Saturday, April 19

Common Core authors lie again

Warning: Language.

If anyone still believes the anti-Constitution propaganda program called "Common Core" is an excellent new teaching tool for defenseless K-12 students, take a look at the pic below:

Here's the text:
The Bill of Rights:
Amendment 2 (1791):  Right to Bear Arms
   This amendment states that people have the right to certain weapons, providing that they register them and have not been in prison.
Say WHAT??!!

For those of you under 30 who attended public school--meaning almost certainly that you were never taught anything meaningful about the Constitution--here's what the Second Amendment actually says:
A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
The socialist bastards who wrote the Common Core propaganda quoted above hate guns and the fact that the Constitution of this country confirms the common-sense proposition that free men can own and "bear" them.  But gee, how do we get those stupid American rednecks to forget that awful Second Amendment thingy?  Simple:  We'll just re-write it to add the totally fictional "requirement" that people can only "bear arms" if they register them--obviously with the government.


We are mortal enemies. In deliberately lying about what the Constitution says, you have forfeited any aid or quarter from Americans who believe that document is indeed the supreme law of this land.

When your children learn what you did I hope they're so embarrassed that they change their name.

Friday, April 18

Crazy administration, part 384,038

You ain't gonna believe this.

Hell, I didn't believe it, and I've read about a gazillion wacko things the Obama administration has done.

So...the Department of Injustice has ruled/decreed that males on college campuses have the right to use female restrooms.

No, I'm not making that up.

The University of Arkansas-Fort Smith was essentially ordered by the DOI to change its restroom policies after a male student who "feels female" filed a complaint with the Department of InJustice.

The guy who filed the complaint is 38 years old and anatomically male.  But he likes to dress as a woman, and brags that the breasts he's gotten from hormone treatment make him--as he puts it--"bigger than some normal girls."

Well that settles it, eh?  

Dude filed a lawsuit with the Civil Rights division of the Department of InJustice.  While the letter from the DOI to the U hasn't been released (gee, wonder why?), InsideHigherEd cited a statement from DOI spokesperson--one "Xochitl Hinojosa"--confirming that “a letter had been sent informing the university of the complaint," but saying the letter did not direct the university to take any specific action.

Nevertheless, after receiving the letter the Obama administration the university reversed its policy to allow transgender students access to the restroom of the gender "with which they choose to identify."

A university spokesputz acknowledged in a public statement that although the DOJ letter was described as merely an “encouragement,” the university felt specific pressure to change the policy.

“[The DOJ] basically made its expectations through the attorney and the decision was made to respond to that direction. The complaint caused revisiting of our thinking … [the DOI claims] this individual is entitled to use the bathroom that she identifies with,”


According to "College Fix" the Department of InJustice’s insistence that access to gender-specific bathrooms is simply a matter of choice rather than anatomy removes any objective criteria for separating men and women in public restrooms.

If I had a college-age or college-bound daughter I might have a few things to say about this crazy decision by Obama's lackeys in the DOI.  But since I don't...I leave it to those of you who do to do what you think is necessary.

I mean, really.  Come on, people:  How many knots will you tie yourselves into to comply with the demands of a wacko complaint filed by a 38-year-old male "college student" who wants to be able to use the girls' restroom?

Ayaan Hirsi Ali and the absolute lack of morality by the Left and feminists

Does the name Ayaan Hirsi Ali ring a bell?

She's a human rights activist, born in a Muslim country to Muslim parents.  At the age of five (that's not a typo: five)--in line with the widespread Muslim custom for girls--she was held down by a bunch of adult women who proceeded to cut off her clitoris with a razor. 

Without anesthesia.

If this doesn't make you ill you may have a few synapses missing.

Note, gentle reader, that this was *not* an aberration, committed by wacko fringe members of the Muslim sect, but something done to virtually all girls in certain Muslim countries.

It's also worth noting that in western societies this nauseating custom has been euphemized as simply "FGM"--female genital mutilation.  Whether this is because our refined sensibilities can't stomach the reality or because CAIR and friend have pressured editors to censor the truth of the matter I leave for you to decide.

In any event, on reaching adulthood Ali concluded that Islam was a primitive, barbaric religion--of which female genital mutilation (FGM) was simply one facet.  She began speaking out against the barbaric aspects, and has described Islam as a "backward religion" and incompatible with democracy.

She also managed to emigrate to the Netherlands and get elected to their parliament.  This gave her a great deal more exposure.

It also make Muslims threaten her with death, for speaking out against Islamic oppression of women.  According to journalist Jason Burke, Hirsi Ali had to move out of her house in The Hague in early 2006 after a court found that she was "endangering her neighbors" because of the constant death threats and increasing criticism of her "trenchant statements."  At that point she came to the U.S. and took a position with the American Enterprise Institute--a conservative think-tank.

Between her criticism of Islam--the only religion approved by the Left--and her popularity as a speaker for the AEI, leftists hate her with a passion.  Which brings us to the present.

Given her tireless push for human rights in the face of death threats (to the point of being forced to move out of her home by *court order*), early this year Brandeis University offered to honor Ali with an honorary degree.

Seems innocuous enough, eh?

Hahahahaha!  Obviously you don't know many leftists.  CAIR and the womyn's studies faculty at Brandeis went ballistic, and a petition was circulated demanding that the university rescind its honor to Ali.

