Thursday, July 29, 2010

As Arizona Goes, So Goes the Nation: How Medicaid Ruins the States' Fiscal Health

As Arizona Goes, So Goes the Nation: How Medicaid Ruins the States' Fiscal Health

No. 6, July 2008
All is not well in Senator John McCain's home state. Confronted with a general fund budget shortfall of more than $1.3 billion, the Arizona legislature in June enacted modest cuts (primarily in community college and prison budgets), a stepped-up traffic enforcement system to produce some $90 million in speeding tickets, and $2 billion in new debt--half of it to close the hole in the $10.9 billion budget. (The other half will fund university construction.) The budget is a stopgap measure that bodes ill both for next year's budget and for the state's fiscal future, and no Arizona politician pretends otherwise.
Measured as a percentage of the state's fiscal year 2008 general fund, Arizona's projected FY 2009 deficit was the most serious shortfall of any state, exceeding even California's....
Arizona's fiscal crisis is due chiefly to the state's expansion of its Medicaid programs. That decision, in turn, is largely attributable to the perverse incentives created by Medicaid's inordinately generous transfers to the states. To oversimplify slightly, states get into fiscal trouble not because the feds shirk their obligations, but because they have made promises to pay in the first place. While Arizona's problems are exacerbated by a dysfunctional political system, the state's predicament illustrates a pervasive structural crisis.
Despite a relatively conservative political climate, Arizona used to be a high-tax state. Over the decades, however, Arizona's tax burden has remained roughly constant, while that of many other states has risen. As a result, Arizona has improved its position relative to other states. By the most widely used measure (the Tax Foundation's index of state tax burdens), Arizona is now near the median in terms of combined state and local tax burden on citizens....
However, the fiscal effects of federal-to-state transfers are not unambiguously positive, even for net recipient states like Arizona. While federal grant programs may have some fiscal substitution effect, on balance they increase state and local taxation and spending. By making program expansions look cheap and making cuts look outrageously expensive, federal matching grants ratchet up spending and taxes and tend to exacerbate the states' boom-and-bust budget cycles. All else equal, those effects increase in proportion to the matching program's size and generosity....
Under Medicaid, the federal government reimburses between 50 and 77 percent of a state's qualifying expenditures, depending on the state's wealth. Put differently, a state can purchase a dollar's worth of Medicaid health services at a cost of less than fifty cents to itself. Less happily, it cannot cut a dollar from its domestic budget without "losing" federal transfers....
Some states now cover families with incomes of up to 275 percent of the poverty level. Almost all provide long-term care for the poor and low-income elderly. In a few states, one-third of the population is now on Medicaid. In Arizona, about one-fifth of the population receives health care coverage through AHCCCS [Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System]....
Unsurprisingly, Medicaid expenditures constitute an ever-growing share of state expenditures. In 1987, that share amounted to slightly more than 10 percent. In 1992, the number was 17.8 percent; in 2006, 22.2 percent....
In Arizona, the crowding-out has been far more severe and rapid. The state's involvement with Medicaid did not begin until 1982, with the creation of AHCCCS. Previously, Arizona had been the only state to reject federal Medicaid funds. (Individual counties provided a piecemeal system of health care for the state's indigent.) AHCCCS was the first statewide Medicaid program to use managed care, offering recipients a variety of private and public health plans that channeled them into private physicians' offices. As recently as 2002, AHCCCS was cited as a model Medicaid program.
But AHCCCS has since caused much fiscal and budgetary trouble. These difficulties can be traced to the enactment of Proposition 204 in 2000, which substantially expanded Medicaid-eligible populations and services. Proposition 204 significantly loosened eligibility requirements for several AHCCCS programs. (For example, it allowed persons with incomes above the poverty line to spend down their income on medical bills to qualify for coverage.)...
The option of finding offsets for increased Medicaid spending elsewhere in the budget is illusory. Only the general fund and "other appropriated funds"--less than half of all state expenditures combined--are actually subject to the legislature's appropriation authority. "Other" appropriated funds are earmarked, and even within the general fund, about 60 percent of spending is essentially nondiscretionary, as it is automatically set to increase or decrease each year.[9] Thus, short of closing down community colleges and state prisons (or, perhaps, launching an aggressive pro-smoking campaign to raise short-term revenues and long-term mortality rates among Medicaid consumers), the Arizona legislature can do only what it has, in fact, done: enact phony cuts, use traffic enforcement as a revenue device (not a tax and therefore not subject to the Proposition 108 two-thirds requirement), and issue a pile of new debt....
 Arizona instead resorted to aping the Bush administration's major domestic policy innovation: the tax-free, debt-only finance of a major public health program.
No state can avoid the choice between more debt or rip-roaring tax hikes, combined in some way. The only plausible solutions to the states' Medicaid-induced fiscal troubles are to be found in Washington. Those solutions, however, have foundered and will continue to founder--paradoxically, due to the opposition of the states.

