Milwaukee County Sheriff Sets the Record Straight


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milwaukee sheriff david clarkeMilwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr sees the Liberal policies that have destroyed the black community for what they are, and he’s not afraid to tell you how he feels. His recently penned Op-Ed in the Washington Times lays it on the line and he pulls no punches. He gets it. He knows that big government begets dependency and dependency begets societal breakdown.


Believe me when I tell you, this is a must-read.

CLARKE: Liberal policies have destroyed the black family


Nanny State Alert: Welfare Mother Explains Why She Stays on Welfare


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Nanny State

If you ever wondered about the source of inter generational poverty, it’s name is government.  Check this out…

It has all the hallmarks, like the penalization of success and the rewarding of failure. The incentive to stay in the system vs. working. It’s all there. This is exactly where the democrats want them, dependent, and ignorant. A permanent underclass is necessary to keep democrats in power. Since the slaves on the government plantation have been convinced that they cannot survive in the real world, they will show up at the polls to keep the gravy flowing. after all, those “evil and racist Republicans” might make them “work,” or some strange thing like that!


Startling Story on Disability in America… Stunning and Sad


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From a very well researched NPR story Unfit for Work: The Startling Rise in Disability in America (excerpts only from a much longer story, with emphasis added by me):

…In the past three decades, the number of Americans who are on disability has skyrocketed. The rise has come even as medical advances have allowed many more people to remain on the job, and new laws have banned workplace discrimination against the disabled. Every month, 14 million people now get a disability check from the government.

The federal government spends more money each year on cash payments for disabled former workers than it spends on food stamps and welfare combined. Yet people relying on disability payments are often overlooked in discussions of the social safety net. The vast majority of people on federal disability do not work.[1] Yet because they are not technically part of the labor force, they are not counted among the unemployed.

In other words, people on disability don’t show up in any of the places we usually look to see how the economy is doing. But the story of these programs — who goes on them, and why, and what happens after that — is, to a large extent, the story of the U.S. economy. It’s the story not only of an aging workforce, but also of a hidden, increasingly expensive safety net….

…People don’t seem to be faking this pain, but it gets confusing. I have back pain. My editor has a herniated disc, and he works harder than anyone I know. There must be millions of people with asthma and diabetes who go to work every day. Who gets to decide whether, say, back pain makes someone disabled?

As far as the federal government is concerned, you’re disabled if you have a medical condition that makes it impossible to work. In practice, it’s a judgment call made in doctors’ offices and courtrooms around the country. The health problems where there is most latitude for judgment — back pain, mental illness — are among the fastest growing causes of disability….

…Part of the rise in the number of people on disability is simply driven by the fact that the workforce is getting older, and older people tend to have more health problems.

But disability has also become a de facto welfare program for people without a lot of education or job skills. But it wasn’t supposed to serve this purpose; it’s not a retraining program designed to get people back onto their feet. Once people go onto disability, they almost never go back to work. Fewer than 1 percent of those who were on the federal program for disabled workers at the beginning of 2011 have returned to the workforce since then, one economist told me.

People who leave the workforce and go on disability qualify for Medicare, the government health care program that also covers the elderly. They also get disability payments from the government of about $13,000 a year. This isn’t great. But if your alternative is a minimum wage job that will pay you at most $15,000 a year, and probably does not include health insurance, disability may be a better option.

But, in most cases, going on disability means you will not work, you will not get a raise, you will not get whatever meaning people get from work.[2] Going on disability means, assuming you rely only on those disability payments, you will be poor for the rest of your life. That’s the deal. And it’s a deal 14 million Americans have signed up for….

…A person on welfare costs a state money. That same resident on disability doesn’t cost the state a cent, because the federal government covers the entire bill for people on disability. So states can save money by shifting people from welfare to disability. And the Public Consulting Group is glad to help. PCG is a private company that states pay to comb their welfare rolls and move as many people as possible onto disability….

…n the past few decades, an entire disability-industrial complex has emerged. It has just one goal: Push more people onto disability. And, sometimes, it seems like the government is outmatched. This is especially true in the legal system….

….”You might imagine a courtroom where on one side there’s the claimant and on the other side there’s a government attorney who is saying, ‘We need to protect the public interest and your client is not sufficiently deserving,'” the economist David Autor says. “Actually, it doesn’t work like that. There is no government lawyer on the other side of the room.”…

…Politicians pay lip service to this problem during election cycles, but American leaders have not sat down and come up with a comprehensive plan.

