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January 11, 2008

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On Government and Accountability

In 1987, former Secretary of Labor Raymond Donovan and six other defendants were brought to trial in a New York City court for fraud. When the jury cleared everyone of all charges, Donovan famously asked: "Which office do I go to to get my reputation back?"

The answer, which he well knew, was none. He had been screwed by the government, and that was the end of it. That is but one type of screwing that the government administers when it has a mind to. Another one was visited on a gunmaker friend of mine last year.

He held a license to manufacture, and in the past, BATFE had sent him a new license automatically and all he had to do was pay them. Last year, for whatever reason, they didn't, and no one at the shop thought to call and ask for a renewal. They learned about it when the Bureau informed them that their license to manufacture had expired, and that they were to cease and desist operation. They could have simply sent him a renewal with a note to pay better attention in future; but that is not the government way.

And so my friend shut down for a month, which was the amount of time the BATFE made him dance until he got his new license. And that 30 days cost him $760,000. He was never fined; no judgment was levied against him; there was no official penalty. But he is still three-quarters of a million dollars poorer and so are his dozen or so employees, who had no part in any of this.

To which office does he go to his money back? Probably the same one Ray Donovan went to for his reputation. He could conceivably go to court and sue the BATFE, but that would cost him even more in money and time.

Just another episode in this land of government of the people, by the people, for the people.

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Comments

Maxwell

Common sense Micheal imagine that!!

Blue Ox

You can't polish a turd, Bubba.

sarg

Hey Dave Petzal, Kick off a blog about Home gunsmithing, You know, the things someone con do at home that will not affect Safety or liabilityto the Manufacturers. There are many nice books out there on the subject, I have several, one in particular is one shotguns. I'm sure you know some good thoughts on this subject and if you hunt as much as you do, you have tried some of them.. I enjoy your Magazine and others on hunting. Good reading when the weateris bad out, heck good reading on a nice day.

Bubba

Unfortunately, Ox, no, you can't!
What a great metaphor! Guess I got hoisted by my own petard!

Actually, just like all cops aren't a**holes and all preachers aren't angels, ALL politicians aren't glory seeking, money grubbing, idiots.
In Thomas Paine's "rant", "Common Sense"(such as it was, at that time), he stated that the citizens of England had relegated themselves to be "taken care of" by the King. We need Gov't to take care of some of the larger regulatory responsibilities and allow the citizens to care for their "own" being. We have people who think that the "Gov't" should "take care of them"!
Now, R-t-R was upset because of a contractors unscrupulous(sp?) deal. I would agree! Such people need to be dealt with. Did the people do their homework and "check up" on the contractor "before" dealing with him? Here's the problem, being "licensed", to some folks, means "OK" or "principled" or any number of other adjectives that mean "good"! With the communication technology available to us in this day and time, a background check shouldn't be that hard! Some will still slip through the cracks, no doubt!
Can't remember the Greek/Latin adage, "Let the buyer beware!"
R-t-R, I apologize if I offend as that isn't my intention. I was one of those contractors at one point in my life. I was more than willing to give any contacts a list of satisfied customers and phone numbers/addresses. More than once, I rec'vd calls from past customers about future customers! I even lost a couple of contracts because they had seen my work and wanted something more than I was able to achieve. I don't do cabinets well, just one of my limitations. If you want a piano, call someone else. If you're satisfied with the crate it came in, I'm your man!

Bubba

Rob

Two Points:

1) Government regulation of industry is not a bad thing. Look what happens when you remove "government red tape": the S&L crisis of the 80's, the mutual fund debacle a few years ago, and the subprime mortgage fiasco now. These are just three obvious examples. Many more abound. One of the main reasons government regulatory agencies are so backed up is because so many people are trying to cheat the system and their customers at the same time. It takes time to sort it all out. The people who scream the loudest about "Big Government" and "Over Regulation" are the very crooks, liars and cheapskates who make government oversite necessary.

2) Grow up and stop whineing about the "politicians" and quit trying to blame them for everything. Most of you carry on as though the "politicians" are some self-anointed group who make rules you don't like. Wrong. You elected them. What does that say about you? And spare me the tired mantra of "Once they get elected they change or are bought off by 'special interests'". That arguement holds no water because we keep re-electing the same people over, and over, and over.

jstreet

Rob's Quote:.....we keep re-electing the same people over, and over, and over.

I agree with you completely. We only have ourselves to blames.

Quit re-electing the same tired assed, pork pushing, lying people over and over again.

