Does it bother you at all that avowed socialist Jane Fonda is slated to play the iconic Nancy Reagan? I have to say . . . it bothers me a lot. Not only because I don’t want the nation’s memory of Mrs. Reagan soiled by being associated with such an un-American person, but because I don’t think Fonda is a good enough actress to pull of the quintessential and beloved First Lady and wife of one of our most successful Presidents ever.
March 27, 2012
March 24, 2012
Are you a fully actualized citizen? You can determine your status by answering one question. When you reflect on the federal government and ponder “what’s in it for me”, what are your expectations? What is it you expect the government to do for you?
If you haven’t really studied government, how it was designed to work by our founders, how it works now, how the changes impacts the citizenry and the direction our country’s headed, you may not see the pitfalls before us. Let me give you just a little food for thought.
In my view, a fully actualized citizen is one who, when questioning the role of government and what they have to gain, thinks about the natural rights of liberty and property as defined by the Constitution and Bill of Rights. They know to get ahead they must work harder AND smarter, but they expect to be able to benefit from their efforts and sacrifice. They expect to bear the penalties of their mistakes. They have embraced their freedom and revel in it.
Someone who has not yet reached full maturity in their citizenship is someone very concerned about “fair”. Any benefit they could potentially receive by direct action of the government are perceived as rights to which they feel entitled . . . right to health care, right to a job, right to a house. The catch-word for this class of citizen is “fair”, I want my fair share, he has more than I do that’s not fair. They have no concept that “fair” is actually “fair and equal under the law”. It isn’t “you get the same”, it’s “you get treated the same”, a wholly different thing.
The only thing we are truly entitled to beyond the liberties and freedoms defined in the Constitution and Bill of rights is freedom of opportunity. Anything or anyone who reduces this right is negatively impacting your natural right to success as each of us defines it.
This country used to be about freedom, the right to work hard . . . or not, the right to strive to better your existence . . . or not, the right to think and dream and live to the best of your ability. This is the ideal of advanced citizenship as defined by the Constitution and Bill of Rights!
I read a really interesting article last week which resulted from the parasite woman in Boston wanting her birth control paid for by taxpayers. I posted the link to that article in a previous post. Sometimes things click and this morning the entitlement mentality, feminization of manly men and the dependency of women (see aforementioned article) all coalesced into a whole in my mind. Our country is made up of those who are philosophically women/children who want/need to be taken care of by others. These people don’t want to think for themselves or sacrifice/strive to the degree necessary to care for themselves. They are a sub-class of citizenry, the philosophically dependent.
Our country is also comprised of citizens who embrace our freedoms and celebrate the independence that goes with it. These citizens emulate our founding fathers in their desire for self-actualization. They work hard, they play hard, they sacrifice and suffer to achieve. They understand true freedom means being independent to succeed or fail. They understand failure isn’t the end, it’s just a lesson for what doesn’t work. They don’t turn to the government to fix their failure but retrench and start again. These are the advanced citizens.
December 3, 2011
. . . they do.
For those of you needing a definition of “replica” . . .
Now compare that to bas-relief.
November 18, 2011
I watched the Senate’s hearing on “Could Tax Reform Boost Business Investment and Job Creation?“. It’s fascinating. I’ve noted the important parts below. Listen to any bits that interest you.
There are four tax reform presenters (Entin, Stone, Mastromarco and Hanlon) and about a dozen lawmakers listening and answering questions. Each presenter has five minutes for opening remarks and each lawmaker has five minutes to comment and question.
Brady introduces the presenters with their education, significant job history and positions.
Entin talks about how taxation effects the economy negatively. He’s anti-Keynes and for tax reform and says taxes negatively impacts capital investment and ultimately hurts the workers. He’s for diddling with the current tax code which implies leaving the ability to engage in favoritism in place is a good thing. He’s well educated and smart but still sees the government as the “smart” manager of taxation and spending. Of the “retain the current tax code” crowd, he’s the most educated and aware of how theory and the real world don’t match. He sees and understands the inequities in the current tax code.
