Thursday, February 28, 2013

Why is Club for Growth Targeting Crawford but not Womack?

Blogger Jason Tolbert mentioned as an aside on a piece about the Club for Growth targeting Congressman Rick Crawford (R) for defeat that Congressman Steve Womack (R) had an even worse rating than Crawford.  The Club says that Crawford is in a "safe" district and ought to be more conservative.   While Crawford's district is rated "safe" because of Resident Obama's low support there, that metric alone is misleading- the region has a strong Democratic tradition despite their vote in Presidential races.  Besides, what seat is safer for a Republican than Womack's own 3rd district in NWA?

Hey, I think Crawford should be targeted for defeat too.  Along with Pryor, Boozeman, Griffin and Womack.   They should all be defeated because they have all become a part of a DC establishment that is hostile or indifferent to the interests of most Americans.   What I don't understand is why they target Crawford for defeat, but not Steve Womack who scored even lower on their own metric and is in an even safer district.

I can speculate what the difference might be.   Rick Crawford made the mistake of calling for tax increases for millionaires in exchange for a balanced budget amendment.   That was just a trial balloon.  Steve Womack is actively working to increase tax collections on the little guys.  That is through is "Tax Fairness" bill that will federalize collection of state sales taxes from sales over the internet.  While technically not a tax increase, effectively it will be.   So Steve Crawford just proposes a tax increase on millionaires as part of a deal to get a balanced budget amendment.  Womack makes increasing your effective tax burden his top priority.

Not only that, but the way he does it is terrible public policy.   Even if you want to increase internet sales tax collections, there are much better ways to do it.   Please read this policy paper for the details of why his proposal is a really, really, bad idea for almost all Americans (except for the control freaks who want to centralize power in D.C).  The paper details the lose of state control over their sales tax exemptions and variations (such as a lower rate on food or items produced in the state).   And since it will attempt to "simplify" it will wind up simplifying "up" in many instances.   There are also privacy issues involved, and the additional costs of keeping up with thousands of local tax rates.

Look, I like the Club for Growth.   I just don't understand their thinking on this one.  Crawford just floated a trial balloon about a tax increase.  He should not have done it, but it was in the context of getting a balanced budget amendment.  Womack is actually the lead sponsor of a bill that will increase the tax burden on not just millionaires, but almost all of us.   And he is not doing it as a bargaining chip to get spending cuts, he is just pushing for more tax collections.   If that were not enough, the way he proposes doing it is the most cumbersome way it can be done.   It is harder for the businesses to comply with and it takes power away from state legislatures to fine-tune their sales tax code.   It also presents the most privacy concerns for consumers.

What is the Club for Growth doing on this one?  If Crawford really ought to go, then why not Womack?

Friday, February 22, 2013

HB 1387 and "Local Control of Alcohol"


See these astounding photos of former ABC Chair Ron Fuller to get an idea of the contempt to which representatives from local communities have been subjected to when they attempt to make their case as to why some out of town corporation should not be allowed to set up a club which sells alcohol in their community even though they have elected to be a "dry" county as regards to sales of alcohol (though possession and use are of course legal).  These pictures are worth more than a thousand words in making the case that local communities should not have to bend the knee to men like these in order to have the kind of community that they want.

Arkansas still has a number of "dry" counties.   They are only "dry" in the sense that alcohol can't be sold in them.   It is still legal to import, store, and consume alcohol purchased elsewhere, so I would not consider it a "liberty" issue.  I lived in a county like that for years, until the recent election overturned the "dry" status.   As a Localist, I approve of the idea of the people of each county or city being able to decide where these sorts of lines should be drawn, in preference to those lines being drawn at the state capitol, or heaven for-fend, the national capitol.  I wonder if a similar arrangement might be employed to resolve other contentious issues, for example, consumption of marijuana?

People are going to have different ideas about where social lines ought to be drawn.  Instead of obstinately insisting that everyone else adopt the answers one prefers, why not de-centralize the power to answer those questions?  Maybe not for issues where victims are involved, such as murder, but at least for issues involving economic or personal freedom.   And I say that as someone who is not a libertarian.  But I do believe in freedom.

I think a community of libertarians would set the rules for behavior too loose for my liking, but as long as I don't live there, what is that to me?   I think a community of social conservatives would set the rules too restrictive to please a libertarian, but so long as they don't live there, what's that to them?   The important thing is that people can live wherever they like, and that the rules are set to please the people who live there, not people who live elsewhere, whether they be control-freaks in the capitol or opinionated theorists.

In time "the market" would sort it all out as communities which set the bar either too loose or too tight lost out to communities which did not.   Does the idea of having a "market" at work forcing government to comply to the wishes of those who live under it seem appealing to you?  That is the localist lynch pin.   Freedom doesn't need restrictions on movement, it is tyranny which must have a captive audience.

But some of you, mis-informed by the state's loathsome establishment media, might not even understand why anyone would want a "dry" county, considering all of the benefits you have heard about going "wet."   Yes, well, you have heard only one side of the story.  Bob Hester of Jonesboro went to the trouble of compiling crime statistics between wet counties and dry counties and some of the results are staggering.  Wet counties seem to have a lot more of certain types of crime, despite spending 60% more per person on law enforcement.   None of that is taken into account when pro-alcohol people do these studies showing how "good for the economy" liquor sales are.

There are other explanations for these statistics of course, and the point of this article is not to sort all of that out.   The point is that reasonable people can differ on the issue of whether they want alcohol sold in their city.  Maybe they or a close relative is struggling with alcoholism and have trouble living in a place where they see it right in front of them when they go to the grocery store or pass a liquor store every day.   Maybe people just like living in a county where they know that people whose lives are dominated by alcohol will choose to live elsewhere.   Whatever their reasons, they are their reasons, and don't owe me or anyone else who does not live among them an explanation for their preferences.

I say all that to say this, the folks in Little Rock cannot seem to stand the idea that people in the hinterlands are making their own decisions on these sorts of things.   A "private club" can sell alcohol by the drink even in "dry" counties if they get approval from the state's ABC board.   That board has a history of being antagonistic to anyone who objects to them issuing a permit to sell alcohol in a dry county.  Add to it there have been some ethical concerns about their decisions to grant permits shortly after discussions about what the favorite charity of certain board members are (which might well be a charity which employs a relative).

Now some of you might be tempted to think that every county ought to be wet, and since the decision of the central authority (ABC board) to over-ride the wishes of the local residents is one that you would favor were you there, then you are OK with these decisions.    But just imagine the shoe was on the other foot.  Suppose the central authority was implementing some policy which you and your neighbors objected to? Oh, wait, I can see it now- if the central authority imposes what I want then its good, when it imposes something I object to then its tyranny! Sigh.

