Thursday, October 3, 2013

Obama Forgets How Unions Work. He May Be As Dumb As He Thinks You Are.

Proving that he simply does not understand anything about "working" and "labor" and the unions he so lovingly slurps up to, Your Favorite President of the Entire History of the World had this to say to a group of working schlubs in Rockville, MD, today while attempting to chastise the House for holding fast on its refusal to hand over my healthcare to a bunch of idiot bureaucrats:

"Everybody here just does their job, right?  If you're working here and in the middle of the day you just stopped and said 'you know what, I want to get something, but I don't know exactly what I'm gonna get.  I'm just going to stop working till I get something - I'm just going to shut down the whole plant until I get something' - You'd get fired, right?
Cuz the deal is, you've already gotten hired.  You've got a job. You're getting a paycheck. ..And so you also are getting the pride of doing a good job, and contributing to a business, and looking out for your fellow workers.  That's what you're getting.  It shouldn't be any different for a member of Congress."

Apparently, even though Obama would not exist without Big Labor, our President has not been enlightened to the power labor unions have over the very essence of every day American life.

Let me explain unions to Barack Obama:
  • Teachers pissed off? They shut the schools down.
  • Transit workers unhappy? They shut mass transit down. 
  • Garbage collectors raising a stink? Garbage piles up in front of your house.
  • Auto makers not happy with making scads of money for producing sub-standard products? They shut the plant down.
I am gobsmacked at how stupid this president thinks you are, and I am overwhelmed with sadness for my country's future that the morons he was speaking to actually cheered him.

Here, watch the video and get as annoyed, and amused, as I am:

Friday, September 13, 2013

My Goal In Life Is To Be the Second Metronome In the Row On the Right.

Massive herds of animals like wildebeests and gazelles all move in unison almost instantaneously and certainly simultaneously, because of a synchronistic, inherent, intuition of what is best for the herd, and presumably what is best for the individual within the herd. Except when the herd instinctively throws itself over a cliff en masse. Then, not so much.

In the video below, 32 metronomes are placed on a movable table and then started asynchronously. In scientific terms, they are discordant, or out of rhythm with each other. The movable surface they're on eventually couples their energy so that all the metronomes become synched with each other. In physics, and the universe, this concordance among movable objects is the natural order – except for the problem of entropy.

According to Merriam-Webster:
Entropy 2a :  the degradation of the matter and energy in the universe to an ultimate state of inert uniformity 

Inert uniformity. In human terms – if you actually believe humans are of a higher divine or evolutionary order than wildebeests – inert uniformity is not a good thing. Think back to that herd of furry critters throwing themselves over a cliff to escape a singular lion.

When you watch the video below, think of yourself as a metronome, and then think of the movable surface as society. Are you going to give in and fall in line with everyone else, or are you going to be the second metronome in the row on the far right and fight to keep you singularly-unique-in-the-universe individuality intact for as long as you can?

As a libertarian, I believe in the power, will, and freedom, of the second metronome in the row on the far right.

Notice how the guys running the experiment (the government) had to shake up the movable table (society) to get the last individual to fall into lock step.

At 2:35, the last metronome to fight for his own uniqueness finally succumbs to the crowd. A metaphor for our lives I suppose, but think how smug he was when the other metronomes finally realized they were doomed to a life of inert uniformity. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

An Open Letter to Truthers and Other Assorted Conspiracy Crackpots

Dear Conspiracy Theory Nuts,

 Just like contrails in the sky are not, I repeat, are not, chemicals being sprayed by the government to give us all auto-immune diseases, 9/11 was not a government plan to either a) save Larry Silverstein tons of money, or b) give George Bush a good excuse to invade Iraq.

 How do I know this? Two words: Edward Snowden. The government is filled with people. Most of them are toadies and lackeys just hanging about until they can collect their pensions, but some of them, (and this is where your conspiracy theories fall apart), have souls and consciences. Therefore, it is not possible for such a large-scale governmental act of war against its own citizens to have taken place without someone, somewhere, saying something.

