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The BART Parasites Strike

14 Aug

An estimated 340,000 daily BART riders will have to look for a different mode of transportattion starting on Monday, which is when the BART union is expected to strike. The union is in the middle of negotiations with the BART Board of Directors, who are imposing a one-year contract on workers represented Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555.

Carla Marinucci at the SF Chronicle blog notices a surprising reaction in traditionally labor and union frendly San Francisco. BART employees are hoping to gain public support, but there appears to be little sympathy for their union in a time where one in ten Californians is out of a job.

And this city should be angry. This absurdly selfish strike will cause huge and unnecessary disruptions for thousands of Bay Area employees, who now have to find an alternate way in and out of the city. If you’ve ever crawled inch-by-inch across the Bay Bridge at rush hour, you will know how frustrating the traffic can be. I can’t even imagine what it’s going to look like without the BART trains zipping across the bay.

Some may bawlk at calling this strike “selfish,” but let me throw out a few statistics that might change your mind. The average BART employee makes about $120,000 a year, which apparently is not enough for these underworked and overpayed brats. Since it is also run by a parastic union, there is an incredible amount of sheer and utter waste:

Last year, BART installed new seats in 205 train cars as part of a major upgrade of the interior amenities of our system. While we hope the changes are a comfort to our riders, they may be surprised to know that it takes two employees at BART to change out a seat cushion and backing under current contract rules.

The contract allows a utility worker to unfasten the snaps that hold a seat cushion in place. But the two screws fastening a seat back can only be touched by a journeyman mechanic. BART changed some 26,000 seat cushions last year.

Only something run by the government could this be inefficient and incompetent.

There are rumors around the web that there will be a public protest of this strike at noon on Monday, August 17th at noon in front of the BART headquarters (20th and Harrison St.) for anyone interested in voicing their opposition to this madness.

Luckily for me, I don’t take the BART train to work, so this strike won’t directly affect my daily commute. But for the thousands who do, here is a great list of other transit options from the SF Chronicle:

Transit options

Here is what Bay Area transit agencies plan to do in the event of a BART strike. For details, contact the individual transit provider or, for up-to-date regional information, go to www.511.org, or call 511.

Alameda/Oakland Ferry, Alameda Harbor Bay Ferry

Plan: Double the number of daily runs between the Harbor Bay Terminal and San Francisco, and between the west Alameda and Oakland docks and San Francisco.

Contact: www.eastbayferry.com, (510) 522-3300

AC Transit

Plan: Provide extra service between the East Bay and San Francisco based on need and availability of buses and drivers. Run larger buses on transbay routes. Stops at BART stations may be relocated.

Contact: www.actransit.org; (510) 817-1717 or 511

Caltrain

Plan: No added service

Contact: www.caltrain.com; (800) 660-4287

County Connection

Plan: No specific plans to add service but will pitch in if buses and drivers are available.

Contact: www.cccta.org; (925) 676-7500

Golden Gate Transit and Ferries

Plan: Buses that serve El Cerrito Del Norte and Richmond BART stations will have stops relocated nearby. An additional ferry will operate during the morning. Other ferries will operate on regular schedules with room to accommodate additional passengers.

Contact: www.goldengate.org; 511

SamTrans

Plan: Stops at the Daly City and Colma stations will be relocated nearby. A free shuttle will take passengers to Market Street in San Francisco, where they can connect to Muni.

Contact: www.samtrans.com; (800) 660-4287

Muni

Plan: Increase bus and streetcar service on the 14-Mission, 49-Van Ness, J-Church and N-Judah lines; expand the East Bay casual carpool area on Beale Street to include 12 additional East Bay BART stations.

Contact: www.sfmta.com; 311 in San Francisco or 511 from outside the city

Vallejo Transit and Baylink Ferry

Plan: Add a fourth boat, providing three extra departures in the morning and evening. Add express bus service between the Vallejo Ferry Terminal and San Francisco Ferry Building if needed.

Contact: For ferries: www.baylinkferry.com; (877) 643-3779. For buses: www.vallejotransit.com; (707) 648-4666.

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Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right…

14 Aug

In America’s continuing devolution into a dangerous police state, Bob Dylan was arrested in Long Branch, New Jersey after police recieved a call describing an “old, scruffy man” walking down the street:

Bob Dylan is a legendary singer-songwriter and charter member of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, but to one culturally untutored 22-year-old police officer in Long Branch, New Jersey, he was just an eccentric, suspicious-looking elderly man.

After police received a call that an “old, scruffy man” was acting suspiciously in Long Branch’s Latin Quarter, a 22-year-old female officer stopped Dylan and demanded that he identify himself. Dylan complied and explained that he was visiting the seaside community to perform at a concert with Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp. Not believing his story, the officer detained Dylan in the back of her car and drove back to his hotel to investigate his story.

