Posts Tagged ‘California’

Do You Believe Illegal Aliens are Voting?

February 8, 2017


☆☆☆☆How Many Illegal Aliens did it take to elect Kevin De Léon to the California Senate?

Half of California Senate Leader’s family members are illegal aliens with falsified Social Security and Green Cards.

As I charged years ago, there are enough falsified immigration documents to fill a Container Ship. Do you think these illegal aliens are not voting?


I’ve heard of people with as many as seven phoney Social Security Cards.

Do you remember the red tape you went through to get any of your government documents?

While 600,000 combat disabled Veterans wait years for the US Department of Veterans Affairs to act on our claims, illegal aliens are living off the fat of America. Too many of our Veterans are homeless while illegal aliens are driving Cadillacs and electing corrupt politicians.

Why do you think the Illegal Alien Corps has been so vociferous while burning down our cities? The Corps includes 100% if the Democrat Party and 99% of the corrupt media.


America is like a cute puppy with 30 million ticks. Our reputation as a country of suckers has brought freeloaders flooding to our shores snd through the hole in the fence.


While Americans were sleeping or watching Scott Pelley, Shep Smith and Chuck Todd blast Donald Trump, the termites were eating us out of house and home.

It’s like each law abiding, hard working American has a hundred extra mouths to feed.

We’re sleeping on the streets while illegal aliens are sleeping in our beds.


Is it too late to take our country back?


Legacy of the Butterfield Overland Stage Company

July 3, 2016

This Blog is dedicated to my high school classmate and lifelong friend:

Fern (Butterfield) Frazier


Waterman Lily Ormsby III left his home and family to become the first person to complete – as sole passenger – the first trip on the Butterfield Overland Mail coach.

On the afternoon of September 28, 1858, the conductor of the first westbound Butterfield Overland Mail Coach sounded his bugle to announce the coach’s arrival at the Pinery. The station was named for nearby stands of pine. With abundant water from Pine Spring and good grazing, it was one of the most favorably situated stations on the original 2,800-mile Butterfield route. Located at 5,534-foot Guadalupe Pass, the Pinery was also the highest.

After a meal of venison and baked beans and a change of horses, the weary travelers jolted slowly down the pass on their rough-riding stage. Shortly after sunset, near the base of Guadalupe Pass, the westbound coach from St. Louis pulled alongside the eastbound from San Francisco. The excited passengers and drivers exchanged comments about their history-making encounter. For the brief space of a conversation, the ends of the continent were connected. But there was mail to deliver; the stages rolled on as contracted, traveling an average of five miles an hour around the clock, and averaging 120 miles a day. The Butterfield contract called for semi-weekly runs, covering 2,800 miles in a maximum of 25 days. In its two and a half years of operation the Butterfield never broke its contract.

Imagine the feeling of isolation experienced by the station masters and their crews, and the sense of excitement and companionship brought by the stages. Between Fort Chadborne and El Paso, a distance of 458 miles, there was no sign of habitation other than outpost stage stations. The stage route between Fort Smith, Arkansas, and San Francisco, California, passed through only two real towns: Tucson and El Paso. One stretch of route had no settlements for 900 miles; another had no water for 75.


One of the best preserved stagecoach stations on the Butterfield Overland mail route between Memphis and Fort Smith is the Potts home in Pottsville Arkansas. This fine example of antebellum architecture, built in the 1850’s, occupies a large block in the town in Pottsville. The Potts family lived in this home until it was sold to Pope County in the early 1970s. Extra barns were built on the premises to house horses and extra harnesses, etc., for the stagecoaches to change out when they stopped.


People liked to stop at the Potts home, whether on the stage or just traveling through by buggy or horse. Mrs. Potts was well known for her clean beds and good food. Of course, you could also get a bath. The first person would pay the most for his/her bath and each person thereafter would pay a little less. The last person would pay the least and have to empty the tub. The Potts Home is now managed by the Pope County Historical Foundation.

A quarter of a million men and more rushed west to California during the bonanza years of 1849-53, most of them leaving their wives, sweethearts, children, parents, and other relatives behind. Up until this time, mail had been conveyed by private companies some under federal contract, using various routes, including ocean steamer around South America, or overland across the Isthmus of Panama. But new settlers in Oregon and California were not at all happy with sporadic mail service–at best once or twice a month.


