Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Year End Review: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly - Today = Bad

Yesterday we reviewed some of the good things the political class did in the second half of 2009 (there were not very many). Today we will review some of the less than glorious antics, quotes, and actions the political class has done to the country and its citizens in the second half of 2009, "The Bad." Tomorrow we will review the incredible waste of taxpayer dollars and government resources the political class has squandered. Each day I will pick the very best good, the very best bad and the very best ugly.

Before we start, please note two things. First, all of the instances of political activity I will review have already been discussed and analyzed in previous posts to this blog. Thus, for more detail on anything listed and discussed in the next three days you can review the past posts. Second, everything discussed in the three posts come from credible news sources, these are not facts and stories I made up or are coming from highly partisan sources. Typical sources include CNN, the Associated Press, the New York Times, The Week Magazine, Reason magazine and other news sources. While I will not identify the sources again in these review posts, you can refer to the original posts to get the date and source referenced for the information.

So let's review some of the less than glorious antics that the political class served us with in the second half of 2009:
  • Ginny Brown-Waite, a Congresswoman from Florida, was actively investing in bank stocks at the same time she was sitting on the House banking committee to determine which banks got what levels of bailout money and support from the American taxpayer through the Federal government. This is a blatant conflict of interest. Ordinary Americans would probably have gone to jail for insider trading if they did the same thing, apparently conflict of interest and insider trading activities do not apply to Congressional members.
  • Senator Hillary Clinton apparently also does not understand conflict of interest theory. She helped pass a bill that allowed a mall developer in New York state to get preferential tax treatment, shortly after the developer made a significant donation to Bill Clinton's foundation.
  • Hawaiian Senator Daniel Inouye's staff helped a bank in Hawaii get bailout money from the FDIC after the the FDIC determined the bank was not worth saving. Turns out that the Senator had invested heavily in the bank and stood to lose a load of money unless the bank was saved by the American taxpayer.
  • Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut received substantial campaign donations from Fannie Me and Freddie Mac. Two things wrong here. First, Dodd was chairman of the Senate banking committee responsible for overseeing the activities of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, a clear cut case of conflict of interest. Second, how do two Federal organizations that exist now solely because of taxpayer support and bailout money get to use taxpayer money to support specific candidates for office? Shouldn't government organizations remain non-partisan and not a piggy bank for the politicians who are supposed to oversee them?
  • Ex-Congressman William Jefferson of Louisiana was convicted of taking bribes and was sentenced to 13 years in prison. You may recall that Mr. Jefferson was caught with frozen bribe money in his home freezer. This continues the hall of shame tradition of the political class who recently included Congressman Randy Cunningham who was sentenced to eight years in prison for taking $2.4 million in bribes, Congressman Bill Ney who was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for taking bribes, Congressman James Traficant who was sentenced to seven years in prison for taking bribes, and the majority of ex-Governors of Illinois who are either serving prison time, have served prison time, or may soon face prison time.
  • 60% of the Congressional members sitting on the House Armed Services Committee received campaign contributions from the very companies that they had previously earmarked pork barrel budget money for.
  • Congressman Charles Rangel of New York is being investigated for a number of ethics violations including, but not limited to, non-declaration of rental income, certain assets, and other income.
  • In the area of "who really cares about this bill", Congresswoman Anna Eshoo of California and her staff are working on legislation to Federally regulate the sound volume on television commercials. Never mind that TV watchers can mute the sound, change the channel, leave the room to get something to eat, fast forward on their DVR machines, or just ignore the TV for 60 seconds. Why work on Iraq, Afghanistan, soaring deficits, unemployment, failing public schools, etc. when the TV commercial sound volume issue is so pressing????
  • In the same vein as Ms. Eshoo's contribution to America, Congressman Jim Moran and his staff are investigating whether erectile dysfunction television commercials should be banned. I did not know this was so important either. As with Ms. Eshoo, let's ignore real issues facing America and work on E.D. commercials.
  • And it never ends. Congressman Thaddeus McCotter and his staff is working on legislation to provide up to $300 a month in income tax deductions so that the unemployed do not have to put their pets up for adoption. Maybe if his staff and he were working on how to get America working again, there would be no need for this ridiculous program that would never be able to be tracked and would be rife with fraud.
  • The fence along the border between America and Mexico was the work of the entire Congress. In a 2009 report we learned that the construction of the fence is seven years behind schedule, it will cost $6.4 billion to maintain the fence over the next twenty years ($870,000 a day!), and there have been at least 3,000 breaches of the fence where illegal immigrants were able to enter the country despite this billion dollar fence.
  • As we have referenced any number of times these past months, the new Washington D.C. visitors' center was completed but only after it overran it's construction budget by 50%.
  • California Congressman Henry Waxman was quoted as saying: "I certainly don't claim to know everything's that's in this bill" in referring to the massive cap and trade legislation that is likely to come before Congress in 2010. The troubling aspect of this statement is that Waxman is the official co-author and writer of the bill!
  • Recently, who could forget the blatant bribes that Henry Reid allowed to enter the recently passed health care reform bill where a handful of Democratic Senators were able to get breaks for their individual states in the hundreds of billions of dollars in exchange for their final vote in support of this lame bill.

And the winner is: I have to give it to the Mexican border fence. In typical political class tradition, it is a program that does not work (the fence is constantly breached, allowing illegals to enter), it is over budget and seven years behind schedule, and it will waste taxpayer money to the tune of $870,000 a day for the next twenty years. The entire political class worked on this one and they all merit mention on this disaster. This does not belittle the conflict of interest, waste, illegal actions, and other missteps mentioned above. They all waste time, energy, and taxpayer dollars for no discernible benefit to the vast majority of Americans.

As mentioned previously, many of the steps in "Love My Country, Loathe My Government" would prevent these travesties. These include term limits for politicians, a ground up review of all Federal programs and projects to see if they serve any useful purpose, an annual code of ethics statement and vow for each sitting politician, a rule to prevent any Federal project to exist unless it materially benefited a large number of citizens from at least five states in order to reduce local earmarks, and campaign finance reform that would allow only individual citizens to contribute to political campaigns (conversely, forbidding unions, PACs, businesses, etc. to contribute.)

Tomorrow we will look at "The Ugly" wastes of earmarks and other Federal programs that solve no problems for the majority of Americans and serve only to get incumbents re-elected.

Visit our website at to order an autographed copy of the book, "Love My Country, Loathe My Government -Fifty First Steps To Restoring Our Freedom and Destroying The American Political Class" and to sign up for the cause. The book is also available online at Amazon and Barnes And Noble.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Year End Review: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly - Today = The Good

As 2009 approaches an end, I thought it would be a good idea to review what we have been discussing the past six months since the publication of the book, "Love My Country, Loathe My Government." I have entitled the review "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly", based on an old western movie starring Clint Eastwood. Today I will review some of the good things we discussed as it related to the political class (the good), tomorrow we will review some of the ugly things the political class has done to the country and its citizens (the bad) and the next day we will review the incredible wasted of taxpayer dollars and government resources the political class has wasted. Each day I will pick the very best good, the very best bad and the very best ugly.

Before we start, please note two things. First, all of the instances of political activity I will review have already been discussed and analyzed in previous posts to this blog. Thus, for more detail on anything listed and discussed in the next three days you can review the past posts. Second, everything discussed in the next three posts come from credible news sources, these are not facts and stories I made up or are coming from highly partisan sources. Typical sources include CNN, the Associated Press, the New York Times, The Week Magazine, Reason magazine and other news sources. While I will not identify the sources again in these review posts, you can refer to the original posts to get the date and source referenced for the information.

Tonight I will review the good things the political class has done in my opinion in the past six months. Unfortunately, I was able to only come up with three instances of success, i.e. the actions of the political class members involved had the taxpayer and fellow citizens in mind when they executed their actions:

1) The first example is based on personal experience. I live in Pinellas county in Florida and over the past four years my property taxes have gone down on a year over year basis. They have gone down so much that I now pay about 40% in less in property taxes today than I paid four years ago. There are probably a number of factors, both political and non-political, that have gone into this decrease but the bottom line is that they have gone down significantly. And here is the good news: I still have police protection, I still have fire protection, the schools are still open, the parks are still open, most of the libraries are still open and the roads and traffic lights are still in good shape. This is proof to me, on a very local level, that excess waste can be taken out of government without substantial reduction in essential protection and services. The primary word in that previous sentence is essential.

