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NIH Spends $194K on Manwhores

Posted by V the K at 12:35 pm - August 7, 2014.
Filed under: Big Government Follies

Which is, I believe, slightly less than what David Geffen spends annually, but anyway

The federal government has awarded the University of California Los Angeles $193,989 in taxpayer funds to study skill-building as HIV prevention for male sex workers in Peru.

The grant was issued by the National Institute of Mental Health, a part of the National Institutes of Health, and proposes “a pilot study for a group that has been neglected in the Peruvian HIV epidemic, namely male sex workers (fletes).”

It’s not like medical science didn’t discover how to prevent the spread of AIDS back in 1984 or anything…

One anticipates that some will find the expenditure too trivial to be of concern. I think that’s actually part of the problem. This is but one of thousands of studies the Government has no business undertaking, but since each one is just a few hundred thousand or a few million, people dismiss the expenditure as too trivial to cut.

And then, they look at the truly massive mega-waste in Medicaid and other welfare programs and say, “We can’t cut those programs either, it would be political suicide.”

And so everything is either too small to cut, or too big to cut… and that’s why nothing ever gets cut, and Government grows out of control.

 

 

Bored Guvvies Surf for Pr0n on Taxpayer’s Dime

Posted by V the K at 8:54 pm - August 2, 2014.
Filed under: Big Government Follies

Government workers admit that they spend hours every week watching Pr0n on the internet; but they say it’s only because they’re bored and there isn’t enough work to do. (Warning, really frakking annoying autoplay at link)

For one Federal Communications Commission worker, his porn habit at work was easy to explain: Things were slow, he told investigators, so he perused it “out of boredom” — for up to eight hours each week.
Lack of work has emerged time and again in federal investigations, and it’s not just porn, nor is it confined to the FCC. Across government, employees caught wasting time at work say they simply didn’t have enough work to do, according to investigation records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
“He stated he is aware it is against government rules and regulations, but he often does not have enough work to do and has free time,” investigators wrote of another federal employee, this one at the Treasury Department, who viewed more than 13,000 pornographic images in a six-week span.
Investigations at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Commerce Department and the General Services Administration have turned up similar cases, though memos show the employees rarely face criminal prosecution for time and attendance fraud.

And yet the Democrats whine constantly that “austerity” is crippling the Federal Government because bureaucrats don’t have enough money to do whatever it is their jobs are.

Frankly, I prefer them watching Pr0n to doing more tyrannical things like SWAT-teaming homes to confiscate cars that the EPA thinks might… might… violate their precious emission standards and make the polar bears cry. (They let illegal immigrants run amok, but God help any American citizen that has a car that might be more polluty than the EPA allows.)

Obama Regime to Spend $237,750 Studying the Health Care Needs of Transgendered Women of Color

Posted by V the K at 9:09 am - July 23, 2014.
Filed under: Big Government Follies

Because the economy is so good and the Government is so solvent, they can afford to spend money on stuff like this.

The National Institutes of Health has awarded a $237,750 grant to George Washington University to study whether the use of telemedicine can help overcome barriers to care for transgender women of color.

I know what you’re thinking. “Oh, sure… the transgendered women of color are taken care of, but what about the undocumented transgendered women of color. Has this regime no compassion?”

Obama Regime Finds Yet Another Way to Make Government Intrusive and Annoying

Posted by V the K at 12:07 am - July 20, 2014.
Filed under: Big Government Follies

Get ready for the Regime to mandate shopping carts that will verbally nag you into making what they consider “healthy choices.

The cart would be color-coded, physically divided, and have a system installed so that when the shopping cart reaches its healthy “threshold” it would congratulate the customer. …“You achieved a MyCart healthy shopping basket! Goody! Goody! for You!”

Because in a Nanny State, we all have to be treated like slow children.

 

Illegal Immigrant Math

About 57,000 illegal immigrants have invaded Texas.

Obama wants to spend $3.7 Billion dollars providing them legal aid and welfare (housing, food, transportation). [And a little bit for border security thrown in as window-dressing].

That works out to almost $65,000 per border-jumper.

