Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The reality of it all..

I came across this story the other day concerning property tax caps. The title, "Reality of tax caps sets in", seems to indicate that something unsuspected, unknown and terrible is happening. I think in reality, most people knew the government wasn't going to take in as much money when the caps started taking effect.

Of course, there are a lot of other reasons government isn't collecting as much revenue as it was, most of them caused by our sluggish economy, but property tax caps seem to be a convenient target for now.

It seems, for the most part, that people who receive more benefit from higher taxes are more likely to be opposed to the caps than are people who would benefit more from the caps than from higher taxes. I guess that's understandable.

I'm all for cutting taxes myself, although as I have said many times before, I would much rather eliminate property taxes altogether, instead of voting to make them Constitutional and unfair.

At any rate, as the newspaper article stated, reality is getting ready to set in.

The reality is that government will continue to operate. In the end it may have to cut out some of the frills, but the reality is that government can provide essential services for a lot less money than it spends now.

Our government has needed a good dose of reality for a long time.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

It's a mad, mad, mad, mad world....

There sure are a lot of mad people in the United States right now. Some of them have been mad for a long time, and some of them got even more mad when the latest government health care bill passed through congress.

Some people got so mad they started threatening violence against the congressmen and congresswomen that voted for the bill. Of course, that made the people who supported the bill mad at everybody that didn't support the bill, which in turn made the people who didn't support the bill, but who didn't make any threats, mad at the people who lumped them in with the people that did make the threats. Whew.

I guess that is why there are so many mad people out there now.

Now, I do understand why people would be so upset about this latest government intervention. I'm kind of upset about it myself. And I can certainly understand that someone could get upset if they were threatened with violence. Being a Libertarian, I'm a strong proponent of the Zero Aggression Principle, (ZAP), which condemns the initiation of force or violence.

What I don't understand is why the supporters of the newest government health care bill believe it is alright for them to initiate violence. The government will force everyone to buy insurance. If a person doesn't buy insurance, he will be fined. If he doesn't submit to the fine, he will be arrested. If he doesn't submit to being arrested, he will be shot.

That's pretty violent, I think.

George Washington said that "Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master." Despite his faults and shortcomings, I think old George pretty well got that one right.

I've pointed out many times how government relies on the threat of force and violence to make sure people comply with everything from taxes, to seat belt laws, to fishing, to barbering.

When I point it out to people that like a lot of government, for some reason it seems to make them mad.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

The old 1-2 punch...

The Advocates for Self-Government sent out this little note about some proposed legislation that we can look forward to....

"On March 4 Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) introduced one of the most tyrannical bills in modern American history: "The Enemy Belligerent Interrogation, Detention and Prosecution Act of 2010."

"It's probably the single most extremist, tyrannical and dangerous bill introduced in the Senate in the last several decades, far beyond the horrific, habeas-abolishing Military Commissions Act," says former constitutional lawyer and bestselling author Glenn Greenwald.

"It literally empowers the President to imprison anyone he wants in his sole discretion by simply decreeing them a terrorist suspect -- including American citizens arrested on U.S. soil.

"The bill requires that all such individuals be placed in military custody, and explicitly says that they 'may be detained without criminal charges and without trial for the duration of hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners,' which everyone expects to last decades, at least," Greenwald says.

Then this congressman from South Carolina declares that opposing national health care makes you a terrorist:

I hope he doesn't decide to run for President, or at least I hope he doesn't win.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Of coarse...

I've dealt with some pretty rough talking characters in my 36 years in the construction business. I hate to accused of profiling, but it seems like plumbers are the most prone to have a potty mouth. Occupational hazard, I guess.

We did hire a crew of brick layers once that required scrambling to keep the homeowners away from the job whenever the masons were on the job. Like I said, we hired them once.

I've never been shocked by coarse language. I have occasionally been surprised by where it came from. After watching President Obama's Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel on 60 minutes Sunday night, I have to wonder if he was ever a plumber. Or a brick layer. I guess I don't have any reason to expect that the people who work in the White House would share my views on what constitutes class. I guess there is no reason that they should.

I remember the first time I heard the F-bomb uttered by a grade school age girl.

Now I remember the first time I heard it uttered by a Vice-President.

I can't help but wonder who's next.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

For want of a horse...

I never knew my wife's Grandpa Burley Moyer. He passed away long before we met.

I don't remember when farmers used horses for doing the farm work either. Of course, a lot of Amish use horses for farming around here nowadays, but that is more from choice than necessity.

I do remember when I was a kid, they used to have horse pulls at the Mooreland Fair. Burley might have been there, but like I said, I didn't know him, so I couldn't really say.

