Posts tagged bureaucrats
Imagine every citizen being able to hold politicians accountable down to the penny
There is great hope that tech will bring local bureaucrats and crony capitalists if not to heal, at least more into the light in a big way, soon. We are at the beginning of a transformation. (Let’s hope.) As data becomes more and more available, and search engine tools become better and more intuitive, citizens are going to increasingly audit the books of their home towns.
For most government is a black box. Tax dollars go in, something comes out, roads, libraries, sweetheart pension deals for city managers. Now it is becoming increasingly easy to take apart government budgets and examine them. As Bill Frezza explains below.
The only reason one couldn’t fight City Hall in the past (not always true by the way) was because City Hall controlled the information. Now this is less the case, and that is a very good thing for citizens.
Imagine no more. A Silicon Valley startup named OpenGov.com is putting city finances online, along with a suite of analytic tools that make it easy for both city managers and any citizen to dig into the details of their city’s finances, past and present. Since its launch in 2011, OpenGov.com has helped city governments as large as Anaheim, CA and as small as Rockport, Texas, (population 8,766) become more transparent to the citizens they serve and more easily manageable by the elected officials and civil servants who run them. What was once an opaque morass is now a publicly accessible resource.
Image credit: http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org
About Nick Sorrentino
Nick Sorrentino is the co-founder and editor of AgainstCronyCapitalism.org. A political and communications consultant with clients across the political spectrum, he lives just outside of Washington DC where he can keep an eye on Leviathan.
11-Year-Old Girl BANNED From Selling Cupcakes By Control Freak Government Bureaucrats
America is being suffocated to death by red tape. You are about to read about an 11-year-old girl in Illinois that had her cupcake business brutally shut down by government bureaucrats. Her name is Chloe Stirling and her crime was doing something that we used to applaud young people in America for doing. Instead of sitting on her sofa and watching television all day, she actually started her own business. And it turned out there her little business started thriving. In fact, it started doing so well that a local newspaper took notice of it. Well, that is when the control freaks swooped in and took her business away and banned her from selling any more cupcakes. The really sad thing is that people are being paid to do this with our tax dollars. All over America, little entrepreneurs are having their lemonade stands shut down and are being banned from selling Girl Scout cookies, and our tax dollars are paying the people that are doing it. As I wrote about earlier this month, the level of economic freedom in the United States is at an all-time low, and it gets worse with each passing year. The country that so many of us love is dying, and it is being replaced with something that I like to call “the USSA”.
In the Union of Soviet Socialist Americans, you have to have a government “license” or “permit” to do just about anything. If the government does not give you permission, you can get into a whole lot of trouble.
Little 11-year-old Chloe Stirling must have thought that this was still the nation that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson once founded, because she dared to actually start a business and sell cupcakes to the public. Little did she know that she would soon make national news…
An 11-year-old girl from Illinois got a dose of regulation American-style this week when local government officials shut down her cupcake business.
Chloe Stirling, from Troy, got the front-page treatment from her local newspaper, which featured how well her business, Hey, Cupcake, was doing. By all accounts, it was a successful little enterprise. Chloe was getting $10 for a dozen cupcakes and $2 for each specialty cupcake. She even donated her cupcakes when a boy in her school fighting cancer held a fundraiser.
So why did they shut her down?
Well, it turns out that she didn’t have a “permit” to sell cupcakes and her kitchen was not “licensed”.
Like I said, you have to have permission from the government to do just about anything these days.
Another example of this phenomenon that is absolutely infuriating took place out in Fauquier County, Virginia. When a mother held a birthday party for eight 10-year-old girls and posted the photos on Facebook, she never imagined that she would soon be hit with $15,000 in fines…
Martha Boneta owns a small farm in Fauquier County, Virginia, where she recently hosted a birthday party for eight 10-year-old girls. They wore hats, picked veggies, and made goat’s milk soap. The county says she should have obtain a license before hosting such an event and hit her with a $5,000 fine.
Boneta also got slammed with two more fines for $5,000 each, one for advertising a pumpkin carving and another for violations in the small shop on her property. Boneta sells produce from her farm, as well as eggs, yarn, birdhouses, and local crafts. She sought and received a license for the shop in 2011, but the county now says she can’t sell handiwork or produce from her neighbors under that license.
