Monday, July 13, 2009

The Failure of Government

The failures of government are inevitably the failures of men. Pride, vanity, and the wrongful seeking of power in those acquiring and holding office are more often than not the cause of the demise of the very governments which give them their high office. 

This is not to say that all seeking such office do so out of vanity or pride, but more to say that even the finest of wines will turn to vinegar if exposed to too much air. In order to comprehend this, it is first necessary to understand that government is something which must be tolerated rather than lauded. Much like the cleaning of sewers, the collecting of trash, or the removal of pests, they should be looked at as that which is necessary to a way of life; but something which should likewise go all but unnoticed. 

Our Founding Fathers understood this, having but recently been part of an oppressive monarchy. We, so far removed from such concerns, have unfortunately forgotten the tyranny that such abuse of power brings. 

Unfortunately, we are now far too much of a society devoted to the worship of celebrity. Our politicians, caught in the trap of accepting and holding power have taken what was to be government service and changed it into self-aggrandizement and personal power. All things: money, power, change, and progress must be seen to come from them. All happiness, fulfillment, and even survival must be seen to come from those no greater than ourselves; but yet held in high esteem not because of who they are, but what they convince us they provide. 

I fear that the path that we have turned to may have no hope of turning. I fear like many before me, that we have become little more than Sheeple, led by an all but absent Shepard. For in truth, those who hold office are so caught up in keeping their jobs, that they have forgotten what they were supposed to be doing in them. 

For myself, I have and will resist them as best as I am able and as long as I can; but like many who would do so, I am but a flawed vessel whose words may easily be taken for granted and forgotten. I pray however, that though the source may indeed be less than perfect, that the word will never the less carry some meaning.  Perhaps however, there are yet some still who, being of better character and stronger will, can yet take up the challenge and prevail. I hope at least that such is the case, for it may be all that saves us. 

So I ask you to look not on the promises and rhetoric of those seeking personal power and reward, but instead to the voices of those seeking instead to reduce its effect. Listen not to those who would seek to enslave through greater control, but to those who would challenge each of us through greater freedom. 

If I were to have one wish for us all, it would be that we find the strength to take up such a challenge and likewise find the faith in something truly worthy in order to go forward. 

Saturday, July 11, 2009

TFP Column: Death of the Republic

Once again I find myself part of the Toledo Free Press this weekend with a column: "Death of the Republic?" I believe that this piece can stand without comment from me, so I will not make one. 

I will however urge you to read all of the great pieces which once again are a part of the TFP. I urge you as always to the pieces by Publisher Tom Pounds and Editor in Chief Michael Miller, as well as an interesting submission by Stephen Ward. 

As I am a little under the weather this weekend, so I will let this also serve as my weekend posting. I look forward to getting back to my regular schedule next week.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Simple Budget Solution

I have been hearing from some that the current economy is the worst since the Great Depression. Others, attempting to take a more moderate tone, cite that this is certainly the worst economy since Jimmy Carter left office. 

Blame it all on Bush and the Republicans for what they did during the last eight years, blame it on Barack Obama and what he has done in the last six months, I don't care. All I know is that almost every city and state, and of course the Federal government, are continuing to complain about revenue shortfalls and are trying to find ways to get out of the current budget crunches that they are facing. 

I started thinking about this yesterday as I was reviewing some remote diagnostics that I was working on with a customer to get their equipment fully functional. As the customer and I ran through various checks and attempted to come up with an answer, I remember saying to him at one point, "Let's not get too carried away changing too many things. This was working up until just recently, so we don't want to over complicate the situation. The simplest solutions are not only always best, but they usually manage to work." 

So I said to myself, 'Self, the economy was working pretty well in recent years (not great, but pretty well), so what is the simplest solution to this economy?' Then it hit me, crank back government spending at all levels back to when Ronald Reagan entered office. If the economy matches that of 1981, why shouldn't the spending? 

