We begin to see more and more commentators ascribe the national nostrums coming from the White House to sheer incompetence (for example ‘He Was Supposed to be Competent’). Remember when Ronald Reagan was called the Teflon President by the Left. But his legacy is such an enduring testament to conservative governance that the progressives to this day are writing silly screeds condemning his tenure – they don’t dare let well enough alone. Maybe now their pens will have a more urgent commission to bail out this president. Witness the nobility of –
“I ULTIMATELY take responsibility for SOLVING this crisis. I’m the President, and the buck stops with me.”
‘Ultimately’ for ‘solving’ ??!! Gee that’s magnanimous since he can have no other impact on the solution except to harass the oil workers with his ‘rage’ at their slow pace. And we know he wants no responsibility for this administration's contribution to the crisis – only to take the ultimate credit for cleaning up other people’s messes.
And then, of course, there’s the Sestak Affair, the astounding explanation of which must have been issued by the cretin corps in the bowels of Blair House on the eve of a three day weekend – ‘maybe they won’t notice’. His remaining escape from there is the now inevitable -
- Countywide election of BoS and Planning Commission - Sestak imbroglio - Markey on NPR blames Bush for Oil Spill - US Money Supply, Constitution and the Dollar
This morning’s emails contained a heads-up that the blinding light of morality and justice has again been shined on my bald noggin – well actually on Jo Ann, but then we fly in pretty tight formation. My wife is the contributor of record of $300 to John Spencer’s supervisorial re-election campaign as documented on the front page of today’s Union, in a local progressive blog, and, perhaps, other places. To the progressives this is not a right and proper expression of free speech. Why? Because the Rebanes are known conservatives who live outside Mr Spencer’s district, and such contributions serve to politicize a non-partisan office. Cease and desist!
That such opposition is imbecilic needs no more ink to confirm. Hell, we’ve even sent money across the country to candidates like Alan Keyes, Ron Paul, and others whom we could not vote for, but whose ideology in office we believe would make for a better country. It is simply our and everyone’s right of free political speech. Nevertheless, this little Nevada County dust devil does call for a little comment.
I believe that the members of the Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission should be countywide offices. We’re a small and cohesive county of 100,000 people with three small municipalities that have their own elected councils and planning commissions. We are not so parochial as to seek geographically partisan representation over our small patch of mountains and valleys. The offices are few and the best talent to fill them should come from any and all parts of the county.
Barry to Rahm to Bill to Joe. Yesterday’s latest load from the White House has us believing that a globally prominent, two-term former US President was chosen as the errand boy to carry the lamest (so far) message of the century to a US congressman getting ready to unseat a nationally-known political turncoat now promising to vote reliably within his newly minted ideology. Sestak was offered an unpaid job on some presidential panel or other??!! Give me a break. That is one of the most demeaning assessments Obama has made of his own constituents. He knows no Republican will believe that bullcrap. So that leaves his own Democrat voters judged to be gullible enough to lap it all up. Then again, maybe he’s right.
[This is the transcript of my bi-weekly commentary broadcast on KVMR FM85.9 today 28 May 2010.]
Mexican President Calderon’s lecture to America was a reprehensible piece of hypocritical grandstanding. Arizona is desperately trying to defend itself against enemies for which it is not supposed to be the first line of defense. But because of its geography, Arizona is in an untenable position, put there by a federal government that has, through several administrations, abrogated the prime responsibility of all governments – border security and defense of the homeland.
Arizona’s new law is essentially unenforceable. For it to be effective, the police must violate the profiling prohibition. Otherwise, under what guise would they be able to fabricate enough other violations in order to stop and inspect the bona fides of latinos and latino look-alikes?
Profiling is the lay term for using likely prior data to combine with new data or observations in order to make correct decisions. Scientists and engineers use a powerful law of nature, called the Bayes Rule, to do a multitude of beneficial things ranging from detecting breast cancer to controlling the precise orbits of communication satellites. But we cannot use that important piece of technology to secure American air travel, our communities, and our porous borders.