In fact, one reporter looked at the Brandeis faculty petition against Ali and found that 21% of the signatures came from faculty associated with the university’s Women and Gender Studies (WGS) program. As a matter of fact, it appears that the controversial petition actually originated with WGS faculty members.

Roll that one around for a minute:  One brave woman--raised in a Muslim family--stands up to Islam.  Gets elected to parliament.  Is threatened  with death by Muslims.  Forced out of her position in parliament.  Still speaks out against wacko Islamic customs.

Of course since university presidents and all high university officials universally lack balls and fear the left, the university caved, and rescinded the offer. 

That's the end of the story.  How any U.S. female can hear this and not be outraged is beyond me, but most of  'em will enthusiastically parrot the Party Line and join the condemnation.

Okay, leftists and feminists:  Please explain why you're not gonna honor this woman.  Explain why your position is logical and reasonable.

If you'd like some time to prepare, go ahead--I'll wait.

Feeling overworked and overtaxed?

There are 86,429,000 full-time private sector workers in the United States.

In the fourth quarter of 2011, 151,014,000 Americans received benefits from one or more federal programs, including Social Security.  (2011 was the most recent year for which the data was available when this study was done.  The numbers are almost certainly far worse today.)

This means every private-sector worker is supporting 1.7 recipients.  In addition to themselves and their own families.

If you're feeling overworked and/or overtaxed, this might have something to do with that.

Now:  Does anyone think this should be remedied?  If so, how?

Here's a hint:  The next political fat-cat who proposed a new gummint "free" benefit should be tarred and feathered.  That would be a start.

Thursday, April 17

Dems claim one of the founding principles of this country was "respect for authority and rules"??

For a couple of years now the federal government has been pushing the states to adopt a national program for teaching in grades K-12 called "Common Core."  Democrats and "progressives" have been touting it as the next great, cool improvement and absolutely necessary if we're to advance into...blah blah blah, but in fact it's socialist propaganda.

For example, here's a quote from the "New York State Common Core Social Studies Framework:"

Page 33, under "Civic Ideals and Practices:"
2.3a The United States is founded on the democratic principles of equality, fairness, and respect for authority and rules.
Students will explore democratic principles such as dignity for all, equality, fairness, and respect for authority and rules, and how those principles are applied to their community. 
Uh, what?  Have any of you ever heard before just now that one of the top three principles behind the founding of the United States was "respect for authority and rules"?

"We the people, in order the blessings of Liberty on ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States."

The proggies omit Liberty, freedom and personal rights altogether, substituting their totally fabricated notion that one of the main principles behind the founding of the U.S. was "respect for authority and rules."

See, the "Boston Tea Party" was just about respecting authority.

Declaration of Independence?  Respecting authority.

What total bullshit.  And yet they're succeeding in brainwashing naive, intellectually defenseless K-12 students with this crap.

Time for a second American Revolution. 

Sunday, April 13

What are the chances of the U.S. surviving in anything like its historic form?

In a number of posts I've made an analogy between the U.S. and a large jet headed down at a steep angle.  No matter how much you may want to pull out of the dive, the laws of aerodynamics will only let you change the direction a certain number of degrees per second.

Accordingly, for any given dive angle there's some minimum height above the ground below which you can't avoid a crash.  No matter what you do, it's impossible to recover.

For those who are too young to have enough experience to know, or too uneducated or politically naive to understand, the U.S. is in dire straits.  Dire as in, potentially fatal to life as we've known it up to now.  The decline of our public school systems, corrupt or merely stupid politicians, and the unwillingness of the honest ones to use every tool available to remove and jail the corrupt ones, has probably sealed our fate.

A big part of this is the implementation of government programs that enable people to live without having a job or paying taxes.  This created a class of people who have no interest whatsoever in fiscal responsibility or a balanced budget--indeed, a class who have only the vaguest idea what those terms even mean.  Their only interest is electing whoever promises them the most money, regardless of whether the government has it.

In any case, some folks believe there's still time to pull out of our deadly dive.  I'd like to present their ideas, and see if there are any takers.  Here they are:

1) We need to teach the rich history of liberty to the young.  This is critical because unless a majority of the populace supports the ideas of liberty, we're dead.  Town hall meetings, candidate debates, local talk radio programs, letters to the Editor, every bit helps spread the message. 

2) We need to loudly point out the failures of socialism as they become more and more evident, and suggest better alternatives rooted in the idea that people can solve their own problems better than government can.

3) Stop bickering with other conservatives about the best course of action. When someone else has a different plan, let 'em have at it and see what happens.  For one thing, every small success by any supporter of freedom divides the attention and fire of the "progressives" and socialists, making it easier for other efforts to succeed.

There are also calls for a constitutional convention, but I really don't think that alone will have much effect, because the government is *already* violating that the clear principles of that document.  The problem isn't a lack of documents, but a lack of the power to enforce the principles they contain.

Basically, if the people in the top offices are set on doing unconstitutional things, how do we the people get them to desist?

Profile in courage--from a young American woman

The young lady in the clip below has more courage than 99 percent of Americans not in the armed forces.

In the clip she notes that increasingly over the last ten years U.S. law enforcement officers at all levels have been directed to use force--sometimes deadly force--to get peaceful, non-threatening Americans to obey some POS regulation written by some bureaucrat.

