Category Archives: Politics

Rule Five Shutdown “Crisis” Friday

National treasure John Stossel has some thoughts on the shutdown.  Excerpt:

This government shutdown is now longer than any in history. The media keep using the word “crisis.”

“Shutdown sows chaos, confusion and anxiety!” says The Washington Post. “Pain spreads widely.”

The New York Times headlined, it’s all “just too much!”

But wait. Looking around America, I see people going about their business — families eating in restaurants, employees going to work, children playing in playgrounds, etc. I have to ask: Where’s the crisis?

Pundits talk as if government is the most important part of America, but it isn’t.

We need some government, limited government. But most of life, the best of life, goes on without government, many of the best parts in spite of government.

Of course, the shutdown is a big deal to the 800,000 people who aren’t being paid. But they will get paid. Government workers always do — after shutdowns.

Columnist Paul Krugman calls this shutdown, “Trump’s big libertarian experiment.” But it’s not libertarian. Government’s excessive rules are still in effect, and eventually government workers will be paid for not working. That makes this a most un-libertarian experiment.

Here’s the kicker:

The Washington Post ran a front-page headline about farmers “reeling… because they aren’t receiving government support checks.”

But why do farmers even get “support checks”?

One justification is “saving family farms.” But the money goes to big farms.

Government doesn’t need to “guarantee the food supply,” another justification for subsidies. Most fruit and vegetable farmers get no subsidies, yet there are no shortages of peaches, plums, green beans, etc.

Disclaimer:  I come from a long line of farmers, on both sides of my family.  Both of my grandfathers farmed.  My Dad farmed for much of his life.  But there is a distinct tendency these days to treat “the family farm” as though it’s some holy calling.  It’s not.  It’s a business, like any other, and when new business models prove more efficient, old ones die out – and should be allowed to die out.

Speaking of dying out, is anyone in the Imperial City taking a good look at these “defunded” agencies that we seem to be doing quite well without?  There’s an opportunity here that nobody seems to be – heh – capitalizing on.  News stories on the fake crisis of the “shutdown” bemoan the “non-essential” government employees that have been furloughed.

Okay.  If they’re non-essential, then why the hell are we paying them with taxpayer dollars?

Barry Goldwater had it right when he said “I have no interest in making government more efficient, for I mean to make it smaller.”  But the two are not only not contradictory, they may actually be complimentary.  But I’ll settle for smaller, less intrusive government.  By hook or by crook.

We are seeing just a little bit of that right now.  More, I say!

Rule Five Political Hypocrite Friday

I know, I know – the title is a redundancy, but there you are.  A powerful – and by that, read “crooked as a snake with a busted back” – Chicago politician has not only been busted, but the notoriously anti-gun pol has been ordered to turn in his own personal collection of twenty-three guns.  Hah!  Excerpt, with my comments:

Alderman Ed Burke, 75, is charged with one count of attempted extortion for conveying to company executives in 2017 that they’d get the (city remodeling) permits only if they signed on as clients at Burke’s private property-tax law firm in Chicago, a 37-page complaint unsealed on Thursday says.

Apparently Alderman Burke was fond of the old-school “nice contracting business you’ve got there – shame if something were to… happen to it.”

For many Chicagoans suspicious of dealings behind closed doors at City Hall, Burke has personified the city’s machine politics for decades. Dozens of aldermen have entered U.S. District court on corruption charges, but Burke seemed too powerful, too wealthy and too savvy to land himself in the kind of legal trouble he now faces.

A career state police officer of my acquaintance some years back once told me that every criminal he ever encountered combined three character traits in various proportions:  Greedy, mean, and stupid.  Apparently the same applies to Chicago aldermen.

He sat in a packed Chicago federal courtroom Thursday afternoon with his arms folded, wearing his trademark pinstriped suit with a pocket square. Minutes later, he stood before U.S. Magistrate Sheila Finnegan, who asked if he understood the charge and that a conviction could carry a lengthy prison sentence.

“Yes, your honor,” he answered calmly.

And if there is any justice to be found in Cook County – a highly doubtful supposition – that prison sentence will indeed be lengthy.

Burke’s attorney, Charles Sklarsky, commented briefly to reporters as he left the courthouse with his client, saying he looked forward to proving Burke did nothing wrong.

“The transaction described in the complaint does not make out extortion or an attempt to extort,” he said.

Which statement is lawyerly hogwash.

Here’s the punch line:

Prosecutors told the judge that Burke, who has publicly opposed the National Rifle Association and proposed multiple gun-control ordinances over the years, had 23 guns at his offices alone. The judge said one condition of his continued release is that he gets rid of all his guns, including any at his home. He also was required to turn over his passport.

Haw!

If I had a dollar for every anti-gun politician who ascribed to the “laws for thee, but not for me” school of thought, I’d have… well, a whole bunch of dollars.  Like Dianne Feinstein and her politically-connected CCW permit, or Mike Bloomberg and his retinue of armed guards.