In the meantime, federal disability programs became our extremely expensive default plan. The two big disability programs, including health care for disabled workers, cost some $260 billion a year.

People at the Social Security Administration, which runs the federal disability programs, say we cannot afford this. The reserves in the disability insurance program are on track to run out in 2016, Steve Goss, the chief actuary at Social Security, told me.

Goss is confident that Congress will act to keep disability payments flowing, probably by taking money from the Social Security retirement fund. Of course, the retirement fund itself is on track to run out of money by 2035

This is a stunning report. Whomever wrote this poorly designed legislation should pay for chaining millions of people in soul-dragging poverty, whomever runs these poorly run programs should pay for degrading the condition of free people by sticking them in these programs, and whomever is judging on the proper use of taxpayer money in such a way should be impeached. They’re all criminal in their duty.

This is a very sad story, but one which we must all hear before we vote again for politicians who promise to put more people on government programs to ‘help’ more people, and instead simply enslave these poor people into a degrading government program that keeps them fed but in permanent poverty.

There are real systematic problems in our nation right now, and policy makers are robbing left and right from various funds to shore up these problems and will continue to shift and borrow and print money as long as possible, but in about 10 years the whole thing is going to come crashing down in an epic collapse. You have been warned.

Original Post:  A Conservative Teacher


Car Prices are on the Rise, Government to Blame


Car prices are on the rise. I’ve often noted that when the leftists want to end something, they do not ban it outright.  That would be unpopular.  But, if they make it more and more expensive, they can still say you can do it- you just won’t be able to afford it.  I wrote about this back in 2009. 

Now, enter the auto industry.  For decades, the Fed has made cars more expensive via safety, emissions, and fuel economy requirements.  The safety regulations make the cars heavier, making mileage a problem, the emissions regulations made engine compression ratios go down, which also ruins mileage.  Of course, you then have to do a ton of R&D, and add a bunch  of additional equipment to make the cars meet all of the regulations.  Then end result has been cars that are far more expensive that they need to be.   Also, they have consistently prevented us from increasing domestic oil production, leaving us at the whim of foreign powers, and driving consumer costs through the roof.  When you look at all of these in their totality, you can guess that, “Gee, seems they want to make it mighty inconvenient to own and operate at car!”

The Foundry has the current analysis. 

The average price of a new car in 2012 was $30,500. Wondering why? One contributing factor is the new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards.

All models from a single manufacturer must reach an average of 35.3 miles per gallon (mpg) by 2016 and 54.5 mpg by 2025. The current average is 29 mpg. We already knew federal fuel efficiency standards don’t reduce global warming, considering that not even cap and trade would have. We knew they don’t reduce dependence on foreign oil. And now, if we didn’t know it before, we know that they don’t help make cars affordable.

By the government’s own account, the stringent new CAFE standards will increase the average cost of a new car by $3,000 in 2025. The Energy Information Administration warned that new cars priced under $15,000 may no longer be available by 2025. Further, people who buy a new car this year are unlikely to ever realize any fuel savings.

So, as you can see, they are performing exactly as expected.


Nursing Home “Death Panels” Elderly Patient


I don’t know if this is trend, or an aberration, but a nursing home nurse flatly refused a 911 dispatchers order to perform CPR on an elderly woman that had collapsed in that facility.  ABC News has video…

Um, this looks pretty bad. I have heard of a disregard for keeping the elderly alive in nursing facilities, but this is the first solid sign that those reports are true.


Mayor Bloomberg and the Law of Unintended Consequences


Because Chuck E. Cheese is apparently a menace to society, Mayor Bloomberg banned large sodas?  Well, not really, but that’s where the law of unintended consequences comes in.  In Mayor Blooberg’s zeal to be the mother of all nannies, he didn’t think about all for the ramifications of his actions.  Let’s just say that there were some unintended consequences, like banning most of the drinks at Chuck E. Cheese.  Here is an informative graphic from the NY Post…


Government and the Permanent Income Classes


socialism-class-warfare-against-the-united-statesThe other day I was having a conversation with an individual who like many on the left believes the rich needs to pay more in taxes.  When I asked why he believed this, he responded, “Because they can afford it and it’s the only fair thing to do.”  So my follow-up question was why can’t we afford it?  I could see the question caught him off guard.  He asked me to explain what I meant.  I said, “Why has it become more difficult for us to achieve success so that one day we too may reach the tax bracket you are proposing for the rich.”  I could tell by the tilt of his head and the perplexed look on his face he was struggling to come up with a rational answer.  He finally replied, “Because big corporations are in bed with the government and crafting laws that protect them and hurt the little guy.”  Finally some root cause analysis was being utilized to get to the root cause of our problem.  But there’s more to it than just big corporations in bed with the government.  There’s the tax code and the over-regulation of our free market.

