Thursday, February 24, 2011

Just the Facts M'am...

Republicans wanted to cut $100 billion from government spending in 2011. Democrats said that would jeopardize our safety. It doesn't matter what we KNOW about the left and border security - they say it, the media prints it, and the argument is framed.

If, in 2011, the Government ONLY paid for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the Military and "Security", plus the interest on our National Debt...our elected leaders would still fall $1.14 trillion short of balancing the budget. (Rand Paul)

Did you get that?

If we cut:

The Department of Education (2008 - $56 billion, 2011 Obama proposed $71.5 billion)

The Department of Agriculture (2008 - $20 billion, 2011 Obama proposed $132.3 billion)

The Department of Commerce (2008 - $6.5 billion, 2011 Obama proposed $9.3 billion)

The Department of Transportation (2008 - $12.1 billion, 2011 Obama proposed $75.3 billion)

The Department of Labor (2008 - $10.6 billion, 2011 Obama proposed $102.8 billion)

The Department of Health and Human Services (2008 - $69.3 billion, 2011 Obama proposed $82 billion)

...and on, and on...cut them 100% - we still couldn't balance the budget.

*The Department of Health and Human Services has a Civil Rights Division, with a budget of $44 million.
*The Department of Labor has a "Wage and Hour" Division, with a budget of $244 million
*The Department of Education has a NEW program called "Race to the Top" that got $4 billion from the stimulus, and now has a $1.3 billion annual budget.
*The numbers come from Obama's proposed budget.  Each Department has "discretionary outlays" and "mandatory outlays" - which muddies up the accounting in 2008 vs 2011... but the longer we wait to do something drastic...the more money will get shifted from the former to the latter.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

It's coming...

I tried to summarize...short attention spans and all...but Richard Fernandez gets it so right:

(Hey Pat! It all comes down to Basic Economics.)

What is going on in Wisconsin?  Are Republicans against teachers? Its about Unions. Its about Unions? It is about basic economic principles.  Just like the dangers of Obamacare - Fernadez explains that Wisonson, Tunisia, Egypt, etc. all share similarities with the housing bubble.  When you cloud up the relationship between buyer and seller - by trying to make the transaction easier, or by trying to make the transactions happen faster, with more frequency, by trying to help some buyers who can't afford what the sellers have (all good intentions to be sure)...you distort the product (Education, Houses, Cars, etc.).  The buyer can't see exactly what it is they are getting.  They lose the ability to judge its worth.  Blame the seller too - they sell easier, faster, with more frequency, and they think they'll get out before the bubble bursts.  Well, some of them do.

That's my take, read Fernandez, click here.

"...A New York Times profile last week described Courtney Munna, a 26-year-old graduate of New York University with nearly $100,000 in student loan debt — debt that her degree in Religious and Women’s Studies did not equip her to repay..." (Glenn Reynolds)
If BANKS instead of the GOVERNMENT were giving out student loans, do you think a bank executive would have lent her the money, expecting a return on his investment?

"...Beyond the notions of “collective bargaining” rights, or “the right to food”, “right to migrate”, “right to carbon credits”, “right of return”, or the “right to welfare” or whatever rights people thought they had, was the crass question of whether the society on whose transfer payments were going to underwrite it could afford it. The unrest that is sweeping the world is underlain by a struggle between the core idea of market economics that you can’t get something for nothing and the fundamental promise of every statist politician that of course you can..."
Beware of Democrats...AND Republicans!

"...Social policy — things we wanted and thought we could afford — whether food subsidies, biofuel manias or higher education bubbles, have created shortages and gluts that cannot now be resolved without changing the underlying policies themselves..."
Farm subsidies! They don't help farmers!

"...Would you like your college education to be free? Sure, who wouldn’t? Better question: Would you like the results of free education? Well, the people of Tunisia and Egypt are learning that whenever the government supplies something, it is never really “free.”..."
Think we dumbed down our schools - wait until socialized medicine removes the profit motive.  SOME will still make it work, some will still invent, and make money - but in the aggregate, it will be destroyed.

"...At its most basic nonpolitical level, the showdown in Wisconsin is about the price of teachers; about a bubble. It is about whether Wisconsin can continue to afford a union/monopoly supplied product whatever the disparity with the true market value of their ‘value added’ represents. And in other parts of the world it is about the price of food, energy, or the price of maintaining juntas, politburos, kings, emirs or presidents for life..."
How about Presidents and members of congress taking tax payer funded trips to 'talk to the people.'  Why don't the twits just use twitter?

