POLITICAL: Arkansas takes on Big Gooferment

Thursday, January 19, 2017

http://www.wsj.com/articles/a-new-arkansas-supermajority-to-take-on-government-bloat-1484352326?mod=djemMER

OPINION  COMMENTARY  CROSS COUNTRY
A New Arkansas Supermajority to Take On Government Bloat
Three Democrats defected last year after the election. The Clintons would hardly recognize the place. 
By GREG KAZA
Jan. 13, 2017 7:05 p.m. ET46 Little Rock, Ark. 

*** begin quote ***

Since being announced last year, the project has identified 184 efficiencies and made 60 recommendations. For instance, administrative functions have been consolidated in the Agriculture Department, and some tasks at the Community Corrections Department have been privatized. A report we commissioned from PricewaterhouseCoopers noted $312 million in outstanding tax debt that the state has already deemed collectible. One big victory was privatizing in-home health-care workers, which the governor’s office says reduced state payroll by 2,000.

Gov. Hutchinson can enact some recommendations by executive action. His state hiring freeze, put in place last year, has whittled another 1,161 employees from the payroll, according to his office. But others ideas—such as revising the funding formulas for education programs that have expanded beyond their original remit—will require the legislature. Progress so far has been solid, but there’s always more that can be done to change the culture. Although department heads say they support “efficiency,” only four state agencies use the word in their mission statements.

*** end quote ***

Always more that can be done.

Imagine if all the various Gooferment went on a spending diet.

I suggest we cut everything 1% immediately. WITH the proviso that it can’t effect real people. 

It can always be done. Just ask private business who ruthlessly cut “waste”.

Argh!

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POLITICAL: The Peace Amendment by L. Neil Smith

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

http://ncc-1776.org/tle2017/tle906-20170115-05.html

You Go First: The Peace Amendment by L. Neil Smith lneil@netzero.com

  • First published in TLE Issue 269, May 2, 2004
  • Republished in Issue 465, April 27, 2008
  • Author’ Note:As the government continues trying to pick a fight with the Bear, this may be the only deterrent.
*** begin quote ***

The idea is probably as old as the Pharaohs, maybe even as old as Homo Erectus. Whenever and wherever old men have sent young men off to die, sooner or later someone has suggested that the old men should go first.

There are two reasons for this, I think. The first is that, unless you’re running an empire of some kind—which we Americans are not supposed to be doing—and you’re fulfilling a Manifest Destiny you imagine that you have, to reach out and steal everybody else’s life, liberty, and property, finding yourself involved in a war represents a serious failure on the part of a nation’s political leaders. In fact they’ve screwed up bigtime, and there ought to be a price to pay for that.

Instead of paying a price, however, politicians are traditionally rewarded for screwing up. Like the man said, “War is the health of the State”. And of the statists, too. War offers them expanded power and prestige, more stolen money to spend and less need to make excuses about it, greater control over society in general as well as every facet of an individual’s life, and plenty of justifications for employing violence and threats to shut anybody up who objects. But just as nobody should be allowed to profit from a crime, no politician should be allowed to profit politically from plunging his country into war.

*** and ***

It is time to ratify the Peace Amendment.

Here’s how it would work: the first clause would repeal the War Powers Act and any other law, regulation, or directive that allows a president to send troops overseas (or do very much of anything else militarily) without a formal declaration of war passed by majority of congress.

Maybe even a super-majority.

The second clause would reinstate the 1878 Posse Comitatus in full, forbidding the government to use the military to enforce its will anywhere within the United States. Perhaps this idea belongs in another piece of legislation, but my belief is that politicians feel an irresistible urge every waking minute to use the military to beat somebody up and kill them. Prevent them from doing it overseas, and things could get worse here, unless we prevent that with the same stroke.

The third clause is the meat of the amendment. Having voted to declare war, every Congressman who voted “aye” will immediately get up from his seat and march right out the door, where he will be handed a uniform and a weapon and be conveyed directly to the front, defined as that area of military activity that is producing the highest number of casualties.

No excuses. Practicing politicians will be denied Conscientious Objectorhood. As long as they voted to subject yet another generation of Americans to war, their age, sex, prior service, or state of health won’t keep our valiant congressional warriors from going with the “boys”. If they can’t march, they’ll be given knobby tires for their wheelchairs.

*** end quote ***

Heinlein in “Starship Troopers” suggested that only veterans of “Federal Service” should be politicians or bureaucrats.

“A soldier accepts personal responsibility for the safety of the body politic of which he is a member, defending it, if need be, with his life. The civilian does not.”

“Service men are not brighter than civilians.”

