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Category Archives: bureaucracy and bureaucrats

You Will Pry My Kerrygold from My Cold, Dead Hands

For those of you who don’t know, I eat a ketogenic diet. It’s not some diet fad, but a way of eating I’ve been strictly following for months. This way of eating, which forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates, is primarily used  to treat difficult-to-control epilepsy in children, but there’s also been some evidence that suggests it helps curb migraines. It definitely helped me.

Butter is encouraged in this way of eating, and grass-fed butter is particularly healthy, because it contains high levels of healthy fats that make this way of eating particularly effective.

kerrygoldEnter Kerrygold. I love Kerrygold. Once I tasted Kerrygold, there was no going back! You can tell the difference immediately. It’s softer, smoother, and more golden delicious than regular butter. It’s good on literally everything! Heck, I could eat it plain.

In Wisconsin, however, the bureaucrats apparently couldn’t just allow people to enjoy their butter. Nope! The nanny state food bureaucrats just have to protect people from non-“expert” examined butter!

In 1970, a law was passed which required that all butter intended for commercial purposes within Wisconsin first be put before a panel of “experts” responsible for grading the product based on a set of state standards. This law, which had largely been forgotten or at least ignored for decades, has now become an issue once again thanks to the rise of high fat diets.

[…]

Since Kerrygold is based in Ireland, its products do not go through the same regulatory processes as American products. Without an official American-issued quality grade, the nanny state of Wisconsin is refusing to allow this butter to be sold on its grocery store shelves, despite overwhelming consumer demand.

Now, Kerrygold butter is being pulled from shelves and store owners are being threatened with hefty fines and even jail time if they fail to comply with these state regulations.

It’s all for your protection, citizen. Just shut up and buy what the state tells you to buy.

The butter police have spoken.

Wisconsin has veeeeeery strict standards about what kind of butter they will allow on the store shelves – you know, for the common good. It doesn’t matter that people love the product. It doesn’t matter that Kerrygold has never harmed anyone in the years it’s been sold in the United States.

Wisconsin has STANDARDS, dammit, and they will enforce them for your own good! But who really benefits? Certainly it’s not the consumers, who are literally driving across state lines into neighboring states to purchase the product they love! Certainly not Kerrygold, which has to bow down to the mighty cheese police and implement whatever ridiculous demands the state of Wisconsin imposes on them, which will likely make Kerrygold products more expensive for consumers to purchase.

So who benefits?

What’s Wisconsin most known for (other than beer and the Green Bay Packers)? Dairy products. Cheese. Milk. BUTTER!

And you know what happens when them dang foreigners flood the market with a quality product that people love more than Wisconsin cheese? Wisconsin dairy farmers lose profits.

So instead of improving their product to compete with Kerrygold, they apparently decided to shut the irksome competitor out of the market via government force.

You know what it smells like? Corruption and cronyism, that’s what.

Because if you don’t think Wisconsin’s dairy farmers have a metric fuckload of pull with the state legislature, I have this bridge…

Now, apparently Wisconsin is the only state in the Union that has these absurd cheese control regulations. Thank goodness for that, because if Virginia decided to bow down to some greedy lobby representing people whose way of dealing with quality competition is to use government force to cheat themselves a bigger market share, I’d become a cheese outlaw.

No one takes my Kerrygold!

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About That Travel Ban

No, not that one.

This one. The one you probably have never heard of because it involves Andrew Cuomo’s (D-ipshit, NY) ban on state-sponsored travel to North Carolina because that state passed a law last year requiring transgender people to use the bathroom of the gender with which they were born.

A University at Buffalo pharmacy student is appealing the governor’s travel ban to North Carolina because she says it affects her ability to do rotations there.
This student hasn’t gotten any response from the governor’s office despite three months of calls, letters, and faxes to appeal her case, so Christine Piccione finally reached out 2 On Your Side as a plea for help.
Piccione is a third year pharmacy student at UB, and one of the final things these students need to do are rotations for hands-on practice.

So, this virtue signaling retard has joined celebutards and other assorted, frothing trash by trying to punish North Carolina for a bathroom law (that I have always disagreed with due to government overreach issues) he felt was discriminatory against transgender people.

Did he ban official government travel to Saudi Arabia, where homosexuality is punishable by law? No. How about Iran? Can New Yorkers still travel there? Yes.

