Saturday, March 31, 2012

In praise of Al Gore

It looks like Al Gore finally did something on his own to fight Man-made Global Warming, instead of dumping more burdens on taxpayers, manufacturers and other producers. 

Go here for details. 

Good job, sir !!!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Thank You All !!

I want to say thank you to the oil riggers, metal foundry workers, Chinese coffee growers, truckers, shippers, dockworkers and lumberjacks who made my morning Starbucks double-espresso possible. 

My Starbucks "double-espresso to go" has a plastic lid made of petrochemicals.  Thank you to the people working on that oil rig who brought that gooey black stuff up to the surface.  The mold for the lid was made on a machining center by someone who knew what the heck he was doing.  A big thank you to the machinists and everyone working at that foundry ! 

Someone had to cut down the tree that produced the paper for the cup.  Thank you, Mr. Lumberjack !!  Thank you to the pulpwood haulers who got the tree to the mill.  Thank you to the people who made the machine that turned the raw cardboard stock into cylinders.  Thank you to the chemists who produced the ink that put the Starbucks logo on the cup, and the glue that holds the cup together. 

Another big thank-you to the bean farmers in China, Ethiopia, or Latin and South America.  Thanks for growing the beans and harvesting them.  Thank you to someone else for curing them and roasting them.  And a big thanks to all the truckers, shippers and dockworkers who pulled all of these things together and got them to the Starbucks at I-30 and Western Center Boulevard in North Fort Worth. 

None of these good people did their jobs with me in mind.  They were only thinking of their own selfish selves.  Those oil rig guys, lumberjacks, pulp-wood haulers, chemists, coffee growers and shippers all have to compete with others in their profession to get me the best coffee for the lowest price possible.  They have to constantly work harder and harder and innovate more and more to keep up with my demands.  Otherwise, I'll buy my double espresso someplace else.  None of them work for me or for Starbucks.  The system simply works.     

Thank you to Thomas Jefferson, for not setting us up with a "planned" economy.  Thank you to Milton Friedman, who did more than anyone else about letting markets work.  I won't even bother thanking Howard Schultz and the hundreds of thousands of Starbucks employees worldwide.  They're the ones who take my whopping $2.11 and spread it around to the millions of other people I named earlier. 

They didn't have to be thinking of me for the system to work.  Someone upstream from them let it be known that they had a need.  That person was me.  These great people stepped up to meet that need, and dang it, I'm happy about it.   

So thank you, thank you, thank you ! 

P.S. - There is no government double-espresso czar mentioned anywhere in this process.  I hope there never will be.  Imagine some government munchkin trying to plan everything about the system I just described, and making it happen all over the world every time someone wants a cup of coffee.  Even worse, imagine what horrors await us when government munchkins, hobbits and trolls get even more involved in medicine.   

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Bruce Beckman, Libertarian candidate for the Texas Legislature

If you live in Texas State District 93, which is this unnatural collection of real estate that stretches from East Arlington to Haslet....

....Please consider voting for my new friend Bruce Beckman.

Here's the intro from his homepage:

My name is Bruce Beckman and I hope you will vote for me to be your Representative in the Texas Legislature.

Like other Libertarian candidates, I believe in free markets, civil liberties, and peace.

I'm unhappy with the results the Democrats and Republicans have delivered, and that's why I have decided to run for office myself as a Libertarian.

May his tribe increase ! 
Here's his Issues Page:

Cut Taxes and Spending

Taxes are too high. That's because government spending is too high. I want to reduce both.

Today our state government spends money on almost everything: education, health care, cancer research, business incentives (i.e. corporate welfare), and poverty programs. These may be worthy goals, but they are not proper functions of government.

Steps I would take:

•I would vote to repeal the business margins tax that was proposed and signed in 2006 by Republican Governor Rick Perry, and filed by Rep. Jim Keffer (Republican from Eastland).

•I would file a bill to cut the state sales tax from 6.25% to 4%.

•Those two tax reductions would reduce state revenue by about $25 billion over the next two years*. I propose cutting expenditures to match. (The current total budget is about $172 billion.) I support across-the-board cuts, and I note that most of the cuts will need to come from the two largest areas of state spending: education and health and human services.

*Estimate based on Comptroller's 2012-2013 revenue estimate.

End the War on Drugs

Selling and using drugs may be personally unwise, but those activities don't violate anyone's rights. By establishing drug prohibition, our government has taken a modest problem and turned it into a huge problem. Now we have to deal with drug gangs and black markets, and taxpayers have to pay to keep thousands of people in jail. We need to end this nonsense which has cost taxpayers over $1 Trillion since the War On Drugs began in 1970. None of the goals of the War on Drugs have been met in its 42 year history- not one- so why do we as taxpayers keep throwing bad money after good?