At one time in the USA, prior to William Jefferson Clinton, a President HAD to be a combat vet. Senators and Representatives usually too.

Sad that “We, The Sheeple” let that “tradition” slip away.

I like the Peace Amendment. How does it get passed?

Argh!

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POLITICAL: How to fix Obama / SCOTUS — care!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

FROM WSJ

*** begin quote ***

No Easy Cure 
Congress has begun the work of replacing the Affordable Care Act, and that means lawmakers will soon face the thorny dilemma that confronts every effort to overhaul health insurance: Sick people are expensive to cover, and someone has to pay. The 2010 health law forced insurers to sell coverage to anyone, at the same price, regardless of their risk of incurring big claims. That provision was popular. Not so were rules requiring nearly everyone to have insurance, and higher premiums for healthy people to subsidize the costs of the sick. If policyholders don’t pick up the tab, who will? The available options all have downsides. Mr. Trump and GOP leaders on Capitol Hill pledged this week to move swiftly to not only repeal but also replace the Affordable Care Act, but it will be a difficult promise to keep.

*** end quote ***

From DOWNSIZE DC 

https://downsizedc.org/blog/preview-proposals-replace-obamacare

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Proposal #1: Restore natural prices and make them visible to patients. This will enable consumer control, foster competition, increase supply, and reduce costs.
Proposal #2: Repeal Obamacare in its entirety before considering legislation to replace it.
Proposal #3: Politicians should make all sickness and wellness expenditures tax deductible, including insurance premiums and preventive measures, such as supplements and fitness clubs.
Proposal #4: Revive true health insurance (and make it affordable too) by removing all the expensive mandates imposed by Obamacare and the states.
Proposal #5: Outlaw monopolistic “certificates of need.”
Proposal #6: End punitive damages that enrich lawyers with no compensating health benefit.
Proposal #7: Make the FDA advisory, not dictatorial.
Proposal #8: Restrict the FDA to certifying safety only.
Proposal #9: End the FDA’s power to regulate generic drug factories.
Proposal #10: Limit pharmaceutical patent protection to the recovery of research costs.
Proposal #11: Remove redundant licensing requirements.
Proposal #12: Incentivize the frugal use of medical services by creating the equivalent of Medicaid and Medicare HSAs.
Proposal #13: Increase co-pays for Medicare and Medicaid patients.
Proposal #14: Reduce doctor visits by ending the need for prescriptions.
Proposal #15: The State should stop defining dietary guidelines.
Proposal #16: Create an exchange for pro-bono services and voluntary funding.
Proposal #17: Provide a 100% tax credit to anyone who pays for an indigent person’s healthcare expenses.
Proposal #18: Make Medicare a safety net rather than a dragnet.
Proposal #19: Make indigent access to the tax-funded safety net contingent on a history of personal responsibility.
Proposal #20: Create a schedule to devolve Medicare and Medicaid to the states or localities.

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Unwind the effects of World War 2 wage and price controls — that’s how “benefits” got tied to “employment” in the first place.

Gooferment created the problem; get them out of the way is the solution.

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POLITICAL: Asset Forfeiture IS Extortion!

Monday, January 9, 2017

https://reason.com/blog/2017/01/05/inside-mississippis-asset-forfeiture-ext

Inside Mississippi’s Asset Forfeiture Extortion Racket
State narcotics police seized $4 million in cash—as well as couches, comics, and 18-wheelers—through asset forfeiture in 2015.
C.J. Ciaramella | Jan. 5, 2017 10:00 am

*** begin quote ***

“We’re completely in the dark on how pervasive the practice really is,” says Blake Feldman, an advocacy coordinator at the Mississippi ACLU. “Pretty much the default mindset is nobody should be overseeing any law enforcement. A big concern will be if the required tracking and reporting is going to be enforced, or if it will be a shallow gesture.”

In recent years, there has been bipartisan momentum in states across the U.S. to roll back civil asset forfeiture laws, which allow police to seize property without convicting or even charging the owner with a crime. Mississippi is no different. According to an April poll of Mississippi voters conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research, 88 percent of voters oppose civil forfeiture, including 89 percent of Republican voters.

Reason reached current Hinds County Attorney Claire Baker to ask about the couch seizure, as well as the debate in the state over asset forfeiture.

“There’s been a move to crack down on forfeitures, and I get that,” Baker says. “Mississippi law is wide open as far as forfeiture goes.”

*** end quote ***

There has to be reform.

If we eliminate the “(pseudo) War on (some) Drugs”, a lot of this non-sense will stop.

Even before that happens, the forfeiture law needs to change dramatically. 

(1) Nothing is taken without a conviction.

(2) The Gooferment’s claim can’t be taken on face value.