A localist is someone who can sleep well at night even though people they don't know in a city they have never been to are doing things differently.   As I talk to various activists from conservative to liberal to libertarian I find that there are a lot fewer people like that than I had hoped.  It seems almost everybody wants their team to hold the gun pointed at everybody else.

But for those few of you out there who can sleep at night even though people you have never met in a city where you have never been are doing things differently, HB 1387 would be a good bill to support.   It requires the approval of either the county or the city in a dry county before a private club can sell (you can still give it away at private parties of course) alcohol.   That is, it would take power away from the ABC Board in Little Rock to over-ride the wishes of the majority of people in the community in order to give advantage to some corporation HQed in another state!

If you want to see HB 1387 pass, I urge you to contact your state representative.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Womack Works Hard to Increase Your Tax Burden

A lot of successful business people around here who apparently don't have time to look at his actual performance seem very impressed with Congressman Steve Womack.     Maybe some of it was related to his past.   He turned in a very credible performance as Mayor of Rogers.  But it is very common for people who get elected to higher office to get stars in their eyes and quit listening to the people back home.    I see a very bad case of that malady unfolding right here.  

Steve Womack looks great in a suit and has a resonant, authoritative voice.  If that's all you want in a Congressman then you should be happy with Womack.  Personally, I'd like to add at least two more items to the list.  1) They should keep their thieving hands out of my pockets and 2) Quit spending money we don't have.    Adding a third metric- keeping their oath of office by reducing the role of the federal government only to that explicitly permitted in the Constitution, seems almost too much to ask.   Of course, if they did the first two things, they would have to get closer to the third just because they could not fund extra-constitutional operations to the same extent that they have been.

Congressman Womack is the lead sponsor of legislation to add more teeth to the enforcement of internet sales tax collections.   He can technically argue that this is not a tax increase, but effectively it is.  Please raise your hand if you sent Steve Womack to congress so that he could effectively raise taxes for you and your family.  No one?   Me neither.   At least I did not vote for him last time.   I voted for a rather naive young libertarian furniture salesman.   I did that because I took the trouble to actually listen to what both of them were saying before I cast my ballot.   Not how good they sounded while they were saying things mind you, but rather I listened to what they were actually saying.   Only the young libertarian was even saying that he would meet requirements one and two listed above.

The basic description of his bill to increase the tax burden on you and your family is described by him as "The Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 would give states the option to require the collection of sales and use taxes already owed under State law by out-of-state businesses, rather than rely on consumers to remit those taxes to the States—the method of tax collection to which they are now restricted.

Wal-Mart would love it of course, because it gets the feds involved in making it harder to shop on line.    I suspect that is one of the few "folks back home" Womack is still listening to.  It is sad when artificial "persons" called corporations have more access to our congressman than we do.   My guess is that a super-majority of actual persons in his district DO NOT WANT him to push for this tax revenue increase.   But state governments do, and Wal-Mart does.   The corporate persons have more influence than the real ones.

But its not just about the money.   It is also about the privacy.  This would require extensive intrusion into your business concerning your online purchases.   It would also push the small online operators out of business as compliance costs skyrocket. (NOTE: There is, for now, an exemption for those with sales under $500,000).    A small business owner with an online presence would not have one state to answer too, but 50! They would all be on the prowl for revenue, they would all have their requirements and demands, with the feds aiding and abetting them.    And of these fifty states seeking revenues from the small merchant, only in one would he even have a vote!   Womack's bill is taxation without representation.  Taxation without representation is indeed tyranny, therefore Womack's bill is tyranny.

Notice also, that there is no attempt by the legislation to cut taxes somewhere else in order to balance out the additional revenues soon to be extracted from your earnings.   It is simply a transfer of additional funds from the county to the ruling class in government.  This at a time when people who don't have government jobs are staring into the financial abyss of a Great Depression.  From this fact alone it is clear which of those to factions Congressman Womack now identifies with.    

The shipping costs associated with online purchases should make up the cost difference between online and brick and mortar retailers, but where the sales tax is too high they don't.   That's the real problem.  Government intervention (imposing sales taxes) make it more cost effective to buy from someone in Delaware and have them ship to you individually than pay the sales tax at a store in your own home town!   Womack's answer is to increase the amount of government intervention in the free market.

And just in case some of you lefties think this is a Republican problem with them being corporate tools and all that, know that this is a "bi-partisan" bill with plenty of "left" leaning Democrat co-sponsors.  Sen. Mark Pryor is a co-sponsor.   And Republicans, lest you be tempted to think this is an aberration, Sen. John Boozman and Congressman Tim Griffin also support taking more of your money and giving it to government.

The real problem is not an "R and D" problem, it is that both parties in the country no longer answer to the people of the country.   Localism provides answers.  They are not easy answers, but the consequences of failing to face these problems and seek out answers is living under tyranny in a disguise so thin that only the most unwilling to see don't recognize it as such.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Incomplete Sermon on Coveting

I listened to a sermon on coveting today.   It was not a bad sermon.   It was probably quite serviceable for most folks.  My wife and I however, joke around about starting our own church called "the church of the not easily satisfied" because we both have minds which have a tendency to focus straight on any flaws in logic, or mis-statement of fact, or doctrinal imbalance in what we hear.    

Despite this unfortunate trait of noticing the flaws that most people can live their life just fine without bothering to notice, we get along quite well.   Even my enhanced powers of flaw detection don't seem to have come up with anything non-trivial in her, and I am convinced she has just found some way to turn her observational powers off when looking at me.   I say all this to say we have found our nit-picking flaw-that-most-don't-notice-but-we-think-is-the-big-picture-is-really-important this morning.

The minister used a definition for "covetousness" which was really the general definition for "greed".   It was something like "always wanting more" or "never being satisfied even though you have more than you need".     I always thought that to "covet" was a specific type of greed- wanting something that rightfully belonged to someone else.    "Wow, what a nit-picker that guy is" some of you are thinking.   But I think the distinction is important, and that there is a pattern emerging where American pastors do not seem to want to address this difference.

Much of the activity of our government today is built around taking earnings or possessions away from their rightful owners and giving it to someone to whom it does not belong.   One of the ten commandments specifically forbids it, but we have a political system practically built around it!   Just the idea that someone has more than we do seems to be justification enough for the government to take it away from them and convert it into some kind of "entitlement" for the rest of us.   Failure to address what the specific sin of coveting is only provides cover for the unrighteousness that is turning us from a nation of neighbors and communities working together to constantly shifting coalitions of interest groups fiercely lobbying the government to loot everyone outside the coalition for the benefit of everyone inside it.

The same goes in the other direction.   If "always wanting to have more" is sin, no matter how you use it or how well you serve others to get it, then people who resist the government's attempts to re-distribute their earnings are the sinners, not the ones coveting the possessions of those who have more.

