Showing posts with label congress. Show all posts
Showing posts with label congress. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

I Can Haz Debt Ceiling?

This whole thing has played out in a fairly silly fashion. Well it would be silly except there is the potential for it to go really bad. The Democrats seem to have claimed and thanks to their shills the mainstream media held the moral high ground though by a thin margin. The idea that the other side should give all of their leverage before having a conversation about what they wish to get in return seems like a hard one for anybody to seriously swallow. The Republicans seem more energized than they have in awhile but quite possibly unable to choose realistic goals, function as a cohesive voting block and of course manage their public relations/IO.

It looks like they have agreed to stop fighting long enough to avoid drowning in the water they are currently fighting in. Maybe we can get beyond talking points to have a real discussion about our government debt.

So do you think something seriously dangerous is on the horizon, and if so what, or that it's just another political theater?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Diane Feinstein's AWB Version 2

The much dreaded Assault Weapons bill was presented. I urge you to write your representatives and tell them in a nice polite way that criminals by definition break the laws and this will only hurt law abiding gun owners. If you are lazy like me Ruger makes it super easy by having a nice form letter ready to go and looking up your reps automatically. Seriously if you care about anything I say take the time to let our representatives know that you are against this.

Also if you have not already JOIN THE NRA.  They are not perfect but are big enough and strong enough to actually do something. Join some other organization(s) if it makes you happy but send the NRA some love first.

If your personal 2A preparations are not where you want to be I would think about working on it. Do not spend the rent money or max the visa but if you want it and can afford it then think about buying. Yes AR's that cost $650 2 weeks ago are going for 1,400ish BUT THEY ARE AVAILABLE. Cannot say that will be the case in 2 months.

Some folks might want to think about caches. I have heard 6" PVC pipe and end caps as well as PVC glue can sell out in a hurry. Spare parts and manuals (a weak point of mine) are good things to have also. The cleaning stuff to put a greased up gun back into action would be smart also.

This weekends coming purchase binge will take care of most of my lingering accessory needs. Thankfully the stuff we need (vs want) is not targeted thought the overall everything with or around a trigger buying binge is affecting things all the same. Sure there is more stuff I want thankfully these are wants not needs. Some will be purchased when available like ammo and other stuff might be indefinitely postponed depending on how things go.

Honestly I am getting pretty bored of talking about this all the time. Think it is time to talk about other stuff and begin to resume normal operations.


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Guns For Me But Not For Thee

As Chris pointed out If armed security guards are ineffective, why do anti gun people send their children to schools with lots of them?

Why do their kids deserve to be safer than my kid or yours? 

How is it that some cops who get to carry all the time off work anywhere and public officials or rich folks who have armed security think I should not be able to have a weapon?

The only conclusions I can come to is that A) they think they are superior to normal folks and B) gun control is not about guns it is about control.

Also on another note if I ever get to rewrite the Constitution I will add an amendment that all elected officials are required to send their school aged children to the worst performing public school in the area they represent. Maybe then they would get serious about fixing education.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Quote of the Day

"I think the occasional gunfight between representatives on the House floor would spice things up and generally liven the otherwise dull parliamentary proceedings. "
-Tam

For background on this quote a Jordanian MP pulled a gun on a former MP during a televised debate. Go over to Tam's place and check it out.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Nobody Cares, Good Politics but Bad Economics, Etc

It has become clear that Congress (as a general term for all our reps to include the Senate) just doesn't care what we think. They voted overwhelmingly for the Insurance Company Kickback (Obamacare) despite the people they claim to represent making it abundantly clear that we did not want it. Recently the Executive Branch made it clear that they do not care what Congress thinks, laws and traditions be damned. They did this by reinserting Death Panels (seriously not that big of a thing and grossly misunderstood, but that's not the point) back into the program by decree despite Congress taking it out.

This could be continued down through the state and sometimes county/ city level. They care most consistently about pursueing whatever agenda they happen to have, securing easy paychecks and enjoyable perks as well as solidifying their positions. After that it is paying back the people who helped them get into office and just enjoying things.