(3) The actual owners, like parents, shouldn’t be penalized for something some one else does.

Argh!

It’s all about “revenue collection”; not solving or preventing “crimes” against real victims.

Obvious, the police and judicial complex are over-funded.

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POLITICAL: The FDA is obsolete; make it optional

Sunday, January 1, 2017

http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-fdas-rigged-drug-committees-1483140671?mod=djemMER

OPINION  REVIEW & OUTLOOK
The FDA’s Rigged Drug Committees
A case study in how the agency gets the advice it wants to hear.
Updated Dec. 30, 2016 7:15 p.m. ET 

*** begin quote ***

Among the Republican priorities in 2017 should be dismantling a culture of bureaucratic control at the Food and Drug Administration that poisons innovation and costs lives. Here’s an idea: Update part of the approval process that was patient zero for distorting data on a drug for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

We’ve reported on the drama over eteplirsen, which FDA approved in September and is now marketed as Exondys 51 by Sarepta Therapeutics. Midlevel bureaucrats have since disparaged the therapy in public, and some insurers are denying coverage. Much of the confusion results from an April show trial known as an advisory committee meeting. A process that is supposed to provide independent advice to the FDA instead became a venue to mislead a panel of nonexperts—and the public—about the drug’s efficacy.

*** end quote ***

It’s been demonstrated that the FDA is a tool of Big Pharma. There’s that old revolving door between being a regulator and being regulated.

Why can’t the FDA be an optional player. Let the doctors counsel patients. It’s the patients that have to decide. 

Argh!

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POLITICAL: Bread and circuses

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Forwarded by an “Old”, who I suspect cut ’n’ pasted from some inet email spam. (There were format breaks in the text.)

*** begin quote *** 

I don’t know who the Chief’swere playing, but it would have beengreat if it had been the 49 ers- and C. Kaeperknick had been on thefield. 

As
you know, Obama cuts have eliminated the military flyovers at largeevents.  Well, there’s a group of guys in Kansas City who dosome formation flying, in their own planes, and decided they’dvolunteer to pick up the slack.  They invited a couple of othergroups to join them and before they knew it they had 48 guys withtheir own  airplanes signing up to join in.  If they hadmore time, they probably would have gotten an even larger group aspeople kept joining and a 49th was added near the event. 

One
additional feature of the flyover was the use of pink smoke forcancer awareness. 

The
folks from the Guinness Book were there and are expected to confirmit as the largest formation flight ever.  And to top it off thecrowd later set the record for the loudest gathering at a footballstadium.  Be sure your speakers are turned up… best if watchat ‘full screen. 

CLICK Arrowhead Stadium,49 plane flyover – YouTube

*** end quote ***

MY RESPONSE 

K — I don’t use his name; he’s not worth learning to spell it — is merely exercising his rights and getting PR points with the illiterates. (imho) I’d prefer to ignore him and let him fade away into obscurity.

After we found that the Gooferment was paying the NFL to “honor the troops”, I became hostile to these displays. Not that I am anti-American or don’t want the troops home, but it’s pro-war propaganda worthy of Goebbels’ Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda!!!! (I feel strongly about that one.)

I have great respect for the voluntary flyover since that represents authentic American patriotism. Untainted by Big Gooferment propaganda.

Pink smoke to fight cancer just makes me think of the FDA and regulatory capture by Big Pharma. When the March of Dime focused on polio, the American public rallied and it was done. Voluntarily. Of course, all those high paid execs couldn’t be out of a job, so they moved on to an amorphous enemy — birth defects. And the gravy train continued.  

Sorry to rain on your parade but I am Cynic in the tradition of Diogenes and I insist on looking behind the curtain. Or maybe a Stoic like Marcus Aurelius, who recognized that the problems always are inside of man. 

Argh!

Thanks for great blog post fodder.

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POLITICAL: Close the UN and make it into condos

Sunday, November 20, 2016

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/20/world/americas/united-nations-trump-climate-change-iran-cuba.html?_r=0

Donald Trump and the U.N.: Signs of Clashing Views on Many Issues
By SOMINI SENGUPTA and RICK GLADSTONE
NOV. 19, 2016

*** begin quote ***

The optimists among them are expressing relief that Donald J. Trump said nothing during the campaign about dismantling the United Nations altogether — or turning its iconic tower facing the East River into condos.

*** end quote ***

This has been a disgrace. Its record for interference and the results speak for itself. And, their “human rights” committee is a joke.

So, if DJT wants to withdraw our financial support and ship it out to where it wants to go, then that’s fine with me.

And I’m sure the subjects of Comrade DeBlasio would be happy with the traffic improvement.

There are better ways to waste money then this international disaster.

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