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Sunday, December 1, 2013

My suggestions - Part 1

I have been working on this one in my head for a while. I had planned to do a post of all the suggestions I had for addressing the ills and problems I see in the world. The problem with a post like this was/is the sheer magnitude of it. I have been delaying doing it due to the time and effort involved. So, I just decided to write it as a series of posts. NOTE: I WANT feedback. I want discussion. You may or may not know, I have started another blog - just for this purpose. (FYI, this series of posts will appear there as well).

Before we get started let's do the lessons -
1) There is no government money. If you have questions on this point, I have many posts here where I expound upon this thought. Just suffice it to say ultimately all money comes from the public (you and me).

2) Corporations and businesses do not and cannot pay taxes. Same comment here - lots of posts explaining this. Bottom line - only people pay taxes. Businesses just get the taxes by raising prices on their customers (you and me again).

3) Term limits are critical to any meaningful changes to be made in our government. This includes the bureaucracy that exists today in Washington that holds a lot of the real power.

Now to the suggestions -

A) raise the voting age to 21. I can hear the gnashing of teeth now. Oh no, disenfranchising voters! Woe is me, woe is me. I was the among the first group of American young to be able to vote after reaching 18. I understand the allure of including all those that are subject to the laws in electing those that make the laws. I have one point - why do we feel it takes more maturity and life experience to decide whether to buy alcoholic beverages and/or tobacco products than to decide on the people that will govern us and make our laws? I know there are movements throughout the world to allow people as young as 16 to vote. Several countries have done so. There are various municipalities, counties, and even states that have lowered the age requirements for certain voting or registering to vote in this country. FYI, I would actually prefer a lowering of the age to purchase alcohol to 18 and raising the age of voting to 21. I feel that voting takes much more maturity and knowledge than the purchase of alcohol. If someone can convince me that I am wrong, have at it.

Further thought on the voting age - One thing I have seen that most people agree on is that most elections are a choice between the lesser of two evils. (we may not agree on who or what the evil is, but that choice nevertheless. I feel our choices have become more limited as younger voters have become more engaged. The young are more likely to be sucked into the "feel good" political-speak that surrounds campaigning. We get politicians that play to that feeling rather than truly addressing our problems and/or issues. You have to admit - regardless of the political affiliations, if the politicians that have been elected over the past 20 years had carried out their campaign promises we would be in a totally different country today. (note - I did not put "better", just good. Out of respect for the fact that we all see good and bad government differently) An 18 year old typically does not have the experience nor maturity to decide who should run the country. If municipalities and/or counties want to give a 16 year old the right to vote in local elections, I could possibly see that. (although I would venture to say the results might be disastrous depending on the number of these underage voters there are), but not for national or state level elections.

B) Eliminate and/or consolidate a large number of the departments of government. When the country was founded we had the departments of War (now defense); Treasury (now same, as well as other departments that have taken some of what was administered here, like Commerce); and State (originally Foreign Affairs, but essentially the same). The office of Attorney General was established with the Constitution in 1789 (yes 1789, not 1776 - look it up) , but the Justice department did not come about until after the Civil War.

There have been seven department/cabinet level divisions set up since WWII (8 if you include Defense which came from the consolidation of the departments of War and the Navy in 1947. FYI, the Post Office was a governmental department until 1971 when it was made a quasi-independent agency) In my opinion all seven could and should be rolled back into the department that they were spun off from. There also have been numerous lower-level departments with Cabinet level appointees set up like the department of Education and the Environmental Protection Agency that I would include in this consolidation.

So, the Health & Human Services would return to its original name of Health, Education, & Welfare and absorb the functions of the Departments of Education, and Housing & Urban Development. This department would also take the food stamp program from the Department of Agriculture (yep - that's who does that - more later)

The Department of Commerce would return to it's earlier name of Commerce and Labor and absorb the Labor Department as well as the remaining Department of Agriculture (without food stamps). This would hopefully simplify the farm bills that keep being held hostage or pushed through because of the food stamp program. This would also include the Labor Department and the Transportation Department as well as the Departments of Energy and Interior.

I would then take the Department of Defense and include - Homeland Security, CIA and NSA, along with Veterans Affairs.

Then I would cut the management of the departments accordingly. You might still need a department level head, but they would not be cabinet level. You would not need as many people doing payroll, support, etc. So, lots of cuts could be made. I would challenge the remaining departments to audit and suggests cuts that could be made in other departments. This would be mandated by law to insure it was done and the manner in which it would be done. Any savings would go half to the treasury (true savings), one fourth to the department that suggested it as bonuses to be paid out to the employees, and the final one fourth to be paid out to the employees of the department being cut in the same manner. This would be done annually.

More to come. Thoughts?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

New Blog - The Horse You Road In On

This blog has been a great forum for me to spout off on my thoughts and ideas on the world and its affairs. I have gotten some comments but not a lot. This platform does not lend itself to discussion. I have just started a new blog to hopefully accomplish this. It is at  Yes, that's The Horse You Road In On. At this time it only contains my welcome and explanation. I hope it will soon be full of your comments and ideas. Please help me spread this idea around. I really want to hear from you all!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Unaffordable Care Act

Is there anyone left that realistically believes that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act aka "Obamacare" was truly about getting healthcare for Americans that do not have it? I would hope not, but I am sure there are. I understand the lure and appeal of getting everyone in the country healthcare coverage, I truly do. From a humanitarian perspective it is a no-brainer. Who could argue that everyone should have the access to care when they are sick or injured? Why should anyone in the richest country in the world suffer needlessly or possibly die when proper medical care could prevent it? The problem I have with this is the way in which the government/administration decided to handle it.

The number of people without healthcare in this country is subject to a lot of debate as well as discussion over how that number is determined. There are a lot of young adults that are usually included in any number given that although not insured are so due to their own choice. My two youngest are in this group. Both do not have health insurance. They have both had it offered through their employers at various jobs but choose not to allocate their money towards it. Any care they have needed has been handled at urgent care centers or hospital emergency rooms. As 20-somethings healthcare fears that strike fear into the hearts of us older folks are not a reality for them. So be it. Also included in the number of people that do not have healthcare are illegals and their children (who may or may not be legal). The range I have seen in researching this number is from a low of under 20 million to a high of 50 million. A very common number given, and one that just happens to be in the middle of the above two extremes, is 35 million. For the purposes of this discussion we will use that number.

My opening "provocative" statement shows my doubt that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (to be from here on referred to as the ACA) was primarily about getting healthcare coverage for those millions without it. I really don't see how anyone could argue the point. Here is why I feel that way -

1) the agencies and programs to handle the issue already existed - The VA administration, Medicare, and Medicaid were and are already set up and providing healthcare to veterans, poor, and the elderly. The infrastructure (admittedly needing work, but that is a subject of another discussion) exists. It would have just needed to be expanded. Everyone that coverage needed to be provided for either already did, or could have fallen into one of these agencies with a little reclassification and regulation.