Stone plays the part of the village idiot, unable to connect theory to history/proven fact. He’s straight Keynesian, advocating for increased taxes and thinks government taxation and government spending is the only answer to every question. He is unable to see or admit what he’s advocating has never worked and he does a lot of fumbling to try and avoid admitting or facing it. When the Senators start commenting and questioning him, one of them (Mulvaney @ 65:08) excoriates him for advocating policies that have been proven not to work. While Entin may see the tax code as fixable, which is bad, this guy is much much worst. He is advocating bigger government with the government distributing the taxes to influence/control (“fix”) the economy. This guy is bad news. It’s a good thing he’s not very articulate. Only people who already believe his warped logic are going to listen to him.
Mastromarco advocates for the Fair Tax. His intro speech starts at 42:24. While it’s well worth listening to he wastes a lot of time in the beginning blasting other plans instead of highlighting the excellence of the Fair Tax plan. That bit made me wince. Brady questions him at 54:25. One of the senators asks him about the likelyhood of tax avoidance (Campbell @ 86:21). Stone comments on the Fair Tax at 59:18. I don’t think Stone realizes how strongly he’s advocating for the benefits of the Fair Tax. He talks about how it would encourage hard work and investment like that is a bad thing, calling those activities a “natural disaster.” I did say he was the village idiot, didn’t I? The guy is as dumb as a rock. Mastromarco rebuts Stone’s Fair Tax comments at 63:39.
Hanlon advocates reform of the current tax system. He’s for greater infrastructure spending, increased taxation, taxing the rich and raising corporate tax rates. Hanlon’s the village idiot’s slightly more articulate understudy. He may have been included to give Stone’s position support. I don’t see that as one of the outcomes of the hearing. I think he just widened the target area for some of the lawmakers’ shots.
61:18 – Casey talks about the inequity between types of companies in the current tax code to which Hanlon responds. More past, present and future ineffective tax code tweaking mentioned here.
65:08 – Mulvaney has some excellent comments about the current tax code and the comparison of real world versus theory. His section is a must watch. Stone props up his position as the village idiot in non-answering Mulvaney’s questions. “I think, I think, I think, I think . . . ” Who decided this was the guy to support the Keynesian model? Personally, I think they erred in their choice of an advocate.
After a bit of self-back-patting blah-blah-blah, Coats talks about good stuff starting at about 71:18. Start listening closely when he talks about consensus and the corporate tax rate/code and how uneven/unfair/unequal it is. That bit’s really good and Entin’s response to him is excellent and highlights how confusing and unequal the current tax code is.
77:20 – Duffy talks about the global marketplace and how our current tax code impacts our global competitiveness. He nails Stone and Hanlon by questioning them about taxes in other countries. Stone again reprises his village idiot role. The guy just doesn’t learn. In his responses, Hanlon again holds up his village idiot’s understudy role. Duffy’s articulate and informed and Stone and Hanlon look even worse in comparison.
90:00 – Duffy asks Hanlon about a carbon tax, global warming and taxation. Well worth watching Duffy’s five minutes just for Hanlon’s squirming to avoid answering Duffy’s questions. Stone’s fumblings are equally amusing. Duffy’s responses to Stone are spot on. Entin’s comments are very interesting as are his revelations about burden tables. This last bit is in response to Stone’s comments about the “right size” of government and are some of the most enlightening of the hearing. Entin’s comments at the end support the Fair Tax plan without naming names.
95:43 – Brady’s closing remarks are good. I got the impression most of the lawmakers are truly fed up with the current tax system, lobbyists and corruption. If they can hold that light up and stay strong, we may actually make progress from their efforts.
Watch or don’t watch. I thought it was good. If we’re informed we can fight for smaller government and a more effective and prosperity generating tax code. I know enough to tell my legislators which way I expect them to jump.
Conversely, if we aren’t informed, we are going to believe legislators and lobbyists without it tipping our bullshit meter.
November 10, 2011
For a long time I’ve been a fairly silent advocate of “real life” classes for high school and college students. With our current ability to write gaming programs we could develop a Real Life game to be played by every high school and college student to teach them about finance, politics and personal responsibility.