Wouldn’t it be cheaper just to give them $10,000 in cash and send them home? $10K could get you a pretty good life in Honduras or Guatemala. Just make them offer, “You can take the money and go home, or you can stay here in a detention center until we relocate you to an inner city in a red or purple state.”

Can’t see the politicians going for this plan; it would be hard for them to vote Democrat from Honduras or Guatemala.

Virginia Is Getting Kind of Creepy and Perverted

In Virginia, a Democrat candidate for Congress is asking his supporters to send him nude pictures of a teenage girl. [Warning, the link is to the Examiner, so don't click on it unless you want your screen to be taken over by pop-up ads for several minutes.)

Mike Dickinson, the Virginia liberal Democrat seeking the House seat currently held by Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., despite not being on the ballot, offered a $100,000 reward for nude photos and videos of Kendall Jones, the 19-year-old Texas Tech cheerleader who recently made news with a series of hunting photos on her Facebook page.

"I have 100k to anyone who has nude photos or videos of #kendalljones at Texas tech (sic)," Dickinson tweeted. "She deserves to be a target."

So, not only does he want nude pictures of her, he wants them so that others will be encouraged to stalk her. #WarOnWomen much? [And apologists will argue that he's not really a candidate and doesn't represent the Democrat party at all, unlike that troll in Oklahoma who supposedly wanted to stone teh gheys who totes represents all Republicans.]

Also, in Virginia, the police want to give a 17 year old boy an erection and take pictures of it. (Does the Safe Schools Czar know about this?)

The authorities in Prince William County, Virginia, are pursuing child pornography charges against a 17 year old who exchanged nude picture texts with his 15-year-old girlfriend. The police have even filed a warrant that would permit them to take the teen to the hospital, give him an erection-producing injection, and photograph his penis. Prosecutors want to compare this photograph to the one the teen sent to his girlfriend, establishing that they depict the same thing.

First of all, it’s utterly nonsensical to use child pronography laws to prosecute idiot teenagers who sext each other; because idiot teenagers sexting each other is not the same as child pr0nography to any reasoning person with a functioning brain. But I guess aside from waxing their new MRAPs, the cops just don’t have a lot to do these days.

Frankly, the whole thing reminds me of that scene in Porky’s, a movie that seems quaint and wholesome by today’s degenerate standards.

(more…)

Stockman on Eric Cantor

Former Reagan budget director, David Stockman, has been blogging up a storm these last few years. I have mixed feelings about his work. It’s packed with emotion and (let’s say) definite conclusions. Sometimes I’ll cluck my tongue at the run-on sentences, typos, excess of adverbs, wandering, exaggerations, inaccuracies and other signs of ranting that mar Stockman’s work. On the other hand, Stockman is a free-market, balanced-budget guy and often I admire him for saying what needs to be said.

In that spirit I note his recent piece, Good Riddance To Rep. Eric Cantor: Bagman For Wall Street And The War Party. The gist is that Cantor could give a nice free-market speech, but in practice, Cantor stood for venture socialism and Washington business-as-usual. Cantor was a key factor in the GOP supporting the 2008-9 TARP and GM bailouts, the Export-Import Bank (long cited as an example of corporate welfare), unexamined Defense spending, and so forth.

Stockman gives details and he ties Cantor to Paul Ryan, whose wonderful budget plans really mean little change to Washington in practice (Ryan’s plans are merely not as insane as the Democrats’ budget plans). And, however all that might be, Stockman as usual gets near to the heart of what ails us:

…financial repression, ZIRP, QE, wealth effects and the Greenspan/Bernanke/Yellen “put” under the stock market and risk assets generally are not just a major policy mistake; they are a full-throttle assault on the heart and soul of conservative economics.

You can not expect to have fiscal rectitude in a modern democracy, for example, when the central bank since the year 2000 has monetized nearly $4 trillion of public debt…Indeed, financial repression makes the carry cost of the public debt so painless—-that is, probably about $400 billion per year less than it would be under a regime of free market interest rates—that not one in a hundred politicians can see they virtue of fall[ing] on the fiscal sword in the here and now [o]n behalf of unborn generations of taxpayers who will carry the burden of today’s fiscal folly…

So Eric Cantor made a career of milking the Warfare State and pandering to Wall Street. This brought him nearly to the top of the Washington heap. But in the end, it did not fool his constituents. And most certainly it set back the conservative cause immeasurably.