The wife also made note that pastors in American always use examples of overseas where people are very poor to contrast our relative affluence.   They imply that these more primitive cultures have less problem with coveting than we do.    Our take is that the scriptures warning against coveting were written for very primitive cultures, so the phenomena is universal to humanity.   And the fact is you NEED a lot more stuff to operate in a modern economy.  Add to it that most of us not only have more stuff, we have more DEBT and more MONTHLY BILLS to go along with it.   So, yeah, we are not as care-free as somebody living off of the land in some 3rd world country.    We need a lot of economic input to provide a lot of economic output- for things like paying pastor's salaries and helping feed people in third world countries!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Homeland Security Ammo Claims Don't Add Up

This FOX News article attempts to shrug off any questions about why the Department of Homeland Security is in the process of buying 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition.  The article is rather condescending in tone, saying that notices of the buy "have agitated conspiracy theorists since the Fall", as if no one else besides "conspiracy theorists" were troubled by the news that internal security forces for the federal government alone are acquiring enough ammunition to shoot every citizen alive five times.

I have long maintained that FOX is "controlled opposition" to make some on the right believe that they have a trusted big media outlet to gather information from.   The man who owns the biggest share of FOX is Australian billionaire Ruppert Murdoch, who has close business relations with the government of communist China.   The man who owns the second biggest share is a Muslim Prince from Saudi Arabia, so naturally conservatives across America should trust the talking heads these men hire to tell them what "conservative" means and who their acceptable candidates are!

But, I digress into a sarcastic rabbit trail.  Please accept my apologies.  I will quickly return to doing what FOX should have done were they an actual news outlet rather than just another propaganda instrument for globalism- take a critical look at DHS claims in the FOX report.

The FOX report accepted without question a government spokesperson's claim that they purchased the ammunition in such large quantities so they they could get what amounted to a volume discount.   The report also noted that almost half of the purchase was going to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).   The purchases would be spread out over four or five years, and DHS training centers use "up to" 15 million rounds a year for training their roughly 70,000 agents.

OK, I am just an unpaid blogger, but here are some things a real news agency concerned with holding the government accountable instead of covering for them would have found:  They would have found that the fact that ICE was getting almost half of those 1.6 billion rounds was of little comfort, because they are a part of Homeland Security and the current administration appears to be busy transforming them from an agency which mostly pursues illegal aliens to one whose duties are now (and this is taken straight from their website):
 "the ICE mission, responsible for investigating a wide range of domestic and international activities arising from the illegal movement of people and goods into, within and out of the United States."
Ah, the "illegal movement of goods WITHIN the United States."   They would not use the ICE Homeland Investigative Unit to do things like search for "illegal" weapons and magazines in the homes of citizens who have never left the country in their lives would they?  Ah, but of course they would.   Let's see what they themselves say about it:
HSI investigates immigration crime, human rights violations and human smuggling, smuggling of narcotics, weapons and other types of contraband, financial crimes, cybercrime and export enforcement issues. ICE special agents conduct investigations aimed at protecting critical infrastructure industries that are vulnerable to sabotage, attack or exploitation.

There you have it.   If FEDGOV declares magazines over 10 rounds "illegal" then it will be ICE agents who will come and arrest you for this "contraband".

Whatever those hundreds of millions of rounds of ammunition are for, it does not appear that using ICE to apprehend illegal aliens figures high on the list.  Various sources, including FOX itself, have reported that the morale among ICE agents has plummeted due to the administrations refusal to hold illegal aliens they apprehend.  Since it is obvious they will be participating in any future unconstitutional round up of gun owners, I think we should count their share of the rounds toward the total as we consider whether it is excessive.

But note the dishonest math here.   The DHS spokesperson says that almost half those rounds go to ICE, as if they were separate from DHS.  ICE is a part of DHS (note the shield upper right).   Those 70,000 agents they train include ICE agents.   They are trying to pretend that much of that ammo goes to "someone else" when that "someone else" is a part of their own outfit!  And FOX did not catch this? C'mon.   They are either that stupid, or it is an attempt to convince lower-IQ conservatives that they should not be alarmed at the ammo purchases because much of it is just going to be used against those illegal aliens from Mexico that they dislike so much!

I hate to even give credibility to their obvious disinformation by using their bogus number, but even the amount they admit is going to "DHS" is outrageously excessive.    I will use their 750 million round figure even though I have already shown it is disinformation and we should be counting all 1.6 billion rounds.   They say they use "up to " 15 million rounds a year for training.   Let's say that number represents their annual needs.  So 750/15 = 50 years.   Right now, with the debt ceiling getting shattered, no budget for years, and FEDGOV borrowing almost half of every dollar it spends, they think they need to stock up on fifty years worth of ammunition!     At that rate, in the year 2060 they would still be using stockpiles purchased with this order!  The claims are not credible.

Also dubious is the claim that they made such a large order so that they could "save money."   I agree that "volume discounts" are a valid concept, but there is a point of diminishing returns involved in such discounts.   That is, while I might be able to get a better price on 500,000 rounds than I get on 5,000 rounds, there is negligible production savings when going from 500,000 rounds to one million rounds.   At that point, the extra storage space, the risk of loss or damage over the years, and the fact that bids tend to be more competitive when you trickle them out than when you max out every provider's capacity at once all lead to the conclusion that there will be no cost savings in this approach.

 Additionally, if they were worried about cost savings they could have ordered wadcutter or other training ammo instead of the hollow point ammo that they did in fact order.   Hollow points are much more expensive to make, but much deadlier.  That's why they are banned by the Geneva Convention for use in war, but apparently it is OK for internal security forces like DHS to use them on their own population.

So am I being too hard on FOX for messing up on one article, no matter how misleading it may be?  Not at all, for among other reasons that this is not the only article FOX has published on the matter.  Last August they put this trash out, and I called them on it with a similar article here.  In that previous article, FOX would not even admit that DHS was the entity behind the order, and cited numbers which made it seem like the order behind the controversy was for a couple of hundred thousand rounds of ammunition instead of well over a billion.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Quantitative Easing for the Rest of Us

I noticed an interesting article reporting about a British Economist named Adair Turner who wrote a lengthy paper advocating that "Quantitative Easing" programs go directly to citizens rather than to banks.   What happens now is that the federal reserve creates money from thin air and uses that money to buy "securities" from favored banks, many of which are of dubious market value, but many of which are previously issued U.S. bonds.

The idea is that the banks will loan this money out to private individuals and businesses and stimulate the economy, but that is not happening.   The banks are just hoarding the money, or using them to buy other government bonds, which they sell back to the government at a slightly higher price the next time the government buys their own securities.   The money stays in a closed loop between banks and the government, making the former a bit more money on each cycle.   This bit is taken from the population as a whole, who is effectively excluded from the loop.

