Scary Nonsense Masks Our Real Problems – Happy Halloween!



I must admit, some Halloween costume themes this year (as in every year) really are in very poor taste and are recognized as such by most civilized people. Ones like “Neighborhood Watch,” which portrays George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin with a bullet wound in his chest or the maimed Asiana Airline crash pilots with the phony names Wi Tu Lo and Sum Ting Wong. These are not amusing. They exploit horrific tragedies and show a real level of callousness, of untaught feelings in the people who are amused by them.

But then there are other costumes that some groups of people feign offense toward. Ones like the Sexy Indian Squaw, or Mexicans wearing sombreros, or the Sushi Chef. I mean really, if someone wants to manufacture offense at something silly like a girl in a Japanese kimono, let them go ahead and be offended. But I don’t believe it. Here’s what Anh Do of the Los Angeles Times reported on October 28th: “Pottery Barn apologized for selling a Halloween costume of a sushi chef and a kimono that an Asian civil-rights group had complained were culturally offensive.The retailer confirmed late Monday that the items had been removed from its website.”

Happy Halloween II


People who are easily swayed or cowered by this manufactured offense need to lighten up. And the perpetrators of this offense need to stop pretending that it’s a sensitivity thing. It is not. It is merely a way to gain power over other people. It’s like those who claim that if you are a White person and don’t like Barack Obama’s and the Democrats’ new health care law, it must only be because you are some kind of racist. These are nothing more than attempts by the political left to publicly flog or delegitimize the people who do not share their world view. Believe me – these things are related.

Vintage Halloween pinup girl


So don’t worry so much about offending someone with your or your kids’ Halloween costume. If people want to put their energy into being offended they should be offended by things that really matter. Things like politicians who lie and make promises like, “If you like your health care plan you can keep it,” etc. Or the fact that many of our members of Congress show an utter disregard for the U.S. Constitution, or the $17 trillion (and growing) federal debt racked up by irresponsible politicians, which will greatly reduce the living standards of the next generation of Americans. Being offended by things like that would not be misplaced.


(All Halloween photos in the above post are from

Where have all the true leaders gone?

General John J. Pershing

General John J. Pershing

“Courageous leadership is the very lifeblood of a democracy. No matter how well conceived our plan of government may be, its success as the years go by, its very existence in the end, will depend upon the men selected to administer its affairs.

“In government we see politicians forsaking the ideal of representative government, which requires that they be leaders of the people, and instead, trying to cater to every whim of their constituents in order to cling to their jobs. We see legislators neglecting to cut outrageous expenses and waste of government for fear of antagonizing patronage. We see executives and candidates deliberately ignoring certain great issues because they are dangerous.

“As a people we seem to have abandoned the ideal that elective officers of our government should be leaders in the communities, districts, or states which they represent. Generally speaking, such officers no longer feel it their duty to exercise their own best judgment during their terms of office in handling public questions that come before them. They hesitate to express their own honest opinions. Instead, we find most of them with ‘an ear to the ground’ – a strange position for a leader. Their chief endeavor seems to be, not to determine what is right, or what is best for the welfare of the people in general; they seek to find the opinion of the majority of voters upon whom they depend for re-election. They make no serious attempt to influence the uninformed opinion of their constituents, or to change it. Such men are in no sense leaders, and unless we have abandoned our ideals they have no proper place in our scheme of government.”
American General John J. Pershing (1860-1948)

Would a great man like John Pershing be more likely to support President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and the other liberal Democrats who pander to ever desire of their constituents or people like Michelle Bachmann, Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin who have been trying to bring fiscal sanity to Washington with the intent of preventing the bankruptcy of the federal government and the ultimate destruction of life, liberty and our ability to pursue happiness.

Should We Trust Washington To “Invest” OUR Money

Forget for a moment that our federal government will soon owe $17 trillion in debt to its creditors and that these creditors expect to be paid back (with interest). Also, try to forget for a moment that this enormous sum will have to be paid off by future taxpayers.

President Obama, in his recent State of the Union Speech, called for continuing our “investments” in science and innovation. The ideas put forth in these state of the union speeches often sound good on their surface, but the devil is always in the details. Then there is the minor point – how does the federal government fund such investments when it  already carries a $16 1/2 trillion debt? (My apologies for ending your moment of forgetfulness).

We The People must demand that our leaders use our tax money wisely when investing it in science and innovation. The Solyndra approach used by this Administration to fund “preferred” technologies has been a miserable failure. Just that one mistake cost the taxpayers almost half a billion dollars when Solyndra went bankrupt. This is only one of several examples of big money being squandered on technology by the current Administration. The lesson here, which I doubt this Administration has learned, is that they are very poor money managers when it comes to “investing” in innovation and technology.

May President Obama and all of our public servants keep the following observations in mind as they continue throwing billions of our dollars at their favorite science “investments.”


“… the traditional concept [is] that to get anything to work requires a task force. The phenomenon was fortunately unknown to Galileo, Newton, or Einstein, or other masters of classical and quantum mechanics. But it has become a sociophysical requirement of recent years.” “The People’s Science.” W. O. Baker’s acceptance talk to the NSF National Science Board on receiving the Vannevar Bush Award in Washington, DC., May 21, 1981.

