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City council update

January 21st, 2011

Well… As I suspected, the city council re-addressed the lobbyist contract at the December meeting… the immediate next meeting. Where those who attended learned that the lobbyist came and the mayor called an emergency/special meeting with the lobbyist for monday  night, the day before the city council readdressed the issue. Not all city council members attended, and, though it was assured that the meeting was advertized to the public, no citizen attending the city council meeting had heard of it, and no one but the city council and mayor was reported to have attended this meeting with the lobbyist.

heated speech and debate, with little to no opposition against the measure, ensued for about an hour and a half on the issue, until all but two people had given-up and left the council meeting chambers.  The vote was then taken, 3-2, in favor of the contract.

Public remarks made before the debate started were truncated and misrepresented in the city paper when it did appear, a month later. To be fair, an hour and a half of city council members debate was also harshly truncated… and I also don’t think it was fairly represented either.

I was disgusted, not only at the issue being debated, but more importantly at the conduct of the city council members and mayor. Personal attacks and logical inferences about those who opposed the contract were hurled at citizens and representatives alike. Those who did comment, were informed that their comments were not made in a timely manner, nor were they valid since the citizens did not attend the public/private meeting with the lobbyist, which they did not know about. Further, they were informed that it was their fault for not knowing about it.  Not all the members were uncivil, but those who were made embarrassed that they represented the city.

In response, I wrote a letter to the city council members about their performance. I waited several weeks in hopes that minutes of the meeting would be posted on the city website, so I could settle my thoughts and possibly correct my impressions.  The minutes still have not posted.

In response, at the Jan.  18th meeting, two members called for a return of civility and respect for each other on the council and the public.

One representative stated that he brought his passion to his elected office, that he had no intention of lessening or changing his approach, and, that if anything ever did change, it would be because he was dead.  In fairness, he did say that he apologizes for those who find him offensive, yet affirmed his intention to continue being so.  I do not know if he was responding to me or not, since he did not identify the sender of the message he was responding to, but he did maintain eye contact with me nearly the entire time he spoke.  He claimed that a complaint letter he was responding to  impugned his character and indulged in personal attacks, yet claimed a need for civility and opened with an endorsement of the sender’s intelligence.  The city council member then stated that if the person was so smart, and if they intended to hold him to a higher standard, then they should start holding themselves to it first.

I’ve tried to find a way to understand his remarks differently,  but have only come up with one synopsis:
“I’m sorry you find me offensive, but I’ll stop being offensive when I’m buried. Stop with the personal attacks, you hypocrite!”

I’ve thought that “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” might be a bit more fair as a representation, but it doesn’t adequately cover his statements; it needs more.

I wouldn’t normally be upset or irritated  about this kind of attitude, if it were in defense of the Constitution, which the city council members took an oath to uphold… but this was in defense of conduct endorsing a lobbyist and admitted corrupted governmental system.

I did receive replies from other council members, and I explained my consternation a little better and more succinctly.  I don’t expect to have my representatives agree with me all the time, nor do I expect politics to always go my way. I respect debate, I respect dialog, and I respect disagreement.  I do, however, expect the same respect in return, especially from elected representatives… aka… the ‘public servant’, not the boss.

Politically, I recognize that the pledge of allegiance, (spoken at every meeting), is an oath to the constitution; the founding and supreme law of the country.   I draw the line in politics when it comes to infringing the constitution, no matter how much I want something.  Those who founded this country, those who currently serve this country, have dedicated their lives to the defending and founding of the constitution. We’ve spilled blood to defend it…  I feel it was just sold out to have a better chance at a road which we will not see for another 20 years at least.

Where do you draw the line?

Brice Bitter

Time to be proud, and time to mourn.

November 17th, 2010

I was very proud of my city council tonight as they refused a contract with a lobbyist that the city had employed in Washington DC in order to get earmark spending and grants for civic improvements and city projects. 

Do I use the city improvements and infrastructure that was purchased and funded by previous federal money?  Yes.  Why shouldn’t I?  I paid for it, I’ve been paying for them, and I am certain that I will continue paying for them and all the extra costs associated with having to send my money to DC in order to have the money sent back to me. Even if I don’t pay it directly in taxes, with the government currently printing, inflation will force me to pay on income that has already been taxed. (The government does take a bite, don’t she?)

The debate did not end with the vote, however, even though it is customary to move past a point or item on an agenda after a vote had been taken. The Mayor, who serves to officiate at the town hall meetings, was completely taken back and obviously expected the contract with the lobbyist to be continued, but was unpleasantly surprised to find that the council rejected her recommended course of action.  