Government Union Demands Luxury Offices for Bureaucrats

Posted by V the K at 10:52 am - June 7, 2014.
Filed under: Big Government Follies

Private sector employees who have watched their wages stagnate and their benefits erode under Obama, veterans who’ve seen their benefits cut and the VA mired in scandal and incompetence, as well as the future generations whose economic prospects will be crippled by Obama’s crushing legacy of debt… may be comforted to know how well unionized Government bureaucrats (the new Mandarin Class)… are taken care of in this “Age of Austerity” politicians claim we are living in it.

The labor union representing employees at the National Weather Service is demanding major upgrades to a new water resources facility at the University of Alabama, including that each employee have a soundproof office, receive a pay increase, and have access to a community garden.

The National Water Center will soon open on the University campus in Tuscaloosa, after construction was completed in December 2013. The National Weather Service Employees Organization (NWSEO) has submitted a list of demands to add to the $18.8 million facility before they begin their work.

A list of “National Water Center Proposals” submitted on May 28, obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, reveal the extravagant demands made by the union.

“Cubicles will not be used in the building, each person will have their own office,” the union has demanded. The office walls will be a minimum of 3 inches thick and “insulated with ‘Quiet Batt 30 Soundproofing Insulation.’”

The offices will also be furnished with a desk from the Kathy Ireland Southampton Onyx Collection, have a “Freedom Task Chair with Headrest,” and a 51 inch Samsung television, with a cable package that includes all available news and weather channels.

Common areas will be painted the shade “marine” and all office areas will be painted in the shade “beeswax,” according to the document. The NWSEO also wants all artwork to be from “local artists within a 50 mile radius” of Tuscaloosa and the art is required to have a “water theme.”

Break rooms will also be furnished with Samsung TVs, a refrigerator, stove and oven, microwave, and an eating table that is “at least 18 square feet” as well as “10 Wynwood Garden Walk Arm Chairs.”

Scooby-Doo, We’ve Got a Mystery On Our Hands

Posted by V the K at 10:22 pm - June 2, 2014.
Filed under: Big Government Follies

A lefty progressive homeowner in Austin, TX can’t figure out how her taxes have gotten so darn high.

“I’m at the breaking point,” said Gretchin Gardner, an Austin artist who bought a 1930s bungalow in the Bouldin neighborhood just south of downtown in 1991 and has watched her property tax bill soar to $8500 this year.

“It’s not because I don’t like paying taxes,” said Gardner, who attended both meetings [of "irate homeowners"]. “I have voted for every park, every library, all the school improvements, for light rail, for anything that will make this city better. But now I can’t afford to live here anymore.

The FedGov Funding Vital, Important Research

Posted by V the K at 7:29 pm - May 30, 2014.
Filed under: Big Government Follies

The Federal Government — which Democrats insist is operating at peak efficiency and can’t be cut by even one dollar — is spending nearly $200K to find out how transgenderoids use Facebook.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is spending nearly $200,000 to study how transgender women use social networking sites like Facebook and how their use affects their chances of getting HIV.

The Friends Research Institute, based in Maryland, received $194,788 last month to begin the project operating on the premise that due to “transphobia” transgendered women are forced to use social media as an outlet, often leading to risky sexual behaviors.

Apparently, even though it’s been known and taught for the last thirty years how not to catch the HIV, Uncle Sugar is still a sucker for a liberal researcher with an HIV sob story.

[The Institute's Lead Researcher, Dr. Cathy] Reback was one of the first researchers to discover that gay men engage in sexually risky behaviors while high on methamphetamine.

Whoa! Take that Crick and Watson!

Detroit may spend $800 million to tear down homes

This goes to the essence of mainstream economic theory: Spend money to build houses, spend money to tear them down, spend money to build them, spend money to tear them down…and let it all be counted in the GDP numbers as “growth” and “jobs”:

One of the question haunting Detroit, as it works to extricate itself from bankruptcy, is how to address the reality of the city’s shrinking population…Today, a much-anticipated report from the city’s Blight Removal Task Force says that more than one in five structures is in some state of disrepair—and that about half of these should be torn down immediately…

It can take as little as three hours to demolish a house, but the process can be more consuming if properties contain asbestos or lead, thereby requiring extra care. Tearing down homes by the tens of thousands, which hasn’t been done before, could cost about $800 million, the report says. While the city has already obtained some blight-reduction funding from federal and state sources, it still needs at least a further $400 million. (That doesn’t include the additional $1 billion or so Detroit will need to address commercial and industrial eyesores.)

