Saturday, October 13, 2007

The great terrorist threat to America's gumballs!!!

One of the great realities of modern politics is that the political class, those individuals who deem themselves worthy to rule over us, often justify their actions with one claim when in reality they are motivated by something entirely different. Bleating politicians, of all stripes, disguise their true intentions and sell their central plans under false pretences.

For instance, one politician may be bought and paid for by the insurance industry. (I don’t pick on insurance you can substitute almost any industry, cause, or special interest group in their place and things won’t change significantly.) Our politician may submit legislation which forbids one to purchase insurance from any company that is “out of state”. This reduced access to insurance means less competition and less competition means a lower quality product and higher costs.

He may be doing this because he’s connected to local insurance companies who don’t like the competition. Maybe he is a major stockholder in such a company or perhaps someone whose campaign is well funded by them. Of course he won’t get up and tell everyone the actual reason for his proposal. He will couch it in other terms. He will tell everyone that the reason to restrict competition is that the state has no little ability to penalize “bad” insurance companies from other states and so in the “interests of consumer protection” he is proposing a measure which, as an accidental result increases the profits of his friends. And, anyone who might oppose that measure will be attacked as being a heartless advocate of “ripping off” the poor.

The politician can be sleazy and sanctimonious at the same time. Get used to it. This is the case with the ethanol craze in the United States. The real beneficiaries are major Agribusiness entities like Archer Daniels Midland, who process the the agricultural products used in this wasteful industry and the major energy companies who reap the subsidies that government hands out to produce the crap.

Everyone knows the first state with political caucuses to choose the presidential candidates is Iowa. And Iowa produces corn which is now a lot more expensive due to ethanol. Since ethanol inflates the profits of producers and distributors of corn it makes lots of people in Iowa very happy while making taxpayers elsewhere poorer. So politicians, in order to buy support from Iowa voters become big advocates of ethanol.

Al Gore made a career of promoting this dirty, costly “alternative” to oil. It benefitted his political career to do so. Of course the Republicans do it as well, after all they need support in Iowa too They just come up with other excuses for it. Gore said it was “the environment” (but everything is the environment with Saint Al.) The Republicans bitch about “foreign dependence on oil”. Never mind that ethanol will not help “solve” either of those two excuses.

And that brings us to the big gum ball threat in Dover, New Jersey. A local politician, Frank Poolas, discovered a new terrorist threat -- gum balls. He’s worried that “terrorists” might poison gum balls that are sold out of dispensers in stores throughout the city. The local police chief wisely thought the odds of winning the lottery were greater than having terrorists poison gum balls. Poolas was undaunted. He wanted the threat eliminated by going after “unlicensed” gum ball machines.

Apparently the gum balls are more at risk in unlicensed machines than in licensed ones.

Now Poolas is not that unusual as far as the political classes go. Every low-life politician has raised the spectre of terrorism to push through measures that either gives the state more of your money or more power over your life—or, in what they see as a win-win situation, more of your money and more control over your life.

And if “terrorism” doesn’t scare the bejesus out of you then “global warming” will. Terrified yet! Good. Give me all your money and let me run your life. What! You don’t want to. Well, you’re just an enabler of terrorists, selfish, hate the poor and want to destroy the planet. And for god’s sake! What about the children?

Poolas looked the perfect ass after this episode so he started backtracking. He now claimed his real concern was “health”. Isn’t it amazing how the same excuses can be used for thousands of different kinds of proposals to regulate life and raise taxes?

Poolas and his political allies have thus started a campaign to inspect every single gum ball machine in the city and make sure it is licensed. The ever-vigilant Poolas, allegedly worried about bin Laden sneaking a Mickey Finn to the kiddies, has rallied his fellow politicians to to help him inspect every machine in the city and get them licensed.

The Star-Ledger, however, reported something other reports missed: “Properly licensed machines must be inspected by the health department, and they should provide revenue for the town, Poolas said.” So the issue is that 100 some machines were not being taxed. And for that this moron raises the threat of terrorists lurking around gun ball machines.

Of course these phantom terrorists could just as easily poison gum balls in a licensed machine as those in unlicensed machines. And, if they did poison them it could more easily be done at the manufacturing plant than by running around and tampering with each individual machine. But then terror or health was never the main issue -- revenue was. And with 100+ unlicensed gum ball machines menacing the children of Dove that not only means license fees but maybe even fines for the criminals who are putting the kiddies in harm’s way.

Poolas says that after they finish auditing every gum ball machine in the city the politicians will “come up with a decision on the gum ball machines, for the children.” Pardon me -- while I go throw up. And don’t forge to add “for the children” to the endless list of excuses to give the political classes more power over us. It’s one of the more popular excuses. It’s the antithesis of the politicians kissing babies -- if you oppose their newest intervention it is because you hate babies.

When not meddling in people’s lives, and relieving them of the burden of having spending money, Mr. Poolas is peddling them poison himself -- well, to be precise he is a purveyor of demon rum. He makes a living helping people get drunk. And he has one of these damned machines in his bar. And you know what? It’s not licensed either!

But he has an excuse. It is free to his customers -- well actually they pay for in the price of their drinks. Poolas says because it is free it doesn’t need licensing. (Sort of like how Congress, including the Democrats, extol the virtues of Social Security to the public but have private pensions plans and opt out for themselves -- you can’t opt out, only they can.)

What about the terrorists, Mr. Poolas? Are they only going to target gum ball machines that charge? Why would they make that distinction? Why indeed?

The reality is that politicians “do good” in order to “do well”. They find ways to benefit themselves. Either it gives them more power or more revenue or it is a way for them to purchase support so that they can continue to enjoy the baubles of office. And if they are really good at this con game they get to run for higher office. And the premier frauds in this “profession” get to debate in Iowa and tell the world how ethanol will save us from bin Laden and how it’s good for the babies, and will save the planet and improve your skin, and make your wife prettier and, oh, I must forget, Jesus would do it!

And after they sell you the ethanol snake oil they have the Department of Homeland Security, nationalized health care, global warming measures, the war on drugs, “ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS”, out-sourcing laws, and a host of issues each with measures and controls and regulations and taxes, and taxes, and taxes that they want to scare you into accepting. But it works! Doesn’t it? I bet that most the readers of this have fallen for one of them or another. And you have probaly even convinced yourself that only the cons that other people fall for are the bogus ones.

Welcome to the comedic, tragic spectacle of politics.

Labels: ,