Friday, December 28, 2007

Guilt and The Nanny State 

It is quite gratifying to feel guilty if you haven't done anything wrong: how noble! Whereas it is rather hard and certainly depressing to admit guilt and to repent.
--Hannah Arendt
Last night, I started reading Glenn Beck's new book, An Inconvenient Book. So far, so good.

The title is an obvious jab at Al Gore's, An Inconvenient Truth movie. The book takes on a number of issues and de-constructs the liberal dogma being spewed in the media.

His first issue was man-made global warming. He provides a number of very good factual inaccuracies made by the man-made proponents. Shocking, I know.

Throughout the chapter, he has little vignettes called, A-D-D Moments. These are generally clever, smart-assed swipes at some quote or fact that was presented by one of his opponents. They're high in their, "Well, duh!" content.

He had this one where he was quoting some high-ranking eco-freak that essentially said [to paraphrase], "Even if all of the man-made global warming 'science' is made up, that is OK. What is most important was to change people's behavior regarding fossil fuels."

I read stuff like that, and it drives me absolutely bat-shit crazy.

I understand people becoming passionate about a subject. There are few subjects I'm not passionate about, one way or the other. I respect people that have opposing views to mine that are able to lay out a logical, supported argument.

But this, "We know what's best for you, so shut up!" attitude of liberals is simply dishonest and is antithetical to how this country is supposed to be run.

So, I'm stewing over this section of Beck's book, and I start flipping through the TV channels. I come across Beck's TV show, and his guest is Penn Jillette of Penn and Teller fame.

The guy is a die-hard libertarian, and just plain interesting, so I set down the book and listen in.

About 3/4 of the way through the show, they start getting into this Nanny State subject, and why liberals have this obsession with fixing something that isn't broke, Jillette gives us this gem:
JILLETTE: You can certainly put it to the fact that human beings -- two things have always been true about human beings. One, the world is always getting better. Two, the people living at that time think it`s getting worse.

It`s because you get older, your responsibilities are different. Now I`m taking care of children instead of being a child. It makes the world look scarier. That happens to everyone.

And on top of that, we have this horrible -- you can call it Judeo- Christian, I think it`s even deeper than that, deeper than the Abrahamic religions -- of this horrible guilt that things go well. I mean, my kids won`t have polio, you know? And I`m old enough that my parents were still reminding themselves they didn`t have to worry about it. You know, I wasn`t going to get polio. I had the vaccine. They still worried about it.

And I think that there`s this huge amount of guilt for how good things are, and there`s this puritanical strain that liberals don`t know how to deal with because, you know, they don`t have the religion that started that. They just have this, you know, what I call it is we hate ourselves. It`s this, "Things are too good. It must be our fault. We can`t be doing this."

And whether you`re recycling or whether you`re doing penance or whether you`re hitting yourself with a whip, it`s all the same thing of just not being willing to say, "Wow, we`ve got it really good, but let`s help a few other people."
And this is from an atheist libertarian. Who'da thunk it?

I think he's hit the nail on the head. These liberals see one thing that is wrong with something, and they have this primal drive to change the world. Global temperatures have gone up a fraction of a degree, so that means man's hedonistic ways are ruining the planet. Don't let facts or common sense get in the way, just fix it.

Pick a cause, it's always the same pattern.

Perhaps they don't have any sense of self, no inner peace or confidence in their abilities. A lot of people are like that, including a lot of conservatives. The difference is, a large number of conservatives have religion. They have something they can fall back on from which to draw strength when the chips are down.

Many, if not most liberals don't have this. They feel they are out there all alone, so they have to project this Nanny State crap on society to show they can be in control of something - anything.

They hoist upon themselves this sense of having done something noble and righteous and good, when in reality they are nothing more than helicopter moms (and dads), snuffing the ambition and drive from our society. Nanny will take care of everything, don't you worry your pretty little head.

I'm not a big fan of organized religion. Personally, I don' t like anyone telling me how to think, what to do and when to do it. I'm a Christian, but I don't see any reason to have an interpreter between me and The Big Guy. But maybe that's just me.

What I see these liberals doing is trying to turn our society into that same kind of "group-think" model. Only when it's a political entity, it's called socialism or communism.

Get over the guilt. There are enough things in our world that really are broken and need repair. Let's focus on the facts, not the fiction.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Ron Paul Getting People Nervous.....? 

I like people who shake other people up and make them feel uncomfortable.
--Jim Morrison
This past week and a half or so have been interesting.

Ron Paul is getting noticed, and it's making some people a bit nervous. He had the full hour last week on the Glenn Beck show (video clip here). He had the first half-hour this past Sunday on Meet the Press (transcripts here) .

