About Crucis

I'm a retired telecom engineer, life NRA member, Amateur Radio Operator and Air Force vet. I created this blog at the urging of some folks who think I have an occasional thought. A liberal friend once described me as "being just to the right of Atilla the Hun." I thanked her for that description and told her I'd do my best to maintain her expectations.

Words for Wednesday

Somedays it is hard to write a post. The difficulty is caused by a number of reasons, repetitive news cycles, ignorance of the MSM and in many areas the ignorance and apathy of the public. At other times, a lack of motivation or time conflicts conspire to push me to not post.

Today is one such day.

Be that as it may, today’s lead item is about stupidity. John Boehner’s bartender—a man who has been Boehner’s bartender for over five years, is accused of plotting to poison the Representative from Ohio.

The bartender must be an astoundingly poor planner. He had opportunities to shuffle off Boehner’s mortal coil for five years…but he just couldn’t get his act together.

When I read the article, it triggered my disbelief tripwire. After a facing mutiny in the GOP ranks, Boehner and the FBI reveal this incompetent. It just seems to be a misdirection ploy to get some positive media for Boehner. I wonder how many American have trouble with this news item?

***

Guns and Taxes

From WMSA.NET

From the PoliticMO Newsletter for January 14, 2015.

GUNS — ‘Gun groups vow to fight Missouri lawmaker’s bill taxing guns to pay for police body cameras,’ Raw Story: “A Missouri state legislator has drawn criticism from gun enthusiasts for introducing bills that would pay for body cameras for police officers through a tax increase on firearm and ammunition sales… House Bills 75 and 76, which were introduced by state Rep. Brandon Ellington (D), would implement a 1 percent tax raise on gun sales, with the money going to the “Peace Officer Handgun and Ammunition Sales Tax Fund,” to be used to buy the cameras. Officers would then be required to wear the cameras during any interaction with the public, and keep the footage in their records for at least 30 days. Undercover officers and detectives would be exempt from wearing the cameras. …

“The National Rifle Association (NRA) has already come out against Ellington’s proposal. ‘Forcing law-abiding Missourians to pay an additional tax on firearm and ammunition purchases is unmerited. Gun owners and purchasers should not be responsible for funding these projects,’ the group said in a release. ‘The NRA will continue to fight against such misguided encroachments on those who exercise their Second Amendment rights.’” — PoliticMO Newsletter, Jan 14, 2015

We continually hit with taxes and more taxes. A new tax to one thing or another, another hand in our pocket stealing our money under the guise of law. Every tax has some benefit, we’re told. I just don’t believe it. We don’t need a new tax to fund body cameras now, especially one that taxes guns and ammunition.

***

The rank and file of our military do not like Obama. Who’da thunk it?

AMERICA’S MILITARY: A conservative institution’s uneasy cultural evolution

The force is changing — often reluctantly — alongside the civilian society it serves

In his first term, President Obama oversaw repeal of the controversial “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

Then he broke with one of the military’s most deeply rooted traditions and vowed to lift the ban on women serving in combat.

And the commander in chief has aggressively sought to change military culture by cracking down on sexual assault and sexual harassment, problems that for years were underreported or overlooked.

Obama is an unpopular president in the eyes of the men and women in uniform. Yet his two-term administration is etching a deep imprint on the culture inside the armed forces. As commander in chief, he will leave behind a legacy that will shape the Pentagon’s personnel policies and the social customs of rank-and-file troops for decades to come.

Go visit the Military Times and read the complete article. It confirms the opinions of many now serving and some fears as well.

Strike! While the price is low.

The price of crude dropped to $45 a barrel yesterday. A gas station in Texas posted a pump price of $1.499 a gallon. We all rejoice at the lowering prices. Long-haulers see their costs dropping, and the economy begins to pick up. ‘Course, Washington takes credit of all of it while doing nothing but talk.

Oh, they are talking. Talking about raising gasoline prices by at least another 12¢ as gallon. Why? Because consumers can afford to pay more since they aren’t paying as much per gallon!

Incredible! But, not completely unexpected from the crazed spending lusts of those in Congress and in the administration. I expect our local congresscritter, Vicky Hartzler, who supports massive welfare spending in her voting for the yearly Ag bill (SNAP/Foodstamps), will get in line with her rubberstamp.

It’s not as if the taxes collected has decreased. No, in fact the gas tax revenues has increased. With the lower gas prices, people and businesses are driving more, buying more gas. The federal gas tax is 18.4¢ and 24.4¢ for diesel fuel. It is a fixed tax per gallon. If the tax was a percentage of the cost of a gallon, then a lowering price would reduce the tax revenue—but it is not.

