Archive | March 2012

My Final Answer

Over the years I’ve heard the argument that, “This election is too important to vote for the Libertarian candidate”. So I’ve been working on formulating a response. Here is my final answer: Those who tell us to “Vote for the lesser evil” are the same ones who believe that Liberty isn’t worth fighting for. They’re the ones who complain about people not getting involved yet they themselves choose to sit on the sidelines and pick from the despicable establishment candidates. They try to break the spirit of those of us who stand on our principles when we vote by saying we “Don’t have a chance of winning” or that we are “Splitting the vote”.

In 1775, a handful of men gathered together and decided that instead of choosing “the lesser evil” of the British Empire, they would choose instead to be free men. They left behind their homes, their livelihoods, and their families to stand for the Liberties endowed to them by their Creator. Many defended them with their lives. Now we are told to support the candidate that will harm our Liberties the least instead of the libertarian candidate that will not harm our Liberties at all. I sacrifice time with my family and friends (and countless hours of sleep) educating people about which candidates will restore Freedom and about the libertarian philosophy of peace and love for our fellow man. What if we all sacrificed just a few hours a week to do this? Think of what a difference we could make! If 14,000 colonists could take on, and defeat, the most powerful army in the world, what is our excuse?

Where would we be if George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams had prescribed to the “lesser evil” view? And seeing as how only 1/3 of the American colonists favored revolution I’m sure there were antagonists among their own countrymen telling them that if only they stayed their passion for Liberty, carried with indignity their chains, and accepted with silence their fate, all would be well.

Forgive me if this sounds rude, but the argument that “If we don’t vote for candidate X, then political party Y will win and that will be the end of America” is intellectually lazy. It’s the same tired, old argument that’s trotted out every election year by those who have neither the fortitude to stand for principles nor the courage to defend Freedom in the face of adversity. It is indeed the mantra repeated by cowards and compromisers which, by no coincidence, are directly to blame for delivering America her current fate. The goal should not be to defeat the incumbent; the goal should be good government.

We were told in 2000 that unless we voted for George Bush, Al Gore would destroy America. 4 years passed and we were left with an increase in the size of government by $616 Billion, the introduction of the Homeland Security Department (Patriot Act and the TSA), No Child Left Behind, the Medicare Prescription Drug benefit ($70 Billion/year), McCain-Feingold, suspension of habeas corpus, and Billions of dollars of earmarks.

Then we were told in 2004 that if we didn’t vote for Bush, John Kerry would destroy America. 4 years later and we had the $800 Billion bailout of wealthy CEOs (TARP), federal takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, non-defense federal outlays increased by 18%, an overall increase in the federal government’s budget by 44% (Clinton increased it by 0.1%), and more war.

Say what you will about Obama, who has certainly presided over some very bad policies, but do you now tell me that you trust your Liberty with the political party of George W. Bush?

To those who are still satisfied with compromising the Liberties of our future generations, I leave you with this:

“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of Freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.” –Samuel Adams

I choose good over all shades of evil. I choose Peace. I choose Liberty. I am a libertarian. Who is with me?

It would be Simpler to ban the Contraptions

The legislature is in the process of passing another bill placing minor restrictions on the use of traffic surveillance cameras, or scameras.  This comes after just passing a bill to prohibit reporting of unpaid tickets to collection agencies.  Both of these bills are steps in the right direction, but the legislature could save us a lot of time, money and frustration if they’d pass one bill that outlaws the surveillance revenue devices.

A Look at the Fiscal Impact of the Health Care Compact

Before the health care compact was written, I expressed concerns that I had about transferring the federal health care monstrosities to the State level.  Some of my concerns were addressed in the proposed compact, but not all. 

The fiscal note for the bill shows an increase in State expenditures of $52,000 per year.  Ralph F Weber CLU, AEP has raised several concerns and taken a closer look at the fiscal impact to Tennessee.  His analysis shows that Tennessee will face a $100 billion deficit, over 10 years, if the compact is passed.  He expressed to me that he believes the deficit will actually be worse than what his analysis shows because he wanted to keep his analysis simple and didn’t try to factor in everything that may impact the cost to Tennesseans.  If his analysis is true then the health care compact, which is an attempt to stop ObamaCare, is much worse than I thought. 

His analysis:

Healthcare Compact Fiscal score

Note 1: Current federal administrative costs are just over $600 per enrollee. This fiscal note increases admin costs to $1,195

Note 2: The insurance compact currently costs $3 million per year to operate. During the first years, costs were even higher. Why will the HCC only cost one third of that?

Note 3: Currently there are only 6 states on, not 20. One sixth of $ 3 million is $500,000

Note 4: The commission will need to meet far more frequently that once per year. The insurance compact has 14 standing committees, so the commission will meet at least 6 times per year, for $2,000 per meeting is $12,000

Without monthly admin fees, costs to the state are $512,000.

Healthcare Compact Bill score

The HCC funding model takes the “estimated” current federal spending on Medicare and Medicaid and sets it as the base for 2010. They then ask for an increase based on 1) population growth and 2) regular inflation. This funding formula does not account for the following:

  1. Growing cohort of baby boomers turning 65, whose per enrollee costs are higher than other age groups
  2. Today there are 1.2 million on TennCare. Starting in 2014, the ACA requires that everyone up to 133% of FPL will be on TennCare. This increases the number of TennCare recipients to 1.95 million

Simple growth of population does not consider the above 2 factors.

Expected inflation over the next 10 years is 2.25%. Healthcare inflation based on the last 5 years is 6.71%. Since the compact only accounts for an increase equal to population growth and regular inflation, and since healthcare inflation is 4.46% higher than regular inflation, this will result in a budget shortfall on $18.8 billion in the 10th year, and a cumulative debt of $106 billion.

The bill itself

Note 5: This calls for a new bureaucracy to be established, an NGO

Note 6: The only measuring stick is “improving health POLICY”?

Note 7: Mandatory spending is government speak for “Use it or lose it”. Mandatory spending does not happen in business.

Note 8: Another NGO

Note 9: Members of the NGO are not elected, they are appointed

Note 10: A simple majority rules in this NGO

Note 11: Majority rule

Note 12: Member states shall fund the NGO based on what the simple majority of the NGO decides. For a frame of reference the Interstate Insurance Compact has a $3 million annual budget.

Note 13: Congressional consent it required. They can also subsequently remove that consent. If there are enough votes to get consent, there are enough votes to repeal obamacare. Why move all Medicare beneficiaries onto TennCare?

Note 13 ½: The states want to regulate healthcare. Currently the states regulate INSURANCE, and obamacare attempts to override the regulation of insurance, but has not actually made any attepts to regulate the actual healthcare provided by physicians. Currently healthcare is overseen by 50 state medical boards consisting largely of physicians. Never before has any level of government other than the medical board attempted to take control of anything more than licensure.

Note 14: Mandatory spending formula to be determined by the NGO, and may be changed by a simple majority of the NGO at any time.

Note 15: Any part of this compact may be changed by the NGO at any time by the unelected officials.

Note 16: Future funding increases are based on growth of GDP, not indexed to healthcare inflation. The cumulative shortfall will exceed $106 billion in 10 years leading to either severe rationing, new state taxes, or insolvency of the program, or the state.

Summary: This bill moves current Medicare beneficiaries onto TennCare, which has higher administrative costs. The bill puts control of healthcare into the hands of a bureaucracy called an NGO, or Non-Governmental Organization. This NGO will consist of unelected officials, and a majority of the members of that NGO can change the rules of the Compact allowing a simple majority to make decisions on behalf of all member states. Will a senior living in Florida for the winter be able to use their TennCare there?

Future increases in funding are linked to growth of GDP, with Mandatory spending provisions. This prevents the state from creating a “rainy day fund” to protect residents from a pandemic or natural disaster. It also decreases healthcare funding during recessionary periods. Furthermore, it does not take into account the fact that the number of people on Medicare will increase as members of the baby boom have started turning 65. It also does not account for the increase in the number of people on TennCare increases from 1.2 million to 1.95 million due to the ACA. It simply indexes to growth of population. Should we repeal our death tax and retain more seniors, costs will rise.

Healthcare Inflation has outpaced growth of GDP ever since the establishment of Medicare, Medicaid and managed care. Looking at the 5 year increase in per enrollee spending on TennCare, vs the 5 year growth rate of the GDP, this will lead to a cumulative budgetary shortfall of $106 billion in 10 years.

The Healthcare Compact does not repeal obamacare, and it does not release any one from any of the requirements of obamacare. Nowhere in the bill do I see the words: “Pause”, or “Explore options”. It does not reduce anything in obamacare, it simply moves money from Washington DC to Nashville, which will leave TN with a shortfall in future years. The amount of money represents less than one half of one percent of the federal budget, but 55% of the Tennessee budget. Most of that money could be potentially controlled by an NGO. There is no question in my mind that any government receiving 55% of its budget from an impersonal source, would be more likely to use that money to buy votes than a government receiving 1/2 of a percent of its annual budget.

Numbers on above chart are in millions of dollars.

How to Grow a Sustainable Organic Garden

http://www.backtoedenfilm.com/

Anyone interested in sustainable organic gardening will enjoy and learn from this movie.  Back to Eden shows how to reduce the laborious burden of gardening.  The film and the website provide a sustainable plan which requires the bulk of the work to be in setting your garden up the first year, while rewarding for many years to come with less effort in future years.  It takes what we consider waste, like wood chips and grass clipping, and compost them.  The composted material creates a covering for your garden, leading to the creation of nutrient rich healthy topsoil.  This simplifies the work needed to have a successful garden for generations to come and would be a wonderful family, or church and community project.

A Swift Exit? I Sure Hope so!

Senator Stacey Campfield posted that the 107th General Assembly may end as early as April 16.  This is music to my ear, considering the insanity of 3,800+ proposed bills.  There is one danger though, several stupid bills can be shoved through quickly, without much debate.  It happened last year.  Remember those tough on crime bills? This year, has been no exception with priorities including a saggy pants bill and a ban on short people on motorcycles

Still though, the sooner the State legislature adjourns the better.  It’s less time to shove more of these 3,800 bills through.

Limited Legislative Agenda? Isn’t that what Republicans want?

Chair of the Republican House Caucus, Representative Debra Maggart, lashed out at Democrats for their “limited legislative agenda“. 

“As usual, Chairman Turner and the Democrats are overcompensating for something. Perhaps it’s their limited legislative agenda?”

Gee, isn’t limited government what Republicans claim to want?  Or is it just campaign rhetoric, which goes out the window once elected? 

This Republican legislature has already demonstrated that they don’t want limited government.  Now they’re finally admitting it.

Where are the Republican “front-runners” on this?

Today’s guest post is by Eric Holcombe

Or “other Republicans” (including Ron Paul, John Boehner, Bob Corker, Lamar Alexander, Jimmy Duncan) or the “Media” (including Drudge and Beck) or “the Democrats”, etc? They are talking about gas prices, the oil pipeline to nowhere and etch-a-sketches and jokes about “flat-earthers” instead.

What is President Obama so afraid of?

Don’t be fooled. This executive order is long and took a while to put together. Obama sure didn’t craft it himself and it is being implemented with little fanfare from either Big Two party – exactly as intended. In fact, it is an amendment of older business by both Big Two parties (see the end).

Unless your candidate for President of the US will vow to repeal this unconstitutional garbage (as an executive order, this is the definition by default), you shouldn’t vote for them. Obama is already a lame duck. This is part of the reason more outrageous lawlessness will be perpetrated by Obama in his remaining days. He is designed to lose the election. Romney WILL be the RNC’s chosen one and will be the winner between he and Obama. The “conservative Republican” calls are already beginning for Santorum the sacrificial anode to quit. The familiar phrase “a vote for anybody but Romney is a vote for Obama” will be heard very soon.

But neither party will change this executive order. You need to be asking why.

Are you thinking, “so, what – this is only for use “in times of war””?

Remember that undeclared “war on terror” thing? The one that can never end because we didn’t declare war against a defined enemy that can be defeated? We are now permanently “in times of war”. You are now the terrorist. You and your food or your car or your tractor or the parts for your car or tractor or your medicine. Your garden is a threat to national defense. The government will just steal it and force you into service. And if you read closely, it doesn’t have to be “in times of war” or “emergencies” but also in “peacetime”.

THIS IS ABSOLUTE POLITICAL GOLD FOR ANY REPUBLICAN RUNNING AGAINST OBAMA. SO WHY DOESN’T ANYONE TAKE THIS AND RUN WITH IT?

I welcome any suggestions. Your search can begin in 1994 with Bill Clinton and Executive Order 12919 and then its amendment in 2003 by Executive Order 13286 by George W. Bush who altered it to include the Dept. of Homeland Security (the unconstitutional federal army policing the citizens). This latest executive order is just another amendment.

Think about what this all means when you realize it started LONG before what you know as the “war on terror”. Who held the congressional majority back in 1994 again? Who was there spouting off about Contract with America again? Wasn’t there something about a girl in a blue dress? Maybe you’d also like to review the balance of power from 2003. Nobody is clean here.

If your hope is in a political party, it is misplaced.

3,800+ Bills: Have we gone mad?

There are over 3,800 proposed bills during the 107th General Assembly.  It is always good to be open to improving ourselves individually and collectively.  Government is rarely efficient or effective at anything that it does and there is much room for improvement, but these 3,800 proposed changes are only for a 2 year time frame.  This is the 107th General Assembly, and we’re in our 216th year of governance as the State of Tennessee.  Any society that feels it needs to change itself 3,800+ times, in 2 years, after having over 200 years to establish society is either a terribly run and morally bankrupt society, or it is a society which has gone insane.  Perhaps it’s some of both.

Tennessee is just one State, among 50.  These 3,800+ proposed bills don’t include the thousands of bills proposed by the federal government and numerous bills proposed by localities. 

Of course there’s some overlap and duplicate bills in the 3,800+ bills and some of these bills are the same bills which have been reintroduced for many years.  Some of these bills are well intentioned and may make our lives better by improving efficiency and reducing waste.  Some may provide services which are needed, but lacking.  Others may be to protect our freedoms, which is the whole reason to have government in the first place.  But does anyone believe that we need to alter our society 3,800+ times every 2 years? 

Surely, our society isn’t so vile that it needs to be altered 3,800+ times.  If it is this reprehensible, then it’s time to abolish government, rather than pretending that our system of governance and society can be fixed if we just alter or reform it 3,800+ times every 2 years.  3,800 proposed changes are reflective of the moral decay and ignorance within our society, and decay and ignorance of such severity will never be solved by civil government.

Bob and Doug or Mickey and Donald?

Tennesseans can sleep better knowing that the limited duo Bob Ramsey and Doug Overbey are keeping the roads safe from short people.

The only debate on the Senate floor came when Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, asked Overbey how the law would apply to “a person doesn’t have any feet” after amputation or a “small person.”

“Frankly, that question has not come up,” replied Overbey, who went on to suggest that “we can expect law enforcement to use good common sense in the exercise of this enforcement.”

Oh yeah, we can always trust prosecutors to do the right thing.  I’ll sleep better tonight knowing that diabetic amputees won’t be maliciously prosecuted because Overbey says they won’t.

Seriously, Blount Countians should consider sending Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck as replacements for the limited duo, Bob and Doug.  At least Mickey and Donald would be entertaining.

You Know You are Stepping on Toes When…

In both 2008 and in 2012, I was on the Tennessee Republican primary ballot as an approved delegate for the Ron Paul Republican Presidential nomination.  Also, Ron Paul endorsed me in 2008 when I ran for State Representative.  While the two delegate candidacies were not approved by Ron Paul directly, they were approved by someone within the Presidential campaigns.  Thus, with 3 forms of approval by Ron Paul or his campaigns, it would follow that I should be able to speak to the local GOP about Ron Paul’s candidacy for the President of the United States.  But the local GOP couldn’t stand the thought.

Susan Mills, the Chairman of the Blount County Republican Party and State Executive Committeewoman, contacted the State coordinator for the Ron Paul campaign and asked for someone to speak at two local Republican meetings.  The regional coordinator asked me to speak, but Susan Mills called the State coordinator and asked for someone else.  Apparently a delegate, who was previously endorsed by Ron Paul, isn’t good enough for the local GOP. 

Mrs. Mills said she wanted someone who was more GOP neutral, whatever that means.  When I inquired why she requested someone else, I did not receive a response. 

The regional coordinator sent someone with a ring in her nose to speak to the Republican Party.  I can’t help but laugh about the Blount Count GOP getting their way.  Congrats, to the big whigs.  You got someone you can lead around by the ring in their nose.  That big tent circus ought to make you feel good.  Just look at what a great job our all Republican Commission is doing, with a property tax increase last year and another one looming this year.  Maybe the new Finance Director will help the local good ole boys find a way to borrow more money and kick the out-of-control spending and debt can even further down the road. 

I am not the first to be blackballed by the local machine.  The local GOP stands for the Good Ole Party, or the Get Out Party.