Sue Crazy

Image result for smoke lawsuit

President Trump has urged Attorney General Jeff Sessions to sue makers of opioids so no one will OD on them anymore.

I was born in 1950. We had won WWII with a resolve that astonishes us yet today. The horrors of war were fading and prosperity was on the rise because hopes and dreams were put on hold to support the war effort. Our might won the war, and peace allowed resources to be used productively instead.

I was brought up by my parents and the television. I loved the war movies and newsreels about the war. In Santa Monica my friends and I played war, chasing each other through the fenced-in yards of the neighborhood. We kept our limbs and our sanity. The good guys always won and the devastation of war was in black and white and far away.

This war that Mr. Trump wants to perpetuate today is different, although WWII probably wasn’t as simple as lawsuits and big spending either. Let’s get really complicated and ask, “Why so many overdoses?”

To answer that, another question comes to mind. How many people OD on drugs acquired legally? Granted, it isn’t very smart to let dope be such a focus that it clouds our logic. But the accidental overdose deaths are caused by the fact that the strength of the drugs is unknown.

It is becoming increasingly evident that irresponsible behavior is a direct result of safety nets legislated to prevent such behavior. It goes against the idea instilled in our formative years that a big stick simply cures all ills.

Republicans should take a look in the mirror when they claim to advocate free markets. A principled position would eliminate 90% of treasured Republican policy. A free market would allow drug users to make that fatal decision with the knowledge that he and those around him will experience the impact of that decision.

The roots of the opioid crisis don’t lie in government’s failure to act; they lie in government’s success.

I can just see the pharmaceutical companies shriveling in fear of Sessions’ heavy hand. People in unbearable pain will pay the price of a war meant to save a few nit-wits who have been trained by the totalitarian state to live for the moment with the expectation that the visible hand of government will sue the drug companies for sticking that needle in their arm or pill in their mouth.

This same situation exists with spoiled engines from ethanol, and air pollution from government-managed land on fire in California. Come to think of it, I wonder if the President is pondering whether to invade California to better manage their public land or simply suing them for our lung damage.

Always stand on principle, even if you stand alone.” John Quincy Adams

Advertisements

Live Local

Image result for traffic light stupid

Driving through Hampton on Highway 3, I stop at the four-way stop, look at the other drivers, wave, and think, “Hey, have a good day.” With the signal it replaced we waited for the light like zombies and didn’t care who was in the other cars. It’s a community thing, like the fair last week.

In a country as large and diverse as ours there are cultural differences from one place to the next. Even when we were just 13 colonies it was a given that people lived differently from one colony to the next so the central government was designed to only preserve that boundary where each of us was impacted by the direct actions of another. It was not designed to engineer society because that vision might be different from state to state.

With the increasing concern about Supreme Court nominees and the possible reversal of Roe v. Wade, dialog should intensify on the limits of federal power. Unfortunately it usually devolves into a discussion of how old a baby should be when it is killed, or whether it is an organ and the mother wants a babyectomy (on public radio called “terminating a pregnancy”). The question of federal authority is completely ignored.

Local governance is what our forefathers had in mind as they convened in Philadelphia back in 1787. on the issues of legal abortion, gay marriage, or legal drugs people should be free to move to a state that suits their viewpoint. In the long run, the competition between states would naturally improve things for everyone. As past Supreme Court Justice, Louis Brandeis said, a “…state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.”

For instance, if a state had legal drugs and no welfare safety net, they might find that the druggies would have to quit so they could be well liked and valuable to friends and neighbors. In a state with legal abortion it may become evident that the disrespect for the lives of babies bleeds into society in general and violent crime proliferates.

A sense of community is what makes our lives good. Peer pressure is a good thing. It is how communities direct behavior of individuals into a flowing stream of productivity. That flow leads to efficiency that leaves time and energy for comfort and fun.

Families are good government, cities less so. Go to the national government level and you find different cultures in conflict with each other under one set of laws. There is no common ground except obedience to the state. When cultures conflict, people become irritated with each other but the blame should lie with a government that lumps us all together. When separate communities are governed separately, we can simply live with the differences.

Some Californians have the right idea in dividing up their state. Why should the red-necks of rural Northern California be ruled by the hipsters on the coast? There could be tours where the red-necks point and laugh at the piercings or the hipsters view the married couples on their way to church. There’s no need for them to control each other.

