Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Repeal federal flood insurance

This was the message we sent out today on the Downsizer-Dispatch...

The tragedy of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina has, in my opinion, become a political football, demonstrating why partisanship is so hollow. For the Democrats, it's about race and Republican incompetence. For the Republicans, a group who loved the so-called “Blame Game” when it was Bill, Hillary, and Al they could blame, it is about deflecting blame, in some cases going so far as to spread falsehoods about when the governor of Louisiana declared a state of emergency.

I, for one, lack the faith that either group of partisan hacks has got it right because both sides of the aisle agree on one thing - we need bigger government to address this problem and prevent future calamities.

"But faith, fanatic faith, once wedded fast to some dear falsehood, hugs it to the last."
-- Thomas Moore

For many, Big Government is something akin to a god. When high winds topple and great rains flood, and when fires burn and snows bury, the Great God Government is expected to wave its magic wand and rescue us. But New Orleans shows how greatly the Great God Government can fail.

It is now obvious - big things fail in a big way.

This is why liberals, conservatives, and libertarians are joining together to Downsize DC. Despite our ideological differences, we all realize the perils of Bigness and centralized power. But many others still remain faithful to the present system. Why?

Partisanship appears to be the biggest reason. Faith in political parties and political personalities are minor cults of their own, and these cults are largely immune from the critical power of inconvenient evidence. Worse still, these cults provide easy rationalizations for the failures of that larger false idol, Big Government itself.

And so the way is paved for the next big disaster. Partisan hypocrisy and emotional attachments to political personalities blind us to reality. And the reality is this...

Government has no incentive to succeed because its failures are always rewarded with increased funding. (Witness the $53 billion relief package just passed in Congress).

Much more could be said about why government fails so often and so grandly, but it need not be said, because the "incentives problem" alone is sufficient to judge Big Government a clear and present danger to the health, wealth, and safety of the people. Big government fails in order to succeed.

And New Orleans is but the latest "Poster Disaster" to symbolize this.

Now if only we could elect someone to fix the problem - Not!

The beauty of Downsize DC is that, to quote Thomas Jefferson, "we put not our faith in men." We owe no loyalties to parties or personalities. We need not defend this person or oppose that one. We need not wait for the "correct" person to be elected to work for appropriate change.

And so, while the pundits fiddle as New Orleans drowns, Downsize DC takes the next step to promote real solutions that will actually work, and to force those solutions on the politicians, Democrats and Republicans alike. To wit...

It sure would be nice if there weren't so many houses built in flood plains and below sea level.

If people had to pay the true cost of flood insurance many fewer people would build where floods happen. Fewer houses in flood areas would mean many fewer people dead, fewer to rescue, and fewer houses to rebuild. And all of this would mean lower spending by the federal government, leading to less government borrowing and taxing.

Is this the Utopian answer sought by the naïve? No. It is simply a common sense reform that would make things better. And how could we get to such a level of common sense?

End federally-funded flood insurance.

If you agree, send Congress a message and tell them so. You can do it quickly and easily by clicking here.

Thank you for being a DC Downsizer.

Jim Babka
President, Inc.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

False Choices and a Bridge

I’ve been thinking a lot about the relationship between God and science lately. For some, this might be a waste of time on foolish speculation. But all philosophers “waste” their time in conjecture, as do members of fantasy football leagues and black-jack players. To me, few things are as important as the metaphysical questions. And so, I theorize.

I believe firmly in a God of reality. If God exists, then God must be the author of reality – indeed the Creator.

A few weeks back, I explained on this blog (and here) that I have come to the conclusion that, “that evolution is the best explanation of our natural history.”

In all-too-many circles, the gap between God and science has been widened. Creationists seek a static world where every discovery is a potential threat to their literal interpretation of Genesis 1. Atheists, on the other hand, find reassurance in “blind chance” and “randomness” that is, in their opinion, so purposeless that there just can’t be a Deity.

Like Coke and Pepsi, Republicans and Democrats, this is a false choice. Each side wants you to believe that you only have two choices and you must choose, even if you believe the alternatives are bad and worse. But there aren’t only two choices. For example, if you’re hankering for a soda and you care for neither Coke nor Pepsi, you can drink Mountain Dew or Dr. Pepper or Cherry Coke or 7-UP. And if you loathe the tax-and-spend policies of the Democrats and the borrow-and-spend proposals of the GOP don’t sit well with you, then you can vote Libertarian. Or, you can do like me – give up soda and partisanship because both are bad for you.

