Archive for the Take back America Category

The Sticky Note campaign

Posted in Cool Stuff, Culture, Economy, Heros, Take back America, The Regime, Thumbs Up! on May 4, 2011 by DaMook

Sticky Note Been to a gas station or grocery store lately? How’s that hopeNchange thing working out for ya? If you’re frustrated with high prices on just about everything, here’s a way to vent that frustration and get a message out (story here).

This time around, the Tea Party is taking action to draw attention to the fact that Barack Obama is gouging Americans by making sure gas prices are high by causing war in Libya, not opening Alaska to drilling and saving our national energy reserves to power Chinese tanks after China’s inevitable invasion of the U.S. We spoke with Chris Lotto, Arizona activist and co-creator of the “The ‘Hope and Change’ Sticky Note Campaign,” a movement that places anti-Obama sticky notes on gas pumps.

Last Saturday afternoon, Lotto, who lives in Phoenix, launched the Facebook call to “Purchase a pad of large sticky notes. Write on each one, “How’s that Hope & Change working out for you?” Every time you stop to fill your vehicle with gas, place your sticky note somewhere on the pump before you drive away. DO NOT be destructive in ANY way! Place your sticky note somewhere, so as not to impede the next customer’s ability to read the pump’s digital readout.”

By the end of this week, the page had over 8,000 fans who had sent out over 50,000 invites to join and dozens of pictures were rolling in of notes placed on gas pumps from Ohio to Wisconsin to Texas.

Hmmm. Sounds like fun. Here’s a related site for “Liberty Guerillas.”

Part of the charade employed by the existing Regime is to continue to make people believe that they are alone in their dissent and/or dissatisfaction with the ruling class. They need to isolate you and make you feel YOU are the outlier. A recent example is the derision lobbed at those who questioned Obama’s background and credentials.

This has been written about extensively in various professional military training manuals. It has also been the subject of many papers, dissecting the evolution of an underground movement that overthrew an entrenched Regime, where to outsiders, the “sudden collapse” of an oppressive regime catches them by surprise, when in fact, it was predictable all along.

The reason for the “sudden collapse” is that the group knowledge finally reached a tipping point, where the “dissenters” realize that they are the MAJORITY, not the minority as the Regime would have them believe.

Sticky notes, as advocated at gas pumps and on stores shelves, represent what is known as “Counter propaganda”.

It will be interesting to see if this gathers momentum and has any legs.

The sticking-political-messages-on-other-people’s-commodities tactic shows no sign of abating. It’s a long way to 2012, and the GOP proper has completely lost control of its constituency, so everyone should prepare for what’s probably going to be the most ugly election in recent history, and, with every free surface in the nation plastered with neon squares, I mean literally ugly.

We live in interesting times, folks…

Lemonade Day – a lesson in government regulation

Posted in Culture, Government Folly, Heros, Nanny State, Take back America, UGH! on May 2, 2011 by DaMook

lemonade standOnce upon a time a kid could set up a lemonade stand virtually anywhere and make a few bucks. Sadly those days are over as you are now subject to government harassment and even prosecution should you try it now. In many areas you need a business license and Health Department inspection to set up a simple lemonade stand. But wait, there’s hope. You can do this one day a year on Lemonade Day. That’s right, one day a year many cities will allow this so that kids can “learn and appreciate” entrepreneurship. Actually, it’s a lesson in government regulation (story here from the LA Times).

My 8-year-old recently got the lemonade stand itch. So we started laying plans to enrich her college fund by enticing passers-by with white chocolate-pistachio cookies and juice from organic lemons. Fortunately, our property backs onto one of the busiest paved urban trails in America, bustling on weekends with cyclists, rollerbladers and pedestrians. Visions of dollars danced in our heads.

Googling for the perfect lemonade recipe, we soon found a site promoting a May 1 “national” event called Lemonade Day. This event, organizers say, is an “initiative designed to teach kids how to start, own and operate their own business — a lemonade stand.” What better day to begin building our lemonade empire?

