Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Fargo, North Dakota - Let Them Eat Sand or Go Hungry - Nanny State

The folks in Fargo, North Dakota, who are resolutely attempting to stem the flood tides of the Red River, have been at this battle for some time now.  You have to admire them, and the coming together of diverse individuals to bag sand and then stack those sand bags around businesses and individual homes.

Some individuals, though, are unable to assist in the physical labors required in this effort, but, they are able to cook meals, and then voluntarily supply these meals to the hungry individuals manning the shovels and stacking the sand bags.

Well, as the following letter to NRO’s Jay Nordlinger shows, this is not sitting well with the health agencies in North Dakota or Minnesota.

The local radio folks did a great job hooking up hungry workers with complimentary food, until the Minnesota and North Dakota health agencies heard what was going on. They called in to the radio stations to remind listeners that the only food that could be delivered must be in its original store-bought packaging or prepared in a commercial kitchen!

Thankfully, the radio folks mentioned in the letter are telling individuals to ignore the health department (maybe civil disobedience isn’t dead), but, it still goes to show you that the State is pushing you to realize that you are helpless, unless you have their approval.

Posted by John Venlet on 03/31 at 12:49 PM
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Apologizing and Pleading

Interesting essay/advertisement in the Wall Street Journal, directed at AIG bonus recipients, but which should be read by all individuals who recognize that the State is overreaching its bounds.  The purchaser of the advertisement does not reveal his name, but, he does provide us with a brief profile.

My name is regretfully withheld to avoid the wrath of small minds and big government.
I’m a small business owner who started my career 52 years ago with nothing but a $500 used car loan and a pop up toaster and proudly, as part of Corporate America, created jobs around the world and wealth for my family.

The ad is titled A Public Apology and Plea to all AIG Associates [including bonus recipients]

An excerpt.

Thoughtful Americans – people of common sense and good will – know exactly what is going on today in American Politics.
Whether or not the proposed absurd, onerous tax penalties are eventually signed into law, we share the outrage you must feel for the utter hypocrisy, heavy handedness, and pure idiocy of our elected officials. There is nothing new about the concept of politicians identifying scapegoats to divert attention from their own ineptness, but they have now taken it to a preposterous level.

Read the whole thing.

Via The Corner.

Posted by John Venlet on 03/31 at 11:34 AM
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No Man’s Land and I Don’t Want It

In a post titled Collective withdrawl, Mike Soja brings to our attention two developments in regards to abandoned and foreclosed homes.

First, in regards to the abandoned homes, specifically in Flint, MI, we learn this.

Property abandonment is getting so bad in Flint that some in government are talking about an extreme measure that was once unthinkable—shutting down portions of the city, officially abandoning them and cutting off police and fire service.

If put into effect, this would effectively create a no man’s land, a possible rootin’ tootin’ wild west.

Off-the-cuff suggestion prompts discussion on what to do with abandoned neighborhoods in Flint

Secondly, in regards to foreclosed homes, evidently more and more banks are simply walking away from foreclosed properties.

City officials and housing advocates here and in cities as varied as Buffalo, Kansas City, Mo., and Jacksonville, Fla., say they are seeing an unsettling development: Banks are quietly declining to take possession of properties at the end of the foreclosure process, most often because the cost of the ordeal — from legal fees to maintenance — exceeds the diminishing value of the real estate.

Just another effect of a burst bubble.

Banks Starting to Walk Away on Foreclosures

Posted by John Venlet on 03/31 at 10:54 AM
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May Not Have to Wonder Much Longer

In a post I titled Is That a Promise, or a Threat?, wherein I commented on Congress’ desire to ensure that no one executive’s pay exceeded an arbitrarily set level, said arbitrarily set level to be determined by a committee of professional jobholders rather than the stockholders and market forces, I stated the following.

There will be many American individuals championing this nonsense for State oversight of compensation for executives of private enterprises.  I wonder how they are going to feel about it when the reach of the State makes it down to the worker level?

I may not have to wonder about how the workers, feel, much longer.

But now, in a little-noticed move, the House Financial Services Committee, led by chairman Barney Frank, has approved a measure that would, in some key ways, go beyond the most draconian features of the original AIG bill. The new legislation, the “Pay for Performance Act of 2009,” would impose government controls on the pay of all employees—not just top executives—of companies that have received a capital investment from the U.S. government. It would, like the tax measure, be retroactive, changing the terms of compensation agreements already in place. And it would give Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner extraordinary power to determine the pay of thousands of employees of American companies.

