Homeland Stupidity http://www.homelandstupidity.us Government is stupid. Discover a better way to organize society. Tue, 15 Apr 2014 02:34:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 Middle of the Road in Healthcare Leads to Socialism http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2013/08/25/middle-of-the-road-in-healthcare-leads-to-socialism/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2013/08/25/middle-of-the-road-in-healthcare-leads-to-socialism/#comments Sun, 25 Aug 2013 23:04:57 +0000 http://www.homelandstupidity.us/?p=901 The ever-expanding role of government in healthcare provides an excellent example of Ludwig Von Mises’ warning that “The Middle of the Road Leads to Socialism.” Beginning in the 1940s, government policies distorted the health care market, causing prices to rise and denying many Americans access to quality care. Congress reacted to the problems caused by their prior interventions with new interventions, such as the HMO Act, ERISA, EMTLA, and various federal entitlement programs. Each new federal intervention not only failed to fix the problems it was supposedly created to solve, it created new problems, leading to calls for even more new federal interventions. This process culminated in 2010, when Congress passed Obamacare.

Contrary to the claims of some of its opponents, Obamacare is not socialized medicine. It is corporatized medicine. After all, the central feature of Obamacare is the mandate that all Americans buy health insurance from private health insurance companies. And, as with previous government interventions in the marketplace, Obamacare is not only failing to correct the problems caused by prior federal laws, it is creating new problems.

Consider the almost weekly stories about how Obamacare is causing health insurance premiums to rise, causing employees to lay off workers or reduce their workers’ hours, and causing doctors to leave the profession. Also, consider the problems the administration is already having administering the federal exchanges and other parts of the health care law.

I fully expect the implosion of Obamacare to continue, and the supporters of nationalized health care to use Obamacare’s failures to push for a Canadian-style “single payer” health care system. Unfortunately, some Obamacare opponents fail to see that the problem is not just Obamacare, but all government interference with health care. These Obamacare opponents advocate replacing Obamacare with “Obamacare lite.” But economic law teaches us that “Obamacare lite” will be no more successful than Obamacare.

In order to win the battle for health freedom, those who oppose nationalized health care must have the courage to advocate for a complete free market in health care. Enhanced individual tax credits and enhanced use of Health Savings Accounts (HSA) are just two polices that could help restore a free-market in health care by putting control over the health care dollar back in the hands of the people. A good place to start would be to repeal Obamacare’s restrictions on HSAs.

Long-term group insurance contracts could ensure that those with pre-existing conditions could obtain coverage. Under such a contract, individuals could pool resources to purchase a group policy that would cover any and all problems any member might develop over time. Businesses, churches, community organizations, and even fraternities and sororities could offer these types of contracts.

Negative outcomes insurance, where patients waive the right to sue for medical errors in exchange for guaranteed payouts to those harmed, could reduce the burden of malpractice litigation.

Other free-market health care reforms that could make the health care market more competitive and lower the cost of health care include allowing individuals to purchase insurance from across state lines, removing restrictions on physician-owned hospitals, and reducing the regulatory power of the Food and Drug Administration.

Some will say it is unrealistic to advocate replacing Obamacare with a pure free-market system, but in fact it is unrealistic to expect anything less than a true free-market to provide quality health care for Americans at all income levels. Continuing on the “middle of the road” in health care by mixing free-markets with government spending and regulations will only continue to take us on the road to socialized health care.

Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

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Military “Cuts”: Don’t Believe the Hype http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2012/08/20/military-cuts-dont-believe-the-hype/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2012/08/20/military-cuts-dont-believe-the-hype/#comments Mon, 20 Aug 2012 18:22:58 +0000 http://www.homelandstupidity.us/?p=798 ]]> Grover Norquist, the influential conservative activist, recently made some very frank and sobering remarks about the U.S. military budget. Unlike many conservatives, Mr. Norquist understands that American national security interests are not served by the interventionist foreign policy mindset that has dominated both political parties in recent decades. He also understands that there is nothing “conservative” about incurring trillions of dollars in debt to engage in hopeless nation building exercises overseas.

Speaking at the Center for the National Interest last week, Norquist stated that “We can afford to have an adequate national defense which keeps us free and safe and keeps everybody afraid to throw a punch at us, as long as we don’t make some of the decisions that previous administrations have, which is to over extend ourselves overseas and think we can run foreign governments.”