What followed afterwards, immediately after the three second shock of silence to the failed contract, was an embarrassing display by the offended, losing voters and Mayor; a 30 minute mental lashing of the three council members who voted against the measure. Exclamations of disbelief, belittlement, one-sided debate, claimed certainty of lost federal funds, bleak pictures of civic service-less futures, even banter about ‘taking early retirement’ over the issue,  and blatant open manipulation for one more possible ‘yes’ vote, complete will bully pulpit, commenced.

Personally, I think that the measure will come up again and that one more vote will be found.  But I have hope that it will not.

The arguments included hints that the city is not solvent in the future without the money for service plants, water infrastructure, and a highway project that the current city populace simply cannot pay for, lost investment monies due to the dropped lobbying contract at the cusp of legislation fruition during a lame-duck session, worry over changing federal funding processes, earmark reform, assurances of the good character, intentions, and work of the lobbyist in question, and that this opportunity, once lost, will be irrecoverable were thrown against the ‘no’ voters.

No one asked the questions that I wanted answered: Why is a lobbyist the only way to get our Representatives and Senators to listen to us? Why does the city feel that retaining this lobbyist for the next 20 years to get a highway we don’t currently need, (but are desperate to arrange payment for), will pay off with money from a federal government that is already insolvent?  Why should the city support the idea of sending taxpayer money to Washington DC, just so we can spend more taxpayer money to persuade Washington DC to send it back to the taxpayers? Or is the city so intent on getting what they can, when they can, and sucking every last drop out of the taxpayer’s corpse, that they never ask; Is this really good for us?

My one city may not make a difference alone, and the federal government is either going to fail, or they are not going to be paying for any roads, or anything other than basic national defense, anywhere, anytime soon…  (Yeah, we all know which one of those options is going to happen…) But at least my city took a stand tonight, one I can be proud of. 

I am certain that the lobbyist does a good job, as I am certain that he probably brings in more money than he directly costs. He may be of impeccable character with the best intentions working with a corrupt system; one of the ‘good guys’ working for us, “the good people”.   But that doesn’t mean that I agree with his line of work, or that working with a corrupt system, hoping to impress, bribe, whatever, our state’s Representatives and Senators, to do ‘the right thing’ for our city and state,  is something that we should support, let alone agree with. It also doesn’t mean that lobbyists are cost effective overall. (We pay for both sides, remember?)  Lobbyists may be a symptom, or a contributing virus of a greater cancer, but unless a stand is made, somewhere, the illness will continue to spread, to entrench deeper into the system, and eventually kill it off.  (Did I mention that the federal government is insolvent?)

We all pay for these projects. Federal money always comes with strings; whether we see the affects or not. We all pay for it, but somehow it is easier to spend the federal cash, the play money, because somehow we believe it isn’t our hard earned money…  It is an illusion; a lie we tell ourselves.  At some point, you have to choose whether to jump off the runaway train or join the drinkers in the dining car running up the tab at the bar.  I prefer jumping sober, before the train runs off a cliff.

I hope the city council members are still standing when it comes up again… because if I know the look on my mayor’s face, it will.
The only time we have to stand is now, it is also the only time we fall.

“If not us, who?  If not now, when?” - Pres. Ronald Reagan.

-Brice Bitter

Utah’s Immigration Panel?

July 28th, 2010

last Saturday morning I listened to several of the opening statements at Governor’s panel on illegal immigration, and was extremely saddened. 

 

I have not seen political grandstanding on a state level like this ever before. It is disgusting.

 

Opening statements ranged from praising the State for opening and providing in-state tuition for illegal immigrants at State universities and colleges. Others noted that we need to have compassion on the legal immigrants, instead of “selective compassion” for only the illegal immigrants. Statements were made acknowledging the Federal government’s constitutional authority to set immigration policy, but only in conjunction with condemnation of the Federal government’s failure to act in regards to immigration. Only one comment on the Federal government’s actions was made; one, noting that the Federal government is actively complicit. “Local businesses” were championed and represented; who believed that illegal immigrants were or should be considered legal simply because “they work hard, and are willing to do jobs that others will not.” Local law enforcement was represented and it was stated that immigration policy enforcement, or non-enforcement, was a local issue that should be left to local police chiefs and executives.  I noted that the rights of and compassion for non-immigrant citizens were never mentioned in any of the opening statements.

 

I wondered why, as a voting, tax-paying citizen, there was no one espousing representation for me. Not my representative for my area, not any representative ever once said anything about representing citizens. 

 

I also wondered where those who supported the U.S. Constitution were to be found.

 

The entire debate and panel makes me completely sick for one reason; I believe in the rule of law.  Our elected officials have, through their statements and actions, professed that they, the lawmakers of our state, do not believe in the rule of law.