It is tempting but wrong to view Medicaid's stupendous, irresistible growth trends and its effects on state budgets as accidents. Medicaid is designed to be fiscally unsustainable--but politically self-sustaining....
Medicaid has created a political wonderland: to a man and woman, public officials who know the program to be ruinous to their states nonetheless clamor for more of the same. There is no will or incentive in Washington for a call to reality--not among Democrats, who rightly view Medicaid (and SCHIP) as HillaryCare on a bicycle, and not among Republicans, who are receptive to the intergovernmental lobby's call for "states' rights" and its clamor against "unfunded mandates" (and never mind that Medicaid is neither).
Eventually, Medicaid will fall victim to the late Herbert Stein's law: something that cannot go on will eventually stop. No one knows on what terms it will stop. We do know this, though: before it stops, there will be a lot more Arizonas.

My thoughts:  ...And socialism sucks.  I still can't excuse our legislatures for our debt.  They are there to be leaders and to tell the truth not lie and be cowardly.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

We Are Not Free: 40 Years of the Drug War

On how, after 40 years, drugs are more plentiful, accessible, and cheaper than ever before.  Also, on how we have become a police state because the war.

We Are Not Free: Politicians and their fear of the free man

In light of Arizona politicians refusing to uphold the freedom of the individual mandate found in the Arizona constitution I thought it appropriate to explore this a bit further.
Arizona's constitutions says the following:
Article II.
Section 1. A frequent recurrence to fundamental principles is essential to the security of
individual rights and the perpetuity of free government.
Section 2. All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their 
just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain
individual rights.

It seems to find an honest politician is very rare as they seek power and not the defense of liberty.  This story goes into how an Idaho politician has been berated by the system and his "fellow republicans" for not upholding the power of the state.

The Plunderbund's Persecution of Phil Hart
Rep. Hart's actual offense was not withholding payment of taxes, but rather refusing to surrender to the IRS the names and contact information of the thousands of people who purchased his self-published book Constitutional Income: Do You Have Any?, a detailed, scholarly examination of the history of the federal income tax.  

"I read your book `Constitutional Income: Do You Have Any?'" Hart was notified in a letter from IRS agent Barbara Parks announcing that the state-sponsored terrorist clique employing her was beginning an "investigation" of the book. The purpose of that inquiry, she continued, was "to determine whether or not your statements are commercial speech and whether this activity causes harm to the government."

With the help of the Center for Individual Rights, Hart successfully sued the IRS to interdict the agency's demand that he turn over the names of everybody who had purchased his book. Four years later, the IRS retaliated against Hart by issuing a final audit report denying all of his business deductions for eight years, hitting him with an additional tax liability of roughly $125,000.

Already under siege by the world's most despicable terrorist syndicate (no, not al-Qaeda -- the IRS), Hart now has to contend with spurious charges of seeking "special treatment" and "financial gain." Yet state Rep. Ken Roberts remains secure within the Idaho Republican Party in spite of the fact, recently disclosed by the Lewiston Tribune, that Roberts has received nearly $370,000 in farm subsidies since 1995.

Roberts, who ritualistically reviles subsidies directed at others, insists that when he's on the receiving end of plunder he's not redistributing wealth, but rather "recycling wealth." Predictably, nobody in the state Republican leadership has proposed that Roberts be subjected to an ethics inquiry.

My thoughts: Typical of politicians.  They have no moral grounding.

We Are Not Free: The kingship of the presidency

Dan Carlin talks about how Vietnam proves that the Senate abdicated it's war power to the presidency and how the power of the purse given to the House of Representatives is a false power.  Listen to the whole thing here.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Response to an Anti-immigration Forwarded E-mail


Ha ha. Yes, it's great to know we live in a freer country by seeing what other authoritarian regimes do. It's a great reminder of how we should be, and not be. I never really understood the anti-illegal immigration thing since it's just people freely moving from one place to the next and the only thing that makes it illegal is some arbitrary law made by politicians that are bought and paid for by some special interest group. Did you know there that if we had more of an open border we would see up to 90% of the immigrants from Latin America return home (they would come for work and then leave)? Did you know that it wasn't until 1921 (the period of US history was one of the darkest with the creation of the federal reserve and income tax which led directly into the great depression) that the US even had a limit on immigration? Did you know it is really the responsibility of each individual state to have their policies on immigration (the constitution only says the federal government is only responsible for naturalization and stopping invasions, nothing about immigration)?

Now let me address the list:

1. Freedom of contract is the greatest thing that the people of this country have. We should be able to hire whomever we want at whatever terms we want. This right is slowly being taken away by people that don't love freedom.

2. Yes, the driver's license. The government should even own roads. This is a private matter that should be left to private businesses.

3. Yes, socialism sucks. It leads directly to an "us vs. them" mentality. Instead of people focusing on the root cause of the problem (socialism) they start fighting with their brothers and sisters in God that happen to have citizenship in other countries. Did you know because of socialism and the great immigration debate that a national ID is being pushed like never before? This is leading closer and closer to a police state where the government can ask for your papers. Representative Jeff Flake is calling for the SS card to have biometrics, which would lead us closer to a national ID. Is this what you really want, a police state? Oh, how soon do people forget what freedom really means.

4. See #3. Get to the root cause, get rid of socialism. How could we have nearly open borders for over 150 years? Because we didn't have the drug war, socialism, etc.

5. See #3 and 4.

6. Freedom of contract, ain't it grand?

7. Freedom of contract. Of course, we need to get rid of the federal reserve and Fannie and Freddie Mac so the contracts on truly free and not based on socialism.

