Brains not engaged

It never ceases to amaze me how public officials keep shooting themselves in the foot by acting stupidly. “Educators” are a prime example. Two recent incidents reminded me of a poster in my government-run public high school: Be sure your brain is engaged before putting your mouth in gear.

The head of the Wale school employees union just got caught sending an e-mail to the membership ranting that the newly elected board of education members “don’t care about the children.”

She claims the message was a draft, sent mistakenly in anger. That’s a plausible excuse. We’ve all done that. Note, however, that the text of the email as printed in the News & Observer’s Under the Dome was ungramatical, with portions in ALL CAPS (a breach of e-etiquette).  Isn’t it true of human nature that sometimes the things we do or say in anger, or under emotional stress express how we really feel?

Then there’s the Goldsboro middle school that sold students grade points as part of a school fundraiser. Of course, the debate is about whether or not this was a good thing. Considering all the taxpayer money that goes to schools, the question should be why the heck the school is forcing students to hold fundraisers to begin with?

This incident made Jay Leno’s Outrage of the Week (and it was only Wednesday).

Libertarianism for Non-Libertarians

In January, I hope to publish the first issue of Liberty Point, an independent quarterly newsletter devoted to promoting practical and principled politics for libertarians. It will be a complement and companion to the ideas I promote on this blog.

Liberty Point will offer libertarian activists and candidates another resource for running practical and principles campaigns, presenting the uncompromising libertarian argument, while using terms and language which  the voting public. The key concepts will be that: All politics are local and politics is an art, not a science.

Articles and columns will come from North Carolina libertarians, as well as from people in other groups that share a common interest or cause with libertarians.The purpose will be to appeal to both libertarian and non-libertarian readership.

Read more about Liberty Point below. But the bottom line is that I need people to subscribe. Subscriptions will be $5.00 per year, for a quarterly publication. Liberty Point will be mailed to subscribers, but in addition we will use a ad hoc, grassroots distribution system. Additional copies will be provided to be dropped in — waiting rooms, DMV offices, bus and train stations, airport lounges — anywhere people have to wait.

If after reading this you want to support this project, go to http://groups.google.com/group/libertypoint to subscribe. And starting writing your article.!

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Without Power There Can Be No Corruption

Op Ed from North Carolinians for Free and Proper Elections
by Brian Irving

Just as predictable as the media’s “gotcha” coverage whenever a politician gets caught cheating or stealing is the inevitable call by political reform groups for more laws to prevent such abuse in the future and for “better” ways of financing campaigns. They ignore warning from our nations Founders’ who understood that the more corrupt a State the more it legislates.

We certainly do need honest and moral people with integrity to run for office. We certainly should applaud and support those elected officials who are honest and keep their hands out of the cookie jar.
It’s pointless – and disingenuous –  however to propose that forcing taxpayers to fund political campaigns they don’t agree with will promote honesty. Compelling anyone to pay for something they oppose is not just dishonest and corrupt, it is immoral.

Corruption stems not from lobbyists money but from taxpayer money. As long as government isn’t limited in what it can spend your money on there will always be people who will find a way to get the politicians to spend it on them.

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Cost of 'free' healthcare

As the Democrats rush to ram the healthcare “reform” bill through Congress this weekend, I am reminded of these immortal words of that great American prophet, P.J. O’Rourke:

“If you think health care is expensive now, just wait and see what it costs when its free.”

Sometimes old is good

New York (where I was born) still using its 50 year old voting machines. Here is the voting booth in today’s New York City mayor’s race.

Notice the “ballot clutter.”  There must be a tremendous degree of “voter confusion” in NYC. (Please, no snide comments about New Yawkers. Go Yanks!)

Like Vietnam, but without the humidity

“Just give us 30,000 more troops, and we can win the war.”

“The situation demands urgent attention and swift action.”

“We cannot allow democracy to fail.”

Where have we heard all this before?

It’s disheartening to those of us who grew up in the Vietnam era to see today’s politicians and military leaders mouth the same, empty phrases. They have learned nothing from Vietnam. Sure, there are differences. The world is diffrent. But the basics are much the same. We’re using 21st Century weaponry to try to a destroy a guerrilla insurgency that uses 16th, 17th and 18th Century tactics. We’re propping up a corrupt, ineffective and unpopular government, and relying on regional “allies” with governments just as corrupt, ineffective and unpopular.

It won’t work.

The Social Security Myth – 2009 version

I received my annual version of the Social Security bedtime story yesterday. It’s called “What Social Security Means to You.” For those too young to have heard this myth yet, that’s the pamphlet the Feds send you as you near “retirement” age. It lists the amounts of your “estimated benefits.” In other words, it tells you how much of the money you earned during your lifetime the Federal government may return to you.

In boldface type, right under the amounts it says: Your estimated benefits are based on current law. Congress has made changes to the law in the past and can do so at any time. The law governing benefit amounts may change because, by 2037, the payroll taxes collected will be enough to pay on about 76 percent of scheduled benefits. (Italics mine.)

That is why I intend to apply for my “benefits” as soon as possible (2012). I don’t want my grandchildren and great-grandchildren burdened with more taxes then they already will be.

That’s what social security means to me.