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Austin Dispatches
No. 127
Sep. 21, 2009

The City of Austin is offering a 10-week course “to make the city more transparent and accessible to residents.”1 

I can explain how and why Austin’s run the way it is, and for whose benefit. You can learn this in less than 10 weeks, in the comfort of your own home … and you don’t have to fill out paperwork.

Austin’s power elite is a coalition of Democrats and Greens and independent but ideologically compatible interest groups that dominate political office and political discourse in Austin (and by extension, Travis County). The elite’s membership, created by decades of unconstitutional federal largesse, and which usurped power in Austin in the early '70s, to everyone else's detriment, function as the loyal representatives of a top-down globalist agenda, as opposed to purely representing the interests of local residents, as the older, displaced local ruling elite once did. This globalist agenda is an administrative-therapeutic regime that interferes with every aspect of life, while becoming inaccessible to popular recall. It requires the downplaying of genuine political differences. Disagree with them, and they ignore you, or misrepresent your positions and use medical terminology in lieu of religious language to condemn you. Simultaneously, this elite denies that it exercises power.
2  The local power elite’s epicenter arguably is 600 W. Seventh Street, which once housed the offices of labor attorney David Richards, The Texas Observer, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas.3

Of course, this elite isn’t always fully cognizant of its own aims, and seldom states matters so baldly if it does. For one thing, the current crowd doesn’t appear to be as shrewd as the predecessors, possibly because the former have been in power too long without serious opposition. The last serious threat to their control was the late ‘90s boom.
4 For another, the bureaucratic inertia, temptations of good old-fashioned corruption, and power jockeying between the coalition subgroups create a lot of public failures that make them look bad. Austin Dispatches features this aspect most.

Recently, for example:

A City animal protection officer was arrested on charges of cattle rustling.
5

Would-be parkers are flummoxed by Austin’s new high-tech parking meters downtown. For its part, the City is happy to ticket these poor bastards for such infractions as placing the parking receipt on the “wrong” side of the dashboard.
6  Small wonder: A local citizen has looked at police records and concluded the police department is issuing more tickets to cover the City’s budget shortfall. Naturally, the cops deny it.7  All this is part of the same kind of attitude that killed Los Angeles’ downtown in the ‘20s.8 Already, a new Cedar Park music venue is being built to compete with the clubs along Sixth and Red River streets.9

The Travis County Commissioners Court opted not to reinstate two supervisors in the County Human Resources Department – two women who haven’t gotten along at the same workplace for six years.10  This isn’t even really a news story. The Sicilian told me that at his previous job as a supervisor at an aerospace firm in Phoenix, most of his day was spent refereeing between women subordinates who were always in a spat with each other over some damn thing.  Even the Sicilian’s account wasn’t unique. I’ve witnessed, heard or read about numerous accounts almost identical, except for the voluminous details that all parties are happy to tell you about. See, if this County story involved a couple of men, it would’ve been settled in a few minutes in the parking lot. The grand lesson: If you want an efficient workplace, don’t hire women.

Federal auditors disclosed that the Housing Authority of Travis County can’t account for more than $3.1 million in questionable, undocumented, or improper actions.
11 

The much-loved Barton Springs Pool is leaking but the City can’t even spend a couple million on repairs until they can be sure the nearby salamanders won’t be harmed.
12

City Manager Marc Ott is proposing an “environmental sustainability officer” with an annual salary of $116,000.
13 In the real world, the jobs in semiconductor chip manufacturing are dwindling, according to the Statesman.14

Speaking of sustainability, a year past deadline, the Capital Metro commuter rail still isn’t running. This time, officials say they found another operating flaw, in the safety system.
15 Already, nighttime service has been trimmed from the schedule, contrary to proponents’ earlier claims in support of the rail service project.16 Also, Cap Metro is cutting back bus service to keep the commuter rail project going, because Cap Metro’s overall budget has some problems – like not having enough cash reserves to keep operating beyond a week in case of emergency.17 These people never have enough money for their pet projects, no matter how much you give them.