On the ride into work today, one of the radio hosts was acknowledging the national press Paul has been getting. She made a comment to the effect of, "Well, do you want to be associated with those whack-jobs supporting Paul? The 'Paul-istas'?"

Paul-istas?! As in "Sandinista's"? You've got to be joking...

I saw a large blog that had made some comment about Paul using a racial epithet. I could find nothing on the Internet that substantiated this, but that wasn't the intent.

In both of these cases, hard-line, don't-rock-the-boat Republicans are using fabricated ad hominen attacks or other personal jabs at Paul because his message is getting people to think. And a thinking populous is a dangerous populous.

Maybe following this "Constitution" thing isn't such a bad idea.

Maybe what we've been getting for representation - on both sides of the aisle - has not been of the highest quality.

Maybe this financial sink hole we've created with our entitlement system is not the best way to go.

Maybe we need a change from the status quo.

I'd be nervous as well...

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Friday, December 21, 2007

A Taste of Things To Come 

Yet any time you and I question the schemes of the do-gooders, we're denounced as being opposed to their humanitarian goals. It seems impossible to legitimately debate their solutions with the assumption that all of us share the desire to help the less fortunate. They tell us we're always "against," never "for" anything.
--Ronald Reagan October 27, 1964
Unrest in New Orleans. Again.

Protesters, police clash outside a City Council meeting where a plan to raze public housing is unanimously approved.
These welfare addicts are going nuts because the free public housing they are receiving is being torn down.

This is giving us a little peek into what is going to happen in our not-so-distant future. Imagine what is going to happen when our welfare state finally collapses under the unsustainable weight of income redistribution.

We have tens of millions of people in this country that have become dependent upon Nanny for their very existence. When the money runs out, the dung is going to hit the fan. They will have no idea whatsoever on how to care for themselves.

This isn't simply a scam by these people. They truly believe that they are due the handouts. They've been indoctrinated by Nanny and the Race Baiters to think this way.
"This ain't no stage show! Get out from behind those curtains and tell us why you want to demolish our homes."
Our homes?! Is not the idea of public assistance supposed to be a temporary thing? A little "hand up"? The old, "safety net" until you get back on your feet?

It has become a hammock, instead of a safety net.

Still, some of these folks in New Orleans have a different outlook:
Yet many residents came to the meeting to speak in favor of new mixed-income communities.

"Why can we not go into something that looks good?" asked Donna Johnigan, a resident of B.W. Cooper, her voice trembling. "It's about being able to walk into a little house and be able to say this is a house, it ain't a project. What we've got to demand is better housing."
Free isn't good enough. It needs to look good and, of course, have all of the amenities so that they are even less inclined to provide for themselves.

Our current federal budget is 63% entitlements. Income redistribution. Those of us that have scrimped and saved, and paid into the Social Security retirement fund will be punished when we get in line for our payments. A "needs analysis" will be performed showing that we don't need the money, but the "poor" schmuck that pissed away his money (or never earned any) will get a double-share.

The gravy train will end. It simply cannot be sustained. When the "assistance" checks stop coming, when the public housing falls into disrepair, when the grants dry up, there is going to be a revolt like this country hasn't seen since its inception.

Perhaps it's what we need. A total dissolution of our current structure, and start from scratch.

I hope I'm alive to witness it.
You and I are told we must choose between a left or right, but I suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down. Up to man's age-old dream -- the maximum of individual freedom consistent with order -- or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. Regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would sacrifice freedom for security have embarked on this downward path. Plutarch warned, "The real destroyer of the liberties of the people is he who spreads among them bounties, donations and benefits."
--Ronald Reagan October 27, 1964

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Thursday, December 20, 2007


If the right to privacy means anything, it is the right of the individual, married or single, to be free from unwarranted governmental intrusion.
--William Brennan, Jr., Associate Supreme Court Justice
I'm going to go a bit, "propeller-head" on you here...

Part of my job is to assess risk. In fact, it's my primary job at my bank. I come across a number of products or solutions to help reduce or mitigate risk for our various business units. Many of these have to do with privacy.

Our government is an "odd bird" when it comes to banking and privacy. On one hand, they will figuratively bash in our skulls if "personally identifiable information" about our customers is lost or stolen. I think this is a great thing. Irreparable damage can be made to the finances of an individual who has their identity stolen.

On the other hand, banks are required, without a warrant, to provide, "personally identifiable information" to the government, virtually upon request. I'm not so hot on this. The ease with which a simple field agent is able to gather information on you would scare the hell out of you.

In my opinion, if the government has an indication of wrong-doing - probable cause - get a warrant. Every bank in the country will gladly hand over all requested information.