“She took him back to the hotel to check his papers, then she called us to check who Bob Dylan was,” police officer Craig Spencer told the London Daily Mail.  “I’m afraid we fell about laughing. If it was me, I’d have been demanding his autograph, not photo ID.”

“I offered to bring in some of my Dylan albums,” continued Spencer, “but unfortunately [the young officer] didn’t know what vinyl is either.”

This is what happens when blue-suited government employees are free to arrest and terrorize people on a whim. This is also another consequence of identity polics based on an ugly ethnic and racial groupthink. Dylan was walking in a predominantly Latin neighborhood, and the old legend apparently didn’t “fit in.”

No More Regulation!

13 Aug

There has been a lot of bogus explanations for what caused the Panic of ’08 and its ensuing recession, but the most absurd comes from a well-respected financial website, DailyFinance.com, written by Peter Cohan. He blames our current economic mess on, of all things, small government:

The idea [of small government] has influenced American politics for almost 30 years, and helped create the ineffective regulatory agencies which allowed all kinds of questionable practices to thrive in American business, especially in the world of finance. By helping create a record debt bubble, which thrived in an era of weak regulatory oversight, small government nearly ruined the global economy last fall.

There is so much to critique in this nonsense, it’s hard to know where to begin. I don’t know which America he’s been living in, but this country hasn’t seen anything but gigantic and bloated government since since at least the middle of the 20th century. Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush may have paid lip service to small government, but their Administrations vastly expanded the size and the scope of the State.

Cohan also recites that oh so popular catchphrase of “deregulation” to explain our stagnating markets. If only government regulations had been stricter, the evil bankers and businessmen would have never preyed on an innocent American public. This faith in government regulation is extremely naive, since we have had (and continue to have) miles of pages of regulations enforced by thousands of government agents. The list of regulations is exhaustive, and it’s hard to imagine any aspect of our economy that our government didn’t or doesn’t regulate.  Regulators have been nothing more than co-conspirating robots, extorting the public in the name of their interest.

Government is the only institution that when it doesn’t work, it asks for money or control (public schools, police departments, the Post Office, etc.)

Despite extensive oversight and an endless source of funds, regulators, with droning consistency, always fail in their intended goals. When they fail, there is always a demand to come up with new regulations and hire more empty suits to enforce them; a cyclical motion of corruption, residual failure, and waste.

The perfect example of this is the Federal Reserve. The Fed, a central bank operating in complete secrecy, distorts and manipulates the economy with its inflation and easy credit. The resulting effect is an endless cycle of booms and busts. When the economy does bust, like it did last September, the Fed and all of its statist partners blame “capitalism,” “free markets,” and “deregulation,” and then proceed to inflict a sickened economy with the cancers of more inflation and easy credit.

What it boils down to is that the government plays too big, not too small, of a role in the economy, and the financial sector especially. In a truly free-market capitalist economy without the government there to socialize their risks while privatizing their profits, bankers would act a great deal more prudently. They would have to; the disciplines of a free and competitive market combined with a sound currency encourages this. Currently, with our semi-fascist mix of government and private industry, we see banks creating secondary markets for IOU-backed mortgages to people who could never afford them , since the government is there to pick up the tab for these risky investments. No amount of regulations can control the reckless chaos of a Fed fiat-money economy.

For almost 100 years, the American economy has been guided by the destructive, immoral, and evil hands of the statist central planners in DC. Isn’t is time we give small and limited government a try?

Paul Krugman makes me laugh

12 Aug

It’s always entertaining to read Nobel Prize winning “economist” Paul Krugman’s nonsensical rants at his New York Times blog. Krugman, who sincerely believes that all we need to do is have the Fed print trillions of dollars and our economy will magically be fixed, put in his two cents about the ongoing Obamacare debates. Not surprisingly, he argues that opponents of Obama are simply blinded by their racism:

What I think is going on here, at least partly, is that the peddlers of anti-progressive lies are managing to convince a certain kind of American — white, socially conservative, etc. — that the hate-mongers are people like them; and, even more important, that progressives are Those People, people not like them.

Oh ya, we’re also “anti-intellectuals.”

I wonder if Krugman has ever heard of Walter Williams or Thomas Sowell, who are ferocious opponents of Obamacare, and statism in general. They’re also black, apparently mongering hate at themselves and other “thems.”

It is absurd to think that only white people would be against the disasters of government healthcare. Since the proponents of Bush II’s Obama’s massive expansion of the State are running out of arguments, it becomes easy and convenient to call their opponents names and revert to their false sense of moral supremacy.

Any system that is based on brute force and coercion should be opposed, both morally and politically. And what is government other than brute force and coercion, a gang (with lots of guns) with a sanctioned and legalized monopoly of force? The arguments in favor of government healthcare boil down to the expansion of government guns, and any system based on the threat and use of violence is instable, immoral, and  unconstitutional.

The “town hall mobs” are reflexive and knee-jerk reactions to a new Democratic president, but the biggest and most dangerous mob of all is whatever current regime occupies the White House.