These three variables do help create an environment where permanent income classes are becoming a very real thing.  With each regulation enacted, or a law implemented that favors big corporations over smaller startup companies or the tinkering of our success punishing tax code it becomes much more difficult for the lower income class to move up into the middle class income bracket and the middle class income to move up into the upper income tax bracket.  It creates barriers between the different income brackets that shackle us to our current income class.

This is why the President’s rhetoric about class warfare was so successful during the last election.  A permanent class feeling is sweeping over the people.  Couple this with the Federal Reserve devaluing the dollar and now you not only have an environment that reinforces permanent classes but one that attacks all income classes by diminishing our purchasing power.  Have you noticed how much harder it has become to stretch the dollar?  How the price of goods and fuel are going through the roof.  How there is less money in your paychecks.  President Obama’s policies combined with the printing of money by the Federal Reserve are a direct assault against all the classes.  And he wants you to believe the problem is the rich don’t pay their fair share.  This assertion that the rich don’t pay their fair share is also an attack on the lower and middle income classes.  Because no matter how you slice it whenever wealth is taken from the private sector to fund inefficient government programs, wealth is destroyed and we all suffer for it.  It’s too bad so many have third grade understanding about the creation and destruction of wealth and the impact both have on a society.

Ronald Reagan was correct when he said government is the problem.  Look at where it has led us.  We now live in an America where permanent income classes have become a very real thing for many Americans; created by government via its laws, policies, and regulations.  Maybe if more people understood this, the less enthusiastic they would be about embracing government and its policies that foster and establishes a new kind of America with permanent income classes.  Maybe they would finally see that government is indeed the problem. I’m not holding my breath…

Liberty forever, freedom for all!

Original Post:  The Sentry Journal


The If You Let The EPA In Your House…


What does a politically aware person think when he or she hears that the EPA is interested on their home’s “safety?”  Probably the following…

1.  Power grab.

2.  Regulations.

3.  Resulting Wallet Grab.

I could probably go on for a bit, but New Zeal has a lot more…

On February 4, 2013, the Obama government issued a press release on how it plans to gain access into your home. What follows is an edited snapshot of the government’s planned intrusions onto and into your private property:

Improving housing quality can dramatically affect the health of residents

WASHINGTON-Several federal agencies today unveiled Advancing Healthy Housing – A Strategy for Action. White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Chair Nancy Sutley, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Shaun Donovan, Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, M.D., and Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman discussed the new plan during an event at the National Building Museum this morning… The Strategy for Action encourages federal agencies to take preemptive actions that will help reduce the number of American homes with health and safety hazards…. Currently, millions of U.S. homes have moderate to severe physical housing problems, including dilapidated structure; roofing problems; heating, plumbing, and electrical deficiencies; water leaks and intrusion; pests; damaged paint; and high radon gas levels… The Strategy for Action unifies, for the first time, federal action to advance healthy housing, demonstrating the connection between housing conditions and residents’ health… It is clear that unhealthy and unsafe housing has an impact on the health of millions of people in the United States,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan… “Today’s announcement will help the federal government unify action to controlling and preventing major housing-related exposures and hazards.” (Emphasis added.)

The Obama administration through the EPA, HUD and DOE (Department of Energy) wants unprecedented control over your home. In addition to privacy issues, homeowners can expect to fork over hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to be in compliance or face stiff fines. Additional costs will be added to how new homes are built, whereas the sales of older homes can be stopped in their tracks until they meet stringent government codes. The government portends to act in your best interest. Note words, such as controlling, in the press release that reveal real intent:

1.) The Strategy for Action encourages federal agencies to take preemptive actions

2.) Today’s announcement will help the federal government unify action to controlling and preventing major housing-related exposures and hazards.”

3.) The Strategy for Action unifies, for the first time, federal action to advance healthy housing, demonstrating the connection between housing conditions and residents’ health.