2) The second example comes from the U.S. Senate and it was a suggestion and formal proposal to the Senate from Senator Lamar Alexander from Tennessee. His reasoning: since the Federal government paid about $60 billion of U.S. taxpayer money to acquire a 60% share of General Motors and theoretically save it from bankruptcy, shouldn't each American taxpayer get stock certificates and partial ownership of GM rather than the Washington bureaucrats? After all, government is able to function only because it takes money from taxpayers, if government acquires ownership in a private company, doesn't that mean that the taxpayers own the company since it was their money? Senator Alexander was the single politician this year that showed he understood the relationship between paying taxes and government spending. Giving individual citizens those shares of GM would ensure more interest in how GM performed going forward since each citizen would have had a stake in its survival, probably giving GM a better shot at survival than it has with government ownership.

3) The final example comes form a small town in south Florida, Miami Gardens. In the past year, Miami Gardens city government took the following actions:
  • The city payroll grew. Most everywhere else in the country unemployment increased.
  • City employees still got cost of living raises and merit raises. Most everywhere else in the country salaries and wages were frozen or reduced.
  • The city increased its financial reserves by about $300,000. Most everywhere else in the country, local and state governments dipped into their reserves to cover operating costs.
  • The city upgraded 17 parks and 4 schools. Most other government entities were reducing or eliminating maintenance projects.
How was Miami Gardens able to do all of these positive things in light of a very, very deep recession and the fact that they are not a city of wealthy residents? According to interviews with city officials:
  • City employees share both personnel resources and other resources.
  • The city hires only those people they actually need to do the work needed to be done.
  • City officials claim they have the ability and backbone to say "No" to non-essential projects and programs, claiming that they cannot be everything to everybody.

Thus, much like my first example above, the Miami Gardens politicians have shown that running a lean, efficient operation is possible if you are respectful of taxpayers' dollars.

And the winner of "The Good" award is....... Miami Gardens city government. I applaud Senator Alexander's creative thinking and understanding that government exists only because it collects taxes, not because it itself generates wealth. However, his wise idea was never implemented. And while my personal property taxes have gone down without a detrimental effect on government services, I believe a number of factors were involved, including declining real estate values, not just government actions. Thus, while I am grateful for the reduction, not all of it was the work of the political class.

Miami Gardens city government, however, demonstrated that by respecting the taxpayers and the taxes that are paid, government can be run smoothly, efficiently, and effectively. All it takes is a little planning and the ability to just say No.

Visit our website at to order an autographed copy of the book, "Love My Country, Loathe My Government -Fifty First Steps To Restoring Our Freedom and Destroying The American Political Class" and to sign up for the cause. The book is also available online at Amazon and Barnes And Noble.

A Simple Idea For Change

In most of these blogs, I try to be analytical and non-emotional in explaining how we need to take action to fix the ills facing the country today. However, every once in a while it is good to get a little passionate and today is that day. The paragraphs listed below are from an email I recently received from a relative. The origin of the email is unknown since no one takes credit for the contents. The author's plan is to circulate the contents of the email to as many people as possible in order to start changing the political forces in this country in a nonpartisan way and to start with next year's Congressional elections. The call for change is to do it peacefully and within the framework of the Constitution. I think that you may be able identify with the passion of author and his or her disgust with the way this country and it's citizens are being treated by the political class:

All I ask is that you consider the suggestion here. The entire Congress of the United States is corrupt. And I mean both Houses and I mean both major parties. I realize that a few Members of each House are trustworthy, but, as a group they are absolutely the most corrupt bunch to ever disgrace our Nation.

In November of 2010 the entire House of Representatives will stand for re-election; all 435 of them. One third of the Senate, a total of 33 of them, will also stand for re-election. Vote every incumbent out.

And I mean every one of them. No matter their Party affiliation. Let's start all over in the House of Representatives with 435 people who have absolutely no experience in running that body, with no political favors owed to anyone but their own constituents. Let's make them understand that they work for us. They are answerable to us and they simply have to run that body with some common sense.

Two years later, in 2012, vote the next third of the incumbents in the Senate out. We can do the same thing in 2014 and, by that time we will have put all new people in that body as well.
We, the People, have got to take this Country back and we have to do it peacefully.

That's what the Framers of our Constitution envisioned. I am also suggesting term limits on the members of the House Of Representatives - eight years maximum and twelve years/two terms for Senators. No exceptions, the longer they stay in office the more power they get. They love it and will do anything to get re-elected. We have term limits for Presidents, now let’s term limit Congress.

And we do away with their Special Retirement system and their health program (they should have same health programs everyone else in America does). When they are through serving their country they go back to being private citizens. They should view their service as a privilege; after all it was designed to be a part time job to represent the voice of the people, NOT the special interest groups and those who can do favors for them. If they don't like this proposal then don't run for office

Please, if you love this Country, send this (as I have done) to absolutely everyone whose email address appears in your address book. This thing can permeate this Country in no time. Let's make it happen.

Is this an analytical approach? No but I think it typifies the underlying uneasiness that exists in this country today. The promise of change from President Obama has not materialized and it does not look like it will. Entrenched politicians and the lobbyists in D.C. do not want any changes, even for the good of the country. Lack of leadership from the President, as illustrated many times in this blog, has not helped upset the special interest groups. Our overseas military comitments are expanding, just like under Bush, our Federal budget deficits are exploding even more so than under Bush, wasteful, trivial spending programs and earmarks are just as high as under Bush, public schooling continues to fail as under Bush, drug addiction continues unabated as under Bush, gay rights is just a phrase as it was under Bush, health care costs continue to escalate as under Bush (and will go much higher under the current proposed legislation), etc. Nothing has changed for the better and this author wants to make a difference, peacefully and legally.

These suggestions for change are very consistent with a number of steps proposed in "Love My Country, Loathe My Government":
  • Step 6 - allow only individual Americans to contribute to politcial campaigns to address the corruption issue the author raises.
  • Step 8 - strengthen the Federal Elections Commission to also address the corruption issue.
  • Step 14 - fix the Congressional districting process which almost always a guarantees the re-election of incumbents.
  • Step 37 - make Congressional pay raises conditional based on performance, not automatic as the currently are.
  • Step 39 - the most important step of all, institute term limits.

Feel free to take this author's suggestions to heart and spread the word if you agree. It's a simple plea but possibly the only way left to truly change the negative direction of the country.

Visit our website at to order an autographed copy of the book, "Love My Country, Loathe My Government -Fifty First Steps To Restoring Our Freedom and Destroying The American Political Class" and to sign up for the cause. The book is also available online at Amazon and Barnes And Noble.

Monday, December 28, 2009

We're Safe, We're Not Safe, We're Safe...

Today was supposed to be the start of a year end review of the actions, inactions, and insanity the American political class foisted upon the country in 2009. However, I need to go two other places over the next two days before starting the review. Today let's talk about the terrorist plot to bomb an airliner out of Amsterdam as it was coming for a landing at the Detroit airport. As most now know, the bomb was a dud and through the actions of some quick thinking passengers, the bomber and the fire his aborted explosive device caused was quickly brought under control. The plane landed without serious casualties in what could have been a disaster.

In a December 28, 2009 AP story that ran on the Earthlink news page, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano had some very interesting comments about the incident. According to the article, the Secretary claimed that 1) flying is "very, very safe" and 2) the attack "was stopped before any damage could be done. I think the important thing to recognize here is that once this incident occurred, everything happened that should have." I had a few initial reactions to her comments:
  • Do the people on that Detroit flight think flying is very, very safe? They just went through a near death experience and would probably would be in disagreement with the Secretary. A better answer may have been honesty, "oops we screwed up and are thankful no one was hurt, we will review our practices and do better next time."
  • At the time of her quotes, I did not think there would be a review since "everything happened that should have", i.e. we got it right. Never mind that private citizens made sure nothing tragic happened, not the government who has spent untold billions on security.
  • At no time in the article did the article discuss why the Secretary's staff had not identified and tracked the would-be bomber even though his father back in Nigeria had warned the U.S. Embassy of the potential for violence from his son in October, his U.S. passport was not immediately revoked, he was not subjected to additional screening when he showed up at the airport even though he was using his real name, a follow up analysis based on his father's warning was not done which may have showed how the British had been tracking his movements in their country, and no analysis done to see if his father's concern relative to his son's relationship to terrorists in Yemen was valid. No, the Secretary was busy congratulating herself that "everything happened that should have." Guess that means that part of Homeland Security's process is for civilians to protect themselves.

