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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

What's Your Gut Say? 

We say that the hour of death cannot be forecast, but when we say this we imagine that hour as placed in an obscure and distant future. It never occurs to us that it has any connection with the day already begun or that death could arrive this same afternoon, this afternoon which is so certain and which has every hour filled in advance.
-- Marcel Proust

I finished up reading the Trends Journal newsletter a friend sent my way. The author, Gerald Celente, has a pretty damned good track record of forecasting what's going to happen in the future. Read up about him if you're interested in more details.

This particular newsletter was titled, "Obamageddon."

Having never read his newsletters in the past, I don't know if this is his usual style, but for this one, he was writing it in a "look back" style - it was written as though it were currently 2012. It starts with this -
Here we are in 2012. Food riots, tax protests, farmer rebellions, student revolts, squatter digins, homeless uprisings, tent cities, ghost malls, general strikes, bossnappings, kidnappings, industrial saboteurs, gang warfare, mob rule, terror.

How could it have come to this? Across the nation and around the world, it was a variation of the same theme. In the United States it was called “Obamageddon,” in the rest of the world it was “The Greatest Depression.”
It basically follows the premise that the hard data was there for all to see - we were headed down the trash tube - but couldn't bring ourselves to believe it. The compliant media painted the data in pastel colors. The government adjusted reports and created new ones that made things not look quite so bad.

All true, IMO.
But the fact is, there was ample time to take precautionary measures. Following the “Panic of ’08,” credit markets seized up, equity markets tumbled, and there was grave concern conditions would further deteriorate. However, the economy did not fall off a cliff, it was not a single-stage financial free fall.

There were periodic bear market mini-surges. Each uptick came reinforced by financial and political pitchmen promoting false-flag hope and disseminating
engineered optimism. An anesthetized public was diverted from acknowledging the depth and breadth of the crisis.
From a personal perspective based upon my own research, reading and reasoning, on many of these issues, I think he's right. What I was hoping for was some substantiation for his predictions.

Why does he think there will be food riots? Why does he think there will be farmer and student revolts? Why does he think there will be spikes in industrial sabotage, gang violence and mob rule?

I can make my own assumptions for each of these things. What I was hoping for was some reasoning from another source. Either shoot holes in my logic, or give me more support for my opinion and plans.

Although a bit long-winded (it was 24 pages long), I did enjoy reading it. A subscription is $99 a year, and I may consider signing up.

He ended the newsletter with this -
The worst of the economic storm had not yet hit,and there was a widespread, if unarticulated sense of impending disaster.

When major natural catastrophes threaten, many creatures proact in anticipation of what’s to come. Whether through intuition, instinct or some form of hypersensitivity, some seem to know what has to be done to survive … moving to higher ground, taking flight, finding shelter, etc. Others, possibly as sensitive but less directed, become disoriented. They sense something has to be done but don’t know what.

That was the situation in the Summer of 2009. There were those proacting intelligently in anticipation of “Obamageddon.” There were others, possibly a majority that sensed it, but either did not trust their instincts or didn’t know what to do. And then, of course, there were those who didn’t know and didn’t want to know.

“Survival” was THE trend. “Depression-Era Self Defense” was the strategy.
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Since I'm in a cut-and-paste mood today, here's another Atlas Shrugged Moment of Zen. I don't know about you, but I can almost hear a conversation like this having occurred a few months back in the early days of the Obama Administration -
"It will give security to the people," said Eugene Lawson, his mouth slithering into a smile. "Security - that's what the people want. If they want it, why shouldn't they have it? Just because a handful of rich will object?"

"It's not the rich who'll object," said Dr. Ferris lazily. "The rich drool for security more than any other sort of animal - haven't you discovered that yet?"

"Well, who'll object?" snapped Lawson.

Dr. Ferris smiled pointedly, and did not answer.

Lawson looked away. "To hell with them! Why should we worry about them? We've got to run the world for the sake of the little people. It's intelligence that's caused all the troubles of humanity. Man's mind is the root of all evil. This is the day of the heart. It's the weak, the meek, the sick and the humble that must be the only objects of our concern."

His lower lip was twisting in soft, lecherous motions. "Those who're big are here to serve those who aren't. If they refuse to do their moral duty, we've got to force them. There once was an Age of Reason, but we've progressed beyond it. This is the Age of Love."

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Cap and Tax 

The idea is to establish a national level of carbon dioxide emissions, and sell pollution permits to industry as the Catholic Church used to sell indulgences to sinners.
--Ron Paul

Barry and his Loyal Minions have a plan, and it seems to be working incredibly well. They have a butt-load of socialist policy they want enacted. That was to be expected.

What I think has caught everyone off guard is their tactics. They are using Sensory Overload to rush this stuff through. Take everything and get it all passed NOW! Don't allow debate. Don't allow discussion. Don't allow dissent.

Just "Git 'er done".

I get the feeling that this is the handiwork of Rahm Emanual, Barry's chief of staff. He's the one with the, "Don't let a good crisis go to waste" quote. They recognize that they may only have two years to pass their legislation. If the economy doesn't turn around by 2010, they might not have the votes in the House and the Senate to push this through.

I've got to hand it to them, they're playing this brilliantly.
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This crap is wearing me down. There is just too much input and not enough push back from the people we're paying to push back. I see the stories about this Cap and Trade idiocy, and I just shake my head.

Ron Paul is one of the few Representatives that is trying to do something about this raping of America. His quote at the top of this post is spot-on.

Since no one had a chance to read the bill or debate its merits before they voted for it, they had no real idea what we are getting. Apparently, his staff has now had time to read it, and some of the nuggets are starting to emerge.
HR 2454 also gives federal bureaucrats new power to regulate a wide variety of household appliances, such as light bulbs and refrigerators, and further distorts the market by providing more of your tax money to auto companies.
Well, isn't that special? More regulations on how to live our lives, and more money to the Nationalized Auto Industry. My guess is it has to do with subsidies to the automakers so they can bring the price of "green" cars down to a price Americans will pay. They know no one would buy that rolling crap unless the prices were artificially lowered.

Wow, wouldn't it suck to be an automaker that wasn't owned by Nanny? God Bless capitalism, huh?

Of course, one of the big selling points is all of the green jobs this will create. The green industry will sprout like grass seeds spread across a fertile plot.

The only problem is, it doesn't work!
The administration has pointed to Spain as a shining example of this type of progressive energy policy. Spain has been massively diverting capital from the private sector into politically favored environmental projects for the better part of a decade, and many in Washington apparently like what they see. However, under no circumstances should anyone serious about economic recovery emulate an economy that is now approaching 20 percent unemployment, where every green job created, eliminated 2.2 real jobs and cost around $800,000 each!
Hey, why not? Didn't Barry spend something like $450,000 for each job that was "saved" at the automakers? Trading 1 green job for 2 "bad" ones will do wonders for the economy. Think of how many more people will be on the government teat - voting for Barry and his ilk so the bucks keep on flowing.

I say it so often, I probably need to change the name of this blog: We be screwed.
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One more time: Cover your ass.

Do whatever you can to reduce your taxable profile, 'cause Barry (and the states) are coming for your cash.

Get healthy, because getting sick is going to bankrupt you.

Buy ammo, gold, silver and long-term foods, because inflation is going to soar due to the debt we're taking on to pay for all of this mess. Get your "consumables" now.

Vote third party. Run the bums out of town. The damage is already done, and will only get worse over the next few years, but it's one of the only things we have left available to stop this insanity from getting worse.
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A good buddy of mine sent me the latest insight from Gerald Celente. This guy was one of the first to predict the mess we're in - way back then, he looked like a nut.

It's a long document, but I'll share some of his thoughts later in the week after I get through it.

Unlike Barry & Company, he doesn't paint a very rosy picture of our near-term prospects...

A little taste -
To keep local, state and federal governments running, and to finance stimulus packages and bailout programs, politicians will put the squeeze on the already squeezed. The biggest squeeze: property taxes. Historically, empires crash when taxes are raised beyond the capacity to pay.....
Hey look! That's already happening around the country. So if the government seizes the properties, they no longer earn ANY taxes. No one will buy it, because the taxes are obscene, so Nanny owns all private property and businesses. The system crashes and burns due to the lack of tax revenues.

Forget the "go vote" admonition above. Let it burn. Burn baby, burn!
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UPDATE:

I just got this cartoon from Diversity Lane. Right on point.

