Monday, October 9, 2017

October, 2017, Part 5, Political Class Insanity: Poiitical Insanity Around The World, The Equifax Hypocrisy, and More

It is the beginning of another month which means it is again time to review the latest political class insanity from Washington and around the world. Political class insanity takes many forms including the wasting of taxpayer wealth, criminal fraud within government programs, inane and stupid political quotes and actions, the inability to create and implement effective and efficient government programs, stupid and ill performing economic policies and strategies, and other forms of insanity that continue to evolve and surprise and shock us.

1) While it is usually the insanity of American politicians that we focus on in this blog, that does not mean that politicians at all levels of government, both in this country and around the world, are not insane also. These politicians often focus on stuff that is of very little importance relative to the bigger issues of the day that affect millions and millions of voters and constituents. The November, 2017 issue of Reason magazine had a few such examples of political class insanity in different places:

  • Local politicians tried to stop musician Roger Waters from giving a concert at Long Island’s Nassau Coliseum since he advocates for a boycott of Israel. I guess the First Amendment is just a suggestion in Nassau County.
  • Davino Watson was arrested by Federal immigration officers, denied a lawyer, and held in custody for almost three and a half years under suspicion that he was an illegal immigrant. Eventually, the government figured out he was NOT an illegal immigrant, set him free but they released him half a country away from his home. When he tried to sue the Federal government for his illegal detention a court ruled he could not sue since he filed the lawsuit after the statute of limitations ran out and was not eligible for compensation. The irony is that the statute of limitations ran out while he was falsely imprisoned and was unable to sue.
  • Andre Spicer’s daughter set up a lemonade stand outside his home in London, England. It just so happened that a festival was taking place that day and the stand was doing a brisk business. Unfortunately, 30 minutes after the stand opened, not one, not two, not three but four government code enforcers showed up, forced his daughter to shut down the stand, and fined her 150 pounds for not having a trading permit. Talk about a waste of government and taxpayer resources, four people needed to shut down one little girl’s temporary lemonade stand.
  • The country of Venezuela is collapsing right in front of the world’s eyes. Military and dictatorial rule has collapsed the economy making living day to day a violent and desperate struggle as food supplies and other household items are in short supply. The government recently released pictures of various government soldiers being rewarded and honored for their service. What was their reward? A couple of rolls of real toilet paper, highly valued in a country where access to sufficient toilet paper is virtually impossible, given the ineptness of the ruling political class.
Politicians are the same the world over, generally useless and inept.

2) Equifax, the credit bureau giant, had its computer systems hacked a little while ago which exposed possibly 140 million people to identity theft and fraud since the hackers made away with names, Social Security numbers, and other personal information. It is a very serious breach of confidential information that is likely going to have serious fraud repercussions for millions of Americans. 

Not unsurprisingly, different members of Congress were shocked and outraged by such a terrible lack of data security by Equifax and were very focal that this should not have happened. However, I do not remember these same people being outraged at all in recent incidents where members of their political class allowed similar problems:

  • A few years ago, foreign hackers got into government systems and made off with millions of records containing the personal information of millions of current and former Federal government employees, exposing those millions to potential identity fraud and theft. I don't remember these same politicians being as outraged by this atrocity, that they were partially responsible for given their Constitutional duties, as they publicly were about Equifax.
  • Over the years, foreign hackers got into Hillary Clinton’s unsecured computer servers in her house to make away with Federal government and State Department secret documents. I don't remember these same politicians being as outraged by this atrocity, that they were partially responsible for given their Constitutional duties, as they publicly were about Equifax
And now it turns out, according to a recent wall Street Journal article, that Russian hackers stole National Security Agency (NSA) spy secrets. The secrets included information on how the U.S. hacks foreign computer networks and how the NSA defends against cyberattacks on the U.S. Apparently, an idiotic NSA contractor put this highly secret information on his home computer which was easily accessed and hacked by the Russians. Even worse, the hack occurred in 2015 and was just realized this past spring.

And as above, I have not seen the same outrage from the same politicians that grandstanded the Equifax crisis even though this NSA hack is very serious stuff. Perhaps these politicians should be paying a little more attention to their jobs so that the Federal government they oversee is not so horrible at keeping secrets before going on TV and radio to crucify Equifax.

3) Let’s finish off today’s and this month’s political class insanity with some wise words from Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate for President in 2016. Mr. Johnson and the Libertarian party are great advocates for freedom and minimal government interference in our lives. The recent tragedy in Las Vegas where a deranged sniper killed dozens and wounded hundreds is the basis for his essay.

His essay captures the idiocy and pettiness of the current major parties and how they are incapable of reason, negotiation, problem solving, and empathy for Americans:
58 innocent people were massacred Sunday night in Las Vegas. And more than 500 were injured, many of them seriously.

All because a deranged maniac decided to get a corner suite at the Mandalay Bay Resort, assemble an arsenal, and open fire from above on thousands gathered to simply enjoy a concert.

It is an unspeakable act causing unspeakable pain. As we would expect in this great country, the stories of horror and death are accompanied by inspiring stories of Americans doing what Americans do: Strangers saving the lives of strangers. First responders going into harm’s way. Thousands lining up for hours to donate blood, and millions of dollars pouring into funds for the victims and their families.

But sadly and predictably, the partisans on each side have already retreated to their respective trenches. Some laying blame on gun rights activists, and some of my fellow supporters of the 2nd Amendment refusing to even engage in a conversation.

On Sunday night and in the days since, the people of Las Vegas and beyond have shown us what civility, respect for one another, and simple human kindness can accomplish. It’s time for the politicians to take off their partisan blinders, stop making every decision a calculation of votes and money, and have the tough conversations we need to have in this country -- about health care, race relations, taxes, and yes, if necessary, guns.

I am headed to the Supreme Court on October 26th for this very reason: we need a presidential debate that breaks out of the two-sided narrative.

I’m not running for anything.

I’m just tired of watching the politicians shut down meaningful, common sense discussions of the real issues we face. I believe the presidential debates is a good place to start if we are going to change that.

Just as they have shown again this week, Americans know what needs to be done. They just deserve elected officials who care.

I hope you will join me at the Supreme Court.

Johnson signature
Gary E. Johnson

“...civility, respect for one another, and simple human kindness.” These are certainly human qualities that are in short supply in the Washington political class. As a result, their yelling and temper tantrums never result in the resolution of any major issue facing Americans today, as Mr. Johnson so vividly points out. We wish him luck at the Supreme Court that hopefully FINALLY results in an alternative to the current political class. 

Unfortunately, I am sure that there will be more political class insanity next month.

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