Not even enforcing a duly-passed LAW (as if the rulers give a shit about the rule of law anymore) but merely some *regulation* passed with virtually no input from "the governed."

Anyway, the gal asks LEOs "If your bosses order you to use deadly force on peaceful Americans, will you obey?"  She then goes on to note that if the answer is yes, how are you any different from the Chinese government thugs who slaughtered protesters in Tien an Min square, or Gestapo (the Nazi security police)?

To fall back on the excuse "I don't make the law, I just enforce it" is exactly what got lots of "good Nazis" death sentences after the war.  That is, enforcing unjust laws isn't an acceptable excuse.

Take a look.  The gal has courage.

Here's her website.

Observations of bystanders at Kiev protests

Attentive observers will notice that all totalitarian regimes adopt the same repressive techniques.  In this case consider the experiences of protesters in Kiev before the corrupt pro-Russian prez fled:  Cell-phone users in the vicinity of protests say they got messages saying, “Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.”

The three cell phone providers in the city all deny having sent the messages (which you'd expect regardless).  Some analysts say the likely explanation is portable cell "towers" (actually just antenna/receiver sets) set up by security forces on the site of prior demonstrations.  Apparently these can be set up in 30 minutes or so, and would enable security forces to both intercept text and voice from protesters *and* allow the government to send "We know who you are" messages to everyone in the area.

Presumably the idea is that those who weren't particularly committed to the protests but merely bystanders would be intimidated enough to leave the area--reducing both target clutter and the number of potential witnesses to any lethal activity.

If such capability exists it's virtually certain the Ogabe regime has the same ability.

Conclusion:  If you're trying to gin up a demonstration, don't use your cell phone.  Second, be aware that this ability exists, and that your mere presence at the site isn't enough to enable the government to prosecute you. So you can safely ignore "We know who and where you are" texts if you wish.

Remember this.

Saturday, April 12

Feds declare no-fly zone for civilian aircraft around Nevada ranch where they're seizing cattle

Earlier I wrote about the sinister implications of heavily-armed government agents surrounding a cattle ranch in Nevada, apparently intent on seize cattle belonging to the ranch's owner.

My curiosity was aroused by the fact that the state director of the federal agency sending in most of the troops refused to answer a simple question from a reporter:  "We've seen lots of heavy equipment, like bulldozers, on government trucks.  Are you killing the guy's cattle?"

The director's refusal to answer made me think that was exactly what the feds were doing.  Other signs also pointed to a real thug operation.

Now a new piece of information emerges:  The FAA has declared that no civil aircraft will be allowed within three miles of the ranch below 3000 feet above ground level.  Here's the notice:

This level of planning and interagency coordination is found in preparations for war or some other major government operation.  I'm not aware of the government ever declaring a no-fly zone simply to serve a warrant or make an arrest.  This seems pretty outrageous.

But under the government it seems less surprising:  After all, they've blockaded all the roads to the ranch and are seizing legal firearms from people who reach the roadblocks.  They've killed power to cell phone towers.  Now they want to be sure no one will be able to watch from the air as the thugs do whatever.

There is no reason to declare a no-fly zone unless the government was planning to do something they wanted to conceal from the public.

Draw your own conclusions.

Friday, April 11

Feds refuse to say whether they've "euthanized" (killed) rancher's cattle in Nevada

For those of you too busy with life to keep track of such things, the federal government has sent a few hundred armed jackboots to a ranch in Nevada, to seize the cattle of a rancher who's had a two-decade dispute with the Bureau of Land Management over grazing rights on what the gummint calls "public land."

You see, "public land" sounds SO much nicer than saying "government land," which is how the feds really regard it.  They own it, and may God help you if you fail to comply with one of the zillions of edicts dictating how you must behave when you set foot on it.

As you may have guessed, I'm very skeptical about all levels of government, but after reading the published details of the case--again, it stretches back 20 years--it appeared the feds did have a cause of action, and I was prepared to cut 'em some slack.  Until I read this:

BLM Won’t Say If They’ve Euthanized Cows In Ranch Standoff

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) won't say if they've euthanized any cows in the roundup of Cliven Bundy’s cattle on public land in Nevada.

Amy Lueders, the Nevada state director for the BLM, said in a conference call Thursday evening that the agency does have a “protocol,” but would not release any numbers for animals they have found dead or that they have euthanized.

A reporter asked about heavy construction equipment that was seen coming in and out of the blockade, and whether cattle have been found dead, injured, or euthanized during the operation.

“In terms of the number that we’ve found, animals who are, I think, deceased on the range, or if we’ve had to euthanize an animal, we don’t have an answer to that question at this time,” Lueders said. “We will euthanize an animal during the impoundment if they exhibit dangerous characteristics, threaten the health and safety of the employees, display a hopeless prognosis for life.”

“So, we do have a protocol in terms of when we would euthanize animals,” she said. “But we don’t have any answers at this time in terms of the numbers.”
Now, you need to read the article closely:  Amy Lueders isn't some GS-3 clerk who's been shoved toward a microphone to guess at policy, but is the damn *state director* for the federal BLM.  As such, you'd think she would know what the hell is going on. 

To put it a different way:  Either she knows every detail of what's going on there, or no one does.

