Closed Mondays

Bob Gardiner was a friend in college. He went on to win an Oscar for this short animated film. He was a great writer, actor, prankster, and musician. Too intelligent to live a long time.

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Higher household costs lead to more socialism

A new study puts the cost of our invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan at about $75,000 per U.S. household.

Struggling families desperately want relief and turn to the easy way out, which is using other (more privileged) people’s money through government (thus legal) programs. We were driven left by the wasteful Vietnam war and now, as much as, $6 trillion has been spent frivolously fighting distant and ineffective enemies on the other side of the world once again.

Wealth grows in a free economy. When $6 trillion is misspent and removed from the common good, people believe the system isn’t working. The fools who claim to represent the right are unwittingly promoting leftist ideology by favoring big government solutions in international affairs that waste enough money to edge us toward poverty and thus desperate, and counterproductive, belief in socialist policies.

Learn more here:  http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-203012-US-wars-in-Afghanistan-Iraq-to-cost-$6-trillion.

Love Lifted Me

Here is a video of Jack Black from the movie, “Bernie.”
Play it over and over, dancing, marching, air guitar. What Joy!
Dawn’s Swedish brother, of course mentioned the impeccable guitar solo.
“Kreng” means “when,” BTW

The Farm Bill, Legalized Theft

Years ago I wrote Paul Harvey a letter. It was about one of his noon shows where he complained about reduced government funding for Salvation Army. I thought, why would a smart guy like Paul Harvey want to ruin Salvation Army?

I still miss the old guy, having planned lunch breaks around him for years. He was there all my life. He was unapologetic about his devotion to his wife; way too unique. It was good to hear his voice a year ago on a Dodge commercial, “So God Made a Farmer.”

His syrupy portrayal of farmers was a bit creepy however, in that we were singled out as being more special than other occupations. I’m not saying we don’t have some magic moments, like pulling a live calf on a muddy midnight or working long hours to beat the weather. But most jobs are like that.

I remember when the turbo went out on our Subaru in Minnesota and a fellow at a tire store stayed way after hours to try to get us on our way. Or how about fishermen unloading a hundred thousand pounds of salmon in the middle of the night by hand. A lot of people go to great lengths to do a job they can be proud of while working in miserable conditions.

Where is the tire shop program? Shouldn’t that Norwegian American have his business promoted or subsidized by the taxpayers because he is of Norwegian decent or because he is furnishing essential goods? Of course not. He likes tires and cars. He likes dealing with the public and he needs to provide for himself and his family. Should he hold his breath waiting for Congress to write 949 pages at a billion dollars per page before he can plan his business? Of course not.

In spite of being subject to a fickle public, weather and crazy government taxes and regulations, he plods along. The good times are for saving for the bad times. The snow tires he was stuck with last year sold like hotcakes this year at a price that paid interest and then some. If new research made super conductor levitation an option to replace tires, our Norwegian American tire dealer would use his savings to tide himself over in the conversion to a different line of work or even a super conductor levitation service center. The only reason he would need a government program is if he expected it.

The reason farmers and food stamp recipients need the farm program is only because they expect it.

I could use examples of silly spending in the Farm Bill to make my point but there is not enough paper in Hampton to cover them. None of it makes sense. The entire thing is nothing but favors for special interests passed by delusional congress people who care but don’t think.

On the surface, seeing a farmer driving a $50,000 pickup looks like jobs for truck company workers. But the money comes from somewhere. And that somewhere may have had other plans for that money that were driven by a greater need than a $50,000 pickup. In other words, the program that directed that money to the pickup distorted the market.

Free markets are what make an economy efficient. They direct scarce resources to their most useful purpose. They are what makes this country the envy of the world, a country where the poor live better than the rich in 90% of the rest of the world. To support programs that throw a monkey wrench into the miraculous economic system that built his incredibly rich nation is treasonous.

To put our predicament into perspective let’s look at Senator Grassley’s vote. I wish I could congratulate Charles Grassley for voting against the Farm Bill for the right reasons; that it is legalized theft and an aggression against the American people. But he voted against it because it didn’t limit payments to big farmers enough. In other words it wasn’t socialistic enough. This distinction went by with no notice in the public discussion at all. Look at the origins of farm programs. As one of the first acts of U. S. farm programs, Franklin Roosevelt and Iowa’s own Henry A. Wallace ordered milk dumped and pigs buried at a time when many people were going hungry. Wasn’t that a clue as to the evil lurking in a controlled economy?