It’s astounding that, in a nation where homes are unaffordable for many people and the home ownership rate is declining, Detroit is still so unlivable and badly-run a place that they have vast numbers of homes to tear down.

Federal Bureaucrat – Cushiest Job in the World

Posted by V the K at 5:45 am - May 27, 2014.
Filed under: Big Government Follies

The Consumer Protection Financial Bureau (CBFP) — a regulatory office created by that Abomination known as Dodd-Frank — has decided it will no longer have employee evaluations and will simply rate all of their employees as awesome.

The CFPB, which oversees transactions in the financial sector for the federal government, decided to no longer conduct employee reviews because there were just too many apparent “significant disparities” between the races, ages, and locations of its employees.

According to American Banker, this new policy is set to cost over $5 million dollars, as it will now pay employees as if they received the highest evaluation score. The previous system ranked staff on their performance from a scale ranging from one to five, with five being the best score a CFPB staffer could receive after a review of their work on the job.

Because the only possible explanation for disparities in employee performance is Racism.

A Fool and His Money

What happens when a billionaire gives $100 Million to a corrupt, self-serving bureaucracy? Answer: Bureaucrats and their buddies in the consulting business got to buy vacation homes.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg made a splash by announcing his plan to give $100million to help turn around Newark, New Jersey’s public schools in an appearance on Oprah in 2010. 

But nearly four years later, Zuckerberg’s money has run out, having been spent mostly on labor contracts and consulting fees with no noticeable improvement in student performance, a report in the New Yorker reveals.

Zuckerberg’s money has mostly gone into the early stages of overhaul, paying consultants upwards of $1,000 a day to find solutions to Newark public schools’ problems.

According to the report, between 2010 and 2012 ‘more than twenty million dollars of Zuckerberg’s gift and matching donations went to consulting firms and various specialities: public relations, human resources, communications, data analysis, [and] teacher evaluations.’

The bureaucrats and consultants got richer; and the kids got nada.

My utter lack of faith in Government, vindicated once again.

The VA is what happens when government works

Posted by ColoradoPatriot at 6:34 pm - May 20, 2014.
Filed under: Big Government Follies

Rather than completely plagiarize Jonah’s recent post at NRO, I’ll simply post his best quote, and leave it to you to read the rest. The VA is:

the one institution and/or constituency that enjoys huge bipartisan support. The VA, rhetorically and politically, is more sacrosanct and less controversial than Medicare, Social Security, road building, the NIH, or public schools. We are constantly told that we could get so many wonderful, super-fantastic things done if only both sides would lay down their ideological blah blah blah blah and work together for yada yada yada. Well, welcome to the VA. How’s that working out for you?

here.

-Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from The Ranch)

Demilitarizing the Federal Bureaucracy

Why is the US Postal Service stockpiling ammunition? Also, why is the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration stockpiling ammunition? And why is the Social Security Administration stockpiling ammunition?

Why does the EPA have SWAT Teams? And why does the Department of Education have SWAT Teams? And why do the Railroad Retirement Board, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Office of Personnel Management, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service all have SWAT Teams?

None of these bureaucracies are law enforcement agencies. It makes no sense for them to have armed, much less paramilitary, units.

A Republican (of course) Congressman from Utah is contemplating a bill to defund the paramilitary operations of regulatory bureaucracies. He will no doubt be attacked as a radical, extremist, Whackobird… because that’s what happens to anyone who proposes common sense reform measures these days.

When the Only Tool You Know Is a Hammer…

Posted by V the K at 2:45 pm - April 30, 2014.
Filed under: Big Government Follies,Economy

The Obama Administration… embarrassed by the most recent 0.1% economic growth rate and the abject failure of five years of tax-and-spend economic policy… is proposing more tax-and-spend economic policy.