“The ideas of scientific discovery come one at a time from one person and one mind at a time. Sometimes two or three can aid each other. But scientific discovery cannot be collectivized, and it does not flourish in collectivized structures.” William O. Baker while Vice President, Research, Bell Labs. Science, Vol. 133, No. 3448 (January 27, 1961), pp. 255-262.

To learn more about Dr. William O. Baker click here.


Since members of Congress are constantly inventing new laws aimed at controlling the behavior of the American people, I think it’s time we turn the tables on them. We need to create new incentives/disincentives to curb their bad behavior. I’ve got a couple of ideas.

I have been wondering why Congressional pay is not commensurate with the benefits Congressmen and Congresswomen confer on American society. I mean really, the U.S. Senate under Harry Reid’s misleadership did not pass a budget, as required by law, for three years in a row (fiscal years 2010-2012). By my math, and considering that the federal debt is $16½ trillion, rather than paying members of Congress six figures with lifetime pension and benefits, they should be paying us back for the damage they are doing to our country. Seriously, they should be paid very little at best. Maybe $50,000 to start and decrease their salary by 10% for every year they serve. This, I think will encourage people who want to serve in Congress for the right reasons, not for selfish ones. Let’s take the perks and the profits out of the job. If the incumbents don’t like this new arrangement, let them find a better paying job in the real world.

One unintended consequence of this new pay scale for Congress may be that it creates an incentive to engage in funny business. Therefore, if a member of Congress is convicted of taking bribes worth $10,000 or more there should be a mandatory minimum 10 year jail sentence. And since politicians love having buildings named after them we can honor their vanity by renaming federal prisons after any of them are convicted under the new system. As an example, instead of using the boring name Federal Correctional Institution, Oakdale we could re-name it the William J. Jefferson Federal Prison. It has a nicer ring to it wouldn’t you agree? Jefferson was a Louisiana congressman who, you may remember, was sentenced in 2009 to thirteen years in federal prison for accepting bribes. Federal agents actually seized $90,000 in cash from Jefferson’s kitchen freezer. It’s time to heap buckets of disgrace on any Congressman- turned-criminal who only pretends to serve the interests of the American people.

Oh, and while we’re at it, do you think it would be too much to ask Congress to eliminate the taxpayer-funded Senate Hair Care Services? Oh….the hardship!

Dear Reader: Please let me know if you have any ideas of your own to help improve Congress.



Hollywood Sign by OreosSince we are having a national conversation on the subject of taxing rich people, I think I need to point out that some people in Hollywood and the entertainment industry have far more money than they really need. Don’t you agree? For example, according to Sean Penn is worth about $120 million, Samuel L. Jackson has assets worth a comfortable $150 million, Alec Baldwin, who was paid an obscene $150,000 per episode of 30 Rock is worth about $65 million and Steven Spielberg who averages about $150 million a year is worth a cool $3 billion. Madonna, who is an outspoken supporter of President Obama and his policies is worth about $650 million.

While liberals often lament the fact that money corrupts politics, Mr. Spielberg has contributed about $800,000 over his lifetime to the Democrat party. It is well known that most people in Hollywood support Liberal Democrats and their big government non-solutions to every problem. Well, Big Government requires big money, and since the Federal Debt is over $16 trillion and climbing with yearly revenue shortfalls of over $1 trillion, it is only fair that Hollywood’s proponents of big government chip in more of their own wealth to pay for it.

I am going to throw my support to any member of Congress or any presidential candidate in the future who has a tax plan to strip half the net worth of any Liberal connected with the entertainment industry who is worth say, $10 million or more. I think Madonna will be able to adjust to living on $325 million quite easily and if not why should we care as long as it prolongs the day when this Federal Monster come crashing down.

I would rather that these filthy-rich, liberal celebrities chip in their fair share voluntarily, but I suspect they will need the coercive force of the Federal Bullies (which they use to impose their favorite policies on the rest of us) to persuade them. Oh, and while we are at it, all 50 states should agree to a pact that says they will stop giving tax breaks to Hollywood. Why would the good liberals in the movie industry want to deprive the cash-strapped states of all that tax revenue in the first place? Surely, they will thank me for pushing this idea. Don’t you think? It’s time for those greedy 1% ers in Hollywood to pony up.



A friend of mine recently complained that the reason the American dream has become so hard to obtain is because too many Americans selfishly “gun for themselves” at the expense of other Americans who are merely struggling to make ends meet.  She says this is why we need to re-elect President Obama and other Liberals who simply want the rich to pay their “fair share” so that common folks can get things like a “living wage,” affordable health insurance, food stamps, extended unemployment benefits, or subsidies for a college education. This liberal friend of mine like so many liberals puts her faith in the promise of an all-powerful, benevolent central government, run by Democrats and liberals, of course. Let’s begin by examining my friend’s premise of the prevalence of selfish individualism. Perhaps her view is not quite accurate.