It is just too easy for Nanny to sink her hooks very deeply into your personal business.

I've recently come across a couple of solutions that I think every American should consider.
TOR (The Onion Router - go figure) is a program that masks your IP address when you are on the Internet. Normally, when you go to any site on the Internet, you automatically provide that site with the IP address of your computer. That might be your computer or your boss' computer (or at least their router address). TOR anonymizes the IP address from which you started.

People have lost their jobs for posting what one person might consider "inflammatory comments" on another person's site. The site owners checked their logs and saw that the comment came from an IP addressed owned by XYZ company. Said site owner then wrote to the management of the company informing them that, at the very least, an employee was using company assets for personal reasons.

Hello unemployment.

If used correctly, TOR works wonderfully. It has had some problems (some foreign embassies were using TOR for embassy email business, and some bad guys used TOR to pick off the messages!), but they can be mitigated by understanding what TOR does, and what it doesn't do. It will cover your tracks perfectly if you follow their instructions (which are very simple).

I now use TOR on a regular basis. It does have a few minor drawbacks. It makes your Internet browsing run slower (because your traffic might be routed around the world), and some sites will not allow traffic from TOR into their network. One of these is Haloscan - yep the guys that host the comments on a number of blogs, including this one! Blogger.com comments works just fine.

If you're going to use it, I recommend you use it with Firefox (What? You're still using uber-insecure Microsoft Internet Explorer?), as it has a very easy to use add-in (TOR button) so that you can turn TOR on and off with a single click.

The other product will cost you a couple of bucks, but is incredibly important. It is called PGP Whole Disk Encryption (WDE).

Encryption has been around for a long time. The problem was, you had to trade public keys, do a secret handshake and howl at the moon. It was a pain. Also, you had to choose what information was encrypted, and what was not. It usually meant that the important stuff didn't get encrypted.

Something that a lot of people don't know is that a ton of information is retained on temp[orary] and swap files on your computer. If you have just written an earth-shattering business plan, then dutifully encrypted it, a copy most likely still resides in clear text in a temp or swap file, especially if your computer is hacked or stolen shortly after you finished your masterpiece.

PGP's WDE encrypts the whole damned hard drive. Every bit (and byte!) of it. In fact, the computer won't even boot up until the passphrase is entered. For work machines, the encryption phrase and the Windows logon ID can be sync'd.

It also has a number of other bells-and-whistles, like the ability to encrypt USB drives, make packages that can be decrypted on machines that don't even have PGP installed and erase files to NSA specifications. It's a great product for $150.

Like any product, there are some downsides. Obviously, the greatest risk is that you will forget your passphrase and never be able to get to your data again. The business version includes the ability of a system administrator being able to unlock the machine.

With the home version, you can perform back-ups on the unencrypted data, but that will kind of defeat the purpose of encrypting the hard drive if Nanny comes a-knockin'! I recommend doing a back up from a new or highly "scrubbed" PC/laptop before you install WDE. This way, should you forget the passphrase, you can rebuild your hard drive, albeit sans the data accumulated since you backed it up.

I do back up my hard drive in its encrypted form so that I can perform a restore in the event my laptop is stolen or destroyed somehow.

Philosophy: Many people say that if you have done nothing wrong, you should have no problem with Nanny looking through your things.

I could not disagree more.

One of the founding principals of our country is the idea of, "Innocent until proven guilty". Unless they have probable cause, Nanny has no right to invade my privacy. I certainly will not make it easy for them should they decide differently.

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Liquidity Trap 

You know that fear is stronger than greed these days when banks refuse to lend to each other - never mind to businesses or to consumers.
--Irwin Kellner, Chief Economist, MarketWatch.com
I've been writing the last few weeks about how both houses of Congress, the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department are messing around with this sub-prime mess. I've written that, if they keep pushing the, "we gotta fix this" agenda, they will cause such a problem with the availability of credit, it could take years to fix.

If you remember, there are a number of pieces of pending legislation that would place the risk-burden of making a loan solely onto the banks and their investors. The borrowers may be given a number of avenues to legally stop making their payments, getting a loan re-written and even getting the ability to sue the lender and investor for not catching the borrowers in a lie when they falsify their own loan application.

The big deal, though, is if there are changes made to property foreclosure laws. If a lender does not have confidence in being able to eventually recover all of their funds, they simply will not lend. It's that simple.

Regardless of how cheap the Fed makes money to banks, they will not lend the money out at any price.

