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It seems these days any level of government that is “working hard for the people” is busy reforming itself. While the word reform used to mean making a substantive change for the better, when government officials use this term, it means just the opposite. Those in government who use the word reform want you to think they are doing things to benefit you, but what is really going on is “pretend reform”. The result is inevitably more government control. Very little real substantive change ever happens when government reforms itself. Government reform is like shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic — while a lot of activity takes place and things may look different, the activity translates into very little substantive change.
Why? Because much what the government is doing and involved with is not good. It is bad. So if you reform a bad behavior on the outside, but make no real changes on the inside, the result is only the appearance of good behavior, but nothing really changes. Much of what our government does is contrary to the Constitution and its founding principles of a free and virtuous people who consent to be government by a limited government. So if something is not good, reforming it without really changing the fundamentals yields a mere illusion of change without any real reform. For example, if you heard an alcoholic say they were are going to reform their behavior, what would you expect? The alcoholic would stop drinking. But in government-speak, reform would mean the alcoholic would not start drinking until after 11:00 A.M. Did change happen? Yes. Did true reform take place? No. The new “reform rules” for the alcoholic only give an appearance of change without changing the final outcome. If the alcoholic makes his announcement with a sincere and concerned voice, as if his reform will mean anything substantive, then politics is likely in his future. (A little sarcasm there — just a little).
If you’ve been following along lately, the $30 million Public Safety levy failed this May by a wide margin. Then, what is not so well known, was Senate Bill (SB 26) passed and was signed into law. What did SB 26 do? It removed the sunset clause which allows Klamath County to use its Road Funds (~$80 million) for Public Safety. What is quite fascinating is the sequence of events. First citizens say “no” to more money being pulled from their pockets for government expenses. Then only after this form of citizen extortion failed, the State granted Klamath County permission to use money sitting in their bank account for public safety. Why was SB 26 hidden and obscure until after the Public Safety Levy failed? Because they, the government socialists, always prefer to spend more of your money rather than what they already have.
We should be outraged that our elected county commissioners who, by themselves put the public safety levy on the ballot without a citizen referendum, knew about SB 26 but remained silent.
On this 4th of July weekend many will celebrate. However, our problem is many do not know what they will be celebrating. Watch this quick video by InfoWars. When we celebrate for the sake of celebrating and we do not know why we celebrate, the celebration becomes the focus and not the historical event we are to remember.
This weekend, Liberty is why we celebrate. Freedom from a tyrannical English monarch, King George. But Liberty means more. It means the Founders set up a government that would be limited in scope and power so that we, many generations later, could continue to enjoy freedom from a powerful and oppressive government. However, Liberty began to lose its meaning in the late 20th century, and now many people have become fools, like those see on the InfoWars video.
In the 1960's progressive activists began to bend and re-shape the meaning of Liberty. These subversive few redefined Liberty from meaning “freedom from tyranny” to “freedom from morality and natural consequence”. Want to get drunk, take something from someone else, get high and have sex with whomever you want? You are free to do so, and do as much of it as you want. In their view, freedom from moral constraint is what Liberty was all about. The “oppression” in their view was morality, not government. Government in their view is good. Moral constraints bad. Unfortunately over time this new meaning took shape and ahold of the culture. The problem is that Liberty was never meant to stand alone. There is a co-principle, the other side of the coin, that must always go hand and hand with Liberty — Personal Responsibility.
If you’ve been paying attention, it has been in the news. President Obama’s desire to fast-track a trade deal for the Pacific Rim. However, the bedfellows in this deal are odd and should give us all pause. Many Republicans and most Democrats are against this fast track process, so much so they defeated the first attempt of the Obama administration. Also one must ask, why is that Republican leadership is siding with President Obama? People like Speaker Boehner, Congressman Walden in the House and Majority Leader McConnell in the Senate? Just on the face of it, something is seriously amiss.
Then there is the secrecy. Much of the TPP (more about that later) is not viewable by just anyone. You must sign in to access the room with the bill. Then you are not allowed to take notes or any recording devices with you in order to see hundreds of pages of the proposed bill. This runs completely counter to our nation’s founding. As Dennis Linthicum has said, “Transparency in Government preserves liberty; secrecy promotes tyranny.” Therefore just on the face of this secrecy process, we must stand against both the TPA and TPP.
If you don’t know much about either of these, here are two easy to read articles in order to understand the basics of TPA and TPP:
On Tuesday, May 19th, Klamath County voters defeated ballot measure 18-100 (Klamath Jail Levy) and approved 18-101 (OSU Extension Center Levy). The Klamath Jail Levy (also known as the Public Safety Levy) asked tax payers to trust County Commissioners with a potential $1.14/$1,000 addition to their property taxes. Proponents claimed this would ensure secure jail funding for the next 5 years. Opponents claimed that the County had other ways of funding the jail without further burdening tax payers — and that is exactly what the county had been doing for the past four years. Opponents won this battle 59% to 41%.
Levy 18-10 (aka OSU Extension Center Levy or KBREC) was a different story with claims that farmers would go out of business and 4-H would cease to exist if the levy was not passed. Opponents claimed that if farmers needed such services they could pay for them without tax payer subsidies and that 4-H would be better off without government involvement. Voters approved the levy by a closer vote of 53% to 46%.