 This is how I know there are no Martians at Area 51, no Rothschild Banking Conspiracy, and how I know the CIA did not knock off JFK.

 When we run around spouting silly conspiracy claims and acting like paranoid pseudo-intellectual 1960s drop-outs without actually thinking, we disgrace the lives of the people we lost on 9/11.

 Hate me if you want, but I'm right, and you know it. Having to watch every nutcase conspiracy theory get trotted out every September is infuriating, and makes the already tough job of commemorating our own personal losses that day even harder

Friday, September 6, 2013

Reality-Based Libertarian Foreign Policy

I absolutely, without reservation, oppose any military intervention in Syria.

That's because you hate Barack Obama, you say with that insufferably stuffy attitude of yours.

Nope, and anyway, I don't hate Barack Obama. I think he's out of his depth, in over his head, silly, petulant, na├»ve, inexperienced, foolish, unaware of himself and the world around him, and untrustworthy, but I don't hate him.

To be consistent here's a list of other wars I completely oppose:
  • Afghanistan
  • The War on Terror
  • Iraq
  • The Gulf War
  • The War on Drugs
  • Vietnam
  • Korea
  • World War I
  • The Spanish-American War
Wars I support:
  • World War II
  • The American Civil War
  • The American Revolution
Here's why:

  • Afghanistan and Iraq are horrible places filled with horrible people, but we have the ways and means to protect ourselves from the fools that infect these countries without sending our children off to be maimed by them.
  • The War on Terror is a political sham that was instituted by a president (Bush 43) who really didn't have a firm grasp on what it actually meant to go to war. Even though Barack Obama successfully ended the War on Terror (at least according to Barack Obama) a good part of the world stills wants to kill me (and you). The War on Terror is a lie being perpetrated to keep the low information fools among us satiated.
  • The Gulf War was another unnecessary use of blood and treasure to protect something we don't need to protect (more on that later).
  • How many lives have been destroyed by drugs and the War on Drugs? And why do we so freely bandy about the word 'war' all the time?
  • Vietnam was an atrocity. The men who fought, died, or were maimed there, are my heroes. The men who sent them there are despicable.
  • Korea was a political war waged by politicians for the benefit of other politicians in order to show those other politicians how big their political appendages were.
  • World War I was none of our business, and entering it changed the course of US history (for the worse).
  • The Spanish-American War was about colonialism and conquest, except Americans were told it was waged for a good reason.
If I need to explain to you about the wars I support, there is no hope for you. Seriously go read a few books.

Foreign policy is not difficult. That is, one we decide to care for our own first.

If the people who lived next door to you were members of a biker gang who happened to run a meth lab in their kitchen and who just so happened to beat each other up constantly, would you send your son or daughter over there to bang on the door and tell them to knock it off?
If you think I'm nuts, take a look around at our children coming back from places we are vainly trying to assert ourselvesmaimed or damaged in ways seen and unseenand then you tell me what's nuts.

I grew up next door to a man who had no arms and one leg because of a grenade in Korea. I spent my youth looking at (physically and psychologically) wounded World War II veterans. I spent my early adult years with Vietnam veterans who were similarly wounded. Not to mention the names of people I grew up with who now only exist on a wall in Washington, D.C.

I am a pacifist by no means, but to send a young man off to a foreign country where he will ultimately leave behind 75% of his limbs (if he even gets out alive) requires a better reason to me than some hokey political bullshit.

