by Nathan Barton
Good morning. As things seem to spiral downward both at home and abroad, it never hurts to realize that we have many blessings. So (at risk of ticking off people who do not believe) join me in being thankful (to God) for the prosperity and liberty we still do have. And all the other blessings, not the least of which is that most who call themselves libertarian are willing to tolerate those who believe in the Creator (or not).
Troubled as the Fifty States are, stagnant as our economy is, we have an abundance of both liberty and prosperity (and in much of the Fifty States, peace) compared to too many people in history and too many people on the planet today. Not sayin’ that we should not have more, mind you. Just that we are better off than most.
For now, at least. Under the Fuehrer’s benevolent administration, the Federal Debt has climbed a wee bit: The total federal debt of the U.S. government has now increased more than $7 trillion during the slightly more than five and a half years Barack Obama has been president. I won’t bore you with the “exact” number, which was accurate only for a few milliseconds some days ago. It is, of course, all Bush’s fault: well, not quite, as the Republican House of Representatives must also share some blame. But imagine how poor we would be if we (collectively) hadn’t spent $7T that we don’t have.
Which should make us appreciate more how we can repay this wonderful government benevolence by stepping up to the plate and taking on obligations as citizens. Nazgul Ginsburg flat out stated this week that buying contraceptives for other people (well, specifically, women) is one of the obligations of citizenship. You know, the only thing that seems to be growing faster than the number of “rights” we have in this country, is the number of “obligations” those with any jobs or money have.
I recently received this plea from an acquaintance: hardly a correspondent and definitely NOT a friend: “Please keep in mind that air pollution caused 7 million deaths in 2012 according to the World Health Organization.” Sad, isn’t it? These seven million people would have lived FOREVER if not for air pollution: nothing else was bad enough to kill them off. If we eliminate air pollution, will we all live forever?
Did you know? Some people are claiming that the natural ingredients of citrus fruit and leaves (including oranges and lemons) include DMT and other Schedule 1 drugs. Scofflaws will love this: imagine the next time at Safeway or Lueders when you buy some lemons or some oranges and mention “getting my fix,” how much fun you can have with the clerk and everyone within hearing, including that sheriff’s deputy who just got hired from Denver!
Supposedly, several people have invented and “proven” in the laboratory that they can make jet fuel (that is, kerosene) out of sunlight and thin air: using the moisture in the air and solar concentrators (very large solar ovens, usually involving lots of mirrors) to produce syngas by breaking up water and carbon dioxide molecules and then combining the hydrogen and carbon into simple hydrocarbons. But this lab test used – get this – “artificial sunlight.” (Can’t waste the real thing, I guess.) And this has the amazing efficiency of 1.74% for the first stage (the syngas) and would “only” take a couple of square kilometers of land. As I told Scott (who sent me this article, thanks!) “This sounds like a Popular Science article. Right next to the “everyone will fly their car to work next week” and “household robots available from $19.95″ (designed and produced by D.B.Davis, no doubt).”
A decision from the National Labor Relations Board would hold McDonald’s liable for its franchisees’ employment decisions. This of course is a significant blow to the entire concept of “franchise” since the idea is that the owners/operators of a franchise are independent businessmen who make (and are responsible for) their own decisions. Corporate establishes policy and standards and provides for cooperative buying, advertising, and such, but enforcement of standards is limited, as is (supposedly) liability. Now, another gang of appointed bootlickers of the administration and congress can turn over any law they please, and abuse businesses AND employees AND consumers all at once.
Medicare lists 1,700 different procedures that the program requires to be performed in a hospital, rather than an outpatient facility, in order to qualify for Medicare reimbursement. This is typical of government, and surely supported by the big medical care corporations (Banner and Kaiser both come to mind), and shows ANOTHER reason government has no business in health care: it cannot respond to changes in the marketplace, to new inventions, and to consumer demand. Walk-in surgical clinics, like urgent-care clinics, did not exist three decades ago, but are a tremendous savings in cost – AND offer opportunities to avoid needless bureaucracy. But for millions of retired people, this creates a situation in which they lose, more and more.
According to a Congressional Budget Office study, workers bear 70 percent of the corporate tax burden, and therefore would benefit from abolishing the corporate income tax at both federal and state levels. Of course, so would consumers and clients of the businesses AND owners, who are now being doubly taxed, since costs would be reduced. But never fear, the people who suggested this have almost certainly already been fired for their betrayal of a key revenue source for their masters in Congress, and indeed, probably blackballed. How can we waste money at the incredibly high rate we do, if we don’t have scams like corporate income tax?
A Nazgul in Maryland ordered a sheriff’s deputy to use a bizarre device installed in a chair used for defendants IN COURT to shock the man, apparently for no other reason than he was tired of listening to the man, who was defending himself. This kind of Star Chamber antics recalls the evils of medieval times when the same person(s) were judge, jury, torturer, and executioner. How far we have fallen, at least in many places in the Fifty States. Is it a coincidence that the victim of the torture was being tried on weapons charges?
A new (potential) case of Ebola in New Mexico sends fresh waves of panic through some people and agencies, even while the first two American victims of the disease are recovering, and the New York case turns out to be a false alarm. We can count it as a blessing that basic infection protocols are second nature to so many people here in the States.
Mama’s Note: Yes indeed, even the “poor” in the US have clean, running water, access to soap and other cleaning products, and better nutrition than much of the world – even if they live on fast food and sweets.