Just One More “Government Knows Best Because You Are DUMB!”

I feel so good that the California Assembly has passed a $0.10 price for EVERY plastic bag starting January 1. You can bet that the Senate will sign it and the Governor will sign it!

That was sarcasm, of course. It will be just another state bureaucracy into my life. In the first place these are not, as called, a “Single Use” Plastic Bag — I use and reuse all of them.

This will be the first state to pass such a ban.

LaDonna Harvey on KOGO radio, first postulated that she will not spend a single dime, even if that means that she carries her groceries out to her car one item at a time.

Now, don’t think you can use your current cloth bag from Trader Joes — oh, no! You are going to have to use a CALIFORNIA APPROVED cloth bag. If your bag doesn’t have a proper California sticker, then the union bagger — whose union, BTW, gets MILLIONS in a slush fund whose members will never see a dime (but whose union supported the bill in the Assembly) will not use your non-approved bag!

Personally, I will simply ALWAYS shop at the military Commissary at my local Marine base. The US Government does not have a history of enforcing California state laws.

A Collapse of Culture — Unnecessarily

I am tired of people using slavery as an excuse for rioting.

The earliest mention of state slavery was about 1700 B.C. and Numbers 31 of the Old Testament cites a case where God ordered Moses to kill every Mediate, man, woman and child — except the Virgins, who were distributed to the Priests and Soldiers. 15,000 sex slaves! (Not just approved, but ORDERED by God, if Numbers 31 can be believed.)

State slavery was world-wide and accepted right until 1885 in Brazil.

Actually, the Greeks gave us Democracy but one-third of all Greek residents were slaves, and the Romans, who gave us a Republic, also had one-third of their residents as slaves.

And, of course, the Egyptians owned slaves also….

Just as we today practice whatever we do as the norm of our culture, so to did our forefathers in THEIR day, and I suspect that we too will be condemned by our successors for not being sufficiently enlightened as are they.

It took civilization millennia to abolish slavery. No one alive today in America is a slave. No one alive today was a slave. No one alive today owned a slave. No one rioting in the streets knew anyone who was a slave.

Freed people everywhere — and everyone alive had slaves in their background, both as slaves and as slave owners, need to be thankful that they are not slaves, and celebrate freedom instead of dwelling on past slavery.

I was born in Montgomery, Alabama, and I can tell you what the culture was in the Black community in the 1930s — it was hard-working, lawful, and dignified and just like the white neighborhoods. I know because when my Mother went to Atlanta on business, I was left with Virginia (who in those days was called my “Mammy.” Believe me it was an endearing term!).

I was left in Virginia’s home. I was the only white in the neighborhood, and I was never attacked, abused or treated differently. Mind you that culture was much closer to slavery, and some Elders in those days could have been slaves.

(When I graduated from Annapolis, I took my wife to Montgomery to meet Virginia, and to invite her to come with my wife and I to California to raise OUR children! At the time we were childless but we intended to have a family. Virginia declined because she had a sick Mother, but we both cried over the necessity of her decision.)

I only mention this because, even living under onerous Jim Crow Laws and deep Segregation, there was a culture of responsibility and an innate dignity of the people — something that has declined vastly over the years. In my youth, I argued with my Grandmother who raised me after I was orphaned, about segregation — I badgered her (Born 1890) about Heaven being segregated. She finally said, yes, it was, and I asked if that meant we could no longer see Virginia? My Grandmother never was able to answer that!

After my marriage, I could not have returned to Virginia’s old neighborhood and introduced my new wife — Virginia was family.

But some people just look for past offenses…offenses they neither suffered nor know anyone who suffered.

Quick Hits

David Plouffe is a Washington Rainmaker, so politically connected that it is likely that if he called President Obama on the back channel line, Obama will answer. David Plouffe is REALLY connected!

Uber has hired away from the administration, and just for good measure, Uber hired away a guy who sat in the inner circle of Rham Emanuel’s Chicago administration to help in Chicago, and just for good measure, Rudy Giuliani has been hired.