WE control the outcome. WE need to quit being lazy. WE need to change this. WE have the power to do so. QUIT VOTING FOR INCUMBENTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

YooperJack

The government's action in this matter was akin to using a 10 gauge to get a red squirrel. The job got done, but there was collateral damage.
Most of you missed the point. Dave's friend is inherently evil. People don't kill people. GUNS KILL PEOPLE! Guns that aren't used to kill people are used to kill innocent birds and to further the extinction of our big game species.
Had Dave's friend been a good person, producing something "high tech" (computers), or "green" (solar energy panels), that license would've been expedited.
I'm sure that the bureaucrat saw himself in the Oval Office, receiving a medal for his actions. Perhaps he tried to expedite the matter. He ran into a stone wall with his boss, who saw herslf getting that medal.
Every congressman receives a budget to maitain an office in the district to help with problems like this. If that congressman was contacted, and refused to help, that company should strongly consider relocating out of that district.

Bubba:
I've contracted with the Feds since 1985. Sometimes you run into one of theirs who just doesn't want you there. All you can do is complete that contract and get out with the losses. You won't win. When Clinton was President, had the State of Michigan not expanded their contracting, I would have gone bankrupt. No way was a Viet Nam Veteran going to be allowed to contract with the Federal Government.
YooperJack

SilverArrow

Yooper
Rather than moving out of the district I would do all in my power to depose the tyrant congressperson who wouldn't render the assistance I paid for with my tax dollars. As we have been saying; dump incompetent incumbents! I sure as hell am going to do my part to dump the ninny who now represents this district! But I ain't moving! She was elected in the sweep of a 2006 on a promise to be an independent thinker, she may think independently (couldn't prove by my that she thinks at all!), but she damn sure isn't an independent vote or voice on the hill -- hasn't once strayed from Team Pelosi, and her office's track record helping the very veterans and defense contractors she wooed has been abysmal!
I still hold that this is not the best example of irresponsible government and that the employees of the firm were the ones who suffered.
SA

tom warner

Lots of good comment here, also lots of BS. Very interesting anyhow. Wake up everyone! The Constitution was written based on the conviction of our ancestors that no government could ever be trusted. All governments, including our own, keep proving this over and over. The government is always your potential enemy if you let it be. And Americans are letting it be. Tom

Clay Cooper

On Government and Accountability?
With all the arms and ammunition that is given to second and third world countries, how many are resold on the black market and given to the bad guys?
When I was the Director of High Power Competition for the Tanana Valley Sportsmen Association in Fairbanks Alaska, I was also the point of contact for all DCM ammunition and supplies. Interesting thing? As active duty Military, I knew how to use the Military Supply channels and able to find the status and whereabouts of shipments and ask the right questions on the shipment of ammo that we haven’t received yet, especially the 30-06. All that 06 ammo was diverted out of the US is all I can say! Shortly after that, we received all the ammo that was due to us. Makes you really wonder what’s really going on????

Ralph the Rifleman

Bubba-
When bad politics(at any level of Government) is discovered there is no excuse for it. Fine, we vote in polticians to office, but not ALL of us vote for the career polticians!
By the way, when a city inspection office passes a number of homes during the building process, and know they are having license problems with a builder how much responsibility falls on the citizen? Don't our elected officials have a DUTY to look out for us? No,apparently our city building dept. told the home owners;"fix the home and sue the builder" They took no responsibility..and the Chief Insp. for the city told one of my neighbors,"Yea, our office made mistakes, but you can't sue us it would cost more then to make the repairs." Funny ha,ha-Right? Yea, sue the city you live in, and they pay their lawyer with tax monies.Nice huh?
QUIT BLAMING THE VICTIMS! People get screwed by government, and it's the their fault??
Sorry boys, but the BATF screwed-up the lion's share in this case and they should have cut this gun making company some slack.
I worked with FHA/HUD for a number of years;their rules and directives were always subject to flexibility based on THEIR opinion, but if you used common sense they are ready to slam you with fines, and possible jail time!
I hope NONE of you here need to fight city hall, because I can promise your attitude about "taking personal responsibility" will change post haste once you are screwed over by nameless power junkies.
AND I always try to hire/contract vets when I can; Cause I'm one, too!
ps-I vent to avoid an ulser!

tom warner

Here's an additional comment on all this. I have run a successful small business for almost 50 years and have ALWAYS found that the government is NOT my friend, that it is NOT there to help, and ALWAYS creates more problems that it ever solves. I would have thought that this would be obvious to any American that has been paying attention. We have always been saddled by folks that believe we should pay undue respect to the government, simply because it IS the government. This is a very un-American point of view and one the Founders wanted to discourage. NEVER put your trust in the government! ALWAYS question it's actions. You are not being faithful to their warnings if you do not. This has been proved in spades over the last few years! Tom

atmiller

It's his own fault. If his livelyhood and that of his employees depended on that form being filled out, he shouldn't trust the government to do it for him.

