Friday, October 28, 2011

Mike Sak for Comptroller? Are you kidding me?

Somehow I missed the news that former Kent County Commissioner and former State Representative Mike Sak was running for Grand Rapids Comptroller. I received a post card in the mail from him today and I just had to shake my head. It's so sad that I don't know where to begin.

Let's start at the beginning. First, Mike Sak is relatively well-known as a do-nothing state rep. No one I speak with remembers anything he did in the six years he was in office. Oh wait, everyone remembers one thing Sak did:
According to a state police memorandum, Sak's demand for a ride came during the convention and was part of an evening of bizarre behavior by the western Michigan legislator.

The memo indicated that Sak left the Grand Traverse Hotel July 20, carrying a glass of what appeared to be beer, walked to a sport utility vehicle, opened the front passenger door, then asked a trooper if it was all right to get into the vehicle.

When the trooper told Sak he was not leaving his assigned post, Sak laughed, got into the vehicle and left the area, the memo said.

Later, Sak approached the trooper again, "obviously very intoxicated," and demanded a ride, the memo stated.

After the trooper declined the request, Sak identified himself as a "Democratic state representative in charge of appropriations" and claimed he was responsible for saving the jobs of state troopers who were facing possible layoffs.

And this guy wants to be in charge of our City's finances?

Politicians are, by their very nature, power-hungry ego-maniacs. But demanding a free ride from a state trooper while intoxicated is a perfect metaphor for the corrupt politician. Drunk with power and disdain for the public purse, Sak had no problem demanding the use of public resources while threatening a government employee with budget cuts if he wasn't pandered to!

The only other candidate is Donijo DeJonge, the city's current comptroller, according to the Kent County elections web site. DeJonge has a web site, available here.

If Sak wins, I will have lost all faith in my fellow Grand Rapidians.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Stimulus Failure Update

I hate to say I told you so, but... As I wrote in January of 2009, the stimulus did absolutely nothing to help the economy, and I'll prove it. (In fact, it's likely that the stimulus has made the situation worse).

Just some quick facts:

  • National Debt in January 2009: $10.632 trillion

  • National Debt as of today (June 30, 2011): $14.025 trillion (a 32% increase in 30 months).

  • Number of employed Americans in January of 2009: 140,436,000

  • Number of employed Americans in June of 2011: 139,334,000

So the federal government spent (borrowed) $3.4 trillion in the last two and a half years and nothing was accomplished. Just remember, that $3.4 trillion now needs to be serviced with interest payments and eventual repayment (theoretically).

We have the politicians in Washington posturing about raising the debt ceiling and President Obama beating senior citizens over the head with the threat that he's can't guarantee Social Security payments if the debt ceiling isn't raised. But wait, I thought there was a trust fund that would last decades into the future to pay Social Security? Not. The President just admitted that the Social Security trust fund is a sham and scam.

Whether or not the debt limit is increased is irrelevant at this point. The federal ponzi scheme will fail, it's just a matter of when, not if. Are you ready for the result of an immediate 50% drop in federal spending when the Treasury suddenly can't borrow any more because the world has had enough or our failed monetary policies?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Uber-Fascist Gary Glenn Goes off his Anti-Gay Rocker

Just for the fun of reading material that is poorly written and poorly reasoned, I've put myself on the mailing list of Gary Glenn, who is the Michigan arm of the misnamed American Family Association. Today was quite a day for his usual blathering buffoonery, not because I received another press release full of his usual logical fallacies and dimwitted argumentation, but because the Grand Rapids Press seems to be giving him a significant amount of face time to him on its web site. The top article for much of today was in regards to Glenn's contention that businesses shouldn't hire gays because gays are a health risk (in his myopic, insular world). He was criticizing Herman Miller for that company's real-world position that an open and tolerant workplace is best for attracting high quality talent (duh). You can read more of Glenn's bilious droll here.

Truth Wins Out's blog had an excellent response to Glenn's failure of brain power, which I would like to quote, because I couldn't say it any better:
Part of wingnut hatred of gay people. . . comes from their very real jealousy at the idea that millions of people around this country live more interesting lives than they do, are happier than they are, and are smarter, more productive and more creative than they are. . . Indeed, it makes them seethe that absolutely no corporation is trying to find ways to attract more fundamentalist Christians under the headline of “best and brightest.” They just hate it.

So instead they spew their usual litany of lies — because they’re liars, of course — partially to make their sheep feel better, but partially also to make themselves feel better. Being gay is not the cause of mental illness or substance abuse or AIDS. All sane, intelligent people know that. Only the truly brainwashed and stupid are susceptible to such silly notions. The only offensive thing here is that the actual scientific study on the subject has shown that it’s precisely people like Linda and Gary, and their accompanying spiteful, pig ignorant worldview, that leads to higher rates of depression in gay youth. There’s even a good bit of data that has shown that people are more likely to put themselves in dangerous situations with drugs and unsafe sex when they don’t have the support of friends, family, church and society. And who keeps that cycle going? Again, people like Gary [Glenn]. . . .