Stuff like this just makes me want to scream sometimes.
What is happening to this country?
A few years ago, my wife used to take old pieces of furniture, sand them down, repaint them and sell them to others. It was something that she really enjoyed doing and she made some extra money along the way.
But if you try doing that in some areas of the country today, the EPA could potentially hit you with a fine of $30,000 for a single incident in which you do not follow the proper procedures. The following is an excerpt from a discussion that some furniture painters were having on Facebook. It is a little technical, but it is worth reading. In this excerpt the identity of the business has been removed to protect the business from overzealous regulators…
As a painter in PA, I am required by law to test everything that I disturb and I must charge the customer $60 for every test I perform which adds up. What the law states in my area is that if I disturb more than 6 square inches on anything made prior to Jan 1 1979 I must test it. Disturbing means, sanding, scraping, or even using a sponge/scuff pad (like you use on your pots) if I disturb more than 6 inches, I must take photographs, document in 4 different logs, I have local, county, state, and federal log books. If I find lead then I must suit up. Originally, the law stated that if there were no children around then you didn’t have to do that however some lame brained legislator decided that if a child enters the premises for more than one hour a day, we must assume they will be in contact with the lead and therefore will contract lead poisoning. Then the legislators decided that if you were over the age of 60 then it didn’t matter, you didn’t have to test who cares if you get poisoned. Lo and behold OSHA stepped in and joined forces with the EPA, they decided that all were at risk including your pets and the leaves on your trees can hold the lead dust and …..well, that’s a whole other issue.
What is happening now is that so many painters decided they weren’t going to follow the lead law, that OSHA and EPA send out secret shoppers. A lot of us don’t even put our logo’s on our vehicles because that invites these shoppers to investigate. If you come to the **** ********, you won’t see signage on the building, you have to get to the actual door of the workroom to know we are there. We no longer have logo’s on our vehicles either as the fines are too stiff. There isn’t one of us that can afford a find of $30,000.00 A DAY, not a year, A DAY.
The government bureaucrats are running wild and the rest of us are just sitting back and letting it happen.
Things have gotten so bad in this country that the federal government even requires small-time magicians to submit “disaster plans” for the rabbits that they use in their acts. The following is an excerpt from one of my previous articles…
Central planning in this country is getting completely and totally out of control. These days, you can hardly do anything without running into a suffocating web of red tape. For example, a small-time magician from Missouri that does magic shows for kids was absolutely horrified when he learned that the Obama administration is requiring him to submit a 32 page “disaster plan” for the rabbit that he uses in his shows. Yes, this is actually true. His name is Marty Hahne, and he thought that it was bad enough when the U.S. Department of Agriculture busted him for not having a “license” for his rabbit. He went out and acquired the proper “license” for his rabbit, but he never dreamed that eventually he would also have to submit a 32 page “disaster plan” for the same rabbit.
You can read the rest of that article right here.
Are you starting to get the picture?
These control freaks want to completely dominate every aspect of our lives. The “nanny state” is entirely out of control and it is up to “we the people” to do something about it.
Barack Obama revealed the kind of mentality that is behind this “nanny state” when he recently made the following statement…
“I would not let my son play pro football”
And without a doubt, the control freaks that run things will try to ban football (or at least “tone it down”) the moment that they think that they can get away with it.
America was supposed to be a place where liberty and freedom were maximized and the interference of the federal government in our lives was supposed to be minimized.
Instead, what we have now is just the opposite.
No wonder Americans consider the government to be their biggest problem.
This article first appeared here at the Economic Collapse Blog. Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here.
Image credit: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com
The Economics of the Police State | Thomas E. Woods, Jr.
Published by misesmedia
Published on Jan 22, 2014
Recorded at the Mises Circle Southwest Regional in Houston, 18 January 2014. Includes an introduction by Jeff Deist.
In the modern United States, federal laws are now so numerous and written so broadly and vaguely, that it is nearly impossible to make it through the day without breaking at least one of them. And through it all, an enormous government apparatus of prisons, prosecutors, police, and bureaucrats remains well-funded, powerful, and nearly impossible to oppose in court.
