Archives for category: Government

Ever heard that water is an incompressible fluid? Well, that is an approximation, and it is reasonable in freshman physics classes.

However, water compresses plenty. All matter will compress. An increase in pressure on the matter will compress it. This compression is work. This work is lost (used up) and unavailable for other purposes. The work typically heats the material, increasing its temperature.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had many arguments about this bit of oversimplification throughout my years. It is one of those situations where a little knowledge (an inadequate amount of knowledge) is dangerous. Fortunately, it is only the kind of danger that is annoying, not destructive.

My point is when we consider a hydraulic system, we generalize and simplify, and we say that a force acting on the water or hydraulic fluid within an enclosed system will act on all surfaces equally. Yes, kinda. Nature will not let you get away with the approximation.

Applying 1 pound-force on 10 in2 allows us to calculate 10 pound-force on a 1-in2 ram, but not all the 10 pounds-force is actually there on the ram. Some of it was lost in work compressing the fluid, and some more was lost in friction acting on the liquid moving through the ram channel to push against the 1-in2 ram.

Accountants make up all kinds of formulas and rules. Each has its purpose and use, and some are limited and not usable in all situations. No amount of accounting can eliminate cost incurred. Obfuscating it somewhere other than final price is sleight of hand.

When a petroleum company incurs cost, such as gross production or severance tax, and every other tax they incur, the petroleum company must account the cost, and somewhere, they must pay it. Revenues must be higher than costs, or the company goes bankrupt (and all the employees become unemployed). Sooner or later, in all circumstances, increasing costs, even gross production taxes, increase the price the petroleum company must charge in sales or fees.

Refiners will pay more. In turn, they must cover the costs with revenues, and the end result is a rise in the price every poor sod pays to fill his vehicle so he can get to work and feed his family. If fuel costs increase, and his paycheck doesn’t, he will have less with which to feed his family.

Real life, be it accounting or physics, never lets us get away with anything. Everything has its costs. To do anything, one must expend time and energy. For anything to happen, time and energy are used up. (That is the purpose of the universe, to use up all time and all enthalpy.)

We all know these things when we pay attention. Pay attention. One can never be so poor as to be unable to pay attention.

In physics, if work is done, it is used up. We have to get energy from somewhere again to do more (or just to do it again). The same goes for money and costs. If we had to pay it, it is gone. We have to get money from somewhere else, or we fail. In the world we live in, you and I, the end consumers, pay that extra money. It doesn’t come from anywhere but us (in general, the business owner, even an oil baron, is one of us; not so the government; they don’t make money; they only take it). Everywhere (like a bank or the government) that has money got it from us. We paid. To the bank, we hope we get more (in interest or intangibles) than we put on deposit. With the government, we can only hope they don’t waste it all, and we live in fear they will only keep coming for more.

Advertisements

I often disagree with specific points he makes, but I can never dismiss Mr. Kummer.

The FRED data indicates Kummer is on the right track, but the data hardly support his specifics.

First, we need more data and more thorough data. We also need to account for the effect of taxes. For practical purposes, taxes on the companies are simply taxes passed to the consumer, the laborer. (Government involvement distorts everything in many ways, which are often unnoticed. Taxes are direct government involvement and distortion. Even when problems get fixed, the government can change the rules or the taxes and foul it all up again.)

What Kummer presents is only a starting point. I will be rethinking my stance on private unions, but I’ve never been against private unions; I think they are too powerful, but that would seem a bad assumption. I do think they are more corrupt than can be useful. Unions have not held themselves and their leadership accountable.

I can’t change my stance on public unions. Public unions are inherently immoral. Public unions are against freedom. Public unions are inherently coercive. Coercion is evil. Public unions are wrong and should not be tolerated in a free society. For instance, government-school unions hold children as hostages, which is coercive and violent against parents and other taxpayers. One cannot justify such actions. One cannot justify such organizations.

As to the middle class, I’m not sure that is a valid notion. Still, much of the information in the article (and linked) is useful and can be used to build for a better future.

Group mentality, which too often degenerates into mob mentality, is a root problem. There is strength and there is safety in numbers, but the individual is the only group that matters in the long run. When we scapegoat and resort to coercion and violence, we are retreating from what is right and good. We must acknowledge each other as individuals and each with separate and worthy aims. Somehow we have to charitably work together to maximize the freedom and wellbeing of all.

Pointing out problems is easy. Finding solutions is hard. Avoiding coercion and violence is even harder. We must work together in ways that do not promote coercion and violence.

Source: What unions did for America. We should miss them. – Fabius Maximus website

(WordPress apparently no longer allows me to add categories. I get to chose from the ones I already have.)