Beyond AIG: A Bill to let Big Government Set Your Salary

Posted by John Venlet on 03/31 at 10:26 AM
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“Richman’s Law”

“No matter how much the government controls the economic system, any problem will be blamed on whatever small zone of freedom that remains.”

Via Mises Economics Blog.

Posted by John Venlet on 03/31 at 08:14 AM
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Monday, March 30, 2009

What I Would Do

In a post titled So…you are staying in the States Part VIII, Wendy McElroy asks the following question,

So…I ask, what would you have done?

based on the following.

So what do you do when you are fairly sure that the ‘radical’ standing beside you is an informant? In 30 years of activism, I have only once been certain that someone had FBI contacts and that’s because I stumbled across her mail while helping her move from one apartment to the next. I admit to following #8’s approach; I warned a select number of people and, then, I shut up. If I had filched the letter and, so, had proof in my hand…well, maybe then I would have been more public. But stealing the letter did not occur to me, which made it her word against mine. I still don’t know if I did the right thing. Or, indeed, whether there is a right thing to do in that situation.

Like Wendy, I would not have stolen the letter, but, I would have confronted the individual with the letter in my hand, and then allowed them to attempt to explain the what and why of the letter.  If the offered explanation was not satisfactory, I would have immediately shunned the individual, and then outed the individual to as many individuals as I could, rather than just a select group.

Now, this may go against the adage of “keeping your friends close, and your enemies closer”, in my opinion the risk of myself or other individuals I associate with being stool piegoned by the individual in question justifies the most direct response to the perfidy of being informed on for being a freedom loving individual.

Posted by John Venlet on 03/30 at 05:50 PM
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Unapologetically Corrupt

I always thought that being corrupt was a bad thing, but, if you’re a U.S. representative, say like John Murtha, being corrupt, if you’re “taking care of your district,” is evidently okay.

“If I’m corrupt, it’s because I take care of my district,” Mr. Murtha said. “My job as a member of Congress is to make sure that we take care of what we see is necessary. Not the bureaucrats who are unelected over there in whatever White House, whether it’s Republican or Democrat. Those bureaucrats would like to control everything. Every president would like to have all the power and not have Congress change anything. But we’re closest to the people.” (bold by ed.)

Critics claim John Murtha is capitalizing on a corrupt system, but he’s not apologizing

Via Glenn Thrush’s Blog.

Posted by John Venlet on 03/30 at 04:12 PM
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Just Drop Your Cars Off in Front of the White House for Warranty Work

Barack Obama on the auto industry today.

Because starting today, the United States government will stand behind your warrantee.

U.S. Representatives and Senators will be standing by to offer their warranty service advice on both your GM and Chrysler autos.  Loaner cars may or may not be available.

President Obama’s remarks on U.S. car industry

UPDATE:  Exurban League publishes a photo of “President Goodwrench’s” warranty work drop off area at the White House.

Via The Corner.

Posted by John Venlet on 03/30 at 11:38 AM
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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Overzealous Detainment

Roderick T. Long, in noting the story about the Dallas police officer who detained and prevented NFL player Ryan Moats from seeing his dying mother one last time, comments on Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle’s weak response to why this occurred in a post titled We Need Better People in Power.

Kunkle states that the only way incidents such as these can be avoided is as follows.

...hire people with common sense and good people skills,...

Long’s comment in response to Kunkle.

No. The answer is to restore equality of rights between police officers and ordinary people. As long as one group of people has rights another group doesn’t, there’s no way to ensure reliable safeguards against the first group’s abusive treatment of the second.

Posted by John Venlet on 03/29 at 10:31 AM
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“Collective Passivity” Indeed

The New York Times has an op-ed up, penned by Sudhir Venkatesh, a professor of sociology at Columbia, under the title Feeling Too Down to Rise Up, which considers populist rage, a subject which I commented on here, and to which this post is also closely related.

Venkatesh, noting the lack of populist rage, and wondering at this lack, states the following as a possible cause.

It certainly doesn’t mean we have more love, patience or tolerance for one another. Indeed, it may mean just the opposite, that we tend not to trust one another and that we are more alienated from our neighbors than ever before. The lack of direct action could signal the weakening of a social contract that keeps people meaningfully invested in the fate of our country — which may, in turn, be hindering our ability to resolve this crisis.

I do not think Venkatesh’s above stated postulation is the cause of the lack of populist rage, and he considers other possible causes in his piece, but I do think when Venkatesh states this,

Today widespread anger and collective passivity exist side by side. (bold by ed.)

he hits the nail on the head in regards to Americans’ docile acceptance of being herded around and slaughtered (financially) like sheep, and this “collective passivity” to the expansion of the State, which has been ongoing for decades, now, will continue to smother any “populist rage” which may be brewing.