2) I know Congress has a great ability to complicate anything. However, thousands of pages of law and regulations is overkill. (this is one of those areas that is subject to great hyperbole - I have heard 11,000, 20,000, and up to 32,000 pages - I have pretty much confirmed that the law and regulations contain many, many more words than the Bible) It almost guarantees that at sometime anyone runs the risk of being in violation of the law. It also guarantees that no one will ever fully grasp what exactly is going on. This, to me, is the scariest part of the law. A government official can now tell a hospital, doctor, and/or citizen that they are in violation of the law and need to do such and such to be in compliance. This is way too much power. It is similar to the existing problem today with our federal tax codes. I personally have had a tax issue that I have put before a CPA and gotten one answer. Then I put it before the IRS answer people and got another answer. I then called the IRS help people and got a third answer. When I told the last guy and my CPA that they just said -"the law is complicated and subject to interpretation". I told him I did not think that would work in a court of law as my defense. I see the same issues coming up here. A cynic might say this is on purpose to allow the government to come in at some point and get absolute control with a single payer government run system.

3) With over half a Billion dollars spent on the website (that does not work) and almost $50 Billion dollars allocated (and surely to be spent - almost half has been so far) for promotion and education.
The money spent that does not have any aspect whatever to do with healthcare makes all of this smack of the cronyism that permeates most legislation these days. If this money had been put into the agencies I mentioned in #1, I feel a lot more would have been accomplished in the name of healthcare.

4) Even the most optimistic projections I have seen show tens of millions of people still not having healthcare at the end of 2014. I have actually seen a figure as high as 35 million - look familiar? The lowest number I have seen is 10 million plus. So, just the $50 billion allocated for education and promotion could have come close to getting the same number (25 million) of people covered with insurance, or close for the same period.

I will not get into the new IRS agencies and reporting that the bill and regulations call for. (FYI, this too has been subject to a lot of hyperbole with the "16,000 new IRS agents" claims that have been thrown around - not true as much as I can tell - probably more like 1,600) Also, the regulations and reporting that medical personnel will have to deal with and navigate through are a problem I mentioned somewhat in #2, but I will not cover in detail except to say that none of that serves patient needs any better. The extra taxes and fees that will be assessed on medical equipment providers and other medical companies is a drain on services and money. As a libertarian, I am greatly worried about the increase in power, complication, and structure of the government. That is actually my biggest concern.

Back to my opening remarks. Although I admitted that the humanitarian aspect of offering healthcare to any and all is appealing and understandable, the problem is cost. Who pays for it? Do we pay for the person that is morbidly obese when they have a heart attack? Do we pay for the meth-head when the OD and are dropped at the ER by their friends? How about the diabetic that eats the ice cream and cake because they want some and know they can just shoot some extra insulin? There is a cost to this that is real. There are personal responsibilities to healthcare that cannot be regulated. All of this is not handled by the knee-jerk feel-good response to the "right" to healthcare.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The shots are flying

This is taken verbatim from a health newsletter I subscribe to. It says better than I can something I have been trying to write out in my mind. It is time for the barrage of flu shot warnings. The short and sweet - FLU SHOTS DO NOT WORK!! THEY MAY EVEN CAUSE HARM!! THEY CAN CAUSE PEOPLE TO BE MORE LIKELY TO GET THE FLU!! Read on:

Every year, you hear about people who get a flu shot but come down with the flu anyway.

This is easily written off. Talking heads quickly explain that no medicine is 100 percent effective. Case closed.

So you're supposed to not ask questions, roll up your sleeve and take your medicine, right?

New evidence proves what we've believed for years -- that people could actually come down with the flu because of the shot.

What we now know is that the shot makes them more vulnerable to the other flu strains lurking out there.

For years, Big Pharma and its marketing partner, the CDC, have scoffed at the notion that the shot "gives you the flu." And technically, it doesn't.

You don't get the flu from injecting it into your arm. But the vaccine focusing on "this year's strain" leaves you wide open to other strains -- and even more vulnerable to them.

Two animal studies, one in in pigs and the other in ferrets, proved that flu vaccines made the animals defenseless to certain flu strains.

And now we know the same is true in people.

Researchers found that people who had gotten a flu shot the year before were more likely to become sick with the H1N1 flu the following year.

And don't look now, CDC, but in that same study, another shoe dropped...

Blood samples from children revealed something amazing. Compared to vaccinated kids, the unvaccinated produced MORE antibodies that offered protection against a wider array of flu strains.

That might not be enough proof for the CDC or Big Pharma or the store manager at Wal-Mart. But for me it clearly answers the question, "Should I get a flu vaccine?" with a big, fat "NO!"

Again, this is not from me, it is from a well respected health information newsletter.

I have published this in various forms over the past few years. I always get some responses about how "my doctor said I had to get the shot" or "with my medical history, I was told I would be foolish to not get the flu shot". My wife used to work at the local hospital. She was told she had to get the flu shot or she could not work. We got a lawyer to help us with a letter saying that was a violation of her rights unless they could provide conclusive evidence that her getting the flu shot was helping anyone other than the manufacturers of the flu vaccine. They backed down. People she worked with that got the shot - also got the flu. She never did. I have never had the flu as an adult. (I am 60 now and we raised 6 children - who did get the flu) Just to let you know, regardless of what your doctor, the CDC, or the WHO tell you - there is NO evidence that supports the efficacy of the flu shot -  NONE! There is now evidence that says it can cause harm to the immune system. I know that those of you that get the shot like good "sheeple" will continue to do so, but I thought I would try. Just eat blueberries. A report came out this week that a substance in blueberries has been proven to improve the human immune system. Take echinacea and goldenseal if you around people infected or feel like you are coming down with something. This will improve your natural immune response.

Then again, a lot of the "medical" advice you are probably getting from your doctor is flat wrong! Reduce your cholesterol for heart health by taking statins - WRONG! Cholesterol is a vital component of good health. (FYI, there are dangerous levels of types of cholesterol, but they are MUCH higher than the figures thrown around. There are also at least 12 types of cholesterol, not two - but that is for another post). Take an antidepressant if you are feeling down. FYI, in all double blind studies done by independent parties (as opposed to the ones done by the drug companies) there is no improvement in mood that cannot be explained by the placebo effect and none greater than the results offered by fish oil supplements and/or vitamin B supplements. (a bit of a simplification, but again - another post - or do some research yourself). Reduce your salt intake to be more healthy. HA, as someone that has had severe high blood pressure since I was 16, sodium is NOT a direct link to high blood pressure in all people. It CAN cause an increase in blood pressure. However, a lack of sodium (admittedly very difficult on an American diet) can be very dangerous. There is more, but I really just wanted to put out the info on the flu shot. I did.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Reminders and lessons from the soapbox*

OK, I have the soapbox* out again - time for a refresher course.