Here's Is the Correct Foreign Policy for America In Easy To Read Bullet-Point Format
  • End the War on Terror by closing our borders (without interrogation or intense vetting) to anyone coming into our country from countries we have identified as having anti-American governments or populations.
  • Deny entry (or initiate interrogation or intense vetting) to anyone trying to enter the US with stamps from countries not necessarily listed as harboring agents who act against us, but who allow free travel to and from those countries.
  • Once we allow people in who are coming from places not especially enamored of us, require them to check in with the State Department every 5 days. Too much manpower, you say? Put the military on it. I mean if we're serious about Homeland Security (which we're not) this is a simple fix.
  • No intervention in any country unless our sovereignty or economic health is under direct threat.
  • No intervention on behalf of an ally unless that ally's immediate sovereignty or economic health is under direct threat.
  • No foreign aid in the name of "nation building." Seriously, Rest of the World, go build your own damn nations. Like we did. We had little to no help (okay the French gave us some guns), and we turned out okay.
  • No reliance on, or economic interaction with, countries that do not follow policies in line with our own, namely: personal liberty and sovereignty, economic and governmental freedom, and equal rights, (America's politicians and the Liberal Establishment will need to clean up their acts a bit themselves for this one).
  • This means that crackpot countries like Saudi Arabia are cut off from our petro-dollars. We can easily solve this by having the backbone to just say no to the ignorant children among us who are successfully ruining the American economy in the name of things they have very little understanding of. Instead of buying our oil from crackpots who treat women and minorities like dogs, let's just buy it from ourselves. When we run out of oil, we'll figure something out. We've proven to be pretty good at the "progress" thing over the years. We'll have plenty of  'just say no's' to go around after we extract ourselves from that silly War on Drugs.
I'm not an isolationist, I just have no desire to be involved in foreign affairs at the detriment of my own country.

If you think I'm nuts, take a look around at our children coming back from places we are vainly trying to assert ourselvesmaimed or damaged in ways seen and unseenand then you tell me what's nuts.

We have to start thinking here America.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Very First NYC Mayoral Race Assclown Roundup!

I occasionally like to make fun of politicians. I don't poke fun, because that implies a certain amount of affection and respect. No, I make fun of them, because what I have learned over the years is that politicians are generally people who cannot survive in the public sector. I'm not talking about you good folks who serve on your local township committees or school boards part time, I'm talking about career politicians.

With that being said, next Tuesday is primary election day in New York City. This means I am being bombarded with television and radio ads for the various and sundry nincompoops who think it is their birthright to feed at the public trough for the length of their lives (kind of like welfare, only when you're a public official you not only don't have to work, you don't have to take responsibility for anything either).

So, here goes the very first RBL&S Assclown Roundup:

These pillars of demagoguery, pedantry and unbrightness appear in the order they popped into my head, and since the GOP and Democrat parties are both chock full of insane people rendering them indistinguishable from each other, I'm not bothering to list party affiliation.

Duh, of course people should
all think the way I do.
Christine Quinn: (Mayor) Current council speaker Quinn's knee-jerk reaction to Hurricane Sandy (RBL&OS 11-20-12) was to suggest we spends billions of dollars we don't have to build a series of giant seawalls around the entire city. Ms. Quinn has been silent on the people in Staten Island (not her district, in all fairness) who may never be able to move into their homes again. Ms. Quinn also believes that if you have different beliefs than her, especially about matters sexual, then it's the government's job to keep you from doing business in her town (RBL&OS 8-1-12).

Libertarian or not, I never trust a grown man who thinks
with his tongue sticking out.
Joe Lhota: (Mayor) The former MTA chief called NY Port Authority cops "mall cops" and former Rudolph
Guiliani an idiot. He often Tweets ridiculous things filled with errors and then blames it on too much wine. He apologizes but then says he tells it "like it is" and "how he sees it." In an attempt to make you feel sorry for him, Joe calls himself a "9/11 cancer survivor” although 9/11 happened in 2001 and his cancer scare happened in 2006.

At least he'll never ask anyone to lend him a hand.
He takes care of himself, himself.
Anthony Weiner: (Mayor) You're supposed to forget about his past, even if by "past" he means last Tuesday. Long known as the nastiest, most egotistical member of Congress, Weiner is now also a famous selfie subject who simply can't get enough of himself (some of his cyber-partners claim he likes to comfort himself up to 14 times a day). Now that I think about it, he might be a perfect Mayor because he'll be too busy with himself to screw things up for the rest of New York. Maybe Bloomberg should have taken up a hobby.