Let’s put aside the current state of affairs for the time being, we can have a look at that later. First, let’s look at the assumed existence of selfish individualism in America’s past. Surely it must have existed prior to the assent of the federal government during Roosevelt’s New Deal in the 1930’s. If that’s true, how did the people of our nation get along for the first 150 years? I have confidence there is ample evidence in the historical record that shows that a widespread state of selfish individualism never existed at all. In fact, just the opposite is true.

I refer you to the observations of a Frenchman named Alexis de Tocqueville. Tocqueville was a French aristocrat who came officially to the U.S. in 1831 to study the American penal system. What he observed during his travels around the United States inspired him to do much more than just report on the American justice and prison system. Shortly after returning to France Tocqueville published his two-part masterpiece Democracy in America. It is one of the most insightful and descriptive works ever written on the state of and essence of American Democracy.

One thing Tocqueville noticed that set America apart from other nations was the prevalence of voluntary associations among the people.

“Americans of all ages, all conditions, and all dispositions constantly form associations. They have not only commercial and manufacturing companies, in which all take part, but associations of a thousand other kinds, religious, moral, serious, futile, general or restricted, enormous or diminutive. The Americans make associations to give entertainments, to found seminaries, to build inns, to construct churches, to diffuse books, to send missionaries to the antipodes; in this manner they found hospitals, prisons, and schools. If it is proposed to inculcate some truth or to foster some feeling by the encouragement of a great example, they form a society.”

While leading Liberals often intentionally blur the distinction between government action and voluntary private action by using phrases like “it takes a village,” or “you didn’t build that,” Tocqueville distinguished between these two different forms of action.

“Wherever at the head of some new undertaking you see the government in France, or a man of rank in England, in the United States you will be sure to find an association.”

“Thus the most democratic country on the face of the earth is that in which men have, in our time, carried to the highest perfection the art of pursuing in common the object of their common desires and have applied this new science to the greatest number of purposes.”

Tocqueville’s observation of the prevalence of voluntary associations in America shatters the myth of selfish individualism in America prior to the New Deal that so many liberals claim made and continues to make government-run social programs necessary. It was not a widely held view in early America that all worthy outcomes required the determined and organized action of the central government. As we shall see later, just the opposite was true.

One of the basic differences between modern day conservatives and their liberal counterparts is the view of the role of the federal government. Conservatives generally believe like Tocqueville that private associations are preferable to the coercive action of centralized governments. Modern day Liberals turn to the central government whenever they see a problem that exists. While Liberals generally distrust institutions like corporations and religious organizations, they somehow put their full faith in government as though somehow government intentions are always pure and immune to the shortcomings of its stewards. Conservatives, like many of the founding fathers, generally mistrust the central government and believe that often big-government solutions create more unintended consequences that are worse than the original problem. Conservatives generally believe that the people closest to the challenges are better judges of the efforts needed to achieve the desired results. Federal help is less efficient, wasteful, prone to systemic corruption, less nimble, more costly, and almost always comes with strings attached. The federal government is currently $16 trillion in debt with no relief in sight and yet Liberals claim that this government needs to do more. We must not be getting a good bang for the buck if we still have all these problems that need to be solved even though we have already spent trillions of dollars on social programs and remain $16 trillion in debt.

Tocqueville continued:

A government might perform the part of some of the largest American companies, and several states, members of the Union, have already attempted it; but what political power could ever carry on the vast multitude of lesser undertakings which the American citizens perform every day, with the assistance of the principle of association?

In democratic countries the governing power alone is naturally in a condition to act in this manner, but it is easy to see that its action is always inadequate, and often dangerous. A government can no more be competent to keep alive and to renew the circulation of opinions and feelings among a great people than to manage all the speculations of productive industry.

No sooner does a government attempt to go beyond its political sphere and to enter upon this new track than it exercises, even unintentionally, an insupportable tyranny; for a government can only dictate strict rules, the opinions which it favors are rigidly enforced, and it is never easy to discriminate between its advice and its commands.”

Clearly Tocqueville felt that the central government could not effectively do what individuals could do for themselves by acting in concert through private associations. Furthermore, the central authority would become tyrannical through coercive measures; a consequence that he admits may be “unintentional,” yet “insupportable.”

So this idea that the central authority in Washington is solely equipped to solve this nation’s problems is simply not true. Tocqueville’s observations clearly demonstrate that prior the increase and consolidation of the federal power in America in the 20th century it was commonplace for private citizens to take on and solve problems of all kinds through united efforts organized by voluntary associations. The view that Americans are a selfish lot and are only out to “gun for themselves” is bogus and yet it is a view that is unfortunately held by too many Americans like my friend. Hence the popularity of Occupy Wall Street. It is a lie perpetuated by those who seek more power over our lives and this always comes at the expense of our liberties.

Americans are some of the most generous people on the face of the Earth. It’s time to deemphasize the role of the central government in Washington so that we can begin to restore America to the greatness that Tocqueville recognized. Charity, good deeds and problem solving can be collectivized on a national scale, but are generally much more effective and less likely to bankrupt the nation when left to the people.

That’s all for now. In a future post we will examine how centralized entitlement and welfare states corrupt society.