All my life, as well as I can remember, supposed experts have been saying our deficit spending is going to bankrupt the country. Sooner or later that has to happen. If we don’t stop borrowing, eventually we will get past a point of no return. Will it be another 50 years? Longer? Shorter? The warnings I recall from the 70s were no less dire than today, with this article as an example. There is more data now; it looks bad. There is more inflation now, but for some reason, it doesn’t look bad. There are more growth and global trade now, and it is hard to tell how much that matters. Regardless, we are overspending and over-borrowing. Sooner or later, the bills come due. If we don’t reduce spending soon, the day of reckoning will be grim indeed.

Yes, I was paying attention 50 years ago. It is why it is hard to get excited about the latest alarm. I’ve heard it all before, and nobody else seems to remember. My cynicism has been acquired honestly, and its payment was (and is) extracted painfully.

Every step of the way, the role of government at all levels has increased. Every step has been made harder by that government involvement.

We need less government in every way.

The video at the end of the article is worth watching, in my opinion.

Source: The US Is Burying Young People and the Unborn Under a Mountain of Government Debt – Foundation for Economic Education

My State Congressional Representative, Andy Fugate https://www.andyfugate.com/about, shared a Tulsa newspaper editorial about our state having the happy condition of a revenue excess in closing out the books for the year. The funds go into the rainy day emergency fund.

The Tulsa paper thought it necessary to deride our “red” legislature and governor, so I decided not to link it. Negativity is to be avoided, and your favored search engine will make it easy to find if you wish, but I’m also irked by their use of intrusive ads and their refusal to allow reading with the ad-blocking software enabled.

Governor Stitt asserted he wants the rainy day fund to stand at more than twice its current level. The Tulsa editors thought it proper to deride the amount and pretend if a little more is good, why not a lot more? Hardly a helpful observation.

There was a ballot initiative recently voted down that was designed to set aside a small percentage of the budget for a few years, allowing the set-aside to accumulate, and with fiscally-conservative investment, the amount would grow beyond the amounts set aside. It would be like an endowment or retirement account, with the notion the State could eventually “retire” at least some of the taxes. Wouldn’t that be nice? Of course, naysayers decried it, and it failed to pass.

I’m not sure why. It was likely to require 20 to 25 years to become a significant portion of the state government’s revenue, and after that long, tax reductions would be easy conversations. Alarmism and emotional appeals would be hard to make, and fiscal considerations could be made on merit. The taxes might not then go down because the majority might prefer the extra services, but at least the argument would be on merit, not fear. In the meantime, it would have mattered almost nothing. The set-aside was small, and with a year like this one, we’d have looked rather sagacious. Oh well. Maybe it will come up again. Maybe we will be wiser next time. For now, we have editors whining we are not taxed enough.

I’m not a fan of a significant rainy day fund. We need very little sustained surplus for unforeseen shortfalls. We could, however, use excess funds to set up self-sustainment for programs.

Given the nature of politics and other factors influencing state government spending and desires for programs, just having a large endowment for funding the government would just lead to more spending and more waste (and more intrusion into everyday lives of Oklahomans).

I suspect we could set up endowments for programs, though. We could structure the investment restrictions and funding and spending requirements to incentivize the program directors to wisely and frugally run the endowments to the best advantage of their program.

Considering Oklahoma’s highways and toll roads could be instructive. It is a system that has its drawbacks, and plenty of detractors, but overall, the system is relatively efficient, and the toll revenues relieve some burden from the budgets. The tolls are not set up as an endowment but as a supplement to the highways moneys. It isn’t a strong analogy, but we can look at it and how other such things work (and failures, too), and we could lower the tax burden on our children and grandchildren without depriving them of important government services.

In general, I want less government. A set of invested endowments probably would increase government more than I’d like. Government is part of the problem, but taxes are most of the problem. Taxation is theft, and one simply doesn’t get sustainable good moral results from inherently immoral acts like forcing people to relinquish honestly earned income for services they generally don’t want and seldom use.

I’m willing to risk a bit more government if it comes with less taxes.

Regarding wanting a hefty state budget reserve, I must point out that Governor Stitt ran a rather successful business. I think it unwise to dismiss his financial advice. I’m not inclined to accept it this time, but I’ll give reasons for that, not derision.

Source: The Founders Were Flawed. The Nation Is Imperfect. The Constitution Is Still a ‘Glorious Liberty Document.’ – Reason.com

The article denounces the New York Times for their efforts at revisionist history.