And, to pay for all the above, the City plans to jack up property taxes and utility fees.
18

Predictably, the local ACLU chapter is squawking about the rare good proposed City ordinance, one to ban texting while driving. I’ve lived in Austin for almost 10 years and have seen lots of the reckless idiocy on the streets that the police chief has recently criticized.  About half the time, the idiocy emanates from someone on the road with a cell phone. The rest of the time it’s someone in a pickup with an American flag.
19

Meanwhile, at the start of football season, the University of Texas has halted the shuttle service for home games, to the inconvenience of 2,500 fans. Experience has taught me to stay home during home games, rather than battle traffic; why don’t you football fans do the same?20

See, that’s another thing that gets underreported, especially by the Chronicle: The statist politics around here have been destroying the cultural aspects that made Austin unique, and even enjoyable, even though the people who decry the destruction of old Austin also favor the statist politics that make the destruction possible. Nevertheless, Tribeza magazine claims Austin’s social circuit is on par with Dallas, Houston and “even Los Angeles.” Morever, the slick cites a scenester who says “Somehow our town has retained that whimsical social warp and woof of the fifties….”
21 Maybe you have to belong to the right social set. For the rest of us, that was true for a while, but then tech boom’s tide of money receded and Austin’s problems – such as who runs the city – became more apparent. 

More specifically, longtime KUT-FM listeners are outraged by the station's programming changes, which cut back air time for local DJs Paul Ray and Larry Monroe in favor of generic programming emanating from NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C. Maybe the aggrieved parties should reconsider the wisdom of taking money from a central government.
22

Tentacles of Empire

Central Texas police departments are pushing a regional intelligence fusion center to share information on criminal suspects, and in our post-9/11 police state environment, share information on dissenters as deemed from Washington, D.C.23  Coincidentally, these same police permitted an illegal immigrant with three drunk-driving tickets to keep driving until he ran a red light and killed a Tennessee man in Austin on Aug. 31.24

Political Follies

Beyond the county line, of some consolation to the rest of us, the Obama administration appears to have run out of momentum after nine months, right on schedule. This happens to nearly every democratically elected leader, who has a window of six months to a year at the most fortunate to implement his agenda. This administration knows this rule – hence its public actions to date – and so do its opponents. For the rest of his term, Obama has to play defense against the tyranny of the status quo, until he can get re-elected.25

That shouldn’t be too hard, if my interaction with the GOP is any indication. The Republican National Committee mailed me a “2009 Obama Agenda Survey.” I gave the RNC a piece of my mind on selected questions:



#
Question
My Response
2
Do you believe the federal government has gone too far in bailing out failing banks, insurance companies and the auto industry?
Well, you people never should’ve nominated George W. Bush in the first place.
3
Do you support amnesty for illegal immigrants?
We need an immigration moratorium.26
5
Are you in favor of granting retroactive Social Security eligibility to illegal immigrants who gain U.S. citizenship through an amnesty program?
Misses the point. We need to abolish Social Security.27
7
Do you believe that Barack Obama’s nominees for federal courts should be immediately and unquestionably approved for their lifetime appointments by the U.S. Senate?
Is that why GOP senators keep voting for them anyway?
8
Do you believe that the best way to increase the quality and effectiveness of public education in the U.S. is to rapidly expand federal funding while eliminating performance standards and accountability?
You people need to support separation of school and state.28
10
Do you believe that the quality and availability of healthcare will increase if the federal government dictates pricing to doctors and hospitals?
Doesn’t go far enough. End licensing requirements, prescription requirements, and funding for medical research.29
13
Are you in favor reinstituting the military draft, as Democrats in Congress have proposed?
Military-industrial complex needs to be dismantled.30
14
Do you believe that the federal government should allow the unionization of Department of Homeland Security employees who serve in positions critical to the safety and security of our nation?
Homeland Security Department must be abolished.
15
Do you support Democrats’ drive to eliminate workers’ right to a private ballot when considering unionization of their place of employment?
At the rate the federal government subsidizes shipping jobs overseas, it won’t matter.31

In the “Contribution Reply,” section, I wrote, “Show me results – real results – on my suggestions above and we’ll talk. Otherwise, you won’t see a dime.”

On the Town

I’m dancing at a new, better level these past several months. Consequently, I can interact with a new, better caliber of dance partners. However, the social benefits still lag.32 For example, the DJ at the Sep. 16 salsa social at the Monarch Event Center had to chide the women several times for hanging on the sidelines yakking with each other instead of dancing.

