Monday, December 31, 2012

Fiscal Cliff Follies

The third-rate reenactment of the Perils of Pauline follies being staged in Washington, D.C. , by the nation's clownish political parasites is understandable only if viewed in context.

First, the nation already has gone over the fiscal cliff.  The national debt is unimaginable and unrepayable.  We're like the Road Runner in the cartoon who, after running over the edge of the precipice, frantically churns his legs and remains suspended in space for a brief time before plummeting into the abyss. 

What the Congress is trying to do is to jury rig some gimmickry to delay a noticeable foretaste by their voters of the inevitable pain everyone will experience when we hit the bottom of the economic chasm the lawmakers have created. They probably will agree on some slight-of-hand illusion of success and then engage in a great display of congratulating themselves and one another . . . and they and their media sycophants will expect the rest of us to join in applauding their supposed last-minute achievement.

Never mind that the so-called "fiscal cliff" that is portrayed as having snuck up on us was created by the same lawmaker in November 2011 and then ignored in the ensuing 13 months. Also, never mind that they had to rush back to their clown house atop Capitol Hill (at the expense of hundred of thousand of taxpayer dollars) at the last minute to offer up their crisis avoiding baloney . . . after having worked a grand total of 30 days over the five months from July 1 through November 30 --the House majority leader's website, shows that our honorable representatives worked twelve (12) days in July, two (2) days in August, eight (8) days in September, not at all (zero - zip 0) in October, and eight (8) days in November.

Focusing on Top Health Care Priorities

Link the Bump Ups

One of the budgetary cost cutting/deficit reducing measures that supposedly is being considered in the political fiscal cliff avoiding charade being staged by the mental midgets who make up our Congress is how to limit future Social Security cost-of-living-based retirement benefit increases.

The solution is simple, obvious and would result in savings beyond anything that could be achieved by applying it only to Social Security retirement benefit recipients.

Step One: Every December determine the percentage increase in living costs during the 12 months that ended on the immediately preceding September 30.

Step Two:  Apply that percentage to increase the benefits to be paid to Social Security retirement benefits in the ensuing calendar year.

Step Three:  Apply the same percentage limit to pay increases to all government employees -- members of Congress, all Legislative, Executive and Judicial branch employees, and all of those who 'work' for the multitude of administrative agencies that the government has spawned.

On second thought, pay increases for members of Congress should be limited to half of what would be called for by application of the above-described formula.

To be truly fair, this solution should be applied retroactively . . . going back to the last year that the nation had a balanced budget.  Compel the Capitol Hill clowns to cough up the unearned largesse -- the aggregate amount of all pay increases in excess of the percentages by which Social Security retirement benefits rose -- that they have heaped upon themselves while failing to discharge their responsibilities.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Appropriate Government -- A Dream vs. the Reality

A proper national government would focus entirely on safeguarding the liberties, lives, and properties of the nation's individual citizens.

It would not seek to ensure the economic well being of any of the nation's citizens, and it never would extort from any of them property to bestow upon others.

In the coming days, efforts will be made on this site to explore why and how the U.S. government has divided its focus, largely abandoning its proper goals, to pursue inappropriate and ruinous economic fantasies.

Big Brother Is Real

Not only is Big Brother real, but he's going to be in your living room, lurking and watching you from behind the TV screen.  Get the details here.

Subsidized Slaughter of a Species

Wind farms -- set up and operated with and only because of taxpayer-funded government subsidies -- are not much good at producing energy as they are neither efficient nor reliable.  But they apparently are doing s superb job in decimating birdlife, according to this report, which provides another example of our tax dollars at work.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Throwing in the Towel to Insurmountable Rot and Decay

The horrendous massacre of innocent children in Connecticut reflects not a firearms problem but the widespread degradation of our society, as is spelled out in two incisive essays.  Both are well worth reading and considering.  See them here and here.

The founders of our nation clearly understood that the viability of the republic they established would depend on a virtuous citizenry . . . and that -- sadly and shamefully -- is something we no longer have.

Below is a letter that your not-even-slightly-humble blogger sent to the head of one of the best of our country's many excellent libertarian think tanks:

         Although I appreciate your recent letter and the work done by and because of X X X, I will no longer support X X X or the many other libertarian organizations to which I have contributed over the past six decades.