The circus of protests against Arizona has ramped into high gear with the federal government preparing to sue one of its distressed states. For what? for attempting to enforce the identical law that it has chosen to ignore for years. And now cities are piling on to boycott Arizona as if it were some rogue nation that violates human rights or international treaties. The comedy reaches a pinnacle with Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Sacramento joining in, ignorant that California already has its own illegal alien law that is equivalent to the federal and now Arizona law, all of them unenforced and unenforceable.
These happenings are especially ironic as we head into the weekend during which we remember and honor the memory of those who fought and gave their all so that we could be secure within our borders.
I’m George Rebane, and I expand these and other themes in my Union column, and on georgerebane.com. The opinions here are mine and not necessarily shared by KVMR. Thank you for listening.
Looking at the above chart should make all of us, conservatives and progressives, feel proud that we in Nevada County are not contributing much to the national debt burden. In a year and half, we have only been given a skosh more than $1.5M of the American Redistribution and Re-election Act money. You remember that supercritical ARRA stimulus the one if it didn’t stimulate the country right then and there, over that particular weekend, well hell, we’d all be up a creek without a paddle. Now more than a year later, it turns out that the Chief Community Organizer was just joshin’.
A new Harvard study paints a pretty grim picture of what we really pay for all those earmarks that political naifs have been using to measure the effectiveness of their members of Congress. As with all government activities, pork projects impact the private sector in both how much money it has to spend, and where it wants to spend it. Bottom line, pork kills jobs.
In my lexicon the monies we pay to government are divided into taxes and tribute. Taxes are the funds necessary to pay for government services that we all agree are needed, and cannot effectively provide through the private sector. We thus come together, erect a government to manage our joint interests, and pool our money to pay for its operation. Tribute is the monies in excess of taxes that a government, growing in size and corruption, takes from us by sheer force of arms and against our will. For obvious reasons, politicians disguise tribute as a tax. Where you draw the boundary between the two goes a long way to identify and label your socio-political ideology.
In that light, pork is funded by tribute. And the Harvard study now sprinkles academic holy water on what many of us have known for years. The study is also summarized in today’s (27may10) WSJhere where we read –
Part of the problem is that public money is "crowding out" investment opportunities for firms. "Some of our results point towards the role of competition for state specific factors of production, including labor and fixed assets such as real estates," the authors write. "Public spending appears to increase demand for state-specific factors of production and thereby compel firms to downsize and invest elsewhere." They add that "We also find evidence that the effects are most pronounced in sectors that are the target of earmark spending."
Democrats and Republicans have promised earmark reform for years, only to abandon the effort in favor of "bringing home the bacon" and incumbent protection. The Harvard study suggests the Congressmen are really bringing home less economic prosperity.
The titled piece on the socialist website truthout.com seeks to dispel the notion that Obama is a socialist. It touts a book on socialism as the answer to capitalism, and true to form, provides the following as its most penetrating argument against the assertions that Obama is a socialist.
That these assertions are insane - and more than a little frightening - goes without saying. But they also reveal a profound lack of knowledge about socialism, the class struggle, and theories of governance.
So there you have it, "without saying" is the sum of collectivist debate. They simply label the assertions as "insane", and go on to extol the history and virtues of socialism, along with the uniform failure of capitalism across the world. As a thinking person, dear reader, it is good for the soul to examine one of these pieces now and then, for it relieves many doubts and fortifies any resident belief system that can muster in its defense something more than naked acerbics.
The website though is aptly named, for they have succeeded in eradicating the last wisp of it in their outpourings.
President Obama’s visit to Fremont’s solar panel maker Solyndra caused a lot of confusion. Union construction workers at the site were told to take the day off without pay. And then there are reports that inside the plant non-union workers were similarly told to take the day off. Apparently this was so as to minimize the total number of people within rifle shot of the President while outside, and minimize the potential unfriendlies inside the plant within pistol shot. Security is complicated when the President travels, and I fully agree with the Secret Service in imposing such arrangements to minimize the likelihood of harm to our president. There is, of course, some irony involved in the risk assessments, and the dunning of paychecks of the unreliable workers told to stay home.