The Daily Signal, a news website and newsletter of the Heritage Foundation posted an article today that delves deeper in the push for more taxes. Surprise, Surprise! It’s not just democrats pushing for a higher tax.

Why Washington Politicians Want to Hike the Gas Tax

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin, D-Ill., and even Republicans such as Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee have linked arms with the entire road-building industry and green groups that want the cost of fuel to go up.

Pelosi won’t even hide her cynical motivation: With gas prices low, maybe motorists won’t notice that we’re gouging them.

“If there’s ever going to be an opportunity to raise the gas tax, the time when gas prices are so low—oil prices are so low—is the time to do it,” she explained.

That’s rich coming from Pelosi, who has done everything she can to stop the shale oil and gas revolution that made prices fall in the first place.

Apparently if OPEC can’t keep prices high, the feds will. And these are the folks who say they want to help the middle class.

Every penny increase in the gas tax will take about $1 billion out of the wallets of consumers. So a 10-cent or 20-cent gas tax will take about $10 billion to $20 billion from consumers.

The politicians like to point to studies by road builders and civil engineers that insist America’s infrastructure is crumbling and we must spend hundreds of billions of dollars to fix our roads, highways, bridges and airports. Now there’s an impartial jury. Who do you think is going to get all this money?

Corker adds that we are “just stealing from future generations out of the general funds to pay for infrastructure because Congress is going to fund infrastructure but not in the appropriate way.”

Corker is right that America needs more roads and needs to fix the ones we have to reduce congestion and potholes. But this isn’t because the 18.4-cents-a-gallon gas tax raises too little money—$34 billion a year should be plenty and infrastructure spending is near an all-time high.

The “stealing” that is going on is from the trust fund. Congress siphons tax dollars away from roads to worthless mass transit systems with tiny ridership.

Why should motorists see their gas tax dollars go to transit projects they don’t use?

If Washington would simply devote all gas tax dollars to roads, we wouldn’t need a tax hike.

Don’t be surprised if gas tax hike dollars help fund California’s $68 billion high-speed rail white elephant. The program has been so riddled with cost overruns, it may go down in history as one of the most absurd transportation projects in U.S. history.

There’s no bigger hypocrite when it comes to infrastructure than President Obama. He wants $300 billion for a federal infrastructure fund even as he announces he will veto a bill to create needed pipeline infrastructure and some 42,000 jobs at virtually no cost to taxpayers. Pelosi and Durbin are against Keystone, too.

Rather than raise the federal gas tax, a better policy would be to repeal the federal tax and let states pay for their own road projects.

The interstate highway system was completed 30 years ago, and there is no more need for a national tax at 18.4 cents a gallon to fund bridges and high-speed rail projects to nowhere. Devolving transportation projects back to the states will ensure that gas tax money is used for the highest value-added projects.

The column continues at the website. You can read it in it’s entirety here.

***

“Don’t Get Stuck on Stupid!”

That was a quote from Lt. General Russell Honeré from the Katrina cleanup when the military had to come in to help state and federal officials in New Orleans. While the circumstances and reasons for the quote has been forgotten, the quote itself has not.

The dems in Washington have not taken that advice. No, they, after their massive losses last November, continue with their failed agenda. Only now, they are pushing that failed agenda harder.

Dems double down on liberal populism, push bolder wealth redistribution

– The Washington Times – Monday, January 12, 2015

House Democrats, fresh off massive election losses, say the problem is they didn’t make a bold enough case for tax increases and wealth transfer to the poor. They rectified that Monday with a speech by Rep. Chris Van Hollen proposing tax increases on the wealthy with the money going straight to tax cuts for the poor and middle class.

The plan uses tax laws to encourage employee wage increases, reduce tax breaks for Wall Street and slap another fee on financial transactions. The government would dole out $1,000 tax credits for most workers and increase a slew of other tax credits for poor and middle-class families.

“This is a plan to grow the paychecks of all, not just the wealth of a few. This proposal attacks the chronic problem of stagnant middle-class incomes from both directions. It promotes bigger paychecks and lets workers keep more of what they earn,” Mr. Van Hollen, the ranking member on the House Budget Committee, said in a speech announcing the plan at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank in Washington.

The Maryland Democrat said the proposal would restore balance to a tax code that “is now skewed in favor of people who make money off of money and against those who make money off of work.”

The plan built upon the liberal populism that dominates the Democratic agenda for confronting a Republican-controlled Congress, such as the push to raise the minimum wage and reducing student loan debt. But it went further by offering workers a direct cash payment. (The column continues at the website.)

The scheme will probably be DOA in Congress. At least it should be. With the current push by the establishment GOP for accommodation with liberals, who knows, really, if this is dead, or, like Frankenstein’s monster, will suddenly gain life again.