Why wouldn't Amy say "We haven't killed any of this man's cattle" if that was the case? 

Before we analyze that, note that line about "heavy construction equipment was seen."  Many observers on-site have reported "bulldozers." 

Bulldozers are utterly useless for rounding up cattle.  On the other hand, they're almost mandatory if one wants to *bury* 500 or 700 head--which is a figure published by the BLM from helicopter surveys for cattle in the immediate area as recently as three months ago.

Why would the thugs...sorry, the feds...choose to kill the man's cattle instead of selling 'em?

I suspect it's because if they rounded 'em up and moved to sell 'em, the guy would get an injunction and file suit.  The resulting trial would attract a huge firestorm as the case revealed how corrupt the BLM is, and how unlawfully they've acted.

For example, the head of the BLM's policy division was employed by Nevada senator Harry Reid, and there's evidence suggesting Reid may be involved in some hugely profitable land deals involving the rancher's acreage.  While that remains to be seen, I suspect this would all come out in a trial.

But if the feds kill all the guy's cattle, along with a few members of the guy's family, the Democrat-loving media will paint the man as part of a vast Tea Party conspiracy or some such, which will make it virtually impossible for him to find a federal judge who will even let a lawsuit against the government proceed.

In an earlier life I had quite a few encounters with the BLM and I'm pretty sure I know how they think:  That all civilians are Gaia-raping, mouth-breathing Neanderthals who want to vandalize all public lands.  And they'll do anything their bosses suggest to "protect the public lands"--even if it means killing and burying 500 head of cattle.

Again I don't *know* if that's the plan but I can't imagine why the state director would say the equivalent of "Argle bargle gobble-babble" instead of just "No, we haven't killed any and have no intention to do so" when asked point-blank about it.  Her non-answer was totally consistent with someone who wanted to deflect heat but was reluctant to openly lie.

Also the phrase in her evasion "We will euthanize an animal during the impoundment if they exhibit dangerous characteristics, threaten the health and safety of the employees..." sounds very much like someone preparing the ground for a cover story.  After all, everyone knows you can't go letting cattle "threaten the health and safety of the employees."  In fact I wouldn't be a bit surprised if a report has already been written showing that several head exhibited behavior characteristic of "mad cow disease" that led to the government-ordered killing and burial of something like 150,000 head in the U.K. a decade ago.

Other--less likely--choices are anthrax and hoof-and-mouth disease.

We'll see.

Local crime story

I usually don't do posts about the cruel and inhumane things people do on a daily basis, because the problems I'm trying to analyze, describe to you and hopefully solve are vastly larger than the ghastly, cruel crimes committed by monsters masquerading as human.

But I'm gonna make an exception for this one.

The smiling little girl below--and that's one of the most dazzling smiles I've ever seen--was two-and-a-half years old.  She's no longer with us, and I'm pretty confident she's in a better place.

The nattily-dressed goblin below is her father--one "Arthur Morgan III" of New Jersey.

Morgan killed his daughter because he was angry that the girl's mother had broken up with him.

He killed his daughter by strapping her in a car seat and throwing her off a bridge into a creek, leaving her to drown. 

He tied a car jack to the seat for extra weight.

Words fail...

One can only hope the guy's clinically insane.  It's hard to imagine a sane person doing such a thing.

Monday, April 7

Congressman doesn't pay rent on office for a whole year, not evicted or sued. Guess the party.

If you own a business or live in an apartment and don't pay your rent, you get evicted.

Oh, well, that is unless you're Democrat congresswhore Charlie Rangel.

In 2013 Rangel didn't pay a nickel of the supposedly $7,000 per month rent to New York State for one of the offices he leases from the state.

And why didn't the state sue him, or evict, or try to collect?  It's a total mystery, eh?  The NY Post found an email from a "real-estate specialist" for the state, written the end of July, 2013, saying "It seems we haven’t gotten the signed lease back because they lost it!”

Okay, Sparky, what did you do next?  Did you notify your boss, or alert a single soul?  Did you alert the newspapers?  Complain to the feds?  C'mon, tell us what you did to justify your taxpayer-paid salary!

The answer one has the balls to investigate.  As a Democrat Rangel is immune not only to eviction but also to prosecution.  As a *black* Democrat he's also immune from serious investigation.

And this is the way America works, children.  If you're a Democrat you can get away with stuff that you couldn't if you were a conservative.  Sweet, eh?

Actually it gets even more outrageous:  Instead of demanding payment of the back rent and late fees from Rangel, state bureaucrats cut him a huge rent break, allowing him to enter into a new, less expensive lease in which he could postpone paying six months of rent. That “abatement” money has still not been paid, nor has the other six months of missed rent from 2013, a OGS official said.  The deal resulted in reducing the rent to $4,809 a month.

When The NY Post asked about the year of missing rent, Rangel’s office and OGS blamed...the federal sequester, not the lost lease referenced in agency correspondence.

Amazing.  But totally normal for Democrats.

Sunday, April 6

Something for nothing?

The "Affordable Care Act" implicitly promised to give all Americans low-cost health insurance.  But the reality was (and is) that if people who couldn't afford health insurance before the law was rammed through were either to be given such insurance at no cost to themselves--including those allowed to enroll in "expanded medicare"--or else to be given a government [i.e. taxpayer-paid] subsidy so their out-of-pocket cost was low enough to tempt them to sign up, the money would have to come from somewhere.