8. See #3 & 4.

9. See #3 & 4.

10. If we lived in a truly free country the federal government would be so small that we wouldn't need lobbyists.

11. If we lived in a truly free country we would need so much permission to conduct business and live. Another sign of our freedoms being taken from us.

12. I think we've determined that we don't live in a constitutional free loving republic any more. Besides that. 99% of wars that are fought now days are not fought out of a search for freedom for the US but out politicians bloodlust and contractors love of money. The wars in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan (the very beginning was but once we chased out the terrorists we should have left), and every other country we invade are not for our freedoms, the wars are anti-freedom.

13. If we lived in a free country I'm sure they would have more respect since they would be able to return to theirs after working here for a short period of time. If you look at immigration from the historical and from other countries points of view you would see that in every country the "us vs. them" mentality is alive and well, this is not a unique problem to the U.S.

Hope this addressed your concerns and fears. Remember if the government is telling you to fear something you know they have an agenda up their sleeves. In this case it is more power and national ID.

Original e-mail:

If you cross the North Korean border illegally you get 12 years hard

If you cross the Iranian border illegally you are detained indefinitely.

If you cross the Afghan border illegally, you get shot.

If you cross the Saudi Arabian border illegally you will be jailed.

If you cross the Chinese border illegally you may never be heard from

If you cross the Venezuelan border illegally you will be branded a spy
and your fate will be sealed.

If you cross the Mexican borders illegally you will jailed for two years.

If you cross the Cuban border illegally you will be thrown into political
prison to rot.

If you cross the United States border illegally you get:

1 - A job
2 - A driver's license
3 - A Social Security card
4 - Welfare
5 - Food stamps
6 - Credit cards
7 - Subsidized rent or a loan to buy a house
8 - Free education
9 - Free health care
10 - A lobbyist in Washington
11 - Billions of dollars in public documents printed in your language
12 - Millions of servicemen and women who are willing to - and do - die
for your right to the ways and means of our constitution
13 - And the right to carry the flag of your country - the one you walked
out on - while you call America racist and protest that you don't get
enough respect.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

AZ Historical Expenditures

It's difficult to find data about how much AZ spends which makes it difficult for residents to make intelligent choices when voting.  Fortunately we should start getting better information here soon according to Sunshine Review: Arizona currently has no statewide, official spending database online. However, a database will be placed online on or before January 1, 2011.

Below is a graph of how much the state spends each year with the GDP included.  Thanks to US Government Spending and the Goldwater Institute via AZ Rural Times for the information.  The spending estimates are based on Goldwater Institute (from AZ Rural Times) numbers.

We Are Not Free: The War on Milk

  • The Regime's War on Food
    •  "I drink raw milk, sold illegally on the underground black market," admits organic farmer and polymath Joel F. Salatin in the foreword to David Gumpert's book The Raw Milk Revolution: Behind America's Emerging Battle over Food Rights. "I grew up on raw milk, from our own Guernsey cows that our family hand-milked twice a day. We made yogurt, ice cream, butter and cottage cheese. All through high school in the early 1970s, I sold our homemade yogurt, butter, buttermilk, and cottage cheese at the curb market on Saturday mornings."

      This was possible only because our rulers -- who plunder our earnings to subsidize production of government-approved toxins such as high fructose corn syrup, and don't hesitate to confer the "safe foods" label on Twinkies and other hydrogenated wads of incremental death -- hadn't yet decided to protect us from the scourge of unprocessed natural foods, such as raw milk.

      That oversight has since been corrected. As a result, explains Salatin, home dairy producers like the family in which he grew up are forbidden to sell their products at a contemporary farmer's market.
    • My thoughts:  Read the whole article it's interesting. This war has been going on for some time.  I know it seems ridiculous (and it is) but this is a definite sign that government has grown far to large.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