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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Predators 

A lion's work hours are only when he's hungry; once he's satisfied, the predator and prey live peacefully together.
--Chuck Jones

I received a call from a woman about my Pepper Spray and Stun Gun class. She told me about some trouble she is having with one of her neighbors.

It seems that, for whatever reason, she and a neighbor family don't get along. At one point, she had been attacked by the husband next door, and was roughed up a bit. She called the police, and had gotten a restraining order and figured that was the end of it.

Not.

Some time passed, and out of the blue, she gets confronted by the wife of the guy with the restraining order. Things escalated to where the wife reached into the woman's car, grabbed her by the arm and twisted it in such a way that her arm was broken.

In front of her own house, and with her kids in the car.

The police were once again called, arrests were made and more restraining orders were issued. But this lady didn't feel safe, and wanted to learn how to protect herself.
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Through this whole story, I kept thinking, "Where is your husband?" Why is he allowing his wife to be beaten up by the neighbors?

It then came out that she was married to a guy in the Air Force. He is stationed at a local military facility - Travis Air Force Base. Both times she was attacked, he had been out on deployments. They live off base, so they don't have the protection that base housing affords.

She told me there is a Base Wives club, and they share tips on things to watch for when their husbands have been deployed. She said one of the most common is for an announcement to be made about local units, and when they're being deployed. As soon as the deployment occurs, the neighborhoods that are within a couple of miles of the base are suddenly inundated with door-to-door salesmen. "Get your carpets cleaned." "Get a new home security system." "Do you need a handy-man?"

Some may be legit business people. They see a business opportunity and are taking advantage of it.

But some are predators looking for an easy mark. It seems as though her neighbors are this type of people, since the attacks all happen when hubby is away.
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One of the things we talk about in our workshop is that predators have a plan. Part of that is identifying opportunities - finding instances where the risk of being caught or harmed is low, and the reward is high.

Some people have difficulty with the concept of possibly harming or killing an intruder. They might have been socially passivized. They may have religious concerns. They might just be the type of person who hates confrontation - they've been led to believe that submission is preferable to conflict.

We give them two things to think about in trying to change their minds -
The intentions of an intruder or aggressor are to violate you, your family or your home
More importantly, I think is -
There is no forgiveness on the part of a predator
Think about how brazen and cowardly this lady's next door predators have been. They attack her when it is less likely they will be harmed in return. They wrenched her arm so violently, it was broken while she sat in her car.

They couldn't care less. They had no forgiveness, and in fact worked around the law so the predator husband wouldn't be punished for violating the original restraining order. They tag-teamed her.
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If (when?) TSHTF, and more people don't have jobs, housing, food, money, clothes - whatever - do you think the number of predators will decrease? Will Barry's Minions be able to keep the hoards happy? Do you think the police will be able to investigate every instance of a beating, robbery, home invasion or car theft?

Nope. They'll be swamped. They'll only be able to focus on the truly heinous crimes - the sexual assaults and murders. Investigating your home stereo being ripped off and you getting slapped around a bit will be at the bottom of the police "To Do" list.

If you don't have some sort of lethal or non-lethal defensive tool - and know how to use it - you're almost asking to become a victim. Make a plan on what to do in threatening situations. Increase your awareness of what is going on around you.

Choose a weapon, buy a book, get a video, take a class, stay alive.

Don't wind up having the police at your house because they're identifying your body with mourning family members.

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Whooped 

I gave my first public workshop today, and am wasted! I was up late last night and up early this morning, so it's nappy time for me.

The workshop went over well - I got great feedback from the students. It still needs some tweaking - I felt a few sections dragged a bit, but I was pleased with the "shake down cruise."

Quick nap, then an appointment with Mr. Daniels. Jack would be his first name!

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Of Pitchforks and Torches 

It is too difficult to think nobly when one thinks only of earning a living.
-- Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Regardless of how tempting it is to make a crack about Michael Jackson, I'm going to hold off. Good Lord, by the press reaction to his death you'd think this guy had cured cancer. He was a singer who had a penchant for little boys. WTF?
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There have been a couple of government programs with which I am actually am OK, at least in principle.

Social Security, for instance. If the program were only for retirement savings, I could live with it. Even though Nanny forces you to participate in the plan, the idea is to provide for workers once they've reached the right age. You put in money, and take it out on the back end. I dislike the coercive aspect of the program, but it could arguably be considered as meeting the "general welfare" clauses in the Constitution.

Of course, the program has been bastardized and pilfered. The money goes into the general fund and is "borrowed" by our federal government. It's like setting up a Whole Life insurance policy, and borrowing against the policy. Do it long enough, and your beneficiaries end up with zip.

Plus, the program has been bastardized with disability benefits, survivor benefits, etc., not to mention the associated massive government overhead to run the program. I know it sounds heartless, but these latter programs are the epitome of income redistribution. Our cash go directly into the pockets of people that did nothing to earn that money, other than be born with physical or mental ailments, or have their "bread winner" die.

Aren't these the responsibility of the family? Is this not charity? Where in the Constitution is charity allowed? I guess the states could take on this burden if they chose to do so - per the 10th amendment - but the Feds are not allowed to do it.

Yet they do.
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One of the other programs I've supported was Unemployment Insurance (UI). At least in California, the money that is earned by the workers actually does go into a separate fund that can only be used by the unemployed. If you didn't work, you don't get benefits.

Back in 1989 I was laid off after 12 years at a bank (I actually laid myself off!). A few months earlier, we had bought our first home, we had two babies - 24 and 6 months old - and had spent all of our cash reserves on the home. Not good planning!

I didn't apply for UI benefits. Even though I had earned the right to draw the money, I just didn't feel right doing it. My brothers and friend roundly kicked my ass after they found out about this.

We came very close to losing our home. I was selling real estate and working weird-assed jobs doing anything to earn a buck. Literally a month before we were to lose the home, I found another decent paying job in banking, and we lived there until moving to our current home in 2002.

When I was officially laid off in October of last year, I didn't blink an eye in applying for the UI. No hesitation whatsoever.

What a difference nearly 20 years makes! In that period, I had seen my share of my earnings continually drop. The more I earned, the more they took - both in terms of actual dollars and as a percentage of earnings. Progressive taxation.

Bite me.

One of the reasons I started this blog back in 2004 was to give me a place to scream about it. Over these past 5 years, things have only gotten worse. More government programs, higher taxes, less incentive to produce.
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My outlook now is to get every damned dime I can get out of the government. I will no longer be the patsy that gets his lunch money stolen each day.

Being the ornery bastard that I am, I can't stop working. I can't become dependent upon Nanny for my well being because I know that there are always strings attached. Live here, eat this, wear this, do that.

So my work plans revolve around making just enough money to maintain what my wife and I consider to be a comfortable living, but cutting off all taxable earnings that would allow Nanny to steal any windfall profits or other extraordinary earnings. For our plan to be put into action, Nanny is going to get one more big check out of us for these types of things, and then the bitch is cut off. I hope they spend it well.

I won't steal and I won't cheat, but I'll make Nanny work for every dime she gets out of me.

I should probably clarify that statement - I won't cheat, as long as the rules aren't changed. But if (when?) they are changed, I'll have no moral qualms about doing whatever is necessary to keep my own money.

As I said, I'll be a patsy no more.
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So how does this relate to the, "I'm OK with some government programs" opening to this post?

Many states, including my state of California, are broke. There is much hemming and hawing about spending cuts and tax increases. California has announced that, perhaps as early as next week, they will begin mailing out State warrants - IOUs - instead of checks.
Signaling that California is slipping deeper into financial crisis, the state’s controller said Wednesday that his office would soon be forced to issue i.o.u.’s to scores of the state’s creditors, as lawmakers failed at their first attempt as a body to close the state’s multibillion-dollar shortfall.
California had to do this back in 1992 - and also during the Great Depression. At that time, "creditors" included state employees. In 1992, many "evil" banks actually accepted the warrants and provided the bearers with cash - essentially giving out interest-free loans to the people (although the state paid interest on the warrants).

Where my concern comes, is with the Unemployment Insurance. Not surprisingly, it is careening towards insolvency. Just like our state budget, it was designed and funded assuming the Good Times would roll on forever.

Despite the clear signals that unemployment was going to rise - as far back as 2005 - the administrators of the UI fund did nothing. They waited until it was in trouble in 2008 before doing anything. The concept of a "rainy day fund" never passed through their little pinheads.

So now their answer is to triple the UI assessment to businesses. Does anyone think this might have a negative impact on a company's decision to hire more workers?