You mean, he only banned travel to a single state in the union – a state that saw it fit to dictate who uses what bathroom in a public building?

Hypocrite.

All that said, who really loses in this scenario?

Piccione was funding her trip herself – with her own money. She has been prevented by the state from studying where she believed was best for her own education, since UNC Chapel Hill is widely regarded as having one of the best – of not the best – pharmacy program in country, and certain laws in NC would allow her to do more than here in New York, according to the report.

“I definitely think it does put me at a disadvantage. I’m going to be competing against the top students in the country for jobs, and I just don’t think it’s fair that I don’t get that opportunity when we can travel anywhere else in the country, anywhere else in the world even, and I can’t travel to one state in my own country,” said Piccione.

And yes, this travel ban infringes on this student’s rights. It inserts government into her personal education decisions. It puts an unnecessary hardship on her, forcing her to waste time and resources trying to resolve the issue, which really just comes down to wanting to study her chosen profession in what is ostensibly the best pharmacy program in the country.

And the state – the ever mighty, overreaching state – has decided in all its wisdom that Piccione cannot spend her own money to study in North Carolina, because Cuomo disagrees with a law there. A student is prevented from studying at the university of her choice, because Cuomo doesn’t like that state’s law.

And let’s be clear – right now that’s all it is: Cuomo’s opinion.

The trial over this law has been postponed until the Supreme Court decides whether the Obama administration’s interpretation of federal civil rights law, that transgender students are protected under Title IX, which prohibits sex-based discrimination in federally funded education programs, is correct. That case will be heard next month, according to press. So until that issue is decided in the nation’s courts, Cuomo is preventing a student from traveling to North Carolina to study at a highly regarded educational program, because Cuomo has an opinion.

christine-piccioneWhy is no one protesting that a U.S. citizen’s right to fund her own education and travel where she sees appropriate for her career choice has been violated?

I mean, we’re seeing snortastically ignorant nationwide boycotts in support of people who violated the law by coming here illegally – or staying here illegally. But no one is protesting the ever-intrusive state preventing a student from traveling within her own country – on her own dime. Why is that?

I guess a “privileged” blonde, white girl doesn’t elicit the same kind of sanctimonious outrage as oppressed “people of color.”

And by the way – I remember a place where you had to have government permission to travel for work or study. It was called the USSR.

Bureaucratic Endangerment

You’re a firefighter. You have dedicated your life to saving lives and helping the citizens of your community. You arrive at a location where a little child is in medical distress. The nearest ambulance is 10-15 minutes away.

What do you do?

Do you grab the kid and transport her in your fire engine to the nearest hospital, or do you say, “Hmmmmmm…. My fire engine doesn’t have the proper restrains and medications to transport a sick child to a nearby hospital. I should wait for the ambulance to arrive and watch her maybe DIE!” and do nothing?

Two Virginia firefighters were suspended recently after making the decision to help the little girl.

Captain James Kelley and Sgt. Virgil Bloom of the Falmouth Volunteer Fire Department in Fredericksburg were the first to respond to a call of a child having a seizure at an undisclosed location near a McDonald’s and took her to a nearby hospital, according to Fox 5 DC.

[…]

Kelley explained to Fox 5 DC Saturday he told the driver to turn the fire engine on because the child was in desperate need of medical care and the nearest ambulance was about 10 to 15 minutes away. He said when he asked where the nearest medic was, he received vague responses.

Regulations. Paperwork. Licenses. Bureaucratic certifications.

Where’s the common sense?

The Flint Water Crisis – Solutions not Whining

by Jonathan LaForce

Jonathan LaForce is a former Marine 0811, who deployed with 1st Battalion, 12th Marines to Helmand in 2011. He currently operates a BBQ food truck called the Aloha Snack Bar, and writes romance novels and poetry in his spare time. Cases of Dr. Pepper are always appreciated.


 

flint water

No, that’s not a bottle of urine. That’s water in Flint.

Water is an important item we all need. Every day. A question posed today by Alex Bradley, in the form of a meme asked this thought and question:

The Flint Water Crisis is now entering it’s second year. Why haven’t we seen the military step in and handle the matter? Where is the Army Corps of Engineers laying down new pipes to bring in water? Where are the filtration systems? We can invade a foreign power inside a matter of hours, so why can’t we take care of problems within our own borders?

