Category Archive 'Government'
08 Jan 2021
“Societies exist under three forms sufficiently distinguishable. 1. Without government, as among our Indians. 2. Under governments wherein the will of every one has a just influence, as is the case in England in a slight degree, and in our states in a great one. 3. Under governments of force: as is the case in all other monarchies and in most of the other republics. To have an idea of the curse of existence under these last, they must be seen. It is a government of wolves over sheep. It is a problem, not clear in my mind, that the 1st. condition is not the best. But I believe it to be inconsistent with any great degree of population. The second state has a great deal of good in it. The mass of mankind under that enjoys a precious degree of liberty and happiness. It has it’s evils too: the principal of which is the turbulence to which it is subject. But weigh this against the oppressions of monarchy, and it becomes nothing. Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem. Even this evil is productive of good. It prevents the degeneracy of government, and nourishes a general attention to the public affairs. I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. Unsuccesful rebellions indeed generally establish the incroachments on the rights of the people which have produced them. An observation of this truth should render honest republican governors so mild in their punishment of rebellions, as not to discourage them too much. It is a medecine necessary for the sound health of government.”
— Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, Paris, January 30, 1787
27 Jul 2020
We can all remember the joy felt upon receiving that first envelope with a paycheck inside. Our own money that we earned ourselves, in a real job, just like an adult. All ours!
We’ve gleefully counted up the hours and multiplied them by our wages, and it comes to, from a kid’s point of view, a tidy sum. Then, we open the envelope and look at the check. Omigod! it’s so much less than we were expecting! And then, we realize, they are going to take just as much next week, and the week after, and the week after that.
Last night, on “Yellowstone,” the nefarious developer offered noble old-time rancher John Dutton $500,000,000.00 ($10,000 per acre) for his ranch.
Wow! we viewers thought, $500 mil, that’s all the money anybody would ever need, all the money any family would ever need for generations. First, we buy something like Llangolen or Carter Hall in Virginia, then a suitable large house in Paris, another in London, a castle in Ireland, and so on.
But, wait, think of the taxes! after the Feds and the State and the County all take their bites out of it, it would be a long way short of 500… (Of course, nobody probably really owns 50,000 acres in the pretty part of Montana, and nobody is going to pay $10,000 an acre in a 50,000 land deal that is not part of Manhattan. But, still…)
29 Apr 2020
State solutions are imposed from above; they are often without corrective devices, and cannot easily be reversed on the proof of failure. Their inflexibility goes hand in hand with their planned and goal-directed nature, and when they fail, the efforts of the state are directed not to changing them but to changing peopleâ€™s belief that they have failed.
-â€“ Roger Scruton
21 Apr 2020
Pacific Legal Foundation:
Since early March, grocery shoppers across the country have faced empty shelves, long lines, and watchful guards enforcing government rules. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans are dealing with shortages of staples like flour, yeast, and (inexplicably) toilet paper in our once-well-stocked stores. The government response to the pandemic has been sluggish, with piecemeal shelter in place orders, abysmal testing capabilities, and disrupted supply chains. It seems like no one, from grocery stores to the federal government, was prepared for this crisis.
Except in Texas.
While government is way behind the curve, the San Antonio-based grocery chain HEB is leading the way in keeping Texans supplied with the items they need.
For those unfamiliar with this beloved Texas grocery chain, some background: Founded in the small town of Kerrville in 1905, today H-E-B employs over 116,000 employees and operates more than 400 stores across Texas and Mexico, making it the largest private employer in Texas. It is the dominant grocery store chain in south and central Texas, and in some smaller towns, the only grocery store for miles.
But in a state with its share of natural disasters, H-E-B is also a key player in disaster response. From hurricanes to wildfires, H-E-Bâ€™s emergency response teams show up with mobile kitchens, pharmacies, water tankers, and other vital services to help hard-hit communities. For example, when Hurricane Harvey left the city of Beaumont without drinking water and FEMA said it couldnâ€™t get through, the cityâ€™s leaders called H-E-B. Within a few hours, a fleet of H-E-B trucks was plowing through two feet of flood waters, with the senior vice president of supply chain in the lead truck, to deliver trailer-loads of water to the stricken city.
