Wednesday, February 24, 2010

U.S. Doesn’t Have a Pot to Piss In

Want to see just how broke America is?  Take a look at this chart, courtesy of the CIA’s The World Factbook, which records the following.

This entry records a country’s net trade in goods and services, plus net earnings from rents, interest, profits, and dividends, and net transfer payments (such as pension funds and worker remittances) to and from the rest of the world during the period specified. These figures are calculated on an exchange rate basis, i.e., not in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms.

Go ahead, take a look, and then you’ll understand why Jeff Quick states “We are scrod.”

Posted by John Venlet on 02/24 at 05:10 PM
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Census 2010

I have advocated individuals, as a peaceful means of civil disobedience in our increasingly State regulated society, to refuse to participate in Census 2010.  Here, here, here, here, and most recently here, and I will continue to do so on these pages, and when I am in groups of people socially.

Wendy McElroy has penned a well written column, posted at The Freeman, enumerating reasons why individuals should refuse to participate in Census 2010, providing some history of the census, how the data collected by the census has been abused, and then ends her column with a personal anecdote.  The op-ed is titled The Census: Vehicle for Social Engineering, and it ends this way.

Several years ago I discussed the Canadian census with a neighbor after she had signed up to be a census taker. Like many rural women, she is proudly independent and openly suspicious of authority, especially of government “suits” and bean-counters. I asked what she would do if a neighbor refused to answer her questions. “I’d report them to my boss,” she replied without hesitation. When I frowned in disapproval, she indignantly protested against people who refused to pull their weight in the community by answering “some simple questions.”

Note the political sleight-of-hand. My neighbor would never trespass on my property or steal vegetables from my garden. But she would turn me in to the authorities for not answering questions. Instead of the “natural harmony of interests” that comes from all people minding their own business, the census establishes a situation in which everyone is encouraged to police everyone else at the behest of the State; indeed, many are paid to do so.

The census in a welfare state, then, creates a dynamic in which the exercise of one person’s rights ostensibly damages the interests others. It thus has become a powerful symbol of social control over civil society.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/24 at 03:07 PM
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Segway Funnies

I don’t think much of Segways, and haven’t since they were first hyped back in 2003 as a revolutionary means of transportation.    Additionally, I’ve commented on Segway on multiple other occasions, none of which enabled me to state anything positive about Segways, or its inventor Dean Kamen.

Today, though, I can at least link to a funny Segway incident, reminiscent of a Keystone Kops episode, headlined this way.

Collier County deputies crash Segways; 1 breaks ankle

Via The Obscure Store.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/24 at 12:33 PM
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My Two Cents

Pennies.  Not many individuals actually pay attention to them anymore, regardless of the adage attributed to Ben Franklin that “A penny saved is a penny earned.”

Many individuals desire that the penny simply be eliminated, as noted in this past Atlantic piece penned by Matthew Yglesias titled Dump the Penny.

The relative discard for the penny also can be noted on a daily basis in just about every store, gas station, etcetera, across America.  “Need a penny?  Take a penny.”  When I pull up to the vacuums at the local carwash, I often note pennies lying around the multitude of vacuums, and being a Dutchman, I naturally pick them up, as I do with every discarded penny I spot.  My best one day take at the vacuums was fifty-seven cents ($0.57), and my actions lend credence to the joke, “Do you know how copper wire was invented?  Two Dutchmen fighting over a penny.”

Pennies do not seem to matter to people, unless some individual designs a program to sweep a penny, or pennies, from thousands of bank accounts and is able to accumulate a serious amount of cash, penny by penny, as noted in this story.

I think that this disregard for the penny has larger implications, and is indicative of individuals’ total, passive acceptance of taxation by the State, no matter how onerous said taxation is.

I bring this up, today, because of the following recent experience at a local gas station, which has happened to me more than once.

I go inside the gas station to purchase a couple of bottles of water at ninety-nine cents ($0.99) a piece, for a total purchase price of a buck ninety-eight ($1.98).  The cashier rings them up, I hand over two bucks ($2.00) and await my change of two cents ($0.02), which does not materialize.  My two bucks ($2.00) goes into the drawer, and the cashier bangs it shut.  I politely ask the cashier for my two cents ($0.02) change, and she looks at me as if I am crazy, and then reaches over to the “Need a penny? Take a penny.” container and hands me two cents ($0.02) with a smirk on her face, while the actual two cents ($0.02) she should be giving me in change remains in the till.

Many, if not most, individuals who would experience what I have related above would not think twice about the one or two pennies change due them, waving them off with a shrug, or tossing them into the “Need a penny?” Take a penny.” container so ubiquitous acrosss America today.

I think this careless attitude regarding one or two pennies in change, as described in my gas station experience, is writ large in Americans’ attitudes to the theft of their paychecks via taxation.  The State forcibly takes handfuls of pennies, adding up to a serious amount of dollars, and individuals may grumble a bit about this, but they mostly accept it without complaint.  And then when they go to the bank to cash their paycheck, and are due X amount of dollars and let’s say three cents ($0.03), the three cents ($0.03) is casually tossed on the floor of their car, on the street, or what have you.  Ho, hum, pennies.

As for myself, I want my two cents ($0.02).  What about you?

Posted by John Venlet on 02/24 at 10:32 AM
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Steve Lee - Exposed as the Statist That He Is

Karen De Coster has the goods on Australian Steve Lee, of Steve Lee - I Like Guns YouTube video song and dance infamy.

Karen’s entire post, titled Steve Lee, the Australian Gun “Moderate,” is definitely worth reading, as she has been in correspondence with Steve Lee, attempting to clarify his gun ownership stance, since his little viddie hit the internet.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/24 at 09:09 AM
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Saved Any Jobs Lately Obama?

The stimulus is saving jobs and creating jobs.  That is the message Obama and the White House have been playing on a recorded continous loop.  Granted, the various players can’t seem to get the number of jobs saved or created by the stimulus to play the same way each time, but they keep trying.  But has the stimulus really saved any private sector jobs?  Jobs that actually matter in other words.  Decided for yourself, but I’ll give you a hint.

...during the last two year the number of public employees has increased from 22.3 million in January 2008 to 22.4 million in January 2010, after peaking at 22.6 million in July 2009.  Not that impressive you will say. Well, excuse me but it certainly beats being a private employee during that same period of time. The number of private jobs decreased from 115.5 million in January 2008 to 107 million. That’s a lose (sic) of 8.7 million jobs in the private sector while the public sector gained almost 100,000 jobs.

From a Veronique de Rugy post, complete with chart, at Breitbart’s Big Government site titled More On My Public Sector Fat Cat Obsession.

Posted by John Venlet on 02/24 at 08:14 AM
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