Cultural Canapés

Bassist Kyle Eastwood has released a new CD. What he’s got to ask himself, in the midst of all the publicity: Does he feel platinum? Well … do you, punk?33 

“Inglourious Basterds” is the first good thing Quentin Tarantino’s done in about a dozen years.
34 Much has been written about the morality of cheering on the cinematic massacre of Nazis, from Hitler on down. I haven’t seen anybody point out how clichéd that is. I delight in seeing minions of evil slaughtered as much as anybody – maybe even more so – but we’ve all been to the movies and repeatedly seen the Nazis depicted as these cartoon villains we’re obviously to root against.35 

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But what about the mainstream Marxoids? The few films in the last 30-odd years to use them as villains – when they’ve been discredited in contemporary reality – have been set in the past.36 In the Oscar-nominated “Reds,” the creators actually intended the protagonists to be seen as sympathetic.37 Instead of scalped Nazis, a really daring director would make a movie showing today’s Marxoids getting what they truly deserve: Environmentalists turned into freeway on-ramp speed bumps, academics being beaten to death by their own Birkenstocks, and the real women of America paying a small fee, toward retiring the national debt, to slap feminists silly.

Relax, it’s just a movie idea. Nobody’s talking about re-enacting the solution to the Paris Commune,
38 the Argentine Dirty War,39 the Ludlow massacre,40 or even the Hard Hat Riot.41

Speaking of which, after playing Che Guevara, Benicio del Toro will be back in the theaters next year as another monster, “The Wolfman.” In the trailer, Del Toro wears a constant pained expression, possibly because nobody in 19th-century England has ever heard an aristocrat speaking with a Puerto Rican accent. The movie ends with him growling and gnashing because even in London he can’t find a decent empanada.
42 

Neighborhood News

On Aug. 18, KGSR-FM reported an auto collision at Parmer Lane and the southbound frontage road of MoPac Expressway. Absolute Software has opened its headquarters at The Domain.  A pet fish supply store has relocated from Beaumont to Burnet Road.43