I remember that I was pretty small, and those horses were pretty big. They had a big sled at one end of a dirt track, and the horses would pull it from one end to the other.

I remember that there would be a long line of men standing along the track, and as the horses pulled the sled down the track, more and more men would climb onto the sled until the horses just couldn't pull it anymore.

I remember that no matter how strong and determined the horses were, eventually, when enough people climbed on the sled, the horses just couldn't pull it any more.

I wish the politicians in Washington would remember that.

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For the Tenth time...

In an encouraging sign that all is not lost, Idaho has adopted a policy declaring that it's citizens cannot be forced to buy health insurance under federal mandates. It's a matter of the state exercising the Tenth Amendment in the Bill of Rights, which states: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

There are getting to be quite a few instances around the country where states are starting to invoke their Tenth Amendment rights to protect their other amendment rights. Montana passed a law last year in an attempt to protect its citizens Second Amendment rights.

From what I have been able to gather, about 35 states have some type of 10th Amendment bill or resolution in various stages of adoption. That's the good news.

The bad news is the federal government takes a very dim view of any assertion of individual or states rights. We can fully expect them to impose sanctions on any state that resists federal mandates, probably starting with not handing back a portion of the money they took from the people in those states in the first place.

But there is also more good news. We're going to have an election this fall, and we can ask the candidates if they support the Constitution, and specifically the 10th Amendment, before we vote for them, and if they'll stick to their guns when the feds get nasty. And if they don't or won't, we can vote for someone that does and will.

And that's good news for a lot of Libertarian candidates.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Guess again....

I don't suppose any of use here on earth really know what the future holds. We can all guess, and there is evidence that some people are better guessers than others, but it's still a guess.

I'm guessing before too long the federal government will be even more involved in health care than it is now. Maybe not this weekend, but before too long.

I read an article in the paper this morning that the government is guessing the currently proposed health care bill will cost $940 billion over the next 10 years.

Of course, when they started Medicare Part A in 1965, they guessed the cost in 1990 would be $9 billion. Turns out it was $67 billion.

If they're not any better at guessing now than they were then, the actual cost of the proposed bill could end up around $7 trillion.

And I'm guessing they're not.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I've come to my census...

I'm sure there are people out there that trust government officials more than I do. They probably answered all the questions on their census form before they sent it back in. And that's okay if that's what they want to do. I opted just to tell them how many people are living in our home.

That's really all they need to know. Constitutionally.

If you read the census, you probably noticed that they promised to keep your information confidential. That's the same promise they made before they used the information gathered by the census before World War I to track down people who hadn't registered for the draft.

And it's the same promise they made before they used information gathered by the census before World War II to round up Japanese-Americans for our concentration camps.

And while I'm not Japanese, and while I'm probably a little past prime if they decide to re-institute the draft, and even though they probably already know the answers to all the questions I left blank, I'd just as soon not make it any easier for them.

With them being liars and all.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Family tradition...

We had an 80th birthday get together for my Mother-in-law, Jean Shafer, yesterday. All of her children, and all of their spouses, and all of their children, and all of their spouses, and all of their children showed up for the party. With the little ones moving around, it was hard to get a count until they took the picture, but I came up with 44 people.

A couple of years ago we had a 60th wedding anniversary for my Mom and Dad, Myron and Phyllis Bell. About 62 of their offspring got together for that one.
After this July the count should be up to 70.

One of my favorite things at family get togethers is watching the terrified expressions on the faces of one of the grandchildrens' new boyfriend or girlfriend.

Being a member of this family isn't for the faint of heart.

But it is a lot of fun.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The worm turns...

I don't know exactly how much rain we've had in the past couple of days. I do know its been quite a bit. This morning, when I went for coffee, I noticed a lot of worms crossing the road on front of our house.

Apparently, when the ground got full of water, the worms on the north side of the road decided to head for higher ground and made a mad dash (as worm dashes go)for the south side of the road. Meanwhile, the worms on the south side of the road decided to avoid drowning by making their own mad dash to the north side of the road.

They reminded me a lot of voters that elect Republicans for a while and then Democrats for a while. They might think things will be better, or even different, after they make the switch, but it doesn't take long to realize that no matter which side of the road you're on, the government is going to keep getting bigger and bigger, and we keep getting in deeper and deeper.

And of course, a lot of worms had their hopes crushed even before they made it across the road.

The road Libertarians usually prefer to take isn't nearly as crowded.

But the end result looks a lot better.

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Ride, Dawson, Ride...

I'm not sure when a person is old enough to start learning the harsh realities of life. I took my two year old grandson, Dawson, with me to Richmond the other day to get the building permits for a job we are starting. He handled it pretty well, although like me, I'm not sure he understood why some one should have to ask the government for permission to add a room onto their home.