But H-E-B is ready for much more than hurricanes. A recent Texas Monthly article highlights just how prepared H-E-B was to confront the current COVID-19 crisis. The company, which employs a full-time director of Emergency Preparedness and has an emergency operations center standing ready, has had a pandemic and influenza plan in place since 2005. H-E-B keeps emergency supplies staged at every warehouse, ready to go when needed. While the federal government did not declare COVID-19 a national emergency until March 13, H-E-Bâ€™s team had been watching the virusâ€™ progression since early January as it began to impact Chinese suppliers, and implemented its pandemic emergency plan on February 2. H-E-B kept in close contact with retailers and suppliers in China, and later Italy and Spain, to learn from their experiences as the virus and subsequent lockdowns overtook their countries.
Thanks to its advance preparation, H-E-B has been able to shift production, get creative with suppliers, and help ensure that the most-needed products are making it to the shelves (although theyâ€™re just as perplexed as the rest of us about the run on toilet paper). It hasnâ€™t been perfectâ€”some products are still hard to find, and social distancing requirements can mean lines out the doorâ€”but overall, most shoppers are getting what they need. H-E-Bâ€™s initiative and foresight should be celebrated, and businesses across the country should be empowered to emulate H-E-Bâ€™s example.
H-E-Bâ€™s COVID-19 response shows how nimble private companies perform better than the government behemoth, especially during crisis. H-E-B is above all a business, and businesses make money by offering things people want to buy. If H-E-B canâ€™t supply the products its customers want, like eggs, milk, and paper towels, then it wonâ€™t survive.
And you don’t have to do business with them unless you want to, and they do not tax you or tell you what to do.
13 Apr 2020
M. Brandon Godbey identifies what Americans ought to learn from the COVID-19 national freakout.
1) Incompetent bureaucracy: The CDC and FDA played hot potato with the COVID Crisis for months without any coherent strategy. It seems like the more government agencies become involved in the process the more muddled our future becomes. We have found that the medical bureaucracy, like all bureaucracies, eventually falls victim to entropy. At some unknown point in the last 20 years, it stopped functioning as a legitimate source of medical leadership. Today, it is a mass of purposeless tentacles that primarily exists for the sake of self-perpetuation.
2) The Corruption of â€œExpertsâ€œ: Since the way to big money in the sciences is through government grants, the way you â€œhit it bigâ€ in science isnâ€™t by finding empirical truth, itâ€™s by repeating opinions that politicians want to hear. We have thus created a generation of quasi-scientists that feed off the government teat with the tenacity of even the worst parasites. When stressed by the pandemic, this system quickly devolved into competing scientific factions, each one pitching their own version of a doomsday scenario for the sake of money, prestige, and sheer professional vanity.
3) Feckless Politicians: Instead of leading in a time of crisis, governors and mayors are taking the path that absolves them from guilt instead what is best for citizens. Constantly in reelection mode, they make choices based on what they might be blamed for instead of what is right. When decisions are made through the â€œreelect me at all costâ€ framework, civil right quickly go out the window. Last night, my own governor reassured the Commonwealth of Kentucky that he was perfectly willing to use Gestapo tactics to record the licence plate numbers of those that attend Easter services and effectively put them under house arrest. Other governors have behaved in a similar manner, each one trying to one-up their neighbor.
4) Our Decadent Society: We have become a tragically unserious people, obsessed with celebrity and sorely lacking in critical thinking skills. Social media algorithms have spoon-fed us our own views over and over again. Mass media feeds our inherent cognitive biases, facilitating a surreal kind of mass paralysis that consists of one part hysteria and one part blind submission. We have become the grotesque inhabitants of the mindless hive from E.M. Foresterâ€™s imagination. The lessons of history lost on us, we behave like sheep walking to the slaughter, bleating in unison.