But while some celebrate the defeat of the Jail levy, the fact that our taxes now increase another $0.15/$1,000 on top of the increases of over $1.00/$1,000 for either county or city school building projects is, in the end, a loss. Klamath County moved more towards socialism, just on a slower path than some would like, but certainly in that direction. The KBREC levy offers the same set of services that were available before, but now at an increased cost to all. What's worse is that only a small subset of the community benefit from KBREC which is paid for by all. That's great if you are the few on the receiving end, not so great if you are stuck with the bill.
Earlier this week, Freedom took it on the chin as the U.S. House passed HR 2048, named the USA Freedom Act. U.S. Congressman Greg Walden voted for the bill. You probably did not hear him say anything about it, because Mr. Walden hopes you never learn how he voted — or that such a vote took place. If he were proud of his vote, rest assured, we would all know about it.
Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that the bulk telephone metadata program run by the National Security Agency (NSA) is not authorized by Section 215 of the Patriot Act and is thus unlawful. The ruling is a big win for privacy and civil liberties advocates who have long argued that Section 215 clearly does not contemplate the type of mass collection we now know is occurring.
However that did not deter Congress and so they quickly wrote H.R 2048 which will undo much of the progress resulting from the Second Circuit’s opinion. The bill's sponsors, and unfortunately some outside advocacy groups, wrongly claim that H.R. 2048 ends “bulk” collection. It is true that the bill ends the phone dragnet as we currently know it—by having the phone companies themselves hold, search, and analyze certain data at the request of the government, which is worse in many ways given the broader set of data the companies hold—but H.R. 2048 actually expands the statutory basis for the large-scale collection of most data.
In the 1980's an anti-drug campaign led by First Lady Nancy Reagan urged young adults to “Just say no” to drugs. The liberals mocked the campaign, and Mrs. Reagan, as being too simple. You see the drug culture was much more complex, much more nuanced. For her to expect youth to Just Say No when offered or encouraged to take drugs would never work.
Funny though. If you Just Say No and don't do drugs guess what — you don't do drugs. Will power IS enough, you just have to have the courage (this of course does not include those already addicted, where more is required).
This is exactly the same is the message we need to send to the county clerk's office this month when we turn in our May ballots. Just Say No to bigger government. Just say no to additional taxes. Just say no to public unions ever increasing salaries and benefits. The dirty little secret why county government is shedding services left and right is not because we don't send them enough money, rather it is because they have signed an unholy alliance with public unions which ever increase their costs — no matter what the surrounding economy is doing.
Of course you’re going to support the farmers, ranchers and children by voting Yes on 18-101: the KBREC OSU Extension Center levy. Who would be against such a thing?
This is the perpetual lie of the Left. They claim that if we continue to acquiesce and send more of our disposable income to government that County and State officials know best how to bring about utopia. 18-101 is no different.
Previously the OSU Extension Center and 4-H were funded by our general property taxes. This meant the County Commissioners looked at their budgets and allocated a certain amount for these services. Since 2007, when the housing bubble burst and economic collapse ensued, the Commissioners have steadily been setting aside less and less for this program. It isn’t that they think the OSU Extension Center is a bad program or that 4-H is not worth funding, but the County Commissioners had to make a decision with their limited resources and decided that the county had higher priorities that needed to be funded. (Why can’t we also claim the same thing with our limited budgets without being labeled “selfish”, “cheap” or “uncaring” by those with a differing opinion?)
The one thing the Left is very good at is bending language to favor their point of view.
One such example is the Public Safety Levy. Just think about that for a moment. Why didn’t they call it the “Fund The Jail Levy”? Because no one wants to pay more taxes for a jail, but many will pay more to stay or be safe. But that begs the question, how safe? How safe is safe enough? Do we need to pay for police officers on every corner? That would be safer, but really expensive.
Rarely do public officials use hard data UNLESS it favors their position. Instead they prefer to create a nebulous world with language, talking endlessly about keeping you "safe" or "safer". But those of us in the real world who have limited resources must have a better metric to determine if the level of safety today is adequate not — and that data is often difficult to come by, or people are too lazy to look it up. So the Left wins their argument by claiming to be the champions of safety and all opponents are people who are obviously cheap, uncaring and selfish. (Learn more about the Jail levy — including great and easy to understand data).
If you are Republican of any flavor it is not hard to see what a mess the party is in. The only saving grace is that the other side is in as bad of, or worse, shape. However that is not enough to win elections or to bring real change to this country in order to live once again as a free and prosperous people.
The Republican party is in trouble because it has left its founding principles. Many in the Republican party, at the national, state and local levels, claim to be for fiscal responsibility and limited government. These same Republicans become upset when our tax dollars are used to help illegal aliens receive benefits meant for tax payers or for citizens in distress. However, when you dig a little deeper you often find a hypocrisy among these Republicans that they are unaware of — and what’s more, when you point out this hypocrisy to them, they get very upset.
For the most part I consider these Republicans well meaning but lost. What has happened is that they have moved from a principled view of government, where they claim to believe in the principles of limited government and fiscal responsibility, and moved to a preference view of government.