Of course few ordinary citizens know enough about how governments get their funds to be able to recognize this.  And virtually no "panhandler voters" would care in any case:  To them the only relevant question was, "Is it free?"

But you'd think at least a few dozen of the Ivy-league-educated elites would have the education to be able to realize that Obamacare was implicitly promising "something for nothing."  Yet not one member of the liberal elite wrote a single word pointing this out.  All the warnings came from the conservative side, which did no good against Democrat control of the media and both houses of congress.

Of course we all heard the glittering buzz-phrases about "bending the cost curve over."  But those who bothered to ask exactly what this meant got no audience beyond conservative circles, while no national reporter bothered to ask.  Whether this was their own sense of self-preservation or literal orders will likely never be known.

So as of now the ACA has racked up six million cancelled policies and seven million have signed up, for a net gain of one million.  But several problems with this record.  First, it's likely that most of the signups had serious pre-existing conditions and will be a net loss to insurers.  Also, the government isn't saying how many "signups" have actually paid their first premium.  If experience with automobile insurance is any guide, a substantial fraction of those will either not pay a dime or will stop paying after a few months.  More losses.

How do the Democrats plan to cover those unexpectedly higher losses?  If history is any guide they'll simply have the government borrow more money.  Which of course increases U.S. interest payments to foreign lenders.

If you think that's trivial you should know that just the *interest* we pay to the Chinese government on U.S. borrowing is almost equal to their annual defense budget--at least the part they admit to.

There was never any way the "Affordable Care Act" could have come within $100 billion dollars a year of being "revenue neutral."  But rather than be honest about the cost of giving health insurance to 30 million uninsured (or whatever the number was claimed to be), Democrats chose to lie--brazenly--claiming the thing would cost just a pittance.  But of course if Americans had known the true cost it's far less likely that the bill would have passed.

The key to passing Obamacare was the claim by Democrat propagandists that it would give people a huge benefit for almost no net cost.  In other words, the implication was that it would give something for next to nothing.

Most adults know that if something looks too good to be true...

Cali Dems find a way to give money to consumers that they've taken, and get credit for it

Just when you think you've seen every possible political scam to win votes from what are charmingly called "low-information voters," Democrats come up with a new one.  This one's called "California Climate Credit."

If you're a Democrat you'll probably think I'm just making this up, so click on the link first. I'll wait.

Okay, here's the gist:  the state legislature--totally controlled by Democrats for decades--passed a law directing this.  The lofty stated purpose is "to help communities meet state and local energy and climate action goals."   And no, you're not supposed to ask how that will happen.  But the result is that twice a year residential consumers in areas served by "investor-owned" utilities will get a credit on their electric bill.  The first credit is estimated at $40.

Sweet, eh?  Those wunnerful Dems is makin' da eeebil electric corporations give da peeps money!  Yay Democrats!!

But wait a second:  According to the website that explains this (you did click the link, right?), "Funding comes from investor-owned utility customers under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission."

So doesn't that mean the money in the credit will be a refund of money the utilities collect in revenue...from consumers' electric bills?

Why yes, yes it does.

But doesn't the state Utilities Commission set the rates the power companies can charge for electricity so the companies will make an essentially fixed rate of return on their billions of dollars in investment in generating facilities and transmission lines? 

Why yes, yes it does.

In other words California's Democrat-run legislature has simply ordered companies to take money from what you pay in your electric bill and give it back to you in a visible way.  But since rates are set to make a fixed return, this money is offset by...higher electricity rates, in exactly the same amount.

In other words, the net benefit to consumers is

But of course it's utterly impossible to convince the low-info person of this.

Kinda reminds you of modest-income LIVs who work for a company, get income taxes withheld from every paycheck, and then if they get a refund on their taxes the next year, truly believe they "paid no taxes last year!"

I predict we'll see Democrat legislators in California touting this faaabulous, lookin'-out-for-you bill--AB-32--in a matter of weeks.

Venezuela's socialist, totalitarian government offers us some useful lessons

Socialists are always claiming that socialism is SOoo much better than free markets and capitalism.  So much more fair.

All right, Sparky, have at it:  Let's see how well socialism works when socialists have total power.  Because the best test of a system is, how well does it work?

Take Venezuela:  Not long ago it had the highest per-capita income in South America, thanks to its huge oil production and resulting export income.  But today basic commodities such as toilet paper, rice, milk, meat-- and amazingly, even coffee (!)--are so scarce that people line up literally for hours to buy them.

A number of actions led to this condition, but one of the standouts is that Venezuela is ruled by a 100% socialist government.  Its last president--Hugo Chavez--believed that the law of supply and demand was fiction--an fabrication used by companies to rob the poor and reap unfair profits.

Accordingly, three years ago he rammed a "progressive" law through the country's rubber-stamp legislature:  Rousingly named the "Law on Fair Costs and Prices," its stated purpose was to "ensure greater social justice."  It created a "National Superintendency of Fair Costs and Prices" with the authority to set supposedly "fair" prices at both the wholesale and retail levels.

Companies charged with violating these price rules would be fined, or could even to have their goods confiscated by the government.

In a truly astonishing demonstration of bureaucratic frenzy, in just three years this agency issued more than 500,000 rules establishing the legal price of virtually everything.