There is also talk about borrowing from Nanny to replenish the coffers -
Fifteen states have depleted their unemployment insurance funds so far, forcing them to borrow from the U.S. Treasury. A record 30 of the country's 50 states are expected to have to borrow up to $17 billion by next year, said Rick McHugh of the National Employment Law Project, a nonpartisan advocacy group.
They had better do this. If UI benefits are cut while welfare payments and other un-earned subsidies are simultaneously maintained, they are going to have their hands full, to say the least. The surest way to see middle-class workers marching on State Capitals with the proverbial pitchforks and burning torches, would be to do something like this.
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To my fellow hard-core libertarians - go ahead, flame me about supporting the idea of Social Security and UI.

I see a distinction between earned and unearned benefits. The way I look at it, not everyone in America will be able to develop the skills, education or talents to make "big bucks" - enough money to reasonably be able to save to care for themselves once they are unable to work.

These two programs were to support workers that had either become unemployed or unable to work because of age or infirmity. I can live with that. The key concept being that you have to work first before you can draw on your account.

Flame away.
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OK, one Jacko shot - Did you hear what he died from? Food poisoning. Yeah, he got ahold of some 12 year old nuts...

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Where's Patrick Henry When You Need Him? 

Taxation WITH representation ain't so hot either.
-- Gerald Barzan

It's not bad enough that my once-great state of California has turned into a festering cesspool of socialism. It seems that my local Assemblyman (the state version of the House of Representatives) is getting out front, helping to lead the charge towards a Stalinist Nirvana.

I've mentioned my pinhead representative before when talking about the upcoming, "Want ammo? Spread your cheeks!" law. Yep, he's for it.

This guy is my former city councilman (in another city I used to live in). He's a former school teacher. As a State Assemblyman, he has proposed literally hundreds of pro-teacher's union and "It's for the children, so let's give a little bit more," bills.

His latest ploy - along with the majority of Democrat politicians in the state - is to stomp their feet over Aahhhhnold's proposed tax cuts. They're steep and deep.

In an email message I received, he asked that I take a survey about how I feel about the cuts. I was happy to do so.

Let's just say that I didn't support any more taxes.

The Dems don't like that kind of thing. Take a look at a video on the page of my Assemblyman. It has a heartstring-pulling video of all the people that will be hurt if the Big Bad Governator gets his way.
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I'm getting all teary just thinking about it.

Not.

As is my wont, here is the letter I sent to my Politburo member -
Assemblyman Torlakson,

Thank you for providing me the opportunity to complete your survey. If I may suggest: In the future, perhaps you could provide a section allowing comments.

Since none was provided, here are my thoughts:

From the tone of your survey and the video on your site, I take it that you are against the cuts proposed by the Governor.

If this is correct, you are out of touch with your constituents.

As a state, we are broke. We're in this mess precisely because of programs such as those shown on the video. It is not the job of the State to put people through college. It is not the job of the State provide medical services for its citizens. It is not the job of the State to train people on how to get a job.

It is the individual's responsibility. The safety net mentioned in the video has become a comfortable hammock, swinging in the breeze.

Give-aways such as these have "programmed" people into believing that the State will take care of all ills and shepherd them through life. It was so ironic at the end of the video, there was a person that held a sign that said, "We have families to support."

So go out and support them! Holding a sign asking for a hand-out is not the way to succeed and prosper.

The answer always seems to be to tax the rich, tax business and "close those loopholes." When does the answer become, "Deal with it yourself."?

I'm curious: Have you ever read, "Atlas Shrugged?" If not, I highly recommend it. It's main theme is about the impact on society and on the individual when the producers have their incentive to produce taken away. It's not pretty.

Haven't we had enough of that in our State? You realize, of course, that when you tax a business, you're actually taxing the end user of the product or service. Taxes are just a cost of doing business, and get passed on the the buyer of the product. In our State's case, it is making our businesses less competitive, as other businesses in other states don't have the same onerous taxes, so their products are less expensive.

How many businesses have thrown up their hands in disgust and left California? Nevada, for one, LOVES our laws. The out-flow of businesses, jobs and tax revenues has been a boon to that state.

How about we change our path? How about we give businesses an incentive to stay here and hire more workers? How about we teach our fellow citizens about personal choice, personal responsibility and the benefits that come from both?

It appears as though your stance is, "More of the same." Well, that hasn't worked. What are your ideas?
He has yet to respond to a single message I've sent him, so I doubt he'll respond to this one. His type tends to hide from confrontations with constituents that use logic to disagree with their New World Order view of things.

Not satisfied with just opposing tax cuts, he now wants to tax smokers to pay for our current budget short-fall. Again. Big time.

Did I mention that I smoke?

So this guy is an anti-smoker, big government, pro-union, tax-it-if-it-moves, gun-grabbing politician.

I feel so well represented.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Up a Creek Without a Paddle 

The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.
--Albert Einstein

This story brought me back to my elementary school days.

We had a vice principal that was a terror. When you walked into her office, she had a couple of shocking-yellow feet outlines on the floor. These outlines faced the wall. On the wall hung a paddle with holes drilled into it to ensure air resistance would not slow down the paddle as it was applied to your ass.

In third or fourth grade, I met the paddle. One visit and two whacks made an indelible impression. My teachers never had occasion to send me back for a encore.

Now whether corporal punishment administered by school officials is a good idea or not is debatable. I know it made a lasting impression on me.

Obviously, teaching kids how to behave in public is the job of the parent. I know that times have changed, but the behavior crap that goes on in school now is wholly unacceptable.

It IS the responsibility of the teacher and the school administration to anticipate and address problems with behavior when they happen in the class. You kick the kid out of class, send him or her to the principal's office and maintain order - you maintain a learning environment.
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There is a high school located in my county called Clayton Valley High School. Two of my nieces attended this school, the youngest graduating just last year.

It seems that in at least one class, the kids ruled the roost.
The ninth-grade students threw things around the room. Shortly after Christmas, students told this newspaper, someone put Play-Doh in the microwave, causing the substance to explode. It resulted in a smoke-filled classroom that teacher Michael Huang refused to air out. In other classes Huang taught, they said, students lit trash can fires and smoked cigarettes or even marijuana.
Surely, it couldn't have been that bad. No teacher would allow kids to smoke pot in their class and blow up microwaves. The unions tell us, ad nauseum, that their members are the cream of the crop, top of the hill, A-Number One.

No way they'd allow an environment that was so counter-conducive to learning.

Click the link above and see the two videos. In the first, the kids are having a paper ball fight. In the second, they're flickering the classroom lights on and off. Both videos were captured while a class was in session.

The parent of one student complained numerous times about the teacher not maintaining decorum during the class.
Allison Moore says she and her 15-year-old daughter complained for months about the chaotic environment in a Clayton Valley High School math class.

"The students weren't behaving," Moore said of the third-period introductory algebra class. "The teacher couldn't control the students. They were making a ruckus every day, making it difficult to learn."
For all intents and purposes, nothing happened as a result of the parent doing her duty to report the disruptions to the school administration. The parent complained in February, and the videos were taken in May.

That entire class was a waste of taxpayers money. The kids weren't being taught, they were being warehoused.

More importantly, those students could not have learned all that was expected, and will be ill-prepared for their next math class. The inaction of the administration and the teacher helped to dumb-down the students.
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Here's the real kick in the nuts.

The girl that took the cellphone video was suspended.
A friend of Moore's anonymously sent the video to Dick Nicoll, interim superintendent of the Mt. Diablo school district. The following week, the school suspended Moore's daughter for two days after she admitted she had taped the class without permission, a violation of the state Education Code.
Shoot the messenger - taken from Page One of the, "How To Silence Dissent" playbook.

Nice school policy there, Dick (wow, could he have a more appropriate name?). You have a horribly ineffective employee, and you punish a student for pointing it out to you? Was Little Dicky embarrassed?

It is because of dicks like Dick that California has the highest per-student spending in the nation, yet is 48th or 49th in performance.
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Of course, this problem could be corrected in two or three years. Give parents school vouchers and allow them to choose how they want to spend the money allocated for their child's education.

If you bring competition into the equation, quality will increase. The schools could refuse or kick-out students that demonstrate behavior problems. The parents can determine, with our tax dollars, whether they think the education their kids are receiving is acceptable. If not, they can take their money elsewhere.