This is called a Liquidity Trap:
The monetary authority can increase the overall quantity of money available to the economy, but traditional monetary policy tools do not inject new money directly into the economy. Rather, the new liquidity created must be injected into the real economy by way of financial intermediaries such as banks. In a liquidity trap environment, banks are unwilling to lend, so the central bank's newly-created liquidity is trapped behind unwilling lenders.
Mr. Kellner, in his article in MarketWatch.com goes into some detail about what is happening here:
The Panic of 1907, like others before it, led to a recession. The liquidity trap of the 1930s was part and parcel of what came to be known as the Great Depression.

Today there are some similarities to the liquidity trap of the 1930s. The credit crunch is clearly one of them. No matter what the Fed does on Tuesday [of last week], it will not be able to thaw out the frosty financial markets.

This is because the markets lack confidence. As I wrote two weeks ago, "fear, and not a lack of liquidity, is what's freezing up the credit markets ... and ... it's going to take a lot more than infusions of liquidity to thaw them."
So what should the Feds do?

Keep their hands off, and let the markets fix themselves. Banks, investors and borrowers will figure something out. We always do in a capitalist society.

Some people and businesses will get bloodied - so be it. By taking it on the chin, the society as a whole will learn from this huge mistake, reducing the likelihood that it will happen again. Government intervention will soften the blow, making it more likely that we will go down this path again in the near future.

There is one thing the Feds can do. They can hammer the hell out of banks and mortgage brokers that pressured real estate appraisers to inflate property values. WAMU is at the head of the line with this scandal. Honestly, I'm surprised this hasn't gotten more press.

If the values were not inflated, a lot of these loans never would have been made - they could not have been sold on the secondary market because the financials would have been "outside of the box".

People need to be locked away over this.

This is one of the purposes of government - to regulate products and services "the common man" may have difficulty understanding. They set standards for how independent review functions (like an appraisal, or drug tests, or meat inspections) should be conducted.

Government's job is not to cushion the blow when people - even lots of them - get greedy and get their asses handed to them. If borrowers were cheated, they need to sue WAMU or any other lenders that put undue pressure on appraisers.

Capitalism has rewards and risks. So does personal responsibility.

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Friday, December 14, 2007

Christmas In The City 

Sometimes the cure for restlessness is rest.
--Colleen Wainwright
Restlessness, indeed.

I look forward to this weekend each year, perhaps as much as Christmas day itself.

The four senior officers at my bank go on a "retreat" each year. The retreat just happens to fall near Christmas. And our spouses get to come along.

But it's a retreat.

And actually, it really is. We are under an incredible amount of pressure from a million different directions during the year (I know... cry me a river!). A weekend to blow off some steam - and thank our spouses for the many hours spent away from home or for working from home - is earned.

We only do it if we exceed our financial and growth targets. None of this Wall Street crap where a bonus and perks are paid regardless of performance. We crushed our targets this year, even with the problems in the credit markets. We hunkered down and didn't fall prey to the lure of high-yield, fast money, and it paid off. Thankfully, none of us are built that "quick money" way.

San Francisco, for all of its political faults, is absolutely magical during Christmas.

If I get a chance, I'll post some pictures (yeah, I bring my laptop on retreats.... habits are hard to break!). We'll see. I plan on spending my down-time trying to figure out some software so I can turn the "movies" I've shot on my video camera into real movies. Always the propeller head!

I've also just started Benson's, "The Modern Survival Retreat". LOL, different kind of retreat!

Enjoy the weekend, folks.



Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Unintended Consequences 

Government means politics, and interference by government carries with it always the implication of coercion. We may accept the expanding power of bureaucrats so long as we bask in their friendly smile. But it is a dangerous temptation. Today politics may be our friend and tomorrow we may be its victims.
--Owen D. Young, former GE Chairman
You'd think these stupid bastards would learn from their past mistakes. The 'stupid bastards' in question being our elected officials.

You'd think that they would have learned about the Law of Unintended Consequences. That happens when - in the case of law makers - they pass a law to stop or control one action, and it causes a problem that was previously not an issue.

For instance: During the Great Depression, Roosevelt pushed through The New Deal. On its face, a great idea - get people back to work by creating government projects. Get a little money in their pockets, spur the economy, the country would get back on its feet.

Instead, it devolved into our current welfare state. It has turned an entire segment of America into wards of the state. Over 65% of our federal budget now goes to various "entitlement" programs. Instead of giving the disadvantaged a hand-up, it has instead acted as an invisible boot to the back of the neck, keeping the poor in poverty with little chance - or desire - of raising their economic status.

Unintended consequences.

Our Congress is hot-to-trot to add another scalp to their belt.

One of the few ways the poor are able to raise themselves from poverty is through the acquisition of real property. I recently heard a story on the radio about what differentiated successful blacks from unsuccessful blacks. Was it education? Luck? Two-parent households?