Other than bribing and scaring enough people to secure reelection none of these representatives care at all about us and what we want. Really keeping their positions secure (especially in homogenuis districts) is pretty easy and is just about maintenance and continued favors. I am not going to say it is right or wrong, it's just how things are.

My point is that nobody cares. Even if you fall into a group that (outside of big business/ key sectors able to levy significant and regular bribes campaign contributions) is supposidly championed by a certain political group like minorities, gun owners or small businessmen when the chips are down they really just don't care. They care in terms of talking points and sound bites but not in terms of taking a stand or putting out actuall effort to help these people. Since nobody cares you had better start caring.
Strive to get ready for all sorts of different scenarios because as I noted nobody is going to help you. In particular I think it would be prudent to get ready to take care of yourself. Consider basic stuff like power outages, local disasters, home invasions and income disruptions and go from there. Don't forget about inflation as it may be rearing its ugly head.

I have listened to a lot of conservative talk radio over the last couple days as I drove across a big chunk of the PNW. An interesting concept was talked about. The idea of something that is simumtaneousle good politics and really bad economics. For example minimum wage laws. Oregon which is already hurting pretty badly just recently raised their minimum wage. There is a broad consensus among economists that artificially high minimum wages push low skilled people out of the legal labor market. These people are not allowed to work for the kind of wages they are qualified to earn. This really hurts young adults and seems to hit minorities the hardest.

Another great example is what happened with American unions, in particular the UAW. The head guys kept getting beat up by unions and so they gave them concessions. The easiest concessions to give were very generous pensions because they cost money in the future as opposed to wages or other benefits (though they weren't tight fisted here either) which cost money right away. These were also a real easy decision in hindsight because none of the real decision makers were around when things came to a head.

I could probably keep giving examples (SS, Medicare, etc) all day long. However since I don't have all day you will have to try and follow me. Politicians are willing to do something that is obviously bad economics if it is good politics. They will build airports nobody flys through, bridges people don't want to drive on, give kickbacks to farmers in Iowa and such. I think politicians would burn giant piles of cash on television if they should it would help them politically.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

America's Debt Crisis

It is nice to start things off with a quote. This one sums the situation up pretty succinctly.

"Right now, it doesn’t look like anybody up there can add, whether they’ve got an R or a D."

-Dave Ramsey

I am seriously concerned about America's debt. There are all kinds of worst case scenarios that are maybe's but THIS IS HAPPENING. I know we are past the point of a painless fix. At some point we will get to a place where there isn't a fix.

You can read a draft of the proposed report here. I appreciate that it is a slide show type presetation versus a dry and wordy mess. It doesn't take too long to look through. There were all kinds of ideas; some of which were pretty blah and others were more interesting. Huffington Post highlighted  some of them.

Roll discretionary spending back to FY2010 levels for FY2012, requires 1% cut in discretionary budget authority every year from FY2013 though 2015;


•Fully offset the cost of the "Doc Fix" by asking doctors and other health providers, lawyers, and individuals to take responsibility for slowing health care cost growth;

•Reduce farm subsidies by3 billion per year by reducing direct payments and other subsidies;

•Achieve 100 billion in Illustrative Defense Cuts;

•Index retirement age for Social security to increases in longevity. "This option is projected to increase the age by one month every two years after it reaches 67 under current law, meaning the normal retirement age would reach 68 in about 2050 and 69 in about 2075." There will be a "hardship exemption" for those unable to work beyond 62;

•Give retirees the choice of collecting half their benefits early and the other half at a later age to minimize impact of actuarial reduction and support phased retirement options;

•Reduce corporate tax rate to 26% and permanently extend the research credit;


•Gradually increase gas tax to fund transportation spending.


There were definitely some good parts to this whole thing. First and probably most significantly we are actually talking about our deficit problem in a broad and public venue. Next I really enjoyed that this effort was at least fairly bipartisan. Both sides of Congress and the parties they represent and really ever national level elected official except Ron Paul is to blame. You could even argue that Ron Paul shares some blame for not doing a good enough job of convincing his co workers to get on board with sound monetary/ economic policies. More significantly the suggestions which stemmed from this Commission seem to me pretty bipartisan. It suggests cuts in just about everything and is sure to have an idea or two which makes just about everybody annoyed.