Solyndra is one of these ARRA funded companies – to the tune of over half billion dollars – that is creating about a thousand ‘permanent’ jobs, and, of course, some temporary jobs for unionized construction workers in the interval. The company’s product will only be marketable with the government’s gun to the head of its customers. Were it otherwise, no stimulus would have been necessary. In the meanwhile the money to fund this government enterprise (no free-market capitalist will call it anything else), was taken from people who could have put it to much better use in helping our economy recover. This is the invisible impact of tribute monies whose public use is touted by the socialists.
How would one assign the wages of Solyndra’s workers – public or private? USA Today reported yesterday (here) government data shows that the total share of America’s private sector wages has fallen to 41.9%, which is an historic low. And with the government building more Solyndras from coast to coast, this percentage is guaranteed to head for the mud. Meanwhile, government sector wages are in a relentless climb.
Solyndra will fold like a house of cards the minute people are free not to buy its solar panels. (The lands of the former Soviet empire are generously dotted with the rusting hulks of abandoned factories.) And this underlines the similar fate of all such mandated green job efforts across the land that are starting to flesh out the structure and form of our new command economy.
That is the title of today’s (25may10) WSJ editorial summarizing how California’s AB32 act will ravage the state, and drive us deeper into an economic morass. The piece begins –
California, that former land of opportunity, was one of the first states to pass its own version of "cap and trade" to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In 2007 when Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the law, called AB-32, he said it would propel California into an economy-expanding, green job future. Well, a new study by the state's own auditing agency—its version of the Congressional Budget Office—has burst that green bubble.
The study released May 13 concludes that "California's economy at large will likely be adversely affected in the near term by implementing climate-related policies that are not adopted elsewhere." While the long-term economic costs are "unknown," the study finds that AB-32 will raise energy prices, "causing the prices of goods and services to rise; lowering business profits; and reducing production, income and jobs."
Readers of RR and NC Media Watch were made aware of AB32’s damage before our governator signed it into law. Russ Steele has long been our local spearchucker in keeping us up to date about climate change, and the lunacy that its AGW variants are spreading across the land.
California’s Legislative Analyst’s Office now confirms that “leakage” will be one the prime time bombs that this poorly conceived piece of progressivism will set off. Leakage means that the stream of California companies heading for truly greener pastures will become a torrent when the contents of this ersatz ‘green jobs’ crock gets poured over the state. Now only the terminally ignorant and ideologically calcified will remain loyal supporters of California’s continuing decline.
Acknowledging that this disease is about to go nationwide, the editorial concludes –
It should be obvious to Members of Congress that similar jobs and business "leakage" will strike the U.S. in general if federal cap and trade passes. The hardest hit industries will leave the U.S. and relocate to the likes of China and India where marginal costs are lower. The recently introduced Kerry-Lieberman bill all but concedes the point by calling for tariffs on products from countries that don't impose similar energy costs.
In November, Californians will vote on an initiative to suspend AB-32 until the state unemployment rate falls to 5.5%. The rate is now 12.6%, the third highest after Michigan and Nevada, and a state already leading the nation in lost jobs and businesses, home foreclosures and debt doesn't need higher self-imposed energy costs.
“Immigration Reform” is another in the legion of lies from Washington these days. The first order of business – bamboozling the words – has already been embedded in our brainbones, thereby making it hard to have a reasoned discussion about the subject. What subject? Illegal aliens, or more specifically Illegal Entrants.
We have been taught to label illegal entrants as ‘illegal immigrants’. This fosters all the images of ‘poor, tired, and huddled’ immigrants who came off the ships from ‘their teeming shores’, and then became citizens and helped build America. But those guys aren’t and never were the problem.
To get an idea of the impact of the new federal tsunamis headed our way, tsunamis that may finally swamp this dear land of ours, take a look at this 26 page recipe for brownies from the US Air Force cookbook - MILITARY SPECIFICATION, COOKIES, OATMEAL; AND BROWNIES; COCOLATE COVERED. Can you imagine the number of people, the time, the cost, etc involved in putting out this tripe? And this is repeated thousands of times a day throughout all the departments, bureaus, commissions, … . This is simply the way they do things, all things.