I said some relevant things here:

https://gottadobetterthanthis.wordpress.com/2018/02/06/most-important/

I also added that Christianity essentially stamped out slavery for a few centuries, here: https://gottadobetterthanthis.wordpress.com/2016/07/16/summer-reading-6/

The United States of America has plenty of both shame and accolade. CS Lewis said it to children like this:

“You come of the Lord Adam and the Lady Eve,” said Aslan. “And that is both honour enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor on earth. Be content.”

― C.S. Lewis, Prince Caspian

We owe it to ourselves and our posterity to never rest. There is always more.

Sometimes it’s good to look back down
We’ve come so far – we’ve gained such ground
But joy is not in where we’ve been
Joy is who’s waiting at the end

My local state representative, Andy, shared an article by John, a former teacher turned legislator (by statute, not choice, a statute I’m not sure I support). Andy and John are in the minority party in Oklahoma. I seldom agree with the minority party, but I find myself supporting them almost as often as the majority party. I’m registered independent. I can’t even aline with the Libertarian Party. I think I’m about as Libertarian as anyone might be, but I can’t get into the Party aspects of it and some of the policies.

Anyway, in the article that John wrote, he said, “As teachers, we need to realize that teaching is a political act. It affects everyone, and therefore we need to advocate for good policies that invest public resources wisely in the common good.”

I absolutely oppose such a course of action. It is abuse of power. It is abuse of children. Teaching is not a political act, at least not by honest people who only care about children learning and gaining mastery of tools to meet the challenges of life.

I replied with several comments on Andy’s Facebook page. I’m listing some.

Andy, it truly saddens me that you and Mr. Waldron advocate politicizing our government run classrooms. He decries partisan politics but advocates for indoctrinating our children in the policies of the Democratic Party. How do either of you justify that?

Andy promptly replied that he does not advocate that, but he didn’t explain why he shared the article. Perhaps I’ll ask specifically.

I also commented:

“As teachers, we need to realize that teaching is a political act. It affects everyone, and therefore we need to advocate for good policies that invest public resources wisely in the common good.” There are no public resources. The only money government has was taken under threat of force from supposedly free individuals who earned their wages by the honest sweat of their own brows.

Why are my policies bad and yours good?

John replied:

I really don’t know where to begin. You apparently believe there should be no taxes for schools, or I suppose roads, national security or public health. I don’t think we can bridge that gap over facebook. Perhaps you would like to meet face to face? I promise to read up on Bastiat to prepare for our discussion.

His reference to Bastiat might stem from the fact I’ve posted a few items about Bastiat recently, and I invited Andy and my local senator, Rob, to comment. So, a couple of my Facebook shares about Bastiat showed on Andy’s page just below Andy’s shared article.

I replied to John that he assumes too much.

I appreciate Andy’s comment:

I absolutely do *not* advocate for politicizing classrooms. Teachers should teach students how to think for themselves — not *what* to think.

Not all parents are like you. There are tens of thousands of kids in this state who don’t even live with their parents. They are institutionalized, shuffled in foster care, living with distant relatives, etc. 

What of them?

To which I replied:

Them, I won’t forget. I do not advocate for no government school, just no government coercion. I want less government because I see the net result of more government as causing more harm than good. Less government might find us a sweet spot where we seldom complain of it, or the other political party. Less is often more.

I don’t believe government schools will be driven out by school choice. I don’t like vouchers, and Epic is a rotten taste in my mouth at the moment. I’ve never supported the schemes and plans for choice. The plans all seem to have too many flaws. Government money invariably leads to waste, fraud, and abuse, and giving government money to private parties has the most likelihood of graft and selfish ambition ensuring waste, fraud, and abuse, and good intentions too often have bad side effects.

End truancy laws, and let parents be in charge of their own children with full responsibility. Most parents will step up. It is government as fallback that is the root of most of the deficiencies that lead to so many parents being in tough circumstances. It isn’t a perfect world. Life really is suffering, and government cannot fix that. Democratic Party policies cannot fix it. GOP policies cannot fix it. Advocacy groups of whatever stripe cannot fix it. Only personal responsibility can fix it. Be the change you want to see in the world. DON’T write a law pretending the State can fix it. Don’t assume sending the guys with guns will set all to rights.

How long will we keep screaming that more money will fix the schools or the police? It doesn’t work. It cannot work. It isn’t a matter of policy. It is a matter of misplaced responsibility and accountability. The State is not accountable. The State cannot be held accountable. The State can only be limited. When the power of the State is too limited for power-seekers to abuse it, government will stop being abusive. Then out-of-balance party politics won’t be so corrupting. Government is the problem, not balance. We have to have some authority, but we have gone much too far, especially in government enforcement of schooling.