So when I come to a four-way stop, I don’t jump out and tell the other guy to put out his cigarette. He doesn’t make me switch to a country station. We are fine in our own place.

Who’s the racist? Really.

Want to Help the Black Community?

Want to help the black community?

1. Legalize all drugs. The result will be fewer blacks in jail, less black on black murder, fighting over drug turf. None, at least not from that cause. We ended alcohol prohibition: no more murders over alcohol turf.

2. Eliminate the minimum wage law; less black unemployment. Right now the unemployment rate for black teens (the subgroup most in need of help), is QUADRUPLE (LET ME REPEAT THAT: QUADRUPLE) that of white adults. Before the advent of this evil law, there was no difference in the unemployment rates of the two groups

3. Get rid of the welfare system. It didn’t break up the black family, it caused it not to form in the first place. 75% of black kids don’t have a mother and a father in their home. Before welfare, the black and white families were in a virtual tie for intactness. Read on this Charles Murray’s magnificent book, Losing Ground.

4. Get rid of affirmative action. It’s like putting me in the ring with Mike Tyson after I’ve had a few boxing lessons. It is unfair to black students to place them in universities where the average SAT score is several hundred points above theirs. It steers them into majoring in whining studies instead of STEM.

Those are my moderate proposals.

My radical one? Severely punish, with jail sentences, the people, politicians, bureaucrats, responsible for harming the black community with these policies in the first place.

VW As Villain

I had a couple responses to my claim that the Volkswagen emissions test cheating “amounts to an act of civil disobedience.” A liberal friend from Mason City said she laughed out loud at the claim. A conservative from Garner said no one risked their lives as in the 60’s protests and besides it was an act of fraud toward their customers and a felony.

First of all, I’m glad I could inspire laughter. That’s healthy; healthier than breathing from a tailpipe. Let’s address the health issue. Europe focused on CO2 emissions in their regulations because they believed that the substance that plants breathe traps warmth in the atmosphere. The nitrogen particulates from diesel engines and their impact on health took a back seat to fixing global warming. Now European cities are banning older and dirtier diesels.

In the U.S., regulations emphasized the more immediate concern of the air we breathe.

Present day statists often seem to forget that the civil disobedience of the 60’s were actually protests against government laws. The reaction to the protests resulted in not only fairer laws for minorities, but some laws that took away civil rights, such as the “right to refuse service to anyone.” Taking a right to grant a right goes against the idea that our rights are not gifts from politicians, but something we naturally possess.

Liberals and conservatives have both made it a habit to misconstrue the Constitution. Shouldn’t the basis of federal law be that document, the original “law of the land?”

Richard Nixon established the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970. Given that the Constitution was written in a form designating what the federal government was tasked to do and Amendment Ten excluded it from doing anything else, the EPA itself, is clearly an illegal abuse of federal power.

That might seem like it opens the door to environmental catastrophe like we never imagined, eh? Not too fast. The 14,000 employees at the EPA could never cover this country and regulate it to perfection. All you have to do is a simple survey of totalitarian countries compared to countries where there is some semblance of a guarantee of private property to see where a clean environment predominates the landscape.

Oftentimes government power is used by people of influence for profit, rather than for an actual common good. With the widely accepted notion that diesel is 30% more efficient than gasoline, it would be easy to speculate that there is profit to be made by making emissions standards more stringent for nitrogen oxides (a product of diesels) than other pollutants in order to generate $20 billion per year more revenue for oil companies.

So far, this abuse of federal power has cost VW $30 billion. Nitrogen oxides are only a concern in urban areas where they produce smog. The amount of nitrogen oxides produced by diesel engines is dwarfed by those produced through natural processes. The same goes for CO2 produced by burning fossil fuels in general. These facts should alert us to why the Constitution limited federal power as a way to stifle opportunists from using the law for profit instead of letting profit come from the actions of willing buyers and sellers.

When I lived in Oakland, I firmly believed that private vehicles should be banned from San Francisco (across the bay). The cable cars, buses and trolleys were an amazing system. Cabs could fill in the gaps. Private vehicles could be stored outside of town for trips in the country. It would be within the authority of a county or city to do this. And if you didn’t like it you could move. Your diesel car could then save you enough money to rent a nice garage.