         As is indicated by the length of time that I have provided financial and other help to organizations promoting individual rights and liberties (along with the commensurate responsibilities), I am an aging codger.  As such, I continue enjoying my life, which has been and continues to be blessed with good health, many compatible friends, and satisfying family relationships.

         However, it is clear to me that the good work that has been and is being done by X X X to and similar organizations has failed to stem the expansion of the size and scope of government and the corresponding erosion of our liberties.  Promoting good ideas is a fine and worthy endeavor but our country today has a far more intrusive government and is far less free than in my earlier days.

         All the good works by intellectual adherents to Constitutional principles apparently only provide intellectual resources for rear guard actions that at best slow the rate of the retreat from, and abandonment and defeat of those principles.  Those resources go largely unused in any coherent way.  We desperately need but completely lack an effective organized active effort to advance -- or even merely to defend what remains of -- the values that the nation’s founders sought to enshrine in the Constitution.

         We fought a good and worthwhile fight.  But we have lost.  Like a fish that has been kept too long, we rotted out from the head, with the corruption first having taking hold in, and then spreading from our leading institutions in government, academia, business and finance, the press, and even our churches.  The virtuous citizenry required for maintenance of the republic no longer exists.

         In light of the foregoing, I have concluded that every society, nation, and civilization has a life cycle akin to that of all living organisms . . . and that ours (including all of what has been thought of as Western Civilization) is in a downward spiral.  I used to believe that I would be gone before the final collapse.  But that may not be the case as the decline, having  already reached an inescapable point, is accelerating with breathtaking rapidity. 

Tragedies Trump Reason

Facts are irrelevant to those who want to take away Americans' right to keep and bear arms, but fortunately there still are some voices and writers to whom reason count, and the estimable Thomas Sowell is in the latter group.  Read his take on what is taking place in the aftermath of the Connecticut shooting tragedy here.

Typical Tough Interview by One of Our Current Watch Puppies

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sinking U.S. Now Ranks As a 16th Rate Country

A new listing of the best countries to be born in next year places the United States at only No. 16.
One reason cited for the lower-than-expected listing: the federal debt.
The list was compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit, a sister company of The Economist, and “attempts to measure which country will provide the best opportunities for a healthy, safe and prosperous life in the years ahead.”
Among the factors considered are wealth, crime, trust in public institutions, demographics, health, geography, and economic forecasts to the year 2030, when children born in 2013 will reach adulthood.
Switzerland ranks at the top of the list, followed by Australia, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.
Rounding out the top 10 in the list of 80 places are Singapore, New Zealand, Netherlands, Canada, and Hong Kong.
“America, where babies will inherit the large debt of the boomer generation, languishes back in 16th place,” The Economist notes.
Germany is tied with the U.S. at No. 16, ahead of Japan (No. 25), France (26), and Britain (27).
At the bottom of the list is Nigeria at No. 80.
The lowest Western Hemisphere country is Ecuador at No. 65, and the lowest European nation is Ukraine at No. 78.
China comes in at No. 49, while Taiwan is No. 14. Russia is down the list at No. 72, just behind Indonesia.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Oh, Will We Ever Learn?

As some senior citizens may recall, the Iraelis at one time experienced quite a few school shootings.

The prophet’s brave holy warriors, bored with buggering each other's (or their own) children, would periodically turn their hands to murdering the kids of their hated Jewish neighbors.

That practice came to a screeching halt when the Israelis responded by seeing to it that every school always had a certain number of armed civilian staff members who were trained in the skillful use of the weapons they carried.

Are our political leaders capable of learning anything from that?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Why and How Our Schools Produce Barbarians

It is no accident that what passes for an education system in America turns out drones ignorant of their heritage with no attachment to any culture. The destructive methodology that achieves this and the subversive rationale underlying it are examined in this excellent analytical essay.

An Astute Reader's Response on O'Reilly

One of the most perceptive observers of, and erudite commentators on the passing scene of whom I am aware has responded as follows to the recent items on this blog about the blatherings of Fox News channel's Bill O'Reilly:

I'd like to buy O'Reilly
for what he's worth
. . . and sell him 
    for what he thinks he's worth.