4.) Currently, millions of U.S. homes have moderate to severe physical housing problems, including dilapidated structure; roofing problems; heating, plumbing, and electrical deficiencies; water leaks and intrusion; pests; damaged paint; and high radon gas levels.

OK, are you getting it?  This isn’t about helping people, and it’s no more about health than ObamaCare is.  It is, however, all about control.  And, in gaining that control, they’ll create a housing crisis.  And, when government causes a crisis, government is always put up as the solution the solution.  And, when government is the solution to the problem, union contractors are part of the “plan.”  And when union contractors are part of the “plan,” donations flood democratic coffers.  And, when union contributions flood democratic coffers, more democrats are elected.  And when more democrats are elected, more crises can be created.

Rinse and repeat as needed.


Democrats Want EBT Cards Used at Casinos, Strip Clubs, and Bars


If the Democrats aren’t trying to encourage welfare fraud, why are they trying to stop taxpayers, from using government EBT cards at Casinos, liquor stores, and so forth?  Moonbattery has more…

That’s why they are making sure that EBT cards continue to be used to make cash withdrawals of other people’s money at casinos, bars, porn shops, and strip clubs, even as the nation staggers toward bankruptcy.

Democratic [New York] state lawmakers, led by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, have blocked welfare-reform legislation that would end “sinful spending” by preventing people receiving government benefits from withdrawing taxpayer-funded cash at jiggle and gin joints, The Post has learned.

To justify the unjustifiable, Dems fall back on their old friend moral equivalence. We are told there is no difference between drawing a paycheck from Big Government, and feeding off it as a parasite.

One reform opponent, Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D- Manhattan), compared welfare recipients to municipal employees and said the government shouldn’t dictate how the taxpayer-funded checks are spent.

“Last I checked, this is America, and if somebody wants to propose that policemen, firefighters, sanitation workers, state legislators and other people paid with government funds be restricted as to what they use their money for, let them propose it,” Gottfried said.

This is yet another example of the pretzel logic of the left.  And, they certainly have no problems mandating things when government money in concerned.  But, these recipients are dependent democratic voters, so they cannot be ticked off.  And, since they are dependent democratic voters, their taxes didn’t go up.  They’ve gotta keep their dependent classes on the reservation, so letting them use government EBT cards at casinos or strip joints is A-OK.


Welfare Fraud Alert: Let’s Just Say its Rampant


While researching one story, I found another.  It seems that welfare fraud is not only rampant, but also encouraged,  Here is some video coverage…

Waiting for claims that it doesn’t happen, or that these are “isolated incidents.”

5, 4, 3, 2, 1….

Why is it encouraged?  Well, if your goal is to make more and more people dependent in the system, and therefore democratic voters, you can’t let a little thing like eligibility and law interfere, can you?


Dependency Alert: Per Household, Welfare now Exceeds Median Income


The nanny state has apparently tightened it’s stranglehold on the American soul.  Welfare expenditures now surpass the median American income.  Doug Ross (no relation) has more…

Rampant fraud and increased poverty:

‘Welfare Spending Equates to $168 Per Day for Every Household in Poverty’

The amount of money spent on welfare programs equals, when converted to cash payments, about “$168 per day for every household in poverty”…

…welfare spending per day per household in poverty is $168, which is higher than the $137 median income per day. When broken down per hour, welfare spending per hour per household in poverty is $30.60, which is higher than the $25.03 median income per hour.

I don’t think much more explanation is needed.  We are now on the slippery slope, and Obama is greasing the skids.

Elections have consequences, and remember to never call dependency on government dependency-it’s bad!


America Domesticated


Domesticate: to take, especially by generations of breeding, to live in close association with human beings as a pet or work animal and usually creating a dependency so that the animal loses its ability to live in the wild.

I have the most pathetic dog in the world.  He’s a cock-a-poo.  He’s fat, lazy, and the only thing that qualifies as effort in his life is when he begs.  Still, we are pathetic owners.  We love him because he is cute and because he is ours.  We are those bad owners who give him food from the table and treats for tricks.  He sleeps on a nice bed, has his toys replaced when they go bad (due to his mistreatment of them), and has more money than can be justified spent on his health (shots for dog are more expensive than shots for kids?).  The good thing is that he will never run away because he is utterly lost more than 10 feet from the house.  He returns willingly and wanders cautiously.  He knows he has it good and he isn’t willing to try to make it on his own – he is owned by us.

