Posts tagged #government

A Nation Of Hypocrites

Fifteen years I've been in the trucking industry, and if I could just have a fraction of a penny for every time I've heard "Safety is our number one priority" I have not a single need. I'd have enough money to last me two lifetimes. The phrase is plastered on break room walls and throughout company literature. It's nearly everywhere you turn. Millions of dollars are spent on "loss prevention" and "accident awareness training." It's all bogus. Every. Single. Word. 

 

No parking. No idling. No sleeping. 

A sign at a receiver.  

A sign at a receiver.  

If we actually considered safety a top priority, we would honor the most sacred of time periods - rest breaks. I can't even begin to count the number of times I've been awakened by security guards, policemen, or property owners and told to leave.

"You can't sleep here." 

"You have to move." 

"But I'm out of hours. I'm not legally allowed to drive." 

"Doesn't matter. Move now or face fines or forcible removal."

It DOES matter. It matters a lot. A commercial driver lives in his or her truck. There is no where else to go in many situations. I live wherever I am, and I am (supposedly) bound by Federal law concerning my rest breaks. If I am caught or have an accident when I should be resting, I can lose my ability to earn a living for my family. 

Tonight is just the most recent example of this. I had a load to deliver at a Walmart Distribution Center in Smyrna, Delaware. I was told I had a 5:00 pm appointment. I arrived at 5:07 pm after being delayed the night before by heavy snow. Along the way I also had to address a plugged fuel filter. Even still, I arrived inside the allowable window to get unloaded. I was told it was a drop, not a live unload. I searched for an empty trailer, but none were available. I notified dispatch and was told not to leave. I was already planned on another load for a different customer tomorrow with set appointments. I had to find a way to satisfy both requirements. I would take my 10 hour break by which time my trailer should be unloaded and I could make my next load. Before I went to bed I decided to check in again and see what the progress was on my trailer. It was then we found a mistake was made. "Oh, this is a one-hour guarantee." Apologies were offered and so I said, "I'm out of hours. I'll need to finish my break, so will my trailer by done by 4:00 am?" The answer was yes and so I prepared to go to bed. I called and hastily said goodnight to my wife and children so I could still get about 7 hours of sleep. That was at 9:41 pm. The call lasted one minute.  

At 11:45 there was knock at my door. I was disoriented as I got up and rolled down the window. "I'm trying to figure out what you're doing here." I told him I was waiting for my trailer. I was told that isn't allowed. "Only Walmart trucks are allowed to sleep. We don't have sleeping on the yard." I informed him that I had already spoken to the lady inside and what the arrangement was (or what I thought it was.) He was very rude and abrasive. He woke me from a dead sleep. I'm sure I wasn't as polite as I could have been. He tells me to come back tomorrow. I asked "What time" and he became further enraged. He goes inside and comes back. "No sleeping. Leave now or I will have you banned from all Walmart properties. I will be back through here in 10 minutes and if you're not gone I will call the police and have you forcibly removed." We then went inside where the lady I had talked to lied to him and me when she said, "You asked if you could stay here and I said no." That was a complete and total fabrication. I said, "I'll admit we weren't clear. I said I was going to sleep and nothing was said that I couldn't stay here." I left. Out of hours and exhausted, I drove away. It wasn't the first time and it certainly won't be the last. 

So let's think for a second what would've happened if when I pulled out on the road someone in a car hit me. It's happened time and again that even if the driver of the car had been at fault, I would have been cited possibly even put in prison because I was driving illegally. Lawyers have argued (and won)  "Had the driver not been on the road at that time, the accident wouldn't have happened." There are truck drivers IN PRISON today for fatal accidents caused by drunk drivers, usually the drunk was the one killed, where the driver was either not logging accurately or was over their time and was then found to be at fault because "they shouldn't have been there to be hit."

A driver's rest break should be sacred and uninterruptible. Period. For those of you so captivated by writing new laws, here's an idea for you - It should be punishable by imprisonment for waking a driver during his rest break. Certainly if a driver is trespassing on private property or parked in an unsafe location there should be an exception. But if a driver has leegitimate business at a location, there should be no circumstance where he is awakened and forced to leave. 