I’m not done yet. Now consider what is required to get some fed employees to actually work with instructions like this. Remember, in all large bureaucracies – public and private, especially those with pension plans – the standing order is ‘CYA all the way!’ These instructions will be followed.
And you’d think that with so many eyeballs checking and rechecking the damn thing over the years, that somebody by now would have picked up on the spelling of ‘chocolate’ in the title - or does that highlight another problem? Your government in peace and war.
(H/T to a regular RR reader with connections who is trying to get the total pagecount for this cookbook.)
By now you’ve probably heard that Man has been able to mess with some snippets of DNA and fabricate a new double helix that when inserted into an ‘empty’ (of nucleus) cell body, the thing became a living and self-replicating cell. While not the real deal of starting from scratch with a bunch of amino acids, it is a real milestone in our march toward the Singularity. The feat was accomplished by the J. Craig Venter Institute and reported here. Go to the source, because most of the journalists reporting on this will only confuse you.
You might remember that Venter founded and ran the private enterprise that was one of the two teams which were the first to sequence the entire human genome. Now there are several efforts out there competing to start designer life. If nothing else, it will prove that intelligent designers can originate life. And stay tuned, because this technology will change (probably all) life on earth for good or ill.
As election day June 8th approaches in Nevada County, all campaigns are heating up going into the home stretch. In the attempt to cast prudent votes that reflect our values and hopes for the county, we now begin to really digest the voter information that has been blanketing us for the last several weeks. I find this part of campaigns important from another angle, they sometimes reveal a whole lot about the people involved in the local political scene.
(For the record, the Rebanes support and have contributed to the campaigns of Tom McClintock for Congress, Doug LaMalfa for California Senator, Barry Pruett for Clerk-Recorder, Sue Horne for Assessor, and John Spencer for District #3 Supervisor (we live in District #1). And we have been members of and contributors to the Tea Party Patriots from the gitgo.)
Recently sitting Clerk-Recorder Greg Diaz put out a letter full of lies and innuendo about the TPP and his opponent Barry Pruett. Stan Meckler, the current fearless leader of the county’s TPP, stood up to defend our organization. It seems that the scope of his defense has broadened beyond its intended limits, but then, this is what happens in public politics. Stan sent out an email that starts out –
[Robert Patton is a large-scale data systems developer and program manager living in southern California. Robert is also a long time friend, colleague, and entrepreneur. His email earlier today mentioned a serendipitous and interesting conversation he had with Meg Whitman, Republican candidate for governor and former CEO of eBay. Whitman was doing random calls to voters and Robert won. I asked him to scribble an account of the interview which I would post. The following is what he sent me and appears with minor format editing. gjr]
Saturday morning, after just getting through the morning paper and feeding the pets, the phone rang. It was still early so I couldn’t imagine who it might be.
As I picked it up a voice said “Hello Robert? This is Meg calling to talk about the upcoming California election.”
It sounded like her TV voice, but I asked anyway: Is it really you, Meg Whitman? “Yes, it is. I’m in Woodland Hills this morning and wanted to speak to some local voters.”
#1: Being a loyal RR Reader, I like being able to have a 1:1 discussion as much, or more, than the next guy! #2: She’s rich, and busy, and I’ve been getting annoyed at having $68 million of media pushed at me over the past months. But, being able to actually talk back, what a refreshing thing!
She of course wanted to drive her talking points but didn’t seem to be bothered when I asked her if I could jump to a few direct questions.
#3: I really appreciate 2-way dialogue and she was perfectly willing to have it!
Meg, you came out early but Poizner has been on the attack as much as you have and now the voters are confused about what is truthful, what isn’t and whether your platform points are real principles or just a necessary means to be elected. “I want to assure you that I stand by those principles”
Meg, since we have limited time, what I’d like to know is: Will you really tear down the sanctuary city problem that is ruining California? I’m for people coming to the U.S. legally and being committed to U.S. values and assimilation. That’s what makes the country strong and enduring. I’m against cities creating double standards and undermining fairness and assimilation. Meg said she agreed and is 100% against providing sanctuaries for illegals.
(I wish I had drilled down on exactly what she would do, but I wanted to get other questions in, so I regret that I didn’t. I also regret not having asked where she stands on the children of illegals and what can be done to lessen the anchor-baby effect that burdens California.)