 

America, politically, is a very funny place. Our government is founded on the basic ideal that if the populace doesn’t like what the government is doing, (rule of law), that we simply disobey the offending law or laws, until they are changed. This is ‘legally’ done through injunctions, new legislation, delays or refusal of enforcement, de-funding law enforcement, and suing for review and dismissal of that law through the Supreme Courts of the respective states, or the nation.  The last check, is the people. Regardless of how a law is written or enforced, the people may overload law enforcement by general, passive revolt or resistance; we just don’t obey said law.  This was stated as the government only governs “by the consent of the governed” – one of the ‘natural’ laws of society which is written into the basis of the U.S. Constitution and other founding documents. 

 

With that wonderful fact active in the United States and American culture, and my belief in the ‘rule of law’, (especially the previous mentioned law of consent), only leaves me with two options stemming from one question: do we believe in the U.S. Constitution? Is that a law we will consent to be governed by?

 

Answer – Yes. We then have two options and there is NO debate on what policy is to be enacted and the entire panel is a sham and an unconstitutional rebellion. First; the Federal government has the right and Constitutional authority to make immigration policy, which they have and we have laws and punishments currently on the law books for illegal immigration, so if we do wish to uphold the federal government, we need to decide whether to enforce federal law ourselves, or to sue the government for dereliction of duty.

 

The second option is that we invoke our right as citizens, and our duty as those who can and will act, to ‘provide guards for [our] future defense’ in crafting our own immigration policy and enforcing it.  This option requires that illegal immigration poses a danger and a threat to the people, and must be treated accordingly. This option is barely across a blurred fine line from the second answer, below.

 

Answer – No.  The Constitution is not valid as a government in our minds… therefore we come out in open, active rebellion.  We declare our own sovereignty through crafting and enforcing our own laws, whatever we deem them to be.

 

No state representative or senator’s opening comments which I heard ever mentioned or referenced illegal immigration as a threat, danger, or anything more than simply “posing a problem,” yet they all were referencing how the state needed to act in crafting our own immigration policy,  because the Federal government failed to act.

 

The Federal government has acted, there are laws on the books, and the constitutional authority has been satisfied. I am left, in admiration of the “Arizona law”, in which state I see illegal immigration as a danger and threat as violence has spilled across the border, as American citizens are prohibited from entering and using federal land due to dangers arising from illegal immigration and the drug trade and human trafficking that it brings.
Arizona, in my mind, is justified in taking the step to enforce existing federal immigration policy.

 

If the state of Utah is not willing to join our cause with Arizona in an effort to enforce currently defined Federal immigration law, we have the choice to rebel, or to sue for redress and wait.

 

After hearing what was said in the opening statements of the panel, I can only conclude that politicians are pandering to illegal immigrants, felons, who have no right to vote, but are being supported and encouraged by elected officials.

 

We should be ashamed.

Utah should be ashamed

July 21st, 2010

A travesty has been committed in the state of Utah.

A list of 1300 allegedly illegal aliens was released to law enforcement, government, and media authorities with requests that the illegal immigrants on the list be deported.

Needless to say, it caused quite a stir in the illegal and legal immigrant community, as names, addresses, and some SSN’s were included on the list.

Now, the list creation was traced to two government employees in the Department of Workforce Services (DWS), and the two workers have been or will be fired, and criminal charges may be pending against them.

We should be ashamed.

While, if there are legal immigrant’s information on that list, the two workers should be investigated and prosecuted, these two workers are being sacrificed on the alter of political correctness to pacify illegal immigrants. Not the legally voting community, but the illegal immigrants.

These two good citizens are heroes. Why? They, at their own peril, exposed the State of Utah aiding and abetting felons, and since these workers were in DWS, it is easily assumed that the state was helping these illegal immigrants gain employment, services, and aid.  That action is a conspiracy charge. Conspiracy to defraud the state and federal government.

These names were taken from an existing state database.  The state was willingly, knowingly, and actively engaged in breaking the law and no one in the government would do anything about it. These workers exposed it and sent the evidence to the media and law enforcement, in a way that DID NOT implicate the state government, expecting the media to do their historical and constitutional job of holding the government accountable.

The workers were wrong.

The Media in this country has not done their job of holding the government accountable for years.  If these workers had been part of Enron, and had exposed the crimes and problems in that company, or a part of BP’s drilling team on the Deepwater Horizon rig warning of a breach in procedure that would cause problems, or any other company committing fraud, conspiracy, or aiding and abetting felons, these two would be hailed as heroes.

Now, many in the liberal community want the names of these two released, because ‘justice’ just can’t come fast enough for them.

Our government is actively destroying the very laws it has created and is constitutionally required to uphold. If we do not have our laws, we have no rights and fail to protect the ‘human rights’ we proclaim as inherent in all men.

I’ve heard that if Utah, or any other state, enforces the law on illegal aliens, or enforces the law to any regard, that it will destroy our economy and our society.  Frankly, if our government does not enforce the laws, it is already destroying our society and economy. But if we do not have a law-abiding society, should it not fall? Should we not create a society that can actually be honest with itself and obey the law?  When the laws are ignored, it is just one step away from removing all our rights.