Chavez--a chest-thumping speaker who often gave three-hour speeches without pausing--knew price controls would be wildly popular with his core supporters (the poor) from the popularity of setting the price of gasoline:  In Venezuela the production and refining of oil, and the sale of gasoline, are controlled by the state-owned oil company.  Since the government owned the company, Chavez ordered that the company sell gasoline for just 6 cents per gallon, the lowest price in the world.

Unfortunately it was costing the government company almost $2 a gallon to extract oil, refine it into gasoline and distribute it to stations.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see the problem:  With domestic consumption of 600,000 barrels of gasoline a day, the sale price ordered by Chavez was forcing the company to lose $20 billion a year.

Forced by the president's decree to lose roughly $20 billion a year on gasoline sales, the state oil company had little money for exploration, production and maintenance, and had to depend on government funding for these things.  Of course Chavez wasn't willing to be seen as giving billions to explore for oil while other commodities were disappearing, so the state oil company was essentially looted. 

The effects were totally predictable:  as exploration and maintenance were cut back, oil production dropped dramatically.

You'd think this clear and distressing demonstration would have convinced the socialists that there was probably some flaw in their theory, but of course it didn't:  Emperors--which by this time Chavez essentially was--are immune to feedback from bad results, since they can simply issue decrees (sometimes called "executive orders") and everyone will rush to obey.  Not having to answer to anyone, Chavez and his supporters began fighting an ever-escalating war on the law of supply and demand.

The insane destructiveness of those measures can be seen in the country's production

Venezuela was once the largest coffee producer in the world.  But for some mysterious reason, with the selling price of coffee strictly controlled by the socialist government, by 2004 the country was forced to import coffee for the first time.  By 2012 imports of coffee had reached 43,000 metric tons.

Today the movement of coffee beans is attended with the care accorded to shipments of gold bullion, under the watchful eye of government bureaucrats.  Any significant transport of food items anywhere in Venezuela must be declared.  The truck, merchandise, driver, dates of delivery--everything must be declared ahead of time to make a delivery.

But mysteriously, even with bureaucrats micro-managing shipments and deliveries, production of everything has continued to fall.  So now the socialist government is convinced that the reason the shelves are bare must be that people are "hoarding" scarce goods.  Solution?  Control the amount of purchases directly.

(Is any of this starting to sound familiar?)

Thus the socialist government is rolling out a new system of ration cards.

Of course they don't call it that.  Instead it's being touted in socialist papers as a grocery loyalty card.  For example, Britain's socialist newspaper The Guardian describes it like this:
Working-class shoppers – who sometimes [??] endure hours-long queues at the stores to buy cut-price groceries – are welcoming the plan.
“The rich people have things all hoarded away, and they pull the strings,” said Juan Rodriguez, who waited two hours to enter the government-run supermarket near downtown Caracas on Monday, then waited three hours more to check out….
Patrons will register with their fingerprints, and the new ID card will be linked to a computer system that monitors purchases.  It will sound an alarm when it detects suspicious purchasing patterns, barring people from buying the same goods every day. But [the Food Minister] said the cards would be voluntary, with incentives such as discounts and entry into raffles for homes and cars.
Oh yes, we totally promise that using these cards will be voluntary.

The notion of winning a car in the raffle may get a lot of support, because it's almost impossible for ordinary Venezuelans to buy one.  Toyota ended its operations in the country after the government denied it permission to remit payment for the handful of cars purchased last year.  Venezuelans wanting a car must buy second-hand.  And wouldn’t you know? The country's current president Nicolas Maduro signed an edict regulating the price of used cars “in the government’s latest measure to combat inflation.”
The legislation would allow the government to set car prices, ensure that used car prices don’t exceed new car costs and provide licenses to individuals to import a vehicle using an account in euros or dollars with a state bank, Maduro said in a national address.
Venezuelans are now trying to compensate for shortages and rationing by buying food from street vendors.  But as might be expected, government bureaucrats have that loophole covered:
The government ordered Tuesday that sidewalk vendors may only sell basic foods if they respect price controls….Foods subject to the government resolution [order] are “rice, corn flour, wheat flour, pasta, beef, chicken, turkey, lamb, goat and pork.”
Also canned sardines, tuna and mackerel; powdered whole milk, cheese, eggs, soy milk, edible oils, margarine, legumes, sugar, mayonnaise, tomato sauce, ground coffee, coffee beans, and salt.
The [order] allows 30 days for sidewalk vendors to conform, and says that whoever infringes it will be penalized with the “confiscation of their goods.”
The real mystery here isn't the scarcity but the absence of common sense by the socialists.  Specifically: why hasn’t the socialist government reached the obvious conclusion that forcing producers to sell essentially at their costs absolutely guarantees that supplies of everything so controlled will decrease?  It's almost like they're terminally stupid or something.

When something you do produces disastrous results, rational humans analyze the failure and change what they do. It's called a "feedback loop."  You would think the disastrous experience with price controls would lead rational people to stop doing it, but in fact the opposite is happening:  the socialists are doubling down on greater controls, greater distortions of economics.

What's preventing the feedback loop from working for Venezuela's socialist government? 

