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Sat May 23, 2009

Editorial: Response to "The Financial Disintegration of California"

An article written by Mike Adams on has raised my ire. In this article, entitled "The Financial Disintegration of California," the author begins by stating, "The failure of California's proposed initiatives that desperately attempted to balance the state budget reveals a sobering truth about every Democracy: The voters will never vote for financial solvency. It is far too easy to vote for debt spending, passing on the burden of today's benefits to tomorrow's taxpayers. And in doing so, the voters destroy the financial future of their own state or nation.

Voters, you see, have no discipline. They lack long-term vision ...."

My response is thus: "The voters will never vote for financial solvency." I strongly disagree with this premise. California voters (those who did vote) have indicated their disapproval for the policies of their legislators; they are tired of being taxed so that others might spend. This sentiment has been echoed nationwide through the hundreds of "tea parties" recently held, organized not by political action groups nor special interests but by ordinary citizens fed up with the Federal government's never-ending "tax and spend" policies. This is the first step to governmental reform.

Currently, there are seldom good choices in politics; you can vote for one corrupt politician or another, or abstain from voting altogether. Apathy is giving way to anger as working Americans realize that they are being taxed into oblivion to support a burgeoning plethora of wasteful projects and mismanaged social programs, all the while lining greedy politicians' pockets, even as programs that have demonstrated high levels of effectiveness go unfunded and ignored because they do not fit with mainstream political thinking.

I believe a policy of "Vote the bums out!" will strike fear into the cold hearts of career politicians as they come to realize that their livelihoods "on the dole" at the expense of taxpayers are likely to come to an abrupt and ignominious end. With this "dead wood" purged from our political system, the true citizen politician will once again emerge to reclaim his and her rightful place as guardian of the Republic, thereby reassuring the citizenry and leading to a reversal of fiscal irresponsibility and renewed prosperity for all working-class Americans.

The author seems content to proliferate the view held in liberal circles that voters are "stupid," unable to think rationally, and therefore in need of the guiding hand of "big government" (read as "Big Brother") to steer them on the correct path and make their feeble lives worthwhile. This concept flies in the face of everything upon which our great Nation is based. It attempts to undermine individual initiative, entrepreneurship, and the very spirit which has elevated the United States to its role as World leader, replacing these pillars of American life with a complacent, "government knows best" philosophy. Having witnessed debaucle after debaucle precipitated by the heavy and uncaring hand of government, can any thinking person honestly believe that more government is what we need in a time of severe fiscal crisis?

I do agree wholeheartedly with the author's contention that both California spending and spending at the national level are irresponsible and out of control. But he completely ignores the fact that, in a democracy, the voters elect their representatives to manage the activities of their government. It is not up to the individual citizen to "do the math." That responsibility ultimately resides with our elected officials, who are then tasked with reporting back to the citizenry in an honest and straightforward manner on the true state of the State or state of the Union. In reality, it is not the voters who bear the burden of blame for the fiscal crises with which we now grapple, but those politicians who have for decades practiced the fine art of deception and trickery to serve their own indulgent self-interests, usurping the will of the voter and ignoring the public trust.

Voters are not, however, blameless. Year upon year, when confronted with the knowledge that certain politicians were corrupt, voters have in large part responded with — apathy. This failure to confront and to demand reform has enabled the corruption to spread and ingrain itself within the very fabric of our political system. Corruption in politics has become a way of life, and it is that result for which we now pay. Apathy, however, can be corrected, while stupidity cannot. I hold the optimistic belief that the apathetic "silent majority" of the voting public (and in California it truly is a majority) will ultimately rise up and let their voices be heard, reversing the tide of corruption and favoritism that has for so long characterized our political system.

Of course, it could be that the author is entirely correct in his assessment of the voting public. If that is truly the case, then the citizens of California and all of us, as citizens of the greatest nation on Earth, deserve to lose the Freedom and Liberty so generously granted to us by our Founding Fathers.

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Posted by: The Spidermaster on May 23, 09 | 10:00 pm | Profile

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Fri Apr 17, 2009

Photo of the Day: Aerial Police Surveillance

A little excitement today. The Vineland police were seeking a suspect in what turned out to be a pretty big manhunt lasting about two hours and apparently concluding a short while ago. I spoke to a police officer who was at one point searching my property (woods) for the suspect. Two police helicopters were involved as well as motorcycle cops and at least one police cruiser (more, I'm sure) parked at the corner of my property for well over an hour. I managed to catch a photo of the first police chopper on the scene as it orbited around my own and adjacent properties.