"...and her ass was this big, so I asked for a discount."
Eliot Spitzer: (Comptroller - token non-Mayoral candidate) This guy used to be governor of New York except his predilection for
prostitutes cost him his job. Since he can't earn a living anywhere else he wants to get another job in government. Spitzer is the poster child for what is wrong with our political system: He spits on the public trust then finds he can't get by without the public's support (see Anthony Weiner). Loves to have him some prostitutes, touts how no one "did more than him" to promote women's rights and health.

Bill deBlasio (r) pandering to a special-interest group
near you. Geez, now everyone wants a discount.
Bill deBlasio: (Mayor) Proudly calls himself a 'progressive' and touts the fact that he is going to "raise taxes on the rich to pay for after school care." Bill has also freely used his teenaged son, (who is bi-racial but looks black) to pander to the racists in the party who are against stop and frisk (I am too, but not because I define people by raceI define people by results). I can't get past the idea that if deBlasio's son looked Italian instead of African, and he didn't have a wonderfully ginormous 'fro, we'd never see his mug on TV. As you get mad at me for this piece, remember, I didn't trot his son out to play racial politics with, he did. deBlasio will also be New York City's next mayor.

I tried to find an unflattering picture of Catsimatidis,
but they all looked like this.
John Catsimatidis: (Mayor) Super-Billionaire Catsimatidis answered a political attack ad from his rival deBlasio (that didn't use his son for the purposes of pandering to every special interest group he could think of), with this gem: “ They went Negative First using NY Post as there SURRAGATE attack DOG. That’s why our guys pushed into this Ads.”

So go out and vote, New York City! America's comedy future depends on you people taking one of these clowns seriously. And since you will indeed vote for one of these peopleproving to the rest of us that you don't take your own future seriously, then make fun of you all we indeed will do.

Note: If you are offended by anything in this piece, you have way bigger problems than what you read in some dopey blog.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

FEMA to Union Beach: It's Not Our Fault We're Turning Our Backs On You, We're Just Following Our Own Policy

A week before his re-election, President Obama had this to say to the people affected by Hurricane Sandy:
"We don't have any patience for bureaucracy. We don't have any patience for red tape."
On April 29, the six month anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, here's what our no non-sense, tough guy governor, Chris Christie, had to say about President Obama's performance in the aftermath of the storm:

"The president has kept every promise he's made. I think he's done a good job. He kept his word."

Demolition of homes in the devastated Borough of Union Beach began in January and the Federal government did reimburse 172 homeowners for the demolition of homes rendered unrepairable by Sandy. In May, FEMA pledged to reimburse all homeowners in the borough for demolition costs.

In August, borough officials received an email from FEMA informing them that the agency would not cover the 92 homes that were still standing but uninhabitable, unless they’re proved to be in imminent danger of collapsing. More than 50 of those homes require asbestos removal.

“They’re all dangerous to live in but I can’t prove that they’re going to fall down tomorrow. So because I can’t prove that, they refuse to pay,” Union Beach Administrator Jennifer Maier said when asked by a reporter from CBS in New York about the situation. (FEMA Rejects Funding for Nearly 100 Union Beach Homes)

FEMA claims its Demolition of Private Structures policy is the reason for its decision. The policy states that funding from the agency “requires certification that homes to be demolished are in imminent danger of full or partial collapse.” FEMA went on to say that borough officials have only sent them certification for 8 homes in imminent danger of collapse.

In short, the bureaucratic red tape that President Obama (D) and Chris Christie (R) both promised would be cut in order to expedite recovery is strangling these homeowners. We are taxed at usury rates in New Jersey, such that homeowners are not able to build their own safety net to protect themselves in the event of catastrophe. The system forces us to rely on the government, yet the government time and time again proves it is unreliable. As I've stated all week, it is the system and the people who feed off of it, that are at fault.

