform” legislation tasked to promoting or forcing racial and sex diversity. “The 1,261-word section authored by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) barely registered during the legislative debate.”

Presidential candidate Obama convinced a lot of people that he would be a “post-racial” president. The truth is that this administration and this congress have become a racially inflammatory force. Those who paid attention to Rev. Jeremiah Wright as a guide to Mr. Obama’s future attitude had it right.

Let’s face the fact that forcing “diversity” does not necessarily promote tolerance nor understanding. Instead, it promotes resentment and victimology. If I don’t like dogs, you can’t force me to like or even respect them by locking me up in a cage with a mutt.

The federal bureaucracy now has in place the mechanism for enforcing wage controls, hiring and firing, lending, health care, banking, mortgages, student loans, and the monitoring of all financial transactions large and small, all in the first year of the Sun God’s reign. The Obama regime deigns to enforce whatever laws it chooses and to ignore those it doesn’t like, see the New Black Panther voter intimidation case. An attempt to crush free political speech failed, but don’t hold your breath. The courts can be used to do that (reference Arizona court intervention) when legislation fails.

A country doesn’t necessarily get tyranny all at once. It can creep up through the weakening of the institutions the country relies on for justice and stability. In the present tense we’re seeing too many huge new laws salted with repressive and tyrannical measures.

That doesn’t add up to a good future outcome. And it’s clearly not Bushes fault!

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.

The Noose Tightens on Business

July 22nd, 2010

“(CNSNews.com) – The Obama administration is backing legislation that includes regulations requiring U.S. businesses to provide to the government data about employee pay as it relates to the sex, race and national origin of employees.” They call it the “Paycheck Fairness Act.”

Along with their other oppressive new regulations on bank transactions, 1099’s for all commercial transactions over $600, monitoring of health records (the fat patrol), now the Obama maniacs want to collect information on paychecks by sex, race and national origin. (Guess they forgot about their usual fixation on homosexual, transgender and trans-sexual categories.) Of course, this is packaged as a “fairness” issue. But it really is just another tightening of the government noose around the necks of business people. How many new IRS agents, in addition to the 11,000 new gestapo authorized to enforce the health care mandate, will be needed to enforce wage regulations nationwide? How many lawyers will be able to their living mugging businesses over their wage decisions? Why don’t they just admit that they’re a bunch of communists and nationalize the whole damn U.S. economy?

Brick by brick the Obama team is building a jail cell for the country to live in, with a death row especially reserved for businesses, especially the smaller ones that don’t make big political contributions to their masters.

Preservation of our liberty requires stopping them right now.

Total Control: Feds Say You’re Too FAT!

July 17th, 2010

The federal government is tightening surveillance of your bank account, spending and borrowing (see: Liberty and Democrats through new financial monitoring provisions of (oddly) the health care law. Now we learn that the stimulus bill signed last year contains detailed requirements for medical record keeping as described in a CNSNews.com article “Obesity Rating for Every American Must Be Included in Stimulus-Mandated Electronic Health Records, Says HHS”.

The fat patrol is, presumably, to be headed by Regina Benjamin, Mr. Obama’s new Surgeon General appointee.

Provisions of this law which mandate electronic record-keeping appear to also provide for government access to and monitoring of these records. The article says:

The law also requires that these electronic health records be available–with appropriate security measures–on a national exchange.

Do you find it as creepy as I do that not only have our law makers sneaked in additional provisions in unrelated bills to monitor our finances, but they now want to monitor our bodies as well? Does it bother you that these surveillance provisions are salted into crevices and cracks of unrelated legislation? Who’s coordinating this growing web of Cuban/North Korean style monitoring that is being assembled behind our backs?

“Hello, Mr. Jones. This is Butch from the Office of Federal Fat Control. We’ve been notified that at your last weigh-in you gained 10 pounds. You are now five pounds over the mandated maximum weight for your height category. Accordingly, you are ordered to report to Health Clinic Number 2,397 for liposuction or shortening, or both not later than February 25th. Failure to comply will result in revocation of your food authorization coupons and invalidation of your medical card.”

It would be funny if it were not potentially so real.

Needed Branch of Government: House of Repeal

July 15th, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Legislative Shredder, what an idea!

Health Care “Requires Redistribution of Wealth”

July 7th, 2010

No surprise here. The Sun God, without needing congressional confirmation, has used a recess appointment to name Donald Berwick, by all evidence a socialist who believes in bureaucratic rationing and redistribution of wealth, as the administrator for his new “Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services” bureaucracy.

(thanks to EyeBlast.tv)

What do you think about this guy having authority over $800 Billion of national government resources and the health care of all Americans?

It’s no surprise if you’ve been paying attention.

REPEAL the Health Care Law!

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.