1) There is NO government money! Do not expect government money to ever solve anything. When you hear the words "government money", "federal (or state) funds", "federal grant", "state grant", or anything similar, just substitute the words "tax dollars" or similar.

2) Corporations do NOT pay taxes! People pay taxes. You can tax a corporation all you want but the money comes from the customers or the owners. If the tax laws change to make corporations pay more, they just raise prices. WE pay the corporate taxes. So, when you hear people talk about raising taxes on businesses and/or corporations, just substitute the words "raise taxes" or similar.

3) (pay attention, most people seem to have a problem with this one) Companies and corporations do NOT exist to provide jobs or benefits to people! Companies and corporations are founded to make money for the founders and their investors. Jobs are created as needed to support that mission - making money. As for benefits, this is a relatively new phenomenon. For millenia the only benefit a job offered most workers was pay (and not always "money"). The shortage of workers during WWII combined with price and wage freezes enacted by the government required companies to come up with ways to attract workers. Insurance and other benefits were enacted and escalated to the point that a lot of people expect an entry level fast food job to offer insurance and other benefits. (see next point)

4) The salary scale provided by a job is NOT negotiated after getting the job! I am amazed at people that work a job (or in certain fields, like teaching) that do nothing but complain about the wages paid. There is a cry in the country now for a "living wage" in all jobs. All my life I have heard how teachers are underpaid. (BTW, they probably are, all things considered) So, if you decide to go into teaching you should realize you WILL BE UNDERPAID! Do not take a job at McDonald's for $7.50 an hour and then whine about how little you are making. In every job I have ever had or known of what a person was being paid was well established prior to taking the job. If a job does not pay what you consider fair, DON'T TAKE IT! If people really believe McDonald's pays too little - DO NOT TAKE A JOB THERE! The reality is, if people will take the job at a certain level, they are paying enough. That is how pay should be determined, with how much pay is required to get employees to do the job. A minimum wage is totally against a free market economy. Every job should be offered at whatever wage a person is willing to take a job for. (most people cannot grasp this one at all either - I have had many an argument about this one) In further consideration, I am not saying that people should not be given raises based on merit. I am commenting on people that think take a job that pays $8 a hour and then strikes or pickets because it does not pay $15 an hour.

5) People here in the U.S. illegally should be called ILLEGAL! Not, "undocumented worker", or some other attempted innocuous term. The U.S.A. is the only country in the world that is not protecting its borders! If we have no borders we are not a nation at all, just a place. One of the few responsibilities required of the government by the Constitution is to provide secure borders against invasion. I know this country was founded and mostly built by immigrants. I know immigration is needed. The illegal entry of people has nothing to do with immigration.

6) Requiring a photo I.D. to vote is NOT illegal, racist, discriminatory, or bigoted! We require I.D. to purchase tobacco products, alcoholic beverages, and even Sudafed. Get real people! If someone can show me where requiring a photo I.D. has prevented someone from legally obtaining cigarettes and/or beer, or slowed down the consumption of same; you may have an argument. Voting responsibly is one of the most important duties a citizen has. To insure that every vote is authentic is only proper, moral, and legal.

Enough for now. But I have a reward for you that came this far. You may have noted the * after the word soapbox in the title and the introduction. Have you ever wondered about the phrase? (if you are young, have you ever heard the phrase?) In earlier times, before corrugated paper (incorrectly called "cardboard" by many) boxes to ship consumer goods, wooden shipping boxes were widely used to protect the goods. Soap was one of the first widely distributed and shipped consumer products. Most cities had a wealth of well constructed wooden boxes around, a large portion of them originally containing soap. Prior to radio and TV for entertainment and news broadcasts, people would get one of these "soap boxes" and stand on it to deliver their messages. People would gather and hear speakers on subjects from politics to religion. This became a popular way for political messages to be disseminated. So, the phrase "on his soapbox" became popular to mean anyone "preaching" a message.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Zimmerman verdict response

I have purposely stayed away from this subject until now. I saw an article/post that was referenced on Facebook that made me so mad and upset that I had to address it. What I am talking about is what has become the most important event to happen since OJ and/or Rodney King - the Zimmerman trial and result.

First a bit of background: our system of justice has a feature that is was not widespread around the world until fairly recently, and is not in a majority of countries now - the presumption of innocence. One can be charged with a crime and the authorities can have eye witnesses, photographic evidence, and even a confession. But, until the accused pleads guilty in court or is found guilty, they are referred to as the "alleged" perpetrator. The authorities/court is required to prove the person committed the crime. The problem with all the media attention these high profile cases get now is that the assumption of innocence is either solidified or destroyed by the time the trial starts (sometimes before as in the George Zimmerman case). The media and the talking heads all "try" the case based on public opinion, political correctness, and or what will get the most viewers or readers. Then, if the result is different than public opinion called for the talking heads and advocacy groups protest or call for a different result. The US Constitution (5th amendment) was not drafted to prevent people from having to testify (the modern usage) as much as to prevent "double jeopardy". The legal perspective of this phrase is as follows:

Five policy considerations underpin the double jeopardy doctrine: (1) preventing the government from employing its superior resources to wear down and erroneously convict innocent persons; (2) protecting individuals from the financial, emotional, and social consequences of successive prosecutions; (3) preserving the finality and integrity of criminal proceedings, which would be compromised were the state allowed to arbitrarily ignore unsatisfactory outcomes; (4) restricting prosecutorial discretion over the charging process; and (5) eliminating judicial discretion to impose cumulative punishments that the legislature has not authorized.

The civil prosecutions, hate crime prosecutions, etc. that have become more and more mainstream, in my non-lawyer opinion, go totally against the 5th amendment and the double jeopardy clause. But this sidebar has gone on too long.

The post that I read (I cannot find the link to it now - I will add it later if I find it again) mirrors many other Facebook posts, blog posts, etc. since the verdict was rendered. Basically it said poor little kid Trayvon was out for a walk after picking up milk and cookies for his grandmother and sick infants and was attacked by racist crazy man George Zimmerman. I usually do not follow crime trials and news stories about them. Someone asked me the other day about Casey (Kasey?) Anthony - I have no idea who that is) This one polarized the nation so much that I thought I would read up on it.

Here are some facts I've found:
1) Trayvon does not live in Sanford, Fla. He was there because he had been expelled from school (for the third time) this time for a drug offense. He was staying with his father's girlfriend while he waited out his suspension.

2) Trayvon's Twitter handle was "NO_LIMIT_NIGGA" (don't go all postal on me - an actual quote) He repeatedly had posted "gangsta" lifestyle type posts - what appeared to be his hand holding a gun, drug related posts and photos, etc.

There is more. If you are of a mind to you can research it like I did. Bottom line - Trayvon was not the sweet innocent teen that the media portrayed him as.