AZ New & Blogs 7/22/2010

  • To Jim Deakin and his followers: 
    • That said, he will NOT win. But he may be in a position to affect the outcome of the election.   Staying in the race could make the difference between electing a new senator or sustaining the same-old-same old; that is, assuring that John McCain becomes the Republican candidate and probable US Senator for the State of Arizona for a third term.
    • My thoughts: Hhhmmm…vote for two guys that received the same freedom index score (~40%) from the New American website or vote for the outlier. I’ll vote for the outlier. If Deakin wasn’t in the primary election I would not vote for either. I’ll probably vote 3rd party in the general election. I only vote pro freedom. This compromising stuff is what has lead us down the path of tyranny. The comments about throwing your vote away by voting your what you believe instead of voting for the person you already know is going to win is ridiculous. Should I have voted for Obama because I knew ahead of time that he was going to win? I think not. Neither will I vote McCain or Hayworth, they’re the same.
  • Should the U.S. Restrict Immigration? 
    • Recent debates about Arizona’s new immigration law have taken as self-evident that immigration restrictions are good policy, with the only question being which level of government should enforce the law, and how. Yet the case for immigration restrictions is far from convincing.
    • Advocates of these restrictions rely on four possible arguments. First, that immigration dilutes existing languages, religions, family values, cultural norms, and so on. Second, that immigrants flock to countries with generous social welfare programs, leading to urban slums and inundated social networks. Third, that immigration can harm the sending country if the departing immigrants are high-skilled labor. Fourth, that immigration lowers the income of native, low-skill workers.
  • A Top U.S. Government Murderer Admits He Likes Murdering 
    • Well, duh, that’s why he got a job where he can get paid to indulge in his criminal pleasure. Of course, he’s been warned since he made this statement to keep the truth to himself if he wants to keep his job.
  • Buz Mills quits the race 
    • What Mills is saying is that SB 1070 has sucked all the oxygen out of the room for any discussion of the serious problems facing Arizona: a depressed economy and the fiscal mismanagement of this state.
    • Jan Brewer cannot succeed as a demagogue on her own. It takes a complicit news media to allow her to focus attention on SB 1070 rather than to hold her accountable for her actions and inaction as governor.
  • Obamacare looks unhealthy for businesses 
    • White Castle, which has offered health insurance to its employees since 1924, is considering dropping coverage entirely as one possible way of off-setting the expected financial hit. That would leave the company’s 10,000 formerly covered workers to seek health insurance on their own — most likely from the federal exchange. The feds will impose $2,000-per-person fines on companies that don’t offer coverage, and whose employees turn to federally subsidized insurance instead, but the article cites an IHOP franchise owner who expects the fines to cost roughly half what coverage costs under the new federal scheme.
  • The Immigration Problem Resolved 
    • With all the efforts being made by states and cities to address the so-called “illegal immigration” problem — including making it a crime to rent to or employ such people — I wonder why the most obvious solution has not been offered.  An Arizona statute gives the police power to stop and question those who, on the basis of skin color, might be such an “illegal.”  But this raises too much uncertainty.  Why not require every “illegal immigrant” to wear a symbol on their clothing — perhaps a yellow star would do the trick — and then the police would not have to resort to questionable “equal protection” practices.  Later on, if the “problem” continues, those wearing the required yellow stars could be rounded up, put onto trains, and transported to “relocation centers” in Utah and Nevada — all in the interest of “national security,” of course.
    • BTW, for those who get upset that people who are emigrating to California do not speak the language of resident Californians, bear in mind that the early English-speaking immigrants entered a state in which Spanish was the prevailing language and culture!
  • Falling prices prompt concern over home values 
    • Home prices in metropolitan Phoenix have been slipping during the past month, prompting concern about a double dip in the region's housing values.
    • The average price-per-square-foot of metro Phoenix home sales fell to $89.38 this week, according to Mike Orr's Cromford Report, which analyzes daily sales data from the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service and public records. Current sales prices are down about 4 percent from a month ago when the average square-foot sales price was $92.90. The low for the region's home prices during this downturn was $82.11 per square foot on April 6, 2009.
    • The housing market received a boost from the federal homebuyer tax credit. But most of those sales have now been recorded. Some housing-market analysts believe Arizona's new immigration law is impacting home sales and foreclosures in the state. But whether the impact is negative or positive isn't clear yet.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

We Are Not Free: Ending Tyranny Without Violence

This essay was first published under the title of The Political Thought of Étienne de La Boétie....

In the ferment of his law school days at Orléans, Étienne de La Boétie composed his brief but scintillating, profound and deeply radical Discourse of Voluntary Servitude (Discours de la Servitude Volontaire).[4] The Discourse was circulated in manuscript form and never published by La Boétie. One can speculate that its radical views were an important reason for the author's withholding it from publication. It achieved a considerable fame in local Périgordian intellectual circles, however....

In fact, however, La Boétie's concentration on abstract reasoning and on the universal rights of the individual might better be characterized as foreshadowing the political thinking of the eighteenth century. As J. W. Allen writes, the Discourse was an "essay on the natural liberty, equality and fraternity of man...."

The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude is lucidly and coherently structured around a single axiom, a single percipient insight into the nature not only of tyranny, but implicitly of the State apparatus itself. Many medieval writers had attacked tyranny, but La Boétie delves especially deeply into its nature, and into the nature of State rule itself. This fundamental insight was that every tyranny must necessarily be grounded upon general popular acceptance. In short, the bulk of the people themselves, for whatever reason, acquiesce in their own subjection. If this were not the case, no tyranny, indeed no governmental rule, could long endure. Hence, a government does not have to be popularly elected to enjoy general public support; for general public support is in the very nature of all governments that endure, including the most oppressive of tyrannies. The tyrant is but one person, and could scarcely command the obedience of another person, much less of an entire country, if most of the subjects did not grant their obedience by their own consent.

This, then, becomes for La Boétie the central problem of political theory: why in the world do people consent to their own enslavement? La Boétie cuts to the heart of what is, or rather should be, the central problem of political philosophy: the mystery of civil obedience. Why do people, in all times and places, obey the commands of the government, which always constitutes a small minority of the society?...

It is evident from the above passages that La Boétie is bitterly opposed to tyranny and to the public's consent to its own subjection. He makes clear also that this opposition is grounded on a theory of natural law and a natural right to liberty. In childhood, presumably because the rational faculties are not yet developed, we obey our parents; but when grown, we should follow our own reason, as free individuals. As La Boétie puts it: "If we led our lives according to the ways intended by nature and the lessons taught by her, we should be intuitively obedient to our parents; later we should adopt reason as our guide and become slaves to nobody."  Reason is our guide to the facts and laws of nature and to humanity's proper path, and each of us has "in our souls some native seed of reason, which, if nourished by good counsel and training, flowers into virtue, but which, on the other hand, if unable to resist the vices surrounding it, is stifled and blighted."  And reason, La Boétie adds, teaches us the justice of equal liberty for all. For reason shows us that nature has, among other things, granted us the common gift of voice and speech. Therefore, "there can be no further doubt that we are all naturally free," and hence it cannot be asserted that "nature has placed some of us in slavery."  Even animals, he points out, display a natural instinct to be free. But then, what in the world "has so, denatured man that he, the only creature really born to be free, lacks the memory of his original condition and the desire to return to it?"