You talk about helping restore a positive business climate in California. In L.A., it can take 2 years of permit delays to open a business. What would you do about that? “Yes, that’s a situation that has gotten out of hand. I will work to reduce it to a sensible level. For example, a company I know that delivers fertilizer has to get a $100 permit separately from each city it delivers to. In that example I would want to make it a single permit process. I ran a successful company called eBay..”
I jumped in to say, yes I know eBay well, I’ve been with some dot-coms too so I know how important innovative businesses are to California’s future. “Oh, that’s great, then you get all that and we don’t have to discuss how important it is to properly manage a big business, or a state’s budget.” Yes, it’s critical. We need people who can manage and lead. (I feel like I've pitched 2 softballs – I’m not pleased with myself)
Meg, let me ask a last question. I know the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Org has endorsed you. I’m a member of that org too. But I want to hear it from you directly. Will you promise not to undermine Prop 13? “Yes, I will protect prop13. I know many residents who would be taxed out of their homes without it. It’s important that we protect it so people can stay in California and afford to retire here.”
Meg, it’s great to be able to speak with you and hear about your principles directly. “I know there’s been some confusion generated by the campaign ads. I wanted to call some voters in hopes they would help me get the word out to others. I hope you will support me and help get my message out.”
Meg, I appreciate your taking time to speak to individuals. I’m glad to also talk to others since you are willing to make contact and listen.
- Resource utilization and environmental husbandry solutions - Reconquista is alive and well - Public service unions (I am not alone!) - NC ARRA update
Almost all the silly ideas and laws we have to better use our resources and ‘save’ the environment are based on an unrealistic and ignorant view of the future. Reading the history of predictions about ‘what can’t be done’ and then what was done would fill volumes. In a talk to the upcoming H+ Summit at Harvard, Ray Kurzweil will remind us again that solutions to today’s insurmountable problems will come through augmented intelligence and other technologies being developed today. The statists and stasists cannot see beyond their nose, and always view tomorrow looking like today only with a different date. On the other hand the agenda-driven progressives know exactly how to use any problem du jour, real or fabricated, to reduce individual liberties and promote collective equality.
Reconquista is the label for the re-conquering of about a fourth of the continental United States by ethnic Mexicans living on both sides of our border with Mexico (more here). The suggested governance of the repatriated Mexican Cession is still up for grabs and ranges anywhere from Aztlan, a new latino sovereign nation state, to re-integration into Mexico. The contemplated ‘immigraton reform’ (aka ‘what shall we do with our open border?’) legislaton purposely overlooks the major issues and misrepresents the remainder. Both NC Media Watch and RR are following what appears to be another shot in the shorts to our Republic. PJTV posted a humorous analysis of the ramifications of continuing our open border policy.
[update] Got to give a hat tip to a RR reader who said, 'you gotta post this'; I agree. It's either start crying or have a good laugh.
The 21may10 WSJ picked up Mortimer Zuckerman’s ‘The Bankrupting of America’ about the travesty of public service unions and their collaboration with elected officials. More evidence that I’m not the only one on planet Earth who is afraid of the SEIU and their ilk (here). Now even the European governments are acknowledging the blight that sooner or later afflicts all growing nanny states.
Oh yes, and here’s the weekly update on our county’s stimulating experience with the American Redistritution and Re-election Act of 2009.
OTM, that is the classification given to the hundreds (thousands?) of illegal aliens coming across our southern border who originate from countries beyond Mexico. The biggest threat to us is the number of Muslims that make up the OTM classification. Most of them come to and through Mexico by a very circuitous route that includes a several month stopover in South America. That is where the Yemenis, Saudis, Pakistanis, Syrians, Iraqis, Iranians, members of Hezballah, members of al Qaeda, etc, in short the ragheads, must stop to learn Spanish before infiltrating and disappearing into our countryside. We are the lambs that they seek to slaughter in their own good time.