Put the kids that either don't give a shit or have parents with the same attitude into, "schools of last resort." Let the scum settle in together. It'll be like prison-lite - let them see what their choices will bring them if they stay on their current path.

Our current system mixes students that want to learn, with students that don't give a shit. It does nothing more than retard the growth of the good students.

If we can't get the vouchers, can we at least bring back the paddles?

We be screwed.

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Spice Boys 

Heap on wood, kindle the fire, consume the flesh, and spice it well, and let the bones be burned.
--Ezekiel 24:10

Last week when my friend and I were doing the water filter test, we were also discussing other preps. In particular, we were talking about spices.

I mentioned that one of my brothers had told me about the bulk spices section at the grocery store. I had been going to this store for the past 7 years, and had never noticed the bulk spices. Bulk rice, bulk pasta, bulk everything except spices. Since they're all in the same area, I had clearly seen them, but they just didn't register in my brain.

When you're storing your food preps, if you think there's even a marginal chance of needing to live off your preps for any kind of extended period, you MUST get spices. Plain, unflavored rice and beans will get very old, very quickly.

Flavorless food can actually become harmful (kind of), in that you will eat less food because its flavor revolts you.

The bulk spice bins probably have 90% of the spices my family uses every day. Oregano, basil, cumin, ground pepper, salt, chile powder, garlic, onion, rosemary - you name it.

They also have blended concoctions like lemon pepper, garlic salt, taco flavoring and the like.

What is amazing is the price. At the very minimum, the price is one half the price of the pre-packaged spices. For instance, I bought some oregano at $0.21 per ounce in bulk. I went to the normal spice section of the store. The cheapest pre-packaged oregano was $2.40 per ounce in a small plastic jar! Nearly 12 times the price! It was even more expensive if you got it in the pretty glass bottles.

Most were not that extreme, with the "retail" prices being two- to six-times the bulk prices. Still, a great savings.

Our store even sells the large plastic containers to hold your bulk spices (like the ones you get at Costco).
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But we're talking preps storage here!

What I now do is buy the spices, and put them into Foodsaver bags.


I take a single Foodsaver bag, and partition it into 3 individual spice bags. The original bag was about 14 inches long. I filled it with a spice, and sealed the bag.

One important thing is, the bag was not vacuum sealed, just sealed from further air infiltration. You have to jimmy the long bag to get the sealer strip as close as possible to the top of the spices, and do a seal operation. After each pouch is sealed, another one is filled above it.

Thanks to an idea from a past commenter, right after doing the first seal, I then do another seal about 1/2 inch above the first. In this way, if I ever want to open only one of the spices, I can just cut the Foodsaver bag between the two seals and not open two spices at once.


If you click the image, you can see it more closely.

Also, inside each of the pouches, I added a quart-sized ziplock bag. Since it is highly unlikely that all of the spice in each pouch will be used at one time, the ziplocks will allow us to save the remaining spices. Obviously, this would not be a big deal if we were still in our home, but if we were on the move or at a retreat, it might be a more pressing issue.

Why not just put the spices in the ziplocks in the first place? We tried that a few years back. I placed some onion, oregano, cumin and chile powder in individual ziplocks. Six months later I had to open up the storage bin for some reason or another. The bin smelled like a pot of chili con carne!

Apparently, the ziplocks are quite permeable to gasses, at least over extended periods of time. Spices I have previously vacuum sealed in Foodsaver bags have had no such similar out-gassing.
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For our preps, I tend to only get the "base spice." For instance, I buy powdered garlic, but not garlic salt. Instead of Chili or Taco Mix, I buy chile powder, cumin, oregano, cayene and black pepper.

I figure it gives me more versatility, and I tend to like my own mixes better, anyways!

One of the few bulk items I don't get in the bulk bins is salt. I buy that in the 25 pound sacks for preps, and in the regular Morton's salt tubes for regular use. At least right now, salt is so inexpensive, it's not worth the added effort to pack it myself.

If you like the specialty salts, though, it might make sense. They have sea salt and kosher salt which are considerably less expensive than the pre-packaged varieties.

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Saturday, June 20, 2009

All That Glitters 

In the Depression, gold did very, very well.
--Northwestern Mutual Insurance Company CEO Edward Zore, after his company had purchased over $400 million in gold

I got a call from a buddy yesterday about this story.

Buckle up, folks. Shoes keep dropping, and the media ain't listening. The quote above was made yesterday after it was disclosed that Northwestern - the nation's third-largest insurer - had purchased over $400 MILLION in gold.
Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co., Milwaukee, has bought gold for the first time in 152 years to hedge against further asset declines, Bloomberg reports. According to the news service, Northwestern Mutual has accumulated about $400 million in gold, and CEO Edward Zore says the price could double or even rise fivefold if the economy continues to weaken.
Big news, huh? Yesterday afternoon, there were 3 news items on this listed on Google. Three.

The third largest insurer in the US thinks the probability of TSHTF is high, and no one reports on it?

Need further proof the MSM is in Barry's back pocket? Click this link to the story in the LA Times. Notice how the $400 million is not even mentioned, and how the fact that the economic reports weren't as bad as expected, so the stock market had a gain?

The pinhead reporter should have worked the whole day, because the market actually ended down for the day. Top notch reporting there....
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It seems that someone else likes gold. In a big way.
"They funded a second strategic petroleum reserve and they plan to buy $80 billion worth of gold. That's two Fort Knox's. Both of those investments only make sense if you expect significant dollar inflation."
Who is saying this? Illinois Representative Mark Kirk.

Who is the "they" he's talking about? China.

Watch -



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You know the drill. Buy precious metals, long-term food, equipment, guns, ammo and anything else you consume on a regular basis. Inflation is coming in an ugly way.

Short of a war, there is nothing that can pull us out of this insurmountable debt. So whether it's hyper-inflation or war, having the above mentioned commodities on hand will put you ahead of the rest.

New slogan?

Gold: Not just for the tin-foil hat crowd any more!

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Friday, June 19, 2009

As California Goes... 

The theory is that election to Congress is tantamount to being dispatched to Washington on a looting raid for the enrichment of your state or district, and no other ethic need inhibit the feeding frenzy.
--George F. Will

Anyone who glances at the news knows that California is in serious financial troubles. For this upcoming fiscal year (which starts on July 1), we're currently $24 billion over budget.

Since our state constitution says we must have a balanced budget each year (you know, like regular folks are expected to do), the state is proposing a butt-load of new fees and taxes to help close the gap.

The boys and girls in Sacramento are indeed creative. For the items listed, my back-of-the-napkin math brings it to about $5 billion. Most scary is a proposal to start taxing out-of-state Internet sales through some back-handed bullshit.
The committee approved extending the sales tax “nexus”—requiring out-of-state sellers that pay commissions to California firms or residents for sales referrals (often through a website link) to collect sales tax on sales to California residents.

A similar CalChamber-opposed proposal failed to move out of an Assembly policy committee earlier this year. The CalChamber pointed out that the proposal harms California online marketplaces, web-service providers, and websites of small businesses and non-profits by changing California’s sales tax law in a way that will encourage out-of-state retailers to instead do business with out-of-state counterparts.
These idiots have the, "Tax the business until they move to Nevada," strategic plan down to a science. Hey, if it ain't broke, why fix it?

And in a related flash of brilliance, they are proposing this -
Revoking licenses of occupational and professional licensees who are delinquent in their tax payments.
Uhm, if they don't have their license, how are they going to make money to pay those delinquent taxes?

Hey, Mr. Politician - wipe that drool coming out of your mouth-breathing pie hole. You're embarrassing me.
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Nearly $400 billion. That's the amount of money that Nanny gives back to the states in the various forms each year. Grants and other hand-outs. It's called, "Income Redistribution" amongst the Domestic Terrorist crowd. I call it "Coerced Charity." Same thing, I guess.

Of course, the best way to handle that would be to never take the money in the first place - letting it stay in the states, and allowing them to decide if they want to tax their citizens to provide X, Y or Z service.

But if we did that, all of our Representatives and Senators wouldn't have a money trail to show all the great work they do for us. How they, "bring home the bacon."

If you click through the link above, it gives you lists (in Excel format), by state, of all the money flowing from your pocket into that of someone else. Down to the most nauseating detail.

This file, in particular, gives you a national perspective on all of the programs for each of the major departments. Prepare for projectile vomit.

So, we know Barry won't cut any of these programs. At least not for now. He's pissing his constituents off too much as it is, and if he cut The Gravy Train too soon, he would be putting himself at risk.