Now, that is a very good question. And seeing as I’m something of a wordsmith when it comes to such matters, I’m going to answer all of the above.

Number 1: Landing an armed force on foreign soil (whether by sea or land) has its own logistical chain. Its purpose there is to smash and break things with violent efficiency and lethality. Nothing less will do. Suppose we’re talking about a Marine artillery battery moving across the Eastern Polish border to defend Ukraine against Russian invasion (not entirely impossible these days; Vlad Putin is at the “use it or lose it” stage).

Every single vehicle in the battery is already loaded in such a manner as to most rapidly and effectively go into a combat zone. Dismounting and fire-capping a towed Howitzer is an art and a science all at once. All the gear on board in the back end of the 7-ton truck towing that Howitzer is staged and arranged so that even with the normal jostling and bouncing of travel, it will be at hand where it is most needed for the speed and efficiency of the gun crew to get the gun up and firing. That’s what we train for all day every day. It is what we exist to do.

But our supplies are limited. We only have so much effective range and supplies. We’ve already prioritized our needs and what we can carry; there is quite literally no more room unless you’re willing to add more vehicles to the battery, which increases all sorts of variables. Because of this, there is a necessity for logistical chains and follow-on support. But even those can only carry so much food, water, bullets, beans and TP.

Operation Desert Shield began after Saddam unjustly invaded Kuwait In August 1990. At the same time, 13th Marine Expedition Unit was afloat at sea. Within five weeks, the MEU had swelled to become 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade and was fully ready to launch an amphibious assault into Kuwait. Valiant though this effort would have been, without the support of follow-on forces, the 10,000 Marines of 4th MEB would have died when they ran out supplies and munitions. In the end, six months would pass before the U.S. Army had staged enough men and material to make driving Saddam out of Kuwait a practical event.

That’s just to conquer an area. Not patrol it day and night for security purposes; not ensure that critical civilian needs are met; just to drive out Saddam’s pack of animals. And that’s with the U.S. government acting intelligently and the U.S. military in the prime of its existence after the build-up during the Reagan administration.

Number 2: Now that we’ve examined military logistics, it’s time to examine Flint. For years, the city of Flint purchased its water supply from Detroit. A significant portion of Detroit’s city budget came from Flint’s water purchase, which makes sense. Every human being needs at least 1 gallon of water per day, just for drinking – not bathing, not washing dishes, not even cooking. Just in terms of what you personally drink. When your city population is nearly 100,000 that’s a lot. How much? Let me break it down for you. If we assume that 100,000 people, consume one gallon apiece, per day, seven days per week, that’s 700,000 gallons of water. Now multiply that by 52. That would make 36,400,000 gallons of water per year. Let’s suppose Detroit charged them a rate of 2 cents per gallon: That’s $728,000 dollars annually.

The city of Flint looked at all this money flowing out from their own civic funds and said “Huh, how can we free up money to go elsewhere?” which was a smart move on the politicians’ part. The city of Flint ran the numbers and determined that if it started construction of their own water supply to feed into the existing network, it would take them 2 years, and at the end of it, they would have a net savings of $4.2 million, at a minimum. Good work so far. So the City of Flint made the announcement that they were putting up their own water system, and would no longer be dependent on Detroit when their contract ended in 2 years. They figured they would be safe.

They were wrong.

Detroit was not happy about this. Remember, Detroit enjoys the cash cow that Flint represents. Their response to Flint was to immediately cut off the water supply. Now, go check who the mayor of Detroit is. What’s his party affiliation? How long has this party been in power in Detroit?

Flint had to switch to local water supply. Governor Rick Snyder set up a crisis management team who tried to help ease the process. They checked with local environmental regulation agencies about whether the water was safe. They asked the EPA the same question, and they were told it was. Even after things started getting funky, the EPA assured them everything was okay.

And now, here we are. Filthy water in Flint, and a fat Democrat named Michael Moore is running around telling people to stop sending water to Flint. Yes, you just read that correctly. Chew on that and consider what it means while I expound upon Point Number 3.

Number 3: In the short term, a military led-convoy could make good things happen, but it would get ugly in a hurry because we have zero tolerance or respect for stupidity and jackassery. Given the mess that FEMA has proven to be, under any administration, it will probably end up being a military led, military commanded effort, which means martial law or the next best thing to it. We call the shots, and nobody argues. Or we smack them down and out of the way.