This explains why all of the money creation has not resulted in as much inflation as one would think- the money volume is immense, but its velocity, that is its rate of circulation through the economy, is almost zero.   This tends to depress asset prices in the general economy further even while the money stocks of the banks piles up unto heaven.   At some point, when their stacks are high enough, and asset prices have been starved low enough, the banks can swoop in via a coordinated fashion and basically buy up all real assets of the nation.  Soon after that money enters the economy there will be massive inflation, but by then the banks won't care- they turned their currency into hard assets at precisely the right time because they coordinated the whole thing.

Turner suggests the money be distributed directly to the population.  The author notes that if the $85 million a month being used to prop up the banks was instead given directly to members of the population of the United States, then a family of four would get a check of over $1,000 each month.   You are right to be astounded by that figure, because it demonstrates how much the present "Quantitative Easing" is therefore looting from that average family of four each month.

If someone stole $1,000 each month from your family you would make stopping them the #1 issue that you expected your government officials to take on.  Well, they are stealing that amount, through surreptitiousness means, and virtually every adult person I know has voted for more than one politician who approves of this policy.    This is the net effect of what the banks are doing, but they have done it so slyly that 99% of the population has no idea of the magnitude of this ongoing theft.   They only know that things are bad.  They don't know why.   This is a big part of why.

I don't endorse the idea of spreading the loot out.   I'd rather end the looting, but better that it is spread out than what we have now.   I look forward to the day when the majority of my fellow citizens understand why they are getting poorer each year, and refuse to cast a vote for any politician who refuses to address the issue of stopping the government-supported theft that is quantitative easing.

Un-Elect Your County Judge and More

Ok, maybe not all seventy five of them, but the majority of them for sure.    I got a call from a friend who was at the meeting of the County Judges Association convention.    He said they were congratulating each other on getting the sales tax increase for highways passed.   Even at the county level it appears that we have politicians who count it a victory when their budgets go up, not when the families they are alleged to be serving are protected from yet another tax increase.  

Friends, does it really make sense for us to spend so much time trying to "take back the country" when you have someone like that running the government in your own county.  Taking care of business at home ought to be a higher priority.  That these men used their influence to lay yet another tax increase on families when people in the private sector are staring directly into the abyss of the Greater Depression shows a staggering disconnect.

Oh, they have their rationalizations and dishonest accounting to justify it in their own minds, but these are people who should know better.   Whatever they tell you back home, this is what most of them are telling each other among themselves.

No sooner did the self-congratulatory back-slapping for the last spending spree die down than Gov. Mike Beebe started exhorting them to push for yet another scheme to lay even more debt on our backs and transfer even more money from our pockets to a group of out of state persons.  This time it would be to subsidize a proposed steel mill in Mississippi County.  And they appeared to be all for it!

Not only was the Governor pushing it, and the County Judges appear to be behind him, but Republican House Speaker Davy Carter expressed support for the project too, excepting that he wanted to use current government money to do it rather than borrowing the share of the deal that would be borrowed!    If only we had a political club in this state that would have larger differences than nit-picking about the details of how they should loot the people to fund crony-capitalism!

I deconstructed most of their claims here, but I neglected to mention one of the most obvious ways to refute their claims about all of the "jobs" their boon doggles will create.   They always count the jobs that they believe will be added there by taking $200 million out of your pockets over here.  But they never subtract out the jobs which will be lost over here by their vacuuming that $200 million over here and sending it over there.    Basically they list all the job "pros" and then pretend their actions don't produce any "cons".   That makes the whole thing a con.  Clearly, sucking $200 million dollars out of our pockets to create growth over there is going to hurt growth over here, but they never acknowledge that.

Some smart legislator with integrity should ask the Legislative Research folks to find 1) the total estimated operating expenses of every Arkansas Business, neglecting taxes and 2) The total number of jobs in the state.  Dividing the first number by the second ought to give a rough idea of how many dollars of business operating expenses are needed to support one job.   Let's say it takes $70,000 of operating expenses to support one job.  What that means is that for every $70,000 government takes over here to put into some scheme to "create jobs" over there then approximately one job is lost.    Using that example, spending $125 million taxpayer dollars to "create" those 525 jobs would cost 1,785 jobs over here.  No sale.

Of course the use of debt to "create jobs" is another often used con.   I am constantly amazed that people whose I.E. appears to be high enough that they can function and earn a living are ever taken in by this ridiculous assertion.    Borrowing in itself cannot create jobs.   All it does is take economic activity from the future and spend it in the present.

Only when the resources are properly allocated does it on the net create enough new resources to pay back to the future more than was taken.   Otherwise, past debt continues to hang over your economy, dragging it down.   This is exactly what we see now.   All of that past spending to "stimulate the economy" was borrowed economic activity from the future.   The future is now here and our account is depleted.   The politicians did not spend it as efficiently as the market did, because they used some of it to pay off political favors.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Hutchinson Figures in Another Police Report

This is not the type of story I enjoy doing.   I kept hoping that someone paid to write stories would write this one, as they did the previous one where Senator Jeremy Hutchinson was involved in a domestic disturbance with a woman who hit him with the head of a stuffed alligator.   But the whole reason bloggers have gotten so much traction is that they report the stories that the establishment media does not report.

People are asking me to run this, and I have known about it for months since the property owner concerned, a Mr. John Guider, called me and talked with me about it.  Yet another person was concerned about it enough to print off a copy of the long police report and send it to me.   It sat on my desk for weeks.  Finally, I contacted Senator Hutchinson and told him that I intended to blog it and asked if he had anything to add the report.   He asked for my cell, but never called.   That was last week, so here it goes.

Hutchinson rented a house in Bella Vista from Mr. Guider for about a year, leaving on July the 3rd.   When he left, Mr. Guider inspected the house, and found it damaged, out of order, and missing numerous items.     He had tried to call Sen. Hutchinson many times, and also the property manager, Hutchinson realty.   Hutchinson realty is run by the Senator's Uncle, John Hutchinson, who I believe sticks to Real Estate and eschews politics relative to the rest of his clan.   Sen. Hutchinson did not return the calls, and Guider told police that Hutchinson Realty told him that he did not return their calls either.  

As near as I can tell, after a week or so of no contact, Guider put out a deadline: call me about the damage to the house and the missing items by July 15th or I will go to the police.   The day came without contact and Guider went to the police.  After the police became involved, Sen. Hutchinson expressed a willingness to negotiate and settle what was owed, but by then Guider was angry and wanted the matter treated as a crime.