While this is actually the job of parents, mine didn’t do it and I know few of the teaming masses whose parents actually did instill fiscal and personal responsibility in their get. Instead of learning how to manage a budget (and WHY you should HAVE a budget), how to save for a rainy day and retirement, how to stay out of trouble personally and legally, many of us had to learn at least a portion of that in the school of hard knocks. If you haven’t attended that school, let me tell you, maturity and true adulthood comes only after this knowledge is fully assimilated.
There is currently a game called the “Game of Real Life” but it’s based on rolling dice, not on a “choose from this list of actions” personal decision making ideology. I envision a computer based game that would let you make choices and your outcome (let’s assume the game lasts the length of a typical educational semester) at the end is based solely on the choices you made. There needs to be an element of chaos in the algorithm because shit happens. That thing did fall out of the sky, you did get rear ended and the windstorm did blow that tree into your house. The game would encompass all the students in all the real life classes running for that semester so your “real life” activity would influence and be influenced by all the other students.
At the end you’d get a pass/fail based on attendance and participation. The goal is to teach fiscal and personal responsibility, not score students based on how many karma points they acquired through the semester
I got off on a bit of a tangent.
Wadly and I are three years and two months away from having no mortgage. When we bought this place we put a big chunk down and we’ve paid ahead every month we could. The decision to do those two relatively responsible things has saved our butts twice. If we can keep this up for the remaining three years and two months we will be rid of our last consumer credit bill.
The reason I tell you this is because of the problems in the housing market brought on by the machinations of James A. Johnson, CEO of Fannie Mae. The housing market train wreck is explained in the new book Reckless Endangerment by Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner.
This rather rambling heads up is in part due to the governments’ creation of another panel to craft legislation to “fix” the housing market. Haven’t they done enough already?
November 10, 2011
November 8, 2011
November 7, 2011
Maria Cantwell is supporting the FCC’s increased interference in the free market. I can’t remember exactly what I sent her, but her reply is as follows.
In October 2007, the Associated Press confirmed through online tests that Comcast was secretly blocking its customers’ lawful use of BitTorrent and other peer-to-peer audio and video Internet applications. The company claimed that it only blocked the peer-to-peer Internet traffic to relieve congestion on its broadband network. Two public interest groups filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Upon closer examination, the FCC determined that this was not the case. In 2008, the FCC issued an order finding that Comcast was in violation of federal Internet policy and told the company to stop the practice. Comcast settled the complaint with the FCC. The company also took the FCC to federal court, challenging the Commission’s authority to have any say over how it manages its broadband network. After the Commission deregulated broadband over cable modems in 2002 and broadband over phone lines (DSL) in 2005, the Commission has relied on its so-called “ancillary authority” in Title I of the Communications Act to oversee broadband Internet.
In April, 2010, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Commission’s ancillary authority in Title I does not provide a sufficient statutory basis to tell Comcast how to manage its network because it did not identify “any express statutory delegation of authority” from Congress with respect to broadband Internet service. The Court decision did not state that the FCC could not issue any rules or orders related to broadband Internet service, but that any rules or orders must be tied back to sections of the Communications Act where Congress has given the agency express authority. Taken broadly, the Court decision undermines the basis from which the FCC uses to protect and empower consumers on the Internet. Additionally, the Court’s decision makes it difficult or impossible for the Commission to implement sections of the National Broadband Plan.
On December 21, 2010, the Commission issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking laying out a new framework to protect the open Internet. The Commission chose not to reclassify broadband Internet service as a telecommunications service and apply the full suite of provisions established in Title II of the Communications Act, and instead chose to base its framework on Title I of the Communications Act and Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. While the Commission’s proposal is better than no protections at all, it does not prohibit broadband Internet providers from requiring content, service, or application providers from paying for prioritized delivery of their Internet Protocol (IP) packets, also known as pay-for priority. The proposed order also treats mobile broadband Internet differently from fixed broadband.
I believe this framework is not strong enough to make certain that consumers have access to the content of their choosing and the Internet continues to be a source of economic dynamism. Without strong protections, broadband Internet providers will likely favor their own or affiliated content, service, and applications because they have the economic incentives and technical means to do so. This could lead to a tiered Internet with premium fast lanes and slow lanes for the rest of us. We can’t afford to let this happen if our nation is to achieve the important broadband goals put forward in the National Broadband Plan.
