Saturday, November 10, 2012

A Prayer For 2016

Dear God,

We don't talk much anymore. 
I acknowledge that I'm a sinner. 
Except for Christmas and some Youth Sundays, I haven't made it to church in about three years. 

I've said horrible, horrible things about three of my Brothers In Christ, George W. Bush and Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.  Perhaps I've made Gary Johnson into a false idol. 

But I've worked really hard to get our children and grandchildren some relief from their parents' and grandparents' ridiculous government debts.  I've worked hard for gay marriage.  I've led discussion forums about the right of self-defense and gun rights and the 2nd amendment.  I've advocated the complete and utter destruction of Ben Bernanke's government money printing press on Blue Mound Road, mostly because inflation hurts poor people so much. 

I've even tried to be Moses.  I've taken a look at the number of black men that Barack Obama keeps in steel cages for marijuana offenses, and I've said "BARACK OBAMA!!!  YOU HYPOCRITICAL POT-SMOKING S.O.B. !!  LET YOUR PEOPLE GO !!"

I recently acted as preacher/priest/rabbi in a secular wedding.  I bet you were proud. 

Balance all that Libertarian Goodness against my continued violations of almost every known commandment, and it probably comes up even.  That's the only reason I'm coming to you, asking just one little favor. 

This website (do you have to hit links if you're God?) says that Jeb Bush, who is George W.'s brother and GHW Bush's son, will probably be the Republican nominee for President in 2016. 

This website says that She Whose Name Is Not Spoken will probably be the Democrat nominee for President in 2016. 

Please let this happen, God.  Please, please, please.  I'll go to church every Sunday for one complete calendar month.  Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton.  Please, please, please. 

If voters are given the choice between Gary Johnson and the princelings from a couple of entitled hereditary monarchies, life will be almost too good for words.  Gary Johnson vs. Bill Clinton's wife vs. George Bush's brother.  Can you imagine those two royal families arguing that a commoner should be excluded from the presidential debates???

In spite of today being Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, I'm going to go to work.  Please don't hold that against me. 


Friday, November 9, 2012

A Modest Proposal to end long gasoline lines

Because of Hurricane Sandy, many New Yorkers and New Jerseyites are having to wait in long, long lines for gasoline. 

If your license plate has an odd number, you can only purchase gasoline on odd numbered calendar days.  Ditto for even.  Anyone thinking about this for more than two minutes can see that it's nothing but "Performance Art" from government.  Demand is demand, regardless of which arbitrary day the demand is called for.  People with time to do so are waiting in line to buy gas whether they really need it or not.  Sheesh....

Here's the biggest obstacle.  New York and New Jersey both have "anti-gouging" laws.  If there's a disaster of some sort, merchants can only increase prices by 10%, unless they can prove that an even higher markup is required to turn a minimal profit.  That should make it more fair for everyone, right? 

But because of infrastructure problems, there's not enough fuel coming into New York and New Jersey.  The world that those old prices were based upon doesn't exist any more.  Every load of dinosaur juice coming into NY/NJ is worth 3 times its former value.  People are purchasing tanks of gas that they don't need, siphoning it from their cars into 5-gallon cans, and selling it for 3-4 times what they paid for it (which is exactly what its worth, BTW.)   They're illegally selling generators on Craigslist.  This Republican idiot is hauling 65 New Jersey business owners into court for "price gouging" - i.e., selling things for what they're worth. 

So how is the government determining the best use for this fuel?  Odd day/Even day purchasing. 

That's bullshit. 

According to Russ Roberts' book "The Price Of Everything", here's the best way to restore fuel supplies to NY/NJ. 

Let merchants sell gasoline for whatever price they want.  If you really need gasoline, you'll buy it.  If you just wanted gasoline for running out for lunch or road trips, or because you're paranoid, you won't buy it.  This is the only reason that Texans and Floridians and Californians have gasoline today.  The price is allowed to fluctuate, all day every day, based on demand. 

But that's not fair.....

Bullshit.  This is why you can buy lettuce in the wintertime.  It's why there are always shoes for sale at the mall, and you don't have to wait in line for them the way they did in Commie Eastern Europe.  It's why the U.S. has a higher standard of living than Cuba.  Companies are waiting in line to sell us lettuce and shoes, at whatever price we're willing to pay, and not vice-versa. 

But how would this help lower fuel prices???

Someone might make a fortune selling gasoline for $20.00 per gallon for a few days.  If other gas stations see this guy cleaning up on gasoline, they will move heaven and earth to re-open their stores.  They'll risk life and limb to serve you.   A couple of days later, gasoline would probably be selling for $16.00 per gallon.  More and more businesses would want in on it.  Gasoline would drop to $12.00 per gallon.  And on and on, until there were enough people selling gasoline to get it down to the ridiculously high prices that NY/NJ residents were already willing to pay before the hurricane.  Competition doesn't cure everything, but it's way ahead of whatever solution is in 2nd place. 

But how much hassle would YOU go through to sell gasoline today, in NY/NJ for only 10% more than it sold for before the hurricane? 