In 1857 Congress voted to subsidize a semi-weekly overland mail service. The line was to run “from such point of the Mississippi River as the contractors may select, to San Francisco.” Further, this service was to be performed with “good four horse coaches or spring wagons suitable for the conveyance of passengers, as well as the safety and security of the mails.” And the distance each way had to be traveled in twenty-five days or less, “the service to commence within twelve months after the signing of the contract.” John Butterfield, who had been a stage driver for some eastern stagelines, and had started the American Express company, bid successfully for the six-year contract. The famous Butterfield Overland Express Company carried the mail from St. Louis, following a southerly route through Texas and Arizona and then up the California Coastline to San Francisco.

Friends of John Butterfield were appalled when they learned of the contract he had signed calling for him to begin operating this line within one year. However, Butterfield had long experience in the staging business, and knew what he was doing. Born in New York in 1801, he had received little formal education; he had gone into staging, becoming a driver while still in his early teens. Through hard work and ability he had risen to ownership of several lines in New York, and in 1850 he had been one of the founders of the American Express Company. His prominence was such that by 1857 he was a personal friend of President James Buchanan and of many of the most influential men of the day.

Butterfield, after signing the contract, began working with a vigor that defied his fifty-six years. His first necessity was men; mainly he hired old and experienced frontiersmen to work for his company, men friendly with the various Indian tribes that would be encountered along the right-of-way. Then, using the most capable men he began laying out the road to be followed and erecting way stations along the line. From Tipton, Missouri to Fort Smith Arkansas, he used existing roads. From Fort Smith west to California he used Marcy’s road and the Gila Trail, while inside California he again used existing roads. This gave him a route of generally hard surface and gentle grades, even over the continental divide. The route was divided into eastern and western divisions, with El Paso the dividing point; then these were subdivided into five minor divisions in the East and four in the West. Each of these minor divisions was under the direction of a superintendent. And it was these men on whom Butterfield relied to keep his stages rolling.


Beyond hiring employees, creating the route, and establishing the way stations, Butterfield also had to purchase the animals and rolling stock for his line. These totaled more than a thousand horses and some seven hundred mules, eight hundred sets of harness, and about two hundred and fifty Concord stagecoaches and spring wagons. He and his eight hundred employees worked feverishly to stockpile hay, grain, and other supplies, along with food, at each of the nearly two hundred way stations, just as arrangements had to be made for regular deliveries to each of them after the coaches began rolling. And drivers set out to familiarize themselves with their 60-mile stretches of the road. To make the necessary 25-mile daily run the coaches had to roll both day and night. Therefore, each driver had to know his 60-mile stretch extremely well. Conductors, who would ride beside the drivers, made a 120-mile route, and it was they who had absolute charge of the coaches.

John Butterfield, who wore a long yellow linen duster, a flat-brimmed hat, and tucked his pants into high boots, told his drivers, “Remember boys, nothing on God’s earth must stop the mail!” He at first had planned to carry four passengers. Soon he was carrying nine passengers, knees locked tightly together, with a few more perched on the roof. As the Butterfield coaches sped though towns, bands played, guns were fired, and men flung their hats high into the air. But the Westerners were still unhappy.


The Butterfield Stage route had two eastern termini, Memphis, Tennessee and St. Louis, Missouri to San Francisco, California. The routes from each eastern terminus met at Fort Smith, Arkansas, and then continued through Indian Territory, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Baja California, and California ending in San Francisco. Because of the untamed nature of the Mississippi River and its Arkansas tributaries in those years, the southern route necessarily utilized various alternative routes and methods of travel. There was no Mississippi River bridge at Memphis, and the Memphis and Little Rock Railroad ran from Hopefield near present-day West Memphis, Arkansas only to a point 12 miles east of Madison, Arkansas on the St. Francis River. From there the route headed overland by stagecoach. When the Arkansas River was high enough, the mail could instead travel from Memphis by steamboat down the Mississippi to the mouth of the Arkansas River, navigate up that river to Little Rock, and on from there by stagecoach. When the Arkansas was too low for steamboat traffic, the Butterfield could take the White River to Clarendon, Arkansas or Des Arc, Arkansas before switching to the stagecoaches. Sometimes the entire route across eastern Arkansas would be by stage.

However successful Butterfield was, his route did not please northern Californians, or Oregonians. They wanted a line that ran directly west from St. Louis, passing through Salt Lake City and then on to Sacramento and San Francisco. In support of this, they argued that the run over this northern route could be made in several days less time. Butterfield agreed with their statement as it related to the summer months, but said that during the winter the northern route would be closed by snow. The northern Californians insisted such was not the case and that the northern route could be kept open year round, but Butterfield continued to insist that this was the best and most usable route to the Pacific.