When it comes to our origins, there aren’t merely two, or even three, choices. But unlike pop and politics, I don’t advise you check-out.

I have faith that discovering the way the world works brings me in touch with God. As I’ve pointed out before, that view seems very consistent with Scripture.

Faith is the bridge between God and science. Before you dismiss or pooh-pooh the concept of faith, stop and consider what it is. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the substantiation not yet seen. And even the deepest skeptics have faith.

A dear friend who is also a skeptic, who reads this blog and who will recognize I’m talking about him, routinely speaks to me of the things he believes – things for which he has no conclusive evidence. He talks of his plans, what he believes his future will be like, and even what he believes the future will be like for people he loves. Because he’s a close-friend, I hope he succeeds and is happy.

But what’s fascinating is that he has no proof that these things will happen. In fact, he will admit he has no proof. And yet, each morning, he gets up and pursues his dreams. And he passionately believes in what he’s doing. This is an act of faith.

So faith isn’t a bad thing. It appears to this observer that we need faith to survive – to get out of bed in the morning. For the goal-setter, faith is the bridge between now and the future. For the believer, faith is the bridge between science and God.

And this makes perfect sense. The God of monotheists (perhaps five-point Calvinists exempted), respects mankind’s will. We can do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God, or we can ignore, maim, and/or seek power over others.

The scientific evidence we have this choice is all around us. It appears to be built into the very fiber of the universe. And because every one of us has these choices, the future is not predictable. Anything can happen.

It makes theological sense to me that if my hunches are right, that the best way (perhaps the only way) we can approach God is through faith. That’s how the Creator wanted it. We just wouldn’t have had the will necessary to be free if God had imposed Himself on us. God wanted us to seek Him.

Atheist Bertrand Russell was famously asked what if when he died he found himself before God... what would he say to God? “There wasn’t enough evidence,” was his reply. But I wonder; if there was enough evidence to satisfy Russell, would something important have died within him?

Without faith, is there despair? And can we have a world where we wouldn’t have or need to rely on hopes and dreams and still have even a tattered will?

Would we accomplish anything without these emotional skills? And is this seeking for God good for us in some way we don’t yet know how to explain?

OK, now perhaps you’re getting ready to click away from this article because you think that such a God is distant, cruel, and ruthless. But don’t give up yet. Let me make one final point... about presumptuousness.

Who are you in relation to God? Let me make this simpler. Who are you in relation to the President, or the Governor, or the CEO of a local corporation? Let’s say you had a pressing matter to bring to their attention. Should they be seeking you out? Why? Or is it the other way around? Clearly, you would need to seek them out.

Well, here’s God’s promise, and it’s better than any “open-door policy” the aforementioned human officers would promise. “Ask, and it shall be given you. Seek, and you shall find. Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” And if that’s not good enough for you, God will go one better, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with me.”

Why then should the scientist resist faith? Yes, like Coke and Pepsi, Republicans and Democrats, this is another false choice. I for one am having my faith expanded by scientific discovery. Thank God for science.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Government needs to do more about disaster relief - NOT

Quoting from a long email I received at over the weekend:

It seems as if you are trying to say that leaving everything to the free market would have prevented the Katrina disaster or mitigated it. That is the opposite of the truth. The problem was that the government on the one hand didn't do its job to fix the levees, and on the other didn't evacuate the people in time.

The free market doesn't fix everything. I think this mess is partly caused by GWB pretending that all we need is the free market... Mr. Bush is gutting the United States, leaving us and leading us into third world status.

I responded:

At no time in this crisis or any other his administration has faced, did George W. Bush pretend that the free market can do anything as well as government good. He's spending like Lyndon Johnson -- a guns and butter policy. He's pandering like Bill Clinton.

It's important to understand... This is not a party thing! Both of the parties would handle this situation in much the same way. Government first. Government second. Government for everything until the last.

That means they're going to a) tax you b) inflate your currency c) borrow more from the big bankers (who enjoy getting rich knowing the good faith and credit of the American people will always pay their bills on time).

George W. Bush has been rushing to spend money. He'll spend "whatever it takes." Why not? It's not his money.

Here's how the money is spent.