Now let's jump ahead 24 hours to another AP article that appeared today. Ms. Napolitano had a different attitude today, quoted this morning on Good Morning America: "Why wasn't he flagged at a higher screening level? How did he get an explosive substance on to the plane? All of these are serious questions that we are now looking at." Seems like it took the Secretary longer to figure out the root problems than it took us since we listed basically the same questions in the previous paragraph. Pretty sad that common Americans can figure out the right questions to ask before the national expert on homeland security can.

The President also weighed in today, ordering a review of the country's watch list system and air safety regulations. Sounds a little more serious than the Secretary's initial reaction. Also, we found out today that Yemen terrorists were involved. Yesterday, Ms. Napolitano was quoted as saying there was no indication that the bomber was part of a larger terrorist plot. Oops, wrong on that count also. And of course, Congress will hold hearings about the incident, after it happened. Why does it seem that Congress always gets actively involved after the fact?

Bottom line is that we were very lucky and very fortunate to have those on board the plane act as they did. Otherwise, we could have had many, many injuries and deaths to cope with. As far as M. Napolitano, there were far too many "oops" moments to be comfortable that she has a handle on her job. As Congressional scapegoating commences, I would not be surprised if she was the sacrificial lamb of the Administration.

However, I find something even scarier than Napolitano's subpar performance in this affair. The President was quoted today as saying: "We will continue to use every element of our national power to disrupt, to dismantle and defeat the violent extremists who threaten us, whether they are from Afghanistan or Pakistan, Yemen or Somalia, or anywhere they are plotting attacks against the U.S. homeland." If this does not sound like Bush/Cheny rhetoric circa 2001 than nothing does. Would it be too much trouble to consider bringing home our armed forces from around the world to see if this might solve the problem? Remember, this whole Bin Laden affair started because he was ticked off that American troops were stationed in his homeland. Step 30 in "Love My Country, Loathe My Government" outlines the reasons why this might be a better plan of action on a long term basis.

Looking at the whole terrorism situation in a completely different way, bringing our troops home and minding our own business, should at least be on the table. Otherwise, we will have other individuals whose fathers warn us he is capable of terrorism, who get and retain valid U.S. passports, who walk onto planes with explosive devices and chemicals while using their real names, and who at some point are going to get their wish of martyrdom by having a device that actually works. Depending on concerned and brave citizens to prevent the attacks, as Ms. Napolitano felt was good enough yesterday ("everything happened that should have") is no way to run homeland security.

Visit our website at to order an autographed copy of the book, "Love My Country, Loathe My Government -Fifty First Steps To Restoring Our Freedom and Destroying The American Political Class" and to sign up for the cause. The book is also available online at Amazon and Barnes And Noble.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Current Health Care Reform Bill - Opposing Views

The December 20, 2009 issue of the St. Petersburg Times had dueling editorial articles from two NY Times writers, David Brooks and Paul Krugman, who had opposite views on whether to pass the Senate's current version of health care reform. Mr. Brooks gave the following reasons for not passing the bill:
  • The bill does not fundamentally reform health care in this country. The status quo regarding the cost structure will not be affected by the current legislation. According to Mr. Brooks, the experts he spoke to and the Congressional Budget Office agree that this bill will not change the cost curve.
  • The bill centralizes health care power with just 500 people in Washington (Congress) without changing the cost structure. Given the insanity and wasteful spending we have witnessed by Congress over the past few years, does anyone really think this is a good idea? Remember, this was a group that could not build a simple visitors' center in DC without going 50% over budget.
  • In the short term the bill creates a huge jump in demand for health care without a growth in the supply of health care. Without new, sensible cost structures, simple economics will take over: more demand, constant supply will result in health care higher prices and costs.
  • Medical innovation will slow in Mr. Brooks opinion since those 500 people and their staffs, controlling 17% of the economy, have never been known for innovative thinking and acting.
  • The insurance of the uninsured is the dessert in Mr. Brooks view. The imperative for a reformed cost structure and reformed incentive system is the vegetables. Thus, the Senate wants the dessert of health care reform without taking the harsh steps of eating our vegetables. Now that the dessert has been eaten, the political class will never go back to eat the veggies.
Thus, Mr. Brooks does not think the current effort is worth passing since it does more damage than good and does not address the ROOT CAUSE of high health care costs. We have been screaming about this lack of understanding or the will to understand the root causes of escalating health care costs. Mr. Brooks is in agreement with this view.

Mr. Krugman thinks the current health care reform should be approved for the following reasons:
  • The Senate bill would be the biggest expansion of the social safety net in a very long time.
  • Those who have been denied coverage for a preexisting condition and those that could not afford health care costs would be covered under the Senate bill.
  • Other social programs started out highly flawed but got better over time.
  • It's okay to pay ransom to individual Senators who held out for special deals for their states and voters as long as the legislation gets passed.

While Mr. Krugman truly wants something passed, I do not see anywhere in his article of the merits of passing THIS bill, just the need to pass something. He does not discuss the costs of this bill, how health care economic power will become dangerously centralized in Washington, subject to the whims of the political class, he does not identify the true causes of escalating costs and how to deal with them, he does not question why tort reform was not included in this bill even though several states have proven that health care tort reform can result in double digit cost reductions, he does not address how to rein in fraud and criminal activity on existing government health care programs even before a significant expansion in these programs, he does not address the heavy-handedness of the bill that forces millions of young Americans to buy health insurance they do not need, and he does not question the ability of the political class to even pull this meager bill off, given that they cannot do anything else efficiently or effectively. He just wants a bill passed.

I would refer Mr.. Krugman to a paraphrased Spiderman quote: "Just because you can do something does not mean you should do it." This current effort at health care reform is an abomination and needs to start over as outlined in Step 28 in "Love My Country, Loathe My Government." This Step would involve having real subject matter experts craft the solutions and not the political class and would do it in the absence of lobbyists. Mr. Brooks understands that this bill is a sham, Mr. Krugman is whistling past the grave yard and hoping to get something, anything done now with the quaint hope that the political class can fix it in the future.

I will leave you with the following statistic from an article in Business Week magazine that was reprinted in the December 25, 2009 issue of The Week magazine. Currently, the U.S. government handles 4.4 million Medicare claims each day, but reviews less than 3% for accuracy and legitimacy before paying them. Thus, if you wanted to create fraud and rip off the taxpayer under the current system, your odds of getting caught are 97 to 3 or about 32 to 1. Excellent odds regardless of whatever process you are talking about. Can you imagine how much more fraud opportunities will occur when this bill, if it is passed, injects at least another trillion dollars into the payment flow? No one who supports the current Senate bill, including Mr. Klugman, seems to think this is a problem.

Visit our website at to order an autographed copy of the book, "Love My Country, Loathe My Government -Fifty First Steps To Restoring Our Freedom and Destroying The American Political Class" and to sign up for the cause. The book is also available online at Amazon and Barnes And Noble.


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Senator Bill Nelson (Fla.-D) - Please Answer My Health Care Reform Questions

As a resident of Florida, I thought I had the right to question my elected Florida representatives to Congress about their views and voting record on any issue affecting the American public. My Congressman and one Senator, both Republicans, have been very good in responding to my inquiries, in both acknowledging my inquiries were received and providing pretty specific answers to my questions. However, the same has not been my experience with my Democratic Senator, Bill Nelson. His office and staff rarely even acknowledge they have received my inquiries and on the very rare occasion they do respond, the response is always in a form letter format that never addresses my specific questions.