Money spent on arresting and prosecuting people for marijuana -related crimes would be far better spent on pursuing and prosecuting child sex offenders, gangs, and other violent criminals.

Steps I would take:

•I would vote to reduce spending on the War On Drugs programs in Texas and seek to re-appropriate those funds to other law enforcement programs such as prosecuting and monitoring sex offenders and other violent criminals.

•I would vote for a bill to allow medical marijuana like HB 1491, filed last year by Rep. Naishtat (Democrat from Austin).

•I would vote for a bill to reduce marijuana penalties like HB 548, filed last year by Rep. Dutton (Democrat from Houston).

Relief for Small Businesses

State and local governments make it much harder than it should be to start your own business. Both native citizens and immigrants often wish they could start a business, but get frightened away by the mountain of red tape, fees, and regulations.

Politicians do this partly to protect well-connected businesses by shielding them from new, lower-priced competition. Government should not pick winners and losers.

I want to make it easier to start a business in Texas by reducing the power of government to get in the way.

Steps I would take:

•I would file legislation to reduce the power of cities to use permitting ordinances to limit and block businesses.

•I would file legislation to repeal many anti-competitive occupational licensing laws.

•I would file a bill to prohibit local governments from using tax subsidies to pick winners and losers.

Liberty for Latinos

Texas has a fast-growing Latin American population. I want Texas Latinos to leave behind big-government welfare and the big-government bigotry of the two dominant parties, and join the Libertarian Party instead. We don't want the government to prop people up, and we don't want the government to hold people down. I think that's consistent with the desire of most Latinos to have a level playing field where hard work pays off.

Steps I am taking:

•I'm encouraging Latinos to volunteer for Libertarian campaigns.

•I'm encouraging Latinos to run for office as Libertarians

Here's where you go to send Bruce some money ! 

Now They're Wanting To Ban Car Radios !!

Well, they wanted to. 

Go here for the entire sordid story of Ray LaHood's predecessor, a Nanny-Stater named George Parker.  He thought that you would never be able to operate a car radio without being a danger to yourself and others. 

My favorite paragraph:

Two state senators were more than happy to empower Parker, according to an Associated Press report from the hearing. Senator James C. Moran offered legislation that would enlist “neighbors of an applicant” to “sign affidavits as to the driver’s moral fitness”; Senator William E. Weeks sponsored a bill that would “require a physician’s certificate for an applicant for a driver’s license.”

And that, ladies and gentlemen is why right-thinking people must always watch out for the busybodies amongst us.  Vote them out. 

Vote Libertarian. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

On Unpopular Opinions

Hey, Libertarians ! Getting tired of being called "outside the mainstream"? Or too radical?

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man. - George Bernard Shaw

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Have dinner with Gary Johnson !!!!

This is going to be great !!!
I can't yank 1K out of The Aggie College Fund to attend right now, but I'm going to enter 1/20th of that amount for the drawing.

Gary Johnson was governor of New Mexico for eight years.

He boasts that in that eight year period, the government didn't create a single job. Why? Because that's not the government's job, and when government tries to get involved in job creation, we get....well, what we're currently getting.

He was nicknamed Governor Veto.   As governor, Mr. Johnson maintains he worked overtime to do just that, issuing an astonishing 685 vetoes in his eight years in office - more than the combined total of vetoes by the nation’s other 49 governors in those same eight years.  “Any time someone approached him about legislation for some purpose, his first response always was to ask if government should be involved in that to begin with,” said former New Mexico Republican National Committee member Mickey Barnett.

He laid off 1,200 state employees.

He's on the Advisory Council of "Students For A Sensible Drug Policy". 

He supports gay marriage. 

He left the state of New Mexico with a large budget surplus. 

His small government credentials are impeccable. 

Can you imagine getting this guy onto a debate stage with Barack and Barack-Lite

Let's make it happen !!!!

Ok, let's sell the Egyptian military dictators some more jets and tanks

From the New York Holy Times.  I've inserted ONE paragraph into this ridiculous story that is not authentic.  Most of this story is genuine State Department / Military Industrial Complex bullshit excuses for making money at the world's expense.  

Only one paragraph was inserted to ridicule these war profiteers.  Can you find it? 

U.S. Restores Aid to Egypt in Move Favoring American Industry


Published: March 24, 2012

WASHINGTON - An intense debate within the Obama administration over resuming military assistance to Egypt, which in the end was approved Friday by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, turned in part on a question that had nothing to do with democratic progress in Egypt but rather with American jobs at home.