One of the arguments that is being trumpeted about is the fact that Zimmerman was "ordered to stand down" by the police or police dispatcher. If you read the transcript of the call or listen to the tape (I have), he was not ordered to "stand down". The actual line went like this: ...Zimmerman:"I'm following him"  Dispatcher:"We don't need you to do that". Not exactly a cease and desist order. The other fact is that the dispatcher has no police powers to order someone to "stand down". Zimmerman was within his rights to continue on.

Why was Zimmerman there and what was he doing, is another question that is being repeated. He had been elected by the community watch group to be the captain. He was on watch and patrolling the neighborhood. There had been some robberies in the neighborhood recently and the neighborhood watch system had been set up and intensified. Zimmerman saw Martin and went to see what he was doing. Zimmerman called the police non-emergency number and reported it. He (paraphrasing here) said there have been robberies lately and the suspects have gotten away so I am watching him (Martin).

If you listen to the only eye witness that saw anything while the altercation was happening he said that Martin was sitting on top of Zimmerman attacking him "MMA-style". That matches what Zimmerman told the police. Both at the scene and later. In fact, the police decided not to press charges after interviewing Zimmerman and the witnesses because it was obviously self-defense.
Zimmerman said he had lost Martin and was heading back to his vehicle. Martin jumped him and punched him in the face, knocked him down, and then got on him and started beating him. The injuries to Zimmerman were also consistent with this. The "stand your ground" law has been skewered as causing this death. My personal opinion is that the self-defense argument would have won the day regardless of this law. One always has the option of self-defense if they feel their life is threatened. Being sat upon and beaten "MMA-style" would make someone feel that way.

Was Zimmerman in the right? Legally, yes. That has been confirmed by a jury. Was he wrong to do what he did? Probably from a moral and sensible standpoint. Should he have been doing what he was doing? Looking back - of course not. But he was doing his duty as watch captain in a neighborhood that had had some crimes lately. He saw someone he did not know "sneaking" around the neighborhood and went to see what was going on. The real question is - what was Martin doing and why was he there? Unfortunately for him and his family as well as true closure for this event - that will never be known. It is very sad when any young person loses their life, even if their own actions contribute to the loss.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

I'm OK. You...not so much.

One of the biggest changes I have witnessed over the past forty years or so is the polarization of the population. Oh, I know that Democrats and Republicans, Tories and Whigs, vegetarians and carnivores, Beatles fans vs Stones fans, etc., have been at odds since the categorizations began; it is just that the divisions have become more and more broad. It is disturbing to me that any discourse and/or disagreement with the politically correct opinion is railed against and demeaned with increasingly loud voices. It is even more disturbing that the politically correct opinion appears to be a minority held position in a lot of cases. I realize that it is almost a cliche about how the "mainstream" media, aka the "old" media, is biased towards the liberal position; but I truly feel that these politically correct positions would not exist with any power if not for the artificial support from most of the media. (FYI, the cliche of the bias has been proven in many studies of news coverage and headlines, but that is another post)

We are terribly and possibly irrevocably divided on many major issues today. Abortion, gay marriage, voting rights, illegal immigration (I just can't make myself type immigration reform), government spending, taxation, racial issues, environmental issues, religious freedom, climate change, and OK - immigration reform ( I put it down as long as you recognize that it is a separate issue from illegal immigration) are all issues that are at one time or another at the forefront of the news and conversation. However, it is amazing to me how divisive the conversation and coverage can be. The loudest voices, backed by the media, appear to be the minority in a lot of cases. However, regardless of which side of the debate is actually the minority is on should not matter. This country was founded on the principles of freedom of speech, religion, and essentially thought.

I have stated in this blog previously that tolerance does not equal acceptance. Lack of full acceptance has been twisted by the minority opinion into hate or intolerance. I can tolerate someone punching me in the face. That does not mean I have to accept it or even like it. For example, I can tolerate gay men and lesbian women being in a relationship. I can even accept them being "married". However that does not mean I accept or approve of it. Any argument I might have against gay marriage whether based on religion, morals, tradition, etc all have validity. This is true also of arguments for it. The real problem I see is those on one side or the other will not even accept that there is another side to the discussion. For example the religion clause of the first amendment says nothing about the separation of church and state (don't believe it, here it is - "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...") The point was to prevent the suppression of religion. That has been turned around to prevent religious expression, especially Christianity. The same can be said for the battles I listed above. Vegetarianism is a valid lifestyle. Militant vegetarianism that strives to "convert" everyone and eliminate the availability of meat is not. This holds true for most other major issues of the day. This is an annoyance in most cases, but not a life changing event for most people. The one exception to this (in my mind anyway) is the climate change/global warming "debate".

I have many posts on this site documenting my thoughts on this subject with data and links to other data that disputes the notion of anthropomorphic (man-made) global warming. The danger here is that the proponents of this notion (at least the "leaders" of the movement, I am sure there are many people that truly just want to save the planet and don't know any better) just appear to want to shut down the tools of our economy - oil, coal, and other lower cost forms of energy. I could now go into a long discourse on how if solar and wind power were allowed to compete they would not have a chance based on current technology. The false competitive position applied to these technologies currently are masking the fact that they are not feasible currently. They may become so at some point in the future, but not today. The other argument I have against the fact that the "carbon footprint" b.s. is not the driving factor of the global warming movement is that we have two technologies now that could produce all our energy needs without produce any CO2 but are not being used mostly due to "environmental" issues. They are nuclear energy and hydropower. However, if one offers up a position (no matter how valid or with whatever proof) that is contrary to the global warming nuts, it is immediately ridiculed and belittled. There are many, many scientists that have produced arguments and proof to the contrary but have not been reported or published with the same coverage as those that "toe the line".

The point of this post is to bring attention to the fact that open and free discourse and argument is critical to the growth and advancement of society and this country. It is more and more apparent every day that suppression of ideas contrary to ones own is the procedure of the day. It is very common on comment sections of news stories, blogs, and forums to see someone blasting someone with vitriol over their intolerance, something I find particularly odd. I also do not mean to imply that any one group or position has the high moral ground here. The vitriol comes from both sides of most arguments. I welcome any valid and cogent argument on any subject. This is true whether I agree with the position or not. I can appreciate a well formulated debate in all cases.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Movie and TV Badguys - NOTE!

For no real reason I have watched a lot of action type shows and movies over the recent weeks. Although I do enjoy the format, particularly when done well (not often in my opinion), it is sometimes annoying how poor the "bad guys" are when it comes to defending themselves or fighting. I came up with some guidelines and advice for them:

1) First and foremost - would it hurt you to ASK if the guys (and girls) you are teaming up with have ever shot a gun! Most of you and your team are armed with automatic weapons and still couldn't hit the broad side of a barn!
2) (follow up to above) Ever think of a little PRACTICE - maybe go to a firing range once or twice?