After shopping for her raw materials, I gave my kid a bedtime primer about starting a business. How much profit do you make after expenses? How should you promote your business? Give the customer a great product. She soaked it up and went to sleep all inspiration and smiles. Then I got to thinking about something I hadn’t discussed with her: government regulations.

The author relates a three day odyssey of contacting various government agencies about setting up a simple lemonade stand. The bottom line was that under normal circumstances, a simple child’s lemonade stand was out of the question. They would allow it, however, for Lemonade Day.

What the Lemonade Day organizers should teach the children, said the health official, is about the importance of learning and obeying the government regulations that prohibit lemonade stands.

If we had made it past the health and parks departments, my kid would have been stymied by zoning laws that prohibit lemonade stands in residential neighborhoods. Overcoming that barrier, we would have hung our heads at the daunting costs of business and vending licenses, not to mention taxes.

Lemonade Day is promoted as a way to “inspire a budding entrepreneur!” But it is actually a dispiriting lesson about how hard it now is to become an entrepreneur, whether you’re an adult or a child. It is about how even the most harmless enterprise, the humble lemonade stand, has been sacrificed on the altar of government regulation.

“Obeying the government” – that’s the real lesson here. The author handles it well.

Learning to be an entrepreneur “starts with a lemonade stand,” say the organizers of Lemonade Day. But they don’t want to talk about the regulations that make it impossible for my kid to become a lemonade stand entrepreneur. They tell me it is “silly” and “beside the point” to focus on the regulations. I am told that Lemonade Day is about kids learning to “give back to their communities,” “do better in school” and “open bank accounts.” It is not about something so self-serving as making a profit by selling a good product. That is the old American way, but the new way is living with rules that banish the lemonade stand to one government-approved day a year.

What are my kid and I going to do on Lemonade Day? We are going to set up a stand in one of the permitted locations — in a park or at one of the approved sponsors — with hundreds of other kids doing the same thing. But our “secret ingredient” is that we will hand out leaflets explaining why operating a lemonade stand makes my kid and yours not just a hopeful entrepreneur, but an actual lawbreaker.

Next year they should rename it Regulation Day.

It makes you wonder if America can survive this assholery…

No one is serious about cutting the federal budget

Posted in BIG Government, Congress, Economy, FAIL, Take back America, The Regime on April 4, 2011 by DaMook

This Friday is the deadline for congress to pass another continuing budget resolution to avoid a “shutdown” of the federal government (more here). The republicans are eager to impose budget “cuts” which the regime and the democrats characterize as “extreme” (more here). Of course this absurd political kabuki theater could have been avoided if the previous congress had done their job and passed a budget for 2011. Spineless republicans, who gained control of the House in the last election largely on the promise of fiscal responsibility, initially proposed $100B in spending cuts to the current budget and are now dialing back their proposal after being demonized by democrats and the state-run media. It appears that the magic number to reach a compromise is now around $33B. And just how significant is this figure? This story (from CATO) explains it:

Today the Cato Institute placed an ad in major newspapers highlighting specific spending cuts that policymakers should make to restore our country’s fiscal sanity and economic stability. Our public call for policymakers to demonstrate leadership on spending cuts comes in the midst of the on-going battle on Capitol Hill over funding the government for the remainder of fiscal 2011.

A graphic at the top of the ad measures the $61 billion in cuts that Republicans have proposed against fiscal 2011 estimates for total spending, the deficit, and interest on the debt. As the graphic shows and the ad notes, it is clear that “leaders and members of both parties are in deep denial about the fiscal emergency we face.”

There are news reports that Republican and Democrat negotiators are heading toward a compromise figure of $33 billion in spending cuts. Let’s put that figure in perspective alongside the GOP’s original proposal to cut a whopping $61 billion:

Budget Battle
This is not serious

Record spending levels…trillion dollar plus deficits…mountainous debt…a weak economy…

What, Congress worry?

Kind of puts it into perspective, doesn’t it? And what about that government shutdown? Rep. Mike Pence (R-TX) sums it up nicely (more here):

“…if congress can’t cut $61 billion from the budget, the government should be shut down.”