The reason the U.S. is so desirable is the lack of a one-size-fits-all regulatory state that strangles innovation and the ability to locate where our desires fit the community. There are plenty of cookie cutter societies around the world that offer free everything with hidden costs. We should quit trying to emulate them, we should be the alternative.

Finally, for the U.S. government to fine VW for destruction of the environment is the most hypocritical thing I’ve ever heard of. On average, we drop a bomb every 12 minutes. Who cares about that?

 

 

Fireworks

Another 4th of July has come and gone. One more Municipal Band concert to go until the members can squeeze in other summer activities on Tuesday nights. Just think, 97 summers of Municipal Band concerts. All the turnover of band-mates and appreciative listeners over 97 years reminds me of a good sourdough.

What a great community we have here. But we need to remember that there are other great communities just like ours across the world. All of them are being assaulted by people who claim the other communities are seeking to take advantage of them. The reality is that we are all just trying to get by.

After the concert came a fantastic fireworks display. Thanks to some other community halfway around the world in China we were entertained for a time while thoughts were going through our heads about how exceptional we are.

We should take a step back and shoot for some objectivity. We spend $409 billion per year in complying with the federal income tax. Eight point nine billion hours are spent doing something besides growing food or building roads. The tax code contains 2.4 million words. Those numbers don’t even account for the taxes paid in this system, and they have little to do with enabling Americans to get around and conduct the business of life.

Senator Charles Grassley had a column in the Hampton Chronicle recently explaining how hard it is to maintain payment limits according to income in the farm bill. He opened the column by claiming farmers need the safety net.

Grassley is a good example of every representative we have in Washington. He watches out for his constituents by grabbing as big a piece of the pie as he can. They all do, so they can get elected.

Their goals are not a country where ambition and creativity can improve Americans’ lot in life. Being elected is paramount. They can’t carry out the good deeds promised so many years ago if they aren’t elected. So, elect them.

I’m not saying all of this just to get it off my chest, but to point out a cause. The cause is dishonesty rewarded with getting elected. Our representatives take an oath to preserve and protect the Constitution. But it is explicitly forbidden for them to enact a bill like the Farm Bill.

Mr. Grassley explained to me once about how all these tasks taxpayers fund are there because the courts incrementally allowed more and more government based on precedent. That is, a case is not judged by its standing constitutionally, but by how previous cases were judged. Once a farmer is helped to weather a tough time it eventually leads to a single mother working at McDonald’s handing money over to a billionaire farmer she doesn’t even know.

Compare that to my donation to the fireworks display going to a factory worker in China.

Watchdog Wanted

Image result for military spending uS

Why would we (you and me) want to starve children and level cities? It is apparent that the people who make it into government positions are loyal to someone other than the American people. Are our so-called allies running the show?

An ally would be a country who contributes mutually to the safety and security of U.S. citizens here. Can you name one? Explain how that works. For example: A Houthi rebel from Northern Yemen, if he isn’t starved or blown up by the Sunni coalition (that weirdly includes the United States), would come over here and put headscarves on the ladies downtown? Nobody would seriously consider them a threat. The Saudis certainly are not a real ally. In fact several of them were seen being spirited away after the 9/11 attacks when the rest of the country was in lock-down.

Last week in the Hampton Chronicle Senator Charles Grassley was describing the difficulty of limiting farm program payments by income. I’ve always appreciated his attempts at watchdoggedness. We need more.

Then I heard the news that the Senate has passed the National Defense Authorization Act for 2019. This is a bill that our senators Joni Ernst and watchdog Charles Grassley voted for. Try to put these numbers into perspective.

The bill authorizes $716 billion for the fiscal year. Numbers like these are just a blur to most people, so look at it this way. Just the increase of $82 billion beats the entire military budget of Russia, which is $61 billion. Just the increase for two years eclipses China’s entire annual military budget ($150 billion).

Let’s take a look at the allies who are routinely trotted out as necessary for our security. The allies in the Middle East were valuable for a time until American ingenuity found foreign oil to be unnecessary. Now the best they can do is claim that the Israelis are “God’s chosen people.” How very fortunate we are to live in a country where nobody is prevented from going over and helping those who they wish to help. So, go ahead people. To saddle the American people with that cost and the myriad associated costs such as retaliation is unfair to taxpayers who see our government as limited to being just our government.