3) Even though most of you don't shoot well; a gun still trumps a knife which usually trumps fists. Why, when facing the "good guy" (who is known to be the world's best hand to hand fighter or whatever) do you insist on dropping your weapons and fighting them? Shoot them already!

4) Your side usually has a great advantage in numbers at the beginning of the battle/confrontation. Why do you always take this advantage and throw it to the wind by sending out your people one or two at a time to "check out that noise", or "go see what's taking so long", or just trying to find your adversaries?

5) (as a follow up to above) When the first one or two don't answer the radio or come back on time - DO NOT send two more to "see what is going on". Don't you realize you are being picked off little by little?

6) If you do capture your main foe - kill them! Do not pass go, do not collect $200! Don't have a heart to heart talk with them explaining your plan or your horrible childhood - you are the bad guy - they are the enemy - get rid of them already.

7)(follow up to above) OK, you didn't kill them when you captured them. Now, maybe look into the room/basement/cave/etc you are going to "imprison" them in? It probably has an old back way out, an air vent that leads back to you (I did another post about these fabulous air vents in movies and TV shows a while back - if you like this one you might want to check it out - or some other way of the good guy getting free/being rescued and coming to get you. In the end - see above - just kill them while you can if you expect to be rid of them!

I had more but got interrupted and have lost my train of thought. This should be enough to make the bad guys a little more competitive.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Happy Independence Day / 4th of July!!

I have used this post for the four previous July 4th posts. I am using it again for two reasons -
1) I read it and I don't think I could improve upon it. Not that it is the best thing ever written. I just don't think I am capable of doing better and/or getting my point across.
2) I actually have had REQUESTS for it! (hey - more than 1 is plural)

I am going to preface this a bit more. I read recently that a study and a couple of "man in the street" type interviews showed that a LOT of people here do not know the who, what, why, when, and/or where of July 4th. When asked what it is, the most common response was "Independence Day". When asked to elaborate, most could not. When pointedly asked who we attained independence from, a LOT did not know. The answers ranged from China to Germany and a lot in between. When asked when it occurred that also was missed by a majority.

When you are having your gathering, cookout, picnic, or watching fireworks with friends and/or family take a moment to go over the meaning and history of Independence Day / July 4th, especially with any children present.

I am an American. Like the majority of those living in this country, I was born here as were my parents and their parents. Like the great majority of those living in this country, my ancestors were not born here. A direct descendant on my paternal side immigrated here in 1789 from England. However, I am not an English-American or even a European-American. It bothers me to see people described (by self or others) as Irish-American, African-American, Asian-American, or any other hyphenated American. Hyphens do nothing but separate us from what we truly are: Americans.

Like my father and his father before him; I speak English. In the not so distant past, every immigrant that came to this country learned to speak English. It was a point of pride for them to master one of the most difficult of languages. Since this was (and is marginally still) an English speaking country it was expected and usually accomplished relatively quickly. Expectation and hard work made it so. To immigrate to this country was, and is, a desire that burns brightly in the hearts of people worldwide. However, it seems now that it is expected by some that we should welcome their "diversity" in language and culture at the expense of our own. Merriam-Webster defines diversity as:

1: the condition of being diverse : variety ; especially : the inclusion of diverse people (as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization.

Inclusion does not mean domination or extinction. One could make the argument that diversity by its very definition requires the original to remain as a part of the whole.

As I said above, my ancestors immigrated here. They came by accepted means and according to the laws of the land. It makes me very angry when I see the illegal aliens in this country called an "immigration" problem. I have said before - calling the illegal alien issue an immigration problem is like calling bank robbery a withdrawal problem. We have a very serious and growing problem in this country of providing and maintaining social services for our citizens. When these services are offered to and overwhelmed by illegals, it makes the problem that much greater. We must address the problem of illegals in our country. It is one of the defined constitutional responsibilities of our government to secure our borders. The government has failed at that responsibility. Amnesty is not the answer when solving a bank theft spree. Nor is it the answer to our illegal alien problem. People must be required to follow the laws of the land when it comes to becoming a citizen. We also must stop now in providing social services and any medical care beyond that which is needed to save a life to illegals.

The United States of America has a great heritage in its two hundred and thirty plus year history of offering freedom, liberty, protection, defense, and support of all kinds to the people of the world. A large portion of the world owes any freedoms and liberties it has to the armed forces and the diplomatic minions of the U.S.A. Americans have helped to free and rebuild Europe twice. We have helped free those behind the Iron Curtain. Most recently we have brought the light of freedom to the Middle East. American might has not been used for building an empire. We freed these countries and turned them back over to the indigenous people, while providing the funds necessary for rebuilding. It sickens me to see and hear cries of "Imperialism" from detractors of the U.S. That claim is ridiculous when history is reviewed. The U.S. has won in battle or by diplomacy; Japan, Germany, Italy, France, the Philippines, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Grenada, Panama, and more. Did we add them to our country? No, they were all returned to their people who in some cases still decided the U.S.A. was the evil empire.

The United States of America is a beacon of freedom and light for all the world. We offer support, hope, and ideals of life that are envied by a large portion of the world.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Travel Wisdom Facts

I just returned from a road trip vacation. I covered a large portion of seven states and a bit of two others in seven days, for over 2,500 miles. I did a significant portion of it alone, and the rest with my mother, sister, and her eight (almost nine) year old daughter. It was a very nice trip. I will admit it was too much driving, but then I like to drive.

One of the things I was thinking about on the day long trip through three states getting home, was some truisms or laws of travel. This is what I came up with. FYI, I am not basing this exclusively on this trip. I have logged a LOT of miles over the years, both work and leisure related. (in no particular order)

1) the restaurant, gas station, etc you really want is always on the other side of the divided highway

2) urine production is correlated directly to the availability of restroom facilities

3) the lowest priced gas always occurs when you have no need of fuel
    subset - the highest priced gas always occurs when your fuel warning light is on

4) the worst motels have the most regal or chivalrous names - in fact the quality of the accommodations can be determined inversely by how blatant the royalty is applied. ie - Knight's Inn - could be bad, Regal Inn is probably bad - Royal Queen Inn is definitely bad.

5) the person driving slower than you is an idiot - the person driving faster than you is a maniac. You are the only person driving the correct speed. (this was paraphrased from a George Carlin bit, but VERY true)

6) when deciding where to eat, the person that says "I don't care" probably cares the most.
    subset - the person that admits to caring and names a place will be shot down in flames

7) when trying to make a quick "pit stop" and get back out on the road is when the pumps won't work, the bathrooms will be out of order, the register will be broken, and/or the only station open will not have pay at the pump capability and the lottery ticket buyers will be 100 deep.