Here’s a great idea: Shut it down. After all, it doesn’t shut down completely – just “non-essential” services. (Don’t you just love that phrase? If they’re non-essential, why do they exist in the first place?) People will still get their social security, medicare/medicaid, and welfare checks. Taxpayers will still pay their taxes. Better yet, lets give the entire government a 21 month vacation – just keep a skeleton crew in DC. Congress could meet with their constituents, campaign for the 2012 elections, schmooze with lobbyists, whatever; then come back and start fresh in 2013. Twenty one months free of government FAIL – imagine the savings to the taxpayer!

Senator “AirClaire” McCaskill – another congressional tax cheat

Posted in Congress, FAIL, Take back America, UGH! on March 23, 2011 by DaMook

Being a member of congress is an important job – you’re “serving the public,” after all. In fact, this job is so important, so all-consuming, that it becomes easy to forget the little things – like paying taxes. Just ask Charlie Rangel or “Skipper” Kerry how difficult it is to comply with tax laws (they wrote) – especially when you spend so much effort to avoid them. So it comes as no surprise that yet another congress member has “forgotten” to pay her taxes. This time on a corporate jet owned by one of her husband’s companies. How much did she “forget” to pay? About $287,000 (story here).

In a conference call with reporters, Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill just disclosed that she failed to pay $287,000 in property taxes related to her co-ownership of a private aircraft. This scandal comes quickly on the heels of recent revelations that McCaskill improperly billed taxpayers for use of the same private aircraft, for which McCaskill reimbursed the Treasury $88,000:

In a conference call Monday afternoon, McCaskill revealed that after her own review of the plane’s records, she had not paid personal property taxes on the aircraft over the past four years.

“I have discovered that the personal property taxes on the plane have not been paid.  There should have been a reporting to the county of the existence of this plane.   There are people I could blame for this, but I know better. I take full responsibility,” McCaskill said to reporters, after revealing she had conducted her own audit of all 89 flights she had taken.

This was a mistake, It should have been reported in Missouri.  It will be paid in Missouri today,” she said.

McCaskill said she would be sending a check for $287,273 to St. Louis County Monday for the back taxes she owed between 2007 and 2010.

It was a mistake and she could have blamed others but she didn’t. OK Claire, but what about this little detail?

Claire McCaskill registered her plane in Delaware, where no taxes are imposed. Then she moved the plane to Illinois, where she avoided paying taxes before she moved it to Missouri, where she ignored paying her taxes.

Oh yeah, then there’s this minor irritation as well.

Last week, McCaskill reimbursed the Treasury Department more than $88,000 after POLITICO reported she had used taxpayer dollars from her Senate office account to pay for nearly 90 flights on a private charter plane co-owned by McCaskill, her husband and other investors.

The purpose of one of the trips billed to taxpayers – a roundtrip flight between St. Louis and Hannibal in 2007 – was purely political in nature, a violation of Senate ethics rules.

McCaskill said that trip was charged to her office only by “accident.” But the Missouri Republican Party pounced — filing a complaint with the Senate Ethics Committee this week.

McCaskill, who now faces an even more treacherous path to reelection in 2012, said the complaint is plainly “more about politics than it is ethics at this point.”

Ah yes, it was an “accident” and now the whole thing is “more about politics.” Let’s see if I got this straight:

  • Husband’s company buys & registers corporate jet in Delaware – no taxes owed.
  • Senator McCaskill (D-MO) uses jet and bills taxpayers – not bad, get the taxpayers to pay you for use of your jet.
  • Ooops – senator gets caught and reimburses taxpayers $88,000 for improper use of jet.
  • Jet ultimately ends up in Missouri where taxes are due but are “forgotten.”
  • Ooops – senator gets caught and reimburses taxpayers $287,000 in forgotten taxes.

Yeah, looks like it’s all politics to me. McCaskill is up for re-election in 2012. The citizens of Missouri deserve better than this.

111th congress added more debt than first 100 congresses combined

Posted in BIG Government, Congress, FAIL, State-run media, Take back America on December 28, 2010 by DaMook

On January 3rd the 111th congress will officially become history. The Wicked Witch of the West will cede the Speaker’s gavel to John Boehner and a republican majority will take control of the House of Representatives. According to this article, the 111th congress wasn’t exactly frugal – it added more new debt than the first 100 congresses combined.