Japan and Korea can fend for themselves against China and, once again, China will never have the ability to conquer and maintain the U.S. as a Chinese colony; at least until private gun confiscation is complete.

Allies? Ha! We’ve carried the defense load for Korea, the NATO countries, and Japan to the extent that the wealth they’ve saved on military expenditures has enabled them to unfairly compete with American workers in world markets. Then we think protectionist tariffs are necessary, further distorting the world economy.

We have about 200,000 troops deployed on 800 bases in 177 countries around the world. As we drive through Mason City and see help wanted signs almost outnumbering businesses, we have to wonder: Where are the watchdogs? Where are the protesters?

Every alliance we have has enemies that weren’t necessarily ours until we took sides. Our out-sized military presence around the world makes us less safe. It robs our country of innovative minds and skilled workers. It also depletes funds that could have gone for a cancer cure or clean energy.

To question and oppose the wasteful military behemoth is not anti-military. It is showing respect for the men and women who could do the job much more efficiently. To defend our actual borders instead of the world is doable. Defending the world at Americans’ expense insults Americans and abuses our servicemen.

Mr. Grassley’s vote for this authorization shows how difficult it is to be a watchdog and still play the congressional game. The Founders knew this when they specifically wrote that Congress may only do the tasks listed in the Constitution. Things are truly out of our hands and Mr. Grassley is only an actor in a puppet show.

Identity Crisis

Muscular Bride Behind the Scenes

A Nazi walks into a Jewish delicatessen in New York. He has a swastika tattooed on his forehead. He says, “I’ll have a pastrami on rye, some chips, and a Kosher pickle.” The owner of the deli is working the counter that day. His grandparents were both gassed at Auschwitz.

Should the owner be allowed to kick the Nazi out of his deli?

The law is a warped example of how far we have strayed from the original intent of a country where individual achievement reaps rewards comparable to its impact on those around it. As Bernie Sanders said of the Koch brothers; their efforts are a danger to our “democracy.” Democracy is the enemy of individual achievement.

Democracy is great if you happen to be in the majority. The Jews in Germany in the 1930s were not in the majority. So despite the gratitude that Germans owed them for all the incredible benefits they bestowed on German society, they were a convenient target as a scapegoat for any ills the government saw as a threat to its power.

An elementary school teacher was being interviewed on the radio a while back. She was speaking of her program for the kids to “find their identity.” I thought, “Wow, these kids don’t know who they are?” It didn’t take long to figure out that she thought these kids were of no value until they could be labeled; until they could be part of a group identity.

Language depends on labels. News stories have to economize by classifying people, even though the people within a class, group, or identity are all different. These days it seems as though we keep our mouths shut rather that saying something disagreeable and risk losing friends. So the media shoots these labels into our heads and they remain, they fester, without any discussion. The people around us, who we are not familiar with, become Jews, gays, Nazis; you name it.

It does have a profound impact on our world.

A bridal shop in Pennsylvania has closed because of death threats and a pending civil ordinance after it refused to sell dresses to a same sex couple. More recently, the Supreme Court has ruled that Colorado cannot force a baker to produce a wedding cake for two men.

This case has almost exclusively been centered around “religious freedom.” This is another diversion from the real issue of individual property rights. Jack Phillips, the baker, shouldn’t have to declare a religion to keep the state from bossing him around.

Likewise, David Mullins and Charlie Craig shouldn’t have to ask permission of the state to marry each other. How noble is it to ruin a person’s business when you could have simply gone elsewhere? Surely another shop could have sent their blessing along with the cake. A marriage based around conflict doesn’t sound so happy.

Whether you call it “God-given,” or “natural,” or “human” rights, what kind of warped logic says that one person has the right to rule over another?

I hope the elementary teacher in Cedar Rapids discovers her identity too. She could easily look at the name on her driver’s license. And she could treat her students as individuals as well, unless she is too lazy and has to lump them all into “identities.”

I am thankful that identity politics was thwarted in Europe in WWII. Let’s resist it here today as well.