No, the only common thread through the successful blacks (in this study) was the ownership of real property somewhere in the past of the family. Somehow, the pride of ownership, the idea of placing a value on accumulating wealth carried itself from generation to successive generation.
I have been studying the family trees of 20 successful African-Americans, people in fields ranging from entertainment and sports (Oprah Winfrey, the track star Jackie Joyner-Kersee) to space travel and medicine (the astronaut Mae Jemison and Ben Carson, a pediatric neurosurgeon). And I’ve seen an astonishing pattern: 15 of the 20 descend from at least one line of former slaves who managed to obtain property by 1920 — a time when only 25 percent of all African-American families owned property.
Of course, the solution to all of the ills of the poor is to simply give them more free stuff, in this case, free land.
If the correlation between land ownership and success of African-Americans argues that the chasm between classes in the black community is partly the result of social forces set in motion by the dismal failure of 40 acres and a mule, then we must act decisively. If we do not, ours will be remembered as the generation that presided over a permanent class divide, a slow but inevitable process that began with the failure to give property to the people who had once been defined as property.
If the recipients of the land were actual former slaves, I'd be all for it. But they're not, so this would be just more of giving the money or property of one person to another. More handouts are not going to make the situation any better.

But I believe that homeownership is still the key. And Congress is trying to figure out ways to keep homeownership by the poor from happening.

I wrote a while back about how the House had passed a bill that, if passed by the Senate in its current state, would effectively halt all home mortgage lending. It would have essentially made the underlying collateral - the home and real estate - worthless.

A new bill introduced by Communist Presidential Candidate Senator Chris Dodd would not use the same methods, but would have the same unintended consequences: Drying up the mortgage markets.

The bill by Sen. Christopher Dodd., a Connecticut Democrat and presidential candidate, comes after months of prodding from consumer advocates who demanded stronger, swifter action to curtail lending abuses in the future.

"Too many homeowners have seen their financial security jeopardized by predatory lenders," Dodd said in a statement, adding that the bill "creates a transparent set of rules for the mortgage industry to help restore confidence to our financial markets."

His bill would force the lenders to be 100% certain that the borrower would be able to pay back the loan.

Dodd's bill has similar goals to one passed by House lawmakers last month. It would enact stricter standards for subprime loans made to borrowers with poor credit -- and for other "nontraditional" loans that allow borrowers to defer principal or interest payments, according to an outline distributed at a briefing for reporters Monday.

For those types of loans, lenders would be required to determine that a borrower can pay back the loan over its full term and not just during an initial "teaser" phase. Lenders also would be required to set aside money to pay property tax and insurance bills, a practice common in loans to borrowers with strong credit.

[Must breathe deeply..... must breathe deeply...] A borrower is deemed to be "sub-prime" precisely because the bank had doubts of his or her ability to repay the loan. Low credit scores, crappy repayment history, foreclosures, lawsuits, etc.

This unlikelihood of repayment is why these kinds of loans have higher rates and fees. Banks are not in business to be altruistic. They're in business to make money.

You can also have a situation where the borrower wants to speculate and the lender feels the risk is worth it - as long as they get paid for the risk. This type of sub-prime loan is where there is either no down payment given, or where no borrower income is verified - they just take the word of the borrower.

Kiss these lending vehicles good-bye. If you are not an A-1 borrower, you will not get a loan.

Consumer advocates and Democrats say many subprime loans made to people with weak credit were essentially predatory: containing confusing terms, generating high fees for the mortgage industry and Wall Street, and forcing low-income borrowers into loans they can't repay. [Don't you mean, "Offering them an alternative to no loan at all"?]

John Taylor, chief executive of the Washington-based National Community Reinvestment Coalition -- a consumer group -- praised Dodd's effort as more far-reaching than the House bill passed last month. "This is the bill we've been looking for," said Taylor, who was critical of Dodd as recently as last summer.

This son-of-a-bitch, holier-than-thou Nanny Stater wants to take away the one financing vehicle to give the poor a chance to get out of poverty.

Idiots like this think that bankers sit around trying to figure out ways to get people into properties in which there is no equity. This is so the bank can then foreclose on a property with no value, and take a loss. Bankers like making the evening news so they can announce to their shareholders that they are writing off X billions of dollars in bad loans. It's a good thing for the career path.

And yet, the public and the media are lapping this all up. Dodd's bill would also screw with the secondary market investors as well. Great. Investors are simply going to find other ways to make their money, but it won't be through Mortgage Backed Securities.

That will kill market liquidity, and mortgage loans, if you can get them, will have astronomical rates.