Nevertheless, the Butterfield Overland Mail was a reality. It became a day-to-day part of the southwestern scene, its presence taken for granted. Yet the Butterfield, with its high cost of moving the mail, could not carry freight at a reasonable cost. When it first began operating, the Overland carried only letters; later it would transport newspapers and small packages. However, the goods that Southwesterners wanted and needed were bulky and were ordered in quantity. Thus they would have to come from the East in freight wagons, not stagecoaches, and at a much slower pace.

In the winter of 1859, the idea of the Pony Express was conceived to demonstrate the advantages of the much desired central route to transport the mail. By spring of 1860, the Pony Express was put into action between St. Louis and Sacramento. It promised unprecedented speed in mail delivery over almost 2000 miles. Utilizing a string of riders, some as young as 14, and chosen for their nerve and light weight, a relay was run on galloping horses changed approximately every 15 miles. The pay for pony express riders was from $50 to $150 a month and board. Those who rode though Nebraska and Colorado, which at this time was seeing more and more Indian troubles, were paid $150 for their services. The riders, who carried up to 10 pounds of mail rode for an average of seventy-five miles. The letters the riders carried were wrapped in oil silk as a protection against the weather, being placed in four pockets of a leather pouch, in order that the weight might be more evenly distributed.

The Pony Express continued to operate until the completion of the transcontinental telegraph line in 1861. Even though it lost money due to unexpectedly high operation costs, the rate for a half-ounce letter taken the entire distance was $5.00, and with the small volume of mail one rider could carry, it dramatically demonstrated the practicality of the central route.

In 1859, an additional overland mail route was established under the ownership of the Leavenworth and Pike’s Peak Express. It left Atchison, Missouri, and followed a more central route directly to Denver, a trip that would take 6 days traveling day and night, over 700 miles. very few stations were located along either route, and all of the mail service was definitely lacking in dependability and regularity, let alone speed. In 1860 the Leavenworth Express was almost defunct and sold to new owners who named it the “Central Overland California and Pike’s Peak Express.” The new owners also experienced severe financial difficulties, and the C.O.C. & P.P. line was soon called: “Clean Out of Cash and Poor Pay.” By the spring of 1862, less than a year after daily mail service began over this route, the C.O.C. & P.P. was mired in debt, including owing Ben Holladay some $208,000 that he had loaned them the year before. Holladay, who had amassed a small fortune by the 1850’s, bought the financially strapped overland mail stage line at public auction for a sum of $100,000. Holladay, being a vigorous and efficient organizer, went about re-stocking all the existing stations with men, horses and supplies, and using the finest of coaches. He was determined that the mail line would soon be on a paying basis.omfounder

The Founder:

John Warren Butterfield (1801–1869) was an operator of stagecoach and freight lines in the mid-19th century in the American Northeast and Southwest. He founded companies that became American Express and Wells Fargo. Butterfield also founded the Butterfield Overland Express and from 1858 to 1861 operated a stage route running from St. Louis to San Francisco, establishing an important connection between the new state of California and the government and economy of the contiguous eastern states.

John was born on a farm in Berne, New York, in 1801 to Daniel and Catheline Butterfield. He was largely self taught and by the age of 19 was a professional stage coach driver working out of Albany, New York, conveying passengers and freight to Utica. In 1822 he married Malinda Harriet Baker of Berne. He later established stage routes throughout New York State, and other means of transportation including packet and steamboats on Lake Ontario, the street railroad in Utica, and local plank-roads. He organized the Black River railroad. In 1850 his firm of Butterfield, Wasson & Co. merged with Livingston, Fargo & Co. and Wells & Co. as the American Express Co. under his direction.


Butterfield also had interests in various railroad developments, telegraph facilities, and banks. He was very fond of the city of Utica, situated along the Mohawk River in New York, where he built an elaborate home and commercial buildings, and also a business. He was elected mayor of Utica in 1865.


Butterfield’s involvement with the stage coach transport business brought him directly to his participation in the express business. He was one of the first to see the commercial potential in the various services made possible with the use of stage coaches as vehicles of mail and freight transport. Butterfield’s success was made easier because he came to the industry early on when the American nation was still developing and rapidly growing and with little competition to deal with. In 1857 he organized the long Butterfield Overland Mail route and, until 1861, contracted with the U.S. government to carry mail and passengers between St. Louis, Missouri and San Francisco, California. In 1860, due to debts, Butterfield was forced out and Wells Fargo took over the route. He retired to his home in Utica where, after serving briefly as mayor. At the age of 59 in 1869 he retired early because of a sore throat never to awaken.