Given his non-responsive attitude via his own email system, I would like to pose the following questions to Senator Nelson via this blog and a hard copy that I will mail to his office to see if I can get any kind of response this way. I have previously asked the following questions of his office, most of which have been have been ignored:

Senator Nelson:

Please answer my following questions as it regards the 2,000 page health care reform bill that the Senate just passed:
  1. Have you read the entire contents of the bill? Not your staff but have you personally read the entire bill? Given the far reaching affects it will have on the country I would have hoped you took the time to read the entire bill. A simple yes or no answer would be fine.
  2. Do you agree with the perceived way the bill was constructed? Namely that it was constructed via Senator Reid and a small cadre of Democratic Senators working behind closed doors cutting deals for certain states and specific special interest groups? A simple yes or no answer would be fine.
  3. In a related question, given that this bill will affect every American, are you happy with a process that grants special monetary grants and exemptions from taxes to only certain states and special interest groups? A simple yes or no answer would be fine.
  4. Early last week a Rhode Island Democratic Senator basically called those opposed to the Senator bill to be racists and members of Aryan nation groups. Do you agree with the Senator that citizens, such as myself, that disagree with the contents of this bill are racists? A simple yes or no answer would be fine.
  5. Do agree with the part of the bill that forces young people to spend their limited resources to buy health insurance even though they probably do not need it, given their generally good health? I see this as a significant infringement of personal freedom but would appreciate your opinion on this matter of government interference in the private lives of millions of Americans. A simple yes or no answer would be fine.
  6. In a related question, just how is the government going to go about forcing these Americans to buy insurance and penalize those who do not? Will their tax returns be audited, will insurance companies put out hit lists for those suspected of not buying health insurance, will citizens be randomly stopped on the street by Federal agents and forced to provide insurance cards?
  7. Given that Texas and several other states have had considerable success in reducing health care costs via tort reform in the health care industry, why does this bill have no significant tort reform aspects? Could it be that the lawyer lobbyists and ABA were able to block it?
  8. As just one example, in the past year, the Federal government built a new visitors center that came in about 50% over budget. What assurances can you give the American public that this bill will actually cost what you say it will when every other Federal program and project, even the simple act of building a single building, goes way over budget?
  9. I still maintain the political class in Washington never did a root cause analysis of what the true underlying causes to high health care costs were. High health care costs are the symptoms of underlying causes. Since I do not believe that this analysis was ever done, the chances of any legislation curing the undefined problem are pretty low. The current bill appears to just move money around and raise taxes without solving any core problems? Could please educate me to what the underlying root causes are and how this bill addresses those causes?

Senator, I do not believe that these are unreasonable questions, given the wide ranging impacts this type of legislation will have on this country. I would hope you can assure me that the concerns I have voiced above are being addressed. However, the fact that you have not assured me so far, despite numerous requests, does not give me confidence that you and your fellow politicians really understand what you are doing in this area. Maybe this is the cause of the pathetically low ratings you folks in Congress now receive in public opinion polls, maybe most of us out here in America do not believe you know what you are doing or are acting in the best interests of ALL Americans.

Visit our website at to order an autographed copy of the book, "Love My Country, Loathe My Government -Fifty First Steps To Restoring Our Freedom and Destroying The American Political Class" and to sign up for the cause. The book is also available online at Amazon and Barnes And Noble.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Gift Giving Continues - More Reid Bribes For Health Care Votes Come To Light

Even though yesterday's post was supposed to cover the major special deals/bribes that Senator Reid doled out in order to buy the Senate votes he needed to pass this horrible health care reform bill, a day later more details of Reid's deal making have come to light (as reported in an online Wall Street journal article today):
  • A Florida Democratic Senator got a special $3.5 billion grant for that state's Medicare Advantage program, other states did not get a comparable grant.
  • A Vermont Independent Senator, who usually votes with the Democrats, got $600 million in additional money for his state's Medicare program, most other states did not get a comparable increase in Medicare money.
  • A Massachusetts Senator got $500 million in additional money for his state's Medicare program, most other states did not get a comparable increase in Medicare money. Looks like the Vermont Senator is a better negotiator though. He got 20% more money for a state with a considerably smaller population.
  • Democratic Senators in Nebraska and Michigan were able to get together so that the Blue Cross/Blue Shield companies in their states got exemptions from paying an insurance tax, other states did not get the same exemptions for their Blue Cross/Blue Shield companies.
  • Longshoremen get an exemption from paying a 40% excise tax on their so-called "Cadillac" health insurance programs, other Americans with Cadillac programs did not get the tax exemption.
It really does get sickening after a while. This is not health care reform. It is outright bribery and blackmail:
  • The current Senate bill does nothing to fundamentally reduce costs.
  • The current Senate health bill does not have any significant tort reform, tort reform that has significantly reduced health care costs in several states. Lack of tort reform indicates the strength of the lawyer/ABA lobbyists with Democratic lawmakers.
  • The current health care bill does not address the serious amount of waste and fraud (billions of dollars a year) in the current system (more on this in the coming days).
  • The current health care bill produces a significant reduction in freedom for most young Americans, forcing millions of them to sign up for health care policies that most do not need, given their better than average health. All this health care plan does is steal wealth from young Americans and use it to insure other Americans without reducing the underlying industry cost problems.
  • While the insurance industry now cannot deny coverage to people, they will get rich on the estimated additional 30 million new people forced to buy health care insurance. The bill does not decrease costs.
  • And finally, there is a serious mistreatment of the majority of Americans with small, special interest groups getting special monetary treatment in order for their Senators to vote to approve the bill. Hopefully, someone can put together a class action suit under the Constitution's equal protection clause for those of us that do not live in those states (Montana, Vermont, Massachusetts and others) and those job categories (coal miners in Montana and longshoremen) but who now have to subsidize these special cases.

This is not democracy or acting for the good of the country. This is insanity.

Visit our website at to order an autographed copy of the book, "Love My Country, Loathe My Government -Fifty First Steps To Restoring Our Freedom and Destroying The American Political Class" and to sign up for the cause. The book is also available online at Amazon and Barnes And Noble.



In the next few days we will review what some smart people, who have actually read the bill, have to say about its components and likely impact on every American's life. Happy holidays!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Congress: Legislating or Bribing?

Unfortunately, health care reform issues continue to arise and there can be not avoiding discussing them any more. Today's post focuses on a fine piece of work by Washington Post writer Dana Milbank who posted an article on the Post's website on December 22, 2009 entitled "On Health-Care, Democratic Senators Are In States Of Denial." While many other reputable sources have reported on the following information, Mr. Milbank has done an excellent job on summarizing many of the "deals" that are hidden within the current health care reform bill in the Senate:
  • Louisiana Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu got $100 million in extra Medicare money for her state of Louisiana.
  • Nebraska Senator Democratic Ben Nelson also got an extra $100 million in extra Medicare money for Nebraska.
  • Not to be outdone, Democratic Senator Chris Dodd got $100 million allocated to his home state in the bill for a new medical center ($100 million must be the standard state of currency In the Senate these days.)
  • Democratic Bill Nelson of Florida got an exemption that would allow Florida to preserve an expensive Medicare option.
  • Montana Senator Bill Baucus got additional Medicare coverage for anyone exposed to asbestos..... as long as they worked in a Libby, Montana mine.
  • Democratic Senator Tom Harkin got additional Medicare money for his state of Iowa for low volume hospitals.
  • Back to the Senator from Nebraska, he was able to get a provision that would reduce fees for insurers based in Nebraska.
  • Both North Dakota Democratic Senators got higher Medicare payments for hospitals and doctors in "frontier states" - coincidentally, frontier states include North Dakota.
  • Mr. Milbank goes on lists other special provisions that went to other Democratic states including Hawaii and Vermont.
Now, don't get me wrong, I truly believe that if the Republicans were in charge the same type of bribery would be taking place but it would be occurring in states with Republican Senators. What I do not understand is if this health care reform legislation is as important and life changing as it's supporters claim it is, why are we worried about such trivial, local issues such as coal miners in Montana? Shouldn't the political class be focused on debating and analyzing truly national issues on this nation-affecting legislation as opposed cutting deals for their own local interests?