He continued: “Bush decided to be the mayor of Baghdad rather than the president of the United States. He decided to occupy Iraq and Afghanistan rather than reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. That had tremendous consequences… Richard Nixon said that America’s national defense needs are set in Moscow, meaning that we wouldn’t have to spend so much if they weren’t shooting at us. The guys who followed didn’t notice that the Soviet Union disappeared.”

When a prominent DC conservative like Grover Norquist makes such bold statements, it shows that public support for a truly conservative foreign policy is growing. The American people simply cannot stomach more wars and more debt, especially with our domestic economy in tatters.

The American people should reject the hype about so-called defense “cuts” from both sides of the political spectrum. When the Obama administration calls for an 18% increase in 2013 military spending, those who propose a 20% increase portray this as a reduction!

Even the supposedly draconian cuts called for in the “sequestration” budget bill would keep military spending at 2006 levels when adjusted for inflation, which is about as high in terms of GDP as during World War II. It’s also more than the top 13 foreign countries spend on defense combined. Furthermore, sequestration only cuts military spending for one year after taking effect. In future years Congress is free to reinstate higher military spending levels — so under sequestration the most drastic case would mean spending $5.2 trillion instead of $5.7 trillion over the next decade.

Is there any amount of money that would satisfy the Pentagon hawks? Even if we were to slash our military budget in half, America easily would remain the world’s dominant military power. Our problems don’t result from a lack of spending. They result from a lack of vision and a profound misunderstanding of the single biggest threat to every American man, woman, and child: the federal debt.

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Moving Toward War in Syria http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2012/08/06/moving-toward-war-in-syria/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2012/08/06/moving-toward-war-in-syria/#comments Mon, 06 Aug 2012 19:04:16 +0000 http://www.homelandstupidity.us/?p=793 Last week the House passed yet another bill placing sanctions on Iran and Syria, bringing us closer to another war in the Middle East. We are told that ever harsher sanctions finally will force the targeted nations to bend to our will. Yet the ineffectiveness of previous sanctions teaches us nothing; in truth sanctions lead to war more than they prevent war.

Until last year, Libyan sanctions were touted as a great success story. The regime would change its behavior. Yet NATO bombed the country anyway.

Last week we learned that President Obama signed an intelligence “finding” directing the CIA to covertly assist rebels in Syria. The administration seems determined to fight yet another war in Syria that has nothing to do with American national interests.

We already know that a similar “finding” was signed under the latest Bush administration directing US intelligence to undermine the Iranian government and promote regime change there. Neoconservatives have long demanded that we overthrow the Syrian government before moving on to war against Iran. This bellicosity continues regardless of which party is in the White House.

In Syria we see once again how our interventionist policies backfire and make us less secure. Recent news reports point to ties between the Syrian opposition and al-Qaeda (and other extremist groups). A recent article in the Guardian, a British newspaper, exclaimed that, “Al-Qaida turns tide for rebels in battle for eastern Syria.” The article quotes an al-Qaeda leader in Syria saying that he meets with the main US-backed Syrian rebel organization, the Free Syrian Army, “almost every day.” So by promoting civil war in Syria we end up fueling al-Qaeda.

According to another recent press report, German intelligence services estimate that nearly 100 terrorist attacks have been committed by al-Qaeda or related organizations in Syria over the past six months. Last month a suicide bomber in Syria killed a defense minister and several top government officials. The US government, which has been fighting a “War on Terror” for more than a decade now, refused to condemn that act of terrorism.

This raises the question of whether the US administration is supporting the same people in Syria that we have been fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed these same concerns earlier this year when asked whether the US has been reluctant to arm the Syrian rebels. She answered, “To whom are you delivering them? We know al-Qaida. Zawahiri is supporting the opposition in Syria. Are we supporting al-Qaida in Syria?”

That is a very good question. It clearly demonstrates that the United States has no business at all being involved in the Syrian civil war. In the 1980s we supported a resistance movement in Afghanistan that later gave birth to elements of al-Qaeda and the Taliban. When will we learn our lesson and stop intervening in conflicts we don’t truly understand, conflicts that have nothing to do with American national interests?

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Sitting On Our Assets http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2012/06/26/sitting-on-our-assets/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2012/06/26/sitting-on-our-assets/#comments Wed, 27 Jun 2012 00:54:24 +0000 http://www.homelandstupidity.us/?p=681 The United States government has no idea how much real property it holds that is unused or underutilized and could be sold or transferred, according to a government audit.