(Although, as I heard from some Bay Area political strategist comment about how gays are all pissed off because they didn't get all they wanted from the, "No ASS?, I'll Tell!" - or whatever it's called: "They'll settle down. After all, do you REALLY think they'll vote Republican!" Little girl-ish laughter ensued...)

What this also doesn't include - from the federal perspective - is all of the jobs programs we've recently started. Car makers, banks, insurance companies and the like. The bailouts are nothing more than Depression-era government make-work bills.

Sooooo, as everyone knows, taxes will go up. It's gonna happen, so just get ready to deal with it. I'm sure they'll pick up some good ideas from what the CA legislators are doing, and we'll get them on a national level as well. Some states might even try and put some in.
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So back to the math for California.

They've got a $24 billion nut to crack. A clearly defined $5 billion in new taxes, leaving us with a $19 billion gap. None of the articles I've see address how much each of the other proposals will bring in.

There has been talk of cutting 60,000 state workers. When I heard that, I thought, "Wow, who knew we even had that many state workers."

Wake up and smell the payroll ink, Mikey.

My illustrious state has over 450,000 employees. FOUR HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND! We have a monthly payroll of $1.5 billion dollars, or $18 billion per year.

And of course, this doesn't include the cities, counties or any of the other quasi-governmental organizations we support with our tax dollars.

So, even if they cut these 60,000 employees, that will amount to something in the neighborhood of maybe $2.7-$3 billion a year. Even when added to the earlier $5 billion, we still come up way short.

Do ya think we might get our bond guarantees because the idiots in Sacramento tried so hard to cut costs? Papa Barry will come through, one way or another...

Let me thank you in advance for your contribution to the California economy.
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Another Atlas Shrugged Moment of Zen....
She shook her head in an involuntary recoil of horror. "I'm not a looter!"

He chuckled, pushing the paper aside. "You see? You gave the right answer, whether you knew it or not. Don't worry about Danagger Coal. It won't make any differerence, whether I appoint the best successor in the world, or the worst, or none. No matter who takes it over now, whether men or weeds, it won't make any difference."

"But to walk off and abandon ... just abandon... an industrial enterprise, as if we were in the age of landless nomads or of savages wandering in the jungle!"

"Aren't we?" He was smiling at her, half in mockery, half in compassion. "Why should I leave a deed or a will? I don't want to help the looters to pretend that private property still exists. I am complying with the system which they have established. They do not need me, they say, they only need my coal. Let them take it."

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Bang, Build and Belch 

I'm gonna drink lots of beer and stay out all night.
--Homer Simpson

Interesting day yesterday. Guns, preps and beer (YES, in that order), all rolled into one!

A good buddy of mine and I headed to the range. We did a bunch of defensive shooting drills. "Combat accurate" shooting, and the like.

Most of the drills were with targets at 5 yards. We did a series of double-tap drills, then followed up with drills for two assailants. It was a lot of fun, and really helps to keep the shooting skills sharp.

A week ago, I went to the range at my gun club. They had 9mm Wolf ammo available for $13 a box. I grabbed two boxes to give it a try.

I put perhaps 60 rounds down range in my FNP-9. No problems whatsoever. I was actually kind of surprised.

I thought I had left the remaining rounds at the range, but found them buried deep in my range bag. Yesterday, after firing 100 rounds of the Winchester ammo I picked up at the Reno gun show, I pulled out the remaining Wolf rounds.

I loaded 6 rounds into the magazine. I got a failure after the second round.

It was kind of odd. I could tell something was wrong after the second round went off. It didn't feel like enough kick. I looked at the pistol and the hammer was not cocked.

I presumed it was a mis-fire, hang-fire or squib fire and kept the muzzle pointed down range for 30 seconds. Nothing happened, so I removed the magazine. There were 3 rounds left in the magazine.

I pulled back the slide, and out popped an unfired cartridge.

Apparently, there was enough powder in the previous cartridge to open the slide/ejection port, eject the brass and feed the next round, but not enough to cock the hammer.

Anyone ever heard of this happening before?

I may still use Wolf at the range, but I'll never depend upon it for self-defense.
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After killing a bunch of targets, we went to my friend's house to do a test/demonstration of my homemade Berkey-based water filter. This system cost approximately $120 to build, and holds about double the volume (6 gallons) of a commercial Berkey filter (such as the Big Berkey).

This system will purify 6,000 gallons of water. I purchased two extra filters, so I have the ability to purify 12,000 gallons.


It uses two of the Black Berkey filters. These things are awesome. They filter out virtually anything in the water. In fact, they are considered to be "purifiers" as they filter out 99.9999999% of pathogens (that's seven 9's after the decimal point).


I've used the filter to prepare water in a pinch for my beer brewing, but haven't really put it through its paces. My friend was interested in building one of these himself, so I brought it over to do a test.

He has a 30,000 gallon pool in his backyard. The Berkey says it can remove chlorine (not just the smell, like charcole filters). We filled the bad boy up, and did a taste test.


While his pool water was not, "burn your eyes" reeking with chlorine, the resulting water was "spotless". No indication whatsoever that it was pool water - just fresh, clean, good tasting water. Pretty damned cool.
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Warning: You may wish to avert your eyes from the following image. You've been warned!

A month or so ago, I was in BevMo picking up some sort of booze. At the check-out counter, the girl behind the counter asked me if I'd like to buy an Obama Beer.

My head whipped around, and I was going to blast her with a, "Are you out of your damned mind!?"

Instead, an evil grin came over my face, and I said, "I'll take 4 of them."

I kept one for myself, gave another to each of my two brothers, and the last went to my buddy with the pool.



It's not too bad if you don't look at the label while you're drinking it.

For some reason, though, when we were finished with the beer, like zombies, we drove to San Francisco, took all of our money out of our wallets and gave it to a bunch of deserving junkies sitting on a street corner in a pool of vomit.

Weird, huh?

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I Hear You Knockin'... 

O divine art of subtlety and secrecy! Through you we learn to be invisible, through you inaudible and hence we can hold the enemy's fate in our hands.
--Sun Tzu

Hermit had a couple of posts today on the increasingly paranoid view of Nanny with regards to voicing your opinion online. He put it so perfectly, so succinctly -
In short, the bare fact of having expressed an opinion is given virtually the same weight as having carried out the act expressed in the opinion. You don't have to be a student of constitutional law or history to see where that is going.
The intent is clear: Stop public dissent. Play ball or be punished.

As an example, look what just happened with the Inspector General that was recently fired for investigating a friend of Barry's. To protect against political influence being brought against IG's, a law was passed (which Senator Barry co-sponsored) that requires the Prez to notify Congress 30 days before someone is fired, and he must give a reason for the firing.

Barry's reason? "Loss of confidence."

WTF? Try using that justification for firing a union worker at Government Motors. You'd be sued so fast, your head would spin.

Hmmmm. Do you think this will stick in the mind of every other IG in the country? Play nice or you'll be fired - and I can do it legally!
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When Nanny wants to track someone down that uses an anonymous posting name, they back-track the IP address of the computer that made the post. They see the Internet Service Provider, who keeps track of which specific address was assigned to which specific customer.

Knock, knock, Federal agents calling.

So, one way to keep your identity private is to falsify or hide your true IP address.

Last year, I did a post on Internet privacy. In it, I discuss TOR. It is a program that uses something called a 'proxy'. Your request to open, say, a Google page, actually comes from another IP address. Your request is routed through the proxy IP, masking its original source (you!).

Let me say right up front that TOR has some potential problems. READ ABOUT THEM BEFORE YOU INSTALL TOR. It started out as a Nanny tool for overseas embassies (I think), but was made a public, shareware-styled project a few years ago.

I use TOR on a fairly regular basis, but I NEVER send anything that is confidential or that requires that I put in a sensitive username/password (like online banking).

I trust it, but I ain't stupid. Anything that has to do with computers can be hacked, cracked and tracked. With TOR, you're being routed all over the world, so you have no idea who will "touch" your packets. I only use it when I am posting comments to newspapers or to websites where I figure there is a high degree of probability that they won't like what I'm saying, and try and have my IP traced.

TOR can also be very slow. It uses nodes that are literally all over the world. For instance, today I logged on, and checked my public IP address. It showed that I was in Amsterdam! When I went to Google, all of the text was in Dutch.

To address this, TOR allows you to change the location of the node you're using. If you make it a US address, the speed increases considerably (assuming you're located in the US, of course).