For these reasons, on January 25, 2011, I introduced the Internet Freedom, Broadband Promotion, and Consumer Protection Act of 2011 (S. 74). My legislation applies to all broadband Internet providers, prohibiting them from discriminating against internet traffic or requiring content, service, or application providers to pay for prioritized delivery of their IP packets (pay-for-priority). It promotes the adoption of broadband, by requiring broadband providers to provide service to an end-user upon reasonable request and to offer standalone broadband Internet access at reasonable rates, terms, and conditions. The bill directs the FCC that if it extends the Universal Service Fund (USF) to include broadband access, only those broadband providers offering standalone broadband Internet access service will be able to participate in the new broadband fund. It also allows broadband end users who believe their broadband provider has violated their net neutrality obligations to file a complaint at either the FCC or a U.S. District Court. Lastly, it requires broadband providers to describe their network management practices to end-users.
And my reply was:
In your email to me of Nov 7 you listed all the reasons why you support the Internet Freedom legislation currently being presented. What you have failed to grasp is that all of these things you see as problems can and will be solved naturally using free market principles if the government will get and stay out of the way.
I use a torrent client for data transfer. I just spent 12 days waiting for Sprint to solve a slow data stream issue. This is not something I see the need for the government to interfere in.
I have the ability to use my customer dollars to leverage my internet service provider’s quality of service. I do NOT need or want the government establishing any rules that change the interaction between me and my service provider.
Get out of the way. If people want internet that answers to the free market, we MUST get the government out of the way. The government has to stop trying to regulate commerce. It is bad for the country and it is lethal to our freedoms.
What you are supporting is bad legislation. You think you’re helping and you aren’t. You’re increasing the grasp of government and interfering where interference is not needed.
So many of our liberal congressmen fail to grasp the value of a truly free market. They see what they do as helpful and beneficial with no real understanding how the free market system works. We need more Friedman and Hayek and much less Keynes. I’m not holding my breath.
November 5, 2011
Mitt Romney is currently campaigning on making the government more efficient. This is beyond scary. We don’t need more efficient government, we need smaller government. Smaller government is naturally more efficient. Romney should be emulating Gary Johnson and vowing to get the government back within the confines of the constitution so our country can be strong, healthy and FREE again, but that’s not what he’s offering. Johnson has proven he can reduce the size of government and New Mexicans love him for it. If you’re expecting smaller government things from Romney, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. What he’s promising isn’t what this country needs. He doesn’t believe in smaller government and I can prove it with just one word. Romneycare.
Greece and the Euro are in the midst of crashing. If you want to know if big government socialism works, take a look at Greece. Their socialist President is the guiding hand behind the Greek slow moving train wreck and it will negatively impact economies around the globe. This will include the US. And the even worse part is, we’re using a credit card to pay credit card debt. If you don’t already know that doesn’t work, you haven’t ever handled personal finances. Government finances are no different and our government is preparing to assist in bailing out Greece by borrowing money from China. You and I are the ones who will have to pay it back, so that’s our money being throwing into the economic hole that is the Euro. I hope you’ve got a ready supply of cash available to you (not in a bank) when things start to get really sticky. If our government doesn’t pull their head out soon, you will need it.
Jack Abramoff’s got a book out. I don’t know if you remember who he is. In 2006 he was a lobbyist who was convicted of mail fraud and conspiracy and he went to slammer for four years. The good news is he took a lot of others down with him. His book is a “name names” look at his time as a lobbyist. The reason I mention Abramoff is because he’s naming names and highlighting the corruption. Our tax system fosters corruption. Our expanded government fosters corruption At some point the citizens of our once fine country are going to rise up and pull the plug on the mess that is Washington and we’ll get our country back. The Fed, Fannie and Freddie have GOT to go. If we can get the Fair Tax passed it will remove the tax code as a corruption vector and give a boost to our economy the likes of which have never been seen before.
And finally, I’m offering some advice on vetting future political candidates. If they won’t swear to remove at least one overreaching government agency during each term they are in office, don’t vote for ’em. They aren’t prepared to do what needs to be done in Washington so there’s no point in sending them.