8) related to the above - your desire for speed inversely affects the chances of the people in front of you in line completing the slowest transactions in history
   subset - the people in front of you at airline counters, store checkouts, bank teller lines:
          a) speak only a rare Caucus mountain dialect thought to be a dead language
          b) are trying to complete their transaction using money printed in a country that does not exist any longer
          c) are using ID that identifies them as escaped felons to be held for interrogation by the FBI
          d) are trying to take a flight that left yesterday on an airline that declared bankruptcy

I am sure there are many, many more. In fact I think I had more, but no note taking when I am driving. If YOU have any, let me know. I will publish them if I deem them worthy.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Ummm, I'm not sure how I feel about that!

A couple of posts ago I wrote about the irritating (at least to me) actions of members of Congress who can hate any idea that is brought up by the other party. It can be an idea that their own party championed earlier, but is now being offered up by the "bad guys" so it is automatically evil and something to be railed against. That phenomenon made me think of a similar thing that is happening with the voters. I am not claiming it to be a recent affliction, but it has grown in intensity for sure (as has all vitriol surrounding politics of late).

It would be humorous if it was not such a serious matter, but I am amazed at the intellectual dishonesty by the critics of George Bush and his "Big Brother" tactics against terrorism when compared to their comments (or lack thereof) on the current administrations policies and actions. Bush was protested against, publicly vilified, and otherwise deemed to be Moloch incarnate for having the NSA/CIA/intelligence community track phone calls to and from foreign nationals in the years after 9-11. Now, I am not going to state that was all that the Bush administration was doing, but it was all that was being reported, and therefore all that was being protested. The comparisons of those "spying" activities to what has been documented to have been put in place since Bush left office is like comparing pee-wee football to the NFL! Again, the only claims were that the administration and its departments were tracking calls to and from foreign nationals out of the U.S. The cry of "warrantless wiretapping" and illegal spying was shouted from the rooftops - at least by those opposed to Bush and the Republicans.

I am for any reasonable measure that offers real protections against another terrorist attack like those of 9-11, irregardless of what party institutes them, supports them, and/or carries them out. I am not supportive of "feel good" measures like the idiotic TSA checkpoints that are there to create more union members and to sedate the masses that think my shoes being off while being screened and keeping my liquid volume transported to under a pre-set number is keeping them safer on a flight. (but that is another blog post, I digress) I think that the Bush administration, and the standing Congress of the time (which was primarily Democrat for most of the years), took advantage of a horrible situation (9-11) and used it to institute one of biggest grabs of personal freedoms ever taken by our government. I also feel that the Obama administration and today's Congress has taken it to another level.

For anyone that cares about personal freedom to support some of the information gathering that is being conducted under the guise of national security is a shock to me. I have had the privilege of sitting in a Congressional hearing twice in my life. I was a speaker at both. One was in the very early 80s and concerned the use of Social Security numbers as I.D. We were concerned that the government would share the information collected by the SS administration (and other government branches) with businesses and policing organizations. HA! We were so naive. Would it be that this was our only issue! Did you know that when the Social Security system was being set up one of the main oppositions to it was that it would give the government a unique ID number that would enable tracking of an individual. That was ridiculed by those that supported the program. If you are over the age of 45 or so and have an old SS card, right on it was a notice "NOT TO BE USED FOR IDENTIFICATION". This was removed from the cards in the early 70 (or thereabout). Ben Franklin said "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." But I am getting slightly off subject.

My point was mainly that people are intellectually dishonest. They support what their "man" or party does even if it is the same thing that the other party did that they opposed. This applies to our press, our elected officials, and the general populace.

Sunday, June 2, 2013


I have not done these in a while. (if you are interested, there are three or four others back a few years)
HEADLINES, said to be REAL! With my comments -

Woman Missing Since She Got Lost

Sun-Times Media Wire

It always has to start somewhere!  (alternatively) Of course, prior to that, no one was looking!

Man charged with exposure at Northgate Mall after showing 'glistening white buttocks'

Sleigh bells ring, are you listening?

Drunk parrots acting up and falling out of the sky in Austrailia (again)

cracker heads  (or alternatively)  Crackers are a gateway drug


Man learns life lesson in naked fight with javelinas

The Arizona Republic

Some of lifes best lessons may be learned naked. (FYI, a javelina is sort of a wild pig-like critter)

Cops: Woman had 81 lbs of junk in her trunk

WWL Radio /

I am sure she is aware of it, no need to point it out! (alernatively) She's just big boned!

Rogue Massachusetts turkey, known for attacking mail truck. may or may not belong to Ethel Kennedy

She has been dealing with "turkeys" in the news for decades!


Strip club customer blames robbery on nerds

Those roving gangs of nerds are getting more and more out of control!

China Bans Time Travel

News Corp

From now or to now?

Monday, May 27, 2013

Houston (and Miami, L.A., New York City, Winston-Salem, etc), we have a problem!

People, we have a real problem with our government. I can see a lot of you clicking away - "He's getting political again". BUT WAIT - READ ON. This not specifically a political problem, at least not a political problem specific to one party. We have a systemic and pervasive problem with our elected "representatives" in government. It affects the government at all levels. It is much more of a problem as you get farther away from the voters - ie Washington vs your town hall, but it is a problem everywhere. 

It is to the point now that if you are a member of one party, anything a member of the other party comes up with of any significance is said to be wrong. I know this is a bit of an overstatement; but I submit, not much of one. There are still a few important issues that are worked on in a bipartisan manner, but not many and usually not by the "leadership" of the parties. As I said above, this is not a Republican problem nor a Democrat problem. Both parties have gotten to the point of doing this. The way you can verify it is by reading and paying attention. Both Democrats and Republicans in the past eight years or so have had a plan for something brought up that was ridiculed by the other party. Then, years later with the other party in power, the same idea (or almost identical) is brought up by the party that ridiculed it and it is ridiculed by the original party! (read that again if you have to, it is a but meandering) The main problem with this is nothing gets done! All time is spent in blasting the other party's ideas or on reelection.

The government is being run by people that seem to be totally disengaged with the population, except for the six months prior to elections. At that point the promises made are fabulous. Every problem we have from border security to welfare have a solution. Then, when elected, they go back up and do the exact same things! Again, this is Republicans and Democrats. The sad thing is, we (the voters) let them get away with it. Why would a politician do anything differently when they can do this over and over. All you have to do is talk the talk during the campaign and then walk however you want when elected. Then repeat and you get elected again, and again, and again...

Let's go to the graphics:

FYI, in 2008 - 87% of House incumbents were reelected. In 2010 - 91%, so it was statistically the same as historical data.  In the Senate it was 91% in 2008 and 84% in 2010, so also statistically the norm.

Interestingly (at least to me) was that the Senate has averaged a bit more turnover than the House. FYI, that goes totally against what the framers of the Constitution were looking for. The House of Representatives was to be the "people's chamber" with two year terms. Well, the terms are still two years, but people keep coming back! This is a fairly recent phenomenon. Until the mid-20th century most politicians in both the House and Senate served one term and went home. Then, somewhere during the great depression and WWII era, politics became a career. Woe is us.