Are These The Last Days Of The U.S. Marine Corps?
Are the current personnel cuts the beginning of the end for the U.S. Marines? Could these actually be the last days of the U.S. Marine Corps? A decade ago, such a notion would have been absolutely unthinkable, but times have changed. The Marine Corps was already in the process of drawing down from a peak of 202,100 Marines to 182,100, and now Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is warning that the sequester cuts may force the Army to be cut down to a size of 380,000 and the Marine Corps to be cut down to a size of 150,000. Unfortunately for the Marines, even larger cuts may eventually be coming. Many in the Obama administration and in the Pentagon are now openly questioning whether there will be an important role for the Marines to play in the future. After all, the U.S. military has not conducted a major amphibious landing since the Korean War.
As our politicians look for even more ways to cut military expenses in the years ahead, the Marines may end up being very tempting “low hanging fruit” that the bureaucrats can’t resist. And unless another major conflict erupts, it seems clear that more cuts are probably coming. In fact, even the New York Times admits that “deep reductions” to the U.S. military have long been an important goal for Barack Obama.
So does Barack Obama plan to go after the Marines? Well, for now Barack Obama is publicly praising the Marines. In fact, Obama made the following promise to the Marines during a recent speech at Camp Pendleton…
“After all you’ve given to our nation, you have to know your nation will always be faithful to you.”
Will Obama keep that promise?
Well, considering his track record perhaps you should not hold your breath.
In any event, the Marine Corps brass is certainly bracing for very deep budget cuts right now. Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Jim Amos says that the Marine Corps is going to do “the very best we possibly can” with what they are given…
Amos said he assumes the Corps’ planned shift to more operations in the Pacific will continue, but the size of the force and the number of missions it will be able to undertake will be reduced if the budget cuts stay in place.“We’re going to do less with less,” Amos told the House committee. “That doesn’t mean we’re going to do it poorly or we’re going to do it inadequately. We’ll do it the very best we possibly can.”
Unfortunately for the Marines, they are being given less and less these days.
You see, the cuts to the Marines did not start with the sequester. The truth is that plans to reduce the size of the Marines started very early in the Obama administration. For example, the following are recommendations for cuts that came from the 2010 Force Structure Review Group report…
• A 13 percent drop in ground combat forces, including an 11 percent reduction in infantry, 20 percent reduction in cannon artillery and a 20 percent reduction in armor
•A 16 percent drop in fixed-wing tactical aviation squadrons
• A 9 percent drop in logistics
• A 7 percent drop in Marines assigned to non-operational billets
• And a 12 percent drop in the civilian work force.
“All of the military services have been challenged to find the right balance between preserving what is unique and valuable in their traditions, while at the same time making the changes necessary to win the wars we are in and prepare for the likely future threats in the years and decades to come,” he said. “Looking ahead, I do think it is proper to ask whether large-scale amphibious landings along the lines of Inchon [the Marine’s invasion of the Korea peninsula in 1950] are feasible.”
Of course part of the problem for the Marines is that they are still considered to be a part of the U.S. Navy. The following is from a recent Fiscal Times article…
The Marines, while considered a separate branch of the military, are actually part of the Navy. They’re often referred to as the “infantry of the Navy.”
“The Marines don’t have a separate fiscal existence. They are a wholly owned subsidiary of the Navy,” Adams said.
When it comes time to cut the Navy budget, it is often the Marines that feel the most pain…
But the Navy has authority over the Marine’s personnel budget–expected to be $12.9 billion in 2014. This means that Navy brass can decide how it pays to train, house, feed and maintain readiness of the troops.
Because of this, according to Adams, the Marines often find themselves the victims of Navy spending fights.