I also only use TOR with the Firefox browser. It has a TOR button, so I can turn it on or off with the click of a button. Very handy.
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Another service I use is Secure Tunnel. They are a commercial site, but also have a free proxy where you can enter a website address, and it gives the IP address of Secure Tunnel's ISP.

I pay for their service. It includes a secure email service, as well as an upgraded proxy service called SecureBar.
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What's your IP address?

Go to www.DSLReports.com. Click the 'tools' link. Scroll down to 'Your IP Address'. Click it, and it will give you your address.

Write this down, then go to Secure Tunnel, and type DSLReports.com into the proxy box. Follow the same steps listed above to get your IP address. It should now be a different address.

Cool, huh?

But don't get cocky. If you make threats online, they will hunt you down and find you. Period.

At best, it will buy you some time if it is Nanny coming after you. If all you've done is pissed off some liberal idiot on Kos, you're probably in good shape.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

It's Gettin' Hot In Here... 

Thanks for the American dream, to vulgarize and falsify until the bare lies shine through. Thanks for a country where nobody's allowed to mind their own business.
--William S. Burroughs

I'd like to see a show of hands, please. All of you out there with "stupid" stenciled on your forehead, please raise your hands. Come on, you in the back over there, get your paw up.

Clearly, the Barry administration thinks every single person in America has the aforementioned graffiti written on their noggin. Why else would they think that anyone with the life-force to steam up a mirror would not be able to see the release of a, "The World Is Going To Melt!!" report is simply their way of greasing the skids for a massive green/carbon/methane/oogy-boogy tax increase.

You know, to pay for Barry's health plan.

I tried to read the whole report (all 196 pages worth), but passed out from the unrelenting projectile vomiting. My tum-tum gets upset when I smell bullshit. What can I say?
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OK, the number one finding is MAN DID IT! [Please people, no pushing and shoving. Let's have an orderly evacuation]. Wow, I would have never guessed they'd try and pin their theory on humans.
1. Global warming is unequivocal and primarily human-induced.
Global temperature has increased over the past 50 years. This observed increase is due primarily to human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases. (p. 13)
Just like they chose CO2 as the bad guy because they knew how stupid they'd look if they suggested banning the two biggest Green House Gasses - water vapor and clouds (90%+) - they have to pick humans as the culprit, because how in the hell are you going to tax the real cause - the burning orb in the sky?

Don't these idiots own a thermometer? The earth has been trending cooler for the past 8 years -
Based on the HadCRUT3 system of observed temperatures, global surface temperature anomalies have been trending down since 2001. January 2008 had the coldest anomaly since 1995.
What did Rohm Emanuel say? "Never let a good crisis go to waste." They need to update it to, "Never let a good LIE go to waste."
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Reading snippets of most of the MSM "news" sites, the fevered pleas for, "Someone PLEASE do something!" have begun in earnest.

We're going to get a massive basket of taxes shoved right up our asses. Cap and Trade, Carbon Taxes, Cow Fart Taxes, you name it.

They're doing everything in their power to turn our country into a third-world nation.

Great. Bring it on. As has been discussed here and on other sites, we're too far gone to be rescued. Let the shit hit the fan so we can then begin the clean up, and right our country again.

Just cover your ass and ride it out as best as you can. Maybe putting the stencil to our foreheads will help us blend in with the lemmings.

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Double Standards Double Talk 

Commercials are not the only junk food in the speech market - indeed, when compared to shallow news reporting, vacuous television shows, or political doublespeak, commercials are not even the most harmful to mental health.
-- Rodney A. Smolla

It seems like there's been a lot of this forked-tongue stuff going on. Look at this article. It is commenting on a website called FireDavidLetterman.com and how there are a growing number of calls to get Letterman canned for making his jokes/remarks about Sarah Palin and her daughters.

If you're not aware of his comments, he joked about Palin's 14 year old daughter being raped by a NY Yankee's player, and that Palin herself looked like a, "slutty flight attendant."

The author of the article says that we all just need to chill, after all, it was just a joke.

Why doesn't someone tell this asshole about Don Imus. His "nappy headed ho's" comment got him fired.

If we're going to be politically correct, and never denigrate women - even in obvious jest - shouldn't jokesters of all political persuasions be held to the same standard? Or is it OK when the women are white? And conservative?

We know the answer to those questions. I just thought I'd ask anyway.
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Universal health care:

"The public option is not your enemy, it is your friend, I believe."
--Barry

[Shudder] Almost as scary as, "We're from the government, and we're here to help."

Oh wait - it's the same thing.
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Financial double-talking:
Aiming for greater limits and more clarity in the nation's financial system, the Obama administration on Monday proposed adding muscle to the Federal Reserve and new restrictions on complex securities whose collapse choked lending and hit millions of American households.
So Barry & Company wants to restrict salaries and spending, and wants to promote more disclosure of financial dealings of PRIVATE COMPANIES, but not of the federal government itself.

Pot, meet kettle.
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What's that joke about lawyers? How can you tell if a lawyer is lying? His lips are moving.

Barry and most of his cronies are lawyers, aren't they? Wow, imagine that...
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"I don't want to run auto companies, and I don't want to run banks."
--Barry

Then why don't you stop, big guy? Just Say No, Barry. Just Say No...

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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Czarist America 

Let me say it as simply as I can. Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.
--Barry
Has anyone noticed the number of Czars running around the White House lately? Geez, we have a Car Czar, a Pay Czar, a Banking Czar, a Drug Czar - well, you get the idea. We're up to 16 of them, and the proposed Cyber Czar making it seventeen.

Lots of presidents have used them. Reagan had the first with the Drug Czar, and every president since then has had them.

So what? What's the problem?

It's that pesky document called The Constitution of The United States. Having a czar give the administration two things: They get an "advisor" in areas where they can exert power over an area that might not be all that constitutional. For instance, how can you constitutionally have a person that regulates pay? Come on, by any stretch of the imagination, the federal government has no jurisdiction over the pay of employees in private industry.

Yet the Pay Czar exists.

More troubling, though, is the accountability angle. There is none, except between the Czar and the president. To become a Secretary, you have to be confirmed by the Senate. Each cabinet post has a Senate and House oversight committee. Not so with the czars.

Take the Car Czar, Steve Rattner, so far has spent $50 billion tax dollars buying GM and Crysler without so much as sending a budget proposal to Congress. In fact, he was scheduled to meet with Congress this past week, and just blew them off. He sent some flunky in his place.

What are they going to do about it? He works for Barry, not them.

Rattner is the guy who decided which dealerships stayed open, which are closed. He's the one that fired GM's CEO. He's the one that cut Chrysler's ad budget. He's the one that will tell us which 'green' cars we're going to get from both companies.

We have little idea who he is, and no idea how he makes decisions regarding the spending of our money.

And President Transparency has sixteen more of these guys running around.

Woo hoo, Mr. President! Way to knock down those walls of secrecy!
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Neil Cavuto is about the only person in the media making a stink about the Car Czar.


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The downfall of the Czars led to the communist revolution in Russia, right?

Great. Something else to look forward to...

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Friday, June 12, 2009

The Road To Popularity 

(Propaganda) proceeds by psychological manipulations, character modifications, by creation of stereotypes useful when the time comes - The two great routes that this sub-propaganda takes are the conditioned reflex and the myth.
--Jacques Ellul

Back to being, "Anger Central"...

The propaganda for having the government run the health care system:
Nearly two-thirds of bankruptcy filings in 2007 cited medical bills as having contributed to financial failure, according to a new report published in the American Journal of Medicine. What might be surprising, however, is it found that 77.9% of those had private insurance.
Health care costs are crushing America. What all of these bed-wetters fail to note is that the reason health care costs are so high is because of government interference in health care. Forcing hospitals to take in every Tom, Dick and Harry that shows up on their doorstep to get free (or under-reimbursed) care causes hospitals to raise their rates on the paying customers.

As usual, the answer isn't to add more government to the equation, but less. Also as usual, this knowledge will go unused.
“For middle-class Americans, health insurance offers little protection. Most of us have policies with so many loopholes, co-payments, and deductibles that illness can put you in the poorhouse,” said lead author Himmelstein.

“Unless you’re Warren Buffett, your family is just one serious illness away from bankruptcy.” He said the study underscores President Obama’s arguments in calling for health-care reform legislation this year.
Makes perfect sense - the current system is broken, so let's increase the size of the component most guilty of breaking it. If DMV-style customer service and the thought of having a government wonk deciding when and what type of medical attention you are allowed to receive gives you the "warm and fuzzies", then by all means, sign on up.