If government schooling is so good, why can’t it be given the chance to fend for itself? I believe enough people will demand it for it to continue. I think there is ample justification for our current system until we have something clearly better. (I don’t see anything clearly better taking over in our lifetimes.) I don’t want rid of government-funded public schools. I want rid of coercive laws that make mothers feel powerless to fight for their children. I want Momma to be able to stand up for her child for herself, not dependent upon support from government and teachers’ unions.

Do you not understand that parents with children who have problems in the schools feel powerless? It is not because of lack of programs. It is because the parents have no alternatives. That is the fault of truancy laws and current government policies, policies mostly advocated by both major parties. (I again emphasize it is NOT a party problem.)

Literacy rates [in North America] were highest before government schools and truancy laws. Government schools have not helped. How many copies of Common Sense sold? How many were pirated and copied by anyone with the wherewithal? It seems to me too many had (and have) motive to exaggerate the numbers, but the pamphlet was not light reading, and it was widely read, and widely read aloud. There is no doubt the written word and civic responsibility were strong in our land long before any of our modern conventions. “Knowledge is power.” What parent doesn’t know that? What parent conscientiously deprives offspring of any and all tools that might equip them for the trials of life?

The point isn’t schooling. The point isn’t even education. The point is learning and mastering tools for living meaningful lives. The goal of every parent is helping children achieve their potential, or at least to do better. Each generation wants the next generation to do better. Our government-enforced schools are thwarting that now. Our government at all levels works at cross purposes to all that free citizens try to accomplish, and it applies to citizens of all ages.

We err when we consider children as less than citizens. Every individual at every stage of life is self-sovereign. We are all partners. Yes, children are childish, and we parents have extra responsibilities, but it is a partnership. It is not a dictatorship where the parent rules. It is a gradual turning over of responsibility to the child at each stage of maturity.

Obviously, I’ve grown too verbose. I hope there is something in this that gives you a bit of insight into my perspective.

I support school choice, but I haven’t found any programs or laws for choice that I can back. Such programs still depend on government authority and threat of force no matter how it is set up. I want freedom of choice, not programs for choice. Children learn if we let them. A gentle guiding hand can accomplish wonders in a child’s own learning.

Constitutionally outlaw truancy laws.

I added:

The key challenge to choice is leaving the choice to the individual. When an authority dictates, or simply endorses, the authority is responsible. No bureaucrat can satisfactorily be held accountable under all but the most extreme situations of criminality. We have the wherewithal now in our digital age to hold everyone individually accountable by reputation. The systems are immature and flawed, but I doubt most individual-based review systems are more error-prone than our bureaucracies.

Leave choices to the individuals. Don’t rule by law. Law is power. Power corrupts. There are no exceptions. Knowledge is the only power I’m eager to leave unfettered.

Andy and John haven’t had time to reply more.

John’s article listed significant credentials for him. I suggest John Taylor Gatto had more credentials and a more fascinating story.

https://www.johntaylorgatto.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Taylor_Gatto

https://fee.org/articles/john-taylor-gatto-1935-2018-remembering-americas-most-courageous-teacher/

https://www.naturalchild.org/articles/guest/john_gatto.html

For those who hold to authoritarian views and formal organization and lesson planning by “experts” I suggest looking into the work of Sugata Mitra.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugata_Mitra

http://www.hole-in-the-wall.com/

His TED talks are easy to find, and here is a recent article:

https://universe.byu.edu/2019/03/26/physicist-encourages-change-in-the-use-of-technology-in-education/

Personally, I advocate for homeschooling without rigid standards. Reading aloud to a child from the earliest age, and routinely, is the most effective thing we can do for children. There really aren’t any hard and fast rules for what a person needs to know now. We need to know how to read, but living the example as adults is far better than a schoolroom. There isn’t much else we need to know to get along in the world because of the ease of use of technology.

Decry tech and screens all you want, but that is our world now. We are not going back. I have access to anything I want to study, anything. A screen and internet access extends my reach to anything I might need. Children will learn all they need if we just guide a little and let them learn. They will learn to love the classics because that is why they are classics, because we love them. The same goes for anything they need. They will want it, and if we don’t hinder them, they will learn it. They will master the tools they need to reach their potential and to be assets to partners, families, communities, and society at large.

For further reading, go to FEE.org , and I especially recommend Kerry McDonald, https://fee.org/people/kerry-mcdonald/

In case you didn’t know, here is a good explanation of why the pharmaceutical companies aren’t the cause of drug problems and are the cause of the runaway costs and prices. You should know the problem is our government. Yes, the unelected officials are the direct cause, the ones we might consider holding accountable, but we can’t. The only possibility we have of holding anyone accountable is our elected officials, including attornies general. We elected them, and we haven’t done squat since. We let our legislators create unaccountable power structures that can’t help but become corrupt and spread their corruption.