The Obama administration sent to Congress legislation that would provide $302 billion for road and transit projects over four years, a measure needed to keep the U.S. Highway Trust Fund from running dry.

A transportation proposal sent to Congress by the Obama administration on Tuesday would remove a prohibition on tolls for existing Interstate highways, clearing the way for states to raise revenue on roads that drivers currently use at no cost.

Democrats are literally incapable of conceiving of any other approach to any economic (or other) challenges other than raising taxes and expanding Government.

The travails of Government Motors

This is a long-term story; time for a review.

In 2009, General Motors made itself the fourth-largest Chapter 11 re-org in U.S. history. The U.S. Treasury was heavily involved with bailout money. President Obama made speeches and saw to it that the terms were harsh for people who had supported GM by loaning or investing their money, and not-so-harsh for labor unions and GM retirees (who can vote).

The new GM repaid government loans ahead of schedule – after shuffling around some bailout monies. But it all still cost the taxpayer at least $10 billion in the end (Treasury direct losses on GM stock as they re-privatized the company).

I would argue that the intangible costs go beyond $10 billion. GM bailout advocates like to emphasize the many jobs “saved”. But if the government had stayed out (doing nothing), the jobs would exist – at more efficient companies. GM’s productive assets would have been re-organized in bankruptcy anyway; probably taken over by startup companies or other competitors who are more efficient.

So, cars would still be manufactured in America – on better terms for the consumer. It’s a general principle that doing it the government-backed way is cronyism and always rewards incompetence on some level (at the expense of consumers, investors & taxpayers). There is no reason to consider GM an exception.

Which brings us to GM’s scandal with faulty ignition switches, which have caused at least 13 deaths.

The problem goes back for years. GM, which became a famously bureaucratic company under decades of Big Government backing, has been slow to react:

GM first learned of a problem with its ignition switches on Chevrolet Cobalts, Saturn Ions and other models in 2001, documents have shown, but took no steps to recall any cars until this past February.

Lawmakers are investigating why GM and regulators missed or ignored numerous red flags that faulty ignition switches could unexpectedly turn off engines during operation and leave airbags, power steering and power brakes inoperable.

The unflappable [GM CEO] Barra…announced that GM had retained Kenneth Feinberg, who recently oversaw the BP oil spill fund, as a consultant…

The drama inside the packed hearing room – named the “John D. Dingell” room after the Michigan Democrat with a long history of advocating for GM – was heightened by photos of victims, which were displayed against one of the walls.

Your crony capitalism/ Venture Socialism at work, folks.

By the way:

  • Did those famous Government Regulators help the problem? No, although they have plenty of excuses. (Prediction: the Left will surely claim that the solution is…more regulators.)
  • Did CEO Barra just tell Congress the truth, when she claimed to have only learned about the ignition switch problem recently (Jan 31)? No again.
  • Did GM commit fraud, when it didn’t reveal the problem *during its bankruptcy* proceedings? Was escaping liability one of the motives for doing the 2009 bankruptcy? Perhaps, yes.

Which is why the new, refreshed, taxpayer-revived GM now faces multiple criminal probes.

Is government dependency like slavery?

Clearly, a life of dependency on the government is not literal slavery – but is the metaphor / comparison valid? I’ll state my view (which is basically “no”), and people can disagree (or whatever) in the comments.

The essence of slavery is lack of self-ownership. You’re someone else’s property in a direct way, where they tell you what to do, seize all the products of your labor, and violate your body (or worse) at their option.

Excepting criminals (people deprived of rights under due process and for heinous acts), I think that if the government can either conscript your labor, or seize more than half of the product (the wealth/income) of your labor – and jail you or worse, if you don’t comply to the government’s satisfaction – then metaphors/comparisons of slavery begin to apply. Because the conditions for slavery have been met in part, even if the government gives you “freeman” status and a lot of lifestyle choices.

One of the lifestyle choices that you face, as a non-slave, is the extent to which you live off of government-provided benefits – in other words, the extent & duration of your being a government dependent. I don’t think that government dependents can be compared to slaves. Because, while the dependent may indeed be lulled into a lifestyle which is passive, limited and degraded, they still keep the right/option to change and become less dependent.