Scores of volunteers have been coming to the borough to help with demolition, and the efforts are ongoing. While government officials points fingers, lies to us, and generally wipes their hands of culpability, people are still helping people put their lives back together.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

If Winds Don't Cause Storm Surges, Where Do Storm Surges Come From? Or, Why I Refuse To Call It 'Superstorm Sandy'

I have recoiled since the media and government began calling Hurricane Sandy 'Superstorm Sandy.' Living in a world controlled by legalese, I waited for the day when insurance companies and the government would walk away from claims because they were prepared to cover damage from a hurricane, not an unprecedented 'super storm.'

Even though what follows is not exactly proof that my fears are warranted, if after reading this piece you still scoff at the idea, you're not paying attention to the world you live in:

* * *

Ten months after Hurricane Sandy destroyed most of Union Beach, and great chunks of the Jersey Shore in general, the owners of Jakeabob's Bay, a popular beachfront restaurant and bar were informed that their insurance carrier had determined the building had sustained $9,657.14 in wind damage.

According to Lloyd's of London, this building sustained $9,657.14 in wind damage.
I took this picture on 11-27-12, 1 month after the storm.

Of course, the game the insurance carrier is playing is to parse 'wind damage' from 'water damage.' It's important to note that the owner's deductible is $10,000, so the adjuster's conclusion means the insurance company owes the people who purchased insurance from them will get absolutely nothing in return. The owner's are responsible for the wind damage, and presumably the rest of the damage. I'm sure they're not concerned about wind or water, they just know their business is destroyed.

There's no word yet on how much under the owner's water damage deductible will be. 

I'm interested in the formula the adjuster used to arrive at the $9657.14 figure. If I was a heartless thief, I might look at this building and say the only (wind) damage I see is a few shingles missing off the roof. Unfortunately for me, I am a human being.

Two Questions

  1. How was the adjuster able to determine what was wind damage and what was solely water damage?
  2. Why is the damage from the water caused by the wind-driven storm surge not considered wind damage? After all, if the wind wasn't blowing like it was, the 14' storm surge wouldn't have piled up and took the building down. 

If you are not feeling a lump of anger in your throat, you're either a government official, government employee, an insurance adjuster, or you have completely stopped thinking.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, people are being screwed in every possible way, every single day, but what Miley Cyrus does on a cable show no one really watches is the only thing we want to talk about.

We have willingly put our lives in the hands of fools who are not capable of keeping their word or doing the right thing. We have allowed a political and corporate system to develop around us that has one purpose: maintaining power at the expense of the people they claim to serve.

It's time to restructure the political and corporate system. It's time for us to rediscover our principles and to live our lives by them. It's past time for us all to understand that bad things don't just happen to 'them' anymore, they are happening to 'us' on a regular basis.

To me, Hurricane Sandy has become symbolic of the struggle this country faces as it tries to preserve its core values and personal independence. If we struggle through this storm and find ourselves unchanged as the sun breaks out, well then, shame on us.

So all you can do is give in to it, step right inside the storm, closing your eyes and plugging up your ears so the sand doesn't get in, and walk through it, step by step. There's no sun there, no moon, no direction, no sense of time. Just fine white sand swirling up into the sky like pulverized bones. That's the kind of sandstorm you need to imagine. 
And you really will have to make it through that violent, metaphysical, symbolic storm. No matter how metaphysical or symbolic it might be, make no mistake about it: it will cut through flesh like a thousand razor blades. People will bleed there, and you will bleed too. Hot, red blood. You'll catch that blood in your hands, your own blood and the blood of others.
And once the storm is over you won't remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won't even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won't be the same person who walked in. That's what this storm's all about." - Haruki Murakami, Kafka On the Shore