There is a great article in POITICO, and the analysis is that Uber has gone into cities, set up and dared anyone to stop them, claiming that as a new technology they should not be held to laws designed for ancient technologies.

The article notes that taxi cab owners and taxi driver unions have a presence in Sacramento politics developed over the years amounting to $3,500 for every $1 donated by Uber and LyFt. Obviously, Uber has decided on a political counterattack using name brand political operatives.


I understand that teachers want to disassociate themselves from their unions. In truth it is difficult for a single teacher to have much effect when there are 300,000 teachers in various teacher unions. However, every union responds to large reform movements, and I know there is one in LA BUT IF THERE IS ONE HERE IT IS TINY.

On the local level, teacher unions are the major donor to the election of the majority of School Boards, making those elected members beholden to the local union in negotiations. Thereby the union is represented on both sides of the negotiable table!

FDR was right. Government employees should not be permitted to unionize!


Every time I enter a debate with teachers (more often they idetify themselves as teachers, but they are also Union organizers or union exceutives) I here that theer and many reasons that Massachusetts students do better than us on rankings by the US Department of Educaation.

Yes, there are many variables: Massachusetts is at another longitude and longitude, they are in another time zone, they speak a different dialect of English, they have Plymouth Rock…

If you are going to blame non-English speakers, then let’s look at that. Administrators and teacher unions have always objected to identifying non-English Language Speakers, have always refused to segregate NSL speakers until they are proficient, and there are cases in recent history where in border communities in both California and Arizona where school districts where districts sent buses to the border to pick up Mexicans — all because schools get paid by occupied seats.

Teachers cannot support a Governor who INVITES ILLEGAL ALIENS to come to the state, objects to identifying them, will not segregate them, and then complain that our education suffers from Non-English Speaking students!

Talk about killing your parents and then throwing yourself on the mercy of the Court because you are an orphan….

Our Economic Dominance is Ebbing

When one looks at the GDP of nations and collective nations (Regions), it becomes apparent that our world dominance is ebbing.

The European Union, which is listed by the IMF as a single entity, is listed first(all numbers in trillions):
European Union[n 1] 17,371,618[16]
United States 16,799,700

But more importantly, we are losing even that position yearly to China as noted by the closing Delta, even in the last two years noted by the IMF:

US United States 16,244,600
China. 8,358,400

US United States 16,799,700
China 9,181,377[n 2]

Just to save you the math, the delta was 7,886,200 (trillion) in 2012; and 7,618,323 (trillion) in 2013.

Yes the gap is closing because (probably among other things), the educational standards of the US are eroding. As older Americans with better educations leave the workforce, the Delta will decrease more quickly.

Committed to Ideology

So, what does my reading of the new book on Kim Philby have to do with the beheading of the US journalist?

It may seem to be tangential, but actually the concept appears to be quite a lot.

The executioner had what is described as an upper-class British accent, and the Prime Minister of Britain has cut short his vacation to direct MI5 and MI6 to try to identify which of the some 200 British fighters working for ISIL might have committed the beheading.

Kim Philby became a dedicated Communist in college, and over a 40 year career he betrayed his country, many, many friends, three wives and family, and was personally responsible for the deaths of about 8,000 agents and their families — some of whom he personally recruited, armed, sent abroad in secret and informed his Russian Case officer the same day. Even after the complete disintegration of Communism in the fall of the Soviet Union, the disgraced Philby, living in a drab Moscow apartment still supported Communism but thought it was mis-managed by bad people.

There is something in the human soul that causes some people to abandon their country and their friends, and not just move to a country more to their liking, but actively work against their birth country by betray it and their friends.

Of course you don’t understand it, just as you may not understand homosexuality, or bigamy, or any religion not your own.

Of course we live in a more technical era. We live in an era when an Israeli missile can destroy the family home where a head of Hamas is believed to be hiding.