I'll take 1/2 of the $760,000 he lost, and fill out the form for him once a year. He'd still come out ahead.

Chev Jim

The problem isn't voting people in or out per se, it's having decent candidates to choose from! LOOK at the current crop of Presidential contenders and you kind of get the idea. It's the way candidates are selected that's the bigger problem. The "campaigns" demand lots of money, and by the time donations are received from the special interests, the leading candidates are already "bought and paid for." I'd rather go to a lottery or draft system! We've GOT to change the way candidates are selected, and we've got to stop the process of "auctioning off" candidates to corporate and other special interests. And we've got to start limiting the influence that lobbyists have on our lawmakers. Congressman are STILL accepting airline tickets and hotel accommodations in lush vacation spots from corporations! As a result, the middle class is being used as a doormat by the rich. Folks, this country is being sold off--our natural resources, our jobs and our families to accommodate a very small coterie of the rich--who pick our candidates for us and corrupt the ones they don't pick! And I am now convinced, at the age of 57, that most people who run for public office do so with the expectation that they will receive bribes aplenty from the special interests! And let's face it--the only reason the NRA has been successful is that it's been able to spend more than the anti-gun groups! It's a sad commentary on our country that even when you're RIGHT you still have to ante up to protect your freedoms and way of life!

Fischerhunts

In 1983 I had a small business with 10 employee's. The oil crunch hit and my business dropped 70% almost overnight. I tried to keep everyone employed and paid but savings only went so far. I go behind in my Social Secuity Matching payments and was levied by the IRS which froze all my accounts. I borrowed everthing I could to get them paid off so I could operate again. Somehow my account was continually screwed up and I was harrased again and again although I was paid up (and also down to 2.5 employee's). Suddenly (about 3 years later) all the harasment stopped. I later found out that the IRS agent who was in charge of my accout had gone though a Divorce and a complete mental breakdown. I sold the business for a song and went on to something else. It would seem to me that Your Government should be there to assist you not harrass you afterall, the small businessman is the backbone of this country. Bubba, methinks you must work for someone else. If you worked for yourself you would look at this differently.

SilverArrow

Ronald Reagan said it best:
"The scariest words you can hear are; 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'"
The trouble with attempting to apply 'common sense' is that we aren't all from the same common!
SA

Should be able to trust the government, but everyone knows you can't. So don't depend on them for anything that you can do yourself.

Tommy S.

Damn Chev Jim, tell it brother.

Chris

I have to agree with the folks who say your buddy should've kept track of his license status. At the same time, some of the ranting about the IRS reminded me of the comments from a comedian I saw over the weekend. Parahrased: What a peculiar situation we've allowed ourselves to get into--we have to tell THEM how much we owe them, and if we get it wrong, they're going to make our lives miserable.
I'll bet the next time you go out to dinner you won't be figuring up your own bill. And if you did, they certainly couldn't sue you blind for getting it wrong. What a system.

YooperJack

SA:
I live in a district where my Congressman makes me mad every day. He's a party line Democrat. Except, he gets a 100 per cent rating from Right to Life, and almost that same rating from NRA. Almost as important, he has a staff that bends over backwards with virtually any problem that you have with the Fed. I know that had that company been in his district, that problem would have disappeared in a short while (unless that company had problems not reported here). I'm sure that bureaucrat would've received a personal call from my Congressman. In short, some areas want their businesses to grow, others don't want more business, some don't want certain industries. Why swim upstream!
By the way, I always have to split my ballot because of that congressman.
YooperJack

Clay Cooper

O’by the way, where does that ammo for the Military disappear? When I was in charge of the High Power Rifle Competition for TVSA,I found out that the DCM 30-06 ammo that was shipped and not been received to us over the past was diverted. Interesting when you have a document number and know how to access information by golly! What was funny about this, when the point of contact knew that a military person was monitoring this, all the ammo to be received magically appeared! Imagine that!!!




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