All of this has been and is still being kept a deep dark secret. There are very few courageous and professional news organizations doing their own investigative work in ferreting out this problem. WSBTV of Atlanta is one of them. What I found outrageous is that Homeland Security Administration is keeping Congress in the dark about the OTM factor, even as it is beginning to debate ‘immigration reform’ (which itself is a crock).
The obvious first step for any solution is to seal the border, nothing will work without that. OTM infiltration would be a compelling reason to do that even if there were no other problem with the 12 million illegal aliens already in America. But that evidence has been denied Congress and the electorate. Take a look at these WSBTV news videos of their investigations here and here. (H/T to RR reader)
In the meantime we have President Calderon of Mexico here lecturing us about our border security and immigration laws – especially taking to task the desperate legislation recently passed by Arizona. Half the sheeple in the land, and almost all of the federal government have no idea that Arizona’s new law is a restatement of the federal laws that Washington refuses to enforce. And Calderon is talking to us about the injustice of America attempting to secure its border and enforce its immigration laws. In all this, a two-by-four with a crayon face on it could have better represented our country’s interests in this dialogue than our current president.
No one of our progressive left had the temerity to tell Calderon that Mexico is a failed state which cannot provide a government’s basic services to its citizens. No one has the balls to tell him and the stateside Reconquista organizations that the US should enforce the same immigration and alien laws that Mexico has been enforcing for decades. I take that back. My representative Tom McClintock had the necessary plumbing to enter the following into the Congressional Record.
Contrary to the rumors you’ve been hearing for the last year plus, GeorgeW didn’t cause the Great Recession. This fiasco had three main progenitors - government idiots, corporate greedies, and some very clever, but not clever enough, Wall Street traders practicing the arcane art and some of the more dubious science of financial engineering.
Scott Patterson has been reporting on things financial for the WSJ, and recently wrote The Quants – How a New Breed of Math Whizzes Conquered Wall Street and Nearly Destroyed It (2010) which immediately shot up to the top of the charts and is still there. I finished Quants before going on travel and was just going to add it to my collection of finance and economic history books. But then I thought that there might be some little gems of broader interest there.
Patterson goes back to the beginnings of financial engineering in the 1960s, and takes us right up to the fall of 2009, the Great Recession and all. In fact, the whole purpose of the book is to explicate the role of the quants in fostering the recession. What’s a quant? A quant is a person trained in many of the mathematical ideas and toolsets of the system sciences. A bunch of them came from research universities like MIT, Caltech, UC, … . They are generally at the PhD level, so they have demonstrated an ability to think out of the box and extend human knowledge.
Now these young graduates were snapped up by various ‘Wall Street investment houses’ and hedge funds. Their job was to examine the price behavior of all kinds of securities around the world, and then apply their math wizardry to develop automated trading programs to lickety-split execute profitable arbitrage transactions that their algorithms discovered in the massive daily dataflows of the finance and securities industry. Since I have some knowledge of these high-jinks (actually, I also claim to be a financial engineer), this kind of historical background fascinates me. And doubly so since the political reverberations of this recession will be with us for a long time to come.
[This is another in a continuing series of autobiographical sketches that I have been asked to write by friends and family. I share it with you, my readers, in the hope that these little vignettes (see 'My Story' category) of history and the American immigrant experience are of interest. But most of all, I hope it may help you understand what shaped the lens through which I interpret our human story, and view the events that are the subjects of these commentaries.]
The German country road streamed like a ribbon from under the ¾ ton Army truck we were riding in on that May morning in 1945. The war had ended a few days ago and now the little Rebane family was being taken back to a collection point in Augsburg for war refugees who were not German nationals. I sat between mom and dad on some olive drab colored military looking boxes; we were facing backwards with our three makeshift suitcases piled at our feet. This road from the little farming village of Liederberg passed through some incredibly green fields on this bright, sunny, and cloudless morning. Our stay in that very ordinary Bavarian farm community lasted about three weeks, but these short weeks left us with a lifetime of memories – memories that simply were tossed now onto a very big pile of similar memories to be sorted out later.