Of course this is Illinois, which state in general and Cook County in particular has a long history of political corruption, as the linked article points out:

Burke joins a long list of Illinois lawmakers charged criminally, including former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who is serving a 14-year prison term on multiple federal corruption convictions.

Now hypocrisy isn’t against the law, for which fact many members of Congress no doubt breathe the occasional sigh of relief.  But there should damn well be some cost on Election Day; should be, but in all too many cases there isn’t, as much of the electorate apparently expects nothing else from pols of either party.

Animal’s Daily Secession Round II News

We’ve been kicking this idea around for a while now, but here’s another take on it from The Washington Times’ Stephen Moore.  Excerpt:

Houston, we have a problem. The federal government is losing the consent of the governed.

Could this red state-blue state America end in violence and uprising if one side feels hopelessly aggrieved by the tyranny of the majority of the other side? We know, regrettably, from history that it can.

How do we head this off? Two ideas need to be pursued.

The most practical solution is a reinvigorated emphasis on federalism — a political movement that takes ever-expanding power away from the federal government and restores the sovereignty and home rule of the states. That way Americans can self-select to live under the laws they agree with but within the context of the legal protections of U.S. citizens embedded in the U.S. Constitution.

If you want drugs legalized, government-run health care, abortion on demand and an end to fossil fuels, move to California. If you want low taxes, right-to-work laws, prayer in school, move to Alabama. This mitigates the tyranny of the federal government and is much in the intent of our Founding Fathers.

If this doesn’t work, America may need to consider a Brexit option. One of the flaws of the U.S. Constitution is that it never set forth terms of legal separation. Perhaps that needs to be fixed with a constitutional amendment that allows a state to leave the union if some super-majority of the citizens of that state want to opt out. As long as the states remained as a free-trade zone and perhaps agreed to a common currency (like the euro) the economic costs would be small.

Some may view this as an un-American and even treasonous idea. No. Offering states an exit option would force the majority of states to be more attentive to the grievances of the minority and would help resolve conflicts and could save the union from dissolution.

I don’t know as it would save the union from dissolution; not at all.  Why not?  Well, there are a couple of reasons.

First, the red/blue divide of the states isn’t as geographically coherent as the North/South divide in 1861.  You have New England and the Atlantic Seaboard, Illinois and a few other parts of the upper Midwest and the Left Coast, Nevada and Colorado in the deep-blue column.  The rest of the country is either red or purple, and I have little doubt that if a “USexit” was in the cards, plenty of folks would vote with their feet to either join or flee the seceding states, thus making the divide even greater.

Second, there would be a tipping point at which the Imperial city wouldn’t be able to hold things together.  If, say, twenty of fifty states bailed – the aforementioned above plus, say, Alaska and Hawaii – I think you’d hit a point of no return where residents of the remaining states would start looking closer to home for resolutions of their distributed interests.  The result of that would probably be several loose regional coalitions of states – several versions of something more like the Articles of Confederation in the red states, something more along the lines of pure democracy in the blue areas.

Either way, the United States as we know it ends at that point.

Now, Mr. Moore also advocates the more sane solution of a return to federalism.  That’s my preferred action as well, but honestly, hardly anybody in either party in the Imperial City is interested in depriving themselves of what has become a truly staggering power over the citizenry.

That’s where we are, True Believers, and it ain’t pretty.

Animal’s Daily Fauxcohantas News

Thanks once again to our pals over at The Daley Gator for the linkback!  If you’re not reading TDG daily, you should be.

Meanwhile, in Taxachusetts, Princess Liawatha at it again, seek to make heap big wampum as Presidential candidate!  Excerpt:

Consider her own words — the statement that will launch a thousand tweets, and that’s just from POTUS.

She wants Americans “to be able to work hard, play by the same set of rules …”

Is a white honky cracker ofay silver-spoon WASP from the ultra-exclusive 02138 zip code claiming to be a “Cherokee” to grab two tenured affirmative-action Ivy League professorships “playing by the same set of rules” as everybody else?

“America’s middle class is under attack … (Government) has become a tool for the wealthy and well-connected.”

This, from a fake Indian who was paid $350,000 to teach one class at Harvard Law School. Who got a zero-interest loan from Harvard to buy her $3-million mansion on Linnaean Street in Cambridge. Who in her first campaign exhorted her supporters to talk her up with the people “standing behind you at the cheese shop.” Who, when asked by a slobbering acolyte on MSNBC if she owned stock, replied, “No, only mutual funds.”

The video includes what one of her fanzines described as “images of a woman’s march.” The one she took part in with rabid anti-Semite Linda Sarsour, perhaps?

Somehow I seem to have been excised from her email list, but the stories say she asked her followers to tell her why she should run.