Do I need to draw out the metaphor?  In what I amount to an inhumane act, our governments (local, state, and federal) have domesticated a large portion of our population in the ironic spirit of humanism.  In the same breath that speaks of care and comfort to the less fortunate comes the tyranny of superiority over the subordinate.  Man is not made to be the play thing of another man, nor do we as Americans believe in the hierarchy of men among men.  Our equality is measured in our nature; even if unequal in assets.  America, however, has floundered into the seemingly natural territory of masters and minions in an apparently vain attempt to counter that very condition.  Tycoons have become senators and moguls, our presidents.

I will not question the heart of Franklin Roosevelt when he looked on the “Oakies” in the mist of the Dustbowl.  No doubt their burden was more daunting than we can understand and Roosevelt’s empathy weighed heavy on their behalf.  It would have been hard to criticize him when he spoke had you lived through 7 years of drought and “black blizzards”.  Men who were independent and hardworking moved to the Midwest to build their future with their hands.  They bet everything on their fortitude and God’s grace.  When the rain stopped coming and the dust replaced sky they didn’t turn to handouts, but suffered with pride.  Pride can only stand so long against hunger, loss, and death.  Survival was key and FDR came with something that the climate refused to bring – hope.

History will remember the nation’s response to the Dustbowl in one of two ways; as an egregious takeover and influence of the private sector by the federal government or a benevolent act of necessary interference for a desperate citizenry.  The truth is likely somewhere in between, but philosophy and politics aren’t as concrete as outcomes and consequences.  Measuring those results is as convoluted as our judgment of them.  The child of an “Oakie” would likely define the success of those programs instituted quite differently than a Nutmegger.  Time offers no proper translation as we see further aftereffects today in the form of America’s dependency mentality.  While it may not be fair to lay that liability on FDR’s response to the Dustbowl and Great Depression entirely, surely a sensible man would concede that it helped propagate the approach.

“The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often awry,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!”
The great iniquity is presently the natural deterrence to self-sufficiency from an ever expanding caretaker role filled by our government.  However, an abandonment of Americans in need was a reality and the fate of those thousands sat in a balance that tilted heavily in the direction of death due to the empty counter of relief.  Man failed man in their time of need, and a careful study of American history will underscore that evil inclination.  Those who suffered the fate of a cursed land were abandoned and segregated by those whom the land blessed.  Humanity utterly failed on an individual level and required Government to fill a hole that brothers would not.

The secondary sin may have been predictable – that our foundations of individualism would erode with the mounting sea of government rolling in with a relentless tide.  That is a very heavy price that has been reverberated by many before me; but it is also misleading.  The deception comes in the notion that our chief founding principle is liberty – a tenet that we here at The Sentry Journal cherish deeply.  Allow me to quote a man whom we often quote when we speak of liberty.

“Bad men cannot make good citizens. It is when a people forget God that tyrants forge their chains. A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience, is incompatible with freedom. No free government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue; and by a frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.”
Patrick Henry

This is our foundation on which a great nation was built.  Our liberty is a vain tower of sand, easily washed away if not properly erected on the solid ground of true principle as man relates to man.  Our greed robs us of the purpose of government – to unite men on “foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”

The point of all of this is this; many of us search for a renewal of independence in America as if that independence is our foundation, goal, and god.  Independence is merely a weapon of defense for a moral and responsible man.  Liberty is a responsibility that cannot be properly directed by the immoral and immature any more than a domesticated animal can be trusted to hold the leash tied around your neck…which is exactly where we find ourselves – government unleashed with a domesticated populous.  You can no more blame government for their takeover than you can the dog for running wild.  We’ve failed in our responsibility as individuals.

Original Post: The Sentry Journal


Drakes Bay Oyster Company Killed by Bureaucratic Fiat


Imagine that you run a business.  Also, imagine that the business had been in existence for nearly 100 years.  Then, imagine with the stroke of a pen, an unelected bureaucrat ended your likelihood.  I did happen, the Drakes Bay Oyster Company was killed off.   Moonbattery has a video describing the families plight, as well as the intentional lies used by the government to shut it down.

In the end, the government did close down the business. And, apparently, the government simply made up “evidence” to justify it.

I would also reinforce the point made by the scientist in the video. Once people think that the ends justify the means, all sorts of horrific things can happen.