I suggest the main factor is that they believe they'll be in power for the rest of their lives.  If they never have to worry about being held accountable or being out of power, why change?  And since they totally control all broadcasting and newspapers, no word of the true scope of the disaster reaches most of the public.

Of course the public sees the long lines, and the bare shelves.  And stands in line for hours to buy cooking oil or rice or toilet paper.  But the newspapers and TV simply echo the government line that the problem is the evil rich, or the CIA or their Colombian neighbors or some other form of foreign interference.

A devotion to government control of the economy isn't unique to Venezuela's leaders, of course:  U.S. Democrats and Obama rammed through a total takeover of health insurance, convinced that they knew better than ordinary people what said people needed.  Then by a series of presidential decrees Obama has changed the law's provisions, believing this will magically make it work--just as Nicolas Maduro thinks that fingerprinting Venezuelan supermarket buyers will put food on the shelves.

Of course Obama and the Democrats are far more educated and sophisticated than Venezuela's socialists, and with the help of the Democrat-covering media and an impeachment-proof senate they may yet retain power.  But what made them think rejecting freedom of choice and the laws of supply and demand was a good idea in the first place?

One possible answer is that once someone--especially someone with power--buys into a paradigm, they can only find solutions that are within the paradigm space.  Venezuela's socialists keep pushing price controls because the notion of ending them isn't within the boundaries of their mental system. The only options any humans actually have are the ones they allow themselves to consider.

In the case of Venezuela's socialists, they're wedded to price control system and won't consider any other option. To accept price controls don't work--that in fact they make millions of ordinary people miserable--is to accept they and all their useless functionaries are failures.

Similarly, U.S. Democratic leaders are psychologically unable to reject the government takeover they voted for--Obamacare--for exactly the same reason.

Sunday, March 30

Kid jumps off bridge, dad sues for wrongful death

I realize that in the U.S., anyone can sue for anything.  But getting the permission of a court to actually have a trial can be more difficult.  One would hope judges would use some care in keeping frivolous suits from clogging the legal system.  Admittedly, what one person considers a frivolous lawsuit another may find meritorious.

In any case...After a Cornell freshman was found dead under a bridge, his dad sued Cornell University and the City of Ithaca for $168 million, alleging wrongful death and negligence.

A U.S. district court judge has now ruled that the suit can go to trial.

The lawsuit alleges the university and the city failed to exercise reasonable care in designing, constructing and maintaining the bridge.  But the bridge had railings higher than required by code, and the railings were new and structurally sound, so it's hard to see how negligence or wrongful death can be involved.  But apparently a judge thinks there's enough merit to the suit to warrant a trial.

My guess is that the city will offer half a million to settle the case.  After all, it ain't their money, right?

It'd be nice if a small business could afford to pay half a mil to avoid a million in legal fees.  Oh, wait...the owner would have to come up with that money out of his own pocket.  With any government entity the taxpayers foot the bill.  Makes making costly decisions a hellofa lot easier, eh?

Candidate for Secretary of State of a huge state arrested for weapons-smuggling scheme; media ignores party affiliation

Ever hear the name Leland Yee?

If not, don't be concerned, because what and who he's involved with probably isn't important enough--or even interesting enough--to warrant national attention.

Yee is a state senator from one of the largest, most politically powerful cities in the country.  Until a week ago he was running for Secretary of State of his state--one of the largest and most politically powerful in the U.S.  He was widely regarded as a rising member of his party.

Last Wednesday the feds arrested him for allegedly offering to help procure and ship military-grade weapons--including shoulder-fired missile launchers--to Islamic militants.  Oh, and also for taking bribes.

Even more amusing, as he was setting up the gun-running operation Yee was also an extremely strong, vocal proponent of stricter gun-controls on law-abiding Americans.  So we can add hypocrisy to the story.

By rights this story should be what journalists call “good copy.”  It's got almost everything: political corruption, gun-running and sheer hypocrisy in a rising political star--exactly the kind of story you'd think the national media would have instantly picked up and run with.

How curious, then, that four of the most prominent news outlets in America ignored the story even two days after it broke.

I'm pretty sure you can guess why most national outlets have kept quiet: Yee is a Democrat, and a valued member of the party that elected Californians Nancy Pelosi and Babs Boxer.

In their first stories on Yee, neither CBS nor ABC bothered to note that Yee is a Democrat.

If Mr. Yee had been a conservative Republican or had ever attended a Tea Party rally, do ya think the MSM would have so assiduously ignored either the story itself or the guy's party affiliation?

Saturday, March 29

Democrat senate majority leader videotaped lying about his own statements

Democrat senator Harry Reid is the majority leader of the senate.  As such he'd probably be considered the second-ranking leader of the Dem party after Obama.

On February 26th Reid was videotaped addressing the assembled senate--by CSPAN--and stating that ALL of the ghastly storied being told by people whose health insurance had been cancelled by the issuing company--due to the deliberate, intentional language of the ludicrously-misnamed "Affordable Care Act" (Obamacare)--were "lies."  Tales "made up out of whole cloth"--which for younger readers has long been a genteel way of saying lies.

Three days ago--exactly one month after he was captured on tape calling ALL of these stories "lies"-- Reid addressed the Democrat-controlled senate again, saying...that he *never* said the horror stories about Obamacare were lies.