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Socialist Experiment in Grand Rapids

I read with interest today a GR Press article on the opening of a new vegetarian restaurant that is attempting to create its own microcosm of a socialist workers' paradise. This restaurant, called Bartertown Diner, will be opening on June 4 in the former Discussions Coffee Shop location at 6 Jefferson SE. Bartertown made previous headlines when they unveiled a mural which includes communist revolutionary and murderous thug Che Guevara on the wall.

It seems as though the owners of Bartertown are serious about their commitment to socialist ideals. They intend to make the restaurant employee-owned and enforce "equal pay and equal say." The specifics of how they intend to do so aren't outlined in the article.

The owners will also force all employees to be members of the Industrial Workers of the World union, which advocates for the abolition of the wage system. IWW is a has-been union which declined dramatically in membership in the 1920s after an internal split. Once able to claim 100,000 members, it claims about 900 members today. IWW is far hard-left communist/socialist and way out of the mainstream of unions today.

I'm going to reserve judgment on this plan, but my instinct and understanding of both economics and human nature tell me it won't last very long. Equal pay and equal say may sound nice on the surface, but they are completely unsustainable concepts in the long term. In a business environment, there are at times competing interests. While employees naturally want higher wages and fewer work hours, owners/managers must ensure that such demands are kept within a framework of cash flow and profitability. Is it possible that collective decision-making can maintain a well-run business establishment? Well, maybe. I'm not going to discount it on a very small scale, such as in a restaurant, but my inclination is that it won't work long term.

With all of the talk of communist revolutionaries and international communist unions, we can see, at the local level, how communism and socialism really are tyrannical at their very roots. As mentioned, all employees of Bartertown will be forced to join one, pre-determined union. This is the nature of communism - the abolition of choice. Groups like IWW would impose such a restriction on all workers, if they could. I often hear people say "well, communism is a good idea on paper..." No, it's not. It necessitates subjugation of the individual to the will of the collective. This concept has almost universally evolved into a brutal dictatorship and oligarchy, enforced through violence, suppression, and at the point of a gun. Dissenting opinion is simply not allowed.

Will Bartertown become a brutal dictatorship? Of course not. But the historical narrative is that in order for the concept of a worker-owned, wage-free "paradise" to work, it must be enforced with force.

That's why Bartertown won't last.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Rapid Silver Line Wins - Buffoonery Ensues

Well, after a second vote where the entire political/bureaucratic elite establishment of six cities was mobilized (and hauling Vern Ehlers out of retirement, "weekend at Bernie's" style), the Silver Line millage passed. With a whopping margin of success of 136 votes out of more than 34,000 cast, the voters of Grandville, Walker, Wyoming, and Kentwood once again learn that their money is happily sucked up by Grand Rapids when the issue was overwhelmingly defeated in those cities.

What's next? The Rapid will add a bunch more buses to existing routes and not expand service one bit. The Silver Line will clog Division, Monroe, and Michigan streets with double-long accordion style buses at the price tag of $700,000 each. Lanes will be shut down so only these boondoggle buses will be able to use them, congesting traffic and pissing people off.

But hey, it'll make young professionals want to live here!!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Rapid Bus Millage Tax Hike - It's Heating Up

To my readers: I apologize for not posting much in the last year - life's circumstances have kept me busy (you know, paying bills and all that stuff). But, I have been watching the debate heat up between the people in favor of The Rapid's 31% tax hike and the people against it. I've been really surprised by the number of videos showing up on youtube by people who are against the tax hike. When voters said NO to the Silver Line in 2009, it seemed like a clear message. But, the politicians down at the Rapid didn't get the message, so they doubled the tax increase and hoped that you wouldn't notice that the Silver Line was part of it. Well, anyways, below are some of my favorite videos that I found online:


Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Rapid Uses Communist-Inspired Logo for Free Concert

Does anyone else find it odd the The Rapid bus system is using a communist-inspired logo to advertise the free concert they are holding on April 16th? This concert, called the "Rapid Revolution," is allegedly aimed at inspiring people to vote yes on the May 3rd millage increase for the Rapid Fail Line, oops, I mean the Rapid Silver Line. It's a rather strange tactic to get out the vote. Frankly, it's a little jarring and I can't imagine that this type of imagery would inspire confidence or excitement in the average voter.

What I really can't understand is why they would use a logo that has been used by communist and socialist groups for so long. Some examples are below. Do they really want to associate a bus system with governments which have murdered tens of millions of people through forced labor, starvation, war, and mass murder?

Well, if you're inspired, I'm sure they'd love to have you at Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids on April 16th, between 2:00pm and 7:00pm. If you're not inspired, maybe you'd want to contact The Rapid and ask why they're associating with a communist symbol.

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Rapid Silver Line is Back... Again.

The Rapid Silver Line, the boondoggle bus system that failed at the ballot in 2009, is back. Voters in Grand Rapids, East Grand Rapids, Grandville, Kentwood, Walker, and Wyoming will be asked for a 31% millage increase.

I did some extensive reporting on this mess in 2009. Please check those posts out for some detail on the proposed system. For more up to date information, my friends over at ITP Watch are doing a great job of keeping The Rapid on their toes.