The Government Accountability Office report, released last week, details how the Federal Real Property Council, charged with maintaining a database of property held by the government, is so full of inconsistencies and inaccuracies as to be nearly useless for its purpose of identifying real estate that could be better utilized or disposed of.

The GAO report found that 23 of the 26 sites it examined differed significantly from the Federal Real Property Profile database, not only in their actual condition but in their value, actual utilization and necessity to the government’s missions.

For example, 21 of the 26 buildings were in need of more repair than the database indicated. The agencies did not report the costs of repairing many of the buildings because they had no plans to do so, and as a result the database reported them in 100% or perfect condition.

In addition, the reported utilization of many buildings varied dramatically from what investigators found on site visits. One building reported as fully utilized was fully utilized only by rats and beehives and was otherwise unused. An office building reported as empty one year and 59% utilized the next turned out to be only about 10% utilized during both years, according to the officials actually in the building.

The report comes just as the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management held one of a series of field hearings in vacant federal property.

At last week’s hearing, held in an abandoned heating plant that had not been used in a decade, subcommittee chairman Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., plainly told a General Services Administration official, “you’re not doing a good job” disposing of unneeded real estate.

True to form, Flavio Peres, GSA’s deputy assistant commissioner for real property utilization and disposal, claimed the building “is an example of GSA’s successful management of our assets and our ongoing efforts, in line with administration goals, to better utilize federal real property.” GSA had not begun work to sell the building, located in “pricey” Georgetown, until November 2011, and expects it to actually go on sale in September.

“We have moved aggressively to right size our portfolio,” Peres further joked.

To be fair, it isn’t entirely the GSA’s fault. Many of the buildings at issue are controlled directly by the various federal agencies, rather than GSA. And selling the properties has its own set of obstacles, most of them legal. Repairing the property to make it usable, or in the case of the Department of Energy, cleaning up the radioactive waste, can cost more than the property is worth. Agencies also have to consider the environmental impact of disposing of property, and if it’s a historic site, or even eligible to be designated one, then it gets really complicated. And sometimes the people in the buildings just don’t want to move.

GAO recommended that the Office of Management and Budget develop a national strategy for managing excess and underutilized property and that GSA improve the FRPP database so that it’s actually useful.

That could take a while. In the meantime, Denham’s Civilian Property Realignment Act of 2011, meant to streamline the process of selling excess government real estate, has passed the House but stalled in the Senate. The bill follows a 2010 report, Sitting On Our Assets, which identifies hundreds of billions of dollars in potential savings through better management of federal assets and reduction of waste.

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Disaster Recovery http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2012/06/10/hello-world/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2012/06/10/hello-world/#comments Sun, 10 Jun 2012 19:48:30 +0000 http://homeland.ioerror.us/?p=1 We are currently recovering from a catastrophic server failure. Content previously available here will be restored as it becomes available over the next few days.

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Hemp History Week http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2010/05/06/hemp-history-week/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2010/05/06/hemp-history-week/#comments Thu, 06 May 2010 13:00:00 +0000 http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2010/05/06/hemp-history-week/ ]]> Statement of Congressman Ron Paul

United States House of Representatives

Statement on Hemp History Week

Madam Speaker, I rise to speak about Hemp History Week. To celebrate the American heritage of growing industrial hemp, the Hemp Industries Association, Vote Hemp, several American manufacturers, and allied companies and organizations have declared May 17 to May 23 to be Hemp History Week. Throughout the week, people will recognize America’s legacy of industrial hemp farming and call for reinstating respect for farmers’ basic right to grow industrial hemp.

Industrial hemp was legally grown throughout our country for many years. In fact, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew industrial hemp and used it to make cloth. During World War II, the federal government encouraged American farmers to grow hemp to help the war effort.

Despite industrial hemp farming being an important part of American history, the federal government has banned cultivation of this crop. In every other industrialized country, industrial hemp, defined to contain less than 0.3 percent THC — the psychoactive chemical found in marijuana, may be legally grown. Nobody can be psychologically affected by consuming industrial hemp. Unfortunately, because of a federal policy that does not distinguish between growing industrial hemp and growing marijuana, all hemp products and materials must be imported. The result is high prices, outsourced jobs, and lost opportunities for American manufacturing.

Reintroducing industrial hemp farming in the United States would bring jobs to communities struggling in today’s economy, provide American farmers with another crop alternative, and encourage the development of hemp processing factories near American hemp farming.