Why are we letting Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter grandstand so? What we are doing is funding his run for Governor (or Senator).

The trial is harmful, and no good will come of any of it.

Finally, insulin is expensive because your lawmakers thought that is what you wanted. More regulation, more “safety”, more third-party meddling. Like it or not, it is what you made them believe you wanted.

Source: A Government Guide to Keeping Insulin Unaffordable – Foundation for Economic Education

It was reported that our current Congressional clown is advocating for pay raises for herself and fellow congress-critters. The assertion is it would reduce the tendency to corruption and bribes. Of course, the obvious reason is she wants more money for herself.

Regardless of her motive, the assertion that increasing the salaries of public officials will counter corruption is like saying Lori Loughlin wouldn’t have committed fraud and bribed officials if she’d been a little more rich and famous. (I mean, her 19-yo daughter’s net worth is only estimated at $400k; it’s not like she’s a millionaire or anything. /sarc)

Power corrupts. Money can sometimes provide power, especially for those who are already powerful.

It struck me that the author of the article I happened upon uncritically claimed “studies show” higher salaries reduce corruption. The notion is absurd on its face. We all have firsthand experience of money worsening bad people. Corruption is innate. Empowering further cannot have results that are good.

Here is the result of a moment of research: http://cega.berkeley.edu/assets/miscellaneous_files/118_-_Opoku-Agyemang_Ghana_Police_Corruption_paper_revised_v3.pdf

It concludes increase the salaries of the police increased their level of graft. Power corrupts.

Given my revulsion by the idea, I trust you will forgive that my research was limited. I googled “raising politicians salary reduces corruption” and found only negatives. Higher salaries do not reduce corruption.

I live in Oklahoma House District 94.

Our district is fully within Oklahoma County, and Del City is one-third, with Oklahoma City encompassing the remainder. Most of us consider ourselves Mid-Del, I suppose, though folks south of I-240 might think of themselves more as a part of Moore.

Anyway, there are about 37,000 of us in the district in general. That, of course, includes children and others not eligible to vote, but 19,238 of us were registered as of 01 November 2018 (for the general midterm election). Thus, 52% of residents (whom the Congresscritter is to represent), can vote.

I’m guessing, since my half-hearted effort to look it up revealed nothing; if there are 10,000 residents under 18, then our registered percentage is roughly 72%. Seems decent, but I’m not looking up anything to make a comparison.

8,634 D; 6,707 R; 108 L; 3,789 I (registered voters in our district)
44.88%; 34.86%; 0.56%; 19.70% (percentage of registered voters)

It is sad that so many want to identify with the overtly self-serving major parties. It is sad that so few are willing to identify with the party that stands for the liberty of the people and restrictions on the government. It is not surprising many Okies identify as independent. Most of us are, but politics is politics. Tribalism is instinctive, but we rational and educated adults should be able to do better.

ABSENTEE MAIL EARLY VOTING ELECTION DAY TOTAL
JASON SANSONE (REP) 279 118 3458 3855 39.61%
ANDY FUGATE (DEM) 488 317 5072 5877 60.39%
Total 767 435 8530 9732

The table above is cut-paste from the State Election Board’s official results. Roughly 43% of the district registered voters he represents voted for Andy. Less than a third (31%) of all residents he represents voted for him. I suspect most of the Republicans, Libertarians, and Independents, and some minority of Democrats feel unrepresented (at least at the gut level). That is our system. I do hope it helps Andy keep perspective and a sense of humility.

I’ve friended Andy on Facebook. I have higher hopes for him than our prior representative. We shall see. Still, I honestly suspect that even if Andy treats nearly all his representees with respect and reasonable attention, he is still going to be voicing positions that most of us do not agree with, at least on most subjects. (The situation is similar or reversed in most districts.) Again, that is our system.

How does this situation qualify as a representative democracy?

Our system is broken. It isn’t working. Leaving our system as-is proves we are lobotomized sheep, willing to be fleeced by the political bosses.

By the way, I’d register Libertarian, but I just can’t accept the party system in general. I cannot condone the party system by registering in one of the parties. Thus, I have my registration as an independent.

That causes restrictions for votes. The party system restricts voters in primaries and other “party” elections. Not being an active member in good standing of one of the parties results in one being shut out from most of the political process. Again, a broken part of our system. It is broken and unjustifiable. It needs to be fixed.

The parties get to set their own voting rules for the “party” elections, and they change often. Generally, they won’t let voters registered with a different party to vote on their ballot, but sometimes they allow those registered as independents.