Well, as it happens, I have some thoughts on why Senator Spreading Bull should run:

  1. Give late-night comedians endless material throughout the election cycle.
  2. Make the rest of the Democrat candidates look reasonable (well, except for Kamala Harris, and Cory Booker, and that daffy old Socialist from Vermont, and…  what was I saying again?)
  3. The campaign could save money by rerunning old Hillary campaign planks, such as “I have a vagina” and “it’s my turn, peasants!”
  4. Could garner nostalgia points by campaigning with Clayton Moore.
  5. Give economic advisers their first chance to bring out budget deficit projections in tens of trillions.

Seriously, I hope she goes for it.  A Warren candidacy should be roundly entertaining; even now, in the White House, I suspect the President is already chuckling in amusement and planning his Twitter campaign.

Rule Five Mexican Standoff Friday

It’s not enough that we serve as a relief valve for Mexico and Central America; we also apparently have to pay them for the privilege.  Excerpt, with my comments:

The United States pledged $5.8 billion in aid and investment Tuesday for strengthening government and economic development in Central America, and another $4.8 billion in development aid for southern Mexico.

But we’ve been throwing billions in U.S. taxpayer dollars down this particular rathole for generations now, to no tangible result.  Remember the old line about the definition of insanity?

The U.S aid aims to promote better security conditions and job opportunities as part of a regional plan to allow Central Americans and Mexicans to remain in their countries and not have to emigrate.

That’s our fervent wish as well.  Of course, it would help if they came legally.

The plan was announced in a joint U.S.-Mexican statement released by the State Department and read aloud by Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard in the Mexican capital.

“In sum I think this is good news, very good news for Mexico,” Ebrard said.

Of course it’s good news for Mexico!  Billions in free money!  Most of this, mind you, will wind up in the pockets of the many levels of Mexico’s deeply and fundamentally corrupt government, just like in generations past.

Newly inaugurated President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador waxed poetic about the plan to provide jobs so people won’t have to emigrate.

“I have a dream that I want to see become a reality … that nobody will want to go work in the United States anymore,” Lopez Obrador said at a morning news conference before the announcement.

Yes, plenty of Americans have that dream as well, although, again, our issue with your folks would be less adversarial if they came legally.

But here’s the real kicker, at the end of the story:

Ebrard had previously suggested that about $25 billion in U.S. investment would be an appropriate figure for what Mexicans and Central Americans have dubbed “The Alliance for Prosperity” in the region.

Because you can never pour too much of the U.S. Treasury – that is to say, yours and my money – into corrupt Third World shitholes.

I seem to remember at one point President Trump talked about re-examining this practice of pouring U.S. tax dollars into unproductive countries.  He hasn’t said anything about that for some time, unless I’ve missed something.  It would be nice if someone in the Imperial City would at least talk about this waste of our money.

Rule Five Chicago Machine Friday

A college kid in Illinois has learned a hard lesson about Chicago machine politics – you know, the ones that produced our last President.  Excerpt:

The history of the little guy being squashed by massive Chicago political clout at election time is just too long to print without weeping.

But the story for today is so amazing that some Chicago election officials have never seen the like.

“No one can remember anything approaching this,” said an election official.

Really?

It’s overkill of epic proportions, like using a sledgehammer to kill a gnat, or firing off a nuclear weapon to kill a sparrow. A Southwest Side David vs. Goliath story.

The David is David Krupa, 19, a freshman at DePaul University who drives a forklift part time. He’s not a political powerhouse. He’s just a conservative Southwest Side teenager studying political science and economics who got it in his head to run for alderman in a race that pits him against the most powerful ward organization in Chicago.

The Goliath is the 13th Ward Democratic Organization run by House Speaker Michael J. Madigan, aka Boss Madigan, the most powerful politician in the state. Boss Madigan has long hand-picked his aldermen. He likes them loyal and quiet. The current silent alderman of the 13th Ward is Marty Quinn.

Boss Madigan wields a big stick:

To get on the ballot, Krupa was required to file 473 valid signatures of ward residents with the Chicago Board of Elections. Krupa filed 1,703 signatures.

But before he filed his signatures with the elections board, an amazing thing happened along the Chicago Way.

An organized crew of political workers — or maybe just civic-minded individuals who care about reform — went door to door with official legal papers. They asked residents to sign an affadavit revoking their signature on Krupa’s petition.

Here’s the onion:

The number of revocations far exceeds the number of signatures Krupa collected. That means false affidavits were filed with the elections board.

Why would thousands of people lie on a legal document of revocation, and say they’d signed Krupa’s petitions, when they didn’t sign Krupa’s petitions? Were they just being nice?

Because fraud, of course.  Blatant, unrepentant, unapologetic, machine-politics fraud – the kind some folks like to claim never happens.

Now, there are felonies here – hundreds if not thousands – organized, aided and abetted Boss Madigan’s crew.  (Note his party affiliation, which is hardly a surprise, this being Chicago.)  So should we hold our breath waiting for prosecutions?  No, because, in corrupt machine politics, some people are above the law.

This is another example of something I’ve been saying for some time; equal treatment under the law is effectively a dead letter in this nation now, and has been for some time.