October 2, 2011
After becoming immersed in studying the government over the last couple years I’ve developed a different view of our country’s political parties. Wadly and I are ex-Republican non-religious social conservatives. I think we’ve been pushed out of the Republican party and into Libertarianism by a level of governmental overreach we think is killing our country, our liberty and our freedom. Not everything requires a legislative answer, despite what the Republicans think. What they’ve been practicing for the last 20 years has created intrusive laws and governmental interference in the personal choices of its citizenry. At this point, this interference doesn’t effect us a lot (social conservatives) but we see it drastically effecting others. No thank you. If it’s not good for all of us, it’s good for none of us.
Here’s my current take on this country’s political parties, subject to change as I learn and grow.
The Republican party is the socially conservative party. Generally Republicans believe in God, mandated morality and advocate personal responsibility. They used to believe in smaller government but as demonstrated by the current level of legislation in effect, results speak louder than voiced ideals.
The Democratic party is the socially liberal party. Generally, Democrats believe government is the answer to everything and responsibility should be mandated. If you are more fortunate or (more usually) harder working, Democrats think you should take care of anyone less fortunate or less inclined to self-actualization. This is a bad thing on many fronts, but it’s only one of the less appealing aspects of the democratic ideology.
One of the concepts I managed to grasp during my Glenn Beck and Reason TV watching is, Libertarians come in all social and religious flavors. At the core, Libertarians believe in a strict interpretation of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. You can read a variety of definitions here, but my favorite is David Boaz’s “Libertarianism is the view that each person has the right to live his life in any way he chooses so long as he respects the equal rights of others. Libertarians defend each person’s right to life, liberty, and property-rights that people have naturally, before governments are created. In the libertarian view, all human relationships should be voluntary; the only actions that should be forbidden by law are those that involve the initiation of force against those who have not themselves used force-actions like murder, rape, robbery, kidnapping, and fraud.”
A Libertarian can be socially conservative and religiously devout like Glenn Beck or a socially liberal yet drug and alcohol free naked party throwing atheist and obscene language spouter like Penn Jillette. Republican Governor Chris Christie shows Libertarian leanings in the way he governs New Jersey. Presidential candidate Gary Johnson is a fiscally frugal social conservative who believes in a woman’s right to choose whether she will bear a child to term whereas Presidential candidate Representative Dr. Ron Paul is socially conservative and believes in right to life based on his training in obstetrics and gynecology. Both are stated Libertarians because they believe in a government that stays within the confines of the constitution.
Libertarians believe in freedom and liberty completely separate from religious beliefs and social leanings. Libertarians share a belief in the innate right and freedom to choose how each of us lives our life while simultaneously advocating and demonstrating personal responsibility and tolerance for others’ choices. The thing I find most attractive about libertarianism is the “government within the confines of the constitution” base belief, that our freedoms and liberties are innate. That philosophy works for me.
Jillette, half of the comedic Penn and Teller duo, is a Libertarian who practices his personal freedoms to the fullest. I’ve been listening to his God No!. This book isn’t a story, it’s a collection of essays written over a period of time collected into book form, a celebration of one person’s expression of their liberty. I think I stopped listening near the end of Chapter 6, perhaps a quarter of the way through the book. To me, the book isn’t very interesting. From what I’ve seen of Jillette professionally, I expected something a little more sophisticated than the collection of obscene epithets and obscure references with which the writing was littered.
I respect Jillette’s right to live the life he has chosen. How he lives his life is not hurting me and he’s happy. That, in itself, makes me smile. I may start listening to his book again at some point in the future, but for now <shakes head> yeah . . . not so much. Beyond the obscure references, I can’t get past wincing at the inarticulateness of the obscene language. At a guess, I’d say I’m not Jillette’s intended audience.
I think our founding fathers missed the mark on two aspects of their work. The statement trade between the states must be regular as a stand-alone without the attached arguments as stated in the Federalist Papers is too vague and has allowed our government to misinterpret the clause to our general detriment. The clause was intended to ensure all states were treated identically but has instead been interpreted to all interstate trade is regulated by the government. Secondly, the “separation of church and state” should have included something about morality being a function of religion, education and social pressure, not something to be mandated by legislation. JMPO.