This isn't about Walmart. I've been run off from a Target DC as well. I love how people are so quick to criticize Walmart when Target and other retailers are flip sides of the same coin. 

This problem is much worse when pulling a van or reefer trailer. It's one of the things I miss the most about pulling flatbed. They're happy to see you when you get there and they unload you quickly. Usually you're hauling something on a flatbed that they need to build something with. I can testify that I am treated with much more respect as a driver when I'm pulling a flatbed.  

The government is no help either. They write these ridiculous anti-idling laws that tell me I am to shut off my engine regardless if it is 10° or 100°. I don't have $8,000 to spend on an APU, and I will not accept money stolen from other citizens in the form of a grant or tax credit to buy one. I'll get one when I can afford it. Until then, my engine provides my heat and air conditioning and it will run when necessary to keep me comfortable.  

Safety. What a joke. If any one if you cared about safety, you'd let me rest. 

 

How, in 2013, Can We Be This Foolish (Or Just Plain Stupid)?

 

We have centuries of documented human history on our side. There is absolutely no excuse for the people that are elected to "serve" (and I use that term VERY loosely) to be this clueless and ignorant. The Government of Australia has decided that they are going to 'fix' the tobacco 'problem.' This will be no different than governments before that have decided to 'fix' the 'problems' of gun violence, drug use, poverty, and healthcare. Here is the article:

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/health/smokers-set-to-be-taxed-out-of-habit/story-fn59nokw-1226547381195

One only has to look to the early 20th century in the United States to see that prohibition does not work. It never has, and it never will. The US Government has wasted trillions of dollars on the "War on Drugs." The only result we have to look at is prison over-population and rampant distribution of dangerous substances like Meth Amphetamine and Bath Salts. I submit that, without drug prohibition, Meth and Bath Salts would not be an issue. There would simply be no market for them. If people could access "normal" drugs in a free market, there would be no need for meth labs to cook up poison to feed the needs of the user. Tobacco is no different.

I am a former smoker. I still currently use smokeless tobacco. That change is a direct result of a deal
 made with my wife - Stop smoking and you are allowed to stay married. Smokeless tobacco was the compromise. I smoked for over 15 years. I did not start smoking because of Joe Camel or the Marlboro Man. I started because a friend handed me one. (Maybe we should ban friends.) But even then, it was my own curiosity and desire that made me start. To this day, I can catch a wiff of someone lighting up and the desire burns inside me. It's not enough to make me start again, but there is a momentary desire to smoke a cigarette. 

The thing that baffles me the most about this story is how clueless the bureaucrats are. Maybe they're not as dumb as I give them credit for. Maybe they know that this will never work, but they do know that the Sheeple will continue to give them more and more power over them as long as they are "committed to making progress." Let's examine a few points:

1) The government says that, over time, it will increase the amount a smoker has to pay (up to $20 per pack) and that will, in turn, dissuade the smoker from continuing to smoke. It's a simple concept, right? They, the all-knowing and wise bureaucrats, will force them to choose between something they do not need and something they do need like food, gas, and housing. They will manipulate the market and cause the smokers to change their behavior based on government decree. 

This one makes me laugh the hardest. How is it, being able to look back on the whole of human history, that these numbnuts think that government decrees can affect human behavior? Again, never has and never will. Human behavior is like water or electricity - It moves in the path of least resistance.

2) They are making a HUGE assumption that the open market will be the only place smokers can go to get their fix.

Wrong again. All government interference in the market does is cause the black market to rise up and take its place. It happened in the early 20th century with alcohol in the United States, and it's happening now with sex, guns, drugs, toys, and electronics. The black market is a dangerous place filled with violence. When transactions are forced into the shadows away from market light, you find shadowy people. It is only in the open market where you will find safety, quality, and fair price controls. What Australia has to look forward to is violence and death when people start dealing in the black market to squelch their nicotine craving. Without free market forces to demand quality of product, there will a much greater danger to the user. They will have no idea where the product comes from. They will have no idea what is in it. Is it really even tobacco at all? Is it laced? Have dangerous chemicals been used in the manufacture of the product? No one will ever know because the government has forced the producers and consumers into the shadowy dark corners.

