Thursday, January 22, 2009

Ron Paul is a Lunatic

Watch this, and see if you don't agree. What kind of insanity is it to claim that the United States cannot borrow money from around the world and consume everything we desire? We're the greatest nation on earth! We can all have 2.7 cars per household and Houses that are priced at 3-5 times our annual salary! We don't have to save up for that new 52 inch plasma TV either, we can just whip out the Discover card right now and enjoy!

Oh, and so is Peter Schiff. Nay saying negative Nancies the both of them!

FYI, I don't agree with my subject. I just figured I'd be sarcastic once in a while.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Controversial Dispatch

The Downsizer Dispatch warned us that they were going to take on controversial topics, and today they dropped the bomb. I have found myself to agree with the Downsize DC mission in every one of their campaigns that I've read. Todays is no exception. Today, January 21st, the Dispatch tackles the War on Drugs. Anyone that has had the misfortune of listening to me rant in person has probably heard me say something to the effect of "I agree with the Libertarian Party on a great many issues, but they cannot find political success by leading with weed." I still think this to be true, I don't think politicians that are making weed smoking one of their top issues will succeed. However, at the same time, the Federal Government has no Constitutional authority to make it a crime for people to put substances into their own bodies. Furthermore, as I've stated below, the War on Drugs is not a net benefit to society. It creates more crime and drains more from our economy than a situation where these substances were legally obtainable would. Read what I wrote to our Congresspeople, and please, weigh in with your thoughts.

The civil war currently raging in Mexico, and much of the international terrorist threat, is fueled by the obscene, black-market profits made possible by drug prohibition. Please defund the Mexican drug lords and the terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan by ending drug prohibition.

Alcohol is something that a growing number of people have a problem with. Some people abuse it. Many people use it and receive health benefits from it (wine for instance). There are people in our country's history that have convinced the Federal Government to step in and rid our great nation of the vice that is alcohol. Prohibition was a crime and corruption disaster in our nation. We solved those criminal problems not by perpetual escalation of arms and punishment for the use of alcohol, but by making it legal again.

The Federal Government does not have the right to define for all people what a safe use for substances such as Marijuana can be. I am personally against the use of consciousness altering substances, and I take no part in their production or consumption. However, I do believe strongly that people should have the right to make their own decisions about what substances to put into their own bodies. The ending of prohibition on more substances will act to dramatically reduce crime by reducing the cost of these substances. Fewer people will have to steal to feed their addictions, addictions which cannot be treated by jail time. Sales of these substances will be legal, so that turf wars will not have to be fought out by drug dealing gangs and other organized crime.

In particular, we would see other industrial benefits by the legalization of Hemp, which is of course associated with Marijuana. Hemp is a very easy to grow fiber that could be used to fuel innovation in many of our domestic industries.

The bottom line is that I'm pleading with you to consider this controversial subject and work to end the Federal Prohibition on Drugs. The War on Drugs has had many casualties, but none of them were the usage of drugs, only the people that died in gun fights and those that were incarcerated for potentially harming themselves.

Mr. Jeremy Young

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Kudlow is Wise to have Peter Schiff as a Guest

In the last week, Kudlow & Company on CNBC has had Peter Schiff on twice (1/15 and 1/20). These cable networks always manage to match up Peter Schiff with some outspoken positive thinkers (I couldn't think of something that wasn't slanderous) that want us to believe that it's all working, we just need patience, or that the Federal Reserve can eventually get us out of all this. Over and over again in the past Peter has spoken the truth that the Federal Reserve and the US Government are spending us into oblivion, and eventually we MUST deal with the liquidation of this bad debt. That liquidation will be painful no matter how it happens, there's no happy ending to 10+ trillion in Government debt, 53+ trillion in unfunded Government entitlement spending, and who knows how many trillions of bad derivatives. It's all a huge house of cards, and we can't make our financial situation healthy by stacking it all higher.

Here's part one of the conversation five days before the inauguration:

Part two:

Next we have inauguration day where the markets took a beating in response to the event. Part one:

Part two:

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Downsizer Twofer

I responded to two Downsizer Dispatches today. The first, from January 19th, discussed some of the many assaults on liberty coming from the unelected bureaucratic agencies created by the Federal Government. I wrote to my Congresspeople the following:

Please introduce's "Write the Laws Act." You can find a summary and the full text of the bill here:
Here are three recent items which I consider unacceptable. They were all created with the force of law by people that we did not elect to represent us.