I know, I know, no one is ever going to go for this. Recently instituted programs would have to be abandoned (probably not a bad thing) and government spending would have to be drastically cut; but I'm guessing that even without raising taxation to the level that it was when Jimmy Carter left office, the current revenue stream would more than cover such a budget for the Feds. I likewise believe that reducing the State and City budget to those 1981 levels would end the deficits that these entities are currently looking at. The chance of this happening of course, are worse that my chances of winning the Lottery today (and I didn't play). Nevertheless I stand by my principle on this. 

Simple Solutions Are The Best

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Taxation As Behavior Modification

Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that most of what Congress seems to be doing lately seems to have some rather shady undertones to it? Maybe I am completely wrong here (something that I have grown used to with shocking regularity), but most of the recently instituted or recently changed regulation and taxation seems little more than a thinly disguised effort at government behavior modification?
  • Gasoline taxes go up and we drive a bit less.
  • Property taxes go up and we move into a smaller house or to a place where the taxes are less (or of course we get foreclosed on, and lose the house) .
  • Business taxes go up and we lay off people or move the business to a more business-friendly environment.
  • Tobacco taxes go up and we either quit or cut down on smoking (except for me of course).
  • City and state income taxes go up and we reduce our lifestyles or move to a place where taxes are less.
  • Federal taxes go up and we reduce ... well, pretty much everything that we do.
And if you think that the government hasn't noticed how effective that this modus operandi is, you're kidding yourself. Members of Congress may not be the brightest bulbs on the tree, but they are master manipulators. (This may in fact, be the greatest understatement ever made in the history of Just Blowing Smoke.)  

Consider the taxes our various levels of government are considering, or have already passed in some areas around the country to perform such modification:
  • Banning or taxation on the use of trans fats in the cooking process of foods
  • Taxing carbonated drinks with sugar in them (and for those that think that this will mean only soda pop and therefore pass them by, consider that most energy drinks contain sugar).
  • Taxes on purchase of goods and services on the Internet.
  • The massive taxes on energy that will come if the Cap & Trade legislation manages to get through the Senate, something which affect every aspect of our lives and every action that we take.
  • And last but not least, the taxes on that are being considered on employer supplied health benefits as the first step down a path to socialized medicine. Medicine that will in turn be rationed by government bureaucrats who will judge our need on how well we follow all of these new government guidelines

I find it funny that as we continue to congratulate ourselves as the "Land of the Free", we allow such restrictions on our freedom from our elected leaders. Oh sure, we tell ourselves that this is not what's actually going on, that we in fact change our behavior on our own and not at the impetus of government, or that such behavior modification is not the intended goal of such legislation; and yet it continues. 

Even when we recognize that we have been hoodwinked we allow it to continue without real complaint. Even when the government recognizes that they have in fact taxed a behavior all but out of existence, the process continues and sometimes even accelerates. Even when we do raise our voices in complaint, we fail to sustain such dissension, choosing rather to become a more complacent, more compliant, and a more manipulated population. 

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Radio Day II

I will again be guest hosting on the "Eye On Toledo" show on AM 1370 WSPD. This time on Monday the 6th of July from 6-7 PM. 

Listen in if you dare (or simply want a good laugh at my expense) either by tuning in your radio or listening on the web. You can go to, then click the listen live button to join the show. I will be attempting to cover a number of recent local news subjects and some of the normal insanity going on these days, and since it is a talk show, your calls in would be appreciated (and might just save the guest host's sanity)

The phone numbers are 419-240-1370 and toll free 866-321-1370. I have also set up a special email account for use while hosting: 

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Declaration of Independence: 2009

This is what can happen when you take one of the most important documents in this country's history and likewise one of it's greatest holidays, and let them get tangled up with sarcasm, irony, and the twisted mind of someone like ... me. I hope you enjoy it.
About Congress July 4, 2009  

The Re-Declaration of Independence of the 50 Oppressed United States of America

When in the course of government controlled events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which connected them to a viable form of government, and to assume among the powers of the earth an intellectual position which has nothing to do with either The Laws of Nature or to Nature's God to which they are entitled, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes that have separated them from their own good Common Sense.  