ObamaCare Regulations Require Dominos Pizza to Post 34,000,000 Signs in Each Store to Comply


They’ll be expanding each and every Dominos Pizza, just to fit in all of the signs mandated by ObamaCare.  Weasel Zippers has the story…

Via Washington Secrets:

New Obamacare regulations targeting the fast food and grocery store market that require signs detailing calorie and nutritional information on every product will force pizza makers like Domino’s to post up to 34 million different signs in every store: One for every possible pizza order.

“It’s not like a Big Mac. Pizza is customizable, there are options to factor in,” said Jenny Fouracre-Petko, legislative director for Domino’s and a member of the trade group American Pizza Community. “There are 34 million pizza combinations. We’ve done the math.”

Ditto for the grocery stores, which are shifting to providing more fresh made and baked goods, said Erik Lieberman, counsel for the Food Marketing Institute. “Consider just one fresh-baked blueberry muffin. If one is sold, you need a nutrition sign or sticker. If a half dozen are sold, a different one is required. Same if you sell a dozen.”

Well, I guess this is what happens when you pass legislation so “you can see what is in it.”

To honor this situation, I have to post the following…

Elections have consequences.


Government to Regulate Junk Food?


If you let the government control your health care, they can start making and justifying all sorts of demands.  Like, for example, maybe they can regulate what you ear-even the junk food!  Gateway Pundit has more…

The Washington Examiner reported:

Larry Summers, chair of the White House National Economic Council when the 2009 stimulus was developed, suggested that President Obama will eventually tax and regulate junk food to drive people to eat more healthily — although he dinged First Lady Michelle Obama’s healthy foods initiative.

“I think there is no question that the way Americans eat and what Americans weigh is a big contributor to health problems and it’s a big contributor to health costs,” Summers said on Morning Joe today.It’s not the agenda now, but I think at some point you’re going to see tax measures and regulatory measures that are going to be directed at helping people be healthier. That’s just going to happen and I think it’s probably a good thing when it does.”

Summers this agenda to anti-cigarette policies. “[J]ust as we have over time done things with respect to tobacco that are very constructive and that are saving hundreds of thousands of people’s lives, that kind of agenda is going to come to other aspects of public health, including the way people eat,” he said.

Curiously, though, Summers took an oblique shot at the results of Mrs. Obama’s overhaul of the school lunch menu as part of her effort to fight child obesity.

“Should kids be going hungry at lunch because they can’t have any good food — any food they like in the schools?” he asked rhetorically. “You can obviously take it too far and you have to be careful.”

Again, just to be clear, no legislation has been proposed for this.  However, the idea is clear.  When the government provides something to you, they are them justified in addressing anything that potentially impacts what they are funding.  If they pay for health care, and you are fat, they will tell you what to eat.   Got it?


Odds and Sods and Other Interesting Stuff


t least I hope you find the other stuff interesting.

Regulation Mania

Our poor country has suffered from regulatory mania for decades. It is the nature of the so-called progressive to want to control every aspect of our lives. Environmental radicals seem to care more about the well being of planet earth than they do about the well being of mankind. These people we know also have a political agenda and it is way to the left. Regulatory mania reached a peak in recent decades due to what is called “regulatory capture”. Regulatory capture occurs when the radical element that promotes an area being regulated manage to get themselves hired by the regulatory agency. When they get into a position where they have some control over who gets hired they hire like-minded people. Eventually, like in today’s Environmental Protection Agency, they are the agency.  In theory, the EPA should be an arm’s length mediator between protecting the publics well being from unwarranted contamination of the environment we all live in and protecting the publics well by finding ways that industries can still operate to produce products we want and need. Today the EPA cares nothing about our wants and needs.

I remember when the EPA was created by the Nixon administration and the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act became law. After the regulations were promulgated to to put the Clean Water  Act into action, one of first projects that caught national attention was the need to clean up Lake Erie. The consensus among environmentalist at the time was it would take over 100 years to clean up Lake Erie from the industrial waste that had been dumped into the lake for years and before commercial fishing could resume. As I recall, commercial fishing resumed in earnest in less than five years. So, with environmental activists, hysteria is a commonly used tool and, of course, the remedy is always setting regulatory standards at extreme levels.

Two stories in the news today caught my attention. One has to do with contaminated pork and the other has to do with a mini-cold rush occurring in a Colorado county. Along with comments on the second story  I will share with you some ithings peculiar about gold panning in Vanezuela that I think you will find interesting.