La Boétie's celebrated and creatively original call for civil disobedience, for mass non-violent resistance as a method for the overthrow of tyranny, stems directly from the above two premises: the fact that all rule rests on the consent of the subject masses, and the great value of natural liberty. For if tyranny really rests on mass consent, then the obvious means for its overthrow is simply by mass withdrawal of that consent. The weight of tyranny would quickly and suddenly collapse under such a non-violent revolution....

The more one yields to tyrants, La Boétie points out, the stronger and mightier they become. But if the tyrants "are simply not obeyed," they become "undone and as nothing." La Boétie then exhorts the "poor, wretched, and stupid peoples" to cast off their chains by refusing to supply the tyrant any further with the instruments of their own oppression. The tyrant, indeed, has nothing more than the power that you confer upon him to destroy you. Where has he acquired enough eyes to spy upon you, if you do not provide them yourselves? How can he have so many arms to beat you with, if he does not borrow them from you? The feet that trample down your cities, where does he get them if they are not your own? How does he have any power over you except through you? How would he dare assail you if he had not cooperation from you?  

La Boétie concludes his exhortation by assuring the masses that to overthrow the tyrant they need not act, nor shed their blood. They can do so "merely by willing to be free." In short, 

"Resolve to serve no more, and you are at once freed. I do not ask that you place hands upon the tyrant to topple him over, but simply that you support him no longer; then you will behold him, like a great Colossus whose pedestal has been pulled away, fall of his own weight and break in pieces."

For while the assassination of a tyrant is simply an isolated individual act within an existing political system, mass civil disobedience, being a direct act on the part of large masses of people, is far more revolutionary in launching a transformation of the system itself. It is also more elegant and profound in theoretical terms, flowing immediately as it does from La Boétie's insight about power necessarily resting on popular consent; for then the remedy to power is simply to withdraw that consent.

The call for mass civil disobedience was picked up by one of the more radical of the later Huguenot pamphlets, La France Turquie (1575), which advocated an association of towns and provinces for the purpose of refusing to pay all taxes to the State. But it is not surprising that among the most enthusiastic advocates of mass civil disobedience have been the anarchist thinkers, who simply extend both La Boétie's analysis and his conclusion from tyrannical rule to all governmental rule whatsoever. Prominent among the anarchist advocates of non-violent resistance have been Thoreau, Tolstoy, and Benjamin R. Tucker, all of the nineteenth century, and all, unsurprisingly, associated with the non-violent, pacifist branch of anarchism. Tolstoy, indeed, in setting forth his doctrine of non-violent anarchism, used a lengthy passage from the Discourse as the focal point for the development of his argument. In addition, Gustav Landauer, the leading German anarchist of the early twentieth century, after becoming converted to a pacifist approach, made a rousing summary of La Boétie's Discourse of Voluntary Servitude the central core of his anarchist work, Die Revolution (1919). A leading Dutch pacifist-anarchist of the twentieth century, Barthelemy de Ligt, not only devoted several pages of his Conquest of Violence to discussion and praise of La Boétie's Discourse; he also translated it into Dutch in 1933.

Read the rest with foot notes here.

My thoughts:  To sum it up.  Just ignore them and they'll go away.  Of course, you need a critical amount of the population to do the ignoring, about 20% or more.  So how to we get to the point where there will be a critical mass to resist tyranny?  Education.