Some 160 years after John Butterfield’s stagecoaches were crisscrossing the West, the evidence can still be seen as the service left an indelible mark on America.

Rioting in California Again

April 30, 2016

Same song, second verse


☆☆Illegal Aliens are proving Donald Trump is right by stopping traffic, smashing police cars, punching innocent people, and destroying property while waving the Mexican flag.

California was once the shining state on the Pacific but law abiding citizens have been fleeing for years. Either the police cannot protect their own police cars or politicians have ordered them to stand down.

Are Americans safer in Syria than in California? Are legal California residents ready to take back their state?


Riots didn’t start today; California has a long history of lawlessness, rioting and property destruction.

The Watts riots took place in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles from August 11 to 17, 1965. An African-American motorist was arrested for drunk driving. A minor roadside argument broke out, and then escalated into a fight. The community reacted in outrage. Six days of widespread rioting, looting, assault, arson, protests, firefights, property damage and murder followed. There were 34 deaths, 1,032 injuries and 3,438 arrests. Property damage was in the tens of millions of dollars.

Los Angeles police needed the support of nearly 4,000 members of the California Army National Guard to quell the riots that ended up being blamed principally on unemployment; they always blame something.

The Watts riots actually paved the way for Ronald Reagan who became Governor two years later. Reagan campaigned on a platform of sending “the welfare bums back to work” and strongly advocating the Republican ideal of less government regulation of the economy, including undue federal taxation. Reagan refused to seek a third term but was the last competent Governor of LA LA Land.


We will soon see if Californians have had enough again. Will they support Trump and his platform or Cruz and his goal of stopping Trump? Will the Golden State remain North Mexico, West Syria or become part of Donald Trump’s New America? Will freedom and free speech return to California or will mob rule prevail? Will Ted Cruz blame the Watts Riots on Donald Trump? Enquiring minds want to know.


September 29, 2014


Liberal politicians wake up each morning with another scheme to blow money and pander to some special interest group. Most recently Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) proposed legislation that would make it even easier for government workers to have their student loan debt forgiven. You remember Blumenthal; he is the Senator who lied about serving in Vietnam. That’s okay; he’s a Democrat doing what Democrats do.

In Arkansas the public school employees were horrified when the fruits of their labors came true and had unintended consequences. The strongest supporters of President Obama and his Obamacare socialist takeover of healthcare saw their own health insurance rates rise significantly. Never mind that everybody else was facing higher insurance rates, higher deductibles and higher co-pays, the $300,000 a year superintendents, their vice superintendents and assistant superintendents along with the rest of the government employees had to be helped. Democratic Governor Mike Beebe called a special session of the Arkansas Legislature and diverted over $40 million to help the government workers defray the increased costs of their insurance.

Do you think liberals spend money wisely? Your tax money is spent so NASA can reach out to Muslims. Homeland Security has been very effective in allowed tens of millions of illegal aliens into America so what’s next? Protecting the infrastructure of American cities from the effects of climate change is rising on the agenda of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, according to a top agency official.

“Increasingly, we’ve moved not only from a security focus [but also] to a resiliency focus,” said Caitlin Durkovich, assistant secretary for infrastructure protection at Homeland Security, an agency better known for its ineffective fight to curb terrorist threats. Durkovich spoke on a panel at the Rising Seas Summit, a three-day conference organized by the U.S.-based Association of Climate Change Officers to discuss tools and ideas on building resiliency, particularly against rising sea levels. All these liberals jetting around fighting global warming is working, for the last two decades global temperatures have been decreasing. 

I could fill the encyclopedia about wasteful liberal spending but I also want to highlight major problems our indomitable tax and spenders are not interested in solving.


There are over 250 million daily crossings on 63,207 bridges in need of structural repair. The liberals only get interested in these bridges after they fail and people are killed. On average, about 10% of the bridges in any given state are deficient. In deep blue states where tax money is spent on government workers’ pensions and dental insurance, the picture is worse. In Pennsylvania about 20% of the bridges are deficient.

Liberals love to employ our military but they hate to fund our military. I hope you already know that the United States Armed Forces has borne the bulk of spending cuts along with our Veterans.


Our Border Security is a bad joke exploited by EVERY TERRORIST GROUP on the planet. They are here in large numbers and any prudent person would have to conclude that they are very well armed. On my recent cruise to Alaska my passport was checked no fewer than 20 times. Yet, millions of illegal aliens have waltzed across our borders and countless more arrive through our undefended coastlines. A few years ago the Commandant of the Coast Guard told me personally that even if the USCG tripled in size it could not secure our 92,000 miles of coastline. There is only one nation that has thrown its doors open to anybody and everybody, the United States of America.