"...Their (bursting bubbles around the world) frequency and persistence are a sign that they are cascading on to each other, like a collapsing house of cards. The growing crisis over the federal deficit, like unrest over food prices, fuel supplies and job allocations in the Middle East — even the troubles in China — are about prices which have been distorted by government policy and now seek an equilibrium it can’t attain..."


...One day we may all miss Time and Newsweek or the Ivy Leagues the way we miss vaudeville. But there’s no way back..."
I, for one, enjoy vaudeville!

In Other News...

Ahmadinejad: Upheaval will reach Europe, America
Associated Press

TEHRAN, Iran – Iran's president is warning that the wave of protests sweeping the Middle East will spread to Europe and North America.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says popular demands for change will put an end to the oppression of what he called "arrogant powers." Without signaling out nations by name, he says similar uprisings will strike Europe and North America.

Speaking on state TV Wednesday, the president also condemned Libya's use of force against demonstrators and urged Libyan leaders to give in to the demands of their people.

Iran's hard-line leaders have sought to claim some credit for the uprisings in Arab nations, saying the 1979 Islamic Revolution provided inspiration.

Iran brutally put down protests on its own streets after Ahmadinejad's disputed re-election in 2009.

In other news:

...In a news conference yesterday, Pot stated emphatically, "Kettle is Black! Kettle is Black!"

...Canada announced it is selling a large Island up north, bridge included.

...Former leaders of the Soviet Union admitted today to its citizens that the United States did, in fact, land a man on the moon.

...Oh, and Kennedy was shot by Oswald, and Elvis is dead.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Revolution...

Freedom of Assembly is enshrined as a fundamental right in a Democracy...yet...revolutions are often triggered when a crowd gathers in a public square (see Egypt 2011).

It will be very interesting to see events play out in the Middle East.  Libya...exactly what I would have expected.  Hundreds dead so far.  Yet the protests continue.

There is a murderous drug-dealing thug who lives in a city on the East Coast of the United States.  He, and his supporters, have killed members of their own gang - not for the small amount of drugs they had, not for the cash in their pockets, but for the reputation.  Witnesses say this man robbed armed men of their pistols.  He was unarmed...until after the robbery of course.  Now that is a reputation!

This man is in jail now (as long as the witness against him stays alive).  Tattooed on his stomach is the name he is known by in the hood...'Kaddaf'.  You see, the young black men who fill our prisons are converting to Islam.  For most of them...its not real.  They grow long beards that make them look scary - like a terrorist.  They adopt Arabic names, and they smack their head to the floor to create a mark on their foreheads - as if they were praying.  And as soon as they are released (after they buy a cool faux kaffiyeh) they go right back to their secular, drug dealing, thug lives.

They are recruited by real Muslims, because the Muslims see them as possible allies against the US Government. 

Why is this gang member, who has spent a good deal of his adult life in and out of prison, known as Kaddaf?  One told me, "'cause he be a ruthless killa."

(Not Michael Jackson)

The citizens of Libya, the citizens of Egypt are risking death - for Freedom.  They might not know Freedom, most certainly not like we do.  And, even if they are successful in Libya - like they were in Egypt - it will not look like our Freedom.  But it is Freedom nonetheless, or the longing for it, that makes them lay it on the line.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Happy President's Day...

...I know it is supposed to be Washington and Lincoln.  But they get a lot of celebration.  Today I will be celebrating Calvin Coolidge.

Coolidge was all about the limits of the Federal Government.  He lowered income taxes, and lowered spending...and whadda-ya-know, 1/4 of the federal debt was retired.  He opposed farm subsidies, instead believing that business worth being - should stand on their own.  Like alot of Republicans (conservatives) he got little credit for his work on civil rights - granting citizenship to Native Americans (ironic) and appointing blacks to high positions.

Silent Cal was elected as Vice President in 1920 (with Harding as President) as a rebuff of all the progressive nonsense that Wilson brought.  After Harding died, Coolidge won on his own in 1924 - with almost double the amount of votes of the Democrat.

In 1928, he chose not to run again.

They just don't make'em like that anymore... 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Draconian...

In 2009, the Federal Government dumped $787,000,000,000 in stimulus money to avert an economic meltdown. Or, to push us closer to one, depending on which side you are on. This was money above and beyond the budget.

$224,000,000,000 was marked for 'entitlements.' So far, $181,400,000,000 has been paid out.

This year, the Republicans in the House, pushed for a $100,000,000,000 cut in spending.  Since we are in late February already with no budget passed, and the budget calendar started in October 2010, they kept on target by submitting a budget with $60,000,000,000 in cuts - spread out all over the Government.