Ideally, our representatives study the legislative issues that arise in the legislature, and, hopefully, they consider our suggestions, weigh alternatives and arguments for and against, and they raise these issues in the legislature for us. Ideally, they spend most of their time improving existing laws, repealing bad laws, and improving the liberty of the citizenry while reining in and restricting the long arm of the law to infringe on the liberty of the citizenry.

Party politics and rules encumber the process and restrict our representatives, especially when in the minority party, but the idea is they take our input, add in all they can learn, and make the best decision they are capable of. If Andy does that, I’ll be satisfied. I’ll feel I’m represented.

Party politics stand in the way, especially for aspiring pols. Scott Inman is a good example. I supported his opponent each of the seven elections he ran for. (Eight if you count his abortive run for OK Governor.) Despite opposing him, I found him to be a great guy, and I liked him. There was even an off-year when I got so annoyed at the OKGOP that I told Scott I was going to support him. Apparently, I had bad timing. That is when Scott stopped listening to me. He became a grandstander, continuously beating the drum for the Democratic Party, continuously denigrating, deriding, and accusing all who weren’t in line with his stances (which seemed fully aligned with DNC policy). Scott went so far as to unfriend me, and block me, on Facebook, deleting many of my comments on his page. (I am (and was) a legal and voting resident of his district. I had known him (as a politician) since 2003, actively (generally cordially) engaging him often.)

It didn’t take me long to realize Scott was first a politician. It truly disappointed me as he more and more routinely threw his constituents under the bus in order to advance his standing in Democratic Party politics. He had his sights set on the highest ranks of Democratic politics and office. His whole strategy of campaigning his last four years in office (and make no mistake, it was a 24/7 campaign from just after the 2014 elections) were aimed at the Oklahoma Governorship, followed by a jump to national politics in the course of time.

Perhaps my opinion is colored by his treatment of me and so much of what I try to stand for. Regardless, I see him as a quintessential example of what is wrong with US politics and what our representative democracy has degenerated to. Scott seemed to represent the district honestly his first four years. He grew more vocal and more confrontational as he became more prominent in the Democratic Party, both in Oklahoma and nationally. He proved to be corrupted by his power. He ruined his life and family because of it. He failed to represent his professed Catholic faith. He did not represent the people of District 94 in any reasonable and honest way his last four years in office, especially for those who are not staunchly aligned with the DNC.

Following up, on 06 November, shortly after the polls closed, I walked over to our precinct to review the vote-tally that is always posted in the window by the door. Two fellows were eagerly helping the pole official complete the task. (I mean that complementarily; they were being appropriately helpful.) They quickly took a couple of notes and snapped a couple of photos, and they were hurrying on (obviously collecting information for a campaign or party). And, I recognized the voice of Scott Inman. As he hurried off, I queried. His associate heard me and responded in the affirmative. That caught Scott’s attention, and he waved and shouted, “Good to see you,” as he hurried to their vehicle. I asked how life was going, and he replied, “Quite well, thank you, but we must hurry to the next precinct.” Fair enough, but no, his life isn’t going well at all by any standard I hold. Oh well. Not my business. Not my call. Regardless, it shocked me that I would see him in our district. After his fall from grace, Scott reportedly moved to Tulsa as a banking executive. (Tulsa World) I still cannot fathom why he was collecting poll results in his old district so far from Tulsa. I assume his disgrace has been forgotten by the Democratic Party. I won’t be surprised if I start seeing his name in the news again.

I’ve waxed too verbose. I’ve vented, but I mean it. I’ll never succeed in politics if I unwisely decide to try, because I’m too open, too transparent. I have no intention of changing that. I’m getting better at keeping my mouth shut (face to face), but when asked, I’m going to be as clear, and honest, and open as I can be.

Here is looking forward to representation by someone more focused on representing us than on headlines and securing votes for higher office. Andy Fugate, we are counting on you.

 

State Totals 781,091 D; 1,003,182 R; 8,675 L; 327,895 I; Total 2,120,843
Oklahoma’s 2017 estimated populate was 3,930,864. (Approximately 54% of residents are registered to vote.)

 

I appreciate all who have signed a blank check and served our USA.

It is significant that World War I is now a full century in the past, but the War to End All Wars did nothing to accomplish such an ideal.

We can help today if we, as a nation, refocus our international goals and make the top priority of the Federal Government to provide for the common defense, with strong emphasis on defense.

Our defense budget is overly stingy given the objectives our foreign policy sets. It would be lavish and gluttonous if the national focus was on keeping our own homeland safe and adequately defended.