No wonder the bill in the Senate is 2,000 pages long, it is not to reform health care in this country, it is to accommodate the bribes that Reid and others have inserted to get votes. I would have hoped that such important legislation itself could stand on its own and not need bribery to get approved. Sadly, that is not the case. Thus, it is difficult to believe anyone, including the President, when they state this is a good bill. It is a bill that only passed because of the bribes that were written into it. Since over 60% of Americans, as measured by most reputable opinion polls, view this bill as a bad deal and we now know how underhandedly the votes were gathered to pass this legislation, is there any doubt that this will be divisive national issue for the foreseeable future? Adding to this probablity of prolonged divsion in the country, is the potential for legal action raised by Republican Senator Hutchison of Texas, who makes a sane case that the process, the parochial bribes, and resulting bill is a violation of the Constitution from an equal protection under the law clause.

I leave you with two statements today. The first was listed in the "Comments" section or Mr. Milbank's article. The insightful reader basically said: "If you are pulled over for speeding in your car and offer the policeman $100, you are guilty of bribery. If you are sitting in the Senate and get offered $100 million dollars, you are guilty of "legislating."

And finally, Mr. Milbank quoted Senator Reid relative to this "legislating": "That's what legislating is all about. So this legislating is no different than the defense bill we just spent more than $600 billion one. It's no different than other pieces of legislation." Now remember, from a previous post we cited sources that estimated 1,700 instances of waste in that defense bill. Mr. Reid makes it apparent from his own words that he does not get it, he seems to think that wasting taxpayer money is okay regardless of where it is wasted. He calls it legislating, not waste. Seems like Orwell's Big Brother is alive and well in Washington. Given that the Senator sees no problem with waste, you can be sure that waste will continue until he and others are removed from office.

Visit our website at to order an autographed copy of the book, "Love My Country, Loathe My Government -Fifty First Steps To Restoring Our Freedom and Destroying The American Political Class" and to sign up for the cause. The book is also available online at Amazon and Barnes And Noble.


Monday, December 21, 2009

More Government Waste And Obama's Impotency To Stop It

I promise that this will be the last post for a while regarding government's wasteful spending and the American political class that feeds it. These types of reviews of wasted taxpayer dollars can get very depressing. Today's examples come from the Heritage Foundation's website ( as they and others comb through the latest budget bills to find truly remarkable wastes of money. After reviewing what they have found, I will close with a few comments about the President's significant shortcomings in this area, as measured by his own promises.

Regarding specific and local funding that the current Federal budget will pay for, the Heritage Foundation found:

  • $750,000 for the World Food Prize in Des Moines, Iowa
  • $350,000 for the Museum Of Aviation in Warner Robins, Georgia
  • $250,000 for a bike path between Lexington and Port Sanilax, Michigan
  • $350,000 to widen Bristol Street in Santa Ana, California
  • $300,000 to Carnegie Hall in New York City
  • $200,000 to renovate the Laredo Little Theater in Laredo, Texas
  • $400,000 to renovate the historic Ritz Theater in Newburgh, New York
As stated in in Step 44 of "Love My Country, Loathe My Government," no Federal taxpayer money should be spent on any project unless it materially impacts a significant amount of citizens in at least five states. If this rule was in effect today, the above $2.6 million in local projects would become the responsibility of the state or towns they resided in. With soaring Federal budget deficits, high unemployment, and other difficult national issues facing the country, time, energy, and money should not be spent on these local projects whose only purpose is to get the incumbents re-elected.

However, the Heritage Foundation analysis goes beyond the above wasteful projects:

  • In the three years that the Democrats have controlled Congress, there have been over 10,000 earmarks/pork barrel projects in each of their national budgets. In the past twelve years that the Republicans controlled Congress, only three times did the earmark level exceed 10,000. This proves that both parties are party to wasteful spending and that the trend is accelerating.
  • Prior to the finalizing of the defense budget for 2010, the earmarks and wasteful spending in the other budget bills had exceeded $11 billion, according to the Heritage Foundation. With over 1,700 earmarks in the final 2010 defense budget, wasteful spending in 2010 will easily exceed $13 billion a year. Remember from yesterday's post that the estimated deficit reduction expected from the new health care reform bill was $130 billion over ten years or about $13 billion a year. Thus, the political class has already wiped out the hoped for savings that the health care reform bill might provide.
  • A very distressing quote from the website is a quote from a Washington Post article that summarized a Taxpayers For Common Sense study that found: 60% of the members of the House Armed Services Committee who arranged earmarks also received campaign contributions from the companies that received the funding." Despicable. The political class is selling our taxpayer dollars for funding of their re-election campaign. Step 6 in "Love My Country, Loathe My Government," would prohibit any corporation, business, PAC, lobbyist firm, union, etc. frfom contribuing to an election campaign. Only individual citizens would be allowed to contribute, in order to maintain their freedom of speech right. By restricting campaign donations, the political class might actually think more about the real benefits of spending our money than the advantage they can get with spending our money.
I could go on and on but it gets just so darn irritating and depressing. And what has the President done amidst all of this waste. He certainly talks a good fight

  • "If Congress sends me a defense bill loaded with a bunch of pork, I will veto it." President Obama, August 17, 2009
  • "If my administration evaluates an earmark and determines that it has no legitimate public purpose, then we will seek to eliminate it." President Obama, March 11, 2009
  • "Obama and Biden will slash earmarks to no greater than the 1994 levels.", the official website of the Obama/Biden campaign.
Well, the defense budget had over 1,700 wasteful projects and programs, as we have discussed previously including an earmark for the brown tree snake. All of those 1,7000 earmarks were approved, in conflict with his August 17 promise. Over 5,000 earmarks from the general budget bills that the President signed, including the wasteful projects listed above and in earlier posts, were allowed to become a reality. The 1994 level of earmarks was 1,318. This year's level, like the previous two years under a Democratic Congress, will exceed 10,000. Guess the President missed that one also.

The bottom line is that the President has really become just a figurehead and a really, really good speech giver. He was not able to curtail the wasteful spending of Congress on the pork although he stated firmly any number of times he would aggressively cut them back. It has not happened as Congress has ignored his pledges. On many of the big defense spending programs, both he and the Defense Department specifically rejected funding for certain projects but Congress funded them anyway. Think about that: the Pentagon AND the President say something is not needed but both are ignored by Congress. He was a non-factor in the health care reform process (except to give a speech and tell us to stop "bickering" like children), allowing Pelosi and Reid and a small cadre of Democrats to create a massive, behind closed doors bill that no one really knows what it entails. When the political class devolved into name calling (liar, knuckle dragging Neanderthals, smelly tourists, un-Americans, etc.) he said nothing that would break through the anger and ease the tensions in the country.

He has wasted a golden opportunity when his approval rating was in the stratosphere to make hard decisions and take control of the change he promised. Given that there are still over 10,000 earmarks going forward despite his promise to reduce them by over 80%, I believe that he has become a lame duck President before his first year is out and there will be no change as he promised. It has become just the same old Washington wasteland that we have, unfortunately, come to expect from the political class without the change that was promised.

Visit our website at to order an autographed copy of the book, "Love My Country, Loathe My Government -Fifty First Steps To Restoring Our Freedom and Destroying The American Political Class" and to sign up for the cause. The book is also available online at Amazon and Barnes And Noble.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Government Numbers - Not A Pretty Sight

