SOCS: Short

This post is for Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday. It’s Sunday as I write this, but the events I’m going to write about happened yesterday so I’m counting it. 😉 And I don’t think it’s going to be “short“, so consider it the opposite of short. 🙂

I went down to the beach  yesterday for the St Patricks Day parade. The weather was overcast with a light rain. I was late leaving home and thought I might get stuck in traffic, but because of the weather I made it in time for the judging without any trouble at all.

I got a few photos before it started raining hard and I had to run for cover. I headed to the Jetty Shack to dry off and watch the parade through the window.

I was sitting at the bar, enjoying a yummy Patty Melt (they make the best ones around) and listening to the surrounding conversations. I joined in (where maybe I shouldn’t have).

I can’t really remember how it started, but something to do with how young people don’t have any respect. It moved on to how society has encouraged people to do things that are illegal and cause harm.  Continue reading

Highway Robbery

The Institute for Justice wins another important case! Do you know who commits the worst crimes in America today? The government!

Yes, that is the truth. The government steals more each year now than ALL the criminals put together. No, I’m not making that up. It’s a fact.

In just this one case, they flat out STOLE over $53,000! Money that was destined for charity. Money they broke the ‘law’ to take (not that following their own rules has ever been a priority).

Read the story below. I hope it pisses you off as much as it does me (I doubt it will, this sort of thing REALLY pisses me off!).

Muskogee, Okla.—This afternoon, Muskogee, Oklahoma, District Attorney Orvil Loge indicated that his office was officially dropping all charges against Eh Wah, a Burmese refugee he had charged with possession of drug proceeds. He also indicated that he would drop the civil forfeiture and immediately return the money Muskogee law enforcement officials took from a group…

Source: Victory: Muskogee DA Drops Forfeiture Case Against Christian Orphanage, Church, and Band – Institute for Justice

A to Z: Politics

Today’s A to Z challenge post is: Politics. Yes, I can hear the groans already, but I hope at least a few of you will bear with me for a while.

I’m sure you know by now how passionate I am about freedom and individual liberty (check my tagline!). This leads me to also being passionate about politics.

Not because I like politicians or want to become one, or even because I’m interested in the behind the scenes action. No, not at all. The only reason I’m interested in politics is because it has insinuated itself into every little detail of our lives.

We have completely lost sight of the principles of individual liberty this country was founded on. We have forgotten what it means to be free!

Just for example, there are now hundreds of thousands of ‘laws’ on the books, most of them totally un-necessary (and unconstitutional). We started out with a fairly short and simple document. The US Constitution. That document (along with it’s amendments and the Declaration of Independence) is the basis of all law in this country. It was purposely written so that every one could understand it. It was NOT supposed to need a lawyer to interpret it!

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.- Declaration of Independence

*my emphasis with the bolding!

Somehow, those simple documents have grown into a system of ‘laws’ so overwhelmingly complex that not even the brightest lawyers can figure it out. There are so many ‘laws’  that it’s pretty much impossible for anyone to get through a day without breaking at least one!

Try reading the book 3 Felonies a Day by Harvey Silverglate (some other great books in that link too). It tells the story of how this situation came to be. How special interest groups manipulated the politicians to get benefits for themselves and the hell with everybody else. How when big benefits accrue to few, they’re justified in their hard work to pass these beneficial ‘laws’. The rest of us don’t bother to fight since it’s not really that big of a deal and it’s just so much work (if we’re even lucky enough to learn what’s going on before it’s already over). It hardly makes a difference to us, so why make the effort? This is how we wind up with millions of rules and regulations!

(Not to mention the Law of Unintended Consequences!)

I get so tired of people telling me ‘there ought to be a law’! Most likely, there already is! But even if there wasn’t, please tell me why we always need to use FORCE to solve every conceivable problem?

Do we really need a law to force kids to apply for government permission to sell lemonade in the front yard now? Do we really need a law to prevent people from collecting rainwater on their own property? Do we really need a law to prevent people from choosing their preferred method of relaxation? Do we really need a law to prevent people from gardening? Do we really need a law to prevent people from feeding the homeless?

OMG how the hell did we ever survive up til now?

All of those are (or recently were) against the law, right here in the ‘free’ country of the USA. Public interest law firm the Institute for Justice has been fighting to correct the injustice of enforcing these ridiculous ‘laws’. They’ve even managed to win a few cases. But it never ends, they just keep piling on more and more and more and more…

Do we really need all of these ‘laws’? Do we really need ANY of these ‘laws’?

Then WHY do we have them? What is preventing us from eliminating them?

It might be well hidden, but there are costs to each and every one of them! According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the cost of the regulatory burden was a staggering $1.88 TRILLION! And growing! In 2014!

That is just the cost of complying with the regulations- “in lost productivity and higher prices”. That does not take into account the other costs involved like the loss of choices, the loss of freedom, the loss of human spirit. I can’t even imagine what that would amount to in dollars. trillions? Quadrillions? Googles?Sexagintillions? Mega-multi-quadruple-googleplexes?

According to an article I read, the Federal Register was ‘only’ 2,620 pages long. By 2012 it was 78,961 pages, and since 1993 has been growing by an average of 286 pages per day! Read the article for more interesting statistics.

HOW did we get from a country where we declared “Give me Liberty or give me death!” to one with a (mostly useless) pile of rules and regulations standing taller than the Washington Monument? WHY are so very few people concerned about the insanely large government we have now and the almost total control they’re asserting over our lives? WHEN are people going to start thinking about the loss of freedom and individual liberty that’s happened just in our own lifetimes? WHAT is it going to take for people to stand up and take back their freedoms?

WHERE can lovers of liberty go if we can’t reverse this trend in America?

A to Z: License

Today’s post for the A to Z Challenge is: license.

I don’t know how many of you around the world are forced to beg permission from your governments in order to get a job, but here in the USA (supposedly a free country), there are a LOT of us! More and more every year.

People here have to get a license to be a tour guide (to tell stories), to be an interior designer (to pick out color schemes for your living room), to be a hair braider, to work on a boat (like I do), and for hundreds of other occupations.

The Institute for Justice put out a report (License to Work) documenting the licensing requirements for over 100 low and moderate income occupations. We’re talking florists, manicurists, painters, makeup artists, bartenders, landscape workers,…

In fact, about 1 in 3 occupations now require a license! Back in the 50’s only about 5% of jobs required a license (mine was still one of those-deck officers started getting licensed in 1873).

I know things were simpler back then, but did all the jobs people used to be able to do without any governmental approval become SO much more complicated that they just can’t be done safely without the government’s approval?

I wouldn’t get quite so upset if it wasn’t the government involved in all this. After all, this is supposed to be a free country. Personally, I think any job ought to be between the person doing the job and the person doing the hiring. But even with that aside, why does it have to be the government issuing these licenses? Why can’t it be a private organization? Something like the consumers union? Or even the one I have to deal with all the time- the Nautical Institute?

That way, at least we would have some options, even if not many.

I’m pretty sure there were barbers, hairdressers and manicurists back in the 50s, or even before. According to Wikipedia, the 1st barbers school in the USA opened in 1893. It was the first in the world. I’m sure it must have taken at least a few years for the barbers to convince the governments to restrict their competition and require a license to become a barber. Do you wonder how we all managed to survive for thousands of years without them?

I know my own profession started agitating to be licensed right around the same time. I’ve been told it was actually the AB’s who started the whole thing. 🙁

I can verify in my own profession that the licensing has become much more stringent and much, much harder to comply with since the 70s. When I decided to become a professional mariner in 1977, the rules were so much better for us (as mariners).

I could work my way up the hawsepipe (without spending a dime for school). If I could prove my sea time and pass the tests I was issued a license for “freight and towing’. I could work on ANY vessel, anywhere in the world. Yes, I still had to get my license renewed every 5 years (requiring a physical and a couple of simple things like RADAR recert).

I could get hired on, work on deck for a couple years and when I passed my AB test and got my AB ticket, that document was good for LIFE!

Now, things are completely different. We can’t just work our way up anymore, we have no way to avoid paying thousands of dollars for ‘training’ courses ashore. Personally, I have spent at least $50,000 (to upgrade from 2nd to chief mate). There is no way to just take a couple of simple courses to renew now either. They keep increasing the number of required classes to be re-taken and it’s adding up to some serious money. Even as an AB, I have to spend weeks ashore and thousands of dollars to renew my documents!

Even that’s not enough for them, they have also restricted our ability to work! Instead of the ‘freight and towing’ license, which allowed us to work on ANY vessel, now we have a license for ‘steam and motor’ which does NOT allow us to work on any ‘towing’ vessel (without additional time and money).

I have been a mariner since 1970, professionally since 1977. In all these years, I can say it has been harder and harder to find work, to keep working, to find a job anything like the way it was back then. When I actually loved my job so much!

In fact, I got laid off back in September and haven’t been able to find even a single job since October! There are some (towing) companies hiring (I don’t have that license so out of luck). There are some foreign companies hiring (they usually don’t hire Americans so out of luck there too). 🙁

As many others have noted, the insiders restrict entry to their profession through licensing to increase their pay, benefits and influence. In the name of ‘public safety’ they convince the government to go along with the idea. In the end, it doesn’t really work.

It’s time to re-think the issue.

Sewer Line Blues

I haven’t been able to post on here much lately since I’ve been pretty busy for the last week or so. I left home last Monday and spent 2 days traveling to the rig. I got here on Wednesday the 11th and was lucky enough to be assigned to the midnight to noon watch (so I got to go to sleep pretty soon after arrival onboard).

I was just starting to get settled in, then we had drills Sunday and unlatched the BOP on Monday. We moved right over to our next well and stabbed in later that day. We should only be on this one a couple more days and then move on to the next one. So it looks like this hitch will be pretty much like the last one. Constantly busy with setting up, maintenance, moving around, rip tides to watch out for, etc. Not much time for taking care of other business.

I got news right before I left home that the plumbers will be asking around $3000(!!!) to repair the sewer issues at one of my properties. We had been trying to find a way to do it ourselves since it mostly consists of digging a hole.

I even went to talk to the city code enforcement officer about doing the job myself. He told me I could only do the job if it was my homestead and I would have to show him proof that I lived in that house. Owning it was not enough (WHY NOT???).

Since my drivers license did not have that address on it, I was SOOL (shit out of luck)!

He would allow me to dig the hole myself, which we had hoped to be able to do. Since that was by FAR the main part of the job, that would save us a hell of a lot of money. So, for the next couple of weeks at home I was trying to help find a LICENSED plumber who would be willing to do a little moonlighting. Let us dig the hole and he could just come at the end to supervise. All he had to do was be there to connect the pipes back together.

In the end, we could not find any one like that (I guess the plumbers union must be pretty strong). They all insisted that THEY must do the ENTIRE job.

So, I will have to spend an EXTRA $2500 (and up), for licensed plumbers to dig a hole (at $100 per hour and up)!

WOW! What a friggin’ RACKET these guys have going! BS your way into getting the government to FORCE people to hire you, even for jobs they’re perfectly capable of doing themselves! WOW!!

Does anybody else have a problem with this situation?

I mean, WHY the HELL should ANYONE be able to dictate what you can do on YOUR OWN PROPERTY??????

The principle of ownership implies USE of something. If you can’t use your property, the way YOU want, then you do NOT own it! Yet, you still have to pay for it, and you have to KEEP ON paying for it. Even after you have paid the full price (many times over if you financed it).

Property taxes, they mean that you NEVER really can own a piece of property.

The way I look at it is: if you want to dictate to me what I can or can’t do on what is supposedly MY property, then YOU can PAY for it, since you get to use it for what you want and I don’t get to use it for what I BOUGHT IT FOR!

Too bad there are so many busy bodies that just can’t control themselves. Our entire society has pandered to them for much too long (they should have been laughed out of town the first time they mentioned the subject!). Now, they even imagine that they are in the right (they are NOT). But there’s no fighting them anymore.

Oh wait, there IS one group that is having some success in fighting this sickening trend. The Institute for Justice does help people fight for their property rights (among other things). They’ve been doing an excellent job and I am happy to support them as much as I can (wish I could do more- so many people need their help).

We’re all between a rock and a hard place. Either you pay rent forever so you can never escape the rat race (and put up with even MORE restrictions on what you can do in your HOME), or you buy property so you can earn some income, but yet you are more and more restricted every year.

So, the figures you based your decision to buy an investment on are devalued every year until you wind up even worse than you would have been if you never even tried.

It’s absolutely shameful what we have allowed to happen in the USA. We used to have a free country (or at least one we could say was more free than anywhere else). Now, we are SO FAR from that idea, it is ridiculous to even mention those words together any more. They are almost opposites now (America-free).

I sure hope the sewer issues are fixed by the time I get home. I sure don’t want to have to deal any more with this ‘shit’! (But I already know I have another problem to deal with at another place- and it will also be very expensive!). 🙁

Law and Order?

 

Yeah, I know I’ve been doing a lot of political posts lately. I hope it’s not getting to be too much of a downer. But one of the main reasons I started blogging was to try to get a discussion going (with me or with others) about all the things politics is doing to our nation and our world.

I’ll move on to another subject soon, I promise. 😉

This video is kind of long (16 mins). I thought John Oliver did a great job of injecting some humor into a subject that is really pretty sad. Super sad when you think about it. All those millions of people having their lives ruined, just so the powers that be can say that they are fighting the war on ‘drugs’. As this video on asset forfeiture vividly shows, it is NOT a war on drugs, it IS a war on US.

This whole asset forfeiture thing is just one way they fight their war against US. The very idea that they have the right to tell a person what they can put into their bodies (eat, drink, or otherwise consume) is a humongous fraud and a HUGE violation of the principle of individual liberty that this country was founded on.

The principle that the ONLY legitimate function of government was to PROTECT those liberties that we ALL were BORN WITH simply by the fact that we are all human beings.

How far we’ve fallen. 🙁

Fruit Tree Projects

Communities Grow Stronger with Fruit Tree Projects – Community – Utne Reader.

I think this is a great idea and hope it spreads even further. I’d like to see it ‘go viral’, spread world wide, everybody getting involved! It has already spread from Santa Cruz, California all the way to Vancouver, to Australia, and even Fiji! 🙂

I have always hated to waste anything. Especially food. Maybe it has something to do with growing up where my parents always insisted I clean my plate. They warned about the ‘starving children in Africa’. I never figured out how my clean plate would help those starving children, but had to play along anyway.

I’m still a member in good standing of the ‘Clean Plate Club’. I’m sure I’m fatter then I should be because of it. I am working towards creating less waste in my kitchen and everywhere else.

I’ve tried to grow a garden in the past, but because I spend so much time at sea, I have not had much success. I do have a lime tree that is making plenty of fruit. Way more than I could ever use. I hate to see them just rotting in the driveway, so I already told my neighbors to just take whatever they want.

I think it would be a great idea if more people could do the same sort of thing. Like the article mentions, these fruit tree projects not only provide much needed and appreciated fresh fruits, but they build community in the process. They also teach useful skills and promote sustainability. I think they are probably fun too!

I’m not sure what the heck is going on in the US lately with the local vendetta on gardening. We used to encourage everyone to grow a garden. Now, we are allowing localities to force people to tear them up?!? WTF???

I remember a few years ago, my town forced my neighbors across the street to tear out the garden they had in their back yard. Supposedly it was illegal! Illegal to grow a garden? Behind a fence? On your OWN land???? In America, the land of the FREE??? I would have sued the SH*T out of them for a HUGE violation of my property rights!

If you want to tell me what I can do with MY land, then YOU can pay the mortgage and the taxes and every other expense. Then, and ONLY then, will it be your land. That’s when YOU get to decide what to do with it. After all, ownership implies being able to USE the thing you own. If you can’t use it, then you don’t really own it.

Apparently, this abuse of local tyrants citing ‘loss of property values’ as some kind of holy grail is spreading like wildfire around the nation. Here’s a link to an article from just the other day…http://www.care2.com/causes/why-are-cities-attacking-home-gardeners.html.

I really hope enough people are outraged by this kind of thing and will get out and raise holy hell with their city councils and homeowners associations and put a stop to this kind of thing.

Help out by signing the petition, Miami Shores: Let Couple Keep Their Vegetable Garden! – The Petition Site, watch the video and give a hand to the Institute for Justices’ Food Freedom Initiative (www.ij.org/foodfreedom) which is trying to help the couple involved in this latest outrage and by extension all the rest of us. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=avHrPbONTzE

Property values are NOT the be all and end all of the value of a neighborhood. In fact, they are probably far down the list for many people. Friendliness and community spirit are probably up there pretty high. I know they are for me. 🙂