I've got to believe that the banking lobbyists will be working overtime to get this bill tweaked to stave off this disaster. There will be some additional control over mortgage brokers, most likely in the pinching of their commissions and fees. There will be some new disclosures, but I hope they don't mess with the sources of liquidity or alter a lender's ability to foreclose on borrowers that aren't paying.

If they do, we're all going to be in the poor house.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Nine Scariest Words 

As soon as we abandon our own reason, and are content to rely upon authority, there is no end to our troubles.
--Bertrand Russell
It has almost become cliche to bring up The Nine Scariest Words ("I'm from the government, and I'm here to help") when discussing this obsession we have with the government doing things for us. When people on the receiving-end think about government assistance, they think about getting something for nothing. There is this fantasy about benevolent old Uncle Sam taking care of the masses.

Reality tends to be very different.

I have a very dear friend of my family who is having problems with her health. Actually, she is having problems with the government, and it is worsening her health.

She worked - ironically - at a hospital. She fell while at work, and broke her back. The fall was witnessed by 3 co-workers.

The government - state worker's compensation insurance, in this case - is making her jump through hoops. They have witness statements. They have X-rays with notes by the physicians stating that the injuries are new and are consistent with injuries that would be sustained in her type of fall.

They didn't believe her. They wanted her to go to a doctor of their choosing.

She did so, and the answer was the same. Yet they still won't approve her claim. To get surgery on her back. So she can get back to work, and off of the pain medications that they have approved.

The New York Times had a great story on what people can expect if we get some sort of flavor of Universal Health Care. This article focuses primarily on SSI Disability claims, but it shines a very harsh light on what you can expect if Nanny is put in charge of your health care decisions.
Steadily lengthening delays in the resolution of Social Security disability claims have left hundreds of thousands of people in a kind of purgatory, now waiting as long as three years for a decision.
Three years. That's service, huh?
The disability process is complex, and the standard for approval has, from the inception of the program in the 1950s, been intentionally strict to prevent malingering and drains on the treasury. But it is also inevitably subjective in some cases, like those involving mental illness or pain that cannot be tested.

In a standard tougher than those of most private plans, recipients must prove that because of physical or mental disabilities they are unable to do “any kind of substantial work” for at least 12 months — if an engineer could not do his job but could work as a clerk, he would not qualify — or prove that an illness is expected “to result in death.”

Now, I'm all for tough standards if you're going to receive any sort of government benefits, especially something like disability payments. In fact, I'm kind of surprised that our government is actually doing this.

But that's not the point. The point is, the government is going to decide if you need assistance or not. If you don't like their answer, you can't fire them. You can't sue them. You can get in line and petition them, and get buried in a mass of government bureaucracy.

Here's a thought to scare you: The government system is horrible and we have private insurance. Think what a nightmare it would become in Hillary's world where everyone was required to be on the government system.

What is so insidious is that when people become dependent upon Nanny for their welfare, and Nanny lets them down, they have no idea of how to care for themselves.
Charles T. Hall’s law firm in Raleigh has the state’s largest disability practice, with six lawyers representing some 2,500 clients, usually working on contingency and collecting 25 percent of back payments, to a limit of $5,300. Mr. Hall said that about one client a month died while awaiting a hearing. Far more clients, he said, run out of money and are evicted from rental units or lose their homes.
They don't have a Plan B. They literally put their lives in the hands of some faceless bureaucracy. They leave themselves with no options other than to get in line with the rest and hope they don't croak while they're waiting. Great plan.

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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Why I'm Leaving California 

"I don't even call it violence when it's in self defense; I call it intelligence."
- Malcolm X
[Wow, I never thought I'd be quoting Malcolm X...]

I was reading Fred On Everything this weekend and he had a story titled Race and Crime, about a young woman in Baltimore that was very nearly beaten to death.

A young white woman.

Nearly beaten to death by 9 black youths.

It seems the young lady was riding on the bus, and went to take a seat. She was told by the black youths - aged 14 and 15 - that she couldn't sit in any of the open seats. She did anyway, and was severely beaten.
From the Examiner, “She sustained ‘serious injuries’ and had to be transported to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center, according to a police report… [Sarah] Kreager suffered two broken bones in her left eye socket, police said. She had eye muscles that were damaged… She had deep lacerations on the top of her head and another above her neck.” Her face will never be the same.
Again, this happened because she wanted to sit in an unoccupied seat, and these black thugs didn't want her to do so.

It's because of episodes like this, AND the fact that California will prosecute me for carrying the means to protect myself, my family or a fellow citizen against this type of crime, that we will be leaving.