AZ New & Blogs 7/17/10

  • Chino school board adopts budget, increases tax rate 
    • Officials counter critics, say it's not a new tax; state delaying payments
    • My thoughts:  Yep, officials always like to tell you it's the opposite of what it really is.
  • 'Sovereign Citizens' claim freedom from Arizona, federal laws 
    • They don't like taxes and they don't like government telling them what to do.
    • But unlike Tea Party protesters, a number of Arizona residents are acting on their beliefs in an unusual way, filing paperwork to become "sovereign," trying to declare themselves U.S. Nationals rather than U.S. citizens.
  • 1.65 Million Properties Receive Foreclosure Filings in First Half of 2010 
    • [RealtyTrac released its] midyear 2010 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, which shows a total of 1,961,894 foreclosure filings — default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions — were reported on 1,654,634 U.S. properties in the first six months of 2010, a 5 percent decrease in total properties from the previous six months but an 8 percent increase in total properties from the first six months of 2009. The report also shows that 1.28 percent of all U.S. housing units (one in 78) received at least one foreclosure filing in the first half of the year.
    • Arizona registered the nation’s second highest state foreclosure rate in the first half of 2010, with 3.36 percent of its housing units (one in 30) receiving a foreclosure filing, and Florida registered the nation’s third highest state foreclosure rate, with 3.15 percent of its housing units (one in 32) receiving a foreclosure filing during the six months.
  • Mills Suspends Campaign 
    • "I entered the race for governor because the solutions being proposed to solve the state budget and economic crisis were grossly misguided. Higher taxes, unsustainable spending, and more debt will continue to depress job creation in Arizona and delay a recovery. There is no doubt in my mind that fiscal and economic issues are the most important issues facing Arizonans."
    • "SB1070 has regrettably taken the focus off of job creation and fixing the state budget. So even though the chasm between Brewer’s policies and mine is dramatic, SB1070 has politically mitigated those issues. I have therefore decided to suspend the campaign."
  • Mills drops out of governor’s race 
    • After spending $3.2 million of his own money on his campaign, Northern Arizona businessman Buz Mills bowed out of the governor’s race, leaving Jan Brewer virtually unopposed in the Republican primary.
    • My thoughts:  Wow, I don't know if we truly are free anymore.  The most likely person to win the governorship is a known liar and is not truly conservative (believes in raising taxes even though she has always says the opposite).  Ernest Hancock is right, there is no true election process.  How come we always get hard core statists as our governors?
    • “The choices before Arizona voters cannot be more clear between the advocates of bigger government, uncontrolled spending and unaccountable education policies and those of us committed to smaller government, job creation, fiscal discipline, and quality education,” Brewer said.
    • My thoughts:  Um, you're a statist Jan.
  • Obamacare Begins -- In Idaho 
    • When the Regime sets prices, this is called "applied compassion."
    • When producers organize to complain about price controls, and then freely decide not to offer their services at the artificially low price, this is called "a criminal conspiracy to fix prices."
    • This is the central claim of the "consent decree" inflicted, at gunpoint, on a group of Idaho orthopedic surgeons by the Obama Regime -- with the eager collaboration of the Idaho State Attorney General. Under the terms of that extorted agreement, it would be tantamount to a criminal offense for a doctor to complain to his peers about regulatory actions that may drive accomplished medical specialists out of business.
  • Restore Free Markets to Health Care 
    • [Eline van den Broek] comments on how the American health care system was a mess even before Obamacare are particularly important and echo many of the points made by Mike Tanner and Michael Cannon.
    • She also talks about the Norwegian country where she is from got screwed by their national health care.

We Are Not Free: Election Fraud

Ernest Hancock Interviews Bev Harris, the founder of Black Box Voting 
Hour 1 , Hour 2

Ernest and Bev talk about the way government has stolen the election ballot through electronic voting machines and by not letting people count the ballots.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