One of the many interesting side notes to this story are indications that Sen. Hutchinson did not make an ideal neighbor.   When Guider mentioned to the neighbor at the rental property (which was also his former residence) that he and Sen. Hutchinson were (at one earlier point) talking about a sale of the property from Guider to Hutchinson, the neighbor took it badly.   He told Guider if he did that then he (the neighbor) would never speak to him again, and that Guider would be no longer welcome on his property.  That according to the police report.  It is hard for me to know what is going on there.  Are the neighbors just that cranky (and Bella Vista does have a few like that) or was Hutchinson that sorry?

At any rate, after the police became involved Hutchinson indicated a willingness to settle.  He attempted to offer $5,000.  The Guiders initially asked for $7,000 including $2,000 in "punitive damages" which they would waive if he paid by July 31st.   That offer though, was rescinded when Hutchinson did not contact him by the 15th. After that time Guider wanted the matter treated as a crime. When he spoke to me, Guider said that he had spent over 20 years in law enforcement.   He was quite critical of the Benton County Prosecutor's (Van Stone) refusal to pursue the matter.   He asserted that it was a political decision, since Hutchinson and Stone are both from prominent Republican families.  That part is not in the police report!

Items missing included a futon, two wool rugs, art work, a clock, wicker chairs, and a mattress and bedding.  Except for the futon, Sen. Hutchinson denied taking the items and said that the futon was simply taken by mistake.

E-mails attached to the police report show that Realtor Hutchinson advised Sen. Hutchinson to "jump on" the offer from Guider, and that when he saw the list he thought the total could have approached $10,000.   I don't want to type out the whole email here, but it was an appeal to settle before it hurt the family name.   I see this situation as one in which Sen. Hutchinson just ignored the issue hoping it would go away.  That only provoked John Guider, and as John Hutchinson noted, "the situation is not going away."   In fact it got worse.

Realtor Hutchinson appeared to be in the middle of a bad situation.  Guider was ex-law enforcement so naturally he was inclined to go to the police. He saw it as theft, not a financial issue.   Hutchinson was a lawyer so naturally he thought it would and should be resolved as a negotiation between two lawyers.   That was a miscalculation, and only the elder Mr. Hutchinson seemed to have grasped the big picture.

There were some other things mentioned in the police report, which I consider unsubstantiated and don't bear repeating.  When John Guider called me he did not dwell on them either.    I am sticking with what Guider was concerned about at the time he called me, which was that he felt someone was getting away with theft because of who they were politically.

Friday, February 08, 2013

The Plot Thickens With Carter and Burris

Lefty Max Brantley from the Arkansas Times wrote a piece (which I rightfully mock here) in which he railed at Republican House Speaker Davy Carter and  Public Health Chairman John Burris because the word is out that they want to delay a vote on expanding Medicaid under Obamacare until the fiscal session next year.  "If they were honest they would just call for a vote on Medicaid expansion today and just say no and be done with it" Max rants.

That was the one sentence in the article that I mostly agreed with- for the opposite reasons Max supposes.   I want them to have the vote before Mike Beebe has a chance to figure out who he has to bribe with our money and who he has to threaten to get Medicaid expansion passed.    I now suspect that Carter and Burris are acting at the behest of the Governor when they call for a delay of the vote until next year.

When the coup that put Carter in with heavy Democrat help was going down, I was one of those who thought we should give him the benefit of a doubt.  Increasingly, it appears that I was wrong.  I discounted dark rumors that Carter was a secret ally of Dem. Gov. Mike Beebe, and getting easy money from a bank controlled by a long time Beebe friend and ally.   Now I am not so sure.    Carter's actions since entering the office give every indication that he is working for Beebe.  That includes maneuvering so as to get Obamacare implemented in this state.

Look, Beebe is trying to get the feds to display a little more flexibility.   I don't think they will, because they are fascists to the core, but he is trying and he needs time.   Again, he also needs time in order to figure out who to bribe with what and who to threaten with what.   None of which changes whether this is a good bill for the state or a bad bill, or whether our bankrupt federal government will keep their promises to fund it once it is started.    Beebe needs more time, and Carter is trying to give him more time- with Burris signing off on it.

That's another thing.   Burris is the chair of the Public Health Committee.   When I first wrote the article suggesting that the Carter Coup was not necessarily a bad thing, I said that one thing to watch was which committee got the bill to expand Medicaid.  Carter could send that bill to either Public Health or State Agencies.   There is a reasonable case for both, but there are more Democrats on Health and more Republicans on State Agencies.     I said that one key to watch to find out whether or not Carter is a skunk or not is which committee he sends that bill to.  It looks like he wants to send it to Public Health so the answer is not good.

Another advantage of dealing with the bill now is that killing it in committee becomes a more viable option.   If you have a session where it is the only policy bill considered then there is a lot more pressure on the committee to pass something out of it.   This whole thing seems like special treatment in an effort to get the bill passed when it would fail on the merits were it treated like the other thousand bills in the session.

I don't know if Max was really mad at the delay or if he is clued in and just playing the game so that we will think that the left is mad over it when it is really their best chance of a powerful throat-shoving opportunity.  The sad thing is, between the left and the Speaker, they are fooling some on the right into thinking that the delay is a good thing.   That's misdirection friends.   It is not a good thing to give Gov. Mike Beebe anymore time to cajole.   It's not a good thing to give one bill special treatment over a thousand others.   Have the vote!   If something material changes later then maybe the issue can be revisited, but if and until that happens lets get a vote and get a policy- its your job!

Brantley Plays His Only Card on Medicaid Expansion

The left is not playing with a full deck, all they seem to play are "race cards"

To disagree with Resident Obama is of course, racism.  To refuse to let politicians spend money on your children's credit card is also racism.  Just ask uberlib Max Brantley of the Arkansas Times.   He actually argued today that the reason Republicans in Arkansas are generally opposed to Medicaid expansion was because of racism.   For your entertainment, here are some quotes from the mind of Max...

"They are the ghosts of George Wallace. Massive resistance then. Massive resistance now." and 'Republicans fight universal health care for Arkansas citizens, particularly the poor who, incidentally, are disproportionately inclusive of minorities."

But even crazier than that comparison is his claim that...

"The core issue couldn't be simpler. The U.S. Congress has approved a dramatic expansion of health care coverage for Americans and provided the money to pay for it." 

That is crazy talk.    He is part of the ruling class which are aggressively refusing to face reality when it comes to Washington's ability to keep its promises.  Normalcy bias is ordinarily a mere predisposition, but at some point it becomes a mental disorder.   Washington D.C. has not "provided the money to pay for it."   Some of them have promised to provide the money to pay for it, but there seems to be no way for them to keep that promise.    These are the people who have failed to pass a budget for years, are crashing through one debt ceiling after another, ban credit rating agencies from telling the truth about our condition, and who rely on the Federal Reserve to buy 75% of our long term debt.

Those who fear that D.C. will have a fiscal crisis and break their promise to foot the bill are the ones in this mess who are facing up to the realistic risks.  The taxpayers of the state will be on the hook when that happens.   Like many mentally ill persons, Brantley is angrily lashing out at those who want to assess risks rationally, rather than pretending that the delusions that they hold are real.

PIMCO bond king Bill Gross warns investors to steer clear of U.S. long bonds due to a "Fed Supernova Expansion of Credit".   Gross would not answer the question about where this process ends, instead focusing  on what happens to players at the margin when the consequences begin to unfold.  I would like to write about where this process ends: national bankruptcy or hyperinflation, followed by bankruptcy.   What that means in this circumstance is that the socialist healthcare system will come apart just as most people are reliant on it, and just as our existing health care infrastructure for the poor, as limited as it may be, goes away.

Gross would not look all the way into the abyss of the Federal Government's fiscal condition, but it would be prudent for our legislators to do so before entering into what will be a outrageously expensive partnership with them on Medicaid expansion.   Just trying to play the race card, along with hysterical accusations about Republicans pushing granny off the cliff or things of that nature are totally unhelpful.   We need a serious discussion and a prudent decision.  And I think we need it sooner rather than latter.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Football Recruiting Wrap Up

Today was National Football Recruiting Letter of Intent Day.   The new Razorback Coaching staff closed very strong.  Considering how far behind they were until very recently, this finish is a near miracle.   Too bad for them that they are in the SEC.   In the brutal SEC, a near miracle was required just to avoid a disastrous recruiting class that could have hurt the Hogs on the gridiron for years to come.  As it was, they finished 12th in the 14 team SEC according to   Only Kentucky and Missouri collected less overall talent than the Hogs, and the gap was quite narrow.

Seven of the best dozen recruiting classes in the nation were signed by the SEC, including the #1 class signed by Alabama.  High school recruits are ranked more generally by a "star" system.   A player who gets five starts is a spectacular player.   Most teams don't even sign one player at that level in any given year.  The last five star recruit in a hog uniform was Ryan Mallet.  You may recall that Mallet transferred from Michigan, so he did not count as an Arkansas recruit.   Four star recruits are also stellar performers, and most schools get only a handful each year, if they are lucky.   The bulk of scholarships in the SEC are given to three star recruits, some of whom become great players and wind up in the NFL.   Outside the "big five" conferences a three star is a good catch.  Most of their rosters are filled with two star recruits.  Even SEC schools often take a couple of two stars for whom they see some potential for growth.

Arkansas signed 4 (or 3, we are still not sure where the intent letter from RB Alex Collins is) players who rated four stars and 14 three stars, with five two star projects.  Consider that the Georgia Bulldogs signed a whopping 15 four star players, along with 17 very solid three star recruits.  On paper, this class is far better than the class the Hogs signed, but this Georgia class finished a disappointing seventh in the SEC!   Alabama, who finished first in the SEC and nationally, signed 4 players who rated five stars!  The had 13 more with four stars and added eight three star prospects.  Clearly, we have a way to go before we get competitive with Bama, or even Georgia in raw talent.

Of course, we have never recruited well.  Some people thought Bobby Petrino was a good recruiter.   He wasn't.  His top class at Arkansas rated 16th nationally, and they are now gone.  He added five star transfer Mallet at QB and he got some pretty good results despite the relatively weak recruiting.    This class is in the top 25 nationally and despite his late start and the downright embarrassing past year for Hog football, Bielema has brought in a class that is at least equal to any Petrino landed, with the exception of his top one.

This was a strong OL class.  Bielema added a signing day shocker when he plucked Denver Kirkland from south Florida.   Four star running back Alex Collins, also from Florida, should get some good blocking from this quality group of offensive lineman, plus super tight end Hunter Henry    Even if Collin's letter of intent never gets here, there are a couple of other backs in this class who could be sleepers.

Coach Bielema did not get enough help on the defensive side of the ball, in particular the defensive line, but he did make a splash on offense.    What impressed me was how far afield he will go to find good players.  This class was really struggling until he flew to Hawaii to sign quality offensive lineman Reeve Koehler.  That was when the momentum that would save the Hogs from recruiting disaster really began.  He started signing people from New Jersey, from Florida, from wherever- all while taking every effort to recruit the good players back home too.   The staff worked hard.  I now believe that if Brent Bielema thought there was a Rivals 100 player on the Moon who wanted to sign with Arkansas, that he would somehow find a rocket and to go to the Moon to get him.

Beebe Over-Bids the Most

Rolling steel that is, can the Gov. have a loan to gamble with?

Governor Mike Beebe has been working on "bringing jobs" to Arkansas.  He recently announced a deal to bring "Big River Steel" to the depressed Arkansas Delta.   How did he manage to bring this 1.1 billion dollar project to Arkansas?  Easy, he paid them to come.

Whenever you see a politician announcing that he is bringing a big business to the state you can rest assured that you are looking at the guy who overpaid the most for the project.   These companies have gotten expert at pitting states and localities against one another.  In addition to being smarter than most politicians, the businessmen's goal is the bottom line, the politician's goal is to make himself look good using other people's money.   Guess who loses under this paradigm?

Here, if you have Face Book, is an outline on one sheet of paper from proponents of the deal.  It is corporate welfare for the business and taxpayer funding of public image campaigns for politicians.  The plan is to issue bonds so that we can raise $125 million dollars and give $70 million of it to the company just for lowering themselves to locate here.   We loan them $50 million more dollars on very favorable terms.  $5 million goes to the bond dealers who arrange the transaction.  With interest, we will pay in about $180 million to retire the bonds.

Oh, but there is more!  Our Department of Workforce Services will spend $10 million public dollars paying for their job training, because in the new planned economy, private companies expect the public to pick up the tab for training their employees!  Of course in this case it is more justified than normal because, well, are you sitting down?  Good.   The retirement fund for state employees will own 20% of this venture!  They will buy $50 million worth of stock in this company.

Yes my friends, it now appears that investment decisions for our state employee pensions are now decided based on the political needs of elected officials, rather than the interests of those who rely on the financial health of the fund.  That would not just be state employees, but those of us who will be asked to make up the difference should this thing go down- I.E. you and I.

When ENRON did something akin to this, using its employee retirement funds to purchase stock and pump up its stock price, it was judged to be criminal.  But using the fund to pump up the political stock of those who will crawl over each other to try and take credit for this deal seems to be OK.  Crazy world, eh?

Proponents say the plan will bring 525 high paying jobs to Arkansas.   They also point out that there will be some jobs related to initial construction, but friends those crews are not local for the most part.  These are not residential houses.   This is a steel factory and the specialty construction workers who build them tend to travel to where the work is.      They also say that there is the "potential" for 2,000 jobs related to vendor services for the factory.   Maybe that is so for things like stuffing the vending machines with junk food for quarters, but the real high dollar vendor services are likely to be supplied by the same people who are supplying them for the steel plant which currently exists right across the river in Mississippi.

I figure we will be paying at least $18 million per year for these 525 "high paying jobs".  In other words, over $34,000 of taxpayer expense annually per job.    Gov. Beebe is using the Beijing model, where industries appear to be a huge success only while massively subsidized by the taxpayers.    You can't build an economy like that, but you can destroy one because when costs are shifted like that then resources are misallocated.

Please ask your legislators to vote against sending the debt measure required to fund this ridiculous corporate welfare to the ballot.  When they ignore you and send it to the ballot anyway, I urge you to vote it down.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Answers on Defense Spending: Voluntary, Mandatory, or Considered?

"The Free Rider Problem" is, whether admitted or not, problematic for advocates of most forms of libertarian society, particularly the various forms of voluntarism.    The idea that no government on any level should have the power to coerce tax revenues means that any "taxes" paid will be more like donations.

The difficulty with removing the power to collect coercive taxes for anything is that "public use" goods such as national defense will be greatly under-consumed in a voluntary system. This will lead to not only a miss-allocation of resources, but in some cases a loss of the very freedom libertarians and others hold so dear.   National Defense is a prime example of a public good.   You benefit from national defense (note: this argument applies to true national defense, not militarism masquerading as such) whether you contribute to the national defense or not.   It would be impossible to exclude you from the benefits of national defense.    That's the profile of a "public use" good.   You can obtain full benefits even if you did not contribute toward the purchase.

Suppose the volunteer tax collector comes around and asks you how much you want to spend on defense this year.   To reflect our real defense budget, excluding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,  the share for the average family of four would be about $9,000 per year (you might not have known the burden was so high).   The fellow tells you that to keep defense spending where it is, he needs you to write a check for $9,000, or actually $18,000 since your humble author decided things were a little tight in my household this year so I told them I didn't want to pay anything.  

Who among you will honestly tell me that you will keep writing that check, year after year, knowing that it will just be one drop in a very big bucket that won't even notice that "drop" which is such a sacrifice for you?

I have heard it said that giant corporations like Coca-Cola, with so much to lose, would step up and pay the bills.   Please, corporations don't care which set of government parasites is looting them, only how much they loot.   "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss" would be their motto, unless the enemy nation made a deal with them, as China has done with many companies in other contexts.

Jefferson was right, merchants have no country.  Corporations may even look on the unity of the two nations as an opportunity to expand their markets.  Besides, if corporations were paying the bills, they'd be calling the literal "shots" even more than they do now- sending our troops overseas to protect their foreign property as a condition of their continued support.   Don't count on them to defend your freedom, because that is not what they are there for.  They have their own interests.

In a voluntary society, if we just go around asking everyone how much they want to pay for national defense, the answer would be "X", even when a citizen really thought the prudent level would be 2X, or 10X or even infinityX.     Defense will be woefully under-consumed in a voluntary society, even dangerously so.    It has been said, short of the Kingdom of God those who beat their swords into plowshares will plow for those who don't.

A society which funds its national defense this way will lose its freedom to a society which does not.   The American revolution was not supported by the entire population, but the entire population was taxed to pay for it.  Had we not done so, we would have lost and still be subjects of England.  Could either side have won the first world war with such a tactic?  How about the Second World War?   That's the problem with voluntarism and public goods such as police protection and national defense.   Resources are not rationally allocated because we all know we can be a free rider when things are tight, and things tend to always be tight!

But of course, it is not fair to compare a voluntary society with perfection.    Comparing it to what we have now would be a much fairer comparison, and in that comparison it looks a lot better.  Because what we have now is a massive over-consumption of goods- the opposite problem of the free-rider problem in public use goods.

That too is a result of the way defense is funded.    The people paying for it are only distantly connected to those who decide how much to pay.  And between them is a military-industrial complex which lobbies the people who pay.  It lobbies them intensely.   The Complex is focused on only one issue- how much money the defense industry is getting.   For the general voter, a Congressman who spends too much on defense can make up for it in other areas.  But for the Military-Industrial Complex, there are no other areas.  Breaking it down to incentives for politicians, they have more incentive to overspend defense dollars than under spend them.  

If that were the only economic incentive, it could be overcome.  After all, they would just be another special interest group in Washington with few boots on the ground back home.     Two things have enabled this special interest to successfully get America to overspend on defense, or really just one thing that has two components.   Defense is over-consumed in our society today because the cost for it is shifted to others.

One way this is done is through the use of fiat currency debt to fund the purchases.   This allows the politicians to essentially buy the favor of the special interest while shifting the costs unto the backs of the unborn.    Taxing the next generation to buy support is a favorite tactic of politicians lacking in moral character.  Since we don't have to write the check for it today, its all on easy, easy credit terms, we choose to tackle more immediate problems, and the debt bomb just keeps ticking.

The other way costs are shifted is that specific defense spending, which benefits specific localities where such systems are built, is paid for from general revenues.   In other words, the politicians are taxing all the other states to pay for spending in their state.   This is the old "if you are paying, I'll have the filet mignon" problem. When costs are shared evenly no matter how the benefits are divided, people tend to consume more than they would if they had to pay all of the costs themselves.

And of course, when you have all this excess military hanging around, there are a lot of interests that can find work for it- precipitating more "defense" spending on wars, bases, occupations, nation building, and "kinetic actions" which have more to do with protecting the foreign property of some global corporation than the actual country.

So while we could look down our long noses at voluntarism and castigate it for risking the freedom it claims to be protecting by under-consuming defense spending, we'd better be careful because the way we are doing business now has just as big a problem- we are spending ourselves into debt slavery.

How can we find balance?   If we place a mandatory tax on people for a public good, we put in place several factors which will insure we over-consume that good, in particular once a specialized industry has grown up around it.   If we make taxes voluntary for a public good, we virtually guarantee that it will be irrationally under-consumed, risking our freedom to those less scrupulous about how they fund their military.

I believe the answer presented in Localism (e-book on Barnes and Noble) (e-book on Amazon Kindle) represents the best possible answer in a very imperfect world.  Neither the Voluntary answer on defense nor the Mandatory answer, in my view, adequately consider the unintended economic consequences of their policy.   We need an integrated, and considered approach which balances the extremes of these two methods in a way that will produce optimal allocation of resources and maximization of liberty. Localism does that.

Yes, in Localism taxes are mandatory for public use goods (even here there are some possible ways around it in some places), but due to the manner in which the philosophy decentralizes not only the military, but money, debt, and corporations, the perverse incentives to over-consume defense spending are attenuated and balanced with the free rider problem which would under-consume such spending.

No matter where you stand in your over-all philosophy, I urge you to get the book (to which I now own the rights) and consider how its integrated approach will maximize human the world we live in.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Why It Is Impossible to Reform the Republican Party, Part II

In a previous article I explained, using what happened in the Nevada GOP as an example, why it is impossible to "retake" or "reform" either of the two terminally corrupt political parties which have captured the government of this country away from its citizens.   Though they have elaborate forms to present an image which looks otherwise, they are centrally-controlled top-down organizations which are largely funded by global interests that are indifferent or hostile to the interests of almost all American citizens.  Hating me for saying so won't change the facts I cite below.....

With the Nevada GOP, we got a peek at what happens when the grassroots really do successfully jump through the many hoops and accomplish what is never supposed to happen- take over a state party.   The mask comes off, and the national party and their politicians quit working with the state party and instead raise up a shadow party to compete with the legitimate Republican party in that state. That is what happened in Nevada.  They started a "Team Nevada" run by the same people the grassroots voted out, and Romney and the national GOP worked with them, not the Nevada GOP.

The defeated insiders transferred every penny they could out of the party coffers and into clubs run by small groups of hacks before they walked out the door.  The big donors tied to Washington cut off the party.  Then they complain that the reformers "can't raise the money needed to keep the party going."    Review the article for more details.

Now we are in the process of getting a second lesson, because "outsiders" to the Washington establishment (which of course are "inside" to real communities of real people in the locality) won state party elections in Alaska as well.

It started in 2010.    An endorsement by Sarah Palin, with a lot of help from Ron Paul supporters, helped Magistrate Joe Miller win the Republican nomination from liberal republican incumbent Senator Lisa Murkowski.  Murkowski was originally appointed to the Senate seat by her father, the Governor.   With the help of many in the Republican establishment, Murkowski then ran as a write-in candidate, barely beating Republican Miller in the General election after numerous allegations of election irregularities in her win.

The Miller forces were not happy that so many of the folks who ran the GOP were either openly or covertly backing the liberal write-in incumbent Murkowski over their own party's nominee.   That resulted in an almost complete turnover in recent party elections.  Long-time chair Randy Ruedrich and his crew were out.  Russ Millette and his crew were in.   Or at least almost in.   A couple of Ruedrich associates leveled charges against Millette in an effort to overturn his election to the state chairmanship, along with another newly elected officer, Debbie Brown.

The charges include that the Chairman elect did not support Republican nominee Romney.  This coming from  some of the same people who backed Murkowski over GOP nominee Miller!  And Millette did not campaign for another candidate, he just did not directly support Romney.

The other charges include a failure to raise money for the party, which they say a Chairman-elect has a duty to do because by the rules he holds the office of "Finance Chairman" from the time of election until he assumes the Chairmanship.   Of course, they with-held from him any donor or other information he might need to accomplish this task, and transferred as much of the party's money as they could to small groups controlled by a cadre of establishment shills.  This tactic made donors who were sympathetic to Millette very reluctant to donate until after he and his team were in charge of the checkbook!  Millette says people have told him that they won't donate until he is in charge, and given the history it is hard to blame them.

In between this time, there was a Republican National Meeting in which the establishment choice for Chairman, Reince Priebus, sought re-election.   His reign has been a national disaster for the GOP, but the insiders would rather burn the house to the ground than let the grassroots have it.   The Maine Chairman started a campaign to run against Priebus for National Chairman.

A challenge to Priebus required three states to support it in order to be considered.   If two states had come in ready to sign onto a challenge, it would have been much easier to find the third.   Nevada was the obvious candidate to team with Maine.  In fact, the new Nevada GOP announced that they intended to do so, opening the search for the third and final state required.   Priebus flew out to Nevada for a secret meeting with Nevada National Committeeman James Smack and Chairman McDonald.   When the secret meeting was over, Smack switched his support to Priebus.  In fact, they agreed to have Nevada be one of the three states to nominate Priebus!  The attempt to get Priebus out was over before it began.

One wonders what Mr. Smack was personally promised in that meeting, because he certainly did not get much for grassroots forces in exchange for the switch.   Basically, he had the word of a dishonest person who had done everything in his power to destroy Nevada GOP once the outsiders (that is, real people) took it over, that this person would henceforth "play nice."

Now let's go back to Alaska.   The establishment forces were not playing nice.  They were trying to overturn the election and block Russ Millette from assuming the chair.    Priebus had asked Nevada grassroots to nominate him in a show of "unity".    He could have flown to Alaska and asked the outgoing group to drop their ridiculous "charges" and let the election stand as a show of unity.  He didn't.

Friday, the day before Russ Millette was to assume the Chairmanship, they brazenly voted Millette "guilty" of failure to raise funds as "Finance Chairman" and blocked him from the Chair.  Remember, these were the same people whose actions made it impossible for him to effectively perform these duties.  Even his allies were afraid to donate money to the party before he assumed the Chair because they thought the insiders would just steal it.   In fact, just in case their kangeroo court did not stand, they transferred another $34,000 out of the party treasury and into a "sister" organization the day beforehand.

They also accused Millette of misrepresenting himself as not being a "true lifelong Republican".   Of course, there is no written requirement that one has to be a lifelong Republican to assume the chair.   They found him guilty of a phantom rule that they made up on the spot!

You cannot win in a contest where the other side makes the rules, changes the rules in the middle of the game, and if they lose according to those rules they simply ignore them and bull doze over you anyway. The moral decision is to quit the game and denounce it for the obvious fraud it is, not compromise yourself to a system you know is corrupt in hopes of somehow gaining "influence". You have as much chance joining the Gambinos in the hope of "reforming" and "taking them back" for any moral purpose.

But you may say "oh that is just what they want us to do".    In the short term yes.     In the middle to long term though, they need legitimacy.   This policy they seem to have of stamping out all grassroots efforts to reform them, though in their short term interests, will in the long term cost them legitimacy.   Their little club will lose legitimacy in the eyes of the citizens at an even faster pace than it otherwise would if nice people like you refuse to lend your good name to it.  And this policy has the added advantage that your good name will not be tarnished by close association with either gang of thieves which will soon be seen for what they are by 90% of the country instead of just being seen as such by the minority who see the truth now.  Very soon the majority of citizens will see the two DC based political parties as the gangs of thieves who destroyed America.

There are other ways to engage in politics, at least at the state and local level.   As a localist, I suggest the policy put for in Localism, A Philosophy of Government (Barnes and Noble E-Book) (Amazon Kindle E-book), to which I own the rights.    They suggest that local or regional (within a state) groups recruit and back their own candidates for small offices.   Political power should be dispersed so that there is no one set of "leaders" that the corrupt can buy off.   I could write a lot about it, but its better you get it all from the book.