This was labeled as "Draconian" by the main stream media...

The Stimulus bill spent $184 Billion - OVER AND ABOVE THE BUDGET - on 'entitlements' alone.

Obama's budget for 2011 projects spending at $3,800,000,000. No, sorry, forgot 000. Obama's budget for 2011 projects spending at $3,800,000,000,000.

$60 billion is 1.58% of $3.8 trillion.

I'm just sayin'...

Confused? Does 1.58% sound...Draconian?

Well...

Draconian comes not from Dracula (which I heard a politician say), it comes from the ancient Greek legislator Draco (names were so much cooler back then). Draco replaced the system of oral laws by a codified written law.  He also required the laws to be enforced by a court. This was the first written constitution of Athens. He did this so that Justice would be available to all - not just the ruling class who was privy to the oral code.

Draco was on to something. He sounds like an ancient conservative.

However, Draco was no "compassionate conservative."

Like a conservative, he believed in punishing bad behavior, to put a stop to it. However, most offenses were punishable by death. How about some Draconian measures for some politicians...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Solidarity...

...remember the Polish labor leader Lech Walesa.  While he was a union leader, he was really a freedom fighter - opposed to the communist government.  Anyway, I feel a solidarity...with the Government of Wisconsin.   At least with Governor Scott Walker and the 19 Republicans in their Senate.  Standing up to the Unions that control so much there.  The DNC was busing protesters in to Wisconsin, while the Democrats in the Senate FLED out of state to avoid doing their jobs.

...the Governor of Alaska refused to implement provisions of Obamacare  - because it was ruled unconstitutional.  The DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE has asked the judge in Florida to 'clarify' - they are asking him to say if the law should continue until their appeal is decided.  Hello - NO!  Its a new law, so when it is ruled UNCONSTITUTIONAL - it is NOT in effect until an appeal overrules him.  There is a legal term for this...but its 1:43 am, and I have to go out in the cold night air and spread some justice, so I don't have time to google it. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I Love This Guy...

...and I say this wiht an unblemished record of staunch heterosexuality (Seinfeld)

Chris Christie Calls Out Democrats and Republicans on Fiscal Issues

"Let me suggest to you that what game is being played down here is irresponsible and it is dangerous. We need to say these things and we need to say them out loud. ”

“When we say we’re cutting spending, when we say everything’s on the table, when we say we mean entitlement programs, we should be specific.”

“Here’s the truth that nobody’s talking about. You're gonna have to raise the retirement age for social security,” he said. “Whoa, I just said it, and I'm still standing here. I did not vaporize.”

“These problems and issues are not partisan. They are obvious. And they are long overdue to be solved. And that’s why you see Andrew Cuomo, or for god’s sake, even Jerry Brown in California, talking about reducing the salaries of state workers by 8-to-10 percent.”

“Some people say I'm too combative, some people say I'm too much of a fighter. Well, I'll tell you, I'm fighting now because now is the time that matters most in New Jersey's and America's future and we are teetering on the edge of disaster.”


In a debate, without teleprompters...this guy would wipe the floor with Obama.

We haven't seen the likes of somebody like this since Taft...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Known and Unknown...

An Epidemic of Ignorance

Michael Shermer, WSJ

"Humans are pattern-seeking primates whose brains evolved to look for and find meaningful patterns in the noise and chaos of nature. When we connect A to B, this process is called learning. Sometimes A really is connected to B, and sometimes it is not. The only reliable way to know for sure is via the scientific method...

...One of the most nefarious anecdotal patterns in recent years has been a seeming connection between autism and vaccines...


...almost no medical researchers in the field agreed with Dr. Wakefield's findings and that health officials in the U.K. immediately denounced his recommendations...


...Dr. Wakefield's research is quite possibly one of the weakest studies ever published in the history of science. Just this week, a thorough study of the data by the British Medical Journal concluded that it was nothing less than an "elaborate fraud"—a conclusion supported by Mr. Mnookin's own debunking. As he carefully documents, autism existed long before the MMR vaccine was introduced, and hundreds of millions of children have received the MMR vaccine without developing any negative side effects whatsoever (let alone autism)...


...Dr. Wakefield received more than £400,000 to provide support for publicly funded lawsuits against the drug companies that make the vaccines...

...Rates of unvaccinated children in New York and Connecticut, for example, doubled between 2005 and 2010. In New Jersey, they rose by 800%...