The federal government has accumulated more new debt–$3.22 trillion ($3,220,103,625,307.29)—during the tenure of the 111th Congress than it did during the first 100 Congresses combined, according to official debt figures published by the U.S. Treasury.That equals $10,429.64 in new debt for each and every one of the 308,745,538 people counted in the United States by the 2010 Census.

The total national debt of $13,858,529,371,601.09 (or $13.859 trillion), as recorded by the U.S. Treasury at the close of business on Dec. 22, now equals $44,886.57 for every man, woman and child in the United States.

In fact, the 111th Congress not only has set the record as the most debt-accumulating Congress in U.S. history, but also has out-stripped its nearest competitor, the 110th, by an astounding $1.262 trillion in new debt.

During the 110th Congress—which, according to the Clerk of the House, officially convened on Jan. 4, 2007 and adjourned on Jan. 4, 2009–the national debt increased $1.957 trillion. When that Congress adjourned less than two years ago, it claimed the record as the most debt-accumulating Congress in U.S. history. As it turned out, however, its record did not last long.

The $3.22 trillion in new federal debt run up during the 111th Congress exceeds by 64 percent the $1.957 trillion in new debt run up during the 110th.

Historically, according to the U.S. Treasury, the federal debt did not reach $3.22 trillion until September 1990, during the 101st Congress. Between the first Congress, which adjourned in 1791 leaving behind approximately $75 million in debt, and the convening of the 101st Congress, which occurred on Jan. 3, 1989, the national debt grew to $2.684 trillion.

During the Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) tenure as speaker, which commenced on Jan. 4, 2007, the federal government has run up $5.177 trillion in new debt. That is about equal to the total debt the federal government accumulated in the first 120 years of the nation’s existence, with the federal debt rising from $5.173 trillion on July 24, 1996 to $5.181 trillion on July 24, 1996.

In her inaugural address as speaker, Pelosi vowed that Congress would engage in no new deficit spending.

Not only did this hideous congress spend us deeper into the poorhouse, but they were responsible for some of the worst legislation ever foisted upon the beleaguered citizenry. Here are just some of the more devastating:

They also extended unemployment benefits at least 3 times (to 99 weeks) which has caused 41 states to borrow billions to cover their unemployment obligations. All this “work” and they couldn’t even pass a budget (more here).

And while the state-run media tries to spin this as a good thing (example here), public approval of this congress sunk to historically low levels (more here).

All I can say is good riddance…

Michelle Rhee – hope for America’s schools

Posted in Culture, Government Schools, Take back America on December 9, 2010 by DaMook

michelle rheeMichelle Rhee, former Chancellor of the DC Public School system, is a lightning rod of public opinion in the education world. After resigning her position when mayor Adrian Fenty lost his bid for re-election, Rhee was recently hired by FL governor-elect Rick Scott for his transition team (story here).

Hired in 2007 to reform the abysmal DC school system, Rhee closed 21 excess under-performing schools and fought for a teacher merit pay system that would replace tenure. With the tenacity of a bulldog, she battled the system, local government, and teachers’ unions in an effort to enact her reforms. After 3 years of limited, but notable, success, Rhee resigned to form a new organization – StudentsFirst. She hopes to lead a national effort to reform America’s schools. She was featured in the stunning documentary Waiting For Superman (more here and here).

In this article (from Newsweek) Rhee describes her struggle with the DC system, what she did wrong and right, and her intentions for national school reform. It is a must read for anyone who is concerned about education in America.

After stepping down, I had a chance to reflect on the challenges facing our schools today and the possible solutions. The truth is that despite a handful of successful reforms, the state of American education is pitiful, and getting worse. Spending on schools has more than doubled in the last three decades, but the increased resources haven’t produced better results. The U.S. is currently 21st, 23rd, and 25th among 30 developed nations in science, reading, and math, respectively. The children in our schools today will be the first generation of Americans who will be less educated than the previous generation.

