This week’s “shutdown” of government, for example, suffers (at least for those of us curious to see it reduced to Somali levels) from the awkward fact that the overwhelming majority of the government is not shut down at all. Indeed, much of it cannot be shut down. Which is the real problem facing America. “Mandatory spending” (Social Security, Medicare, et al) is authorized in perpetuity – or, at any rate, until total societal collapse. If you throw in the interest payments on the debt, that means two-thirds of the federal budget is beyond the control of Congress’s so-called federal budget process. That’s why you’re reading government “shutdown” stories about the Panda Cam at the Washington Zoo and the first lady’s ghost-Tweeters being furloughed.
Nevertheless, just because it’s a phony crisis doesn’t mean it can’t be made even phonier. The perfect symbol of the shutdown-simulacrum so far has been the World War II Memorial. This is an open-air facility on the National Mall – that’s to say, an area of grass with a monument at the center. By comparison with, say, the IRS, the National Parks Service is not usually one of the more controversial government agencies. But, come “shutdown,” they’re reborn as the shock troops of the punitive bureaucracy. Thus, they decided to close down an unfenced open-air site – which, oddly enough, requires more personnel to shut than it would to keep it open.
One would not be altogether surprised to find the feds stringing yellow police tape along the Rio Grande, the 49th Parallel and the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, if only to keep Americans in, rather than anybody else out. Still, I would like to have been privy to the high-level discussions at which the government took the decision to install its Barrycades on open parkland. For anyone with a modicum of self-respect, it’s difficult to imagine how even the twerpiest of twerp bureaucrats would consent to stand at a crowd barrier and tell a group of elderly soldiers who’ve flown in from across the country that they’re forbidden to walk across a piece of grass and pay their respects. Yet, if any National Parks Service employee retained enough sense of his own humanity to balk at these instructions or other spiteful, petty closures of semiwilderness fishing holes and the like, we’ve yet to hear about it.
America has no budget process. That’s why it’s the brokest nation in history. So a budgeting process that can’t control the budget in a legislature that can’t legislate leads to a government shutdown that shuts down open areas of grassland and the unmanned boat launch on the Bighorn River in Montana. Up next: the debt ceiling showdown, in which we argue over everything except the debt. The conventional wisdom of the U.S. media is that Republicans are being grossly irresponsible not just to wave through another couple trillion or so on Washington’s overdraft facility. Really? Other countries are actually reducing debt: New Zealand, for example, has a real budget that diminishes net debt from 26 percent of GDP to 17 percent by 2020. By comparison, America’s net debt is currently about 88 percent of GDP, and we’re debating only whether to increase it automatically or with a few ineffectual strings attached.
My favorite book of the moment is “The Liberty Amendments,” the new bestseller by Mark Levin – not because I agree with all his proposed constitutional amendments, and certainly not because I think they represent the views of a majority of Americans, but because he’s fighting on the right battleground. A century of remorseless expansion by the “federal” government has tortured the constitutional order beyond meaning. America was never intended to be a homogenized one-size-fits-all nation of 300 million people run by a government as centralized as France’s. It’s no surprise that, when it tries to be one, it doesn’t work terribly well.
As technology continues to amaze, laws to protect our privacy have not kept pace.
Maybe it’s time to ban spy drones within our country before it becomes an issue?
For our military, wonderful. For law enforcement and federal agencies? Not so much.
For some reason…….the Obama Campaigns new slogan has an ominous feel…..
The US has deployed several F-22 Raptor fighter jets to an allied base less than 320 kilometers (200 miles) from Iran, FOX news reported Friday.
The F-22, produced by Lockheed Martin, is the US’ premier fighter jet, boasting stealth technology and specializing in air-to-air combat. It has not yet seen combat.
The F-22’s combination of stealth, vectored thrust, range, advanced surveillance electronics with potential electronic warfare applications, and sustained supersonic flight (aka “supercruise”) arguably place it in a class by itself among the world’s combat aircraft.
Several F-22s can gather as much information as AWACS and JSTARS put together. Call it whatever you want…F-22s are going to the Middle East. The PR statement says that this is a normal practice. It’s not.
Space shuttle Enterprise, mounted atop a NASA 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA), is seen as it flies near the Empire State Building, Friday, April 27, 2012, in New York.
(Source: Flickr / nasahqphoto, via fuckyeahspaceshuttle)
(via Edward Burtynsky [ Photographic Works ])
Tires……….millions upon millions of tires…….
Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery. -Winston Churchill
Austrian village F---ing to vote on name change - Telegraph -
The Austrian village of F—-ing is to vote on a name change in an attempt to escape the constant ridicule and attention the name attracts the hamlet.
“People are now willing to discuss changes to the spelling of the name,” Franz Meindl, the village’s mayor, said in a television interview. “But first all F—-ingers have to agree on whether want to change it or not.”
In the believe it or not category……… We have this small Austrian village that despite it’s best efforts are plagued by tourists stealing the town signage, awkward encounters with nude tourists posing for photos, and more.
Rather than change the historical name of their town, why not capitalize on the phenomenon and their heritage? Build a few hotels or other tourist “attractions”??
(via Dog, Interrupted: Obama To Host Culinary Adventure Show)