Americans have a serious issue of wanting services and social type support networks but not wanting to pay for them. We want first class infrastructure and the benefits of a psuedo welfare state but want to pay the taxes of a your on your own Carribean tax haven. Americans as a group need to come to terms with the simple fact that we are going to get the government, services and benefits that we pay for.

The real issue isn't so much coming up with ideas but making those ideas palitable to enough people and actually getting them implimented. Politicians hate the idea of losing the earmarks which let them bring bacon to their home districts and keep the businesses which fund their campaigns happy. Just about every group of citizens has some pet tax credit or another which to them is untouchable such as "earned" income credit, mortgage interest deduction, capital gains, etc.

I am not an economist or an accountant or a financial genius. However like most other people I have had to balance budgets and deal with bills and all that. Like anyone else I have had times when I didn't pay attention or made mistakes and lived beyond my means. I think the first and most significant step is realizing you have a problem, if just a temporary one. Next you look at what kind of income you have coming in. You put your expenses and obligations onto a list in terms of priority. WHAT DO YOU REALLY NEED? A place to live, utilties, fuel and food are quite important. After that you pay whatever bills you have. Additional money can be used to try and pay off debt and have a little bit of fun.

What does this have to do with anything? The same train of thought could be made in terms of our national budget. We need to cut out fancy stuff like foreign aid, farm subsidies and meddling in health care and focus on basic services, reasonable defense and just plain getting our house in order. The situation is that we need to get our own house in order and that might mean we can't do all kinds of things we like doing.


Personally I have some thoughts on how to deal with our debt. In no particular order:
  • It is absolutely imperative that we get entitlements under control. I say again, it is absolutely imperative that we get entitlements under control. While a few hundred million for this project or a billion for a bailout catch headlines but Social Security, Medicare and Medicade are going to bankrupt us. At the same time we need to honor our promise to individuals already recieving these benefits and those who will start to collect them soon. However those under a certain age (somewhere around 52-55) have time to adjust their plans. Then some smart people could sit down with an actuary table and figure out how to fund benefits for those who were close to collecting. We have to bend the bell curve or it is going to destroy us.
  • We need to have a serious discussion about if we can afford to continue our overseas adventures; particularly Iraq and Afghanistan. Without even talking about if these wars are good or meaningful we need to talk about how to pay for them. The idea that we can fight wars and not actually pay for them just doesn't mesh with reality.  Our overseas footprint in general should also be up for serious articulate discussion. Having some strategic bases as well as prepositioned logistics makes sense. I would be willing to would wager that we could dramatically decrease our overseas presence at little or no cost to our real military capabilities.  Europe and Asia can afford to pay for their own defense and if they should choose not to well that might play out badly for them. I am stationed in Germany and I hate to tell you but the Russians aren't storming through the Fulda Gap any time soon. North Korea doesn't have the fuel and rations to invade anybody and why should we care if they invade South Korea anyway?
  • We need to motivate businesses, particularly the kind of manufacturing that provides decent paying jobs in medium to large numbers to stay in or move to America and make things which people want to buy. This will go a long way toward fixing our import/export problem. This whole idea of an information or finance or service economy isn't working well. Of course all those things occur in any economy but we have just got to start making stuff that people in other nations want to buy. At least if we ever want to fix our trade situation.
  • We need to admit that we cannot afford to continue foreign aid on anywhere near the current scale. Buying a few million pounds of rice so hundreds of thousands of people in some crappy African country do not starve to death is to me acceptable and in the big scheme of things isn't a drop in the bucket. However we do not need to be giving money to nations like Russia, India, Egypt and Indonesia. We just can't afford it.
  • Farm subsidies in the USA are just rediculous. If I were in charge I would cancel them all immediately. At a minimum we need to stop paying massive agri businesses a whole bunch of money that was meant for small family farms. Also the idea of paying people essentially not to produce food on a given piece of land is rediculous. I mean heaven forbid we piss off Iowa because they have the first primaries and all but this is just completely and totally stupid.
 Maybe we can fix this and maybe we won't. I sort of suspect we will fix it but it is just a question of how painfull it will be. I would say that my outlook is slightly optomistic but I am of course hedging my bets with precious metals, ammo and assorted other stuff.