Uhm, this health care plan will be the same one Barry, his cabinet and Congress will be using as well, right?
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So, how we gonna pay for this?

We're going to tax the 170 million Americans that currently receive health benefits from their employers, taking more money out of the pockets of working Americans. Ironically, having less disposable income in their bank accounts will increase the likelihood of a bankruptcy due to the occurrence of a major medical event. Great idea. Let's make everyone equally poor.

....

Got a work cell phone? Get ready to pay.
The Internal Revenue Service proposed employers assign 25% of an employee's annual phone expenses as a taxable benefit.
....

Anyone who doesn't think the FDA will increase the tax on cigarettes - again - when Barry gives them the reins of power, are smoking something more powerful than tobacco.

....

Increasing business taxes will be a huge part. Hey, how about we tax the foreign profits of a company based in America?
In all, the tax committee estimated that Obama would generate $159.3 billion over the next decade from a dozen proposals affecting U.S. tax rules for foreign profits,
Anyone think that the companies may just leave America? They'll just sell their goods here, but take the manufacturing, headquarters and other company infrastructure, and get the hell out of Dodge.

Oh look! It seems that companies are already doing that. And they're doing it at the current "low" tax rates. What do you think will happen when taxes are increased even further?

HOW MANY JOBS WILL THAT SAVE, BARRY?

[Note: The site above is from the AFL/CIO. Funny how they fail to mention the number of businesses that are hurting as a result of unrealistic union demands.]
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Changing gears: I was talking with a buddy of mine yesterday, and he told me about another example of the infinite wisdom of our government leaders.

Everyone remembers about one of the main reasons for the sub-prime melt-down: Through government pressure - mainly the CRA - banks were encouraged to make loans to people that were not qualified. "No Down" loans became all the rage. Get Freddie and Fannie to guarantee them, and that sealed the deal.

The buyers had "no skin" in the property. They didn't have to put up any of their own assets - most commonly a down payment - into the home.

It was a great deal. You got into a home for nothing. If it rose in price, you made a hefty profit on your $0 investment. If it went tits-up, BFD, you never put anything into the property so you weren't out any cash. Plus you got to live in the home for below market payments.

Well, it seems as though the Washington boys and girls weren't satisfied by screwing us just once. No, like a john that pays for an hour of hooker-time but "finishes" early, they're looking to get their money's worth by coming back for seconds.
The change allows home buyers to put this tax incentive toward closing costs or part of their down payment, instead of waiting until after tax season to get their hands on the funds.
Right now, this credit is up to $8000 and is limited to first time buyers. A bill before Congress right now will allow this to be used by anyone.

There's also a full-court press to bump the eight-grand up to $15,000.

You know, I bitch a lot about how it would be nice if our Congress-critters took the time to read a history book once in a while. Seeing how similar actions taken in the past have turned out. Like the whole socialism/communism thing.

What is most galling with this is most of the people who caused our current mess are the ones trying to dig the whole even deeper. How can they figure that by encouraging no-skin housing policies, things will all be better?

Fucking idiots.
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Atlas Shrugged moment of Zen:
"You see, Dr. Sadler, people don't want to think. And the deeper they get into trouble, the less they want to think. But by some sort of instinct, they feel that they ought to and it makes them feel guilty. So they'll bless and follow anyone who gives them a justification for not thinking. Anyone who makes a virtue - a highly intellectual virtue - out of what they know to be their sin, their weakness and their guilt."

"And you propose to pander to that?"
"That is the road to popularity."
"Why should you seek popularity?"

Dr. Ferris's eyes moved casually to Dr. Sadler's face, as if by pure accident. "We are a public institution," he answered evently, "supported by public funds."

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Home Canned Butter 

If toast always lands butter-side down, and cats always land on their feet, what happens if you strap toast on the back of a cat and drop it?
--Stephen Wright
***UPDATE*** I've gotten a couple of comments about how home canned butter may not be safe. The government sources I have read don't come straight out and say so, but they won't give a thumbs-up to the practice. Get educated, read up on the subject, and make your own decisions before proceeding.


I needed a mental break from the economic and business crap, so I crammed my day's work into the morning!

I finally got around to trying to make canned butter. I followed the recipe from here. I've read a bunch of similar recipes, and they all say about the same thing - the butter will last for around 3 to 5 years on the shelf.

I made a couple of adjustments: Instead of using pint jars, I used half-pints. I figured the stuff would solidify sooner, plus you wouldn't have to worry about spoilage if you didn't use up an opened full pint soon enough.

BTW, after you open it, you're supposed to put it in the fridge to extend its life.

To begin, you take your jars and put them in a 250F oven for at least 20 minutes.


The lids and rings went into a pot of water brought up to 180F to sterilize them.

I started with 5 pounds of butter. Threw the cubes into a pot and put the flame at medium-high.


It melted down fairly quickly - say 15 minutes or so. You need to use a wooden spoon or spatula to keep everything moving so the milk solids don't burn or brown.



I just kept stirring, and it finally came to a boil.


Be sure you use a pot big enough to handle the boiling butter. Notice the height difference between the melted and the boiling butter.

You turn the heat down a bit, and let it simmer/boil for another 5 minutes.

I then used a canning funnel and filled each jar to within a half inch or so of the top. You need to stir the boiled butter each time you fill a jar to make sure you have an even distribution of fat and solids.

It's important that you keep some space at the top so you can shake the butter mixture. While warm, the milk solids separate out from the fat. If you don't shake the jars, you'll end up with a two-layered jar - half with milk solids and half with fat. Not what we're after.

I put the lids on, and screwed down the rings.


Up to this point, everything took maybe 45 minutes. Now the work really began.

You'll start hearing the lids "ping" shut. I gave each of them a shake to re-mix the butter. At this point, the jars are still very hot, so I had to use a towel.

I set a timer for 5 minutes, and over the next hour or so, I gave them a shake (actually, each got exactly 8 shakes each time - I have no idea why!). This was overkill. The jars are still fairly warm, and the mix would separate out quickly. Next time, I'll do the shaking every 10 or 15 minutes until the mix starts to set up better.

Once the mix set up a bit (although it was still very liquidy) and the jars were just barely warm, I moved them to the fridge. Absolutely, positively set a 5 minute timer after you've done this. When the butter sets up, it does it quickly.

After 4 or 5 "timers and shakes" periods, the butter was solid. No more liquid whatsoever.

I let it sit for another two hours in the fridge.


The finished product is much whiter than the cubes of butter that went into it. I don't know if the milk solids expanded, or what - it did seem to thicken up when it was boiling.

I got 12 half pints out of the 5 pounds of butter. I had an extra (perhaps) cube and a half left over. I put that in a bowl that got stirred with the same schedule as the jars. It's in the fridge, covered with foil.

I put the jars into our storage pantry to rest a bit. I'm going to wait a week and see if any changes happen, then I'll open one up for a sniff and a taste - follow-up post will be made. The butter in the bowl will grace my English muffin with homemade strawberry jam tomorrow morning!

I don't have any intentions of using this on a regular basis. This is for long-term emergency use. I've set a calendar reminder to open a jar in a year to see how it's fared. Stay tuned.... ;-)
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Oh, another thing I learned: When you put the jars in the fridge, DON'T put them in the box the empty jars came in. The jars in the middle don't get nearly the air circulation as the outer jars. I'd go through my shaking routine, and notice that the inner jars were warmer than the outer jars. Duh.

I'd guess the jars would have set up perhaps 10 minutes earlier. Not a killer, but the jar shaking gets old really quick.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Corruption-palooza 

Communism is the corruption of a dream of justice.
--Adlai E. Stevenson

Not overly surprisingly, Justice Ginsberg caved. She and the other SCOTUS justices decided that American contract law was not as important as Barry being able to do as he pleases.

I'm telling you, this is huge. Remember all of the posts on legal precedence. This now rubber-stamps any future contract destroying measures any administration ever wishes to take.

I am utterly disgusted.
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How is this possible?

This year, we will spend $2 trillion on the various forms of income redistribution. Now, this does include Social Security and Unemployment insurance - both of which are at least partially funded based upon actual work.

But what about the rest? That two trillion dollars, spread over 300 million Americans equals $6700 for every man, woman and child. Since we know that not everyone gets their share, the average per-recipient amount is higher!
Benefits, such as Social Security, food stamps, unemployment insurance and health care, accounted for 16.2% of personal income in the first quarter of 2009, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reports. That's the highest percentage since the government began compiling records in 1929.
Great. One in every 6 dollars of "income" comes from Nanny.