Until such time, if indeed it comes, Americans come to the realization that the State is actually hindering them from life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and demand the freedom to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness individually, collective passivity will continue to ruin the day.

Posted by John Venlet on 03/29 at 09:12 AM
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Quotes from LeFevre

Mises Economics Blog, in a post titled A Ganster of Our Own, posts a list of quotes from Robert LeFevre’s work The Nature of Man and His Government.  Here’s just one.

“There is only one thing which causes man to look for and to organize a tool which is an instrument of compulsion and prohibition. That thing is fear. Men look to government to protect them because they fear. And virtually without exception, everything that human beings fear becomes a project for government.”

Posted by John Venlet on 03/29 at 08:08 AM
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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Is Civil Disobedience Dead?

Glenn Reynolds links to an article regarding a proposed tea party rally that has been cancelled by the Cape Coral City Council (Florida) due to fears that too many people will show up.  In actuality, the tea party was cancelled because the organizer, Lynn Rosko, was ordered by the Cape Coral City Council to obtain a permit from the council, and insurance for the event, which Ms. Rosko declined to do.

What I recommend to Ms. Rosko, and the individuals living in the Cape Coral, Florida area, is to hold the tea party anyway.  Advertise it via flyers, on the internet, word of mouth, practice civil disobedience, and show the state that they cannot impinge on the right of peaceful gatherings to protest the overreach the state by issuing commands for permits and insurance.

Cape “tea party” canceled; City fears too many attendees

UPDATE:  Cape Coral tea party is back on, under new management.  No word on if permits and insurance have been obtained.

Posted by John Venlet on 03/28 at 10:07 AM
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Should I Burn My Car or Let it Be Repossessed?

Via a Karen DeCoster post titled More Crazy, Boom-Driven Behavior, we are alerted to the fact that more and more individuals, who received auto loans under the same auspices of subprime mortgages; think no credit, bad credit, no money, no problem loans; we learn that more and more individuals who purchased cars, which they really could not afford, are burning them, driving them into the Great Lakes which surround the State of Michigan, or into canals.

Authorities report a growing number of cars dumped in the Great Lakes, burned along remote New Jersey roadsides and driven into canals in California. The phenomenon is acute in Las Vegas, where sharp declines in tourism and construction have left thousands of workers unemployed and broke.

Last October, when I noted that Representative John Dingell (D-MI) and Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) were pushing for the Treasury to throw more money at the auto lending industry, in a post I titled Government Money for Bad Auto Loans, I stated the following in regards to this proposal.

Well, why would there be troubled assets in the auto finance industry, one may ask?  Would it have anything to do with this? Click on that link and take a look at the right hand column, or Google simply “auto loans.” The entire right hand column of that Google link is advertisements for “Bad Credit Auto Loans,” “Auto Loans for any Credit,” or “Bad Credit Easy Car Loan.” Are any of these offers sounding familiar?  Are not these ads mirroring exactly the type of pitch subprime mortgage lenders were making?  Do we really want to go further down that road, again?

Why are institutions continuing to loan monies to individuals who are rotten credit risks?  It is sheer stupidity.

The article noting the current wrecking of autos is titled Signs of Stress, Fraud on Roadside.

Posted by John Venlet on 03/28 at 09:09 AM
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Towson University - The Hits Just Keep a Coming

I’m uncertain as to whose attention this blog has been brought at Towson University in Baltimore, Maryland, but, the number of visits I’ve received over the past few days from this institution have been driving my visit numbers quite relentlessly.  Thanks.

Posted by John Venlet on 03/28 at 08:52 AM
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Dim Bulbs

You know those compact fluorescent light bulbs we’re all supposed to be buying to save what ever company is currently manufac, oops, I mean we’re supposed to be buying to save the planet?  I detest them, but not because they don’t work, as is being reported in this New York Times piece titled Do New Bulbs Save Energy if They Don’t Work?  I detest them because I do not like the light they give off.  I find it obnoxious.  Especially when individuals put them in their outside lighting fixtures, where in the dark of the night they shine quite garishly.

Give me a good old incandescent light bulb, you know, the kind of incandescent bulb Congress is banning, for the children or what not.

Which reminds me. I better stock up on the incandescents, before local stores quit stocking them, because they want to show that they’re onboard with all this nonsense.

Posted by John Venlet on 03/28 at 08:19 AM
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