A delay or a cut in $1.3 billion in military aid to Egypt risked breaking existing contracts with American arms manufacturers that could have shut down production lines in the middle of President Obama's re-election campaign and involved significant financial penalties, according to officials involved in the debate.

Since the Pentagon buys weapons for foreign armed forces like Egypt's, the cost of those penalties - which one senior official said could have reached $2 billion if all sales had been halted - would have been borne by the American taxpayer, not Egypt's ruling generals.

The companies involved include Lockheed Martin, which is scheduled to ship the first of a batch of 20 new F-16 fighter jets next month, and General Dynamics, which last year signed a $395 million contract to deliver component parts for 125 Abrams M1A1 tanks that are being assembled at a plant in Egypt.

"In large part, there are U.S. jobs that are reliant on the U.S.-Egypt strong military-to-military relationship," a senior State Department official said, speaking on condition of anonymity under rules set by the department. In deciding how to proceed, the official said, Mrs. Clinton and her colleagues "were looking at our overall national security goals, as well as any domestic issues."

Mrs. Clinton's decision to resume military assistance, which has been a foundation of United States-Egyptian relations for over three decades, sidestepped a new Congressional requirement that for the first time directly links arms sales to Egypt's protection of basic freedoms. No new military aid had been delivered since the fiscal year began last October, and Egypt's military has all but exhausted funds approved in previous years.

Mrs. Clinton's decision provoked sharp criticism from lawmakers across the political spectrum, as well as human rights organizations. Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, criticized it as "beyond the pale."

Referring to Egypt's recent decision to prosecute four American-financed international advocacy organizations, Mr. Paul added, "It sets a precedent that America will not punish its aggressors but instead give them billions of our taxpayers' dollars."

Mrs. Clinton used her authority under the new law to waive a requirement that she certify Egypt's protection of human rights. That she would not certify that the military had complied was in itself a rebuke to Egypt's transitional military leaders, who have moved slowly to yield power and to lift a decades-old state of emergency, but it nonetheless allows the Egyptian military to continue to arm and equip its forces.

"The secretary's decision to waive is also designed to demonstrate our strong support for Egypt's enduring role as a security partner and leader in promoting regional stability and peace," the State Department's spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland, said in a statement. Both the military assistance and an additional $250 million in economic and political assistance also required Mrs. Clinton to certify that Egypt was upholding the Camp David peace accords with Israel, which she did on Friday.

The statement and continuing military and other assistance to Egypt, senior administration officials said, rewarded the extraordinary progress the country has made since the overthrow last year of its autocratic president, Hosni Mubarak. Egypt has elected a new Parliament in a vote widely seen as free and fair, and it has scheduled a presidential election in May, with a runoff to follow in June.

"We've seen more progress in 16 months than we've seen in 60 years," the senior State Department official said.

Even so, the debate within the administration was unusually fraught, officials said, especially after Egypt had imposed a travel ban on seven Americans who were charged as part of the case against the American organizations.

Some in the State Department, echoing the concerns from Capitol Hill and human rights advocates, argued that the administration should have withheld new military aid until the case was fully resolved and the presidential election held.

Mrs. Clinton, officials said, favored a partial waiver, allowing some, but not all, of the assistance to begin. That would maintain leverage over Egypt's generals to transfer political power to a newly elected government without jeopardizing existing military contracts.

A looming deadline for payments, however, forced the issue before then, and the White House and Pentagon pressed for a waiver, officials said. A White House spokesman referred questions to the State Department, and the Pentagon did not respond to requests for comment.

The military assistance to Egypt underscores a point Mrs. Clinton and other officials have made when it comes to foreign aid in general: much of it comes back to American corporations and organizations for equipment or services.

"Lockheed Martin values the relationship established between our company and the Egyptian customer since the first F-16s were delivered in the early 1980s," said Laura F. Siebert, a spokeswoman for the company, which is based in Fort Worth.

The M1A1 components are built in factories in Alabama, Florida, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, several of them battleground states in an election that has largely focused on jobs. Because the United States Army plans to stop buying new tanks by 2014, continued production relies on foreign contracts, often paid for by American taxpayers as military assistance.

Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, who added the certification requirements to legislation authorizing military aid to Egypt, called the decision to waive them regrettable, and the resumption of aid "business as usual."

Jennifer Steinhauer contributed reporting.

Here's Eddie Vedder and PearlJam doing Bob Dylan's "Masters Of War".