A lot of Americans don't believe *anyone* would actually be brazen enough to stand before his fellow senators--and the cameras--and deny saying something he was videotaped saying just a month earlier.  I had a hard time believing it myself.  But here he is:

But then it occurred to me that Democrats have grown accustomed to operating this way:  Say something, then later deny you ever said it...because they absolutely know they can count on two things to give 'em cover:  First, a Democrat-loving mainstream media, which can be counted on not to report Democrat lies.

Second, the fact that most people don't have any idea how corrupt and morally bankrupt the Democrat leadership is, and thus are inclined to doubt that such a high-ranking Dem leader could ever actually lie so brazenly.

Thus Bill "Slick Willy" Clinton, when asked--in a videotaped deposition--whether he had ever had a sexual relationship with Monica Lewinski--felt comfortable dodging the question by saying something as nutty as "It depends on what the meaning of is is," and feel confident he wouldn't get raked over the coals for more than a couple of days for insulting everyone's intelligence with such a non-response.

He knew that flatly lying in a sworn deposition would cost him nothing, because his friends in the Democrat media would roll out defense talking points like "He was tricked."  Or "It was just about sex...and *everyone* lies about sex!"

And stupid, low-information voters would laugh and nod and that would be the end of it.

Which, of course, is exactly how it turned out.

Sometimes I forget that all my college students were all of five years old when Slick was shown to have lied under oath.  They can't believe it could have happened.  Surely, they say, the American people would never put up with a president who would lie so brazenly to them!

But hey, how can anyone expect college students to know anything about government or recent history?  After all, it's not in the textbooks.  And the media sure as hell doesn't utter a word about it.  So as far as they're concerned, it never happened.

In five more years no one under the age of 30 will believe that Obama ever said "If you like your health insurance you can keep your health insurance.  Period."

Who said this?

Who said this:
Let me begin by saying this to you and to the American people: I know that there are millions of Americans who are content with their health care coverage -- they like their plan and, most importantly, they value their relationship with their doctor. 
And that means that no matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people:  If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. ... If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan, period. ... No one will take it away, no matter what.
Why, that would be Barack Obama, on June 15th, 2009.

And millions of Americans--almost all liberal Democrats--believed him.

Flat.  Out.  Lied.

California DMV to open five centers for issuing licenses *only to illegal immigrants*!

Everyone understands that people--including elected officials and employees--almost never make decisions arbitrarily, but only after weighing the factors they feel are relevant.  Sometimes one of those factors is "What's best for my constituents?", or my state or nation.  Unfortunately all too often the overriding factor seems to be "What decision will let me harvest the most bribes?" or "What will get my party the most votes?"

With that background, consider the recent announcement by the California DMV that it would open five centers in southern CA devoted *solely* to processing driver's licenses for illegal immigrants.

Yes, you read that right.  Last October the state's solidly-Democrat-controlled legislature passed AB-60 ordering the DMV to issue DLs to illegals.  Of course the lawmakers didn't use that term, since illegals have been throwing fits whenever anyone uses that term.  Also, calling illegal immigrants "illegal" would expose the whole process for what it is:  A wholesale attempt by Democrats to create 30 million new voters who can be counted on to vote for Democrat.

Naturally y'all think I'm just putting you on about this.  Well comrade, here's the actual text from the signed law:
   (1) Existing law [i.e. before this new law was passed] requires the
Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to require an applicant for an original
driver's license or identification card to submit satisfactory proof
that the applicant's presence in the United States is authorized under
federal law.
Existing law prohibits the department from issuing an original driver's
license or identification card to a person who does not submit
satisfactory proof that his or her presence in the United States is
authorized under federal law.
   This bill would require the department to issue an original driver's
license to a person who is unable to submit satisfactory proof that
the applicant's presence in the United States is authorized under
federal law if he or she meets all other qualifications for licensure
and provides satisfactory proof to the department of his or her
identity and California residency.
[This] bill provide[s] that information collected pursuant to those 
provisions is not a public record and shall not be disclosed by
the department, except as required by law. 
Now in my humble opinion everyone who's in the U.S. illegally should be deported, period, but that's actually not the point I wish to make here.  Rather, I'd like you to ask yourself why the cash-strapped government of the state of California would spend $60 million on leasing facilities (not to mention hiring 1000 new employees) to open processing centers *solely for the benefit of illegal aliens.*

The state already has thousands of DMV offices, and using the state's estimate of 1.4 MILLION illegals driving in CA, spreading that number over the existing thousands of DMV offices wouldn't seem to add enough work per office to be objectionable. 

So why did the state spend all that money on five new DMV offices solely for the benefit of illegals?

I submit it's because legislators didn't want legitimate citizens (and voters) to be able to see lines of illegals in their local DMV office getting non-citizen driver's licenses, since it would likely ignite a firestorm of opposition to the Democrat-controlled government.  Far safer for the pols to keep the illegals out of sight of taxpaying, insurance-buying, law-abiding American citizens.

This would be consistent with the provision of the law that said all information collected on illegal licenses would NOT be a public record and could not be disclosed by the DMV.

So if a year or two from now anyone ever wants to know how many illegals have gotten DLs from this POS law...well, tough shit, cuz da legislature says we don't gotta' tell ya nothin'.  Cuz y'all are just stupid taxpayers who are absolutely NOT entitled to know what the corrupt government your tax dollars fund is doing.

So there.