There are two answers I see to this problem. The easiest lies with US, the voters. We have to vote the incumbents out! It amazes me that some of these people are voted in after legal problems, scandals, idiotic statements, and going against almost all significant campaign promises. But again, why should the politicians worry about it when they know they will be reelected. We must hold them accountable! Actually the real answer lies in term limits. Jobs in government should NOT be careers, at least not the elected ones. (I am actually a fan of rolling the bureaucracy as well. Some of the unelected bureaucrats have WAY too much power) A House member should serve eight years or so MAX. A senator, maybe the same. Now, this would require a constitutional amendment, but it is critical.

We the people - must act. Nothing is being done in Washington or most state capitals; or at least not the will of the people. It is on us now.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

True Story

Yesterday I had the distinct pleasure of watching a cashier self-implode. (OK, not totally "self", I was involved!)

I had bought six 2 liter soft drinks. She was bagging them. She had done the first two - two to a bag, then double bagged it. She complained - "Man I HATE working with these drinks and bags! They don't cooperate at all!".

I said - "Why not just put one to a bag, and not double bag?"
Her answer - "We are required to put two to a bag."
My response (ever trying to be helpful) - "If you put one to a bag, and then DON'T double bag them, it will be the same number of bags; and even the same weight per bag."
Her - ????????????? (I could hear the wheels turning) "...but we have to put two to a bag."
Me - "I guess it is better. Carry on."

Now, what is scary to me about this is twofold -
1) she obviously had no concept of what I was saying
2) it might be policy, which means some "manager/leader" had made the decision and had not thought of what I was getting at either.

In general, I agree with the scientific process of evolution and natural selection. The flaws in it can be evident when faced with examples like this. Why do we still have SOOOOOOO many stupid people?

Monday, April 15, 2013

Information and some reminders

I have written some about this in previous posts, but I think it deserves additional attention.

It is amazing how true the axiom of (paraphrased) "repeat a lie often enough and it becomes an accepted fact". Said with a different slant it applies to names, titles, and labels. For example, it is in my lifetime that swamps disappeared. WHAT? - you might exclaim. I know swamps. There are swamps near me. Au contraire mon frere. A swamp is now a WETLAND. We did not learn about wetlands when I was in school. Preserving the wetlands was not a requirement or even a wish. It was all about draining a swamp. Swamps and wetlands are homes to mosquitoes and other nasty insects. However, no one will donate money to save a swamp. Legislation to save the swamp is not a headline grabber. Therefore they became a wetland. Now we save them. (I understand that there are ecological and biological benefits from "swamps". I also understand that if I have an acre of my property that is almost constantly covered with water, I might want to drain it to make it more usable.)

Need another example - how about jungles? Want to donate to "Save the Jungle"? Want to take a trip through a jungle? (besides the Jungle Cruise by Disney). Evil snakes and other animals live in jungles. We clear jungles to make land more usable. What about a rainforest? Most jungles are now rainforests. Ecologically and environmentally, they always were. Rainforests are a designation of climate. We did not differentiate. We just knew jungles were filled with evil things. Rainforests are going to save the planet with all the biodiversity. BS; but give money to "save the Rainforests", won't you?

See what I mean? It is the same with Global Warming and it's new moniker, Climate Change. As I have posted here many other times, the climate has been warming since the end of the last ice age. We are GLAD it has! Most of the earth was not habitable for humans. At least not as we see it now. An Inuit lifestyle does not appeal to most people. Subsistence farming and hunting is not how most of us desire to live life now. The fact that our "carbon footprint" (another made up eco-phrase) is causing irreparable harm is crap. The fact that "an overwhelming majority of scientists" believe it is BS. But, every day there are more and more references to this pseudo-science and terminology blended into advertisements, news stories, etc.

Immigration reform? Now, we probably do need to reform our immigration laws, requirements, and enforcement. However, to refer to people that came into the country ILLEGALLY as an immigration problem is absurd. If you come home from work and someone has pitched a tent in your backyard, what do you do? Call the authorities? Grant them the right to live there like it was theirs? That is what we are talking about now. One of the few actual responsibilities that the federal government has is to "secure the borders". This is actually spelled out in the Constitution. There is not a mention of hearings to find out if ballplayers use steroids. There is not even a mention of them taking care of providing food stamps. (there was actually a specific ban on income taxes, but that is another post) Secure borders is one thing that IS specified. I have stated before - calling illegal aliens an immigration problem, is like calling bank robbery a withdrawal problem.

Now some other stuff (or as they said on Monty Python - "now for something completely different")

Remember the first, important rule - THERE IS NO GOVERNMENT MONEY. It is especially ironic to mention this on April 15th - tax day. The government at all levels is taking more and more money from those that actually produce in this country.

Rule two - CORPORATIONS DO NOT PAY TAXES - PEOPLE PAY TAXES. All corporations can do is charge more for their products and give that portion to the government. While I am on corporations, here are some more facts - corporations/companies do NOT exist to offer employment to people. They are not there so people can retire with a pension. They do not exist to offer benefits to people. They exist for one reason - to make money for their owners and investors. Now, that usually means employing people. However, pay and benefits should be based on market conditions and what it takes to get the quality of employees needed. In fact, a board of directors can be sued if it is found negligent by overpaying. That is the same for taxes. Boards and management can be sued by investors if they are not taking advantage of all tax breaks that are legally allowed.

Lastly - with the Senate arguing on gun control, another fact. (yes FACT) No gun laws will stop tragedies like the school shootings. No gun laws will keep guns out of the hands of people acting insanely. Yes, we can keep guns out of the hands of those that have been found to be mentally incompetent. However, mental incompetence and psychotic episodes are not static. I can be mentally unstable tomorrow. Almost any of us could be faced with something that causes us to be "temporarily insane". I can buy a gun when perfectly normal (I know, I am never normal) and then have a "break" and start shooting. Now, I know the anti-gun folks say don't sell me the gun in the first place. Besides being a violation of the Second Amendment, it is impractical. With millions and millions of guns out there already, one will always be able to get a gun from someone, somewhere. I have a couple of posts about this already here, so I will stop now.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

I'm having fun DAMMIT, get out of my way!

I am amazed at how we Americans work so hard at vacationing. It has become a contact sport!

I have made the trip to Florida quite regularly over the past 40 years. In fact I am writing this from just outside of Orlando. I am always amused at how people, especially those with kids, react and interact as they approach vacation nirvana.