Please, take the time to read Fred's essay. He speaks from first-hand knowledge about what is happening in our inner cities (he used to have the Police Beat as a reporter in Washington, DC). Speak to any police officer, and you'll get similar stories.

Yet somehow, California thinks it would not be in the public interest for me to be able to protect myself with a gun. They think it would be better for me to have my head caved-in than for a violent predator to be stopped, perhaps forever.

Guyk had a story about some homeowner here in California that shot and killed two thugs (yep, they were black as well) that had come into his house at 4 in the morning (supposedly to buy some pot). They beat the guy's son with a baseball bat - so badly that he is in a care home as he is unable to care for himself any more.

Of course, the NAACP is crying foul (as the shooter was white) and are trying to paint the homeowner as a murderer. [There are some legal wranglings going on about the third bad guy getting charged with murder, but that is irrelevant to the issue of self-defense.]

If you can't shoot and kill two assailants that are in your home and have just beaten your child with a baseball bat, when could it ever be allowed?

I've already read some stories about the Baltimore beating where the NAACP is trying to paint these thugs as another Jena 6.

Unbelievable. They have no idea what kind of long-term damage they're doing to their community. These thugs should be thrown in jail on attempted murder charges, but will likely be slapped on the wrist and sent to bed without dinner.

I push the California gun laws right up to the line. Without going into great detail, I can have one of my weapons in my hands in short order. Unless I'm in my home, though, that means upwards of 3 or 4 minutes. A lot of people can be killed or beaten in that amount of time. And if I'm the target, I'm SOL.

I simply will not live this way. My wife will not go to the store if she can't be finished before the sun goes down. We live in a very nice part of a very nice town, but the bad guys don't seem to care about that.

I would be remiss in my duties as a husband and father is I did not work to fix this situation. My wife is fully behind leaving California - almost anxious. My boys, though, are at that point in their lives where you think you are invincible. They are just starting to formulate their career paths, and would have great difficulty moving from their friends. I need to figure out a way to address that.

This is no place to live and raise a family.

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Oakland's Plan For Success 

Preferential affirmative action patronizes American blacks, women, and others by presuming that they cannot succeed on their own. Preferential affirmative action does not advance civil rights in this country.
--Alan Keyes

Yeah. Well, apparently the city of Oakland didn't get the memo.

The Oakland Fire Department has 23 openings. They did a "cattle call" for prospects to show up at a number of sites to get an interview. The fliers stated that the first 1,000 in line would get an application.

People got there two days in advance and camped out to ensure they were in the first thousand.

It was all for naught.
Firefighters and prospective firefighters from around the Bay Area sounded all alarms Monday over an ill-conceived recruitment effort by the Oakland Fire Department last weekend that was criticized as a disgraceful display of patronage and foul play.
It seems as though some preferential treatment was shown.

Saturday morning came, and after some shoving - and fighting - for position, Loomis watched as Farrell and a personnel manager from Oakland City Hall waded through the sea of humanity and started their own kind of search.

"They started walking through the crowd and hand-picking people," Loomis said. "There's no way to describe how they were doing it. There were guys who stepped in line at 10 a.m. on Saturday morning who got picked - and it seemed like (city officials) knew who they were looking for. I heard a couple of guys on a cell phone describing where they were, and they got picked.

I have a co-worker that has a son who works for OFD. He is a fire instructor and had sent a number of students down for the applications. All of them were in the first 1,000 spaces. All of them were white.

None of them were chosen. Even though they followed the rules to the letter.

My co-worker's son said he didn't see a single white person get picked. All were blacks that were family members of current OFD firefighters, or other blacks. I think what drives me most crazy about this is that some people were upset that the wrong blacks were given preferential treatment!

An Oakland firefighter who worked the event said some colleagues standing with police officers at the entry points were visibly upset by what they regarded as an obvious display of patronage and cronyism.

"What hurt me the most was seeing black guys, regular ordinary Oakland guys, passed over for other black guys because they were connected," he said, requesting anonymity for fear of job reprisals.

Translation: It's OK to discriminate, just pick the right guys to discriminate for. Oh, and don't be white.

Think about what this guy is doing. He is talking about open, obvious, and official discrimination like he's talking about last night's ballgame. People like him don't care what it does to the quality of the community or the quality of the department. They just want to make sure their "peeps" get their piece of the pie.

I've heard that selecting the most qualified person, based upon their skills, education and background has been successful elsewhere. Clearly, the quality of life in Oakland is of such a high caliber, this way of conducting official business is working like a charm...