1) You send $100 to Washington. $30 - $35 comes back...
2) ...with strings (instructions on how exactly the money must be spent) Strings reduce the value of those funds.
3) And when the federal government gets involved, you won't be making the decisions on how that money is spent, nor will I. Experts won't even make that decision. It will be made politically. So some portion will need to go to pay-off state and local political patrons and government unions (further reducing the value of those funds).
4) And it's well-known that it costs government more to get something accomplished than it does for private businesses or churches and charities. $90 hammers and $150 toilet seats aren't even funny anymore because everyone expects government to waste money that way.

So, are you suggesting that the private sector couldn't match big government's $30 -- particularly if we Downsized DC and allowed you and your fellow Americans to keep the money ya'll have earned, to save, to spend, to invest, to give away as you see fit, not as the politicians determine? Do you really think they'll exercise the same care and discretion that you and every other individual would?

George W. Bush has now given us four major boondoggles -- financial sinkholes -- that we weren't strapped with before he was elected: Iraq, Homeland Insecurity, a prescription drug program for seniors (major pharma thanks him), and now rescuing New Orleans (see my September 8 post and listen to my September 4 radio show to see how what blame the Bush regime deserves). And long after he's gone, cooling his heels with Laura back in Texas, we'll still be paying for his great ideas.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Links from today’s show

Today’s GOA (Gun Owners of America) Update was about New Orleans police confiscating firearms from law-abiding New Orleans residents. No joke – source, New York Times (hardly a friend of gun owners).

I asked, but didn’t find out during the broadcast, under what color of authority, what statute, are these “authorities” pretending they have the right to confiscate private firearms? What is scary here is why they’re doing it. It’s right in the first paragraph of the story.

The sketch of George Bush’s conversation with Noah (of Ark fame) was originally an article written by Richard Cummings and published at

My second favorite article (see last week’s show for my favorite) about what’s happening in New Orleans is An Unnatural Disaster written by Robert Tracinski for the Intellectual Activist. No, this wasn’t really a natural disaster as much as it was a man-made, big government disaster. Tracinski shows how big government dependence crippled normal human response to the disaster.

War Update – I talked about an article about Bush incompetence that, according to the Baltimore Sun, signals its time to remove him from office (registration required).
1) “Nobody could anticipate a breach of the levee.”
2) That we’re safer with big, centralized Homeland Security looking out for us.

From Ed Brayton’s blog, Dispatches from the Culture Wars... FEMA sending Firefighters to “sexual harassment” training before they deploy them as PR hacks. This story must be read, and even then you probably still won’t believe it.

Friday, September 09, 2005

So certain of things that aren’t so – Part II

There’s a partisan rush to deflect blame from George W. Bush – to blame his detractors. I cannot emphasize enough how little I care for this partisan junk. But so many people do, and they’re now circulating inaccurate information ‘round the web.

I’m writing this blog entry largely so I can just point to it when people attempt to correct me. [An important aside: This ain’t no hobby. I do this work for a living. People should just assume I’m right and double-check the person who disagrees with me. Perhaps the old admonition is true, ‘don’t try this at home.’]

Here’s a snippet of what’s being said (I’ve already seen this news bit twice this morning from people who think we are trying to attack George W. Bush).

I think all of Nagin's pomp and posturing is going to bite him hard in the near future as the lies and distortions of his interviews are coming to light.

On Friday night before the storm hit Max Mayfield of the National Hurricane Center took the unprecedented action of calling Nagin and Blanco personally to plead with them to begin MANDATORY evacuation of NO and they said they'd take it under consideration. This was after the NOAA buoy 240 miles south had recorded 68' waves before it was destroyed.

President Bush spent Friday afternoon and evening in meetings with his advisors and administrators drafting all of the paperwork required for a state to request federal assistance (and not be in violation of the Posse Comitatus Act or having to enact the Insurgency Act). Just before midnight Friday evening the President called Governor Blanco and pleaded with her to sign the request papers so the federal government and the military could legally begin mobilization and call up. He was told that they didn't think it necessary for the federal government to be involved yet. After the President's final call to the governor she held meetings with her staff to discuss the political ramifications of bringing federal forces. It was decided that if they allowed federal assistance it would make it look as if they had failed so it was agreed upon that the feds would not be invited in.