Industrial hemp is used in many products. For example, industrial hemp is used in protein supplements, non-dairy milk, and frozen desserts. Hemp flour is in breads, crackers, chips, dips, and dressings. Hemp seeds may be eaten plain or added to prepared foods. Additionally, hemp oil is used in a number of cosmetic and body care products, and hemp fiber is used in cloths. Industrial hemp is also present in bio-composite materials used in buildings and automobiles.

I first introduced the Industrial Hemp Farming Act (HR 1866) five years ago to end the federal government’s ban on American farmers growing industrial hemp. In this time, the industrial hemp industry has grown much larger. Despite its American history, industrial hemp is the only crop that we can buy and sell but not farm in the United States. The federal government should change the law to allow American farmers grow this profitable crop as American farmers have through most of our nation’s history. Please cosponsor the Industrial Hemp Farming Act and join me in celebrating Hemp History Week.

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You are the homegrown terrorist threat http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2007/05/13/you-are-the-homegrown-terrorist-threat/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2007/05/13/you-are-the-homegrown-terrorist-threat/#comments Sun, 13 May 2007 16:00:44 +0000 http://www.homelandstupidity.us/?p=824 ]]> If you’re an American reading this, then under expansive definitions being used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and several states in their counterterrorism training, you just might be a domestic terrorist.

The FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force in Phoenix, Ariz., distributed a brochure (Images: 1, 2) to local law enforcement agencies a few years ago which defines terrorism as individuals or groups within the U.S. who engage in criminal activity to promote political or social changes. This is correct, as far as it goes, but the brochure then gives a listing of “suspicious” activities, telling law enforcement officers: “If you encounter any of the following, call the Joint Terrorism Task Force.”

Some of the things for which you should be reported as a suspected terrorist include the usual things, like weapons of mass destruction, and hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and Neo-Nazis, but also includes people who “Make numerous references to US Constitution,” “Claim driving is a right, not a privilege” and “Attempt to ‘police the police.'”

In addition, “People whose political motivation is usually Marxist/Leninist philosophy,” “‘defenders’ of the US Constitution against federal government and the UN,” computer hackers, and “Lone Individuals” should also be reported.

Do you fall under any of those categories? I certainly do; more than one, in fact. So I’m probably under suspicion somewhere as a domestic terrorist.

Last week, the state of Alabama Department of Homeland Security got scrutinized for an interactive terrorism awareness training section of its Web site, which said much the same things. The bureaucrats removed the entire training after it wound up on digg.com, a popular Web site where users can promote news to the site’s front page.

In Alabama, it seems, promoting gun rights can also get you branded a domestic terrorist.

Alabama’s site was based on a similar one from the state of Pennsylvania, which in addition to all of the above, says that promoting jury nullification, secession, or the belief that all governments must ultimately become corrupted by power also makes you a domestic terrorist worth watching.

But it gets worse.

But you see, I once read Unintended Consequences and was quite impressed with the book. Then one day I attended a FBI security briefing for technology security and was confronted with an image of the book — strongly implying those who own or read the book were terrorists.

But now I find I’m considered a terrorist by many other government agencies! Seriously, I wonder when I shall be arrested and “Detained.” . . .

The state of Virginia also says I’m a terrorist. (PDF) Why there? Because I’m a “property rights advocate.” Seriously, in Virginia, you’re a TERRORIST if you advocate for property rights. I think they’re going to need to build more jails to house us all. . . .

Incredibly, none of this is in jest. These various government agencies honestly believe *I* am a “domestic terrorist.” That is so sad. Indeed, this once-great country has nowhere to go but down. — Ogre’s Politics & Views

Ogre also put together a nice interactive quiz which you can use to determine if you are a domestic terrorist. I scored a 70, which apparently means there’s a cell with my name on it in Guantanamo Bay.

So in keeping with my mandate to make fun of government stupidity, I’m offering these web banners so you can identify yourself as a domestic terrorist on your own blog or Web site. Just copy and paste the code for the one you want.