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Swift-Boating Kiddies 

Desperation is like stealing from the Mafia: you stand a good chance of attracting the wrong attention.
--Doug Horton
Everyone has heard about how The Hildabeast has been slipping in the polls. True to her reptilian form, desperation kicked in, and she's started digging into the background of her greatest rival, Barack Obama. Digging really deep. As in kindergarten.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign has used words attributed to Sen. Barack Obama from when he was a kindergartner -- and from when he was in third grade -- to accuse him of "rewriting history" when he says he hasn't been planning for a long time to run for president.
For some reason, it is not thought of kindly if you are a person that has had aspirations of being the president. I don't get it, but it is a common belief.

Apparently, Obama has said he only recently decided to run for president. The Hildabeast is using the writings of Obama - from kindergarten and then again in the third grade - saying he wanted to be the president, and is spinning it to paint Obama as a flip-flopper.
Responding to the creation of Obama's Hillary Attacks website, Clinton campaign spokesman Phil Singer e-mailed us to say that "it's rather disingenuous of Senator Obama to complain about questions being raised about his record -– which remains unknown to voters –- considering that he has spent the last three months impugning Senator Clinton's character. When it comes to changing our politics, Senator Obama talks a good game but clearly lacks the courage of his convictions."
You read that right: She is trying to sell the idea that something a 5 year old said about being the president is an indication that Obama is lying about his intentions. Ubber Desperation.

As a radio host said this morning, The Hildabeast is now Swift-boating grade school kids!

I have long believed that The Hildabeast was placed on this earth with the soul of a snake. She is a ruthless, cold, scaly viper. She'd eat her young if she could keep it out of the press.

She is reacting like the reptilian belly-scraper she truly is. I hope this destroys her chances of getting the Democrat nomination.

Why should I care? I want to be able to vote for Ron Paul - recognizing that he won't likely get the Republican nomination, I'll vote for him as either an independent or simply as a write-in.

If Hillary is the nominee, I'd have to support the Republican, as I just couldn't live with her as the president.

In my eyes, there is so little difference between the other Dem and Repub candidates, that which ever one becomes our president, it won't greatly affect my life either way - they are all equally bad as spenders, Constitutional bastardizers and New World Order supporters.

Hillary would just screw the nation more quickly.

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Monday, December 03, 2007

A Vote That Counts 

Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.
--John Quincy Adams
I've never been comfortable with the whole idea of the Electoral College. It gives smaller states more representation per citizen in the choosing of the president. Each state gets a number of electors based upon the number of Senators and members of the House they send to Washington. For instance, Wyoming has 3 electoral votes. California has 55.

Based upon the last official census in 2000, Wyoming had 493,782 people and California had 33,871,648. Doing the math, we can see that Wyoming had 1 electoral vote for every 164,000 citizens. California, on the other hand, only has one vote for every 616,000 citizens. That is almost a 4-to-1 disparity. If it were equitable, California would have 205 Electoral votes.

Also, California, like most states, does a winner-take-all vote disbursement. Whatever candidate wins the majority of the popular vote in the state gets 100% of the Electoral College votes. Again, that just doesn't seem right. It kind of throws the "One Man, One Vote" idea out on its head.

But that may change.

Two states, Maine and Nebraska dole out the Electoral votes to more closely represent the popular vote proportions in the state. California is considering a similar change.
While California, like most states, is winner take all, a proposed initiative would slice the state's electoral votes up by district.
I like the sound of that.
Republican Dave Gillard and his team are collecting the 500,000 signatures to put the initiative on a California ballot.

If the rules change, it could give the Republican candidate 20 more votes in 2008 -- as many as the entire state of Ohio.

"We're Californians, and we're tired of being ignored," said Gillard, the campaign manager of California Counts.
Uh oh, I'll bet some Dems have their panties in a wad. Yep...
But Mark Peterson, a professor of public policy at University of California, Los Angeles, says this initiative has sinister motivations.

"It really would mean that there were only special unique circumstances for a Democrat to win the presidency of the U.S.," he said.
Huh? From what orifice was that pulled? In the past 12 presidential elections, California, as a state, has voted for the eventual president, with 4 exceptions: 1960 (Kennedy - surprising), 1976 (Carter - equally surprising), 2000 (Bush - duh) and 2004 (Bush - double duh). The 1960 and 1976 elections were very close, nearly equal in the Repub/Dem split. The 2000 and 2004 were landslides for the Democrats - huge spreads.

I guess the Dems aren't happy unless they're bitching about something. They see that the state has swung way to the left, and that in 2000 and 2004, Bush would have ended up with more Electoral votes if this change had been made (and in the 1960 and 1976 elections, it would have worked to their advantage by giving the Dems more Electoral votes).

I like the idea because it brings us closer to the One Man, One Vote ideal. Oh, and because it's giving the Dems a stroke, too!

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