#1: FDA experts have voted to ban the drugs Serevent and Foradil for asthma patients. The vote isn't binding, but the FDA generally follows such recommendations. And yet . . .

* One-third of these experts disagreed with banning these drugs for adult patients
* The leading rationale was that many patients used them incorrectly by not pairing them with a steroid. But what about patients who took the drugs responsibly and correctly?
* The total cost of these drugs plus steroids is still cheaper than that of two other asthma drugs, Advair and Symbicort, which were approved.

In other words, the panel voted to limit the clinical options of doctors and increase the costs for patients.

Even so, it could have been worse. Some FDA safety experts wanted to ban all four drugs because they may cause one death in "somewhere between 700 and 4,000 patients."

They apparently didn't listen to Dr. Richard Gower, President of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, who said, "We live in an imperfect world. All drugs have potential benefits and side effects."

#2: The FDA has also banned the use of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) inhalers (MDIs) beginning this year. CFC products are believed to cause ozone depletion, and most of them were banned internationally by the Montreal Protocol of 1987. However,

* Medically essential products, such as CFC MDIs, have been exempt
* Medical products account for, at most, 0.5% of CFC consumption, meaning the ban is not environmentally necessary.
* Replacement inhalers (HFAs) are still patent-protected, and no generics can be made until 2010. HFA MDIs are 2-3 times the price of CFC MDIs, and require more diligence to clean and maintain. The poor, who are already more likely to suffer asthma, are paying a tax on their health for the sake of a symbolic environmental gesture.
* There is no medical justification for banning CFC MDI's.

#3: The TSA's new proposed "Large Aircraft Security Program" (LASP) could ruin the general aviation industry.

* The same one-size-fits-all regulations will apply to both passenger airliners and non-commercial, business-owned jets that are used to move cargo and personnel. For instance, the "no-fly" list and Air Marshall provisions will apply to business planes even though the pilots usually know everyone on board personally.
* The definition of "large aircraft" is arbitrary, applying both to planes as small as 12,500 pounds and to 747's ten times that weight.
* Items that are prohibited in passenger jets will also be banned to employees in these smaller business planes, even if they are needed for their work. (Just think of what that will do to business efficiency in this time of recession.)
* Airplane owners will be forced to pay, at their own expense, for audits of their safety compliance. The audits won't even be done by government inspectors, but by private consultants.
* These rules can potentially expand to all aircraft and all airports.

The above three items are just a few examples of what federal regulatory agencies do to us, every day. They pass regulations and enforce policies that reduce our choices and increase our costs. While their actions often go unreported or are buried in newspapers, they profoundly affect large segments of our population and of our economy. Just ask asthma sufferers. Or the aviation industry.

All of this is done with little or no Congressional oversight. Instead, Congress passes general laws and expects regulatory agencies to "sweat the details." People have to obey agency dictates, even though they're created willy-nilly without any elected representation.

Mr. Jeremy Young

Today's dispatch focused on the fact that the inauguration will begin the first 100 days push to "DO SOMETHING!", and that looks like spending, spending, and more spending. Stealing from our Grandparents, Parents, Siblings, Children, and Grandchildren all in the name of trying to fix what was broken by reckless spending. In that vein, I wrote the following:

Please cut federal spending.

This new stimulus is a disaster building on the horizon. The Federal Government is not all-powerful, nor all-knowing. You as Congresspeople cannot know the path that we should take to escape this economic calamity. The only way to ensure an economic recovery is to reduce the size and scope of the Federal Government so that capital can be freed up to be used by the innovative and creative forces in our country. Our Nation became great in exactly this way, liberty to pursue whatever we have a passion for.

Mr. Jeremy Young

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Monday, January 12, 2009

Reader Backlog

I have 161 items in my Google Reader Starred List. I don't think I'm going to get to them all. The oldest is from September 18th, 2008. I think I'll make a pass through and try to weed through the lesser items to keep the best of them.

I've posted several times in the past so I'll make this brief. Peter Schiff on the economy. Watch and listen on YouTube... Just search for it.

I also love to listen to Judge Andrew Napolitano. I have some of his material starred for reading.

I have several posts queued up by Tammy Drennan of the Alliance for the Separation of School and State. I enjoy her work, and I usually need to spend time reading and pondering it to get out of it what I feel it is worth.

I read Schneier on Security. I work in computers, and it's always good to know a little about the field of encryption and security. His perspective about the War on Terror has given me plenty to think about.