One can tell how close one is to the "vacation capitol of the U.S." by the expressions and actions of people at rest stops, fast food restaurants, and gas stations along I-95. As you get to southern Georgia the people are wound as tight as a drug addicted lab rat working for his fix. Eyes glaze over, tempers flare, smiles become those forced tight lipped things that do nothing but make you appear like you have lockjaw. The least little thing will set one of these traveling wonders off - "Where the HELL are my FRIES?" "This DAMN pump won't take my card!" "Get the homeless dude off the bumper". Nerves are a frayed as a twenty year old T-shirt.

As I was negotiating around I-4 - near enough to Orlando that you can "smell" it, the vacationers were so damn determined to "get there" and start relaxing and enjoying themselves that just trying to get off an exit can be life threatening. "I MUST GET TO ORLANDO AND RELAX!" The tension in the air couldn't be worked out by a drug rep convention. In the spirit of openness, I have been in this state of mind many time before. I remember working up a lather trying to get all our kids and "stuff" packed into our vehicle so we could hurry up and start vacationing and enjoying ourselves. Heaven forbid if one of the kids (or adults) had to go to the bathroom before a designated time/place. Life as we know it would end if we could not get into the McDonald's and fully eat and pit stop in the allotted time. "MOVE IT, WE ARE ON VACATION DAMMIT!!"

If you want to see what the Zombie apocalypse will look like all you have to do is go to Disney World and sit by the tram stop in the parking lot. The poor wretched creatures stumbling off of the trams are enough to frighten anyone. This group has been VACATIONING! They have ENJOYED THEMSELVES!! They are near DEATH. You can tell the ones beginning their vacation vs those ending it. The "newbies" still have some life left in their eyes. The kids will still be bouncing around and asking if they "can come back tomorrow". The "long timers" that are getting ready for the trip back to reality are truly the walking dead. There is more life in a butcher's trash can than in their eyes. The kids are crying and being dragged like a chihuahua on a long leash.

My point is - we Americans work WAY TOO HARD at relaxing. We take our week and try to ram a year's worth of recreation into it. I know you have all heard someone (maybe you or a family member) comment how they have to "recover from vacation". We WORK at our relaxing.

See you on I-95!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Just write a check!

I am very, very dismayed at the current state of affairs in Washington, especially concerning the budget. I have posted on various other times about our need for term limits (the House of Representatives was set up with two year terms for a reason - rollover), responsible elected "leaders" that will make tough decisions, and responsibility from the elected and the electorate. If you have an interest in my thoughts on these matters, dig around the archives here. You might find a surprise or two anyway, this blog is VERY eclectic.

The current issue of the budget and the idiotically named "fiscal cliff" arguments are extraordinarily annoying. First, the much touted 'fiscal cliff" was created by the politicians that are whining about it now. The great gnashing of teeth that is taking place amongst the members of congress and the news media is ridiculous. The "cliff" was created by the inability of the elected to do anything about the actual budget problems. It was brought about by the debt ceiling deal cobbled together in August of 2011. A hard date was put into the agreement to raise taxes and cut expenditures dramatically at the end of 2012. It was reported like no one knew it was coming. The congress had over sixteen months to work it out. But, amazingly, getting themselves re-elected took priority over any mundane subject like working out a budget crisis. As I have written and said many times before - the only way to address the inaction and poor performance of congress in addressing their responsibilities is term limits. We the people must insist on it.

But, this is not the direction I was looking to take this. I wanted to address the budget, specifically spending and revenue, directly. In the post at this link I covered (in great mathematical detail) the budget deficit growth. I will not repeat it, so here:

Politicians, especially democrats, are constantly talking about taxes; tax cuts, tax increases, taxing the rich, etc. I hope to demonstrate to you that are willing to listen that tax revenues are not the problem - spending is. I am now going to numb you to tears with figures. (fyi, the dollar amounts are all in constant 2005 dollars, for no other reason than the charts I am using for documentation are also)

One of the problems I see with our current state of affairs is the way in which HUGE numbers are thrown out with no realization as to how huge they really are. A billion, for example, how large is a billion. One example is a stack of pennies. If you stacked one billion pennies atop one another they would reach a height of about 1,000 miles. If you make $50,000 a year, in 20 years you would have earned a million dollars. But, to earn a billion would take you 20,000 years! And just for giggles - it would take you 20 million years to earn a trillion. I actually heard a talking head on the radio talking about some expenditure cuts that would amount to tens of billions of dollars that said basically it was a waste of time. That amount was not worth worrying about as it was such a small percentage of the overall problem. Tens of billions is tens of billions. There are many, many countries of the world where tens of billions of dollars represents their entire government expenditures.

Speaking of expenditures, here are some facts. (remember 2005 dollars so you can compare)
The first year the U.S. spent a trillion dollars was 1945 (close in 1944) due to WWII. Then things started getting back to "normal" and it was not until 1968 until the trillion dollar level was breached again. After a few years of "backsliding" in 1972 the expenditures exceeded a trillion and never went back below. It took twenty-eight years, until 2000 to hit two trillion. Now the fun really starts. It took just six years to exceed the two and a half trillion (2006) and then just three years to cross the three trillion threshold. The U.S. government has spent well over three trillion a year every year since.

To compare this to the population of the U.S. The population went up 32.2% from 1972 to 2000 with a doubling of expenditures (all figures rounded). The population from 2000 to 2006 went up 5.7% with an expenditure growth of 25.6%! From 2000 to 2011 the population went up 10.3% with an expenditure growth of 53.2%. The bulk of that growth has been from 2008.

Over THREE TRILLION dollars a year in expenditures. This is not sustainable. As I have said before, we cannot tax people enough to pay for this. Now the real problem: we also cannot keep borrowing to pay for this. Now to give you the other side of the equation (and I am going to be brief as I gave you a link to details above) with revenues:
In 1972 (remember, the first year of non-stop trillion dollar expenditures) the total revenues of the U.S. government were just a shade over 908 billion dollars. The revenues exceeded two trillion for the first time in 1998. The largest revenue year ever was 2007 at over 2.4 trillion dollars. The second highest year of receipts was 2006 at over 2.3 trillion. (but wait you may say - these were both years AFTER the dreaded Bush tax cuts one and two took effect! Correct, but not the point of this blog post).

Now, as any of you that run a household budget or a business know, the problem comes in when expenditures exceed income. Although there have been more years since WWII where this has occurred than where it has not (only nine without a deficit), the first trillion dollar deficits have all happened in the past four years (including 2012, which is not finalized yet). FYI, except for WWII years, the deficit had never exceeded even half a trillion per year except for the past four!!

Spending is the problem. We MUST cut spending. ALL spending: defense, social security, welfare, unemployment, foreign aid, support for the arts, crop support, FEMA, transportation, and any and everything else.

So, in addition to the cardinal rules - THERE IS NO GOVERNMENT MONEY and CORPORATIONS DO NOT PAY TAXES, PEOPLE PAY TAXES;  we now have a new one: WE MUST CUT GOVERNMENT SPENDING!  (and maybe that term limit thing)