I have been sitting on some recent government and political class numbers from a varied set of sources which cover several areas. The good news is tonight we can review them, the bad news is that they are not pretty.
  • The big number bouncing around Washington from those that support the current version of health care reform (more on this disaster later this week) is that the current bill will reduce the deficit by $130 billion of 10 years. Supposedly, this estimate came from the objective Congressional Budget Office. I am not familiar with any government program that ever hit its numbers so I am highly suspect of the $130 billion in savings. Remember, just building the new visitor center in D.C. went over budget by almost 50%, as we covered in a previous post. However, for argument's sake let's say that the $130 billion is reasonable and will be attained. Given that the Federal government's deficit for November, 2009 alone was over $120 billion, these savings from health care reform would just barely cover one month's deficit spending.
  • Oops, the Federal government deficit spending level in October, 2009 was over $170 billion so that the 10 year savings from this health care reform bill would come up over $40 billion short in covering the single month's deficit from October.
  • In a previous post we documented the fact that the Obama administration officially estimates that the total Federal government deficit will grow by about $9 TRILLION over the next 10 years. Thus, the purported costs savings from this health care bill will reduce the incremental Obama deficit levels over the next 10 years by about 1.4%. That assumes that the $9 trillion is still a good estimate, not a good assumption based on the astronomical October and November deficits posted in 2009, and that the $130 billion in savings actually appears. In either case, the bigger issue is not if the health care bill savings will materialize but how the country is going to get the deficits under control since 1.4% is an optimistic number and a trivial number.
  • Leaving health care, it has been widely reported the past few days that the Taliban in Afghanistan are now able to intercept the video feed from our Predator drones and can now see what the drones are seeing, robbing us of a potent military advantage. If the enemy knows what we are looking at, they can possibly take steps to minimize damage from the drones' missiles. Although this country has spent trillions of dollars on defense over the years, the Taliban have cracked the video stream with over the counter software and computer hardware. Even worse, the military has known about the vulnerability for about 10 years and did nothing to fix it, assuming the terrorists were not capable of this, and it will take 4 years or until 2014 to encrypt the video signals. Our chance of success in fighting the terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan just took a big negative hit. Given the lax oversight by both the military brass and Congressional committees responsible for this debacle, many people should lose their jobs for this gross negligence and waste of time and money.
  • Although Obama's satisfaction rating is now below 50% and trending down, he is a virtual superman vs. Congress. As discussed in a December 20, 2009 article by Dan Biaz of the Washington Post, the most recent NBC News-Wall Street opinion poll showed that only 7% of the respondents said that the performance of Congress was above average while 34% of the respondents said this version of Congress was one of the worst ever.

Large and depressing numbers. These examples do not even cover the amount of earmarks/pork barrel projects that the 2010 fiscal budget will contain, over 10,000, where the Federal government will spend money that either the states should spend themselves or money that should not be spent at all since it usually only benefits the incumbent's reelection chances. These numbers do not include the $100 billion a year we discussed in a post earlier this month that we waste by stationing tens of thousands U.S. troops around the world that fulfill no strategic, anti-terrorist, or worthy military role.

The good news is that the public may finally be getting it and finding that our problem lies not with our country but with the political class that runs it, as quantified by the NBC News poll. We have allowed very petty and short term thinking political people to determine the fate of the country and ourselves. "Love My Country, Loathe My Government" is a path and plan to change this situation. The numbers do not lie, we need to reverse these dangerous numbers by changing out the people who create them and do it soon before our number is up.

Visit our website at to order an autographed copy of the book, "Love My Country, Loathe My Government -Fifty First Steps To Restoring Our Freedom and Destroying The American Political Class" and to sign up for the cause. The book is also available online at Amazon and Barnes And Noble.


Friday, December 18, 2009

The Slop Master Wins Again - Continued

Two days ago we discussed the unbelievable amount of wasteful spending that the Congress and political class embedded in a domestic spending bill for the 2010 fiscal year budget. I thought that was the end of it even though the waste was spread out in over 5,000 earmarks. I did not know until today that the political class also embeds wasteful spending projects in the huge, annual Defense Department budget bill that is about to be sent to the White House for approval. According to various sources, there are over 1,700 wasteful projects in this bill.

In a speech that Senator John McCain gave yesterday, some of these useless projects include the following (remember, this is a Defense Department budget):
  • $500,000 for the Brown Tree Snake Program
  • $1.8 million to renovate the Historical Fort Hamilton Community Club in the New York City area.
  • $1.6 million to study human genetics at the Maine Institute For Human Genetics and Health in Maine.
  • $5 million for the Presido Heritage Center in San Francisco
  • $1.6 million for the Center For Space Entrepreneurship
  • $2 million for National Initiatives For Applications For Multifunctional Materials
  • $1.6 million for a Virtual Business Accelerator In the Silicon Prairie, wherever that is.
  • $3 million for the New Jersey Technology Center
  • $1.2 million for the American Museum of Natural History Infectious Disease Research
  • $4 million for the Hampton University Proton Cancer treatment Initiative
  • $3.9 million for Intelligent Decision Exploration, which probably will not be found in Washington
  • $4.8 million for the National Oncogenomics and Molecular Imaging Center in Detroit
  • $2 million for an Advanced Laboratory for Information Integration in Hawaii
  • And my favorite, $18.9 million for a center at the University of Massachusetts "dedicated to educating the general public, students, teachers, new Senators and Senate staff about the role and importance of the Senate."
The list goes on and on but I will stop here. This small list of earmarks will spend over $48 million of the defense budget and have no discernible relationship to the defense of this nation. It is $48 million that should be returned to the taxpayers, or perhaps more importantly, could be spent to support the servicemen and women that are putting their lives on the line everyday in very dangerous places. Maybe the $48 million could be used for better and more bombproof vehicles to stave off injuries from roadside bombs. Maybe the $48 million could be better used to treat the physical and emotionally wounded soldiers who return from the battleground. Maybe the $48 million could be better used for more bulletproof vests. I believe the brown tree snake program and the Fort Hamilton Community Club and the other projects above should take a back seat to taxpayer refunds or better military support. The above types of programs should go find private funding themselves.

However, it is not only non-military projects that are wasting taxpayer money in this bill but actual military projects that are wasteful:
  • There is $7.6 million set aside for hypersonic wind tunnel research in Montana. This used to be an Air Force project who decided it was not needed years ago, at which time the project was moved to the Army which has absolutely no need for it. The Army's budget documents said they did not want any part of it. Somehow, though, the project continues in the defense budget even though nobody in the Defense Department wants it. Could it be a certain Senator from the state wants it? That's a good enough reason to waste $7.6 million?
  • There is $20 million set aside for the National WWII Museum in New Orleans even though the museum is privately owned and has no connections to any branch of the military.
  • There is a $9.5 million earmark for a telescope at the University of Hawaii that the Air Force might be able to use as part of one of its programs. However, the Air Force is only allowed to use the telescope 5% of the time, per the agreement with the University. The Air Force has never asked for budget money to be used for this purpose but for the nine years of its life, the Air Force has been forced to include it in its budget.
How do politicians determine which of these thousands of projects merit taxpayer money? Bottom line is they probably do not know and do not care as long as they get their share of the wasteful project money pie. In a September speech to the VFW, President Obama stated: "If a project doesn't support our troops, we will not fund it. If a system doesn't perform well, we will terminate it. And if Congress sends me a bill loaded with that kind of waste, I will veto it. We will do right by our troops and taxpayers." Apparently, Congressional members did not get a copy of the speech, given the over 1,700 potentially wasteful and non-military programs (e..g. the brown tree snake program).

Well, the President will get his chance with this bill but my bet is that he will sign the bill without a whimper of protest, despite what he said to the VFW. The shame of the whole Obama Presidency is that he squandered his hand earlier in 2009 when his approval rating was north of 70%. He had the nation excited about the potential for change and a new way of doing government in this country. He could have taken bold, positive steps to correct the malignancy in Washington and used his high approval ratings for air cover. Now, his approval rating is below 50% and heading further south and it is now Congress, specifically a small clique of Senators and House members (read: Pelosi, Reid, Durbin, Baucus, etc.) that are calling the shots: it is my opinion that President Obama has become mostly irrelevant less than a year into his term. When he cannot even control wasteful spending that he threatened to clamp down on just 90 days ago, than the only word that comes to mind is irrelevant.

The good news is that the brown tree snake's program is likely to move full steam ahead and the Historical Fort Hamilton Community Club will be better than ever.

Visit our website at to order an autographed copy of the book, "Love My Country, Loathe My Government -Fifty First Steps To Restoring Our Freedom and Destroying The American Political Class" and to sign up for the cause. The book is also available online at Amazon and Barnes And Noble.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Missed It (Illegal Drug Money) By That Much

Today we will take a break from health care reform and wasteful spending projects from the DC political class and talk about something different, namely illicit drug money. The basis of this discussion is an online Associated Press article that appeared today, "U.S. Drug War Crackdown Misses The Money." The essence of the article is that the Mexican drug cartels have virtually no problem taking their profits from selling illegal drugs on the streets of America and sending those profits back to themselves in Mexico.