Oh, and here's an interesting tidbit about stock market gains. It seems that all the biggest gains are during the worst of times (or leading up to them).

Being a tech nerd, I try to keep up with Grails. I haven't gotten much development done outside of work though.

Oh, did I mention I liked Dan Mitchel at the Cato Institute? Here he is talking about tax havens.

Oh, and we just need more inflation to get our country on its feet...

Sorry this post has been so choppy, but I've actually been reviewing my reader as I type.. Maybe my one reader will let me know if I should cut this junk out or keep it up.

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A Splinter In Their Side

Since I'm not significant enough to my United States Congresspeople (Representative Roy Blunt, Senator Kit Bond, and Senator Claire McCaskill), I can only consider myself a splinter, not a thorn. Even though I'm small, I'm working to make sure they hear my point of view. Today's Dispatch - "What Cokie Said" - involved the House Minority Leader speaking truth. He spoke of one of the aims of the Read The Bills Act, namely, that the "stimulus" bill should be made available in its final form online for seven days before it is voted upon.

I hope this is significant, and not just partisan power brokering, but time will tell. After reading the entire dispatch, I was inspired to write my Congresspeople. Three times. I wrote to them about:

The Read The Bills Act (RTBA) -

Congress needs to start reading the laws it passes. Please introduce's "Read the Bills Act." I know you have the power to introduce this legislation on your own, without waiting for anyone else. I urge you to do so. This is a much-needed, common sense reform. I can see no justification for not introducing it. I'm telling my friends about it, and I look forward to hearing that you've introduced it. You can find the text of the legislation here:

"I would ask the Democratic leadership to guarantee that such a bill will not be brought to the floor of the House unless there have been public hearings in the appropriate committees, the entire text has been available online for the American people to review for at least one week, and it includes no special-interest earmarks." -- House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio.

You should be familiar with the concept of making the text of bills available online for at least seven days. I've been writing to you repeatedly asking you to pass the Read The Bills Act (RTBA). The RTBA includes that provision and more which would lay the groundwork for restoring accountability and trust in the Congress by the people of the United States. Since the level of trust has been the lowest since the ratings have been recorded (9% approval rating) lately, I'd think that you wanted to help stand for something honest and genuine to regain some of it.

Let's try to hold Obama to his promises of change and consider this statement:
"I think the notion of a stimulus package online for a week before its voted on is just delightful. I mean, these bills are normally written in the dead of night with all kinds of things getting in them. ... Any big bill, I mean nobody usually knows what's in it at all when they're voting on it. That would be real change." -- Cokie Roberts, "This Week" roundtable on ABC, January 4, 2009 (-8:35 mark)

The RTBA would be REAL change, and change that shouldn't be partisan.

Mr. Jeremy Young

Then I got a little wordy and talked to them about the Enumerated Powers Act -

Please bring John Shadegg's 'Enumerated Powers Act' (HR 1359) to a vote as soon as possible, and please do all you can to support the passage of this bill.

While Congress, the President, the President Elect, and the Federal Reserve are running around demanding that things get done fast, let's not forget that there are only a few things that Congress can do according to the restrictions placed upon it by the Constitution of the United States of America.

I urge you to consider whether you have the Constitutional authority to enact the stimulus package that is being debated. Consider the Enumerated Powers Act, and pass this important reminder of the restrictions the Constitution placed upon you to protect We The People.

Mr. Jeremy Young

Finally, I just got down right annoying and sent them another note about the One Subject at a Time Act -

Please introduce's "One Subject at a Time Act" (OSTA). You can find the text of the legislation here:

OSTA would be a marvelous precursor to this "Stimulus" package that everyone is debating. It would require the bill to only contain language that pertains to One Subject. Grouped with the Read The Bills Act, and the Enumerated Powers Act, it would make the "Stimulus" easy for most Americans to understand. It would be much smaller, and would be much easier to debate and bring to a vote.

Enough is enough already. Stop voting for bills that are loaded down with rider after rider that are completely unrelated to the title of the bill. Quit spending OUR MONEY to buy votes from your opposition. If a bill isn't good enough to be passed on its own, then don't pass it at all.

Mr. Jeremy Young

At least I know their staff can't claim to not know who I am or what I'm going on about. I doubt that any of the three take time to read even the subjects of their emails.

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Thursday, January 08, 2009

Downsizer Dispatch - January 8, 2009

In the past I've copied and pasted the whole dispatch, but I think instead I'll just link to the blog version of the dispatch.