And right now the U.S. military is experiencing a spending squeeze that they have not felt in many, many years. In addition to personnel cuts, a whole host of other Marine programs could be cut back significantly because of the sequester…
Fewer F-35B Joint Strike Fighters, MV-22 Ospreys, AH-1 Cobras, and UH-1 Hueys. No Marine Personnel Carrier. Maybe no Joint Light Tactical Vehicle to replace the Humvee. 8,000 fewer Marines on active duty. The Marine Commandant has put all that on the table as part of his proposal to the Defense Secretary’s Strategic Choices and Management Review. If sequester goes into effect in its full 10-year, $500 billion glory – and all signs so far are it will – then Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos stands ready to sacrifice almost everything except the Amphibious Combat Vehicle and combat readiness.
As the size of the U.S. Marine Corps gets whittled away, we need to be very careful that we do not lose a very important part of our culture. The Marines have a very special place in U.S. history, and we should never forget the blood that so many of them shed to defend our liberties and our freedoms.
Unfortunately, our liberties and our freedoms are being eroded at an astounding pace today, and even the Marines themselves are quickly becoming an endangered species.
After surviving the Japanese and the North Koreans, it is a shame that many old vets may have to watch the Marine Corps that they love fall victim to Barack Obama and the bureaucrats.
The few and the proud are rapidly becoming fewer, and it just doesn’t seem right.
Image credit: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com
Decoding the NSA: How the Agency Manipulates Language to Mislead the Public
When we as a species use language to communicate and engage with one another, we have a certain understanding that certain words mean certain things. That is the entire purpose of language, effective communication between human beings that can be easily understood. As a result, we should be able to assume that when government bureaucrats utilize words that are commonplace within society, that these words represent specific commonly understood meanings. That would be a huge mistake.
Jameel Jaffer and Brett Max Kaufman of the ACLU have compiled an excellent list of some commonplace words used by the NSA to mislead us into thinking they aren’t doing the bad things that they are actually doing. Words such as “surveillance,” “collect,” and “relevant.” From Slate:
James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, has been harshly criticized for having misled Congress earlier this year about the scope of the National Security Agency’s surveillance activities. The criticism is entirely justified. An equally insidious threat to the integrity of our national debate, however, comes not from officials’ outright lies but from the language they use to tell the truth. When it comes to discussing government surveillance, U.S. intelligence officials have been using a vocabulary of misdirection—a language that allows them to say one thing while meaning quite another.
Surveillance. Every time we pick up the phone, the NSA makes a note of whom we spoke to, when we spoke to him, and for how long—and it’s been doing this for seven years. After the call-tracking program was exposed, few people thought twice about attaching the label “surveillance” to it. Government officials, though, have rejected the term, pointing out that this particular program doesn’t involve the NSA actually listening to phone calls—just keeping track of them. Their crabbed definition of “surveillance” allows them to claim that the NSA isn’t engaged in surveillance even when it quite plainly is.
Collect. If an intelligence official says that the NSA isn’t “collecting” a certain kind of information, what has he actually said? Not very much, it turns out. One of the NSA’s foundational documents states that “collection” occurs not when the government acquires information but when the government “selects” or “tasks” that information for “subsequent processing.” Thus it becomes possible for the government to acquire great reams of information while denying that it is “collecting” anything at all.
That definition of “collect” is completely and totally insane.
Relevant. The NSA’s call-tracking program is ostensibly based on the Patriot Act’s Section 215, a provision that allows the government to compel businesses to disclose records that are “relevant” to authorized foreign intelligence investigations. The theory, it seems, is that everybody’s phone records are relevant today because anybody’s phone records might become relevant in the future. This stretches the concept of “relevance” far beyond the breaking point. Even the legislator who wrote Section 215 has rejected the government’s theory. If “relevance” is given such a broad compass, what room is left for “irrelevance”?
It’s no wonder, that “Big Brother” and the “Party” in George Orwell’s 1984 emphasize language in order to exert mind control on the population of Oceania with tactics such as “doublespeak” and “Newspeak.” After all, if we lose the ability to use language to effectively communicate with one another, what do we have left?
For the full lexicon of misleading NSA terms, click here.
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Image added to original post by Mike.
Only to bureaucrats can the idea occur that establishing new offices, promulgating new decrees, and increasing the number of government employees alone can be described as positive and beneficial measures.-Ludwig von Mises
(Chart via Mark Perry)
I am afraid it’s so. Now to have your grievances redressed by your government you will have to submit to a face scan. Folks, we live in a police state.