AZ New & Blogs

  • John Stossel on Drugs and the Drug War
  • Immigration, Individual Rights, and the New Deal 
    • In fact, until the 1930’s, the US was generally (though not perfectly) open to immigration, because we accepted the premise that someone who was born beyond our borders had no less right to find their fortune in this country than someone born in Boston or New York.  I won’t rehash the history of immigration nor its importance to the building of this country, because I don’t want to slip from the philosophical to the pragmatic in my arguments for immigration.
  • My Immigration Reform Plan 
    • For the first 150 years of this country’s history, our country was basically wide-open to immigration.  Sure, there were those opposed (the riots in NYC in the 19th century come to mind) but the opposition was confined mainly to xenophobes and those whose job skills were so minimal that unskilled immigrants who could not speak English were perceived as a threat.   It was only the redistributionist socialism-lite of the New Deal and later the Great Society that began to make unfettered immigration unpopular with a majority of Americans, who rightly did not wish to see the world’s poor migrate to the US seeking an indolent life of living off of government handouts.
    • This is phenomenal.  After years of being stay-at-home moms or whatever, women in America decided it was time to go to work.  This was roughly the equivalent of having 40,000,000 immigrants show up on our shores one day looking for work.  And you know what? The American economy found jobs for all of them, despite oil embargos and stagflation and wars and "outsourcing".
  • Kobach’s Defense of SB1070 
    • When our governor is saying that the majority of Arizona’s 500,000 illegal immigrants are all drug mules, that none of them are really looking for honest work, and that all they do is cause crime up to and including beheadings in the desert, I get angry to hear the same stupid arguments that many of our grandparents heard about their ethnic groups (though the beheading thing seems to lack historical precedent).  (more on the immigration non-crime wave here).
    •  The language of SB1070 has never matched the arguments supporting it.  SB1070 mainly gives the police power to be more intrusive at certain traffic stops and harass day labor centers.  What in the heck does this have anything to do with drug cartels and armed paramilitary gangs on the border?  If, as our governor says, illegal immigrants are not really looking for legitimate work, then why is most of our enforcement via employers offering legitimate work?
  • No, the Arizona travel alert isn’t just a stunt 
    • The American Civil Liberties Union is raising eyebrows with the travel alert it has issued for Arizona, even before the state’s infamous SB 1070 (PDF) goes into effect.
    • The ACLU points out that police, especially in Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Venezuela-esque Maricopa County fiefdom, “are already beginning to act on provisions of the law” and their efforts are “meant to create a hostile enough environment for Latinos and other people of color that they voluntarily leave the state.”
  • July 7, 2010: "Guest Workers Aid Border Security" featuring Stuart Anderson 
    • @7:14: What we saw in the past is that under the Pesero (sp) program, which is an agricultural labor program, we saw that what happened was the Mexican farm workers were able to come in legally to work.  And when there was increase inforcement around 1953 -'54 what we saw happen was at the same time the US government made it easier for people to come in legally under the Pesero program and while 1953 approximately 880,000 people were apprehended at the border which is kind of a proxy for illegal entry by 1959 the numbers had fallen to well under 100,000, which all told represented approximately a 90% decrease in illegal entry.  The Pesero program was later tightened up in terms of its rules and later abandoned altogether by congress by complaints from labor advocates in 1964 and we saw that that was the beginning of the great increases in illegal entry that we see up to the present day.  End @8:39
  • Cartels using children to bring drugs to the US 
    • Records kept by Customs and Border Protection show 130 minors were caught attempting to bring drugs through entry ports from Sonora into Arizona during fiscal year 2009, an 83 percent increase over the previous year.
    • My thoughts:  Prohibition doesn't work.  Where there is a demand you will get the services if people truly want it.  This article is another good argument for legalizing drugs.  Remember the government can't even keep drugs out of jails and away from children.  What makes people think they can keep our borders safe from drug dealers?
  • True News Tucson debunks the closing of parts of AZ 
    • Boldly risking certain death by decapitation at the hands of ubiquitous Mexican drug smugglers, "Real News Tucson" drives through the section of southern Arizona supposedly ceded to Mexico. Oddly enough, the only trouble they encounter comes at a Border Patrol checkpoint two dozen miles inside the border, where they are definitively told by a BP agent that the notion part of Arizona has been surrendered to Mexican control -- and are therefore inaccessible to Americans -- is "false information."
  • Addicted to the Warfare State 
    • Retired Mesa police officer Bill Richardson, who worked in counter-narcotics task forces in several Arizona counties, believes that Babeu -- like Arpaio and Arizona state senator Russell Pearce (chief sponsor of SB 1070) -- is "fanning the flames of fear, that the undocumented are the root cause of crime in Arizona. In fact, they are not."
  • Feds Challenge Arizona Immigration Law 
    • Yesterday, the Obama administration filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Arizona’s recently enacted law that is designed to curb illegal immigration. The Arizona law has not yet taken effect — that will occur on July 29.  To generate more discussion and debate, Cato will be hosting a policy forum on the legal challenge and related issues on July 21.  If the weather in DC continues to cooperate, it will feel like we are actually in Arizona.
  • Big Money Speaks 
    • While there was some evidence of statistically significant changes in one of the five goals of Maine’s and Arizona’s public financing programs, we could not directly attribute these changes to the programs, nor did we find significant changes in the remaining four goals after program implementation. Specifically, there were statistically significant decreases in one measure of electoral competition—the winner’s margin of victory—in legislative races in both states. However, GAO could not directly attribute these decreases to the programs due to other factors, such as the popularity of candidates, which affect electoral outcomes. We found no change in two other measures of competition, and there were no observed changes in voter choice—the average number of legislative candidates per district race. In Maine, decreases in average candidate spending in House races were statistically significant, but a state official said this was likely due to reductions in the amounts given to participating candidates in 2008, while average spending in Maine Senate races did not change. In Arizona, average spending has increased in the five elections under the program. There is no indication the programs decreased perceived interest group influence, although some candidates and interest group officials GAO interviewed said campaign tactics changed, such as the timing of campaign spending.
  • Additional Medicaid funding stalls in Congress putting AZ in a bind  (Subscriber)
    • Hope is fading that Congress will approve hundreds of millions of dollars that Arizona is counting on to operate its Medicaid program, and state lawmakers don’t know whether they’ll have to scrounge for cash, beg for help or drastically downsize the state-run health care system. In late May, the U.S. House of Representatives stripped $24 billion ...
    • My thoughts: More reason to stop socialism.  There's no reason that AZ should be beholden so much to the federal government.
  • The DailyShow with Jon Stewart:  Arizona's Photo Radar 
    • Olivia Munn explores the debate between Arizona's highway safety and the invasion of privacy.
  • After Words with Judge Andrew Napolitano 
    • The Libertarian commentator debates politics, history and what he considers to be the unconstitutional behavior of both the Bush and Obama administrations, with consumer advocate and four-time presidential candidate Ralph Nader.
    • My thoughts:  This is very good.  I would highly recommend watching it.
  • Is Yemen the Next Afghanistan? 
    • Just before dawn on Dec. 24, an American cruise missile soared high over the southern coast of the Arabian peninsula, arced down toward the dark mountains above the Rafadh Valley in Yemen's Shabwa province and found its mark, crashing into a small stone house on a hillside where five young men were sleeping. Half a mile away, a 27-year-old Yemeni tribesman named Ali Muhammad Ahmed was awakened by the sound. Stumbling out of bed, he quickly dressed, slung his AK-47 over his shoulder and climbed down a footpath to the valley that shelters his village, two hours from the nearest paved road. He already sensed what had happened. A week earlier, an American airstrike killed dozens of people in a neighboring province as part of an expanded campaign against Al Qaeda militants. (Although the U.S. military has acknowledged playing a role in the airstrikes, it has never publicly confirmed that it fired the missiles.)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Rep. Jeff Flake Advocates National ID

July 2, 2010: "Immigration Fact and Fiction" featuring Rep. Jeff Flake 


Caleb Brown (B):  You talked a little about the necessity to have a biometric identifier for people who are coming into this country to work.