Why? Because we have a job to do, and we will not allow anything to deter us from achieving our mission.

Imagine that Corporal LaForce has a squad of Marines and he’s in charge of distributing water to a local neighborhood. Everybody gets so many bottles or jugs per household. All they have to do is come to the collection point and collect it. We’re doing things by the numbers in an organized fashion. Lines start to form. Who here likes standing in line? I don’t even like waiting in the express line in the grocery store. Now take that line and move it outside to the 30 degree weather; people are cold, people are tired, bored, cranky, grumpy. They’re sick of listening to their kids whine about being bored tired and hungry. Now we have 1,000 thirsty, hungry, grouchy people, ready to lose their heads waiting in line.

I have my standing orders, which include that Joe Six Pack does not cause trouble. Yes, we get it Mr. Six-Pack, you’re thirsty. So is everybody else here. Stand in line and wait. Because nothing goes wrong when refugees and people in desperate situations go to get supplies, right? Because there’s no reporter from MSNBC standing around with a camera looking for somebody to get stupid so he can show the very same guys handing out water as being nothing more than government thugs oppressing the poor-downtrodden people of Flint, right? MSNBC and CNN are full of professional liars who have done exactly that in Iraq and Afghanistan. Don’t think for a second they won’t do it here.

Great, we made it out of the whole mess alive and unharmed. But wait, as we’re preparing to leave, we see a local street gang charging a toll for water to the locals. This is wrong on many, many levels. Do you think Corporal LaForce is going to tolerate some two-bit punk gang member doing that? Nope. And how is it going to look on CNN when they air live footage of Corporal LaForce using a machine gun to handle street thugs? I can already see the court martial proceedings. I can already see the rest of my career going down in flames. If I’m a reservist and a business owner, my business is finished. Because CNN and MSNBC do not care about the truth, they’ll never show the people who were robbed at gunpoint before I intervened. They won’t care one iota about the truth. And while my family suffers, those stuffed shirt reporterss will go back to voting into power the very politicians who caused this mess to begin with and promoting them to the general public. That’s the reality I and every other Marine sent to do this duty would face every day for several months while the water supply got fixed.

And if we’re shipping nearly three million gallons of water each month, by truck, to Flint, think about the cost in diesel fuel to run all of that. That’s not a powder keg of trouble waiting to ignite at all, and would you care to buy this beautiful ocean front property in Arizona which I own?

Number 4: We’re not done yet, but we’re close. The Army’s engineers are very capable, talented individuals. They absolutely could set up the facilities necessary to alleviate the short term shortages, and start laying down foundations for longer-term scenarios. But guess what? Everything requires environmental impact statements, reviews, inspections, and decisions made by bureaucrats whose very livelihoods depend on the volume of paperwork they can generate. And then there’s every single environmental regulation that must be met, enforced by the very EPA who said this water was “good to drink and use” in the first place!

That engineer Captain you called up to go fix this mess is going to spend the first four months onsite spinning his thumbs. Same with his company First Sergeant, all the way on down to the lowest, most boot private in the unit (assuming he’s not busy digging a ditch because his seniors told him to). Because until the EPA actually decides to get their oh-so-precious act together, nothing can happen. It’s that simple. We have regulated even basic construction so heavily, that establishing clean drinking water is a multi-year process.

Why do you think California never bothered to build desalinization plants up and down the coast, in an effort to alleviate drought problems? Government regulated it straight out the window. Then, to really put people in a bind, they determined that the needs of the brown river smelt fish mattered more than ensuring farmers had enough water for irrigation. So farms started drying up, a la the Dust Bowl (my wife’s family owns farm land up there, and I’ve gotten to see this first hand), which meant that the California drought was not only perpetuating itself, but man-made by the very hand of the supposed environmental custodians set to protect it! Just like the government agency that was supposed to protect the citizens of Flint, Michigan failed them entirely.

In Hawaii, the state government has fought for years with the LDS church to gain control of the wells and aquifers which that private organization owns, developed, and maintains on its own dime. Why? Because until the amount of available drinking water in Hawaii is increased sufficiently, they can’t do the land developments they’d like, because there won’t be enough water to take care of the booming population. Again, why not build desalinization plants? You’d have construction crews hiring like mad, people would be getting hired and trained on how to maintain and operate these plants, the cost of water would go down (due to the surplus of water now in the system), which means that cost of living goes down and your average Hawaiian’s dollar goes a lot further. Yay! More money for Manapua and malasadas! Praise the Lord and pass the laulau!