Monday, November 8, 2010

I'm Back and Republicans Won The House

Our internet was down for a few days. I enjoyed spending extra time with the family and also was able to catch up some on my reading. During that time the Republicans won back control of the House of Represenatives. I am particularly happy that some Tea Party type folks won. Having a Paul in both the House and the Senate is going to be really fun. I anticipate at least double the long winded speaches nobody pays attention to and numerous bills which will never get out of commitee. Seriously though I think this represents a shift in a significant part of the "conservative"  side and that is a good thing. We have had about all of the crony capitalism this country can handle. If this newfound majority can do a few things to get governments hands out of peoples pockets while starting to get our deficite under control that would be great. If they can at least mount an effective defense against any more madness that would be OK too. Personally I have rather limited expectations. If they can manage to act fiscally conservative some good stuff might happen. Time will tell.

There is all kinds of stuff in my head but I worked a super long day and am beat. Thoughts are not cohesively forming. You will get a few good posts over the long weekend I am sure. Have a good night.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Shades of Atlas Shrugged: Third World America

Third World America this article is disturbingly true. On another note Shades of Atlas Shrugged is going to be the series title for this sort of article.

I am not sure what the answer is. I do however think we need to create incentive's to promote desirable behaviors. [For example if we as a nation wanted to promote individual saving we could, say, not tax interest, dividends or capital gains on individuals with an income below $100,000 and a net worth below $750,000.] We aren't doing this. We aren't doing close to this. We are often in fact doing just the opposite. We have taken for granted that things are good and will stay that way. That no matter how much individuals or businesses get hammered they will stay in the same place and keep on doing the same thing. We've gotten cocky and lazy and it is coming back to bite us. Big time.

For example we need to attract manufacturing. America is never going to make sweat pants or t shirts cheaper than some random Asian nation where wages are a dime an hour. However I don't see why we shouldn't make computers, tv's, cars and all kinds of other stuff. Particularly the kind of relatively high tech manufacturing which employs more skilled individuals and pays them decent wages.

[If there is any positive way forward for America's low skilled blue collar workers it is if they can get the skills and we as a nation can attract this sort of higher skilled manufacturing jobs. The golden age for American manufacturing type workers from WWII to around the early 90's which has been dying a lingering death for awhile, set expectations which could not be maintained. Large numbers of people simply can't walk out of high school into a secure job that makes a comfortable wage with good benefits and retirement anymore.

I saw this play out on a smaller scale with the timber industry dying in the PNW. Some individuals were able to find a way forward in another job. Others managed to retrain and be successful. However when it was all said and done a lot of folks went from earning a comfortable middle class living to a couple bucks an hour above minimum wage or chronic unemployment. The restaurants and stores which these people patronized went under. Some towns died and a lot of others are sad shells of their former selves. The bottom line was that the jobs that went away were gone. The other industries were able to absorb some people, given that they received training, but a town that lost 100 timber jobs didn't suddenly have 50 new jobs as carpenters and another 50 for auto mechanics. Without some sort of X factor, such as a boom of high tech American manufacturing this will be the case on a larger scale.]

The biggest reason we have issues attracting or keeping these kinds of manufacturers is a grossly unfriendly business environment. Art Laffer said "Taxes don't redistribute wealth, they redistribute people (or I suppose businesses)" and the same could be said for regulations and all sorts of other little committees and agencies that make it hell to actually produce something. There are all sorts of ways America, or a state could do this. Simply streamlining the process for getting permits and clearances to build would be a good start. For a company that isn't going to dump tons of poison into the water system it should be a snap to open a factory. No taxes for 5 or 10 years would be a good one. Matching funds on select capital development would be another. Cheap or free energy would help too. Creating a work force which suits certain high tech manufacturing needs could work; especially if combined with a business friendly atmosphere and some tax breaks.