Representative Jeff Flake (F): Yes.

B:  Legally does that not in your view invite that type of federal document for all workers in the United States.

F: I don't think so.  We have in theory a national identifier now in terms of work as it relates to work and that's a social security card.  The problem is it is simply not secure.  So we're not proposing legislation that we introduced does not propose a national ID it simply says that if you want to work then you should have a social security number that is tamper proof and biometric.  And that would certainly help substantially employers who really don't know when they are presented with a document if it is genuine or not.

End @5:03

My thoughts:  Representative Jeff Flake has been one of my favorite US representative.  It's sad to hear him playing the world game on national ID.  The social security card is a form of national ID that has become much more than it was originally was supposed to be for.  Now Flake is proposing to increase it's importance in our daily lives.

This is what happens when you have socialism, an increase in state power and the police state.  We need to get at the root of this problem and stamp out socialism in our country.

It's interesting to note that radio talk show host Ernest Hancock has been crying fowl on this issue for quite some time now.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

AZ News & Blogs 7/6/2010

  • Arizona Voters Should Decide If Secret Ballots Are Fundamental Right 
    • Arizona voters will have the opportunity in November to decide if secret ballots should be a constitutional right during public elections and the creation of labor unions, unless a union succeeds in its bid to have the proposed amendment removed as a ballot measure. 
    • In June 2009, the Legislature referred Proposition 108, also known as Save our Secret Ballot, to Arizona voters. The United Food and Commercial Workers union, which represents grocery store workers, went to court 11 months later and demanded that Prop.108 be struck down as a violation of the requirement in the Arizona Constitution that voters consider only one subject in each ballot measure.
  • State Keeps Spending at Record Levels Despite Huge Budget Shortfall 
    • Arizona is still spending at record levels despite a $2.7 billion dollar budget deficit and an 18 percent state sales tax increase to help fix it. Today marks the start of Fiscal Year 2011 and, according to a spending clock sponsored by the Goldwater Institute and the Arizona Free Enterprise Club, Arizona is on track to spend $29.3 billion this year.
    • Even though Arizona has had a budget deficit for three years, spending is still on the rise. The state spent $888 per second in FY2009 and $920 per second in FY2010. Now Arizona is spending $929 per second in FY 2011. 
    • "There goes the notion that government is doing more with less," said Steve Voeller, president of the Arizona Free Enterprise Club. "It's doing more because it has more."
  • Sheriff Joe, Sheriff Mack and Derek Sheriff: Three Views on Arizona’s New Immigration Law 
  • Building Codes and Protectionism 
    • I have written a lot about state licensing typically being more about protecting incumbents from competition than consumer protection.  This is a story in a similar vein, where plumbers worked to stop the approval of waterless urinals because they required, well, fewer plumbers to install.  In the end, there was a compromise — the plumbers would support waterless urinals in the code, BUT the code would also say that water still had to be piped to the urinals that don’t need water.  I kid you not.
  • to Hyperinflate 
    • This potential move gives the deflation versus inflation debate a new perspective. We have written in the past that we had questions about the Great Depression based on conflicting opinions of Murray Rothbard, Milton Friedman et. al. Living through the "Great Recession" has begun to clear them up. It is a little like being a lab rat; it is painful, but the experience gives you an insider's look at the scientific method. Or in this case a fiat-money economy.
Jan Brewer a Democrat or Neocon?
  • Jan Brewer Continues to Fabricate Position on Taxes 
    • As Jan Brewer continues to portray herself as a conservative, her record on tax and budget matters tells a different story. Brewer’s record on fiscal policy is one of higher taxes, more spending, and budget deficits as far as the eye can see.
    • In 2009 Brewer increased property taxes in Arizona by $250 million by vetoing the permanent repeal of a state property tax....As a member of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, Brewer repeatedly voted for higher property taxes (Arizona Republic, 2002).
  • Brewer’s Idea on Jobs? Another Government Agency 
    • Since Jan Brewer took office, Arizona’s unemployment rate has jumped from 7% to nearly 10%. Despite efforts from state lawmakers to cut taxes, Brewer simply raised them $3.25 billion.
    • Her latest idea is to create yet another government entity focusing on job creation. To kick-start the new Commerce Authority, she handed them a government check for $10 million.
  • Arizona’s Truth-Teller-in-Chief Eyes Tried-And-True Violation of Truth-In-Taxation Law to Balance Her Unbalanced Budget 
    • The state’s Joint Legislative Budget Committee official estimates say Arizona is $368 million in deficit already and we’re only a week into the fiscal year. Add to that the $400 million in federal Medicare matching dollars that was counted on that’s not coming. That’s a budget out of whack by nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars and we really haven’t gotten started on this year’s faux-balanced budget fashioned under the flinty Governor Brewer last February.
    • Oh yeah, that Brewer budget is also predicated on passage of both Prop. 301 and Prop. 302 this November. The former steals $125 million from the Growing Smarter fund for land preservation and the latter steals $325 million from the First Things First fund for “the children”. Well-funded “no” campaigns are already gearing up to defeat those measures ironically consisting of many of the same interests behind Prop. 100’s grand coalition of multi-millionaire spenders.