He does like to ride in Papaw's truck, and I dearly love to take him with me when I can, so I turned off the airbag for the passenger seat, (like the instructions say to do), ran the strap with the hook on it through the headrest and hooked it to the wall behind the seat, fastened the seat belt and shoulder harness around the car seat that is rated for children from 22 to 40 pounds, and strapped Dawson into the contraption.

He's been strapped in everywhere he's gone since the day he was born, so he doesn't seem to mind too much. I guess it's what you get used to. When I was about his age the most coveted place to ride was in the back window of Dad's 1954 Ford. Probably not as safe as the car seat, but a lot more enjoyable ride. And you couldn't really see for sure where you were going, but it was a great view of where you had been.

There's a good chance I'd end up in jail and Dawson would end up with Child Services if we did that today. And I'm sure it's safer to have him strapped in beside me, (as long as his airbag is turned off), but I also think about the changes I've seen over the years, and I wonder about the changes he'll see before he's my age.

When I started in business 36 years ago, I'd heard of building permits and building inspectors, but I'd never really seen one. Not too long after that they said you needed to get a permit once in a while, and every once in a while some county or town inspector would come out and collect $25.00 from us. I'm not sure why.

Things progressed to the point that a few years ago the county inspector put a stop work order on three little boys trying to build this club house down by Centerville:

I used to get pretty upset about the permitting process. Nowadays though, not so much. Maybe because most of the people in the building commissioners office seem friendlier now. Or maybe, like Dawson in his car seat, I've just gotten used to it.

There have been a lot of changes since I was Dawson's age. Some good, some not so good. About all of the changes we've seen in government have resulted in it getting bigger, more expensive and more intrusive. Right now it's difficult to name three things that government doesn't tax or regulate.

I'm afraid by the time Dawson gets to be my age, it will be impossible to name one.

I hope we can get that changed, so Dawson and the rest of our grandchildren don't have to look at the freedoms we enjoyed only out of the rear window.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Count on it...

For those of us who pay attention to such things, it's almost March 12th. I saw three scouts on the 8th, and three more today. The buzzards should be back in Hagerstown in full force this Friday.

I guess it's good to have anything you can depend on nowadays.

Even if it's buzzards.


Sunday, March 07, 2010

Bell bottom blues...

I've never been much of a swimmer. I tried to learn how and enjoy it several times when I was younger, but open water never seemed as appealing as dry land to me. I've been out on the ocean a time or two, but I can thankfully say I've never been in it.

I have heard people that do swim in the ocean warn about the undertow. Apparently it's an underwater force that can drag you out to sea before you realize what happened.

My wife Susan and I went to an 80th birthday open house for one of our friends last Saturday. While we were out, and in the interest of conserving time and gas, she was able to convince me that we should pick up a few things we needed for the house. And since we had come that far, it wouldn't take very much longer to stop and see if she could find new blouse that she wanted.

Apparently there is also something called a "shopping undertow", because before I knew it, I was wandering around a shopping mall. Luckily, I was able to grab onto a bench and secure myself there until Susan found what she was looking for.

Now, if you're getting close to being an old man, and you haven't sat in a mall for a while and watched people go by, let me tell you it can be quite a learning experience. For instance, I learned that a lot of people think they can wear smaller clothes than they really can. And that a lot of young men think that they can wear bigger pants than they really can. And that a lot of people at the mall apparently didn't realize they were going to be out in the public when they left home. Or they didn't care.

I know styles have changed over the years, and I'm sure they will continue to change. When I look at the way a lot of young people present themselves nowadays, I wonder what employer would hire them, and how they will ever find a decent paying job.

It's probably the same thing the old men sitting on the mall benches were thinking about me when I was the one walking around the mall in my tie dye shirt and bell-bottom pants, with hair down to my shoulders.

The worrisome thing is that the old men in my younger days were right.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

I'll second that...

It's not like I was looking for something else to worry about, but I came across This Story the other day concerning the recent earthquake in Chile. According to the folks at NASA, the earthquake affected the earth's rotation in such a way that we are now losing about 1 millionth of a second per day.

I guess we were already losing about 1 billionth of a second per day, but apparently I just hadn't noticed. I did, however, notice that I didn't get as much accomplished this week as I wanted, and I sure was relieved to discover that it wasn't my fault. I just didn't have as much time as I had last week.

Probably the most troubling part is not that we have lost a millionth of a second today, but that in 162,000 years we will have lost a whole minute.

And I sure am glad the folks over at NASA figured this out. I'd hate to think that any of my tax money was being wasted.

But I may have to start working a few Sundays.

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