We must have been a sight as we walked into Liederberg in the latter half of April. Our party of four was made up of my mom and dad, me, and Rita. Rita, good-looking and in her late twenties, was my mom’s friend from Estonia. (How Rita joined us is a saga all of its own and not mine to tell.) That morning we arrived in Monheim on a narrow gauge train that connected the small town to the city of Augsburg, thirty miles to the south. Our little episode with the P-51s (see ‘1945 – The Year Easter was Cancelled’) convinced my dad that we would seek a less exciting place in which to wait for the arrival of Patton’s Third Army and the Americans.
In spite of what may happen this November, 2010 promises to be as devastating to the fortunes of our country as was 2009. Since returning from our recent travels, I’ve been trying to reframe the major themes now reshaping our future. These are some thoughts.
The American spirit to remain the order-giving hegemon of this planet is on the verge of being extinguished. Enough crippling legislation and government subsidy packages have come down the pike to insure that future GDP growth will remain anemic. Given the way the new incarnation of cap and tax (now aka the Kerry – Lieberman ‘Power America’ bill) is being misrepresented, and how it is being crafted to temporarily buy off big corporations, the stake hovers above the heart of our country’s ability to generate the wealth we need to educate and arm ourselves. Add to this the massive tax increases and increasing deficits now in the oven, and you have the perfect storm already under way.
One of our systemic maladies is the growth of public service unions which have now metastasized throughout our republic like an invading cancer. My own alarums about this calamity are familiar to RR and Union readers. The established media have been slow to pick up on this for a number of reasons, the prime being incompetence and promotion of a collectivist agenda. A recent awakening comes from editor-in-chief of the US News and World Report, Mortimer Zuckerman. This man is no right-wing horn blower; in fact, for years many have wondered how he has managed to guide USNWR on its mostly center path. He has now written a laudable summary of the impact of public service unions, definitely worth reading by those not familiar with the disease or its symptoms (here).
[The following piece was submitted as my monthly column in The Union. It appears today 15 May 2010 in the newspaper's print and online editions (here). I also do a bi-weekly radio commentary on KVMR FM 89.5.]
We just returned from a trip to the eastern Mediterranean during which we had a chance to see four different cultures in operation. Visiting Italy, Greece, Turkey, and Egypt gave us a look at how people in some fairly ancient lands live in the modern world. We also saw how they respond to today’s turmoil in the financial markets and cope with the Islamist movement that uses terror as its prime weapon against the west.
To be clear, all four countries have tourism in their top GDP producers. All of them are in various kinds of financial straits. And each would be badly hurt were Islamists successful in disrupting their tourist industry. For that reason you see a lot of guns in the cities and tourist venues – and I mean lots of guns. Every official from the rookie ‘tourist policeman’ to what appear like administrators with clipboards are packing serious heat. The most ominous are the athletic looking men in suits with bulges sticking out at awkward angles. These guys carry the latest compact sub-machine guns and mingle in the crowds.
But it must be working, because the last busload of tourists in Egypt was machine-gunned several years ago. It seems that everyone from the Mafia to Interpol is co-operating to keep the killers at bay. Tourists are properly viewed as walking wallets that spook easily.
Before I get to the culture stuff, I want you to know that the trip was terrific, including the visits to all the ancient ruins and historical sites. But I’m not going to bore you with the stuff you can see on some tourist.com. Instead, here are a few thoughts about differences between two secular Islamic countries – Turkey and Egypt.
[This is my bi-weekly commentary on KVMR FM 85.9 which aired today 14 May 2010. I also write a column for The Union.]
The country’s tailspin is no longer a secret to at least half the voters. Many of those people also listen to and watch the Limbaughs, Becks, O’Rileys, and Hannitys of our outraged rightwing media. There the obvious and not-so-obvious problems with our republic and body politic are hyper-ventilated daily. The audiences get a lot of satisfaction out of vicariously participating in the deft, and some daft, arguments that come streaming out at you. Shouting ‘Yeah! Damn straight!’ in your house slippers seems to be the common response.
But I wonder how all that satisfying heat and light motivates people to actually get off their collective duffs and get involved. Or do we feel that we’ve done our part for the Republic when Glenn says ‘Good night America’, and we know that we were there, nodding all the way?