Mexican Border Violence

July 2nd, 2010

Today’s Headlines: 21 killed in Mexican gang shootout near Arizona border and Gunfire hitting City Hall prompts Texas AG to ask for more troops on border

For anyone who considers Mexican border enforcement to be a minor concern and Arizonans to be racial alarmists, the above headlines speak for themselves. We citizens of Arizona, and by inference of the United States of America, are entitled to protection from this growing violence on the Mexican side of the border.

Although Mr. Obama cites evidence that crime on the U.S. side of the border decreased from 2008 to 2009, it is plain to see that on the Mexican side, right up against the border, thousands of people are being killed in gun battles between police and army fighting drug gangs and between drug gangs fighting one another.

These gangs are involved in trafficing drugs across the border into the U.S. That is the reason the drug gangs exist. To think that these beasts will suddenly acquire good manners when operating on our side of the border is patent nonsense. In fact, due to the drug trade, Phoenix has become the kidnapping capital of the U.S. Tucson, my home, by hosting numerous drug warehouses, has become one of the major hubs for drug distribution throughout the U.S. The people running these criminal enterprises are not nice people, and they are not welcome here.

I admit that even the most competent border security won’t completely shut down the drug smuggling operations. But it may make life safer for those of us living very close to the border.

Maybe it’s time to consider Odd Citizen’s solution to the drug problem: Winning the Drug War in 2 Years or Less

We can also solve the problem of border crossing for the non-criminal element, so they can enter the country legally and won’t have to cross the hazardous desert on foot. See: Illegal Immigration — A Sensible, Workable Solution

Tax Tsunami In 2011

July 2nd, 2010

Americans for Tax Reform has compiled a summary of upcoming tax increases: Six Months to Go Until The Largest Tax Hikes in History(pdf) It reads like a horror novel. Income tax rates all rise, low bracket to 15%, highest bracket to 39.6%. Return of the Death Tax: 55% of estates over $1.0 Million — nearly everyone who owns a home or a business. No reform of the incentive killing Alternative Minimum Tax. Increasing Capital Gains Tax rate from 15% to 20%. A slew of new taxes associated with Obamacare (there are 20 in all). And dozens of other new and increased, economy killing taxes.

We know from history two facts. Decreasing tax rates enhances and incentivizes private economic activity. Increasing tax rates causes the private economy to stagnate. Whatever anemic growth we’ve seen in 2010, in spite of the insane government spending binge, has to some extent been incentivized by the knowledge that 2011 will be a disaster. The tax tsunami of 2011 guarantees utter economic collapse. It has been clear from the outset that the Obama Democrats and their allies don’t think that the private sector economy matters. All of their economic efforts have gone into rescuing public sector jobs and budgets — and even this has failed. There is virtually no one in the Obama administration who has any experience in or appreciation of how the private sector works. These bureaucrats, academics and leftist ideologues view the private sector simply as cows to be milked for taxes to support worthy public “investments” and “beneficial public programs.”

So 2011 triggers a series of events as follows:

1) The public sector deficit and the debt at all levels (local, state and federal) are overwhelming. Just servicing the interest on this debt will consume a huge proportion of any current tax revenue.

2) Government programs and commitments have grown so large that they can’t be paid for out of current tax revenues. Some state and local governments will face bankruptcy or will be bailed out by the Feds using borrowed money. It will be necessary to “bend” some laws and constitutional principles to make this possible.

3) Government will continue to borrow money, but the credit card interest rate will skyrocket as investors realize that the U.S. Federal Government is no better credit risk than the government of Greece.

4) The politicians will take the easy way out on taxes by letting the Bush tax cuts, including the income tax rates, Death Tax, AMT, and a host of others expire. They will rationalized that, “We need the money.”

5) The economy will reel under the weight of these new taxes. The politicians will conclude that: “It’s time to face reality. What we need is more revenue, a big new tax. The Europeans have a VAT, why shouldn’t we have one too?” The VAT will further depress the economy and tax collections will fall even further behind spending.

6) There will be rumblings such as “Maybe we should just nationalize the oil industry. They may be sinful, but they’re rich, and we need the money.” Look at Norway and Venezuela as exemplars for the benefits of nationalized oil.

7) Hyperinflation sets in suddenly as the government’s printing presses pump out dollars to pay bills and service debt. But it’s still insufficient to cope with run-away interest rates and ballooning spending for public sector bail-outs. The dollar ceases to be the world’s primary reserve currency.

8)  By 2012 the situation is so bad that a national emergency is declared. The federal government seizes all retirement investments (pension funds, IRA’s, Kehoe’s, etc.) and exchanges them for interest bearing government bonds.

9) The 2012 general election is suspended for the duration of the emergency.

Don’t say “It couldn’t happen here.”