3) They have already spent all the revenue this tax is going to create. They see all the zeroes lining up and all the "good" they'll be able to do with that income. 

The income and the windfall isn't coming. Black market producers do not pay taxes. Black market consumers do not pay taxes. All the money they think they're going to rake in is never coming. That will show up later when they don't have the money to cover all the promises they made. But that's okay, government NEVER admits that its plans didn't work. They will claim success and continue down the road of spending money they don't have while having "a plan" to address the budget shortfall.

Here is the bottom line - No matter how much you desire the government to save someone else from themselves, it is a proven fact that government does not have that power. Only individuals with the help of other VOLUNTARY individuals are able to help THEMSELVES out of trouble. 

Posted on January 4, 2013 and filed under politics.

Why I Really Couldn't Care Less Who Wins The Next Election

I'll give some credence to one argument that I've heard - "It is dangerous to give ANY President a second term." I wish I could credit whoever said it, but I can't remember (or maybe it was those voices in my head again). The second term, or the "lame duck" term, can be more dangerous than the first regardless of which side you're on. Ultimately, the "lame duck" has no one to answer to, or at least, they don't have to worry about getting re-elected. That said, I personally have no fear about whomever is the next President of the United States.

Please allow me to explain why.

1) I don't believe anything will be any different. The people who run for President give some great speeches. They all tell us how they are the one that is going to fix things for a change. Well, I've been alive for 36 years and have lived through six administrations - Carter, Reagan, Bush 41, Clinton, Bush 43, and now Obama. To me, the "Google Earth" view hasn't changed much. The only thing that has is the size and scope of the Federal Government itself. One could make the argument, from a liberty perspective at least, that most of the problems (defined as "loss of liberty") we face today stem from those six administrations over the last 36 years - three Democrats for 16 years, and three Republicans for 20 years. There's not a whole lot of parity there. We can also look back at the administrations of Adams (1797-1801), Lincoln (1861-1865), Hoover (1929-1933), and Franklin D. Roosevelt (1993-1945) as having done significant damage to the cause of individual liberty (Yes, I included Lincoln in that list. See: The Real Lincoln by Thomas DiLorenzo) and contributed to the growth and expansion of the Federal monstrosity.

-We (the Federal Government) are going to engage a war in Iran. Write it down. It's going to happen. It will happen under Obama, and it will happen under Romney/Santorum/Ginrich. It might not happen under a Ron Paul administration, but the likelihood is still there. The war drums are beating. Can you hear them?

-The Federal Reserve is going to continue printing money and the Congress is going to keep spending money it does not have and make promises it cannot keep. If that doesn't bother you, then you need to turn off MSNBC and FOX News or American Idol and read some books.   

-The American Public is going to continue to expect the government to solve all their problems. They are going to continue to live deeply in debt.

-The government will continue to stoke their fears and fan the flames of dissention among the various interest groups. It is in their best interest to keep up the fights over gay marriage and Wall Street. Like clockwork, members of the faith community and the LGBT community will play into their hands.

These are just four of the many issues that will remain unchanged regardless of the Party that sits in the Oval Office. Remember? Bush was going to "fix Social Security?" Obama was going to "close Guantanamo Bay and end the wars?" Bush took us to war, interfered into education like none before him ever had (No Child Left Behind), and wrote a check for Medicare Part D that our grandkid's ograndkids' asses won't be able to cash (which will be long after he's gone). But fear not! We have Obama! He [will be] responsible for the complete collapse of our health services industry (which will happen long after he's out of Office). Guantanamo is still open (and will never close). We're about to start ANOTHER war in the Middle East. He signed the NDAA allowing indefinite detention of American Citizens ON U.S. SOIL. He is likely to ratify the ACTA treaty by Executive Order completely bypassing the Constitutional process for ratifying treaties. That will be the end of free speech on the internet.

So no, I don't believe ANYTHING will be any different if Obama is defeated.