I had a platoon leader in my Army training days who, after serving as an ‘adviser’ in Vietnam, described this problem succinctly in terms of the guerilla war then heating up in that country. He told us that there are different responses to an order to attack, the desired one is for the troops to leap up and charge the enemy. However, too many soldiers thought that Attack! meant just to scowl while leaning forward in your foxhole. (In his second deployment to Vietnam, my platoon leader died while standing on the parapet trying to get his forward-leaning Vietnamese regulars to get up and attack the Viet Cong. To the astute observer, the outcome of the coming war was already settled then and there. But that’s another story.)
And so, to many of us, a dose of Rush in the morning, followed by an afternoon chaser of Glenn, turns out to be just about as much leaning forward as we’re prepared to do. Besides, we can really show the jerks in Sacramento and Washington by doing it all over again tomorrow.
I’m George Rebane, and I expand these and other themes in my Union column, and on georgerebane.com. The opinions here are mine and not necessarily shared by KVMR. Thank you for listening.
I just got this in an email from our local Tea Party Patriots. In it was a notice submitted by a TPP member to alert people who may do an unintended thing when they register to vote and/or change their party affiliation.
"I just started to work for the elections division at the county. I am noticing something that people should be aware of. We have taken a lot of calls and received changes in political party requests. People are writing to request being changed to the American Independent Party. I wonder if these people are aware that if you chose that party, you can only vote for the American Independent candidate. Very limited.
If you just write in Independent Party then you can only chose to vote Democrat or Republican.
I was hoping to get the word out that this is the only way you can vote if you chose the American Independent Party. I think people will be mad on voting day when they discover they can't vote for whoever they want, and can only vote for American Independent candidate."
Declined to State- if you have signed up as this on your voter registration or you have members that have please remind them that can ask for a GOP or DEM ballot at the polls in the primary and general elections, but they must ask for them or they will be given a non-partisan ballot.”
For more good stuff go the TPP website, link on the right - where else? ;-)
Socialism is not an all or nothing form of governance, the disease is usually progressive. Comfortable at first and then quietly segueing into deadly. One of its symptoms is its inability to distribute resources in a correct, efficient, and timely manner. Management of ARRA funding is just one current piece of evidence of this truth. I would redraw the excellent cartoon below with more belly-up floating frogs, but you get the picture. (H/T to RR reader)
Too bad I cannot vote for John since I live in District #1, but I can sing his praises and recommend that all the good citizens of District #3 keep John doing the excellent job that he has done for the past 5+ years. I have known John and have been one of his supporters ever since he replaced me as county planning commissioner back in 2003.
John is now seeking to be elected for the third time to continue serving all of the county as a hard working member of the most effective and fiscally responsible Nevada County boards ever – and especially during today’s continuing California calamity.
John is a licensed land surveyor who understands the private sector, has a squeaky clean record of service, and the experience in county government needed to keep us on a fiscally sound path. His only downside is that he has a low ‘flashy factor’ for an elected official. But then again, lately we’ve been paying a lot for politicians with a lot of flash, but no bang to back it up.
His opponent, Terry Lamphier, is primarily a big question mark regarding his experience and ability to work with others. The gentleman has no real background in local government except for a stint on the GV Planning Commission from which he was essentially fired by his colleagues. Most of his ‘new’ proposals for the county indicate a disconnect, since the county has already been implementing them for some time now.
Bottom line, do we need to change what has worked so well for us? John Spencer will continue bringing to the job his honesty, integrity, energy, and no-nonsense approach to governing (to use his words) “without wasting everyone’s time.” Please keep John as your District #3 Supervisor.
Some marginally informed people, mostly of the left persuasion, continue to believe that the Great Divide debate is fueled only by conservatives and free marketers wanting to separate from the socialist left. RR serves as a forum for such debates. Here is a factually confused yet dedicated Hispanic Los Angeles School District teacher rallying La Raza supporters at UCLA to revolt against US ownership of Mexican Cession lands – this is just one of the many and continuing calls for Reconquista.
The important sidelight here to consider is that such individuals fill teachers’ ranks in the southwest, and teach our kids a jaundiced version of US history which goes a long way to explain the perversion of the national attitude over the last forty or so years. And this beat definitely goes on.