The AP article identified a "highly touted" government program, run out of the Justice Department, that was supposed to be cutting off that flow of drug cash to Mexican drug gangs. Unfortunately, the AP investigation found that the program was able to block only $3 million worth of the drug profit flow on an estimated total of $25 billion. Thus, for every single dollar this program stopped from flowing back to Mexico, over $8,300 got through. Over the past ten years, only $16 million have been blocked or about $1.6 million a year on average. This is pathetic even for the Federal government and the political class. Although there are laws against working with the Mexican drug cartels, only three fines have been levied under these laws the past four years, totalling less than $53,000 (against a base of $25 BILLION).

The article goes on to explain the problem that this lack of performance results causes:
  • First of all, $25 billion of wealth leaves the country every year that cannot be spent on expanding the United States economy.
  • The drug cartels use the money to expand their operations in cooperation with Mexican farmers who grow more marijuana and Columbians who bring in more of their cocaine.
  • The money can be used to bribe Mexican officials and law enforcement personnel along with U.S. border Patrol agents in order to keep the money flowing back to Mexico.
  • The money is used for purchasing weapons and hiring assassins to kill rival gang members or honest cops and judges.
  • Since about 10% of the Mexican economy is based on drug cartel operations, the chance that the Mexican government will crack down on the money flow is probably next to nothing.

Two thoughts come to mind in this situation. First, somebody needs to be fired. If any other area of the real world, if you had a success rate of 1 in 8,300 you would have been fired long ago. I would question whether the taxpayer dollars being used to budget and operate this program is more than the money that is recovered and blocked. If so, than either fix the program or shut it down and contribute to reducing the deficit. Not only should Justice Department personnel be held accountable, but as explained in "Love My Country, Loathe My Government," those politicians sitting on the Congressional committees and subcommittees responsible for this Justice Department disaster need to be removed from their committee posts as stipulated by Step 34.

Second, this is just another example where the country needs to do a complete review of it's current drug strategy and policies. It is not working. Drugs come into this country virtually unrestricted and the resulting drug profits are sent back to Mexico and elsewhere virtually untouched. U.S. citizens get hooked, many go to prison which drains taxpayer dollars into prison expansion and operations, the economy leaks out $25 billion a year and the political class is not held accountable. Whatever we are doing today is not working. Thus, Step 26 in "Love My Country, Loathe My Government" should be implemented in order to find a way out of this mess. As reported in other posts in this blog, other countries have successfully decriminalized drug possession and placed more of an emphasis on treatment to great success. Those examples of progress in this area need to be considered in this country via Step 26.

We are missing the solution of solving the drug plague in this country by a whole lot more than "this much." We are missing it by about 8300 to 1 and that is no way to run a government or to spend taxpayer dollars.

Visit our website at to order an autographed copy of the book, "Love My Country, Loathe My Government -Fifty First Steps To Restoring Our Freedom and Destroying The American Political Class" and to sign up for the cause. The book is also available online at Amazon and Barnes And Noble.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Slop Master Wins Again

Old saying: "If pigs could vote, the man with the slop bucket would be elected swineherd every time, no matter how much slaughtering he did on the side." Unfortunately, the American voter seems to vote in this pig-like manner whenever the political class brings the slop bucket around at budget time and doles out the local wastes of money. In fiscal year 2010, you can look forward to the following projects being executed to sop up your tax dollars:

The following examples come from Anderson Cooper's (CNN fame) 360 website:
  • $200,000 for the Arkansas Commercial Driver Training Institute
  • $150,000 for education programs and exhibitions at the Washington DC National Building Museum.
  • $134,000 for the Montana World Trade Center.
  • $100,000 for the Myrtle Beach International Trade and Conference Center.
  • $500,000 for exhibits at the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium in Dubuque, Iowa.
  • $200,000 for the Washington (state) Opera.
  • $150,000 for exhibits and interactive displays at the Teddy Roosevelt Inaugural Site Foundation.
The following examples come from the Citizens Against Government Waste organization's website:
  • $1 million for repairs, restoration, and modernization of the Portsmouth, NH Music Hall.
  • $400,000 to restore and renovate the historical Ritz theater in Newburgh, NY.
  • $350,000 to renovate the Uptown Theater in Philadelphia.
  • $250,000 for construction of the Monroe County Farmer's Market in Kentucky.
  • $250,000 to renovate the Murphy Theater in Ohio
  • $194,000 for restoration of the Slater Mill in Rhode Island.
  • $150,000 to renovate the Pregone Theater in the Bronx.
  • $100,000 to build the Santa Ana River Trail in California.

These are just 15 of the over 5,000 wasteful spending projects in the current Federal budget. A few observations:

  • If you look at who sponsored each of these projects, all of the sponsors are from the states where the project will be executed. There are no sponsored projects from a politician who lives in another state, implying to me that this is nothing more than a hometown ploy to buy votes at the next election with taxpayer money.
  • None of these listed projects contribute to reducing the deficit, create long term, enduring jobs, reduce taxes, extend unemployment benefits for the record number of unemployed, ease the pain and suffering of our service men and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, fix the failing public schools in the country, reduce the solvency vulnerability of Social Security and Medicare, eliminate the drug scourge across the nation, etc. They are simply bribes for votes while other more critical national needs are not addressed. Thus, we continue to waste projects on local projects that will positively impact very few citizens compared to how those same dollars could be more effectively spent to benefit unemployed fellow citizens, returning service personnel, our children's education, etc.
  • As we recalled in Sunday's post, several decades ago when the Statue Of Liberty needed renovation, modernization and restoration, the country's citizens stepped forward to pay for the effort. What has happened since then that gave the political class permission to restore other structures with far less impact, legacy, and fame than the Statue Of Liberty? Could it be that the Statue of Liberty was owned by the nation as a whole and sponsoring its renovation with Federal taxpayer dollars would not get any politician any addition votes?
  • In "Love My Country, Loathe My Government", we talk about not only the waste of pure dollars spent on these projects but the wasted staff time and Congressional time and effort spent on identifying, quantifying, and presenting these types of small projects for approval and budgeting. Rather than working on major, national issues, small minded politicians worry about farmer's markets in Kentucky or run down mills in Rhode Island. If the country had no other problems, than this waste of time might be justified. However, as we all know, that is not the case in today's America.
  • Step 44 of "Love My Country, Loathe My Government" is more critical than ever. Step 44 would "prohibit the use of Federal programs or tax dollars for any project unless it materially benefits a high percentage of residents in five states." The current political class members has shown year end and year out that they do not have the discipline to not waste taxpayer dollars on wasteful, pork laden projects. Only an overarching rule such as Step 44, applied consistently to every member of Congress would be able to stem the waste.

Unfortunately, as long as the political class brings around the slop bucket, we will be tempted to continue to vote for them to get our share of slop while the nation and many, many of its citizens continue to be slaughtered, both figuratively and literally. Hopefully, we will eventually learn our lesson and not vote as if the pigs were the electorate.

Visit our website at to order an autographed copy of the book, "Love My Country, Loathe My Government -Fifty First Steps To Restoring Our Freedom and Destroying The American Political Class" and to sign up for the cause. The book is also available online at Amazon and Barnes And Noble.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Henry Reid - Still Not Getting It

The U.S. Senate sent another incredibly expensive Federal government spending bill to the President today, a bill that will incur over a TRILLION dollars in spending for the next fiscal year. In a time of unbelievable unemployment, increasing taxes, and skyrocketing deficits, Senate Majority Henry Reid engineered a spending bill that does nothing to offset these crushing realities for the American taxpayer. Besides significantly increasing spending across the board for most Cabinet level departments, the bill also pays for over 5,000 earmarks, also known as total wastes of money. According to the Citizens Against Government Waste, a small sample of these earmarks include:
  • Construction of a county farmer's market in Kentucky
  • Renovation of a historic theater in New York
  • Restoration of a mill in Rhode Island
Unbelievable that this kind of waste can go on in light of the country's economic condition. The last earmark example is particularly galling given my memory of the Statue of Liberty restoration of several decades ago. At that time, the Statue was in bad need of an overhaul and it is my recollection that the entire cost of the restoration was paid for by donations of loyal Americans. Now, in today's word, the Federal government stoops so low as to waste taxpayer on an ordinary mill restoration in Rhode Island whereas Lady Liberty had to beg for donations. Talk about screwed up priorities in today's political class.