War is hell.

We, the USA, are doing too much to add to the hell on earth.

May we honor our veterans and current servicemembers by refocusing and bringing most of them home. May we stop contributing so much to the unrest and bloodshed of the world.

 

The New York Times restricts readership, but if you visit them infrequently, you should be able to read this entire article:

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/11/09/opinion/expanded-house-representatives-size.html

The article is even and well-reasoned. It is the kind of useful journalism the Times used to be known for. Perhaps they can still do it when they block The Donald from their minds.

We simply must increase the House of Representatives. It is a major factor in our current political unbalance and unrest. People know they are not represented, yet they are taxed more and more. It is hard to shake the adversity of it. It is, after all, what separated us from British rule.

I’m generally opposed to anything that increases government, and I may regret it, but this seems too essential. The pros outweigh the cons substantially. We must increase the number of seats in Congress substantially. I honestly don’t think the proposed increase here is enough. Perhaps going back to the Constitution and per-30,000 is too many, but I believe changing the rules to do most of the Representative’s work from their respective home districts, and coordinating everything on openly viewable social-media-like electronic-media, it can work well, and openly, and with solid representation for the people of these United States.

It is doable. It is workable. It may take a few election cycles to iron out the kinks, but with so much more accountability, I bet it gets done. I bet it will work well and solve many of the political problems within a decade of implementation.

The first step is to increase the number of Representatives. It is an essential step in trying to balance the many diverse concerns and interests of We-the-People. Let’s all push to increase the size of the US House of Representatives. Write your Congresscritter and Senators. Start talking about it when political and governmental subjects come up.

Shouting louder and instigating violence is certainly not helping. This suggested change is positive and doable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My comments:
793 seems an easy yes. Your current doctor will keep the same office. This will allow normal competition and eliminate the state-imposed restrictions that keep costs high and horn out the little guys.
794 seems good, but it will increase costs for law enforcement.
798 seems silly and irrelevant either way.
800 sets up a retirement fund for the state. That is, we start putting in a little now, and that amount increases a little each year as we go. After five years, some of the gains from investment are used to fund regular state budget. After 3 or 4 decades, there will be enough money in there, and enough gains, to start paying for most everything the state does, and hopefully, that will reduce taxes. The notion of making it constitutional is intended to make it hard for short-sighted lawmakers to screw it up. Of course, no guarantees. The question is, do we want to set up a retirement-type fund for our state government (to fund the government, not retirement)? I say we should try.
801, well, it won’t help much, but probably a little. It gives more local control and less government control. That is a general positive.
• State Question 793 – a citizen-initiated referendum to allow optometrists and opticians to operate in retail establishments;
• State Question 794 – expanding the constitutional rights of crime victims, known as ‘Marcy’s Law’;
• State Question 798 – providing for the election of Governor and Lieutenant Governor on a joint ticket starting in 2026;
• State Question 800 – creating a new budget reserve fund, the Oklahoma Vision Fund, to receive a portion of gross production tax revenues;
• State Question 801 – allowing local building fund revenues to be used for school operations.
 
Learn more about each state question with our fact sheets, which include a brief summary of the state question, background information, what supporters and opponents are saying, the full ballot language, and links to other resources. Find links to all five fact sheets on our #OKvotes page: http://www.okpolicy.org/OKvotes
https://okpolicy.org/state-question-798-governor-and-lieutenant-governor-joint-ticket/
https://okpolicy.org/state-question-800-new-reserve-fund-for-oil-and-gas-revenue/
I don’t understand calling this a “reserve” fund. It will be a state-owned asset for the state budget. It isn’t reserved. It will be five years before it pays back anything to the state budget, and it will probably be at least 30 years before it puts substantial money into the state budget, but the idea is that it will be a self-sustaining asset for the state budget. It is like a retirement account, an investment account. Save a little today so tomorrow eventually becomes more well funded. The notion is to reduce taxes eventually, especially considering we may stop using oil and gas in a few decades. Without them, the state will have MUCH less tax base. This “Vision Fund” will hedge against such possibilities, and will probably be able to lower the state tax burden in coming decades.
https://okpolicy.org/state-question-801-allow-building-fund-revenue-for-school-operations/
If you want to help the schools, make a state question that constitutionally bans truancy laws and any other attempts to coerce people into schools. Let freedom prove education can be done better.

“Perryman Comments on Wind Catcher Project Cancellation”

State Rep. David Perryman issued an official statement from the State House regarding the cancelation of the Wind Catcher project. Typical of politicians nowadays, he disparaged and cast blame. I’m not sure why the most important industry in Oklahoma was the target, but maybe it is good for votes in his district (but I doubt it). How does casting blame and disparagement make the world a better place?

