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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Above the Law

We have heard a lot lately about " no one being above the law". Of course this verbal hogwash is being spewed by posturing politicians, pundits and political mouthpieces for digestion by a very skeptical electorate. Skeptical because there are few among us suffering under any illusion that no one is above the law. Why? Because every day, they witness offenses by corporations, elected leaders, government officials and a whole host of individuals exempt or immune from prosecution and therefore are above the law.

Not a day goes by, in America, that thousands of government vehicles are observed going, not just over, but 10, 15 or 20 mph over the posted limit. The question is why are city, county, state and federal employees in such a big hurry, they are paid the same in or out of their vehicles, unlike someone paid by the mile or by the load.

It is questionable whether the Governator was in violation when he wrecked his 3 wheeler. But there is no excuse for a rogue cyborg, resembling Arnold Schwarzenegger, tooling around Los Angeles on his Harley, without a helmet. I'm not sure if the Calif. Vehicle Code exempts persons, in the act of acting, from wearing a helmet on Calif. Highways, but it certainly sends the wrong message. Message here: Change the message or change the law.

District and U.S. attorneys often withhold exculpatory evidence(an act of obstructing justice) during prosecutions and many are no strangers to illegal activities by undercover agents during investigations. But they are not sued or prosecuted, as they are immune from both prosecution and civil liability, in the performance of their duty. Ditto goes for Judges, who should be impeached and disbarred for allowing prosecutorial transgressions.

And I don't want to pick nits here, but many criminals are routinely excused from prosecutions for crimes up to and including murder, when they agree to testify or produce evidence against other criminals and are either relocated in the "witness protection program" or given very light sentences under plea agreements, often to reoffend .Foreign diplomats, sheikhs and kin of kings are immune from a whole host of criminal offenses and are usually ousted from our country for the more heinous offenses, but few if any are prosecuted.

So, the next time you hear some insufferable gasbag pontificating that "no one is above the law", just remember they can't help themselves. Outside the Beltway, America knows the law enforcement double standard is alive and well, so get over it. Legal equality is a myth and all the ranting otherwise is just a rhetorical deadbolt preventing reality from getting her foot in the

Friday, January 20, 2006

Good Nite Sweet Boomers

So, we are marking the beginning of the end of the Baby Boomers, with the first boomer hitting 60. What we are really marking is the things lost on the generation before us and those that follow. What are these phantom facts of history? Well for one, I know where Mayberry, North Carolina is. It’s where Andy, Barney, Aunt Bea and Opie live. I know that Mary will always love Rob, who is a closet alcoholic, in real life. I know that William Shatner was in the Twilight Zone long before he was on the Enterprise, that Marshal Dillon always loved Miss Kitty, but couldn’t commit and Burt Reynolds couldn’t carry water for Festus, who will never fill Chester’s boots. However none of them ever crossed paths with Dale and Roy or Clayton Moore and Tonto. I know that Tod Styles and Buzz Murdock should have had the worst hair on T.V.

But the mysteries don’t stop there. Ralph will always love Alice and live downstairs from Norton and Trixie and you will never see another police detective being chauffered around in a Rolls. Times may change but Brinkley will never have another Huntley, Dino a Jerry or Gracy a George. Color could not improve Jackie Gleason, Ward Bond or Rod Serling, while live performances of, Lucille Ball, Bob Hope, Jack Benny or Milton Berle will never be improved with film.

Boomers all know that the ‘Beaver’ lives with June, Ward and Wally, who were all tortured by Eddie Haskel, while just down the block was Ozzie, Harriet, Ricky and David and across the street was Steve Douglas and his Three Sons and the Uncles Bill, (Frawley and Demarest). But only Robert Young was the father that knew best, while William Bendix had the life of Riley, which was shunned by Jack Webb and Broderick Crawford, but neither was an ’untouchable’, like Robert Stack. Jay North was a blonde with two legs, while Mr. Ed had four, but both were from this world, unlike our favorite Martian, Ray Walston. Hitchcock could soar with the Birds but we were horrified when Superman couldn’t stop a bullet. Bilko worked his schemes from the commissary to the motor pool, while Buddy Ebsen went from Tin man, who could rust, to a Clampett, with a pool. But nobody could say goodnight like Johnny Carson.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Entitlement Epidemic

Rationalizing the Entitlement Epidemic is a little like avoiding a Category Five Hurricane by booking passage on the Titanic. The Left wails and rants about the money spent to liberate a country from tyranny, while planting the seeds of democracy for an entire region, but nary a peep is heard from them, or anyone else, about the financial Tsunami right here at home. The hundred or so billion per year we are spending in Iraq pales to the money we squander, mismanage and waste right here. For instance, America spends over $340 billion per year on Medicaid and Medicare. The annual price tag for Medi-Cal alone is over
26 billion. Federal Agricultural Aid runs about $100 billion, Food Stamps alone is $27 billion while FEMA trails with a paltry $6 billion.
But with the Gulf Coast hurricanes, disaster relief ballooned to over $100 billion. And America’s dirty little secret Security Supplemental Income (SSI) is our rising star at just under $40 billion last year.
Now I don’t want to go and pick nits here, but many beneficiaries of medical entitlements, have spent a lifetime abusing tobacco, alcohol, drugs and unhealthy diets, while shunning exercise. Combining these costly and unhealthy lifestyles with runaway increases in medical services, and as a result of decades of litigation, puts medical
insurance out of reach for many. But medical entitlements only
scratch the surface. Agricultural entitlements probably comes in a close second. Billions are paid to the wealthy that don’t need it, to special interests that don’t deserve it, to hucksters and shysters that scam it and a bureaucratic behemoth paid to mismanage it. Make no mistake, programs, policies and procedures that were originally enacted to provide a ‘safety net’ or insurance against catastrophic losses to farmers, to families and to children have become an established and
ballooning entitlements. Add to this the US Forest Service, once an
integral ingredient in rural economics, is now a gargantuan drain on the General Fund. Formerly a responsible contributor to the health of the forests and economic growth, they are now little more than billion dollar baby sitters for old growth forests, spotted owls and assorted critters, who will still be here long after we are gone. The USFS would do the taxpayers better if they closed up shop and went home, as their jobs have become little more than entitlements.
We should not forget that natural disasters, both foreign and domestic, are a magnet for abuse, mismanagement, corruption and fraud. FEMA, Homeland Security and the Congressional Cookie Jar are the sparkplug for wanton waste as well, with tens of billions spent each year with little or no oversight. Call me a cynic, but each time a hurricane, earthquake, tsunami, flood or wildfire devastates cities counties or countries, the calls for fraud investigation, blue ribbon commissions, congressional hearings and indictments are not far behind.

It’s not just the able bodied sitting around waiting for the dream job, collecting their welfare checks-- while migrants work the fields, it’s not just the temporarily inconvenienced refusing menial but honest work, it’s not even the highly educated beginning on the bottom rung on their way up the ladder, that has bent the system sideways. It is the professional deadbeat that wile away the hours dreaming of ways to ’game’ the system, the ‘conveniently’ ill who live on alcohol, cigarettes and fast food, while lounging away the hours with Maury, Jerry and Oprah. It is the opportunists playing the minority victim card to extort millions from agencies fully prepared to avoid lawsuits over race, sex, sexual orientation and endless Native American issues.
It’s the ‘entitlement televangelists’ that dream up more ways to get between the entitled and the entitlements.
Bad enough that the ‘entitled’ squander valuable time watching cable or satelite T.V., but they are bombarded by a ’cottage industry’ developed to access yet more entitlements. Yes, we can now hire someone to get free money, diabetes testing supplies, drugs and scooters at no cost.
Folks, there is nothing free about your scooters, testing supplies, drugs, lawyers lunches, breakfasts, groceries, medications, hospital stays They all carry a price tag, a huge price tag. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Add to that the public money spent to provide legal defenses to killers, rapists and pedophiles. Hundreds of millions, or more, are paid each year to attorneys, investigators, expert witnesses, and appellate attorneys to defend those not just convicted of heinous crimes, but those who have confessed to them. Bad enough that we provide legal counsel to the presumed innocent, we must now pay for the guilty as well.
Of course, this exercise has been very disconcerting. It is impossible to wrap one’s mind around the kind of money I have illustrated here.
And we haven’t touched the other agencies with their own inefficiencies, mismanagement and waste. The cold reality is that every 4 years we can change the captain, every 2 years we can change some of the crew, but the entitlement system just continues to grow, with no end in sight. So far entitlements appear to be billion dollar drops in a two trillion dollar bucket, being carried by some two bit politicians, many of whom can be bought for a dinner and an evening in a NBA skybox. We, the passengers on this cruise, depend upon this captain and crew. Unfortunately we hit the iceberg many years ago and all the rhetoric about Rowe v Wade, and the Iraq War is about as relevant the temperature of the ship’s swimming pool.

Thursday, January 12, 2006


Now comes the gnashing, caterwauling, and whining over the modest cutbacks in Medicaid and Medicare. But who is screaming the loudest, hospitals dependant on the medically irresponsible or the 300 lb., Twinkie popping, chain smoking, scooter jockeys on oxygen. The concept of personal responsibility appears lost on all involved parties.
This should be a wake-up call for health care providers and Governments that support them. Request, no demand, that those who seek taxpayer support for medical bills eat healthy, drink only in moderation, exercise regularly and stop smoking and you can cut Medicare, Medicaid and Medical by a third or more. There is no cutback in the aforementioned entitlements. It is a cutback in the ‘rate of increase’
of funding. It is past time to stop the out of control subsidizing of poor personal choices. We should support those that are unfortunate victims of circumstance, not those whose destructive life styles are bankrolled by taxpayers.