You might just stay home and watch "Dancing With The Stars" and wait on someone else to clean up the mess.  (That's what's going on now, BTW.)   

Here's something from an old post I wrote about Russ Roberts' "The Price Of Everything".  The book deals with a Big Box store that was marking up generators and flashlights after an emergency, BTW. 
Do you every wonder why the shelves in our supermarkets are full? Ever wonder why countries afflicted with the blessings of communism had supermarket shelves that were mostly empty? Ever wonder why we don't have to wait in long lines for gasoline, or endure rationing like we did in the early 1970's? Ever wonder why the minimum wage in Cuba is somewhere near $14.00 (PER MONTH !!) ??

Do you want to know how to ensure that more people will die during a famine? Legislate artificially low prices. Want to keep people from delivering water to drought stricken areas? Put anti-gouging laws into place.

Do you ever wonder why we can simply go out and buy our basic necessities?

It's because our (somewhat) Free Market Economy allows prices to go up when there's a shortage, and decline when there's a glut. We don't have an idiotic Flashlight Czar (yet), setting flashlight prices all over the country based on hours of darkness, hurricanes, or electrical problems. People can charge whatever they want to for flashlights. Therefore, when you really, really need see in the dark, somebody out there is probably willing to sell you a flashlight.

So, according to Professor Roberts, not only was the Big Store doing the right thing economically when it doubled its prices after the hurricane, it was doing the right thing logically, socially, and morally.
Yeah, Chris Christie can put anti-gouging laws into place, and this will help guarantee that merchants won't be able to rip off people who want to purchase a generator.  It also guarantees that there won't be any generators on the shelves. 

Which store selling power generators would you want to shop in?  The one that has 'em, or the one that doesn't? 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Thank You

Many thanks to the Libertarian Party candidates, door-knockers, sign-posters, phone-callers, Facebook-sharers, forum-attenders and other supporters !! 

This was our best year ever. 

Check out the Tarrant County Elections website when time permits.  Then head over to the Texas site.   A staggering number of Republicans and Democrats voted "straight ticket".  Even so, a lot of Dems and Independents selected our folks when there was a two-candidate race between the LP candidate and a Republican. 

We had a respectable showing in many of the 3-party races. 

If I'm disappointed in anything, it's Gary Johnson's total.  Yes, he doubled the 2008 number, but I would've put money on a 3x performance. 

But dang it, we didn't win anything. 

There's always 2014. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Why President (insert name here) is doomed.

This is why the next president of the U.S. is going to be a miserable failure, compliments of Simon Black, of the Business Insider

1) When the US federal government spends money, expenses are officially categorized in three different ways.

....Discretionary spending includes nearly everything we think of related to government– the US military, Air Force One, the Department of Homeland Security, TSA agents who sexually assault passengers, etc.

....Mandatory spending includes entitlements like Medicare, Social Security, VA benefits, etc. which are REQUIRED by law to be paid.

....The final category is interest on the debt. It is non-negotiable.

Mandatory spending and debt interest go out the door automatically. It’s like having your mortgage payment autodrafted from your bank account– Congress doesn’t even see the money, it’s automatically deducted.

2) With the rise of baby boomer entitlements and steady increase in overall debt levels, mandatory spending and interest payments have exploded in recent years. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office predicted in 2010 that the US government’s TOTAL revenue would be exceeded by mandatory spending and interest expense within 15-years.

That’s a scary thought. Except it happened the very next year.

3) In Fiscal Year 2011, the federal government collected $2.303 trillion in tax revenue. Interest on the debt that year totaled $454.4 billion, and mandatory spending totaled $2,025 billion. In sum, mandatory spending plus debt interest totaled $2.479 trillion… exceeding total revenue by $176.4 billion.

For Fiscal Year 2012 which just ended 37 days ago, that shortfall increased 43% to $251.8 billion.

In other words, they could cut the entirety of the Federal Government’s discretionary budget– no more military, SEC, FBI, EPA, TSA, DHS, IRS, etc.– and they would still be in the hole by a quarter of a trillion dollars.

4) Raising taxes won’t help. Since the end of World War II, tax receipts in the US have averaged 17.7% of GDP in a very tight range. The low has been 14.4% of GDP, and the high has been 20.6% of GDP.
During that period, however, tax rates have been all over the board. Individual rates have ranged from 10% to 91%. Corporate rates from 15% to 53%. Gift taxes, estate taxes, etc. have all varied. And yet, total tax revenue has stayed nearly constant at 17.7% of GDP.

It doesn’t matter how much they increase tax rates– they won’t collect any more money.

5) GDP growth prospects are tepid at best. Facing so many headwinds like quickening inflation, an enormous debt load, and debilitating regulatory burdens, the US economy is barely keeping pace with population growth.

6) The only thing registering any meaningful growth in the US is the national debt. It took over 200 years for the US government to accumulate its first trillion dollars in debt. It took just 286 days to accumulate the most recent trillion (from $15 trillion to $16 trillion).