How did they get a biometric facial photo? Likely your REAL ID drivers license. Don’t you just love how you were informed that the State was taking a biometric photo of you? Tennessee is one of 13 States to have complied with all 18 benchmarks of the REAL ID, which includes a biometric facial image capture.
It’s bad enough that you have to submit to x-rays. Now have your face scanned. What’s next, rectal inspections?
Read more about government privacy invasion through the drivers license here. There are multiple articles. Try reading them all.
My letter to the Tennessee General Assembly:
A facial scan to get into the capitol building is completely unacceptable. One should not have to submit to tyrannical measures simply to redress their grievances.
Tennessee has become a vassal to the federal government, complying with all 18 benchmarks of the REAL ID act, while pretending to resist it through non-binding resolutions. While you set around begging the federal government to repeal the unconstitutional law, your let State bureaucrats implement it anyway.
Stop the tyranny now. People coming to the State legislature are not suspected of crimes. There’s no probable cause to assume that someone discontent with their government and/or some law(s) is a criminal and needs to be searched through x-rays and facial scans simply to address their elected representatives. Redress is protected by the first amendment.
Remember that you are servants of the people, not kings on thrones. This pedestal of tyranny that you stand on needs to be knocked out from under you and destroyed. If you are so afraid of serving, then don’t. Let someone else who doesn’t live in fear, and therefore subject the people to tyranny as result, serve.
Let freedom ring!
Image added to original post.
By Mike Adams
Linguistic analysis of Rand Paul’s endorsement of Romney contradicts his words: Rand Paul is disgusted with him!
Linguistics and intonation
If you watch Rand Paul deliver his announcement, pay particular attention to the part where he says:
But you know, now that the nominating process is over, tonight I’m uh happy to announce that I’m gonna be supporting Governor Romney.
Have You Heard About The 16 Trillion Dollar Bailout The Federal Reserve Handed To The Too Big To Fail Banks?
What you are about to read should absolutely astound you. During the last financial crisis, the Federal Reserve secretly conducted the biggest bailout in the history of the world, and the Fed fought in court for several years to keep it a secret. Do you remember the TARP bailout? The American people were absolutely outraged that the federal government spent 700 billion dollars bailing out the “too big to fail” banks. Well, that bailout was pocket change compared to what the Federal Reserve did. As you will see documented below, the Federal Reserve actually handed more than 16 trillion dollars in nearly interest-free money to the “too big to fail” banks between 2007 and 2010. So have you heard about this on the nightly news? Probably not. Lately Bloomberg has been reporting on some of this, but even they are not giving people the whole picture. The American people need to be told about this 16 trillion dollar bailout, because it is a perfect example of why the Federal Reserve needs to be shut down. The Federal Reserve has been actively picking “winners” and “losers” in the financial system, and it turns out that the “friends” of the Fed always get bailed out and always end up among the “winners”. This is not how a free market system is supposed to work.
According to the limited GAO audit of the Federal Reserve that was mandated by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the grand total of all the secret bailouts conducted by the Federal Reserve during the last financial crisis comes to a whopping $16.1 trillion.
That is an astonishing amount of money.
Keep in mind that the GDP of the United States for the entire year of 2010 was only 14.58 trillion dollars.
The total U.S. national debt is only a bit above 15 trillion dollars right now.
So 16 trillion dollars is an almost inconceivable amount of money.
But some other dollar figures have been thrown around lately regarding these secret Federal Reserve bailouts. Let’s take a look at them and see what they mean.
A recent Bloomberg article made the following statement….
The $1.2 trillion peak on Dec. 5, 2008 — the combined outstanding balance under the seven programs tallied by Bloomberg — was almost three times the size of the U.S. federal budget deficit that year and more than the total earnings of all federally insured banks in the U.S. for the decade through 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The $1.2 trillion figure represents the peak outstanding balance on these loans, not the total amount of all the loans. On December 5, 2008 the “too big to fail” banks owed this much money to the Federal Reserve. Many of them could not pay these short-term loans back right away and had to keep rolling them over time after time. Each time a short-term loan got rolled over that represented a new loan.