Saturday before the storm hit the President again called Blanco and Nagin requesting they please sign the papers requesting federal assistance, that they declare the state an emergency area, and begin mandatory evacuation. After a personal plea from the President Nagin agreed to order an evacuation, but it would not be a full mandatory evacuation, and the governor still refused to sign the papers requesting and authorizing federal action. In frustration the President declared the area a national disaster area before the state of Louisiana did so he could legally begin some advanced preparations.

And it goes on from there.

But according to the Urban Legends site, Snopes, this just ain’t so.
The full story and the links for each point are available at

Thursday, September 08, 2005

So certain of things that aren’t so – Part I

At the Downsize DC Foundation &, we’re getting some angry messages (from Bush supporters most likely). Even though we’ve dealt with issues only (no personalities), we’re getting hostile messages saying that we’re blaming the President – particularly for the Governor Blanco’s and Mayor Nagin’s incompetence. These people (who doth protest too much) are hypersensitive to what isn’t there.

Two things.

1) We haven’t said the state and local governments were competent. In fact, we did comment on local and state incompetence and were specific in casting blame there as well.
2) And it should be clear that our mission is Downsizing DC (meaning, smaller FEDERAL government). Of course our emphasis is there and not on state and local governments.

But this is absolutely not about personalities, much as any of the folks writing might want it to be. Our criticisms would’ve been exactly the same regardless of who occupied the White House. We could, quite frankly, care less who works in the Oval Office.

That said, one should not overlook that...

We are Downsize DC! While we will address the local and state governments in our comments, they are not our focus in this situation, which brings me to my very most important point.

The reason, in my opinion, that the state and local governments did not respond quickly was in large part due to the fact that the federal government has created a sense of dependency in them as well. No one thought they needed to know how to respond, because big nanny-government would take care of them. Even now, as I watch the reports on TV, rescue and relief workers from various jurisdictions around the country are standing around waiting for orders from some central HQ.

And that, once again, is the wonderful work of the feds.

Federal government involvement = crippling dependency, regardless of who is in charge. So stop reading anything extra into what we’re saying – we don’t give a damn about Republicans or Democrats (red v. blue, shirts v. skins).

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Labor Day Weekend Radio Show - What all went wrong in New Orleans?

On my Sunday, Culture Repair Show, I fed the audience with a fire hose. There was so much to say about what's happened in New Orleans, and yet, I only scratched the surface. A three hour show might’ve done the trick. You can listen to what I had to say here. One caller, the mega-star of Genesis Communications, Mr. Alex Jones. Also, see my September 4 blog entry for further details about the show.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Government Failure in New Orleans - Today's Downsizer-Dispatch

This was the message and action item we sent out today. There will be more actions coming. The New Orleans flood and disaster relief are vivid, emotional demonstrations of just how big, centralized government works.

Politicians love to re-write history. It is vital to them that they do so. Since politics is nearly synonymous with incompetence, accurate history will tend to show most politicians in a bad light. So history must be controlled and spun to the greatest extent possible.

But it is better still if unflattering history can be forgotten before it is even learned.

That is what the politicians are attempting now. They want us to forget about the history of the New Orleans mess, and how they caused it, before our memory of the facts can solidify. When the politicians ask us to not assign blame, and when they accuse those who do so of playing politics with the misery of others, they are engaging in the ultimate political exploitation.

Imagine if the executives of Enron had said to the media, "The politicians shouldn't be assigning blame in this case, and gaining political advantage from the misery of others." No one would have stood for it.

But the politicians do the same thing and expect to get away with it. They know that if they can get us to stop thinking of all their failures while the evidence of those failures is fresh in our minds, then they may avoid paying the price for their criminal negligence once memories have faded and passions have cooled.

We will not participate in this scheme to forget history in advance. And we hope you won't either.

At, we are considering several possible campaigns on this issue. Big government failed in every possible way in New Orleans. Big government has mismanaged the New Orleans levees since the 1970s, under both Democrats and Republicans. Big government mismanaged the National Guard's response to the crisis. FEMA has mismanaged the relief effort. And most stunning of all, every level of government has collaborated to keep private aid AWAY from the ruined city.

Each of these acts of failure deserves a response, but we have to start somewhere, so we are going to start with the National Guard.

Not enough National Guard troops were placed in the city early enough to rescue people and preserve law and order. There are many reasons for this failure, but perhaps the most significant is the misuse of the National Guard. The National Guard was not created to be, in George W. Bush's immortal words, "a nation building corps." It exists primarily for tasks here at home. But due to a back-door draft, the National Guard serves in Iraq instead.