Aerial Police Surveillance
Police Aerial Surveillance Chopper — Vineland, NJ
Copyright © 2009 Ten Spider Enterprises, LLC

The suspect must have done something really bad to warrant this sort of attention! Usually, there are only deer and wild turkeys running across the property, although this guy may have been the latter.

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Posted by: The Spidermaster on Apr 17, 09 | 8:00 pm | Profile

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Tue Mar 17, 2009

The 2009 Economy:  Why We Should Worry

Here is a list of existing and potential situations that could cause the currency and equity markets, and ultimately the U.S. and World economies, to further destabilize. Be afraid ....

Military situations:

  • Iran's stated intent to become a nuclear power (translate as Iran's goal to develop nuclear weapons);
  • Iran's stated intent to wipe out Israel;
  • Destabilization of the Pakistani government and subsequent threat of an India / Pakistan nuclear exchange;
  • Potential deployment by Iran of missiles capable of reaching Israel and Mideast oil fields;
  • A potential for Israel to launch a preemptive military strike to "take out" Iran's developing nuclear capability;
  • Continued terrorism throughout the world with emphasis on the Mideast and Pakistan;
  • Expected North Korean test of a long-range missile capable of reaching the U.S. West Coast (and the U.S. response);
  • Sabre rattling by China as it jockeys for position as a new global superpower;
  • Basing of long-range Russian bombers in the Western Hemisphere (Venezuela and Cuba);
  • Potential for a terrorist strike on the U.S. mainland (threat low but increasing).

Economic situations:

  • An emerging financial crisis in Eastern Europe;
  • A new wave of home foreclosures due to rising unemployment (Mortgage holders are not eligible for foreclosure assistance if unemployed.);
  • A commercial credit implosion (similar to the subprime crisis and having a similar result);
  • A potential dangerous increase in credit card debt defaults (underway);
  • Restriction by banks of consumer credit (specifically, credit cards), including reduction to customers with good credit records (occurring now);
  • One or more major automakers going bankrupt (GM and Chrysler are on the brink.);
  • Credit defaults by U.S. state and municipal governments (The stimulus package has delayed this.);
  • Economic blunders by major world governments (highly likely);
  • A growing tide of protectionism (This has already begun in the U.S. and will grow worse.);
  • Continuing political infighting and partisan politics by members of the U.S. Congress;
  • Ongoing disputes between Russia and its neighbors over oil and gas pricing and payments;
  • Replacement of the U.S. Dollar with a new world reserve currency;
  • Potential refusal by China to finance more U.S. debt (unlikely due to its financial repercussions, but now being used as a threat);
  • A major U.S. natural disaster greater than Hurricane Katrina, perhaps on the scale of the Indian Ocean tsunami (unexpected and unpredictable);
  • A pandemic or major health threat (unexpected and unpredictable);
  • Unrest among U.S. citizens over the ongoing economic slowdown and increasing government spending and taxation (potential uncertain);
  • Potential runaway inflation beginning in 2010 or 2011.

Note that equity markets tend to "climb a wall of worry." However, when confronted with a fragile economic situation, markets tend to react swiftly and negatively to unexpected economic and political shocks.

Have I missed any situations? Are these enough to make you worry? It's important for individuals to know and understand the financial threats confronting us, our families, our Nation and the World. Comment below.

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Posted by: The Spidermaster on Mar 17, 09 | 4:15 pm | Profile

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Thu Feb 15, 2007

Updated Tsunami Warning Centers Plus Tsunami Lessons

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I was casting about this morning looking for some current links to add to our Tsunami (Tidal Wave) Hazard page when I stumbled upon the Tsunami Lessons blog, authored by Doug Carlson. While I got the feeling in browsing through Doug's posts that he was being a bit heavy-handed with regard to NOAA and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, I suspect that this may be the result of butting heads with an intransigent bureaucracy. Of course, Doug's perspective is colored by his background as a news reporter, and undoubtedly runs counter to the government viewpoint. Personnel at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center must be especially skittish after two years of unrelenting criticism from nearly every quarter following the horrific 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. MORE ....

Posted by: The Spidermaster on Feb 15, 07 | 12:30 am | Profile

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Fri Feb 25, 2005

Updated Tsunami Pages Posted

In light of the recent tragedy in the Indian Ocean, I have updated the three tsunami pages on the site. These pages were, admittedly, sadly deficit; I simply do not have time to cover all topics as well as I would like. (By the way, if anyone is interested in writing for the site, please let me know.) The pages are now up-to-date, with new text and quite a few new links. MORE ....

Posted by: The Spidermaster on Feb 25, 05 | 1:17 am | Profile

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