Contaminated Pork Scare

This ABC News headline was report by Yahoo News this morning_

Study Finds Most Pork Contaminated

That’s kind of scary, right? Well, there may be real reason to be scared but from what this article can tell us it may be a bit of over kill.

A sample of raw pork products from supermarkets around the United States found that yersinia enterocolitica, a lesser-known food-borne pathogen, was present in 69 percent of the products tested, according to a study released today by Consumer Reports.

According to the story the Center for Disease Control and Prevention says 100,000 people per year are infected by this pathogen and suffer symptoms of fever, cramps and bloody diarrhea. Well, not good, but from what we are told not life threatening. Later in the story the reader is advised to cook pork well and a specific temperature is even given. Maybe I am wrong, but I thought it was common knowledge that pork should be well cooked. I remember being told by my parents and by my health class teachers that pork should be well cooked for reasons other than today’s story. There is a parasite common in pigs that can survive light cooking and if eaten will take up residence in the new host and can cause serious health problems, even death. So, let’s hope there isn’t an unnecessary panic caused among the consumers that would hurt the pork industry. maybe a public service announcement campaign is in order to reeducate people about the proper way to cook pork. Also, let’s hope this doesn’t result in a lot of unnecessary new regulations if the problem isn’t any more serious than what it now appears to be.

Let’s Regulate Gold Panning

All of my professional career was in the mining industry and the last twenty years that I worked were in gold mining. It was god mining that brought me to Venezuela going on twenty-one years ago. So, I do have some knowledge of gold mining techniques including panning.

Panning for gold is ancient art. Alluvial particles of gold get carried down some rivers and is deposited in different places for a number of reason. This occurs because somewhere up-stream, the river erodes a vein structure in a rock outcrop, in which Mother Nature deposited gold. For many years in the US, people have made a hobby of panning for gold. No doubt they have dreams of finding a large nugget or even tracing their small findings to a mother lode. Simply stated the panning for alluvial gold is quite simple. It is an art and that art can be learned. Gold planners use what looks like a large concave plate, which may have several circular ridges in it. A panner will select a river that has some history for having alluvial gold in it and these rivers are often in areas with a history of gold mining, usually underground mines. The panner works normally close to a shore. He looks for an area where faster waters slow down over a more quite pool. Gold particles are moved along river by fast currents. The particles fall out of the stream and deposit where the water slows down. Gravity never fails to work.  An artisan panner will scoop up a hand full over river bottom material and place in the pan. Then using some of the river water they will use a motion that swirls the small pebbles and sand and finer particles with the water. They use a constant rhythm and tap one point on the pan with one hand. Always tapping on the same point. In this way the lighter particle are washed away. Bigger pieces will pick off and thrown away, too. In time, a small amount of small and fine particles will remain, which are still present because they are more dense than everything else that was put in the pan. The swirling and tapping will cause the remaining material to form an elongated oval shape. If there are any gold particles they will be visible on one extreme of this oval.  Okay. From years of observation,I have seen no evidence of any environmental harm caused by artisan gold panning. None the less the officials of Larimer County, Colorado believe they have a problem that must be controlled. Apparently, because of the high gold prices today, there are many more artisan gold panners make use of a river in this county. The local officials think they need to pass a law banning gold panning in their river or, at least, “REGULATE”  it to specific areas and times. I think this is a shame. As my wife often says: “When government finds people being happy, they have to do something to stop it.” It does seem that way, doesn’t it?

And now a brief story I hope you will enjoy about gold panning in Venezuela.

Venezuela has a long history of gold ming dating back to the first explorers from Europe. Near the town of El Callao, where I used to spend several days a week for over six years, is a river where local artisan gold panners have been practicing their art for more than a hundred years. Here is what I think you will find interesting. You would not want wade or swim in this or other near by rivers. Not because they are contaminated or anything like that. The reason is due to the dangerous things that live in these rivers. There are , for example, electric ells. Big ones. There are piranhas in these rivers. Normally not a threat unless you have an open cut, but just the same, not what you want to encounter while wading in a river. The third thing may be more myth than fact, but the story goes like this. People are warned to never urinate while in the rivers. Supposedly there is a small parasite which inhabits the rivers, which is attracted to urine. They are said to follow the trail of urine and enter the source and take up residence there. Now that is not a pleasant thought, isn’t it?

Well, now you know what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?