"The most significant threat to our national security is our debt," Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, August 27, 2010

Monday, February 24, 2014

The New American Mafia

If you look up the definition of mafia, here is what you get:  Mafia is a blanket term used to describe a type of organized crime syndicate that primarily practices protection racketeering.

So then we looked up protection racketeering and this is what we found:  A protection racket is a scheme whereby a criminal group provides protection to businesses through violence outside the sanction of the law. Through the credible threat of violence, the racketeers deter people from swindling, robbing, injuring, sabotaging or otherwise harming their clients. Protection rackets tend to appear in markets where the police and judiciary cannot be counted on to provide legal protection, either because of incompetence (as in weak or failed states) or illegality (black markets).
Protection to business – threat of violence – police and judiciary cannot provide legal protection, etc.
This is almost a dead on definition of public employee unions.
Instead of being a business; well, they really are a business, they masquerade under the banner of organized labor.  They most certainly threaten violence, just try operating in their jurisdiction without their imprimatur of approval (which means paying them off) and the cops and judges will not intervene because they either belong to one of their unions or have been bought off by one of their unions.
The new American mafia is the public employee unions.
They control the government and the law making arms of the government and the law enforcing arms of the government.
Any protection racket that can access the public treasury is golden.  In the olden days the real mafia, the one founded following true Sicilian principles of omerta and deadly enforcement did their darnedest to get at the public treasury.  And they sometimes did – public contracts for various public works projects:  road building, other construction and local services – cleaning, waste management, linens, etc.  Think about it, today’s mafia, the public employee unions, control it all.  They aren’t running small schemes – some linen services and a few gambling games.  They control the schools, a lot of the health care industry, the teachers, the police and darn near all the 22+ million who work for various government agencies across the land.   Elected officials, from the president to governors to mayors and local council representatives are terrified of them – as well they should be.
They make Tony Soprano, the Godfather and the rest of la Cosa Nostra look like choirboys.  We all work for them and they cost us plenty. 
They did not exist until 50 years ago – in most places they were outlawed.  Even the labor leaders of the early 20th century never tried to organize the public employees – they knew it would destroy the relationship between the community and their government.  No citizen can confront a government employee without great risk.  Government employees will always be protected by their union – they will not be subject to the same judicial process; the same laws; the same indictments or even the same punishments that they impose on the citizenry.
For years the mafia controlled entire communities and only an occasional law enforcement effort was made to rein them in.  Today law enforcement, the entire judiciary, virtually every government employee – they are the new American mafia.  Try to stand up to them; try to find a candidate who will stand up to them; or a judge.
The deterioration in trust in government all over America, at a high point today, can be traced directly to the growth, control and lack of accountability of public employee unions – the new American mafia.
We cannot call in the Untouchables to clean up this new mafia - they all belong to it.
The states and local communities who control their public employee unions will thrive – the rest will struggle and fail under the corruption and cost of these outfits.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Does the Constitution Guarantee the Right to Sell Your Vote?

We Americans give our founding fathers a great deal of credit for their wisdom and strength.  We admire their courage in standing up to a regal regime – George III and friends.  We particularly value their approach – a reasonable attempt to go along and get along with George’s massive bureaucracy; then a less reasonable (if you were on George’s side that is) approach to stand up to George and his minions; then a carefully worded Declaration of Independence highlighting George’s many failings and abuses; and finally, a protracted war against the most powerful military of its time – successfully fought and won by a spunky group of homeboys and girls.

Then, of course, they had to set up a government – a way of governing this brave new land of theirs.  Maybe the revolution and the fighting was the easy part, huh?
Can you believe it – they didn’t agree on many aspects of governance?  But they knew this one thing – it must be limited or they knew they could find themselves in the same mess they just eliminated.  So, with these two dominating beliefs – we don’t agree on much and we don’t want to have another overbearing, dominating, abusive government, they set out to find a way to form a democratic republic (the people rule) and still let people make their own decisions but have some government to do some necessary things.
Now that is a brief lesson in why we  used to have a constitution limiting government – power to the people and the states – and this simple overriding concept that the people would be responsible – not the government.  So what happened?  They did, after all, set up these three branches – to balance each other and to check up on each other; you know, separation of powers.  There was nothing in there about executive orders – nothing in there about telling the states what they could or could not grow or make or not make – not much about who could vote or not vote – and, nothing in there about the people selling their votes to get something in return.
Yes, we slipped that in – the vote was really restricted when these fellows set things up.  Why?  Well, they had this idea that the vote was the very determinant of whether this thing they were setting up would work and would last.  The vote was key and it was going to be parceled out as if mattered.  It did matter – you see, and this is very difficult to grasp today – these founders had this idea that the vote was a privilege, not a right.  You had to earn it – you had to participate and contribute to the community – be an upright citizen – pay your own way as well as pay into the community pot – be informed – volunteer – maybe even do something for the public good.  In other words not be a taker, be a giver.  No, not rhetorically speaking; not with words but with actions.  Measurable, tangible, real deeds.
So this may be where these fellows went wrong?  They didn’t realize that voting was a right – and that you didn’t need to earn the right – you just attained it by being here or there.  Once you had attained this right – no further obligation or responsibility required.  And soon, pretty soon, the politicians figured it out – they could buy that vote and so they started the bidding process.  One would say – here, you get a free education – just vote for me.  Next one said – I’ll give you that education and some money in your pocket just vote for me.  Soon someone said, "How would you like to be paid even if you don’t have a job?"  The next one topped that by handing out jobs.  Then one came along offering help paying your electric bill.  Next one said, "I’ll pay your rent."  Then someone came along and said – I’ll pay your doctor bills.  Then the next one offered – free prescription drugs.  Next guy said I can do better than that – free contraceptives – free abortions.  Heck, we’ll pay it all - free health care – no co-pays, no deductibles – let me buy your vote with all these goodies – someone else can pay. 
Boy, oh boy, those founders of ours sure didn’t grasp how to run a country did they?  They missed out on this whole concept of selling your vote.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Buy NBC – Fire Everyone