2) I've learned that, regardless of the stupidity coming out of Washington, my own actions will have a greater impact on my quality of life. This past year of my life has been more enlightening to me than anything I've read, seen, or experienced thus far. People on all sides of the political spectrum constantly repeat the propaganda from whichever side they're on - "Well if _____ gets in/doesn't get in, then we're in for total chaos." From Hollywierd actors who've have threatened to leave the Country if _____ was elected (which they didn't), to protesters in the streets hanging signs showing Bush/Obama with Nazi symbols, we've become a cartoon version of people in third world countries that actually have real substantive needs. Our biggest problem? Our poor people are too fat.

I've been self-employed for the last 13 months. I don't have a company retirement. Nor do I have an employee 'benefits plan;' no Worker's Compensation (that thankfully I'm allowed to opt out of); no paid vacations; and no unemployment coverage. What do I have? I have freedom. I am free to enter the marketplace and buy the services I need to cover my needs. My family has health insurance. It costs $280.00 per month. I have a life insurance policy that will take care of all my family's needs in the case of my death. It costs me $52 per month. And I assure you it is many, many times greater than anything she would ever get to raise two kids on her own from Social InSecurity. When people were filling the streets protesting unemployment, I was busy WORKING. You know, I have never collected a dime from unemployment. Oh, I've been unemployed. I've even been fired. But I have never not had a job. I've had three jobs at once - School Bus driver, pizza delivery driver, and small business owner - all at the same time. 

I have failed before. I've failed a few times. This is my third time being self-employed. This is my second time creating a website (fourth if you count Myspace and Facebook blogs). My marriage nearly failed but we fixed it. I've been evicted and had two cars repossessed (both times I turned them in before they came and got them). I've been bankrupt. The common theme in all those events was that I made poor decisions that led to a bad outcome. But each time I (or we) have failed, we've been able to get back up a little faster each time. There was no bailout. We did receive a couple gifts along the way, but not a complete resolution of our problems. Now when we get a stupid idea that comes to mind, we say, "No, we've been down that road before and it's no good."

The biggest challenge we face today is - How to teach our kids the lessons we learned without them having to end up flat on their faces in their 30's? It's simple. It starts now. They are 2 and 5. My 5 year old already knows that money only comes from work (and occasionally from Granny). My 2 year old will be three in June and he will begin down the road his sister did at 3. Work = money. No work = no money. Want toys? Need money. Need money? Need to work. Our kids are (or will be) required to split their income into three envelopes - spend, save, and give. Starting around age 10 (unless the bureaucrats outlaw the use of washing machines by minors) they will be required to do their own laundry. At 16, they will buy their own car. They will be responsible for insuring and maintaining that car. That means CHECKING and changing the oil. It also means they will need to understand what needs to be insured and WHY. They will be required to learn (by experience) how to negotiate with a mechanic to make sure they're not getting ripped off. We will be there with them during these lessons, but the burden will be on them. They will have a checking account that will be closely monitored by us. At an appropriate age, they will be required to shop for and cook (a quality) dinner for the family. It is OUR responsibility and ours alone to teach them all they need to know before they are turned loose into the world.

We made two important decisions when it came to the futures of our children. First they would be raised by their mother, not daycare. That is not an indictment of daycares or parents that utilize them. It is a statement of our intent to raise our kids the best way we know how. Second, we decided to homeschool them. Many people that hear that immediately jump to religion as the reason we homeschool. I'll say it was a factor, but it was a minor one. The major reason we homeschool is because we are products of the public school system. The 'system' is the same in public schools  and in private schools regardless if they are secular or faith-based. The 'Christian' school is largely the same broken system with a little Jesus sprinkled in. The system is a joke. One of the biggest problems the system has is parents (you thought I was going to say Unions didn't you? I'm not a Union guy, but parents are more to blame than Unions). The first consideration for homeschooling was the safety of our children. Parents are not taking responsibility for the raising of their kids. And this is not a secular issue. It affects kids in church too. Kids are not given proper boundaries and discipline at home. They are not given structure at home. If our kids have a developmental problem, we have to look no further than the mirror to see who is to blame. There is so much in life that we simply cannot control. There are a few things we can, and the quality of their education is one of them.

So come Election Day, I'm likely to cast a vote. It may even be a write-in vote. But come election night, I'll sleep like a baby because my life will not change based on who is in the White House. I'm more concerned about My House.