We hold these truths to be evident to all apparently but right wing talk radio hosts, that all men are created equal, some of course being more equal than others. That while they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, they are encouraged by Government and the Mainstream Media to a lack of courage and good sense which thereby allows them to relinquish those same rights: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness; while simultaneously embracing the the ridiculous concepts of the right to a good paying job, to full medical care, to a home that they can't make the payments on, to a smoke-free environment, and to full amnesty for illegal immigration.  

That to secure such relinquishment, Governments are corruptly expanded in spite of Men, deriving their overbearing powers from the belief that elected officials and bureaucrats are far smarter than the rest of us. That whenever any form of Government becomes aggressive in securing such twisted ends, it is the further Right of the People to be ignored by such Government, and for that Government to create new laws, rules, and regulations to exert further control over a population that has become little more the bleating sheep; laying its foundation on previously committed abuses of power, and altering such rules or forms as may be deemed necessary to most likely protect their petty Government positions, salaries, and benefits.  

Prudence indeed will dictate that Governments, changing the rules as they go along, shall not be changed back, nor challenged for light, transient, or any other causes. Accordingly all experience has shown that once such Government has been instituted, that mankind becomes more disposed to suffer the most insufferable of evils rather than to right a ship of state that has listed so far to the left that the deck may no longer be stood upon. 

But when a long train of abuse and usurpation pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a design to reduce them under all but absolute Despotism, it should be their right and their duty to throw off such Government, excepting that such would mean that doing so would require far too many of what has become little more than sheeple to remove their overstuffed faces from the Government trough.  

Such is now the patient suffering of the people of these states and is now the necessity which constrains them, as the Federal government seeks to alter the last bit of freedom and liberty left in this nation in order to fully embrace the concept that a lack of need for honest labor, for self-reliance, and for personal responsibility are essential to their continued happiness. 

To prove this, let the Facts of our Government be submitted to a candid world. It has confiscated the legitimate property of some to in turn give it to others; outside the rule of law, the concept of a legally binding contracts, and the definition of property It has favored Union workers over legitimate investors when dividing up private corporations that it has no right to divide in any way, let alone as it sees fit. It has fired the chief executives of private companies with neither the vote nor approval of that company's Board of Directors. It has forced private companies to accept government funding, and with it government control. It has forced both sale and merger on private companies at the point of a financial gun and the threat of a full forced, government backed negative media campaign. It has appointed the equivalent of government royalty (more commonly known as czars) without either lawful election or legislative branch confirmation. It has sought to make equal not opportunity of all, but the results of all through wealth distribution in the form of ill-disguised onerous and oppressive taxation. 

In every stage of these Oppressions, we citizens have sat idly by for the most part, ignorant by choice to the assault on liberty, and freedom and numb to the abuses of power committed upon them. Those few who have humbly begged for a return to common sense and a redress of such past ills as have been committed have been universally maligned and unmercifully vilified for their efforts by both those in power and by the members of the so-called fourth estate.  

We the few remaining therefore, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for rectitude of our intentions, do in the Name, and by the Authority granted us under the original Declaration of Independence, and by the Constitution on which our Government was designed (and limited), solemnly publish and declare ourselves in opposition to the destruction of freedoms and liberties being perpetrated on us at an ever increasing pace in this country. We further declare that we will peacefully resist further oppression of its people and perversion of its laws to the best of our abilities, and if need be to our final breath. We undertake this endeavor humbly, but firm in our resolve, firm in the belief of our principles, and with the knowledge of the rightness of our cause as God has given us the light to see it.  

I believe that most of you reading this see its point, and for those of you who do not, there is probably little further that I can do to open your eyes. I will at least wish you happy grazing in the years ahead. As for me, I have now taken my stand and issued my own Declaration of Independence. Let the fireworks begin!

Happy 4th of July


Friday, July 3, 2009

TFP Column: Greenhouse Gases - Congressional Offenses

It's the weekend once again, and for many of us in fact a long weekend, since tomorrow is the 4th of July. Yes, 233 years ago we signed the document that made this country free. It is fitting therefore, that my column in the Toledo Free Press talks a little bit about one of the single largest restrictions of that freedom perpetrated since then, the Waxman-Markey Cap and Trade bill. In my particularly warped take on the subject, I point out some of the illustrations of the massive Carbon Footprint of the Federal Government while they are seeking to reduce the footprint of the private sector.

The front page feature talks about a group that has grown out of the Tea Parties (and whose most recent meeting I attended), The Children of Liberty; which seems a particularly appropriate subject in light of the weekend holiday. Michael Miller has done another of his amazing columns, this one a letter to the president done after a recent garage sale. Jim Harpen has a great effort going over the scorecard of mayoral candidates, most of them Independents (I love these clever play on words pieces). Publisher Tom Pounds also talks about the Mayoral race in Toledo, but his intriguing insight into the numbers is one that we should all be aware (and nervous) about. There are also two interesting guest columns by Darlene Fisher and Dean Sparks.

There's oh so much more where that came from in this week's TFP. It's going to be a beautiful weekend in Toledo, with lots to do and lots to see; but if I were you, I would make sure that the TFP is part of your weekend.
(and for even more nonsense relating to the 4th, don't miss tomorrow's twisted contribution here)


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

My Response to Cap & Trade

The Waxman - Markey Cap & Trade bill passed the US House of Representatives on June 26th. While the bill has yet to be introduced into the Senate, and may not have the votes to pass this more deliberative body, I for one am looking at the behavior modification that I can make in order to compensate for my years of living a large carbon footprint. If Congress should see fit to pass such landmark legislation, the least that I can do (always a solid plan) is to attempt to find way to comply with this potentially life altering legislation. 

Please understand me when I tell you that I have not managed to read the entire bill (in fact I have read very little of it). This is not in order to pass on fraudulent information or recommendations on here at "Just Blowing Smoke" however, but in order to maintain the pristine condition of my mind in regards to this subject, something that was obviously considered critical by those same elective representatives who voted for this over 1000 page piece of legislation without reading it. 

In the spirit of the effort shown by Congress however, I have decided to make the following significant changes in my own life in order to reduce my carbon footprint:
  • Eat more steak and pork: I understand that cows and pigs are some of the largest producers of greenhouse gases, both carbon dioxide and methane (farts). I figure that if I can eat enough of them, I can reduce their output, creating some slack for either myself or someone else's use.
  • Eat less vegetables: Like the above listed goal, I realize that plants convert carbon dioxide into oxygen. Therefore eating less vegetables means that there will be more plants out there to do the converting, something which cannot help but be better for the environment.
  • Get my complex to stop cleaning the pool: The algae in the pool in my complex, much like the vegetables previously mentioned, could be expected to convert a certain amount of carbon dioxide into oxygen. Therefore more algae, less greenhouse gas. (Besides, I don't use the pool anyway.)
  • Stop Boiling Water: I was shocked to discover in my own limited studies that water vapor is one of the major offending gasses in the greenhouse effect. It may not be much of a contribution, but if I can stop boiling water, perhaps I will contribute less water vapor to the atmosphere.
  • Stop exercising: Though I really should be losing weight, I am concerned that excessive exercise would raise my respiratory rate and produce sweating, which would increase both my carbon dioxide and water vapor output.
  • Drink Guinness instead of other tap beers: While almost all other tap beers use carbon dioxide to inject more carbonation into their product, Guinness uses nitrogen. Drinking Guinness instead of other tap beers will therefore reduce my carbon footprint.
  • Talk Less: This may prove the most difficult, but even if it has no effect on saving the planet, it will never the less prove a great relief to those who know me personally and have been hoping that something would finally get me to "shut the hell up".
I know that all of this may not have the potential dramatic impact on man-made global climate change that the Waxman - Markey legislation will, but we must each contribute our own small efforts in support of Congress's actions. (Besides, I don't believe that man has much impact in the so called man-made global climate change anyway.)