The executioner is a marked man. The world is not big enough to hide him. There are sufficient electronics, firepower, rewards, drones….we will find him, but in the end he doesn’t care. The executioner knows that Iraq and Syria will be turned upside down and that in the end he will pay for what he did. In an ideology where people strap suicide vests and drive suicide cars, do you think the executioner is worried?

Of course not. He is committed. He was masked not to stop the death he so richly deserves but to cause the US to commit major resources, time and money.

And, that by the way is the secondary reason we pursue both Al-Queds and ISIL — to keep them from plotting against the US. The difference is that we have resources to burn, while their resources are very limited.

Justice! (It is different from the law.)

There is an interesting case in Texas, one that delineates the difference between my home state and…well anywhere else.

Two young boys were involved with pushing the family’s broken down truck home at night on a dusty road, and were just yards from their home when they were struck and killed by drunken driver.

Minutes later, the drunken driver was shot and killed. The father of the two dead children has been charged with murder.

In rural Texas there is no chance in hell that the father will be convicted. There is huge local sympathetic support for the father, who denies the killing of the drunken driver who killed his children. No weapon has been found, but similar ammunition was found in the home.

It was in Texas where, in 2012, a father killed the man found molesting his son, and the father was not even indicted. This indictment is surprising considering the hurdles for getting a conviction.

One Of the Greatest Spies Ever Recorded

I am deep into a newly released book on the Soviet Spy Kim Philby, called “A Spy Among Friends ” and, although I am a student of Soviet Spying and have written a précis on the subject (http://allenhemphill.com/new_page_26.htm), I have been more interested in the activities of the subjects, rather than how their personal relationships furthered their activities.

For that detail study of individuals, I have limited myself to studying the British Double Agents like ZigZag and Garbo, so I am enthralled with the details of a dedicated college Communist who easily penetrated the British spy agency, M6, because he was a member of the Old Boys Club, a jolly fellow, well-bred.

Over time, I’ll drop little nuggets of the book, but I commend the book to you. If you happen to use the Audible.com, which is a part of amazon.com, you can enjoy a great British voice reading the book.

I am impressed with the ease with which the so-called Cambridge (Communist) Spy Ring moved within the British spy services (including Kim Philby, Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean), one of whom was posted to Istanbul, a neutral Turkish city absolutely filled with spies of all nations. Like most spies, they gathered to eat and drink at a common bar, and they all knew each other and their spy job. It was so familiar that when the head of the American spy service arrived, the band struck up with:

I’m involved in a dangerous game,
Every other day I change my name,
The face is different but the body’s the same, Boo, boo, baby, I’m a spy!
You have heard of Mata Hari,
We did business cash and carry,
Poppa caught us and we had to marry,
Boo, boo, baby, I’m a spy!
Now, as a lad, I’m not so bad,
In fact, I’m a darn good lover,
But look my sweet, let’s be discreet,
And do this under cover.
I’m so cocky I could swagger,
The things I know would make you stagger,
I’m ten percent cloak and ninety percent dagger, Boo, boo, baby, I’m a spy!
–popular song in Istanbul during World War II

Click to access 00-Poem-2.pdf

The Soviets first didn’t believe that any spy could so easily infiltrate M6, and even when he passed tests they set to check if he was real, they thought him a potential double agent. But his Eaton, Cambridge upper-class education insulated him — “one just didn’t spy for a potential enemy, you know” and he would not even be suspected when all of the clues were there. It was one of history’s greatest spy success stories!

One thing that impressed me was the fervor for Communism that the spies held. When the Stalin purges decided to kill many of the spy controllers, they would recall them, torture them in the infamous Lubyanca Prison, and execute them, many of the Controllers duly returned anyway, to their deaths! One such Control, said, “They would kill me here, or there, so better there.”

When I was in Moscow, there was a joke that the Lubyanca Prison was called the “Roach Hotel, because people went in, but never came out.”

The spy business was running fully in WWII.

The Robotic Beat Goes On

Aloft Hotel in Cuppertino has just hired the first hotel Butler (“Boltr”), and he/she comes to work August 20!