Even more distressing than the out of control spending, is a comment from Reid, "Every bill that is passed, every project that is funded and every job that is created helps America take another step forward on the road of economic recovery." Reminds of an old Mark Twain quote: "Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or imbeciles who really mean it." I know where my vote would fall relative to Reid's comment. Is he that ignorant of basic economic theory to think that the government can create jobs? The government pays for jobs with money taken from taxpayers. Thus, taxpayers have less to spend on things and services they want and economic activity is stifled. Government projects just take wealth that would have been more efficiently spent in other areas of the economy. With government spending, it is a closed system. Plus, do we really think that funding a county farmer's market is really leading the way to recovery?

Also, since the government does not have the cash on hand to fund these dangerous spending levels, it has to fund the deficit by issuing debt. Money used to buy Treasury bonds cannot be used in the private sector that would help expand production, expand services, expand employment levels, in other words, grow the economy. Deficit spending to restore a Rhode Island mill just wastes capital that could be used more efficiently to create new economic activity, not just transfer it from one place to another. Thus, Reid and the Democrats are dong exactly the opposite of what is needed to rebuild the economy. And given that it is my theory that Reid and Pelosi are actually running the country, making President Obama just a figurehead, there is no doubt the President will sign the bill even though he will get none of the minor budget reductions he asked for in May.

I still bridle at Reid for his public quote earlier in the year that American tourists to Washington D.C in the summer physically smell. This type of arrogance in conjunction with his ignorance of economic theory is what really scares me about the future of the country. In "Love My Country, Loathe My Government" we talk about the freedom pyramid, where it once was and should be vs. where we are today. In the preferred pyramid structure, the individual U.S. citizen sits at the top of the pyramid and is supported by the Constitution which defined a government structure which should support the freedom of all Americans. Instead, Reid and others prove on a daily basis that they think they are the pinnacle of the pyramid and they rule over us who support this pinnacle with our wealth/taxes and the blood of our young who the political class sends all over the world to fight ill defined military endeavors.

The economy will not get well until Reid and the rest of the political class in Washington realize that their excessive spending only delays economic recovery by just transferring money around the country, wasting it on thousands of useless projects and sucking up available capital that the private market cannot get to. If a county in Kentucky needs a farmer's market, let the residents of Kentucky pay for it. If a Rhode Island mill needs to be restored, let the good citizens of Rhode Island pay for it.

Visit our website at to order an autographed copy of the book, "Love My Country, Loathe My Government -Fifty First Steps To Restoring Our Freedom and Destroying The American Political Class" and to sign up for the cause. The book is also available online at Amazon and Barnes And Noble.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Things That Don't Work In The Country

A few days ago we talked about how members of Congress are wasting their time and our tax dollars on such trivial matters such as regulating the sound volume of TV commercials, forbidding the televising of erectile dysfunction commercials, creating new tax deductions for pet owners, and legislating regulations on college football playoff formats. It was mentioned that, according to the Tax Foundation, the average American family works until the end of April every year to pay their tax burden, a burden that is then wasted on inane efforts such as those listed above. Today let's look at a few more political class responsibilities that fall far short of being effective:
  • In mid November, you may remember that a glitch in the nation's air traffic control system caused hundreds of flights and tens of thousands of airline passengers to deal with massive delays. According to an article reporting the problem on Earthlink's news page, the glitch was caused by a single bad circuit board at an FAA center in Salt Lake City. Think about it, a single circuit board blows and the country loses untold thousands of hours in productivity due to the delays and thousands of flyers are inconvenienced. This glitch happened despite a multi billion dollar overhaul of the nationwide system for air traffic control. The most pathetic part of the whole endeavor is that the political class jumped into the story to show off their indignation to the voters. Senator Charles said the aviation system was in shambles (despite the current multi billion dollar renovation effort, a Senate aviation panel was going to hold hearings as was a House aviation committee. As always, the politicians get involved AFTER the disaster. If they were doing their job, they would have been involved before things fell apart. Again, all of this anxiety because of a single circuit board in a billion dollar government system.
  • In the November 2, 2009 Businessweek issue, the magazine quoted a Bureau Of Labor Statistics study that found 49% of households used their 2008 economic stimulus check to pay off debt, 18% saved it, and 30% spent it. Thus, from an effectiveness perspective, 70% of the stimulus effort was wasted as measured against its intent, get spending started to get the economy going. Not a very efficient way to spend taxpayer dollars if only three dollars out of every ten are going towards what you want them to go towards. Nevertheless, some members of the political class want to do another stimulus package, in all likelihood wasting another seven out of ten dollars spent.
  • In the Briefing section in the December 4, 2009 issue of The Week magazine, a thorough review of the U.S. Post Office was given. Bottom line: it is going down hill very quickly. With the popularity of instant messaging, email, online social networks, cell phones, fax machines, cell phone texting, etc., the nation is producing less and less mail every year. In 2009, according to the article, mail volume was off almost 13% (25 billion fewer pieces) on a year over year basis, more than double any decline in the history of the Post Office. It is expected to decline another 11 billion pieces in 2010. The Post Office will lose almost $4 billion this year alone and by the end of next year will be $13 billion in debt. The article goes on to say that efforts to streamline postal operations is likely to be thwarted by the political class, members of which have come out against the closing of money losing branches, phasing out Saturday deliveries, and offering other services. Bottom line: the reality of the market will make Post Office losses grow while the political class will refuse to make the hard, courageous choices to reduce financial losses. As a result, the U.S. taxpayer is likely to pay more and more going forward to support/subsidize a dinosaur of a government agency.
  • A big deal was made of President Obama's speech in Egypt many months ago and his attempt to start bringing peace to the Mideast. Since then, nothing has happened. I was intrigued by a NY Times article that was summarized in the November issue of The Week magazine. It was written by Thomas Friedman who had the unique idea of just saying adios to the Israelis and Palestinians and to have them call us when they are serious about peace. This administration and many administrations before Obama have not been effective in negotiating a real peace between these two parties, namely because they are not ready to make the mutual sacrifices to get it done. Thus, Mr. Friedman's suggestion that we ignore the problem until the two parties are ready for peace. Nothing else has worked form the American political class who has tried to solve the problem so why not try something radically different like this?
  • President Obama pledged to close Guantanamo but that has not happened yet.
  • President pledged to give fuller rights to the gay community but initiatives such as allowing gays to openly serve in the military, which has been successfully executed in many other countries, has not yet happened.
  • President Obama campaigned to get us out of Iraq but we are still there and will probably have troops stationed their in the tens of thousands for an unknown future, doing no better than Bush in this area.
  • And finally, a small blurb in the November 20, 2009 edition of The Week reviewed a recent Rasmussen poll. The poll found that only 4% of Americans believe that politicians keep their campaign promises, 45% believe that politicians intentionally lie about their promises, and 83% do not want their children to run for office someday.

As outlined in several sections of the book, "Love My Country, Loathe My Government,", nothing works in this country anymore wherever the political class is involved. The politicians only get involved after a disaster and then only to add bluster and very little worthwhile to the solving of the problem. Social Security is going bankrupt, Medicare is going bankrupt, the Post Office is going bankrupt, public schooling is a failure, the drug culture is bigger than ever, we have no national energy strategy, air traffic control is hostage to a single circuit board to move planes around the country, we are no closer to solving our international problems with North Korea, Iran, and the the whole Middle East than we were thirty years ago, our bridges and roads are falling apart, etc., etc., etc. But the political class is hard at work on the major issue of regulating the sound volume on TV commercials and working out tax deductions for pet owners.

Many of the steps outlined in "Love My Country, Loathe My Government" would address many of these issues. The most important step, however, would be the passing of term limits so that we could get rid of the current batch of politicians and get new ones into office to solve real problems. Until then, government functions and processes will continue not to work since the same types of people in office now are the same ones that were in office forty years ago and look where it has gotten us.

Visit our website at to order an autographed copy of the book, "Love My Country, Loathe My Government -Fifty First Steps To Restoring Our Freedom and Destroying The American Political Class" and to sign up for the cause. The book is also available online at Amazon and Barnes And Noble.