Oklahoma dodged a bullet, and we should be appreciative to Texas for taking the brunt of the blame.

Big money investors, including Warren Buffett’s folks, were backing Wind Catcher. Their spiel was that the $4.5 billion would be rewarded over the next 25 years with net savings to the whole project (of which Oklahoma only had about a fifth) would amount to $7 billion. Of course, Oklahoma bears all the property value costs, none of which would ever be recovered. If it was so good, why did they need ratepayers to foot the bill so early?

I think politicians mourning the loss are disingenuous at best.

Oklahoma didn’t need Wind Catcher, and we don’t need make-work government projects, which is more or less what it would amount to.

https://kfor.com/2018/07/03/oklahoma-landowners-speaking-out-about-proposed-wind-farm-construction-project/

Wind Catcher is almost certainly going to be built; so we will see. The video in the above-linked report contains a lot of untruth in the last half-minute. Scott Norwood outright lies. He stumbles through his statements.

The rated capacity of 800 towers with 2.5-megawatt turbines is easy to calculate. The power production project is not like current, standard power plants. It will be limited to wind availability and to other inefficiencies. It will be irregular and uncontrollable regarding power production. The tell is the disputed power line, which will obviously steal value from all landowners near it; it is only being rated for 600 megawatts, a third of the pretentious rated capacity. They were calling this a $4B project. That number went to $4.5B soon after. The latest total cost estimate I’ve seen is now $5.4B. Also, keep in mind that the majority of the power from these bird choppers will be delivered to neighboring states, not the poor folks having to live in the midst of an industrial power generation facility.

What a mess!

Over and over for over 3,000 years we have abandoned windmills. We will this time, too, and someone will have to clean up the mess.

I applaud our State Attorney General for opposing the current request to start charging Oklahomans for the construction costs long before any power production.

Some years back, State Treasurer, Scott Meacham, similarly opposed a proposal to start charging for a conventional power generation facility. It was killed. That power plant will never be built. It was being built, in accord with agreements and published plans, next to an existing power plant. It already had millions of costs. Construction was far enough that OG&E asserted the project could not continue without cost recovery. Thus, when the State Treasurer started grandstanding (Who? Why?), the project was killed. It cost us Oklahomans millions and subjected us all to the suffering imposed by industrial fans. Scott Meacham owes us!

The State Attorney General is standing on legal grounds. Meacham simply threw a temper tantrum on emotional grounds.

https://newsok.com/article/5600278/oklahoma-corporation-commission-wraps-up-testimony-on-proposed-wind-catcher-settlements-but-no-decision-was-made

Many questions and responses centered on whether the project would benefit the utility’s typical residential customer, especially during the last 15 years of the project’s expected 25 year life.

For what it’s worth:

Commission Chairwoman Dana Murphy again discussed concerns she has about complaints the agency has received from various Oklahoman landowners that could be impacted by a proposed 360-mile line to get power from Wind Catcher into the utility’s Tulsa-area grid. Many have said the utility and the land company it has been using to acquire needed line rights of way have used deceitful and bullying tactics.

Note:

But in Oklahoma, a commission administrative law judge who considered PSO’s proposal recommends the commission deny the utility’s request.

The judge recommends denial because the utility did not seek competitive construction bids for the project and because that work had started before PSO filed its request.

While PSO estimates its 545,000 customers would see a rate increase of about $78 million in 2021 if the cost recovery were granted, it also maintains lower energy costs and connected federal wind production tax credits would offset that increase.

I’ve found no explanation of how Federal dollars (taken from us) will offset rate increases. If rate powers will collectively pay an extra $78M in 2021, how do they get back their money? PSO and the investors get the Federal tax credits. When does the homeowner (electricity user) get the money back?

Over the years, money people, like Warren Buffet, have invested heavily in wind and solar startups. They always pull their money out of the projects soon after starting, soon after they’ve collected all or most of what the Federal Government gives them from taxpayers. It is hypocritical, but it is a good way to fleece America. I really don’t see how taxpayers and ratepayers in Oklahoma are going to benefit from any of this.

Here in Oklahoma, a quarter-century from now, our children will have to figure out how to clean up the mess left by Wind Catcher. The fat cats will be gone, made all the fatter by those too greedy for a little extra revenue into municipal and county coffers. The short-term gain is small. The overall costs are large and enduring.

Production of energy is never free. There are always costs. Industrial fans happen to be the most certain long-term high-cost way to produce electricity. We will live to regret it. Our bird and bat populations already regret it.

Winds blow. Windmills suck!

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: