The death of bootstrapping

The husband became a foreman and made good wages. Or perhaps the store was in an advantageous location that experienced growth over time. Now they have options. Sell the store and use that money to start over but in a better situation. Add on to the store and expand your capacity. Move and rent out the store thus joining the class of people with investment income. In investment terms, this arrangement gave the family good upside potential with limited downside risk. There’s a reason these kind of buildings

Source: Bootstrapping — Strong Towns

Not everyone is cut out to start and run their own business, but this article points to how our society keeps those with talent but no access to capital or connections out of the entrepreneur class. Little businesses can grow into large ones, but not when avalanches of red tape and regulations sap the drive of even the most energetic.

Obstacles to boostrapping have lead to the stratification of our economy, and caused the growth of an ominously destabilizing underclass.

3 Facepalm Moments in Regulation 

More government regulatory theater.

the Ten Eyck family, which owns the farm, along with the staff devoted about 40 hours to serving the investigators, who visited three times before closing the books. …This is life on the farm — and at businesses of all sorts. With thick rule books laying out food safety procedures, compliance costs in the tens of thousands of dollars and ever-changing standards from the government…

Source: 3 Facepalm Moments in Regulation – Foundation for Economic Education – Working for a free and prosperous world

Utah legalizes sane parenting

The measure, sponsored by Utah state Sen. Lincoln Fillmore (R), exempts from the definition of child neglect various activities children can do without supervision, permitting “a child, whose basic needs are met and who is of sufficient age and maturity to avoid harm or unreasonable risk of harm, to engage in independent activities …”

Time to turn down the noise again

Facebook Noise

I’m off Facebook again. My account is not fully deleted, but despite all my attempts to make adjustments to my timeline and filter out the nonsense, it still pours through.

And while it is no surprise to me that Facebook got caught with its privacy pants down again, and that I seem to be one of the relative few who understand that Facebook was specifically created to do what it is doing to us, I’m just weary of the way Facebook seems to degrade my life. So, I gotta take another break.

I’m still available via this site and by FB Messenger.

This debate was settled 225 years ago. Enough already

Last year in Chicago over 700 people, mostly black, were murdered with guns, mostly illegal. The critical mind will appreciate the fact that the events in Vegas, no matter how horrific, are a statistical blip. Fifty-eight people died in one place because of one guy. How is that effectively different from 58 people murdered by 58 people? Dead is dead.

People freaked out about what happened in Sandy Hook. Again, an absolutely horrible thing, but the concern ignored the fact that 663 children died at the hands of their own parents in car trips in 2015. There is no more dangerous place to put your child than in your own car.

So, the argument then goes, “It’s them guns! We gotta get rid of the guns!!” Most of those making those demands are people who never handled one. Maybe never seen one outside of their local cop’s holster. You fear what you you don’t understand, correct?

I find it interesting that this lone-wolf, mass shooter thing is a fairly recent phenomenon. When we had almost no gun laws, this almost never happened. So, why is this happening? That’s what I want to know. I have my theories, and most of them have to do with the increasing pressures placed on (mostly) young males today to prove themselves and their masculinity. Given the loss of “real” jobs that pay real money, you have a lot of idle guys, increasingly frustrated with the world, more and more willing to do violent things to prove themselves. And people think a law is going to fix this?

One manifestation of this is tattoos and piercings — all of this pain inflicted on your own body for what? To impress people? That’s just ONE indication to me that we have some deep-seated sociological problems, many of which are imposed upon us by — that’s right — by bigger government and its control and laws that make men feel, rightly or wrongly, marginalized. The frustration level is off the charts out there. Most of the “progressives” just don’t get it. Just yesterday, I went to a flea market out in Trump country. The signs of it all were in full view, and there wasn’t a single Prius in the parking lot.

Finally, from a constitutional standpoint, we have a right to own guns. Period. You can blab on and on about “militia” and whatever that means, and where’s the missing comma, etc., etc. But the Constitution, as I now understand it, is a document that first tells government what it CAN do. Then the Bill of Rights tells government what it CAN’T do. It then says that it will not take away our guns. The fact that it even mentions guns in that part of the constitution as the SECOND amendment gives you a sense of their priorities, and it means without a doubt to me that the framers had no intention of ever depriving the population of their right to bear arms. Case closed.

In other words, there is no debate about guns. That was settled over 200 years ago, and living under the growing specter of a police state is probably the worst possible time to advocate for stricter gun control.

I fought the law, and guess what happened?

A cautionary tale for anyone thinking they can make a difference

A friend of of mine who follows my dealings with Jenkintown Borough recently related his own experience that spoke to the futility of civic engagement. My friend, an attorney and a one-time senior official in state government, possesses considerable political acumen. Earlier in his adult life, he and his wife also decided to get very much involved in their bucolic community just north of Boston. After months of frustration, they decided instead to just move.

Luckily for my friend, his current financial status insulates him from municipal shenanigans. My family? Not so much. Decisions made by Jenkintown Borough and Jenkintown School District affect us profoundly. We therefore have incentive to get involved and to make our positions known, but after our experiences of the past couple of years, rubber mallets to our heads would produce much the same result and take far less time.

Not here, not now, not ever

While our story began with a campaign to discuss the rationality of Jenkintown’s sidewalk ordinance, it evolved into a tale with a familiar theme; that familiarity breeds contempt. We approached the Borough not only asking for help, but we also presented an alternative plan that we thought was a well-reasoned and researched.

The Borough not only expressed no interest in discussing the matter, they took action to actually make matters worse for us. Meanwhile a council member publicly disparaged us on social media as crackpots, calling our ideas “quixotic”. We were not asking for the Borough to build a protective dome or to mow our lawn. We were asking it to reconsider an ordinance that hurt people financially and produced a substandard results. We characterized it as paying for steak and getting McNuggets.

Since this began, here’s a short list of what we experienced:

  • Neighbors falsely accusing us of trying to evade our responsibilities
  • A Borough Councilor flatly proclaiming, “This is the way we’ve always done it. This is the way everyone else does it. I see no reason to change this now.”
  • That same borough councilor trolling my Facebook page and posting a comment on our website saying, among other things, “I pity your family.”
  • A Borough Manager that conveyed false information to a judge about a decision to rescind the lien process used to pay for work the resident couldn’t afford
  • The threat of fines from the county amounting to $185 per day if we didn’t complete the work
  • Neighbors accusing us of misrepresenting ourselves in a GoFundMe campaign we launched in order to pay for the work
  • The Mayor of Jenkintown blocking me from seeing any of his Facebook posts, Trump-style, including those that conveyed official information on public forums

A right to know (what we want you to know)

And finally, in an attempt to investigate possible improprieties of that trolling councilor, I filed a Right-To-Know request for emails sent to and from his borough email address. The Borough invoked their right to a 30-day extension, which I believed meant they needed time to assemble the evidence, redacted for reasons related to privacy.

Instead, I received a letter from the Borough with an estimate for computer forensic services for the amount of $3,800 to retrieve these emails. As an IT professional myself, I knew that such services would only be required if the Borough had not just deleted those emails, but wiped them clean from the server. This made little sense, for a couple of reasons.

First, the Borough apparently employs the use of Microsoft’s Outlook cloud services to administer their email, which means that the emails never really go away. Second, I had already spoken with another Council member about this and he offered to let me see his email account anytime.

No connections, no consideration, no service

The Borough’s letter suggested that I should write the the office of our borough solicitor, Sean Kilkenny, with any questions or concerns, and of course I had questions. The Borough’s letter indicated that the estimate I received was the lowest of three they solicited, so I asked for the other two since they expected me to pay them. Also, I wondered why I should even need a forensics firm for this, as it would imply that they deleted their emails. I wrote three letters over the course of a month, and I received no reply.

Further research showed me that document archival guidelines set forth by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission determines that administrative correspondence, which includes emails, only need to be retained for “as long as administratively useful.” In other words, if Jenkintown lies to me and says that the emails didn’t exist, they have legal cover.

This is obstruction plain and simple. This means that if you have good reason to believe that your elected official is up to no good, a private citizen has no recourse and no right to see any official correspondence that might prove that fact. However, you can bet that if the FBI comes calling, those emails will magically reappear.

Our tiny little town would have you think that its size, demographics, and location would make it an almost idyllic community. Good school, easy access to transit, and a rich mix of housing types should make it the poster-town for small-town living. The dream of such a lifestyle does exist here, but it means avoiding any interaction with its government or attempting to have it address something that is not already on its agenda.

Welcome to small-town politics at its smallest.

Still flummoxed by the election?

Hillary and Bill Clinton, Joe Biden and the current Democratic Party leadership designed and built the massive system of imprisonment, essentially ended welfare, expanded our wars and pushed through NAFTA. They destroyed the lives of hundreds of thousands of poor and working-class families and are responsible for the mounds of corpses in the Middle East. Yet these liberal elites speak as if they are champions of racial and economic justice. They appear in choreographed pseudo-events to demonstrate a faux compassion. Now they have been exposed as fakes.

A lengthy but poignant read.

You can ignore, dismiss, and deride those you disagree with for only so long before they rise up and give you your comeuppance. I was always hoping for such an event, but not with Littlefinger.

Source: Chris Hedges: Donald Trump’s Greatest Allies Are the Liberal Elites – Chris Hedges – Truthdig

Eminent domain ready for its close-up

Haven’t seen this movie, but I hope it covers the fact that after all that, Pfizer never built on the property. In fact, it would later announce it was moving its headquarters out of New London altogether.

It does note that the liberal justices sided with Pfizer. So much for your property rights.

When the Supreme Court finally reached its 5-4 decision in 2005, it was the more liberal justices who sided with the corporation, while the conservatives dissented. However, as director Coutney Moorehead Balaker stated in the Q&A after the pic’s premiere, Donald Trump has extolled the ruling. Most states have reached the opposite conclusion, so the issues remain unsettled.

Source: ‘Little Pink House’ Review | Hollywood Reporter

Overplaying the Left hand

Too many libertarians hate the left more than they love liberty. One response I’ve heard to my pushing back on their take on Trump is that “well Obama/Clinton was/would have been worse!” No, actually he wasn’t and I don’t think she would have been. Yes, they might have expanded the regulatory state, but there would be no revival of torture, no wall, no registry, no trade war, no attempt to muzzle the media, etc.. Trump is a tin-pot dictator wannabe (and startingtobe), without an ounce of knowledge or respect for constitutional limits on government, who threatens the foundational institutions of the liberal order. Obama was not. Clinton is not. I confess to some schadenfreude myself as the left squirms in the aftermath of a defeat they didn’t see coming. But every time Trump opens his mouth, the fundamental threat to liberty he and his supporters embody overwhelms that.

Plain and simple, the Left overplays its hand, which should surprise no one in this volatile political climate. Right or wrong, however, they will only make Littlefinger’s supporters dig in even deeper, with no net progress on any front. Displays of destruction, pussy hats, and Elizabeth Warren’s caterwauling play very badly to people who only want a decent job and a sense that their government listens to them.

Source: Liberalism in the Balance – Bleeding Heart Libertarians

Our nation out to pasture

So much for fun on Facebook. People are losing their minds over what is really the end result of decades of abuses of power combined with the dumbing down of the populace — yes, the entire populace. While we instinctively know there is something wrong, we have separated into our own tribes, falling victim to the echo chamber. These chambers of paranoia tell us that Washington is against you and for the other guy. In fact, Washington is for itself and against anyone who stands in its way.

This is the danger of centralized power, and I’m seeing it in a very micro sense right here in my little Borough. Self-serving, “well-meaning” citizens acting on behalf of the “community”, who have no issue whatsoever taking my money and spending on what they think works best, all without giving me the benefit of an actual voice.

Most of the rest of the sheep around here are more or less content, because they think that “well, this is how it has to work,” “or more stupidly, “this is the price of a civilized society”. Meanwhile, that price goes up and the civility goes down. These sheep in my town see themselves part of the same tribe — “progressive” liberal types who chose to live here because its filled with other “progressive” liberal types, run by “progressive” liberal types. No matter that these volunteers have no friggin’ idea about what they’re doing and who are happy to listen to Council President and have her lead them by the nose. It’s all just more happy horseshit. Sorry, I ain’t buyin’ it.

You will see something similar in Conservative communities, especially those dominated by their religious leaders. People who will not think for themselves and who will not leave others alone. No thank you.

What is happening here in Jenkintown is what has happened to the country — finally. The lessons of Watergate are long lost to time it seems, but the one thing that the Morally Correct (MC) remember is that Nixon was a REPUBLICAN! (Cue the scary music)! Never mind that Nixon founded the EPA and wrote the first draft for Obamacare and signed legislation that subsidized my mother’s mortgage (while balancing the budget, I might add).

Everyone’s circling the wagons to protect themselves against everyone else, while ignoring the real enemy, which is the power that eggs them on and keeps the country divided. Littlefinger and his operatives clearly understand this, and adhere religiously to chaos theory. It’s all about ratings!

This fast-and-furious succession of crazy announcements is keeping everyone running from barricade to barricade. Meanwhile, the real damage is spreading, coursing through our veins. There will be no healing in this country. If people don’t get their heads out of their asses and take a hard look at history, we’re going to see discord for decades to come, and the rest of the world is just going to pass us by.

Friends tell me to walk out of the room when my kid has a tantrum. The world is going to do that to us.

“We have met the enemy and he is us.”