The hotel is part of the Starwood group, and the 123 room hotel serves many visitors to nearby Apple, so naturally all rooms are designed to sync iPhones and iPads but the Butler…ahhh…”Boltr” will deliver to rooms the necessities of life ordered by guests…no tipping allowed, unless you consider the Tweets to the Front Desk of approval to be a tip.

Tests have shown the Boltr can easily navigate the corridors and the elevator, freeing the staff to do other things, and it will be available in other Starwood Hotels shortly.

This is not unlike the “Waiters” who deliver trays of food to patrons in China, and it just continues the movement to replace menial labor with automation. Menial labor is the easiest to replace because they have low skill requirements, but cause management the most trouble.

Texas Politics In One Easy Lesson

O.K. Let me try to Cliff Note the Texas Governor indictment.

Some democratic lawyer was head of some political investigative unit in Texas, an investigative unit funded by the state. (Which one hardly makes a difference!)

Said lawyer got herself arrested for a DUI (3X the legal limit.), and the Governor insisted she resign.

She said No.

The Governor threatened to cut her budget if she didn’t resign.

She said No.

He cut her budget! (He has a line item veto.)

His was as much a promise as a threat, and he kept his promise.

The Governor is being charged with threatening her — well, not her exactly, but her agency.

That seems righteous to me — a governor of a state, whose treasury pays the salary of an employee found guilty of DUI with three times the appropriate limit to drive in that state should have the power to threaten that if employee doesn’t resign he will cut her budget! He has line item veto power in his state over the budget, and with that power he can cut a line item for any reason — but the head of a department with that record — certainly.

It’s not as if that employee didn’t drive drunk — there are all sorts of video of her in the drunk tank looking and acting drunk. She was an embarrassment to herself, and o the State of Texas.

The indictment has been brought by the Democratic DA of the most liberal county in Texas, strictly because he could. He has a reputation for doing that.


There is an article in the Voice of San Diego about public art, and tax supported art in general.

I have commented that “public art” is “art” done for tax money because the artist can find no rational person to buy such idiocy — but, I corresponded with the greatest Science Fiction writer of all time in my youth, Robert Heinlein, and he wrote it more succinctly: “Support for the arts — Merde! A government supported artist is an incompetent whore!” (From Stranger in a Strange Land.”)


Politico has described the current Iraqi situation as has no one else:

“The United States will not intervene in foreign crises directly — or indirectly by supplying weapons and assistance — except when it does. Obama needs explicit authorization and funding from Congress in order to escalate American involvement in ongoing conflicts around the world — except when he doesn’t.”

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/08/barack-obama-iraq-crisis-109933.html#ixzz3AD7phn7t


Uber/LyFt/Sidecar are the new weapon(s) the Republicans are using to carry their message of free enterprise and lower regulation.

While it is true that Democrats are the party of the Big Government, and the usual recipients of union money, including Taxi Union money, it is actually the bureaucrats that want regulations, so they have jobs regulating.

Uber, et al. are just the tip — albeit the visible tip — of business disruption, and that will be followed by political disruption and social disruption.

This from the Washington Post:

“Cabdrivers are joining labor unions, labor organizers and cab companies are lobbying jointly, and rival taxi executives are sharing notes and filing complaints and lawsuits. Collectively they are resisting an industry that they say threatens their livelihoods and the well-being of consumers.”



I was watching the PBS Newshour recently, and thought they gave a subject of the ethics of supplying the Ebola pills to our own Doctor and Nurse, while inevitably there are calls for the experimental drug to go to Black African — it is even being studied by the World Health Organization, part of the ever-useless United Nations. What they are actually studying is if ANY experimental drug on humans, before it is fully vetted by the usual bureaucratic entities.

Families of dying people, I can say with some personal certainty, will take inordinate chances to save their loved ones.

In the case of the San Diego experimental drug, it is a private company and can sell, or give it to anyone they damn well please!