...Mumps and measles are on the comeback trail, and if this medical mass hysteria is not checked soon we could face a terrible resurgence in these deadly diseases, which killed hundreds of millions of people before the invention of vaccines..."



[Bias warning:  I like Donald Rumsfeld...big fan.  Doesn't mean I agree with everything he does, did or believes, but I have great respect for him]

...Yesterday, Donald Rumsfeld was all over the place getting interviewed about his new book, Known and Unknown.  EVERY INTERVIEW I heard, from both the people on the Left, and from the Right, asked, "in hindsight....blah, blah, blah, blah." 

When you start your question (and your entire premise) off with 'in hindsight...' you should think twice about what comes next.  In hindsight, should we have stopped Hitler sooner?  In hindsight, should we have stopped Stalin too?  In hindsight, should we have dropped the atomic bombs...sooner?

[ This being said, I fall guilty to the same.  Slightly off subject - Am I the only one who meets people, and forms first impressions - that are totally off base?  Most of the time, usually with 'officials', people of high office, rank or position - I later think 'that guy was a clown.' In hindsight, I should have done X, and said Y.  ...and then I do it again, "nice to meet you (wow, you have lots of experience, you look very professional, you must be smarter than me...)" ]

NPR asked Rumsfeld if the "$3.1 trillion spent on the Iraq war was worth it?"  Really? Where did that money go?  Where did that money come from?  How much went to pay the salaries and benefits of United States military personnel, how much went to pay United States companies (yes, I know, the 'military industrial complex') for their products?  How much went to pay airlines and shipping companies to get stuff over there? Did we make bombs and bullets out of that paper money, and it burnt up - and now we are trillions poorer?

The wealth of a nation is not determined by how much paper money it has.  It is not determined by how much gold it has (ie in Fort Knox).  If it was, any country could just print more money and become rich.  And who really knows how much gold is in Fort Knox anyway?  The wealth of a nation is determined by the amount of goods and services it produces, and how much work it generates. 

If the idiots at NPR knew this, would they thank people like Rumsfeld?  They are certainly oblivious to Obama's spending - or thankful for it.

..."Former President Obama, in hindsight, was your proposed budget in early February 2011 a 'stick in the eye' of common sense, did you not see the 'writing on the wall'?" 

Why wait for hindsight?

(Rumsfeld is donating all profits from the book to Veterans groups. And just like Dick Cheney, he is advocating for the release of documents so people can judge for themselves on the 'facts' as we 'knew' them.)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

So Far So Good...

Democrats are in charge = "We're going to reconsider the Fairness Doctrine"

Republicans in charge =  "We are going to respect the First Amendment to the Constitution"


Mike Pence says Free Political Speech

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What works...

I was listening to a liberal today.  He was making alot of sense.  Oh, he was talking about his move towards the right.

People on the right, conservatives, feel strong about their principles.  But, people on the left claim the same.  There are so many hypocrites on the left.  Oh, yah, I guess there's a lot on the right too.  Conservatives believe in a system that works.  Capitalism.  The free market.  Liberals...

One of the reasons we have the president we have - is because the way we choose them.  Our 'elections.'  Can you imagine casting your vote because of what you heard on a TV comercial, or because of a sign on a street corner?  Then why do they spend so much money on that stuff?  Unfortunately, because it works.

Why not have real debates?  Why don't we force them to answer the questions?  It doesn't matter the candidate, the party, when they are asked questions and they don't answer (which is alot of the time) - they should be asked again, the same question.  Mr. Telepromter would squirm, just like he did when talking to Joe the Plumber.  So would alot of candidates on the right - though I would suspect NOT a good chunk of those that were just elected to the House.

I think if the Republican party was smart (and I am not convinced that it is), they would put up a unified front and force a system of debate.  We would lose the Sharron Angle's and Christine O'Donnell's...but didn't we already lose them?  On second thought, this would work better as a Tea Party theme. 

What would you have asked candidate Obama?

Is capitalism the best system of government?  Why?

Name three principles you believe in that support capitalism.  Name three principles you believe your opponent holds that will hurt our economy and why.  (It's the economy stupid, character doesn't matter).

"The Founders' desire to establish a stable, prosperous business climate led to their dissatisfaction with the ineffective government under the Articles of Confederation and animated their inention to write a strong, new federal Constitution in 1787.  Not surprisingly, the resulting document emphasized their commercial concerns:  when laying out the powers of the new Congress, they addressed all the first eight provisions of Article 1, section 8 to the economic system ("power to lay and collect taxes," "to establish...uniform laws on teh subject of bankruptcies," "to coin money," and so forth) before finally covering such matters as setting up courts and raising an army."
 - Michael Medved in The 10 Big Lies About America

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Pay Attention...