I salute these heroes, and thank them for exposing the bald hypocrisy of a government, a house, divided against itself and the people.

Brice Bitter

Let the Dead Lie

July 3rd, 2010

I really don’t know what former President Bill Clinton what thinking, though I can only assume he felt he was honoring a comrade in the Democratic party when he reminded people of Robert Bird’s association with the KKK… but I have some advice to the former President; let the dead be. If, as President Clinton stated as a belief, Sen. Bird had truly changed and worked the rest of his life to atone for his stint in the KKK, then there is no reason to bring it up. Sen. Bird left it behind, why can’t you?

On the contrary, all that Bill Clinton was able to do, in my perspective, was to remind me of the KKK, Robert Bird’s voting record, and Clinton’s own indiscretions with his announcement that “There are certainly no perfect politicians.” Yeah, thanks for that trip down memory lane, Bill. No one was claiming that Sen. Bird was a perfect man, least of all him.

Just let it be.

“He once had a fleeting association with the Ku Klux Klan, what does that mean? I’ll tell you what it means. He was a country boy from the hills and hollows from West Virginia. He was trying to get elected,” Bill Clinton says of Robert Bird.

 I know that he regretted joining the KKK… mainly because it was a blight on his record, because it stayed with him, because he couldn’t get rid of it. It was an “albatross around [his] neck.”

Now, all I can think of is of a man who got his start by using people, (KKK members are people too), at the expense of the belief that all men are created equal by God, or facilitated by a lie. A man who, as late as 2005 saw his organizing work, recruitment, and unit leadership of the KKK as mistake because he could not “whitewash”, (oh the irony), that from his record.

Now, again, I know that Clinton was interested in highlighting what was done right… fine. Then tell me what was right; don’t spend time on what wasn’t. For instance, you used two sentences with dramatic pauses for emphasis describing the horrible thing he did, then raced through the glazed-over, quick sentence; “he spent the rest of his life makin’ it up.” Wow. Well, Bill, why don’t you tell me what that was.

Please don’t tell me of a man’s mistakes, tell me the good things he did, even if they were only an effort to atone for previous mistakes. If you are here to celebrate a man’s life, do so on the high points. I have found that bringing race into an issue invites racism.  For Racism to die, we must all let it go.

 Me? I now have to go back through the process of putting this all to bed again, so I can let the dead lie.

Granted, I only heard a snippet of this speech, and I hope that Clinton went into some details of how Sen. Bird went about ‘makin’ it up.’   (And please, I usually don’t pick apart word choice and style, but for Bill Clinton who questioned the meaning of ‘is’ before committing perjury, please use ‘atone for’ or something other than “makin’ it up.”) I hope that Robert Bird received a good send-off by his mates here and that no grudges are held. It is the least we can do for him, and for ourselves. It is the least that human beings deserve.

 Brice Bitter

Illegal immigration, mercy, and the rule of law.

April 30th, 2010

It is strange to me to think of the divide in our country over the issue of illegal immigration. I don’t understand the dilemma, possibly because I have stopped to think it through, possibly because I simply don’t know enough.

As a Christian, I find the relationship between justice and mercy a compelling argument, though I also understand that for the relationship of mercy and justice to work, the entity granting mercy cannot be the same as the one fulfilling justice, and have both sides satisfied.  It just is not possible.

So… now we have a problem, a large problem.  The main issues as I see them?

  1. The base law of the country is being broken
  2. Porous, insecure border.
  3. A large group of people, mainly Latino , and  mainly from Mexico.
  4. cheap labor
  5. no medical insurance
  6. Local law enforcement problems
  7. Mixed citizenship families
  8. Increasingly angry legal citizenry

So… why do we have this problem? It is simple; America is prosperous and peaceful compared to Mexico and many other nations in the world.  We became this way because the people of this country knew that fleeing somewhere else was not an option: there was no freedom-loving ‘America’ to border-hop to in the mid 1700’s.  In fact, the American founding fathers were fighting against the largest ‘democratic’ nation in the world, England, which did not recognize their ‘rights’.  Let me say this in a clear manner, instead saying that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, and hopping over to the ‘greener’ side, the founders of America made their side greener; they fixed what they had, worked from within, to make a better nation. They threw off what they saw as a corrupted, insecure, oppressive government which did not listen or recognize their ‘human rights’.

While there are other issues stemming from illegal immigration, I find these to be the most problematic. (Others may disagree).

So… let’s look into this problem:

1.  Base law of of the country is being broken.  How?  Illegal immigration is a violation of current U.S immigration law… hence ‘illegal’. That is not the base law of the country… the U.S. Constitution is.  The U.S. Constitution requires that the Federal Government protect and secure the borders of the country…which the federal government has refused to do for decades.  The security problem is becoming much more apparent with the abductions, murder, and kidnappings happening all across the border.  American citizens are under attack, in their own homes and on their own land, along the border.  If this was happening to any other major nation in the world, anyone witnessed crossing the border illegally would be shot on sight.   But in America, the basic right of calling on the government for security, federal and state, has been ignored and American citizens have been abandoned and ignored by the government charged to protect them, and which they pay for. The insecurity and abandonment of American citizens cannot be ignored and must be fixed immediately.  The U.S. Federal government is currently in open violation of the core principle and purpose for its creation, the citizens have just cause to call on the federal government for security and redress.  This is a complete violation of the basic rights of the citizens.

2. Porous, insecure border.  What does this mean?  It is not just the citizens on the border who are compromised because of the inaction of the government. Mexico is also compromised, as is the middle mainland and political process of the U.S. Securing the border is the first step in protecting the citizens, and must be done in conjunction with security for the citizens all across the U.S. Deported criminals, (Anyone deported is technically a ‘criminal’ because they broke the law and warranted deportation), simply return across the unmonitored border, to return to their illegal activity.

3. A large, mainly Latino, Mexican illegal population.  This is a problem only insofar as the implementation of ANY effective law or action used to remedy the situation.  No matter what action is passed, it will be viewed as ‘racist’, regardless of actual existence of any bias, because, it will be predominantly targeting a single racial and national group: Latino Mexican immigrants.  A law may not target or affect any one group, other than immigration status, but if effective when enforced, the law will effect the one main group.       This also is a major problem when it comes to language and cultural issues. Most of the United states now is required to print all documents in two languages.  This inflates the price of government, and fosters continued seclusion on the illegal population.

4. Cheap labor.   Cheap labor is an interesting problem as it not only depresses the cost of labor in the United States, damaging the labor market for legal citizens, but it depresses production costs and production quality.  Cheap labor usually means uneducated and unskilled labor, (usually but not always, I have found some amazing quality from immigrant workers).  The United States has not yet felt the impact of raising the minimum wage, of actual policy, because the labor industry has used illegal immigrants as a stop-gap for cost/revenue balancing, creating a labor-bubble in the economy. This problem exists on both sides of the ‘immigration reform’ issue. If made citizens, the cheap labor will dry-up due to minimum wage. Cheap labor will also disappear if current immigration laws are enforced.  The only way the market will not be required to adjust is if illegal immigration is NEVER addressed or fixed, in which case all the other problems simply increase.

5. No Medical Insurance.  The Lack of Medical insurance is a well-known sticking point against illegal immigration. According to U.S. law, hospitals cannot turn away patients from emergency room care. Consequently, hospitals eat the cost of any non-paying emergency care, and illegal immigrants flock to the emergency room for care… basic… median, and emergency care.  This causes a backlog of patients and increases waiting times and access to emergency care in emergency rooms across the country.

6. Local Law Enforcement Problems.  The local law enforcement already has issues with solving crimes, and violent crimes, among the illegal populations, as the illegal immigrants are much less likely to report crime, or witness to officers about crime. Consequently, local law enforcement is compromised whenever they deal with crimes that impact or cross the illegal immigrant population, regardless of whether the illegal immigrants have been party to the crime in question.

7. Mixed Citizenship Families.  This becomes a very sticky situation in regards to deportation, the required legal punishment due to illegal immigrants…  yet many illegal immigrants have legal citizen children.  What to do to the families, the legal citizens?

8.  Increasingly angry legal citizenry.  By tacitly or openly supporting illegal immigration the Federal Government is inciting and fomenting revolt of the legal populace and, in this case, fostering and sowing the seeds of racism due to the majority of the illegal immigration consists of one race and nationality, and their status as illegal immigrants limits their social and economic potential.

What do do about this? How do we fix it?  Well, the solution is simple, but difficult.  Secure the border then enforce current law. If immigration reform is found to be required, (I believe it is), it can be dealt with after the holes in the border have been dealt with.  The argument that current illegal aliens have a say in the stake of the nation because they have worked and invested in this country for so long, is completely irresponsible as any extension of U.S. constitutional law to those not covered under the constitution, (non citizens), is an empirical act and denies the sovereignty of their host nation and the individual.  Simply put, legally, extending the constitution to cover citizens of any other nation, regardless of whether they are in this country or not, imposes the U.S. legal system on the world, as a world government system.   While you could argue that it has already been done, it would be illegal under the constitution itself, as due representation and self-determination has not be provided. if it has been done, it must stop. If it is going to be stopped, it MUST stop here, in the U.S., where the constitution actually has an effect.

The call for mercy in government action by the United States is an appealing, yet impossible to satisfy call, especially when it comes from other nations which themselves do not offer such ‘mercy’ to illegal immigration in their own borders, (like Mexico).  If the United States grants any amount of ‘mercy’ to the illegal immigrants currently in the country, they will be, once again, offering incentive to break the law.   If the United States is to be a law-abiding nation, if the rule of law is to be preserved, the human rights we hold dear - by law, then the full extent of the law must be enforced.

The main problems facing enforcement are, the border which must be secured first, and what to do with split citizenship families.  The only rational option that can be offered, is to allow the families themselves to choose.  If the minor children, who are citizens, wish to stay, then they should be allowed to. There is no other option under current law, which is the only way they can be tried. You cannot remove their citizenship once they have it simply due to parentage. (Though laws may be crafted to deny citizenship to further children born to illegal immigrants, this is not currently the case.)   While it is not possible to deport American citizens because their parents are being deported, it is also against U.S. law to keep the citizens from leaving.  If they wish to stay with their parents, they may. But the choice should be theirs.

Hopefully, the large mass of immigrants deported from the U.S. will press for political change in their own country, like the founders of America did in this country, instead of hopping to the ‘greener’ side of the fence… and illegal immigration would no longer be a problem.

America has done Mexico a disfavor by taking the enterprising population away. If a call to mercy is to be heeded by the U.S. government, it would be to show mercy to our own citizens by enforcing our laws and to return, or encourage the return of,  the enterprising Mexican citizens to their native lands where they may affect positive change of their own. (A minimum of 15 million people will have an affect.) Currently, illegal immigrants are a pseudo-slave, “untouchable”, group in a pseudo caste system which the businesses and now political figures rely and stand on.  They deserve so much better, but the collective illegal immigrant situation cannot be elevated by figures from the outside; it must be done from within.  The laws must be upheld. If it is not, it is impossible to raise those in social shadows, those who exist outside the light of the rule of law, by turning that light off for the rest of the country.  The illegal immigrants MUST come out of the shadows and accept the rule of law if they are to be protected by it. The greatest mercy  that could be offered them is that of honesty and honor.  Accept the rule of law, and then, if Mexico is not changed politically, improved, by the influx of these her people, then they would be free to apply for legal immigration status after reform has been completed.  I have no problem with that, in fact, I would encourage it.

If you wish monetary ‘mercy’…  the U.S. people are the most generous people in the world. The government donates more in international aid than most countries’ GDP.  The private charities of the U.S. give out hundreds of billions of dollars per year. If the general public finds a cause worth while, they will give, and give generously.

…I don’t know if I have left much out. This is a huge rambling rant.  Please share your thoughts.

Brice Bitter

Who read the HeathCare bill?

April 6th, 2010

Rep. Phil Hare, declaring that he doesn’t care about the constitution has become a hotly watched and reported clip, but only on the internet.

But what I thought was more interesting is that he claimed to have read the bill. Not just once, but five times.
One of the people off-camera, which were admittedly heckling Rep. Hare, called him a liar. I thought I would run the math that he proposes for the health care bill.

The Heath Care bill stands as law at 2,400 pages of legal jargon, referenced sections, and amendments. We’ll assume, as did the heckler on the video, that it is possible to read the bill and understand all the references and implications by spending only one minute on each page. That makes the total reading time of the bill a full 40 hours. (2,400 / 60 )

Now, if delegates can take 8 hours a day to read the bill around the meals, debates, and committee meetings they have, then they can read the bill in one business week. How long would it take to read the bill five times?
Well, if you did not need to sleep, could read through eating and bathroom breaks, and still maintain a 1 min. per page average, it would only take you 8.33… straight days of reading. yeah. 200 hours. At 8 hours a day, it would take 25 days of reading.

I also agree that Rep. Hare is lying. If he claimed that he read it once, I might be persuaded to believe it, though from his statements of what he believes is in the bill, I know he didn’t, or he is lying about the bill. But reading it 5 times?

I seriously wonder if he has read the Constitution, a five page legal document. That he doesn’t care where the authority for a federal heath care is derived in the Constitution, shows me that he is already in breach of his oath as a Representative. But we’ll not go there; he is not my Representative, thank God.

I will, however, throw him a constitutional hint. See the 10th amendment to the constitution, Rep. Hare:
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Let me explain it simply… if it ain’t specifically named in the constitution as a power for the Federal Government, the rights are reserved to the states, and the People. Ever wondered why Medicare and Medicaid were state-governed?

Chat with a young economist friend

April 6th, 2010

I was chatting with one of my economist friends the other day, and was horrified. I doubt that my friend comprehended what he was saying, and what he was advocating… though he very well may have. If so…  God help us. I did not debate him on his statements, I simply tried to understand what he claimed and the implications of his claims. He stated the he was very pleased and thought that President Obama has managed the recession excellently.

I was shocked.  It was not the last time in the conversation that I would be shocked. He then stated:

“The economy needs to be looked at from a practical point of view rather than emotional
it’s difficult to defines what is “fair” when it comes to the economy of a global scale.”

I asked him if printing trillions of dollars with no backing was practical.

“We use currency trade to measure the value of the dollar.  So far the currency ratio’s have not shown any signs of out-of-control inflation like everyone is fearing. Gold standard is not applicable to the modern economy.”

So… backing to currency is completely irrelevant   So, if gold is not a practical standard, what is?  And if there was no standard behind it, then dumping trillions of dollars on the ‘world economy’ must have an effect…  unless all the monetary rules I am aware of no longer apply.

“Possibly considered how terrible of a situation we were in that printing that much money has had no inflationary effect?”

I asked for clarification on that statement, because it seemed such a strange way to answer my question. So I asked if what he meant was that because  of the massive evaporation of funds invented by the speculation on the real-estate market, that the government was able to ‘print’ as much cash as it did, with no negative affect.  Essentially, filling the gap left by the drop, with freshly-printed cash in the hands of the government. He responded:

“My argument is precisely that.  Money is measured in relative terms.  It’s the ratio’s that matter, not the finite measurements.  Maintaining a healthy economy is keeping your currency in check.”

Besides the fact that I became lightheaded when I realized that he believed that a government could and, currently, should attempt to maintain monetary stability with NO standard whatsoever, I was astounded at the implied realities of this statement;  if the government wants or needs any extra income, simply causing a crash, or taking advantage of a crash, and monetizing the ‘loss’ immediately transfers private wealth immediately into the coffers of the government, satisfying the ‘need’.    Literally, unless you are the government or are employed by the government, ‘our loss, is their gain’.

I tried to sum up his argument into meaningful application. I asked if he meant that since our monetary values are determined by the values that other nations and markets assign to us.  And that relying on said system would render the U.S. completely powerless against any large coalition of nations deciding to ‘officially’ devalue our currency at any given time, or over any given policy, action, or inaction of the U.S. Government.  Essentially, I stated that giving other nations the ability to assign the values to the underpinnings of our economy, was the same as ceding our sovereignty; we no longer have the power to govern ourselves.

His response floored me.
“Unfortunately yes, governments around the world have to play by a set of rules; which China is currently is breaking.”

In the same breath as he acknowledged giving away our power to govern ourselves, he berated China for their artificial freeze on the worth of their money.   Wait… didn’t we just print trillions of dollars? make it up out of whole cloth with the excuse that it was ‘lost’ in the first place and all in the name of preserving stability in the monetary system? And now we berate China for controlling  and ’stabilizing’ their monetary system?  Did I miss something?

I still don’t understand what made him so willing to give up his right to self-governance.  Unlike others, I don’t want to rule the world. I don’t want to tell China what to do. I think that is their business. If they chose to do something with their money, that’s fine.  I just want the ability to disassociate myself from them, an ability which we do not currently have. We sold that right to them years ago.

I don’t know where my budding economic friend learned or was taught this hogwash. And yes, I boldly proclaim it hogwash.  But this is the kind of idealism and belief that I find find founded solidly in fantasy. I write fantasy, I know that when you make things up they are not real.  I also know that when you decide to believe the things you have made up, that you are lying to yourself.  And the more you lie to yourself, the less freedom you have in the real world; you don’t live there anymore, you have to keep your own lies going, and that takes energy and time… time and energy that could be spent on something worth while. Something real.

Unfortunately, I think my young economist friend is largely right. I think we are already in an economic world government. One we do not vote for, control, or is bound to any guiding charter. Congratulations U.S.A., you are a vassal state to the new economic overlord.. who/whatever that may be.  And you are in serious debt.

Our discussion went on, there were others involved in it as well… and we went on to other topics such as trade protectionism, isolationism, and economic crashes.  I favored the crash without government aid.  It is, I think, the only way that we will be able to return to a standard for the monetary system, and the only way we can bring industry, actual production, back to the United States.  If the government is involved, it will be a prolonged crash and burn… which is what I think is happening anyway.  As for protectionism… I think that there is a place and time for tariffs, but I do not like them, I think they only hurt things in the long term.  I also think that an educated and patriotic American people would be the only ‘protectionism’ we would need.

How would we get to that point? Would it take a crash?  I’m not happy about it, but I think so. No one wants to lose a job, their standard of living.  But let the American people have the chance to overcome a crisis and they will, together. I have taken the time to get to know my neighbors. They are different races, opinions, education levels, skills, and beliefs, but they are willing to work.  They are Americans.

Death of the Union…

March 22nd, 2010

I don’t know if anyone noticed, but the federal government, and the majority of the Democrats in particular, are bent on ignoring the U.S. people in favor of implementing their own ideals of government action regardless of what the People ask for.

Well, Health Care “Reform” passed…. with a promise from the president that the Senate, which created and passed the bill in the first place, will ‘fix’ it.  Just one question: they made the bill… why would they ‘fix’ it once it is law?

I expect this bill to be signed by the President as soon as they can print out the little kickback and bribe filled, union-written, end-of-privacy, everything-but-health care, tax-and-spend boondoggle legislative bastard. To be honest, I I am not sure that the president hasn’t already signed the bill.  I am fairly sure that the President is going to make a big deal and photo-op of signing the bill.. but I am pretty sure it is already signed, with the photo-op being ceremonial.  I just don’t see the President signing the bottom of a 2300+ page document; it will be a slim, leather-bound folder with a small sheet of paper and some ridiculously expensive pen on the resolute desk.

But… what is this bill about?  Hillary-care completely reformed health care and did it in ~700 pages.  2300 pages? what is in this bill?  Well, perhaps it is best said, what isn’t?  The list is fairly small; illegal immigration reform, “Cap & Trade”.   Otherwise, I am pretty sure that it is all in there.

So… what does this mean for America? I don’t know. I doubt anyone knows everything that is in this. I do know that this push is not about expanding health care. Expanding and granting ‘universal’ health care was so important, yet to get this bill they exempted entire states from coverage, bribed others, and all-out purchased votes. The bill contains no provision for adding doctors, for increasing funding toward heath care to provide the extra services for the “~30 million” Americans that this is supposedly going to add health care coverage to, while magically reducing the costs, and that is assuming that no doctors quit. How do you get currently stretched and strained resources to cover so much more, with equal or higher quality, with so much less?

With over 2300 pages, we know there is much more in this bill than Health Care. The question is what is so important in this bill that they passed this while knowing that it may mean the collective end of their political careers? Every time they breach this subject, the polls drop like rocks down a dry well. So, knowing that health care reform is political suicide, what is in this bill that is so important? And, since health care is not the point of  this bill, (or a very badly, ill conceived part of the bill), what else is in this bill that is more important to the Democrat party, yet more damaging to their public polls, that they will risk everything for it, yet keep it hidden?

The question is, with so much public opinion against the health care ‘reform’ bill, and not even knowing everything in it, what will the public response to this blatant move against public opinion; governing without the consent of the governed.

I do not worry what will become of this nation; I know my neighbors and my countrymen in the heartland and I do not fear. I worry instead for what our government expects us to become.  I do not believe that this move is the death stroke to the heartland of America, but I think it is at least a heart murmur.

I do not believe that the majority of this nation will accept government not based on liberty, not based on private property ownership, not based on privacy or the pursuit of happiness, and not based on the right to bear arms.  There are those who wish for strict government involvement and even totalitarian government styles, as well as those who simply ‘do not care’.   However, I believe that the majority of Americans, both who want the government to leave them alone and who leave the government alone, and those who actively vote and seek to limit the powers of government, would rather die than be sidled with what they would consider tyranny.

I believe this because there are 37 states with laws on the books, or pending, which outlaw their citizens from participating in a national health care program.  Over half of the United States have rejected this movement to the extent of legislating against it.  What happens to them now? Most constitutional scholars claim that federal law trumps state law, in every situation. I believe, however, that it remains to be seen whether the People, who trump the government, will consent to be governed.

And if not? Will the president enforce this new law? And enforce it with IRS agents, or with troops?  Will the states, who have spoken out against this, stick with the government which has ignored them?

This is not the death blow to the Federal government… there are too many blows to chose one. At some point soon, the federal government will reach the last straw, the last penny, the last loan…   but this is not about the federal government; This is about the union of states, and how they will react to what the federal government is becoming.The union of states has been sharply divided over issues before, and health care, (and paying for it), is an issue that can divide states, especially when some states are exempt from paying, and others exempt altogether.

The Union has a heart murmur… and mine just skipped a beat. Not because of the passage of health care, but because of the message that Washington D.C. just sent to the American People: ‘We know better than you do, what is best for you. Your voices have been heard, but have been purposefully ignored.’

Congress may have been trying to send a different message, but if they did, I sure didn’t get the memo.  All I know is  that the whole publicized point and motivation for the bill doesn’t make sense, and I am waiting for the second shoe to drop. What else was in this bill? …And what will “we the people”, do about it?

Brice Bitter

Random two-minute Haiku

March 2nd, 2010

One of the workshops that I did in school with some friends was to write Haiku’s … the more the better, but we could only spend two minutes on each one.   Try it out, and see what you get. It might tell you more about yourself than you want to know. Post your own Haiku’s in response.
Remember, a Haiku is supposed to conform to a three-line structure with either a 3-5-3 or 5-7-5 syllable structure, and containing a surprise or dramatic reversal in the end line, which gives new meaning to the beginning, or changes the feel of the poem.

here is my two-minute haiku of the day:

Mime; walking,
moving, touching, pause…
piano.

Brice Bitter