Thus, comparisons to slavery may be valid when speaking of government mandates on people, oppressive levels of taxation, and denials of rights (e.g., right of free speech). That is why we speak of Communist nations as “slave nations” and so forth.

But it’s not valid to compare voluntary government dependency to being a slave. If anything, the person who lives a lifetime of voluntary dependency on the government is closer to being a slave-master; someone who (partly, or metaphorically) uses other people as slaves.

And that would be another reason that I find fault with Cliven Bundy’s recent remarks. (While defending, of course, his right to make them – and the pro-liberty movement in general.)

To suggest that government dependents are like slaves is to suggest that their dependency isn’t voluntary. In other words, it’s to suggest that government dependents somehow didn’t choose their situation. And if you really believe that, then you deny their natural human power of choice; you believe implicitly that they are sub-human, or the moral equivalent of children. And I don’t believe that.

The people who are partly like slaves are not the government dependents, but rather, the productive working people whom the government forces to pay for its dependents.

Thought for the day

We live in a world where the central bank (Fed) *rigs interest rates low, in order to rig debt levels and asset prices high* as they can possibly go.

I know it’s abstract and I comment on it ad nauseum, but I’m not sure it can be over-stressed. It has lots of bad effects.

  • You think homes are unaffordable, compared to (say) 20-40 years ago? Guess why home prices aren’t a good deal lower. (There are many reasons – but try guessing the biggest.)
  • Feel hopeless about your ever retiring? Take a guess why retirement income is hard to come by.
  • Feel like you struggle to make ends meet every month, while wealthy people (having lots of financial assets) keep doing better and better? One more guess why.
  • Feel like new, good jobs are impossible to come by? The Obama administration (including Obamacare) is a big drag, there. But the Fed doesn’t exactly help.
  • Feel like the stock market is a crazy bubble again? Feel like we learned nothing from the 2008 crisis, and our economy is still much too ‘financialized’ and debt-ridden? Again, many causes – but one guess as to the top cause…

Interest rates are the most important price in the economy. They should be set by the People in free markets. I see no reason to have a Politburo which plans them – and plans them badly, in ways that injure society.

This Is What Desperation Looks Like

Ezra Klein — who is at least a Level Six Operating Thetan in the Cult of Obamatology — desperately spins the hopeless disaster of Kathleen Sebelius Reign as Commissar of the Department of Hell and Inhuman Servitude.

Obamacare has won. And that’s why Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius can resign.

Sebelius is such a colossal FAIL she couldn’t even make it through her own resignation speech without a glitch, but Ezra Klein and the rest of the glassy-eyed cultists refuse to see the failure.

Ezra Klein and the rest of them were so convinced that Obama really was the Lightbringer, the Socialist Ronald Reagan who was so brilliant, and so deft that Big Government would finally work. Socialism would finally work because finally “the right people” were in charge of it.  But it hasn’t. Massive Government in the economy has brought nothing but stagnation, cronyism, and death. The Obama Foreign Policy is a complete shambles. Michelle Obama’s school lunch program has resulted in school lunches even more vile and unpalatable than they were before. And Obamacare has turned out to be nothing but another bloated, inefficient Government program noted for spending tons of money and making lives worse for its victims.

But the True Believers can’t bring themselves to admit this. Admitting that Obama’s Policies have failed means admitting that Progressive Socialism has failed. Worse, it would mean admitting that Obama’s critics (blasphemers!) were right all along. And that is too devastating a blow for the leftist ego to contemplate. (Caribou Barbie was right and the Clean Articulate Unprecdented Black Man from Harvard was wrong? Inconceivable!)

The Progressive Mind cannot process the possibility that their Religion (Progressive Socialism) and their Prophet (Barack Obama) have failed. They must convince themselves that the prophecy must have been… misread, somehow. The flaw cannot be in Progressive Socialism, but in the failure of the people to live up to its tenets.

Update: I found this quote in an Ed Driscoll post about David Letterman:

“The laments of the small-town leftists get voiced with such intemperance and desperation. As if those who voice them are fighting off the nagging thought: If the Republicans aren’t particularly evil, then maybe I’m not particularly special.”