I watched a great show last night on technology vs learning.  It was looking at colleges today, and how they are adapting (or not adapting) to changes in technology.  It was scary how stupid the young adults sounded.  I don't know what conclusions the program came to...because I was switching between that and a show on MSNBC about the drug cartel violence in Mexico...and an episode of Star Trek The Next Generation.

...anyway, part of the program was dedicated to how we are less likely to sit down, undistracted and read long texts.  Immediately I agreed, and thought this was a bad thing.  They showed students at M.I.T. and Stanford, who didn't seem to write well, mostly because they could not focus for more than a paragraph.  They text, listen to music, and twit (tweet?), etc. in the middle of studying.  Most of them defended it saying they were 'multi-taskers'...but most fail simple divided attention tests.

One of the professors said it was not 'healthy' for learning, to be able to google something in the middle of reading.  That it was some how more beneficial to wonder about something, until you had the chance to go research it. 

...are you still paying attention?

Then they posed an interesting question.  Is this important?  That upset me.  Of course it is!  I think.  They brought up the fact that before the printing press (they said 'written language') when humans used oral histories, and story telling, we had better memories, better attention spans...but far less knowledge. 

I read books.  I read long articles on the internet, sometimes.  But also...I google everything and anything.  I don't read newspapers, never have.  They are too shallow, to dumbed down.  But if an article on the internet goes more than a couple pages...or I see that the slide bar on the right side of the screen has barely moved as I have scrolled down.  I move on.

When I blog, I like to keep it short.  I like to summarize...and other than a spell check, I rarely edit or re-write.  Most of the blogs I read, are short and to the point. I've seen blogs out there, with 1000 word paragraphs.  I hope its cathartic for the writer, because I don't think anybody is coming back to read the next post... 

When I read other people's blogs, most of them anyway, I google two or three things in their posts.  But a blog is not a book, its a log.  All that being said.  I have about a dozen half-read books in my room.  Good books too.  I want to finish them, but if I'm not in the mood...I'll just blog...

Just thinking out loud...on the keyboard...whatever!




Government: No Electronic Flaws in Toyotas

Did anybody else see this coming.  Just like I thought, there was a small problem, the media blew it up, and everybody jumped on the lawsuit bandwagon. 

House Unexpectedly Defeats Patriot Act Extension

Democrats vote against what the Democrat President wants.  Newly elected Republicans also vote no.  I believe for the same reason.  It is political - but in a sense...because both types of no votes are because they don't completely understand what they are voting on.  They probably haven't read it.  They are voting on the "PATRIOT ACT". 


We all agree, government must be kept in check.  Privacy vs Security is a valid issue.  However, the balance is HEAVILY on the side of privacy.  Take the much guarded "library records."  To request the historical records of what somebody checked out at the library:
 
1) You need a target that still goes to the library.
2) You need an investigator who thinks #1, and himself considers the library
3) You need a target who has never heard of the Patriot Act
4) You need a supervisor for the investigator to agree and sign off
5) You need a lawyer (not the prosecutor) for the investigator to sign off
6) The investigator knows that there is a review committee and inspection team that will be looking at this request in hindsight, maybe years after the investigator found nothing...and can still ding the investigation
 
Libraries are government run.  We are talking about a government agent's access to these government records.  It looks like we are properly balanced to the liberties of the individual...
 
...are you still reading?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Justice Anywhere...

"...one of the most hopeful aspects of the current conservative revival is its reclamation of the American constitutionalist tradition. That tradition is anchored even beyond the Constitution, of course, in the Declaration of Independence. And that document, let’s not forget, proclaims that, “Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends [life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness], it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it.”


An American conservatism that looks back to 1776 cannot turn its back on the Egyptian people. We should wish them well—and we should work to help them achieve as good an outcome as possible..."

Bill Kristol - Stand for Freedom

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Warning...

...from 1788.  Thomas Jefferson writing about the ratification of the Constitution, and his concerns:

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground...Our jealousy is only put to sleep by the unlimited confidence we all repose in the person to whom we all look as our president.  After him inferiour characters may perhaps succeed, and awaken us to the danger which his merit has led us into.  For the present, however, the general adoption is to be prayed for, and I wait with great anxiety for the news..."

It is clear he was concerned, as were many, with limiting the power given to the Federal Government, and specifically to the President.  His fear appears to have been assuaged by the leader that was George Washington.



Inferiour character matters...

.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Win an iPad!

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