Instead of trying to hammer businesses for every dime we need to help them grow and employ more people and buy more machinery or other stuff. If every little bureaucratic despot and city councils could realize factories bring jobs; jobs which they desperately need we would be in such a better place.

As for infrastructure I think this is being blown out of proportion. Not significance but priority and who needs to be involved in addressing it. The answer is not big over reaching stimulus but government at all levels adjusting their priorities. Look at it this way. Most sane people would fix a hole in the kitchen floor before going out for a night on the town. If the family car breaks next week they don't need a stimulus from somebody; we need to shift our budget around and figure out how to fix it. If that doesn't work we can raid our hard earned savings. Governments from town to state have forgotten this. They need to make the important stuff work even if it means letting go of some of the flashy unessential stuff.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Failed Post, Reading Between The Lines And Such Stuff

Yesterday I wrote a post which drew some harsh criticism. I don't mind having serious debate and even outright disagreement on stuff if it is at least somewhat productive but it was on a sort of small piece of the post. In any case it wasn't at all where I wanted the thing to go and the nice part of being in charge is that you can move past such failed posts.

In any case it brought up a very interesting series of points which are worth discussing.

First of all I am going to steal a great thing that Glen Beck said. He said more or less (I am remembering this from off the top of my head 5-6 months later.) that "I believe everything I say but I don't say everything I believe".

[Here is a hint. If you read halfway between the lines you will get a good idea on my thoughts about pretty much everything. I over exaggerate some stuff and under exaggerate other stuff.]

What Glen Beck said goes about ten fold for me. Matter of fact I am in a profession which has some draconian rules when it comes to speaking ill about elected officials and really any apparatus of our government in general. My job is what it is but for the time being it puts a roof over our heads and food on the table so staying at least arguably inside those rules is prudent.
 
There are a lot of things I think that I do not say. I have some concerns I have that I do not share with you . Also there is a whole lot of stuff I know how to do that I am not going to teach you, sorry.


At some point if/when I am no longer in the military this would likely become a very different blog. I would move back towards home and get a job doing something or another where my boss really wouldn't give a rip what I do outside of work. Also growing a lot of food and a variety of other things would make this an interesting place. In any case I would likely be a lot more open on some things.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Americans Want Smaller Government

A substantial majority of Americans prefer smaller government to bigger government.

APThat's the finding of an Associated Press poll conducted between October 29 and November 8, 2009.

The poll asked this question:

"If you had to choose, would you favor a smaller government providing fewer services, or a bigger government providing more services?"

Fully 55% chose a smaller government providing fewer services.

Only 39% favored a bigger government providing more services.

(5% said they didn't know; 1% refused to answer.)

Now if someone will just tell Congress...


TOR adds: I got this from the Liberator Online. They have a newsletter and publish a real gem from time to time.

quote of the day

"Advocates of government control [of health care and insurance] want you to believe that the serious shortcomings of our medical and insurance system are failures of the free market. But that's John Stosselimpossible because our market is not free. Each state operates a cozy medical and insurance cartel that restricts competition through licensing and keeps prices higher than they would be in a genuine free market. But the planners won't talk about that. After all, if government is the problem in the first place, how can they justify a government takeover?"
-- libertarian journalist John Stossel,

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Politics the way it should be

Apparently Rep. Joe Wilson has pissed off some people. During Obama's little speech about Obamacare, he yelled you lie. Now the big question on CNN is whether it was planed or not. So what? Lets say it was planned... So what?

CNN also ran a commentary about how we need to respect presidents. At the start of it, it mentions how the Brits have a "question time" where the PM gets into basically a yelling match with the House of Commons. Whats wrong with that idea? Now normally, I believe, the fact that someone in Europe does something is a good reason not to do it here. That goes double for the British. However, those bastards might have stumbled on to something here.



I think we need more yelling at the president. This is the way politics should be (note: I am in class while writing this, so I didn't get to watch the video... hopefully it will be a good one).