468×60 Banner

Certified Domestic Terrorist
<a href="http://www.homelandstupidity.us/"><img src="http://www.homelandstupidity.us/files/2007/05/domestic-terrorist-468x60.png" alt="Certified Domestic Terrorist" /></a>

234×60 Half Banner
Certified Domestic Terrorist
<a href="http://www.homelandstupidity.us/"><img src="http://www.homelandstupidity.us/files/2007/05/domestic-terrorist-234x60.png" alt="Certified Domestic Terrorist" /></a>

125×125 Square
Certified Domestic Terrorist
<a href="http://www.homelandstupidity.us/"><img src="http://www.homelandstupidity.us/files/2007/05/domestic-terrorist-125x125.png" alt="Certified Domestic Terrorist" /></a>

120×60
Certified Domestic Terrorist
<a href="http://www.homelandstupidity.us/"><img src="http://www.homelandstupidity.us/files/2007/05/domestic-terrorist-120x60.png" alt="Certified Domestic Terrorist" /></a>

It’s clear that in every meaningful way, the government considers ordinary Americans the enemy; their actions speak it unmistakably. Proudly display your status as a Certified Domestic Terrorist!

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New at Wal-Mart: Find a date on singles’ night http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2005/07/15/new-at-wal-mart-find-a-date-on-singles-night/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2005/07/15/new-at-wal-mart-find-a-date-on-singles-night/#comments Fri, 15 Jul 2005 13:00:00 +0000 http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2005/07/15/new-at-wal-mart-find-a-date-on-singles-night/ ]]> Don’t know what to do on Friday night? Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis not quite your thing? Singles’ night at Wal-Mart may be what you’re looking for.

The Wal-Mart store in Roanoke, Va., is the first Wal-Mart in the U.S. to offer singles’ night, where shoppers can browse the aisles looking for a potential date. To participate, just grab a shopping cart with a red bow on it, and look for anyone interesting who also has one. The rest is up to you.

Wal-Mart stores in Germany have been holding singles’ nights for some time now, and it’s quite popular.

Most of the 89 German Wal-Mart stores now run singles promotions, and one even kept track of a couple who got married after meeting at Wal-Mart. Similar programs have since been launched at Wal-Marts in South Korea, Puerto Rico and in the United Kingdom, where the singles nights are known as “trolley dating.” — ABC News

So far only the Roanoke, Va., store is holding a singles’ night, but other stores may participate in the future. Ask the manager at your local Wal-Mart.

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Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis season premiere Friday, 15 July http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2005/07/06/stargate-sg-1-and-stargate-atlantis-season-premiere-friday-15-july/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2005/07/06/stargate-sg-1-and-stargate-atlantis-season-premiere-friday-15-july/#comments Wed, 06 Jul 2005 14:25:50 +0000 http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2012/06/11/stargate-sg-1-and-stargate-atlantis-season-premiere-friday-15-july/ ]]> Season 9 of Stargate SG-1 and Season 2 of Stargate Atlantis begin in the U.S. on Friday, July 15th. SG-1 begins at 8pm/7pm and Atlantis begins at 9pm/8pm on the Sci-Fi Channel.

In addition, Sci-Fi will air all of Season 8 of SG-1 in order beginning tomorrow, July 7th at 8am/7am, and all of Season 1 of Atlantis in order begining this Friday, July 8th at 8am/7am.

SG-1 has long been one of my favorite shows; I’ve been watching it since it was on Showtime. I wasn’t too much a fan of Atlantis at first, but it’s grown on me.

You can find lots of spoilers and episode info online, but I for one want to be surprised, so you won’t find links to any of that. Go hit up Google. And if you haven’t gotten your DVD box sets, get them here: Stargate SG-1 Season 1, Season 2, Season 3, Season 4, Season 5, Season 6, Season 7. Season 8 and Season 1 of Stargate Atlantis aren’t yet available, sorry!

Don’t forget to get your Stargate Atlantis podcast with episode commentary!

Update: In Canada, Stargate Atlantis premieres on 18 July at 8pm (EDT) on M and M-HD. Stargate SG-1 premieres on Thursday, 14 July at 4:00pm on Atlantic Satellite Network. I haven’t been able to confirm which time zone this is, though. And yes, I know these listings cover only part of the country. Feel free to comment if you have any further information.

I wasn’t able to find premiere dates for the UK and other countries. If you know them, please leave a comment and a link to the network carrying them in your country!

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Wal-Mart heir dies in plane crash http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2005/06/28/wal-mart-heir-dies-in-plane-crash/ http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2005/06/28/wal-mart-heir-dies-in-plane-crash/#comments Tue, 28 Jun 2005 06:07:00 +0000 http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2005/06/28/wal-mart-heir-dies-in-plane-crash/ John Walton, heir to the Wal-Mart fortune, died when his ultralight plane crashed Monday in Jackson, Wyoming, leaving behind a fortune estimated at $20 billion. No word is yet available on the cause of the crash. Courtesy CNN.

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