It’s time for a resurgence of those, currently out of favor by the establishment, to gather again under the name of, “Taxed Enough Already!”

AWOL

Leaders from around the world arrived in Paris and walked with a reported 5% of the French population in solidarity with Charlie Hebdo and against Islamic terrorists. All the major leaders and countries were there—except for the US.

http://pjmedia-new.pjmedia.netdna-cdn.com/victordavishanson/user-content/2/files/2015/01/obama_chamberlain_charlie_hebdo_1-11-15-1.jpg

AWOL: Barrach Chamberlain.

Neither Obama, Biden, nor Kerry attended the march.  Attorney General Holder was in Paris at the time of the march. He didn’t attend either. He was in a ‘meeting.’ Not only did no one from the US government attend the march, the White House did not issue any press release in support. The Drudge headline for today is:

OBAMA FINALLY INVISIBLE

No ‘Pubs attended either. What an opportunity lost! Suppose John Boehner and Mitch McConnell had attended when Obama and his henchmen wouldn’t. Think of the political coup! Nevertheless, the opportunity was missed. In retrospect, I suppose it would have offended Obama and the dems if ‘Pub leaders had shown some spine.

***

There was a murder on the Kansas side a couple of days ago. She’s A Pistol was a small business training people, mainly women, how to defend themselves. Three armed men entered, attacked Rebecca Bieker, the woman co-owner and her husband, John Bieker, defended her. All three armed men suffered gunshot wounds. The fourth, the getaway driver escaped injury. John Bieker later died of his wounds.

Rebecca Bieker later issued this statement via her Facebook page. “I have lost my husband in this senseless murder,” she wrote. “Although tragic, he saved my life because he carried a firearm. Guns are not evil.”  

The Kansas State Rifle Association has open a conduit for donations to Rebecca Bieker. A second donation site is available, too.

Vacation day

It’s cold. Near-zero temps overnight, about 10°F now. The high may, may reach 16 today. I think I’ll just hibernate until the temps reach at least freezing.

Is it Spring, yet?

Many have said it. I’ll join in. “I hate winter!”

I’m working on setting up two computers. One will be my web/mail server backup. They other is my wife’s new laptop…her second new laptop.

Her first laptop had no DVD/CD-Rom drive! I’ve never heard of a laptop without one but this new Dell, didn’t. That made it extremely difficult to move some older legacy software over to her new laptop. I rechecked the specifications for the laptop and there was no mention of a DVD/CD-Rom drive. My error perhaps, but whoever heard of selling a laptop without one? It came with a computer store application. Perhaps they thought the buyer would buy all new work applications instead of wanting to load software they had already purchased? Dumb, dumb, dumb marketeers.

Plus, it had Microsoft’s #$)%^&*(!#$ Windows 8.1 operating system on it, an abomination of an operating system if I ever saw one. In my career I’ve written operating system code for Microsoft, Intel and Bell Labs (AT&T Unix). I can truthfully say Windows 8.1 is an abomination. Perhaps that is why Windows 10 will be released early, in a few months maybe, and that version will remove some of the ‘new features’ contained in Win8 that makes it so difficult to use. It will also be a free upgrade to Windows 8 say some reviewers. Windows 10 will allow the return of the ‘look and feel’ of Windows 7 and earlier versions. Like Vista, Win 8/8.1 will be a flash in the pan and then gone.

I sent the laptop back and went to one of our local PC stores. When I entered, I found a salesman, give him my specifications, new or refurbed, DVD/CD-Rom drive, and loaded with Windows 7. To my surprise, new laptops are still being manufactured and sold with Win7! A bit more pricey, top-of-the-line, perhaps, but still available.

Yes, the change has delayed my schedule, but the second new laptop is much, much better than the !@#$%^&* I returned.

It was a Dell, by the way. The new one is a Toshiba.

Ditto, yesterday

Ref, yesterday. Ditto, today.

Today…is a work day

Over the holidays my backup server died. The fan stopped and the server cooked itself. It was an older box, one of the first AMD 64-bit CPUs. It was my primary web and mail server for a long time until I upgraded to a newer, faster, etc., server a year ago.

My wife and I, because we have our own internet domain and web/mail server, were a bit nervous. If anything happened to the primary server, we’d be off the ‘net. Over the weekend I bought a new PC for a backup. It’s a lighter duty box suitable for short term while I fixed the primary.

My wife got a new laptop, too. It has Windows 8.1 on it—an abomination of an operating system if I ever saw one (and I used to write operating system code waaaay back when for Microsoft and later Bell Labs.)

Consequently, I’m a bit busy. If all goes well, I’ll be back blogging tomorrow…I think.