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Peoplz Be Emailin Meh

Hi,

Isabelle here from OpenCongress.org. I just wanted to write quickly and let you know that your recent blog post on S.1390 got picked up by our blog aggregator and is now posted in our list of articles on that bill. Now people looking for information on the bill can find your article through its bill page on OpenCongress. Check it out here:


http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-s1390/show


Since you're writing about bills in Congress on your blog, I encourage you to check out OpenCongress as a research tool and a source for finding out what's moving in Congress. One of our main functions that you can see off the homepage is to provide context to bills, showing which ones are being viewed by people the most, which are being blogged about the most, and which are in the news the most. You can also follow the OpenCongress Blog for updates on legislation and issues that are moving in Congress.


http://www.opencongress.org/blog


Best,

-Isabelle

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

quote of the day

I'm of the opinion that things (health care) need to change, but making congress in charge of health care cannot be the answer - they screw up everything they do.
-Bryce

I could not agree more. On a side note I just took a quick look at his blog realselfreliance and it looks pretty good.

Friday, June 26, 2009

If it is such a great plan, why isn't it good enough for them?

"SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS" DEP'T: "Last September Sen. Barack Obama promised that under his health-care proposal 'you'll be able to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves.' On Monday, President Obama repeated that promise in a speech to the American Medical Association. It's not true.

"The president is barnstorming the nation, urging swift approval of legislation that is taking shape in Congress. This legislation -- the Affordable Health Choices Act that's being drafted by Sen. Edward Kennedy's staff and the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee -- will push Americans into stingy insurance plans with tight, HMO-style controls. It specifically exempts members of Congress (along with federal employees; the exemptions are in section 3116).

Congress - logo"Members of Congress 'enjoy the widest selection of health plans in the country,' according to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. They 'can choose from among consumer-driven and high deductible plans that offer catastrophic risk protection with higher deductibles, health saving/reimbursable accounts and lower premiums, or fee-for-service (FFS) plans, and their preferred provider organizations (PPO), or health maintenance organizations (HMO).' These choices would be nice for all of us, but they're not in the offing. Instead, if you don't enroll in a 'qualified' health plan and submit proof of enrollment to the federal government, you'll be tracked down and fined (sections 3101 and 6055)." -- Betsy McCaughey, Wall Street Journal (6/19/2009).

Thursday, May 21, 2009

NONE OF THEM READ ANYTHING!

I have been hearing more and more that none of our legislators/ politicians read any of the stuff they pass. Our congress hired a fucking speed reader to read the climate change bill which is 900 pages long. This entire thing is totally fucking out of control. This might be the scariest and most insane thing going on.

I read things that I am going to sign. Well at least big things; I don't read the paperwork at the movie store to get a rental card or the user agreement on a normal website but I read everything which is remotely important. These politicians spend our hard earned money and control our lifestyle, property, livelihoods and security in their hands. Is it really too much to ask that they read things they are going to vote on?

I honestly think politicians should be required to read a bill and then pass a multiple choice (think 8th grade standardized test style) exam which tests their understanding of the bill before being able to vote on it. If don't even know what a bill is about then why should we possibly let them vote on it, no matter how smart they are?

Friday, May 1, 2009

A few drinks in and thiese things are really pissing me off

This shit is so fucking dumb. I get that in a 24 hour news cycle there needs to be some filler and all that stuff.

Congress is talking about how the BCS system is a problem that needs to be addressed. Some dude in Congress was citing the interstate commerce clause as a reason to start meddling and potentially pass some legislation to this effect. I get that the interstate commerce clause has been interpreted to mean the federal government can get their hands into anything they want but seriously WTF? We have two wars going on, our economy is in the crapper, a nuclear armed nation is within spitting distance of falling to the fucking Taliban (it worked out real well for us last time those asshats were in charge of a nation), we are potentially on the verge of a pandemic and we our elected representatives are talking about fucking college football?

Also lets give Mrs. California some peace. She doesn't think gays should be able to get married and she told Perez Hilton her opinion which did not make him happy (maybe someone should teach him tolerance). Lets all just move on.

We have a lot of important stuff to deal with so lets work on that instead of driveling crap.
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