Bureaucrats' Strategy: Furloughs and the "Washington Monument Principle"
Your recent piece, "Furloughs: How Unions and the DoE aim to co-opt protesting parents," reminds me of a lesson I learned forty years ago when I was on active duty in the Navy. A new officer transferred aboard the ship who had served most of his career in joint commands. When we were informed that budget cuts were in the works, he said: “Let me tell you how this works. When the Navy is told its budget will be cut, its response is: ‘It will be hard, but we will accomplish our mission.’ When the Air Force receives the same notice, its response is: ‘Gee, we won’t be able to fly bombers and fighters.’ Of course, the Air Force budget is restored, while the Navy’s is cut.”
A few years ago, I heard this concept referred to as the “Washington Monument" principle, when, after the National Park Service was threatened with a budget cut, it announced it would be closing the Washington Monument. When the Agriculture Department is threatened with a budget cut, it announces cutbacks in the school lunch program. A headline in the WHT last week reported that county budget cuts may require a cutback in the police force.
There’s a pattern here. Governments and government agencies often cut where the cuts are most noticeable and the services will be most missed, in order to provoke the public to support, or even demand, more taxation to maintain these important functions. The problem in Hawaii is not that we don’t pay enough taxes; by any standard, we do. It is that these tax dollars are not focused on the public’s top priorities.
Let us not be seduced into accepting more taxes or a lottery as a solution to our current fiscal problems.
Robert (Bill) Hasting Kamuela, Hawaii November 14, 2009
Trying to Sell a Concrete Paradise
Governor Lingle spent the last week in China trying to boost tourism, which has been slumping enormously lately. She and many others still seem to think tourism is the answer. In a state that produces so little maybe we need to start broadening our horizons. You can't ride the coattails of tourism forever. A long time ago sugar went bust, before that it was whaling and before that sandalwood trees. A big part of the problem is how we sell paradise to tourists who have to sit in traffic, can’t swim at the beaches because they are polluted from the Ala Wai and the plethora of other internal problems the city of Honolulu is currently having.
Mayor Mufi Hanneman seems to think the rail will solve traffic problems, or maybe this whole rail thing has nothing to do with traffic. I spoke with an associate who would like to remain anonymous. He thinks the rail has nothing to do with traffic whatsoever, “Let's call it what it is. The rail is not a 'transportation' solution. It's a Development Scam. It's all about propping up the developers who contribute generously to Mufi's campaign coffers. In return they get tax breaks not available to others and zoning restrictions lifted to allow overly dense urban slums all along the route.”
Honolulu's streets are composed of potholes. Fees are being imposed for city services that once were paid for by our taxes, and the end result will be a three story rail eclipsing our beautiful mountains and valleys. Once again, how do you sell a concrete paradise to a world that is on the brink of economic disaster? You can’t, you either have to keep the island beautiful and try to promote tourism or you can develop it until it looks like the island of Manhattan and produce something else. But please don’t expect tourists to fork over their hard earned dollars to come and look at a twenty mile wall stretching from Kapolei to Ala Moana covered with graffiti.
Our leaders and all the people that live on this once beautiful island have a choice to make: tourism or development. You can’t have both, so please choose wisely.
Joseph DeMarco, Kapolei, Oahu November 17, 2009
Honolulu Police Commission’s Process Severely Flawed
"The process by which the Honolulu Police Commission selects its Chief of Police is a flawed process which may be heavily polluted by conflicts of interests that negate the merits of an otherwise honest system," says candidate for Honolulu City Council Christopher Lum Lee.
“The position of Chief of Police is a position of trust, not a political rubber stamp, and whoever fills that position must be selected for the highest virtues and merits,” says Lum Lee, who plans to appear at the City Council’s Committee on Public Safety and Services hearing on Monday, Nov. 16 at 3pm to voice his concerns over the selection process.
“In a time when revenues are falling short and every dollar that comes out of the taxpayer’s wallet hurts more and more, the people of Honolulu need to know that their best interests are represented in this selection process for the next Chief of Police,” Lum Lee says. “I intend to make sure that this concern and others are made clear to the Committee, and I encourage the community to join me.”