The Salvation Army (mentioned earlier) is a stellar example of what can be accomplished by private charity. The dependent class in our cities and now spreading through the countryside, is a direct result of unaccountable government assistance, the same way federal flood insurance enables wasteful building in flood prone areas. Federally subsidized crop insurance promotes monoculture and depletion of native soil properties. It locks out beginning farmers by reducing the cost of a safety net that protects inefficient farmers.

Critics of free markets point to failures of these programs as examples of why we need more of them. But we haven’t had a free market since the days of The New Deal. Is stealing only right if signed by the president?

The violence behind avocados

Ah, another Super Bowl is history. I had a minor stake in the game. I used to go to Seattle to earn money and visit a good friend when I lived in poverty stricken, northwestern Montana. I worked in a kite store there occasionally and flew kites around the King Dome, now extinct; another testament to cheap pagan idolatry (like the NFL).

 

I thought this Super Bowl was an interesting match-up, pitting the mile-high Denver Broncos against the not quite so high, Seahawks. It is just a coincidence I suppose, that it represented the only two states that have given up on a small part of a drug war that negates personal responsibility, passing it on to taxpayers.

 

Every now and then there is evidence of strength of individuals peeking through the haze of state dependence. But we have a long way to go before it is universally understood that wishing something were so, does not produce those results. Broncos fans take note.

 

After eighty years wishing destructive drug use would go away through law, the results of the drug war are the same. There is a society of law abiding citizens and a society outside the protection of the law. It can get complicated, since the ones who made the drug laws are technically law breakers as well because the Constitution does not authorize them to restrict what we may ingest. They should be classified with the traffickers.

 

We had some good tacos and guacamole while watching the Super Bowl. Speaking of guacamole, there was a story in The Wall Street Journal about the avocado trade in Mexico that sheds some light on the unintended consequences of the war on drugs. The state of Michoacan, west of Mexico City, is the only state in Mexico authorized by the USDA to export avocados to the United States. A drug trafficking gang called the Knights Templar has been extorting $150 million per year from growers and packers there along with stealing 5,000 acres of avocado groves. Lawlessness in Mexico is born of the high profits created by the drug war and that lawlessness has spread to other sectors just like it did in the prohibition days here. (At least that prohibition was enacted legally through an amendment rather than with unconstitutional laws.)

 

The corrupt police in the city of Tancitaro were ineffective enough that a vigilante group was formed and they drove the traffickers out. Most of the state of Michoacan remains enslaved by those traffickers, however two more towns have been taken by the vigilantes. In 2006 the mayor and town council resigned under pressure from the traffickers who demanded even higher portions of the town’s resources.

 

A school teacher named Gustavo Sanchez took over as mayor and fired the entire 60 man police force. A year later, he and his chief of staff were found stoned to death with their hands tied behind their backs. But the vigilantes, little by little, are returning stolen land to the rightful owners.

 

“War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing. Say it again.”

 

The list of failures of war continues to grow. The intentions rarely, if ever, bring the intended results. The Vietnam War, to fight communism, left an increasingly freer Vietnam after we were driven out and at what cost? The lives lost and money wasted there created lower living standards for Americans and that is the surest path to a communist government growing here at home. Ironically our move left was brought on by a war to fight such a demonic system over there.

 

The war on poverty has produced a culture of dependence and the current administration admits a growing disparity of income even after fifty years of wishing it wasn’t so and passing laws to correct it. Their deranged idea that punishing rich people will make us all rich is as misguided as the drug war.

 

Other well-intentioned wars will prove to produce the same results, as individual choice is trumped to appease a caring, yet ineffective, host of busybodies.

 

Legalization in Washington and Colorado will bring other challenges because our society has become one of government management trying to bring unattainable outcomes. There is no good test to determine marijuana intoxication. So how do we charge a crime for impaired driving? This dilemma came about because of our tendency to blame other people or substances rather than lack of personal responsibility. If these glitches inspire us to make a return to a society of responsible individuals it will prove to be worth it. Sixty thousand dead Mexicans certainly hasn’t been shown to be worth it unless we consider them to be less human than us gringos.