Last month alone, the first full month of Fiscal Year 2013, the US government accumulated nearly $200 billion in new debt– 20% of the way to a fresh trillion in just 31 days.

7) Not to mention, the numbers will only continue to get worse. 10,000 people each day begin receiving mandatory entitlements. Fewer people remain behind to pay into the system. The debt keeps rising, and interest payments will continue rising.

8) Curiously, a series of polls taken by ABC News/Washington Post and NBC News/Wall Street Journal show that while 80% of Americans are concerned about the debt, roughly the same amount (78%) oppose cutbacks to mandatory entitlements like Medicare.

9) Bottom line, the US government is legally bound to spend more money on mandatory entitlements and interest than it can raise in tax revenue. It won’t make a difference how high they raise taxes, or even if they cut everything else that remains in government as we know it.

This is not a political problem, it’s a mathematical one. Facts are facts, no matter how uncomfortable they may be. Today’s election is merely a choice of who is going to captain the sinking Titanic.

I kinda like that lifeboat that's headed toward New Zealand.....

Sunday, November 4, 2012

I gave it my best shot, but the big one got away

Sometimes you win. 
I think the Libertarian Party is going to have its best year ever.  We've brought a lot of important issues to the attention of The Crips and The Bloods. 
It's been pleasant to see LP signs all over the place.  (I have to drive past 5 to get to work, and only one of them is from my stash !)
We've got some excellent candidates running in Tarrant county this year. 
We've made a lot of connections with gun rights groups and anti-prohibition groups.  Attendance at LP meetups has been increasing every month. 
There's been a lot of talk in the media about how the Libertarian Party might take some states away from one of the Obamneys and "give" those states to the other one, as if that matters. 

Sometimes you lose. 
I can probably point to 30 people who are voting LP for the first time because of my efforts. But dammit all to hell, sometimes the big ones get away. 

Go here. 

I tried, folks.  I really tried.  I came so close....

"Day Of The Dank"

DFW NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) threw a party last night.  It was called "Day Of The Dank".  Sort of a post-Halloween fundraiser.  I showed up with a bunch of Gary Johnson For President propaganda, and couldn't give it away. 

Because almost everyone there had already voted for Gary Johnson !!  They had persuaded their neighbors and co-workers and even their preachers to vote for Gary Johnson.  I felt almost NORMAL.  (Pun intended.) 

Bear with me for a few minutes while I get some fun pics out of the way.  I'll eventually get to my usual political point....

According to The Urban Dictionary, "Dank" is now "an expression frequently used by stoners and hippies for something of high quality".  This party was dankDankness permeated the environment.  Lord have mercy, it was a good time. 

Five or six bands played.  They had on-site facepainting. 

I kept seeing people that I thought I knew, but it was hard to tell. 

Brief digression:  We had a Texas Tragedy at the state fair a couple of weeks ago.  An old statue named "Big Tex" caught on fire and burned all the way to the boots before anyone could do anything about it. 

I've now made it to four Halloween parties dressed as "Big Tex".  It's a cheap, low hassle, low maintenance costume, and it got plenty of laughs.  Here's my great friend (and Governor Gary Johnson's Texas Campaign Coordinator) Elizabeth Miller.  She and her friend Roman got their faces painted later, but she looks better as a live person who doesn't have her lips stitched together. 

DFW/NORML's deputy director Will Jenkins and I couldn't be photographed together.  Too much danger of ignition. 

This is Shaun McAlister and his lovely friend Andrea Brown.  Shaun and NORML have been working very hard for the Gary Johnson campaign for the last few months.  The LP couldn't ask for a better group of supporters than these folks. 

Throughout the Red Goose Saloon,  Shaun had put up quotes from various public figures about the need to legalize marijuana.  It was a broad spectrum.  Please excuse the quality of my cellphone pics below.  Like I said, the place was kinda.....dank

Here's the inevitable one from LP presidential candidate Gary Johnson.

And on the other side of the fence, here's something from Bill O'Reilly.  Yeah.  Bill O'Reilly. 

From mens' clothing guru George Zimmer:

From Melissa Etheridge:

From U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Anon:

And finally, from Texas governor Rick Perry.  Rick Perry has figured out that locking up people for owning or consuming a plant is wrong.  Rick "Oops" Perry has figured it out. 

The "Day Of The Dank" party at Fort Worth's Red Goose Saloon was a great time with great people.  90% of them were marijuana consumers.  Most of the time, if you put 400-plus people into a relatively small bar or nightclub, you'll see some fights.  Not last night.  Everyone was peaceful.  Having a great time.  Mellow.  Dank.  It makes you wonder what our government (and its supporters in the booze industry) is so afraid of. 

The quotes on the wall from Bill O'Reilly and Kofi Anon were there to let everyone know what DFW/NORML and the Libertarian Party are about. Leave people alone to live their own lives.  What they do, as long as it doesn't harm others, is none of John Boehner's or Harry Reid's or Nancy Pelosi's business. 

If Rick freakin' Perry can figure that out, why can't these two guys?

End Prohibition.  Release the captives.  Mind yer own damn business. 
Gary Johnson for president !!!