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Notes
1
Mixon, Melissa. “Austin to Educate Residents Through Class and Website.” CIN 28 Aug. 2009: 1+.
2 AD No. 126 (Aug. 10, 2009); Kalb, James. The Tyranny of Liberalism: Understanding and Overcoming Administered Freedom, Inquisitorial Tolerance, and Equality by Command. Wilmington, Del.: ISI Books, 2008.
3 Richards, David. Once Upon a Time in Texas: A Liberal in the Lone Star State. Austin, Texas: U of Texas P, 2002: ii.
4 AD No. 80n7 (June 21, 2005).
5 "Austin Animal Protection Officer Accused of Stealing Cattle." Austin Business Journal 17 Aug. 2009 <http://austin.bizjournals.com/austin/stories/2009/08/17/daily12.html?surround=lfn>.
6 Lorenz, Andrea. “City’s New Parking Pay Stations Leave Many Perplexed.” AAS 12 Aug. 2009: A1; Moore, Ryan. “System Yields Confusion, Tickets.” DT 14 Aug. 2009: 5.
7 Bertrand, Pierre. “APD’s Ticketing Tactics Scrutinized by Local.” DT 12 Aug. 2009: 1-2.
8 Bottles, Scott L. Los Angeles and the Automobile: The Making of the Modern City. Berkeley, Calif.: U of California P, 1987: 74-88.
9 Wermund, Ben. “New Cedar Park Center Competes With City Venues.” DT 13 Aug. 2009: 1-2.
10 Gonzales, Suzannah. “Feuding Managers Now Suspended Without Pay.” AAS 12 Aug. 2009: B1; Gonzales. “Commissioners Fire Managers Who Feuded.”AAS 2 Sep. 2009: B1.
11 “Urban Affairs.” AAS 10 Sep. 2009: B2.
12 “Headlines.” AC 24 July 2009: 12.
13 Toohey, Marty. “High-Level Job Proposed Amid City Budget Cuts.” AAS 10 Sep. 2009: A1.
14 Ladendorf, Kirk. “Many of the Austin’s Chip Jobs Gone for Good.” AAS 8 Sep. 2009: A1+.
15 Nichols, Lee. “Logical Error.” AC 4 Sep. 2009: 24.
16 Loesch, Chuck. “Between Rock and a Hard Place.” ISM Aug. 2009: 14.
17 Nichols, Lee. “Riding to the End of the Line.” AC 18 Sep. 2009: 24-25+.
18 Pulsifer, Eric. “City to Raise Property Tax, Utility Fees for 2010 Budget.” CIN 28 Aug. 2009: 1+.
19 MacLaggan, Corrie. “Starting Next Month, You Better Buckle Up, Even in the Back Seat.” AAS 20 Aug. 2009: B1; Whittaker, Richard. “Driving Safety.” AC 4 Sep. 2009: 21.
20 Wear, Ben. “UT Axes Game Shuttle.” AAS 16 Sep. 2009: A1+.
21 Kelso, Laura. “Party People.” Tribeza May 2009: 55.
22 Brass, Kevin. “Unwinding the Twine at KUT.”AC 7 Aug. 2009: 22; King, Michael. “Another War for Sale.” 28 Aug. 2009: 12+; Walker, Jesse. Rebels on the Air: An Alternative History of Radio in America. New York City: New York UP, 2001: Ch. 6.
23 Dunbar, Wells “Lighting a Fuse.” AC 14 Aug. 2009: 16; Longoria, Bobby. “ ‘Fusion’ Center Meets Criticism From Local ACLU.” DT 8 Sep. 2009: 1-2; Walker. “The Paranoid Center.” Reason Oct. 2009: 30-38.
24 Lorenz. “Why Was Man With 3 DWIs Driving?” 16 Sep. 2009: A1+.
25 Friedman, Milton, and Rose Friedman. Tyranny of the Status Quo. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1984: 4-9; Granger, David. “Madness.” Esquire Aug. 2009: 16; Pierce, Charles P. “Barack Obama, Madman.” Esquire July 2009: 89-92; Smith, Hedrick. The Power Game: How Washington Works. New York City: Random House, 1988: 335-336.
26 Debating Immigration. Ed. Carol M. Swain. New York City: Cambridge UP, 2007.
27 Attarian, John. The Roots of the Social Security Myth. Auburn, Ala.: Ludwig von Mises, 2001.
28 Gatto, John Taylor. The Underground History of American Education: A Schoolteacher's Intimate Investigation Into the Prison of Modern Schooling, 3rd rev. ed. New York City: Oxford Village Press, 2006; Gatto. Weapons of Mass Instruction: A Schoolteacher’s Journey Through the Dark World of Compulsory Schooling. Gabriola Island, B.C.: New Society Publishers, 2009; Rushdoony, Rousas John. The Messianic Character of American Education: Studies in the History of the Philosophy of Education. Nutley, N.J.: The Craig Press, 1963.
29 Bethell, Tom. The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science. Washington, D.C.: Regnery Press, 2005; M. Friedman and R.D. Friedman. Capitalism and Freedom, 2nd rev. ed. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2002: 133-139, 185-187; Szasz, Thomas S. Pharmacracy: Medicine and Politics in America. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2001.
30 Why We Fight. Arte/BBC Storyville/Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)/Charlotte Street Films/TV2 Danmark, 2005.
31 P.L. 108-158.
32 Eisler, Dan. Letter to Mike Eisler, 3 Aug. 2009.
33 Dirty Harry. The Malpaso Co./Warner Bros. Pictures, 1971; Eastwood, Kyle. Metropolitain. Rendezvous 845141, 2009.
34 Gillette, Amelie. “A Week of Ones.” The Onion, Austin ed.: 3 Sep. 2009: 17.
35 De Bartolo, Dick, Frank Jacobs, and Jack Davis. “Raiders of a Lost Art.” Mad Jan. 1982: 47.
36 AD No. 72n38 (Oct. 24, 2004).
37 Reds. Barclays Mercantile Industrial Finance/JRS Productions/Paramount Pictures, 1981.
38 Zola, Émile. La débâcle, corr. ed. Ed. Henri Mitterand et al. Paris: Gallimard, 1967. Trans. Leonard William Tancock. The Debacle. Harmondsworth, U.K.: Penguin Books, 1972.
39 Englander, Nathan. The Ministry of Special Cases. New York City: Alfred A. Knopf, 2007.
40 White, Richard. "It's Your Misfortune and None of My Own": A New History of the American West. Norman, Okla.: U of Oklahoma P, 1991: 349.
41 Schulman, Bruce J. The Seventies: The Great Shift in American Culture, Society, and Politics. New York City: The Free Press, 2001: 39.
42 AD No. 122n34.
43 “Community Impact: Northwest Austin.” CIN 28 Aug. 2009: 4.