Hey, didn't something kind of historic happen back in 1929? I can't seem to put a finger on it...
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So, how are we gonna pay for all of this largess? Create a new tax!
To show you how ridiculous this is getting, the EPA has got the proposed regulation imposing a cow fart tax of $175 a year on every head of dairy cattle in the United States and $80 for beef cattle, $20 per head of hogs. I don’t know if we’re supposed to develop the technology to strap a catalytic converter on the back of a cow.
This is just priming the pump to get the public used to the idea of "green" taxes. When Carbon Taxes or other Pigovian taxes come, this will seem like..... a fart in the wind.

Funny, I thought Barry said he wouldn't tax anyone making less than $250K a year. Us regular folks don't eat meat?
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Now for something TOTALLY insane: Miranda rights for non-Americans?
In a story by Stephen F. Hayes in the Weekly Standard, The Obama Administration has ordered the FBI and CIA to give terrorists anywhere in the world the Rights of an American Citizen, they must be read their Miranda rights.
Again, I ask - How is this possible? Is this not a war? Why are we treating it like an arrest on US soil?

I'm at a loss for words.

Good God Almighty, what is happening to our country?

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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Dumbasses.... and a Ray of Hope? 

A kingdom founded on injustice never lasts.
--Seneca

The House has passed the Cash For Clunkers bill. The Senate is sure to follow suit.

In summary, the government will pay you between $3500 and $4500 when you trade in your gas-guzzling vehicle for a brand-spanking new one. It is targeted at getting cars made in 1984 and earlier off of the roads. The car dealer must crush or shred the car that's traded in. Gotta be green, and all.

Let's see, who might line their pockets take advantage of this program?

First off, you need to be in the market for a new car, and must currently be driving an old car. No trade-in, no cash-in. So if your current car is worth more than $3500, this wouldn't make any sense.

Hmmmm. What might people do? Do you think most, IF NOT ALL, people that want a new car will go down to the junk yard, or peruse the want-ads and buy a beat up old car for $500? Even if it costs you a couple of hundred bucks to get it smogged (even in CA we have car age exemptions), you're still coming out way ahead.

Oh, and did anyone think about how this will affect the poor or the newly licensed? It's gonna be tough finding that first clunker for newly licensed high school students, or poor folks that need a car that's just good enough to get them to and from work.

Great plan, guys. Once again. It certainly will be $4 billion well-spent dollars. I sure am glad I could offer up my tax dollars to help y'all get a new set of wheels.

I'll bet it works out just as well as that whole corn-based methanol thing.
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Remember when Sarah Palin was put on trial - coincidentally during the election season - on ethics charges? Remember how it was everywhere? Papers, TV, blogs, newsletters.

You know what? She was cleared. Of all 14 charges. Not a single one stuck.

Funny how only the Washington Times has the story, huh?

I'm sure Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow will have full coverage of her victories on today's programs. Do you think Chris Matthews has a funny feeling in his pants over this?
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I can't believe I'm going to say this, but "Way to go Justice Ginsberg!"

The old coot put the brakes on the systematic destruction of our contract-based society. At least temporarily, she has stopped Barry & Company from disregarding contract law, and halted the sale of Chrysler to Fiat

As I said, "temporarily". If she and the rest of the SCOTUS allow this to go through, no one will ever invest in any government "assisted" company, or any company that MAY become assisted in the future.

Why would you? If your "first position" in the line of creditors is disregarded so that political favors can be handed out to others, you would have to be an idiot to make future investments.

I hope Ginsberg and the other justices follow the law, and not let their personal beliefs, gender, ethnicity and "life experience" cloud their judicial duties.

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Monday, June 08, 2009

...Pants On Fire... 

Any fool can tell the truth, but it requires a man of some sense to know how to lie well.
--Samuel Butler

It was nice for a change. I got to start the day off with a big, hearty LMAO when I read the story that California might be the first state to do away with...... welfare!
Could California become the first state in the nation to do away with welfare?

That doomsday scenario is on the table as lawmakers wrestle with a staggering $24.3 billion budget deficit.
Right. California doing away with welfare would be like the Federal Government doing away with fiat currency.

It will never happen. It's a part of our way of doing business. It is a part of the very fiber of all that is California - land of fruits, nuts and public assistance.

Of course, this is just part of the scare tactics being employed by crooks in Sacramento. There has been no discussion of shutting down any of the forced-charity departments I listed back in May. And this list was just the California departments that started with A, B or C. If our "leaders" can't find enough low-hanging fruit from this list, there are 23 more letters of the alphabet to choose from.

This is doing nothing more than giving Barry an excuse to provide guarantees to bonds the state wants to issue, but can't, because our credit rating is so shitty.

Hey, the program IS a great success, though.
When she learned more than a decade ago that the rules for welfare were changing and she would have to get a job or go to school to retain her benefits, Morales panicked.

"I had my first child at 16," she said. "I had never had a job before. I had no clue. But they pushed me, and I am ever so glad they did."

Today Morales has risen from customer service representative to field supervisor at Maximus Inc., which helps state and local governments manage programs such as Medi-Cal. She is financially independent and happy, she said.
Ironic, huh? She gets a job with a company that teaches municipalities how to spend state money...
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Here's another shocker: The eco-freaks were fudging the air temperature measurements. It seems that if you place an official thermometer next to a hot air exhaust vent, it makes the official temperature artificially high. The inanimate device just can't tell it was set-up in the wrong place.

Who'd a-thunk it?

I'm sure it was an honest mistake though. Just a handful of the official thermometers were affected, right?
The study, recently published by the free-market Heartland Institute, inspected 860 of the 1,221 U.S. ground stations that gauge temperature changes. The findings, previously reported in this column, were alarming.

They found 89 percent of stations "fail to meet the National Weather Service's own siting requirements" that say stations must be located at least 100 feet from artificial heat sources.

"We found stations located next to the exhaust fans of air conditioning units, surrounded by asphalt parking lots and roads, on blistering hot rooftops and near sidewalks and buildings that absorb and radiate heat," Watts reported.
Oh.

Well, at least their teeny-tiny mistake won't cost us anything.
If fighting global warming may cost the economy $9.6 trillion and more than 1 million lost jobs by 2035, as the Heritage Foundation forecasts, it'd be a good idea to be sure there's a sound basis before making such a massive sacrifice.
What's the problem? Ten trillion bucks and a million jobs. At least the air in our American Biosphere will be clean and healthy, right? Right?!

Oy....
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In a story that could be called, "Pull yourself up by your boot-straps and have your boots stolen - by Nanny", this is the perfect example of the twisted "morality" of socialism.

Some guy has been homeless for the last 6 years. By himself, he decides he's had enough of it, and he starts his own little shoe shine business. He builds up a little bit of a clientele and even gets a little bit of press about how he's cleaning up his life.

Uh oh.

Some government drone read the article, and slaps the guy with notice that he needs to get a government permit. TO SHINE FUCKING SHOES!
In fact, until last week it looked like Moore was going to have saved enough money to rent a room and get off the street for the first time in six years. But then, in a breathtakingly clueless move, an official for the Department of Public Works told Moore that he has to fork over the money he saved for his first month's rent to purchase a $491 sidewalk vendor permit.
In the ultimate use of Nanny Spin, the shoe shine guy was not being ordered to get a permit. No, he was just being educated -
Christine Falvey, spokeswoman for Public Works, said the department's contact with Moore was meant to be "educational."

"We certainly don't want to hamper anyone's ability to make a living," Falvey said. "Our education efforts are actually meant to support that effort by making our streets an enjoyable place for people to visit."
No, your "education efforts" are meant to keep people dependent upon the city. We can't have any rogue capitalists running around - unsupervised - in the City, now can we?

You look us straight in the eye, and lie to our faces.
Could this be any more difficult? Moore doesn't want to get into city housing, preferring to make it on his own. But could you blame him if he gave up, kicked back and settled into a life of panhandling, subsidized housing and soup kitchen meals?
Yeah.

Hey, did you notice the race, gender and overall appearance of the shoe shine guy? White male, in a shirt and tie (which he bought to upgrade the appearance of his business).

If this were a black, female-leaning trans-sexual with green and yellow-streaked hair and more piercings than a crocheted blanket, do you think they may have found it in themselves to look the other way?

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