But it doesn’t happen that way. Environmental regulations either forbid it, or make it so difficult, that no business owner in his right mind will go near the project. You would need Bill Gates’ money and army of lawyers, just to get started!

Finally, know this: It can be resolved. Yes. It can. But you have to have a certain stomach and fortitude for the rough road ahead. It won’t go away in one night. If you send Marines or Soldiers into Flint, you must expect that friction with the local populace is going to occur. You must be willing to watch American fighting men resort to physical violence on occasion to keep the peace, or prevent barbarians from harming civilized human beings. You must be willing to scrap much of the environmental regulatory code and start over, because it is entirely too cumbersome. You must be willing to stay the course, all the way from beginning to end.

Because otherwise, it will not work.

National Shame, Part II

In September I wrote about a national shame – a dishonor so profound, that I called on Americans to stand up and vocally condemn unspoken orders to our military to turn their backs on systematic abuse of young Afghan boys by repulsive adult males in power, even as children were being raped by the very people with whom we were supposed to be working and cooperating!

Today, I have to write about another stigma – a black eye on the very foundation of our nation that, as a veteran, I’m embarrassed to even broach.

“A nation is judged by how well it treats its veterans.”George Washington

You would have to have been hiding under a rock with the rest of the maggots to have missed or downright ignored the scandals that have plagued the Veterans Administration over the past few years.

Secret waiting lists that resulted in veterans dying while waiting for appointments at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system and several other VA hospitals.

More than 300,000 veterans died while waiting for the VA to process their applications… waiting for stalled applications in the VA’s byzantine bureaucracy.

Unnecessary veteran deaths due to shoddy patient care, mismanagement, and outright incompetence.

All these stories are inexcusable, sad, infuriating, horrifying, and heartbreaking. Our nation sent these men and women to war – to get maimed both mentally and physically – and shameless, heartless bureaucrats neglect them and steal from them.

151103-House-Committee-Hearing-Diana-Rubens-Kim-GravesSuch was the case of Diana Rubens and Kimberly Graves – two VA officials pernicious swamp sows – who not only didn’t do their jobs, but manipulated the system to give themselves positions with less responsibility while siphoning six-figure salaries by forcing lower-ranking regional managers to accept job transfers against their will and stole $400,000 from the VA in relocation expenses.

This is a national shame. This is fraud, waste, and abuse at some of the highest levels of government, even as the VA struggles to take care of the troops it exists to serve. And yet…

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia is refusing criminal prosecution of Rubens and Graves.

The U.S. Attorney’s office said it has “referred the matter to the VA for any administrative action that is deemed appropriate.”

Administrative action? For essentially stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from America’s vets? For abusing their positions, for screwing with others’ careers by forcing them to accept job transfers against their will? For corruption? Fraud? Abuse of authority?

And worse yet, after the two corruptocrats were “demoted,” for their wrongdoing – if you can even call it that, as they were still earning six-figure salaries each – the demotion was rescinded, because someone buggered up the paperwork! These imbeciles can’t even get that right!

The lack of accountability and utter incompetence is beyond appalling.

Instead of working for the very men and women who work to defend this country, they steal from them.

Instead of helping those who have sacrificed for this nation’s safety, they profit at the veterans’ expense.

Instead of working to support the troops who come back traumatized, torn apart, maimed, and emotionally wrecked, these two odious, arrogant gargoyles sat around on their cellulite addled asses and collected hundreds of thousands of dollars from America’s taxpayers.

The rot and corruption at the agency that is tasked with taking care of our veterans is reprehensible, and the government’s refusal to hold these and other crooked reprobates at the VA accountable is inexcusable. The fact that they still have jobs is appalling, and since the US Attorney’s Office is refusing to prosecute these two toads, chances are they will be issued an administrative slap on the wrist and allowed to quietly retire with all their benefits.

Is it any wonder Americans are sick and tired of their unresponsive, unaccountable government? Is it any wonder government bureaucrats are a national (extremely unfunny) joke?

They are stealing from American veterans, and they are stealing from the American people. They are a disgrace, as is the entire VA for doing nothing and continuing to pay these two malignant warts on the ass of humanity!

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