Chris Lum Lee, Honolulu, Oahu November 13, 2009
Obama has proven he knows how to spend our tax money
Few individuals would deny that President Obama is a terrific campaigner and political orator. Obama proved on the campaign circuit to successfully convey his slogan “Real Change” to the American people. Since being elected Obama has continued to show his political swagger to be of superior quality and he has remained generally popular. President Obama appears to be excellent in verbal communication.
President Obama’s command of the English language was enough to convince the Norwegian Nobel Committee to give him the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. The committee “recognized Obama’s efforts at dialogue to solve complex global problems, including working toward a world free of nuclear weapons.”
Questions remain if President Obama can deliver on his words of “Real Change”. Is President Obama only a political architect? Does his expertise lie only in verbally framing a general diagram of a change movement within the political structure of our country? Does he only paint a verbal picture?
President Obama still needs to prove he can obtain concrete objectives based on his political philosophy. Can Obama actually produce tangible results which have a direct positive affect on American people’s lives? Does he have the necessary skills in getting congressional approval for his “Real Change” policies and restore our country’s economy?
In regards to a “Real Change”, there has been a real change in the U.S. deficit climbing up to $1.4 trillion and the national debt going up to $11.9 trillion dollars. Obama has proven he knows how to spend our tax money. What hasn’t changed is the reported bonus monies still to be given out by corporations such as Citigroup with $5.3 billion and Bank of America with $3.3 billion dollars this year.
So far, Obama has talked a good talk, but nothing of real substance has been produced. He bailed out as the national leader in the public health option when confronted by a college student. What’s next? President Obama was elected as America’s hope for a better future. Is he going to let us down?
James G. Borden, Hilo, Hawaii November 7, 2009
Stop the Madness
I. Does President Obama think that most of us live under rocks and haven't passed the third grade? Even though the Cult-Obama-Adoring-Media chooses to overlook the obvious...it is apparent to many of us that President Obama is delaying the decision to send troops to Afghanistan until after the gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia on November 3rd. Since the outcome of these elections will be an overwhelming referendum of WH failures at all levels, he cannot offend his extreme left voting base that demands removal of all troops from Afghanistan until after they have voted for his preferred candidates for governors on Tuesday. His decision to leave our soldiers twisting in the wind and dying for all of us is a cold political move.
We also get it about the failed Stimulus Bill. It was drafted in the dark in haste by the WH Apollo Group (not even by the corrupt Congress we elected) and it was passed unread by Congress. The non-stimulus was never basically structured to improve the economy or increase jobs. It contained enormous paybacks for those who supported and elected Obama that included thousands of congressional earmarks/pork, social programs (including billions for ACORN). Only 8% of the money went to infrastructure that didn't create jobs. Small businesses that create 78% of the jobs and much of the GDP were omitted.
There is enough blame to go around for both political parties about the collapse of the housing market, the corruption of politicians and the unmonitored abuses of derivatives. However, no one seems to blink twice about Barney Frank, the Congressional Gatekeeper, who,when confronted on all sides about the looming financial crisis, told us all on 9-10-2003; 9-11-2003; 9-25-2003; and 7-14-2008 that Fannie and Freddie were fundamentally sound. Barney did say, "I want to roll the dice a little bit more in this situation towards subsidized housing." ACORN was extorting banks and marching at the homes of bank officers to force loans to people who were unemployed and had no resources or credit. Those in government who should have been enforcing existing laws were asleep at the switch while billions of dollars went into many pockets for which we all paid, and will continue for generations to pay, dearly.
Capitalism was blamed. Corrupt and unmonitored politicians, bureaucrats, and special interests fed the fire and profited.
II. It has been scientifically established that global warming is not based on science but on ideology. This is an ideology that is anti-growth, anti-capitalist, and anti-freedom. Mr. Gore and the global warming alarmists would have you believe that, until now, the Earth has always had a stable climate. But, in fact, over the millennia, the earth has warmed and cooled repeatedly. Core samples from Russia's Vostok Station in Antarctica provide earth's atmosphere and temperature for the last 420,000 years. Evidence suggests that the 12,000 years of warmth called the Holocene period is coming to an end. The reasons for these fluctuations are unclear, but they are absolutely unrelated to human activity. CO2 production follows the change in sea temperature. As water temperatures rise, the oceans release additional, dissolved CO2.
From 1940 to 1975 the global temperature fell even as carbon emissions rose. Since 2001, global temperature measures indicate that the world has cooled by as much as 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Mr. Gore's premise that rising levels of CO2 (defined as a pollutant) traps radiation and causes warming has been challenged by many scientists including the world's foremost meteorologist, Professor Richard Lindzen of MIT. His published work that took 20 years to compile is based on empirical data and not the computer projections/extrapolations of Mr.Gore's "scientists." It has been verified that CO2 levels have been much higher in the earth's history during which warming was not the result. Dr. Lindzen's meticulous work demonstrates that as temperatures increase the radiation going out into space increases.
Mr. Gore's dire predictions have not occurred and, indeed, cooling has taken place even though CO2 has not decreased. It is makes sense that earthlings have not and cannot affect climate change. Painting the roofs of all homes white would cost 51 trillion dollars and would result in reduction of 0.01% Fahrenheit in 35 years.
What could be the motive for this scheme to falsely propagandize massive global guilt?
1) The UN's IPCC politicized "scientific" findings are a worldwide joke. The IPCC did not factor in ENSO variables which would be comparable to ignoring the 2nd and 3rd quarter when deciding the super bowl final score. A massive source of revenue to the UN that is not dependent on U.S. Congressional approval would be a Climate-Debt-CO2-Damage-Payment that industrialized nations "should" pay to the third world countries they have supposedly ravaged with CO2. President Obama is being encouraged to sign the Treaty in Copenhagen in December that allows a global government to monitor, assess and collect this monstrous penalty. If Obama signs the December Treaty and Congress ratifies it with 67% vote, our sovereignty will no longer exist.
2) Furthermore, our own government can extract revenue from each one of us (as well as businesses) by increasing electricity 90%, gasoline 74% and residential natural gas 55% in the "cap-and-trade" scheme that would cause massive loss of individual freedom, destroy entire industries, jobs, and prosperity. Even though 63% of Americans say that creating jobs is more important than global warming, Obama, Pelosi and Reid guarantee its passage.
III. I will be brief about the WH obsession to nationalize health care. If the true goal is to provide health care for those who do not have or cannot obtain coverage, then stop the madness. Write a 2 or 3 page bill that is simple enough for congress to read and understand. Provide that optional and affordable coverage through well-staffed clinics. Specify that the care is available for American Citizens only, limit government paid abortions based on life dangers to mother and/or child, and ask each person to pay $5 or more per visit.
I believe that most of us want nothing to do with big government controls that have always been notoriously wasteful and corrupt. Many of us prefer responsibility for our own destinies and will fight fiercely for those freedoms.
There are two cost-reducing reforms that would improve the existing health care that 83% of us want to keep. Existing health care would be more effective and affordable by passing two bills: (1) Tort Reform for frivolous medical lawsuits. If a lawsuit is filed that is unfounded and judged to be without merit, the attorney and the plaintiff must pay double costs to the defendant. (2) Allow all citizens to buy insurance across state lines. A few states do not want to give up their states rights to allow this. There are many states that would be glad to receive more state revenues by opening their boundaries for free market competition. Insurance would be more portable and policies that offered more coverage and security would thrive.
Our Constitutionally-based free market capitalism provides the ground work for the most individually responsible, productive, dynamic,creative, vibrant, free, generous, well-defended, conscientious nation the world has ever known. The system has not been perfect but has been consistently self-correcting. The EU and others rely on our military protection. We spend more on defense than all of the next nine countries combined. Our government is driving us towards a far left version of European Socialism. If it isn't working for a stagnant Europe and didn't work with Marxism or Communism then why would anyone except power mongers be remotely interested?
Two-thirds of our trade imbalance comes from imported oil. It is past time to reconsider safe nuclear power, drill our own huge reserves of petroleum off shore and in the Arctic and curb our consumption. We are mere mortals to be sure but we can all see the cliff ahead and if we make phone calls and write emails and letters to our elected officials today, we very well might stop them from dragging us over the edge.
Donna Sweere, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii November 1, 2009