Today's Dispatch: How to Stimulate the Economy

I agree wholeheartedly with today's assessment, and I'm actually becoming a fan of Dan over at the Cato Institute. He doesn't have an ideal speaking voice, but his ideas and the information he presents are excellent.

I responded with this letter to my DC overlords:

Please cut federal spending.

You can't spend the economy out of a recession. If you find a scientific study that supports the idea that Government spending stimulates the economy, please share it with all of us. We need to know that there's a reason other than increasing your own power and influence behind larger Federal Budgets.

Followed by another one:

Please cut federal taxes.

Nobel Prize winning Economist Milton Friedman discovered that consumer spending is only increased by confidence in the long term situation, not short term confidence. Spending by citizens stays at pace with what we expect our future income to be.

Having said that, it is immoral to try to squeeze more spending out of over-spent debtor citizens. Your policies of discouraging savings and encouraging reckless spending on throw away goods and services will not make this country stronger. It may inflate the numbers again in another bubble, but it will not save us.

You must lower spending, cut taxes, and balance the budget. Deficit spending is an inflation tax that is more sinister than any income tax. You are not collecting the money, but you are spending it anyway. This is theft from our future generations, and must stop.

Once again:

Balanced Budget!
Reduced Spending!
Cut Taxes!

I doubt that my words are eloquent or effective, but at least they're hearing from me. I don't think there's any doubt what I'm asking for though.

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City Council / Mayor Candidates!

Even though I am the Treasurer of the Metro Republicans, I think I'm fairly unbiased in saying that tonight's candidate forum went extremely well.

I want to thank Jason for his live blogging coverage of the event, and for providing full audio for the whole event.

Specifically, I appreciate greatly the fact that Jason is providing information whole and un-editted so that citizens can have the necessary facts to be self governing (gee, that sounds like Journalism). Sure he gives his own take on things in the live blogging portion, but providing full audio is just an excellent service to the community, and I commend him on it.

I also want to thank all of the candidates that attended, I hope that the event will give many people the opportunity to know more about who these candidates really are, and to see how they interact with each other and a crowd.

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Saturday, January 03, 2009

I hate Viruses

One of the things I have been working on during my vacation is a general overhaul of the computers that my in-laws use. There is one general use computer that I found to be so filled with viruses that I had quite a difficult time getting it cleaned up. I'll spare you the gory details and the mind numbing torture that it was during the process. In the end I used the following tools to make the beast clean again:

I used all of the tools to help me remove all of the nasty viruses, but the key that helped me finish the job was the Malwarebytes'. I was almost ready to call it done because I had gotten all of the viruses that Avast would detect (even on a boot time scan). However, I still couldn't start up the Automatic Updates service in Windows XP. The service would immediately become disabled after enabling it. I learned that this is typical behavior of the Vundo family of viruses, and I was very surprised that Avast could not clean it. After malwarebytes took care of that virus, I was able to get the Automatic Updates to go through cleanly and am currently typing this post from that computer which is running smoothly and cleanly.

Most of what it takes to conquer these types of problems is patience and persistence. Know that if something looks weird, it probably is weird, and you should keep looking so that viruses aren't lurking out in the shadows waiting to collect and install more viruses, or share critical data with spammers and thieves.

Good luck if you run across these problems. You'll need it.

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Spurts of Nonsense

Well, over the last month things have been happening, but I haven't considered most of them blog worthy. Then again, maybe I set my standards too high. I think I'll try and lower my standards and just put more splatter on here and worry less about it being intellectual. :)

At work, the Information Systems Department has taken one for the team. We're in the process of moving away from the Secondary "campus" that O'Reilly Corporate maintains, to a new location that used to be a large Tennis facility. My team is quite lucky in that we got a large space and the ability and freedom to arrange it however we liked. The rest of the IS Department wasn't so lucky. I and the members of my team feel a little sorry for the rest of the department and are concerned that this may put downward pressure on some people's desire to keep this job. The good news is that O'Reilly is still a growing company, and the Automotive Aftermarket industry performs fairly steadily through recession, due to a general increase in the repair of vehicles instead of replacement. Above all else, this makes it a good company to be a part of in these economic times.

In politics, I'm slowly recovering from the disappointment of November, and am renewing my involvement in organizations such as the Springfield Metro Republicans, the Campaign For Liberty, the Young Conservatives, the Republican Liberty Caucus, and Downsize DC.

This week I've been visiting my wife's family in Texas. I'll probably talk more about that in another post.

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