An armed force of 1.4 million active duty personnel should not need to rely on the National Guard to maintain troop levels in Iraq. The Department of Defense has misused it resources. It has taken weekend soldiers away from their jobs and families, and put them in harms way overseas, while leaving nearly 500,000 fulltime soldiers deployed far away from the front - mostly in America and Europe. Why?

Is Canada or Mexico planning to invade the United States? Is Europe in danger of attack? Of course not. But New Orleans was in grave danger, as everyone in the world knew far in advance. The National Guard should have been here to help when the crisis came.

We want to urge Congress to bring home the National Guard, and discontinue deploying National Guard units overseas except when the United States is directly attacked by a foreign nation. Please help us correct the Federal government's misuse of the National Guard by sending a message to Congress today. You can do so by clicking here.

Thank you for being a DC Downsizer.

Jim Babka
Downsize DC Foundation
&, Inc.

P.S. The Downsize DC Foundation is doing its part as well. Remember, at this site,, we talk about The Race between the forces of Big Government vs. Human Progress. Human Progress is brought to you by Social Power & the Free Market.

At this website we tell the story of individuals, churches & charities, and inventors & entrepreneurs delivering Human Progress, thanks to their freedom to innovate or help their neighbor. There are lots of amazing personal stories on the ground in the wake of this disaster (almost all of which are accompanied by some form of Big Government incompetence). In New Orleans, Social Power lost The Race to Big Government and the damage is immense. Thankfully, the forces of Human Progress haven't quit and gone home. Individuals, private organizations, and companies are diligently trying to repair this government-imposed mess. Thank God.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Archived Radio Shows for August

I apologize for the delay in getting these posted. I prefer to listen to shows to critique my own performance and learn how to do a better job, as well as make notes for this blog. I also take that opportunity to edit the shows for your listening convenience. To further the complications, while I’m learning a little HTML now, I’m not yet ready to post these to the web on my own. I currently submit them to a ftp page and then Robert O’Gwynn graciously posts them for me. All of this takes time – time I don’t always have in a given week.

August 7 – Brookpark Marines tribute and explanation of why I believe they DIDN’T die for their country, but rather were sacrificed to the Molech of this age. Full detail of the Gun Owners Update can be read here. Also, the two significant players who were not being talked about as much at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Induction. One caller.

Click here to listen.

August 13 – I guest-hosted the Harry Browne show one final time (yes, this really was it). Harry appeared again as a guest/co-host. I opened with a commentary about the 19 Marine reservists (the “Brookpark Marines”). Further discussion ensued about why glorifying death is so bad. A caller we kept on for far too long drove us to give a history lesson about Iran. Discussed with Harry the many reasons big government doesn’t work. Four callers and three emails.

Click here to listen to hour one and here for hour two.

August 14 – See my August 14th posting on this blog for some show details. My presentation of Jim Cox’s Iraq is Not Vietnam is work I’m particularly proud of – good radio.

Click here to listen.

August 21 – See my August 21st posting on this blog for show details. One caller and two emails.

Click here to listen.

August 28 – I really focused in on the five Commandments Pat Robertson violated by suggesting the assassination of Hugo Chavez. See my August 28th posting on this blog for additional show details. One caller that was so wonderful she made me blush.

Click here to listen.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Links from today’s radio show...

Most important article you can read on this topic is Lew Rockwell's "The State and the Flood."

Today's GOA Update, legislation that the House will be considering to protect the Gun Manufacturer's Industry from frivilous lawsuits. HR 800 is a clean bill, in contrast to the Senate's bill, and it needs your support to pass, intact. Learn how Gun Owners of America wants you to take action here.

Please, as this week goes on, check out the Downsize DC Foundation website to learn how Social Power (neighbors, family, churches, individuals, and charities, as well as private business) is solving the problems of the refugees. There is good news, and real lessons for future benefit in this story and we'll be telling those.

Also, join and lobby Congress. We're going to start by asking Congress to bring home the National Guard. You'll hear about that Tuesday if you're already subscribed to the Downsizer-Dispatch. But there will be more campaigns following that. This issue is our chance to advance the theme, "The era of 'can-do' government is over."

As for the points I made on the broadcast, I hope to write some columns, as well as use some of that material in the Downsizer-Dispatch messages. We'll see how things go.

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