CNN’s Cuban Healthcare Fantasies

11 Aug

Rich Noyes of the Media Research Center provides an indispensable service that would make most people cringe; he actually watches CNN so we don’t have to. CNN, like so many major news media outlets, is starting become less and less relevant in the revolutionary age of blogging, Twitter, and lightning quick updates. These graying media outlets have consistently been mouthpieces for the State, and it’s hard to find a foreign war or government program that they haven’t cheered on.

So it wasn’t a surprise to see this 17th ranked program’s outright Cuban propaganda. Last week, Ted “Castro’s a helluva guy” Turner’s CNN broadcasted a special on how Cuba’s healthcare system should be a model for the US. The report included clips from Michael Moore’s sickening Sicko, raving about Cuba’s “impressive healthcare statistics.” Did you know, for example, that according to UN figures, Cuba’s infant mortality rate is the 44th highest in the world, right next to Canada!?

The anchors gushed and gushed about Cuban healthcare; it’s supposed “efficiency,” high life expectancy, the “best in the hemisphere.” And…it’s all free!

Well, not exactly. CNN’s sloppy reporting blatantly ignores the fact that any news that comes out of the island is heavily monitored and controlled by the Cuban government. A Media Research Study found that during the first five years of CNN’s operations in its Havana bureau, news feeds that they were given were nearly all slanted in favor of the Castro regime. Luckily, the truth tends to see the light of day even in the darkest depths of tyranny.

CNN conveniently leaves out some important numbers in those same UN figures. In 1958, a year before Castro took over, the semi-capitalist Cuba had the 13th highest infant mortality rate in the world, ahead of France, Belgium, Israel, Japan,  Austria, Italy, Spain, and Portugal. Fifty years later, all of these countries far surpass Communist Cuba.

Cuba’s famed low infant mortality rate is also blurred by more troubling statistics. The abortion rate in Cuba is 0.71 abortions per live birth, one of the highest in the world. Any Cuban pregnancy that might gives doctors some trouble is simply taken care of.  According to the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, Cuban children between the ages of one and four also have a 34% lower survival rate than US children of the same age, and Cuban mothers are four times more likely to die during childbirth than US women.

Yet, somehow their infant mortality rate is reported to be so low. How can that be? It’s not like the Cubans are enslaved under the iron fist of a mass-murdering dictator.

Cuba’s healthcare system is a disaster infused with corruption, a top-heavy bureaucratic nightmare whose quality worsens with every dollar thrown its way. This is the essence of government: wasteful, inefficient, slow, and monopolistic. The frustration of the DMV, the mediocrity of public schools, cops tasing at will, the Imperial Pentagon; these are all of examples of the ugly and coercive power of the State, Nietzsche’s cold, cruel monster.

The complete nationalization of the 70% government run US healthcare system will likely come, since nearly every aspect of our economy and personal lives has already been swallowed by the State. It won’t collapse all at once, but government’s inherent inefficiency will reduce quality while bankrupting it, and, like Canada’s crumbling system, fall apart.

We’re all soldiers now

8 Aug

The militarization of the US continues:

Suburban areas like Collin County are being invaded by the armed forces, which are seeing a new kind of recruit – middle-class kids with high school and even college educations.

Steady income, college funding and heightened recruiting efforts during an economic downturn are attracting more affluent youth in Texas and across the country to the military.

The Military-Industrial-Congressional-Media-Complex won’t stop until every last one of us are draped in government uniforms, employed to shoot foreigners for the government flag.

Support our troops, and get them out of the largest and most destructive government program in history.

No legalized pot in California’s near future

8 Aug

Cynicism is the result of many factors, and in the political world, it is the product of our representatives consistent refusal to heed the voters demands. Even though a majority of Californians support the legalization of marijuana, not one of the candidates who is eyeing the Governor’s seat in 2010 supports it:

“If the whole society starts getting stoned, we’re going to be even less competitive,” Democratic Attorney General Jerry Brown – who as governor signed a 1975 law reducing possession of small amounts of pot to a $100 misdemeanor – said on a recent radio show.

“Like electing Jerry Brown as governor, the idea of legalizing drugs is one more bad idea from a bygone era,” said Jarrod Ag en, spokesman for Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Poizner, the state insurance commissioner.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom says the state needs “a new direction in drug policy,” but opposes legalizing marijuana -though he welcomes an “open dialog” on the subject as he seeks the Democratic nomination.

The legalizing and taxation of marijuana could bring the state an estimated $1.4 billion annually, which would be a nice little dent in the state’s budget deficit. It would also move California in the direction of individual freedom and responsibility and away from the terribly tyrannical concept that the government owns your body and can therefore regulate and control what you can put into it.

It’s not surprising to see the GOP against legalizing marijuana, but it is disappointing to see the “liberal” Democratic candidates also opposing it.