So speaketh the great muse, Carlos Irwin Estevez, last night.  You may recognize Mr. Estevez by his stage name:  Charlie Sheen.

Truer words – better advice – never will be had.
NBC and their monopolistic, greedy bunch of ownership bastards, Comcast, the only outfit beside la cosa nostra that we know of that routinely buys off your local politicians and then makes you pay for mindless television programming you seldom if ever watch laden with commercials for overpriced medications, cooking implements and car scratch removal services, just gave the full middle finger to all Americans who enjoy watchable comedy – entertaining but not filthy commentary – all delivered by a fellow who shows respect for his middle age audience.
Jay Leno is no blabbing Bill O'Reilly or clueless David Gregory or Oprah or Letterman or any of the hundreds of others who we are forced to pay to not watch in order to get access to local news or a football game or even a weather report.
Comcast/NBC – worse customer service track record in American communications and entertainment.  Most overpriced communications and “entertainment” in American history.  This outfit makes la cosa nostra look like some eighth grade pretend bullies in the school playground.
They own you – they own your local government and they are fully supported by your state government and your federal government.  They overcharge you every day of the year.  They dictate what is on your TV – when – how much you must pay for it – all government approved.
This mindless monopoly should be split apart – disbanded – or just put out of business.
Charley Sheen nailed it.  But we would like to add this thought to Charley's wisdom – run for President Jay and then put this horrible outfit out of business – once and for all.  If you are as sick of this company and the crap TV they produce and deliver to you at outrageous prices as we are, Jay might have a chance.  He would also scare the pants suit off his “what difference does it make” competition.
Aside:  we apologize for leaving you with that image!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

In His Own Words – Bill Gates

Bill Gates tells quite a different story than the one now going around regarding the growing wealth disparity in the world's nations.  Here is the link to the annual letter Mr. Gates distributes as head of the foundation that bears his name:  http://annualletter.gatesfoundation.org/#section=home

Here are a few quotes from the letter:
·         The global picture of poverty has been completely redrawn in my lifetime. Per-person incomes in Turkey and Chile are where the United States level was in 1960. Malaysia is nearly there, as is Gabon. And that no-man’s-land between rich and poor countries has been filled in by China, India, Brazil, and others. Since 1960, China’s real income per person has gone up eightfold. India’s has quadrupled, Brazil’s has almost quintupled, and the small country of Botswana, with shrewd management of its mineral resources, has seen a thirty-fold increase. There is a class of nations in the middle that barely existed 50 years ago, and it includes more than half of the world’s population.

·         Income per person has in fact risen in sub-Saharan Africa over that time, and quite a bit in a few countries. After plummeting during the debt crisis of the 1980s, it has climbed by two thirds since 1998, to nearly $2,200 from just over $1,300. Today, more and more countries are turning toward strong sustained development, and more will follow. Seven of the 10 fastest-growing economies of the past half-decade are in Africa.

·         I am optimistic enough about this that I am willing to make a prediction. By 2035, there will be almost no poor countries left in the world. (I mean by our current definition of poor.)  Almost all countries will be what we now call lower-middle income or richer. Countries will learn from their most productive neighbors and benefit from innovations like new vaccines, better seeds, and the digital revolution. Their labor forces, buoyed by expanded education, will attract new investments.
TheFundamentals comments:  American media is dominated by a few very unattractive characteristics:
·         Sensationalism – mostly on bad news; seldom on good news

·         Brief snippets of disclosure and intensity with a perpetual “can't wait attitude for the next event”

·         Personality driven – think the attention directed to those who come and go – Obama, Christie, Clinton, etc. and not those who actually do the work, implement changes and have staying power – the regular everyday folk

·         Incredibly parochial – unaware and uninterested in the major developments and advances that occur beyond our borders
Mr. Gates does not suffer from these shortcomings.  Please read his letter.  It’s entitled, "Three myths that block progress for the poor.”   We think his views are needed as the chorus grows to drastically curtail the benefits flowing from capitalism.