When you think about how things happen in our country—how laws get passed or policies are made—they happen through the exertion of influence. From the National Rifle Association to the pharmaceutical industry to the tobacco lobby, powerful interests put pressure on our elected officials and government institutions to sway or stop change.

Education is no different. We have textbook manufacturers, teachers’ unions, and even food vendors that work hard to dictate and determine policy. The public-employee unions in D.C., including the teachers’ union, spent huge sums of money to defeat Fenty. In fact, the new chapter president has said his No. 1 priority is job security for teachers, but there is no big organized interest group that defends and promotes the interests of children.

You can see the impact of this dynamic playing out every day. Policymakers, school-district administrators, and school boards who are beholden to special interests have created a bureaucracy that is focused on the adults instead of the students. Go to any public-school-board meeting in the country and you’ll rarely hear the words “children,” “students,” or “kids” uttered. Instead, the focus remains on what jobs, contracts, and departments are getting which cuts, additions, or changes. The rationale for the decisions mostly rests on which grown-ups will be affected, instead of what will benefit or harm children.

The teachers’ unions get the blame for much of this. Elected officials, parents, and administrators implore them to “embrace change” and “accept reform.” But I don’t think the unions can or should change. The purpose of the teachers’ union is to protect the privileges, priorities, and pay of their members. And they’re doing a great job of that.

What that means is that the reform community has to exert influence as well. That’s why I’ve decided to start StudentsFirst, a national movement to transform public education in our country. We need a new voice to change the balance of power in public education. Our mission is to defend and promote the interests of children so that America has the best education system in the world.

If you read nothing else today, you should read this whole piece.

Clueless congressman wants to extend unemployment for another year

Posted in BIG Government, Congress, Economy, Government Folly, Take back America on November 30, 2010 by DaMook

The unemployment extension (to 99 weeks) mandated by congress is about to run out. With time running short during the lame duck session, at least one clueless congressman is proposing to extend unemployment benefits yet again – this time for a whole bloody year. Of course, there’s no mention of how to actually pay for it (according to PayGo rules) so it simply piles onto the already unsustainable deficit. BOHICA! (story here from The Hill)

Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) introduced legislation Monday night that would provide long-term unemployed workers with benefits through the end of next year, with the program expected to lapse Tuesday.

Baucus told The Hill Monday night he wants to move quickly on the measure and “will try every way I can to get this passed.”

Whether the bill is pushed through as a stand-alone or as part of a larger tax or other legislative package, the federal program that provides jobless benefits for those whose 26 weeks of state benefits have ended, up to 99 weeks in states with the highest levels of unemployment, will expire Tuesday, affecting 800,000 by the end of next week and 2 million by the end of December.

The bill, which isn’t paid for, is estimated to cost about $56.4 billion, slightly below other estimates of between $60 billion and $65 billion, or about $5 billion a month. The Baucus bill would cost about $4.33 billion per month.

Baucus isn’t the only brain-dead senator as there are at least 27 more who are pushing for this. No doubt there will be some squishy RINOs who will go along with this too.

Earlier Monday, 27 Senate Democrats called for a one-year extension of the program in a letter Monday to Baucus and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

“As our nation continues to battle high unemployment rates, we must act immediately to continue vital safety net coverage for those most in need,” the letter said.

Safety net indeed. This will stimulate nothing – it will only prolong the agony and add to the stunning deficit run up by this hideous congress. It will also add to state deficits as they are responsible for unemployment benefits as well (more here and here).

Again, trying to address a spending problem with more spending. If you really want to address this mess, you need to actually stimulate the economy. Here’s DaMook’s 6 point plan for the economy:

  1. Roll back federal spending and employment to 2008 levels. Freeze it there for 3 years.
  2. Repeal obamacare.
  3. Repeal Dodd/Frank financial regulation.
  4. Extend the Bush tax cuts at all levels – permanently.
  5. Roll back EPA and other government lunacy regulation to pre-2008 policies.
  6. After all of that is done, send congress home for a 1 year vacation and declare a 1 year moratorium on federal regulation.

Then we can start talking about shrinking the federal leviathan.