More equally accurate and acerbic material from the same author,  Lee Rodgers, can be seen on his blog to which a link is provided in the column to the right.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Bombastic Bill: A Bit Better But Still Wrong

Bill O'Reilly returned to stoking the firearms controversy on his Fox News channel Factor show last Wednesday and this time he dropped his reference to gun ownership by Americans as "a privilege" and recognized it as a right.  However, he said that it was right bestowed on American citizens by the nation's founders.

Wrong again . . . and the woefully ignorant bloviator thus continued disseminating misinformation.

People here owned guns before America became a nation. In fact the Revolutionary War was sparked by popular resistance to a British military effort to seize the arms and munitions of the Massachusetts  Minutemen at Lexington and Concord.

The founders did not pretend or purport to be granting the people the right to keep and bear arms.  One need only read the Second Amendment to see that they recognized the right as a pre-existing one.  The Amendment was adopted to ensure that government would not be able to infringe on it.

As for the source of the right, the founders viewed it as a natural one, existing as a matter of natural law created by what they referred to as "Nature's God."

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

More Reports from Britain on Obamacare's Template

From a major British newspaper, the Telegraph:
    "In the worse cases staff have overseen 'a kind of normalisation of cruelty', (Britain's Health Secretary) Jeremy Hunt told an audience of health professionals.
    "Managers were so 'buried in spreadsheets' that they had become 'blind' to the fact that patients were not being treated with dignity or respect, he said.
    "Poor care had become 'perhaps the biggest problem of all facing the NHS', Mr Hunt claimed in his strongest speech yet on the NHS, almost three months into his tenure as Health Secretary.
    "In a passionate speech, Mr Hunt cited numerous examples of appalling NHS care. He said: 'Just look at what has come to light in the last few years: patients left to lie in their own excrement in Stafford Hospital, with members of the public taking soiled sheets home to wash because they didn’t believe the hospital would do it.'"

More … from the London Daily Mail newspaper:
    “Sick children are being discharged from NHS hospitals to die at home or in hospices on controversial ‘death pathways’. Until now, end of life regime the Liverpool Care Pathway was thought to have involved only elderly and terminally-ill adults. But the Mail can reveal the practice of withdrawing food and fluid by tube is being used on young patients as well as severely disabled newborn babies.
    “One doctor has admitted starving and dehydrating ten babies to death in the neonatal unit of one hospital alone. Writing in a leading medical journal, the physician revealed the process can take an average of ten days during which a  baby becomes ‘smaller and shrunken’. The LCP – on which 130,000 elderly and terminally-ill adult patients die each year – is now the subject of an independent inquiry ordered by ministers. …Earlier this month, an un-named doctor wrote of the agony of watching the protracted deaths of babies. …‘I know, as they cannot, the unique horror of witnessing a child become smaller and shrunken, as the only route out of a life that has become excruciating to the patient or to the parents who love their baby.’ “

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Distressing Example of the Statist Mindset

       Firearms ownership by Americans was said to be “a privilege” by Bill O’Reilly on his Fox Cable News channel Factor program yesterday.

       Not  a right, mind you – “a privilege” . . . something granted by the grace of, and at the discretion of the state, the government.  And something that can, by definition, be withheld or withdrawn by the state . . . sort of like a drivers license.

       The depressing thing about this example of the statist mindset that has taken hold among the general population is that it showed up on what claims to be a “fair and balanced” network and one that frequently is attacked as a conservative one.

       That even the popular Mr. O’Reilly does not recognize or agree with the view of the nation’s founders that people have a natural right that emanates from nature’s God to defend themselves and to equip themselves to be able to do so effectively.  The right is recognized, not granted, by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.  The Amendment does not purport to bestow the right. The Amendment prohibits any infringement of the right by the government. Thus the Amendment protects and guarantees the right that it recognizes as a pre-existing one.

       Mr. O'Reilly's dissemination of such profound ignorance is an insult to our heritage and a betrayal of the nation's founders.

       Does Mr. O’Reilly also believe that one can worship whatever deity one recognizes in whatever way one wishes only because of a privilege bestowed on citizens by the state and -- again, by definition – subject to being withdrawn by it?

       Mr. O’Reilly would do well to return to Harvard for a refresher course on the fundamentals of human liberty, natural law, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution.