Stalin, Marx, Lenin, and Mao Alive and Well in Bakersfield, CA

I know that this is a fairly long post, but I believe in sharing with friends and this discussion gave me a snapshot of the inner mind of a Socialist.

The following was the chain for a discussion with a classmate that I have in my present Business Communications class. The initial question posed that started this chain was “Why do you feel that you can trust NPR over other media outlets? Why can you not trust other media organizations? If this is true can we change the way we gather and distribute news to our audiences?” I felt you should all see the fight we have ahead of us and the war of the minds we are waging today.

Here is how I started the response chain for the class to this question:

Honestly, why would you trust NPR over the other media news outlets, especially since NPR is National Public Radio and is paid by the Federal Government? That, in my mind, makes them even less trustworthy than any other independent organization because they are beholden to the federal government and the whims of whatever the Fed feels like giving to them depending on how much they support the federal government’s agenda than an independent organization that raises their money the independent and capitalist way, through independent contributions and companies paying money for airtime on their channels via commercial time. When an organization is dependent on an cash cow, visa-vie the Federal government, and the trials and tribulations of that group and how much you toe the line for whatever talking points they demand of their groups that take money from them makes them, in my book, less trustworthy than independent companies that raise their money the old fashioned way, through selling commercial time to private organizations and companies. The independent companies are, in my book, more trustworthy by a long shot, than any organization supported and funded by the federal government, regardless of whatever administration is in charge of them.

This is how Lori (get to love her folks…she’s our Socialist in the left corner in this particular boxing match) responded to my reasonable assertion:

Ian,You said “When an organization is dependent on a cash cow…”

Wouldn’t you agree that the cash cow you are referring to is really capitalism at its best? I mean isn’t that what capitalism is about? It’s all about the money. Whoever has more gets to put their message out there. FOX news operates the way it does and has that rightish slant because Rupert Murdoch owns the organization. He won at the capitalist game and now he gets his own channel to broadcast whatever he wants.

NPR is not owned by the federal government. It’s just called National because it’s well national and it operates on airwaves that are public. NPR is donor supported and that’s how they operate.

 Ultimately I believe all organizations are dependent on cash cows- the American consumer.


Bakersfield, CA

I had to respond to this dripping with socialism-love nonsense:

I personally believe that you are missing a fundamental aspect to what Capitalism is all about. It’s not about money, but money is partly the motivator (or gasoline if you want to think of it in another fashion). Capitalism, and more specifically the Free Market System, is based on personal choice. It is based on you setting your own personal priorities as to what you want to earn money to buy, what you want to spend, what you feel is important to you and your family, if you have one. In a free market system, you or I could decide that we can do something better than someone else out there and start a business to make it better than them. We could also decide that we want to start a business to become our own boss and do something new, or better, than the rest of the world. The Free market is an extension to the freedoms inherited in all of us by the Natural Laws we were born with and endowed by God with. This is just the economic system version of that.

A market that is controlled by a government, or a planning commission or whatever terminology or group you want to assign there, is a Socialist system and it has the opposite priorities and affects on its citizens than a Free Market system does. When a person believe they can do something better than someone else in the market, or cheaper, or faster, or whatever that betterment may be, a Socialist and top-down controlled system locks that individual out because they are not and their new system is not “Part of the Plan.” Socialism stifles creativity, inventiveness, and the entrepreneurial spirit in much of humanity. There is no incentive to do better because to do so would throw off “the Plan” from the central planning committee, which top-down governments never allow. They never allow these things because in then moves the control from those at the top make the choice to those at the bottom, you and me, in making decisions on what is best for ourselves and the economy. Tyranny’s never allow control to move down, because if they do then they lose control and they will never allow that.

This was not meant as a taking to task. I just want everyone who reads this to understand the fundamental differences in those 2 economic and social philosophies. And NPR is partially subsidized by the Federal Government through federal grants. This can be found on pg. 9 of their 2009 Fiscal budget ( Their operational revenue amount is found on pg. 5.

When you divide that amount the government gives them by their operating revenue, this money accounts for approximately 13% of their overall operating capital. Obviously, this does not make them a Federal mouth piece per se, but when 13% of your operating budget comes from 1 source, you are pretty beholden to them to make sure that money keeps flowing in. Any business that has 1/8th of its operating budget come from one location would jump through hoops to make that customer happy. It just becomes very bad for freedom of speech and differences of opinion when that 1/8th is coming from the government. That’s all I’m saying.

Here is how she countered back:

Hi Ian

I would have to disagree with you. Capitalism in theory may be about freedom but it really is about money (CAPITOL=money). In my opinion there are lots of companies who exemplify this, all you have to do is look at the corporate scandals of the last few years. I take offense to your use of using God as a defense for capitalism also. God has nothing to do with all the money hungry hoarders in this world who only care about themselves.

I don’t think Socialism is perfect but I do think there are advantages to that type of system. People in these types of systems tend to do things that actually make them happy rather than what will get them the most money. I for one would love to have lived in a country where we didn’t have to pay out of the nose for an education. Education is something, in my opinion, that can make and break a country.

NPR may be partially subsidized but Chrysler and AIG were both bailed out by the government because if not the country would have gone into a tail spin. I don’t agree with that and I’m sure as a capitalist enthusiast you probably don’t either. I’m curious to know, what would your solution have been?

I really enjoy your perspective Ian. Please don’t misunderstand my posts to you as anything other than an educated discussion.

Bakersfield, CA

Notice how she didn’t argue my facts, but went to the tried-and-true tactic of attacking the messenger initially and then say that it was an emergency and we “Had to do it!” I couldn’t let this sit, so here is how I replied:

There are no advantages to a Socialist system, unless you are looking for someone to take all the chances and possibilities of wild success OR failure out of life. The problem with that though is that in order to make sure that everyone is taken care of equally, you must make everyone equal. In order to make everyone equal, you must, by definition, hold people back from achieving too much or being too successful in work, in life, in thought, in ideas, in happiness, in health, in family status or position, in ethics taught by parents to children, in religion, and the list goes on and on and on. All of this “Equality” must be dictated by the state and not by our own personal hopes and dreams. We would no longer be in charge of the dreams and goals we believed we could achieve, by the state would.

Your child could tell you one day that “Mommy…I want to be a doctor someday and help sick boys and girls.” and you would have to follow that childhood dream up with this, “That’s nice sweetie…but the state says we already have enough doctors, so it’s been decided that you will be an auto mechanic because the state says we have a shortage of those.” What kind of parent would that make you? More importantly, is that the world you want to raise your child in?

And Lori, I believed you missed what I was saying about God. I was not saying that God was about money. I was saying that Capitalism is an extension, in an economic sense, of the Natural Laws that were endowed to us by our creator. This is a fundamental concept of what our country is founded on. Without God being at the top, or whatever you believe of as God since it is a personal choice and relationship, then those rights we enjoy are not inherit inside us but given by the state. God must be at the top because if not then those rights are no longer rights but freedoms we were given by a government, and what a government gives, then can take away. Power is supposed to go from God, to you and I, to the government…not the other way around. The former is freedom, while the later is tyranny..

Don’t you see, in order to make all equal, then we must all equally suffer and be restrained from the individual greatness each of us has inside ourselves. This is counter to what we know is the human yearning to achieve greatness and do great things. Socialism holds you back. Capitalism unchains you and says “Go!” And capitalism is not about money, it’s about getting the hell out of someone’s way and saying “You choose your own path to what your dreams are, if you do this right, the world will be your oyster, and we will all be better for your success.” Money is nothing more than the fuel to that fire.

Whether it’s a dollar bill or a pucca shell on an island, we all want to be fairly compensated for the hard work we do. That right now comes in the form of a Dollar. Don’t be angry at the dollar because it is nothing more than a representation of the fair reward for work done. Capitalism equals freedom to dream and strive to make yours and your family’s lives better. Socialism equals accepting your lot in life determined by someone else that doesn’t know, or frankly care, what you dreamed for yourself, and determines what “Freedoms” they LET you have. That’s not freedom at all…that’s slavery, and I thought we fought and died as a people to throw those shackles off. Don’t chain your dreams to the ground in the mud…but give them wings and tell them “fly”


I’m still waiting for her counter-argument to this.

I may be waiting a while.

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July 9, 2010 at 10:31 am Comment (1)

The Roundup

Ethan @ Keystone Conservative has started doing semi-regular Pa blogger round up posts.

Check it out.

November 1, 2009 at 6:39 pm Comments (0)

Cold Warriors to Obama: GROW A SET!!

And Palin had no foreign policy experience, right? (To good not to share at both blogs!)

Dissident heroes from the age of the Iron Curtain, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Lech Walesa, Vaclav Havel and 20 other Central and Eastern European intellectuals, policymakers and leaders have penned an open letter to President Obama on the perils facing US-NATO relations should he cave to the Russians — and they should know:

Despite the efforts and significant contribution of the new members, NATO today seems weaker than when we joined. In many of our countries it is perceived as less and less relevant – and we feel it. Although we are full members, people question whether NATO would be willing and able to come to our defense in some future crises.

Many in the region are looking with hope to the Obama Administration to restore the Atlantic relationship as a moral compass for their domestic as well as foreign policies. A strong commitment to common liberal democratic values is essential to our countries. We know from our own historical experience the difference between when the United States stood up for its liberal democratic values and when it did not. Our region suffered when the United States succumbed to “realism” at Yalta. And it benefited when the United States used its power to fight for principle. That was critical during the Cold War and in opening the doors of NATO. Had a “realist” view prevailed in the early 1990s, we would not be in NATO today and the idea of a Europe whole, free, and at peace would be a distant dream.

July 21, 2009 at 8:21 pm Comment (1)

Manny, Moe and Jack get a Bonus

The fervor over the AIG bonuses has pushed the Congress to become a lynch mob. They have whipped the media and the American people into a frenzy in an effort to pass legislation that may be popular to punish those AIG executives, but in reality is unconstitutional and just plain wrong.

I think we first need to understand what exactly these bonuses are, and that is not as easy as it may sound. The bonuses are retention bonuses, not performance bonuses. A retention bonus is a bonus paid to keep an employee with the company for some reason or another. A short example of this is, Manny, Moe, and Jack are all working for a company. Jack is the President and it was his business plan that started the company. He hires Manny to overlook production, and Moe to over see distribution. Manny and Moe are very good at their jobs, but are only focused on their job and do not know the other jobs, Jack doesn’t know jack about production or distribution, he only knows the administrative part of the business.
Now Jack sees Manny and Moe are getting ready to call it quits, so he offers them a cash bonus to stay for one year, giving Jack to either train someone to replace them or learn their job himself. This is what is known as a retention bonus. It keeps good employees in their job rather than lose them to other companies with exclusive knowledge of their specific jobs.
I like many others am against the US Government bailing out any private company, and I think executives profiting while a company are failing is frankly unconscionable, we still have an obligation to honor contracts. I think it is no different than the auto workers union and their collective bargaining agreement with the bailouts of the auto industry. Until the collective bargaining agreement runs out the auto companies have a legal obligation to honor them. After they run out they should decrease pay and benefits to a level that is sustainable to the company. But in both situations the government has no place telling AIG or any other company to not honor its contracts.
Not only are there contracts but in the legislation past last year, this type of bonus was allowed. So now you have a Law passed by congress, and contracts entered into by businesses. Now congress has the public up in arms, creating a lynch mob of the general public. Our government has taken this one step further, attempt to place an excessive tax on these bonuses.
Again I will quote our US Constitution
Article 1 Section 9 No bill of attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

A bill passed by law, contracts entered into by companies and employees, and now the US Constitution. The elected officials in Washington, Republican and Democrats, have over the past few months really forgotten that they have rules they need to operate by, while preaching to Wall Street about how they have gone awry and become greedy, Washington has done the same. It does not matter if you agree with these bonuses or not, the US Constitution was written to protect us from an over zealous government. You may this one time wish to allow this, but if we the people stand for it just this once, we are telling our government that as long as they get enough people angry with a given situation, it is ok to violate the constitution. Every time we as a people allow it, we give them more and more power to shred the very fiber of our society.
Demand more from our elected officials.


Michael Zellner Jr.

March 25, 2009 at 8:41 am Comments (0)

New look for BNN

BlogNetNews has a new, cleaner look with a lot more bells and whistles.  Geeky bloggers such as myself like the expanded, easier to use ratings.  Political junkies (myself, again) will like the easier to use format.

Check it out here.

Cross posted at Bluftooni.

January 22, 2009 at 8:44 pm Comments (0)

Red November Initiative

Longtime SePa blogger TrekMedic is kicking off another round of the Red November Initiative, this time for 2008.


October 13, 2007 at 3:09 pm Comments (0)

The Real Racists in the“Jena Six”? Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson

The Real Racists in the“Jena Six”? Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson

Man, it’s about time. A confluence of events is shaping up that promises to expose America as the racist nation that it is.

First, three white Duke lacrosse players had rape charges dropped against them by a black stripper, who, even though she was “exposed” as a liar and racist, had a great imagination. Despite the best efforts of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, justice was clearly not served. Can you say “Tawana Brawley”?

And what of the black Rutgers basketball player who sued Don Imus because her feelings were hurt? No doubt Imus’ joke inflicted immeasurable pain and severe emotional damage to this new-found celebrity, our “wounded hero”.

Then we have OJ, who was just arrested (again) only because he is a famous black man. Pay no attention to the armed robbery charge or the various other offenses police believe he committed. Since the White Man failed in his attempt to frame OJ for murder in 1994 (a clearly racist action—come on, was there any evidence in that case?), he is seeking payback. Successful black athletes simply cannot be allowed to freely walk the streets of America.

Speaking of football players, we have Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback Donovan McNabb’s recent statement that black quarterbacks face more pressure, scrutiny and criticism than their white counterparts. And he should know, because, well….. he said so. He can’t back up his position with any facts, but he’s the clairvoyant Donovan McNabb. He knows what Carson Palmer and Peyton Manning face in their lily white press conferences—-and that they don’t have to deal with the “racism” he does. In all fairness to the prima donna, maybe it’s “Whitey keeping him down” that’s makes the turf his favorite receiver.

And lastly, we have the “Free the Jena Six” movement underway in Louisiana. Big Al is on scene, of course, but that’s probably because of the all-you-can-eat Cajun buffet. The issue at hand is the arrest of six black students who nearly beat a white student to death. Why? Apparently in retribution for nooses hung from a tree on school property.

Even though the beating took place three months after the tree incident.

The simple facts of this case? A tree at the school was used as a meeting place for white students. The morning after black students gathered under the tree, nooses were hung. No charges were filed against those who hung the nooses because the prosecutor couldn’t find a Louisiana law under which to charge them. Hanging nooses is incredibly stupid and racist, and should be condemned, but it was not illegal.

After the beating took place, the “Jena Six” were arrested and charged with attempted murder. Only one has been tried so far, and he was found guilty of a lesser offense (aggravated second-degree battery). His conviction was overturned on the grounds that he should have been tried as a juvenile because he was sixteen. The prosecutor, Reed Walters, explained that five out of the six would in fact be charged as juveniles, but since Mychal Bell had a prior criminal record, he was tried as an adult.

That’s it, folks.

There is no smoking gun, no racism. And this is unequivocally not “the most blatant example of disparity in the justice system” that Al Sharpton claims he has ever seen.

Does anyone but the racist and ignorant really believe anything this man says? And why does the media continually give him a national platform? He does nothing but invoke racism where it doesn’t apply, inciting hatred and dividing our nation in the process.

So now we have large protest rallies, labeled as a continuation of the 1960’s Civil Rights movement. We have marchers being bussed into Jena from around the country, and numerous protest marches in other cities.

That is, far and away, one of the worst analogies ever made. The Civil Rights movement had justification and merit. It was about freedom and equality. The Jena case isn’t. Period.

In what appears to be a contest to show which self-important grandstander is most out-of-touch, the CEO of the NAACP stated: “People are saying, ‘That’s enough, and we’re not taking it anymore.”

“Taking what”, exactly? Does he believe that people—including angry blacks— should not be held accountable for their actions? Is it okay to assault or kill a person because you don’t like what someone of his same color did? It seems that any action by white authorities to black people is not just suspect, but racist and therefore has no merit. And the people who feel like this will never let facts stand in the way. Here’s an example: when several whites asked black demonstrators if they knew Mychal Bell had a criminal record, they blamed Jena High School administrators for mishandling school incidents. Sure, blame it on the school. Blame it on the police and prosecutor, blame it on the town. In fact, just blame everything and everyone in this country—except the ones actually doing the crimes. After all, since America engaged in slavery two centuries ago, that gives everyone of “color” free reign to do whatever they like, including invoking racism as easily as getting out of bed.

The saddest part of this? The people of Jena are too scared to go on record and chastise criminal behavior—regardless of skin color. They worry that if they take on the real racists—Sharpton and Jackson—they will be labeled as “bigots and racists”. Guess what? They already are.

In a vacuum, the loudest voice wins. And with a biased and lazy media, this victory goes to the real racists.

Will the real patriots of Jena, Louisiana please stand up? The world is watching.

September 22, 2007 at 11:34 pm Comment (1)

Donovan McNabb: Still Making Excuses!

If Donovan McNabb spent half as much time playing football as he does making excuses, the Eagles would probably have a Super Bowl victory.

Instead, he is busy doing what he does best, namely playing the race card, being a prima donna, and telling anyone who will listen, ad nauseum, that he is a “leader”, and the Philadelphia Eagles are his team.

Newsflash: when someone is a true leader, he never has to tell you.

The latest pontificating by McNabb came on an HBO show where McNabb claims that there is more pressure on black NFL quarterbacks. “There’s not that many African-American quarterbacks, so we have to do a little bit extra,” McNabb says.. “Because the percentage of us playing this position, which people didn’t want us to play … is low, so we do a little extra.”

Hey, Donovan, is that “little extra” throwing up in the huddle—which you denied—during the Super Bowl? Or coming up small in all the big games? Or was it your pathetic handling of the Terrell Owens saga, a situation that, with a little common sense, could have been easily diffused?

But Donovan McNabb talking about race? I thought that was taboo. Just look at McNabb’s own words: “If you talk about my play, that’s one thing. When you talk about my race, now we’ve got problems.”

So it’s not okay for Rush Limbaugh to state that black quarterbacks got more than their fair share of attention, but it’s acceptable for McNabb to complain about his perceived racial bias?

What about Donovan’s infamous—and incomprehensible— remark that (former Eagle receiver) Terrell Owen’s criticism of him amounted to “black-on-black” crime?

His consistency on this subject is becoming like his ball-playing.

So why the recent diatribe? Because only five of thirty-two NFL teams have black starting quarterbacks (15.6%). Of course, that number would be higher (19%) if not for former Atlanta Falcons quarterback, Michael “Dog-Killer” Vick.

Did it ever dawn on McNabb that blacks make up 13% of the population? Where’s the racism?

There is none. Sure, you will always have the extreme element that brings race into everything, but those people are the fringe lunatics who are marginalized anyway. Is there really a bias against black quarterbacks in the media? Of course not. And what about the fans, especially in a sports-crazed town like Philly?

You could be a communist vegan transvestite quarterback, but if you always play hard, win the big games and give the city a Championship Parade, they don’t care what color you are. The only color Philadelphians care about is Eagles Green.

Donovan McNabb arguably has the most talent of any NFL quarterback—no one has ever questioned that. While he and the Eagles have enjoyed great success, both in regular seasons and the playoffs, they have not won the Big Game. For a city that has not experienced a championship in any major sport for almost three decades, “almost” simply isn’t good enough. The fact that McNabb cannot understand this, and instead equates boos and criticism to his skin color, shows just how far out of touch he really is.

How ’bout those Phils?

September 22, 2007 at 11:32 pm Comments (0)

Philadelphia's Warped Priorities

City Hall’s Priorities Are Warped

Kudos to Mayor Street! After eight very, very long years, his legacy is now complete.

Faced with the highest murder rate in the nation—a fact not lost on the national news bureaus— the Mayor’s efforts have led to….the highest poverty rate in America. Along with a dysfunctional school system, Center City continues to be plagued with a chronic homeless population, one of the nation’s dirtiest cities, and a Convention Center whose unions scare away more business than can be generated.

And how will the Mayor be remembered? As the one who stood in line, for hours, for the chance at buying one of the first iPhones. In all fairness, fighting a crisis crime wave takes a back seat to getting a new toy, and the Mayor is a self described gadget-junkie.

His response to the near-universal outrage? “This is not a whole lot different then if I were doing some neighborhood activity and not in City Hall. I’m in touch then and I’m in touch now.”

He sure is.

In fact, another legacy idea that was recently announced was the decision to raise parking meter rates in Center City. By a mere 100%.

And that’s not all. The meters’ hours of operation have also increased, with motorists now having to worry about paying until10:00 at night (up from 6:30 in many places).

How’s that for irony?

Instead of running the gauntlet of criminals just once at the end of an evening, you will be forced to do it several times or face huge parking fines. Quite frankly, I’m surprised this hasn’t become a Reality TV show yet. Just imagine the plot lines—and the ratings! Viewers could vote as to which contestant they think isn’t going to make it back to the pub alive. You would have Philadelphians (and tourists) faced with rape, robbery, and, in true Hollywood fashion, the very real possibility of getting blown away—over a disputed parking space!

What is absolutely priceless in this debacle is the comment made by Linda Miller, Senior Director of Facilities and Public Affairs at the Philadelphia Parking Authority.

When asked about the rate increases, she said, “We’ve actually been looking at this for over a year”.
Just a year? Truly a model for efficiency over at the PPA!

She then tried to justify the move by stating that businesses would actually be helped by the new regulations, because there would be more “turnover”. Sure, businesses are going to generate more revenue because the meter rates went up.

Of course, what goes unanswered is how you can have more turnover if you’ve just given people one more reason to avoid downtown?

Since the City felt no need to consult the business community before their move, I am not sure how they came up with the turnover rationalization. I’m probably going out on a limb here, but if you take a poll of Center City business owners, you could probably count on one hand how many favor the new regulations.

But here’s the most classic line of all: “On any given day, you can be downtown, and it’s New York almost”.

Yeah. Almost.

Earth to Linda: “Have we met”?

It’s funny. Just the other day I was in New York, and as much as I tried to notice the resemblance between the two cities, the similarity escaped me.

New York has Manhattan, we don’t. End of story.

Of course, there is one area where we do surpass the Big Apple.


Welcome to Philadelphia.

August 21, 2007 at 11:07 pm Comments (0)

Rendell's Budget Hypocrisy Knows No Bounds

Pennsylvania Governor Rendell’s Budget Hypocrisy Knows No Bounds

Prepare for the hordes.

Governor Ed Rendell and a Commonwealth Court judge legislating from the bench have finally figured out a way to attract more people to Pennsylvania, thereby reversing our steady decline into oblivion.

They made liquor and gambling “essential”.

The decision to keep liquor stores open and casinos rolling was made during the recent government shutdown over a budget impasse. The Governor, in using his discretion over what government services were deemed “essential”, clearly illustrated his priorities. He thought it vastly more important to keep the citizens liquored up (actually, based on his performance, probably not a bad idea) than keeping state parks and museums open during summer peak season.

Interestingly, given the Governor’s penchant for wine and liquor, it’s too bad he didn’t put forth the same effort into trying to rescind the 18% “Johnstown Flood Temporary Tax” on all wine and liquor sold in Pennsylvania. After all, the state loses millions in revenue to out-of-state liquor stores because of such an astronomical “revenue enhancer”.

Although, in all fairness, it isn’t like the Johnstown Flood was 120 years ago. Just 118.

As far as the Commonwealth Court, Senior Judge Keith Quigley needs to be sent back to law school to learn what is, and what is not, within the proper realm of a judge. He absolutely overstepped his bounds by his decision to keep the casinos open, because, in his own words, it made “economic sense” to do so. One problem: his view on what makes economic sense is irrelevant….It’s not his call! He had but one simple role in this matter, namely to decide whether the furloughing of casino employees was illegal, which it clearly is not. It ‘s a pity that the judge is either unaware or has ignored the system our Founding Fathers gave us, and an even greater pity that the Governor and the legislature are not challenging him for his abuse of power in usurping the responsibilities of both the executive and legislative branches. What the Governor, Senate and House do not understand is that if this blatant lack of judicial restraint is not immediately addressed, it sets precedent for the next time a judge feels like making his own laws. Civics 101— “checks and balances”. Governor Rendell and all 253 legislators need to review it.

If Quigley wants to legislate so badly, he should have the guts to run for state representative, not make cowardly decisions hiding behind his robe. Perhaps he just wanted to get boozed up and go gambling this week…

The major disagreements between the Governor and the legislature were…wait, I’m not sure. A quick check of the television news and statewide newspapers reveal…practically nothing. It seems that the Fourth Estate dropped the ball again, allocating extremely feeble coverage as to why we had a crisis, choosing instead to focus on the furloughs and “hardships” of all the public servants and, of course, giving us up to the minute developments on whether Pennsylvania’s casinos will remain open. Some conspiracy buffs will say the lack of in-depth media analysis was done to help the Governor by not publicizing the unpopular tax increases he was seeking, but sadly, the reality is much more basic. The media continues its plunge into mediocrity because, overall, it is lazy and incompetent.

Take the “furloughs”. The media much prefers to interview, for example, people at a closed DMV, rather than expose the calculated, purely political games the Governor played with his “pawns”. While Rendell rambled incoherently about some obscure “federal law”about essential and non-essential status, a law which no one can seem to find, where were the stories about the fact that the furloughs didn’t have to take place at all?

First things first. Pennsylvania has a constitutional requirement stating that it must have a balanced budget, meaning it can not operate in the red. This is a tremendously valuable law, and one which Washington sorely needs. With such a provision, if the budget is not passed by June 30, government workers will not get paid.

The solution is simple, although certainly not easy: all public servants should have been mandated to keep working. They would get full back pay, of course, once the new budget was in place, and the state would not shut down at all. OK, after the hoots and hollers, let’s take a look at history in this regard.

Flashback to 1977. There was a similar budget impasse, mainly over a proposed tax increase. Instead of lasting for a day, however, it went on until mid-August. Government workers, all of them, continued going to work, admirably fulfilling their roles as public servants. As a matter of fact, the Pennsylvania State Police had a lower rate of officers calling out “sick” during this time of work-with- no-pay than they did during regular operation. How’s that for dedication and professionalism?

Here’s the bottom line: The Government’s job is to stay open and assist people, period. It does not exist to “make money”—there is no such thing as “government money”, it’s the people’s money that is sent to Harrisburg, so government can “stay open and assist people”.

I don’t buy the argument that since state stores and casinos generate their own revenue, they should be allowed to stay open. So do state parks and museums that charge an entrance fee, but they were shut down. It is clear that certain government workers were victims of political one-upsmanship, being manipulated as tools of the Governor. It is a disgrace when the Chief Executive of the fifth largest state skins his employees’ feet, then dips them in salt just for the chance to pass more outrageous taxes. Is it any wonder why poll after poll shows the people’s disdain and disgust for their elected officials?

Notice I didn’t say elected “leaders”. Because in Harrisburg, that is a rare commodity indeed.

July 11, 2007 at 2:49 pm Comments (0)