5) We are Coddled and Soft: Our lives are easy, and many of us have become detached from the world of hard-working men and women that make our lives possible. We want the truckers to deliver our food and the servers to bring it to us, but we gleefully clap when the economy that supports them is torn asunder. Our general lack of understanding of the collaborative nature of macroeconomics is appalling. Products arrive at our doorstep; food appears in front of us; entertainment is provided in multiple forms at any time or place. Yet the processes by which these miracles are created are so remote and alien to us that we are perfectly willing to watch them burn to satisfy our busybody natures.
27 Mar 2020
Babylon Bee (the new paper of record):
WASHINGTON, D.C.â€”Congress has asked all non-essential businesses to limit their hours or close entirely for an undetermined amount of time.
But this shutdown mistakenly shut down the most non-essential entity of all: the government. For a brief period of time, all government in the United States was illegal, since it is completely non-essential to everything.
Floreat Anarchia! Ewige Bumenkraft!
18 Nov 2019
You got lucky and stumbled upon a fabulously valuable treasure of gold, then you learned that you were unlucky enough to live in a time and place so hedged round everywhere with rules and regulations that you could never even try to recover that treasure. All you can do is tell your sad, sad story to the SF Chronicle
One night five years ago, fisherman Giuseppe Pennisi was lying in bed with his laptop propped up on his barrel chest, reviewing video footage captured from his 76-foot boat, the Pioneer. The boat is a bottom trawler. It scoops up fish with a net that bounces across the seafloor at depths of more than 4,000 feet. A tinkerer, Pennisi likes to keep GoPro cameras attached to the net, allowing him to study the footage and improve his technique. That night, around 2 a.m., he noticed his camera slide past something unusual.
Along the murky seafloor, fish and rocks come in rounded shapes and soft colors, muted grays and greens. His eyes were attuned to this drab underwater landscape, which is why he had been puzzled by brief flashes of light on the video screen, shiny surfaces glimmering by. Then he saw it: a rectangular object, sharp-edged and pale, almost white, with a tinge of yellow.
It was September 2014, and Pennisi, who goes by Joe, was 50 years old, with four decades of fishing behind him. He had sailed on commercial boats since he was 7; his father and grandfather had towed their nets in the same waters for more than a century. He had never seen anything like the object in the video. Still, Joe sensed immediately what it might be. His net often got caught on the rotting underwater husks of old ships wrecked just beyond the Golden Gate, and he knew that some of those ships â€” Spanish galleons, Gold Rush-era steamers â€” had carried treasure.
He rewound the video, peered forward and froze the frame with the yellow rectangular object. It looked for all the world like a gold bar, an ingot. For a few minutes, he stared at it while his wife, Grazia, slept beside him.
Then he started to scream.
18 Sep 2019
Clifford A. Brown, at Ricochet:
About $6.23 [$147 in 2016 dollars]: The amount of state and local government taxes collected per person in 1880.
About $4,951: The amount of state and local government taxes collected per person in 2016.
Note that these are not federal tax dollars, but the real growth in the scope of state and local government. In part, federal taxes could not be compared across the same interval as â€œper personâ€ because the federal income tax was not ratified until 1913. This points to all of us, collectively, voting over and over again for more and more government at every level, in contradiction to the basic assumptions expressed by both sides of the debate back in 1787-1789. We may truly get the government for which we vote!
Add the roughly 40% of your income you pay to the Federal Government if you are even moderately successful in life. And don’t forget to add in your own currently $67,000 share in the Federal Debt.
23 Aug 2019
Via Bob Golden:
An old rancher went to a town hall meeting. The local politician was there to talk about the latest Ag legislation he proposed. The politician talked about grazing, property rights, irrigation, and how the government could help the generational ranchers of the area.
After listening to the impassioned promises put forth by the politician, the old rancher raised his hand to ask a question.
Seeing that he had the attention of the weathered old rancher, and thinking he could score some points, the politician took the old man’s question….
Old man: “Senator, did you know that cows, horses and goats eat the same feed?”
Senator: “Yes sir, everybody knows that!”
Old man: “Then senator, can you tell me why cows poop patties, horses poop cubes, and goats poop pellets?”
Senator: “How would I know the reason for such a simple thing like poop?”
Old man: “Then senator, can you tell me how a man who doesn’t know shit, can help me run my ranch?”
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