Even with all of the massive economic problems that the United States is facing, if the government would just get off our backs most of us would do okay. In America today, it is rapidly getting to the point where it is nearly impossible to start or to operate a small business. The federal government, the state governments and local governments are cramming thousands upon thousands of new ridiculous regulations down our throats each year. It would take a full team of lawyers just to even try to stay informed about all of these new regulations.

Small business in the United States is literally being suffocated by red tape. We like to think that we live in “the land of the free”, but the truth is that our lives and our businesses are actually tightly constrained by millions of rules and regulations. Today there is a “license” for just about every business activity. In fact, in some areas of the country today you need a “degree” and multiple “licenses” before you can even submit an application for permission to start certain businesses. And if you want to actually hire some people for your business, the paperwork nightmare gets precipitously worse. It is a wonder that anyone in America is still willing to start a business from scratch and hire employees. The CEO of a company with approximately 10,000 employees once told me the government punishes him for hiring new employees. The truth is that the business environment in the United States is now so incredibly toxic that millions of Americans have simply given up and don’t even try to work within the system anymore.

Today, the U.S. government has an “alphabet agency” for just about everything. The nanny state feels like it has to watch, track and tightly control virtually everything that we do. The Federal Register is the main source of regulations for U.S. government agencies. In 1936, the number of pages in the Federal Register was about 2,600. Today, the Federal Register is over 80,000 pages long. By contrast, the World Book Encyclopedia has 13,800 pages. That is just one example of how bad things have become.

In Hong Kong an entrepreneur can start a business within minutes with one sheet of paper. My barber told me he would have to fill out a 7 page application with an engineering stamp simply to put a sign in his window.

I’m guessing you probable have an idea how bad things have become but will be still be shocked by some examples:

The state of Texas now requires every new computer repair technician to obtain a private investigator’s license. In order to receive a private investigator’s license, an individual must either have a degree in criminal justice or must complete a three year apprenticeship with a licensed private investigator. If you are a computer repair technician who violates this law, or if you are a regular citizen who has a computer repaired by someone not in compliance with the law, you can be fined up to $4,000 and you can be put in jail for a year.

The city of Philadelphia now requires all bloggers to purchase a $300 business privilege license. The city even went after one poor woman who had earned only $11 from her blog over the past two years. William Penn is rolling over in his grave.

The state of Louisiana says that monks must be fully licensed as funeral directors and actually convert their monasteries into licensed funeral homes before they will be allowed to sell their handmade wooden caskets.

In the state of Massachusetts, all children in daycare centers are mandated by state law to brush their teeth after lunch. In fact, the state even provides the fluoride toothpaste for the children. The state does not care whether the children have teeth or not.

If you attempt to give a tour of our nation’s capital without a license, you could be put in prison for 90 days. Yikes, I remember when my Congressman gave me a tour 50 years ago.

Federal agents recently conducted a raid at 5 A.M. in the morning. No, they were not rounding up illegal aliens from Somalia, Yemen, Iran, Syria or Libya; they raided an Amish farm because they were selling “unauthorized” raw milk. I know, you probably think they should be fighting real crime like organized gangs, the mob, illegal drugs, murder, armed robbery, kidnapping and grand theft?

In Lake Elmo, Minnesota farmers can be fined $1,000 and put in jail for 90 days for selling pumpkins or Christmas trees that are grown outside city limits.

A U.S. District Court judge slapped a $500 fine on Massachusetts fisherman Robert J. Eldridge for untangling a giant whale from his nets and setting it free. So what was his crime? Well, according to the court, Eldridge was supposed to call state authorities and wait for them to do it. I’d say he got off easy, in Massachusetts I would expect them to lock him up and throw away the key!

IRS regulations will require U.S. businesses to file millions more 1099s each year. In fact, it is estimated that the average small business will now have to file 200 additional 1099s every single year. Talk about a nightmare of red tape! But don’t try to avoid this rule – it is being reported that the IRS has hired approximately 2,000 new auditors to audit as many of these 1099s as possible. Business is booming at IRS as they also have much more power and responsibility for Obamacare. Polls show that only about 20% of Americans believe the IRS is doing a good job.

The Federal Railroad Administration insists that all trains must be painted with an “F” at the front, so you can tell which end is which. Of course, a fifth grader could tell the administration and save all that paint.

I think we are all familiar with government’s heavy handed crackdown on children’s lemonade stands, but red tape in America is a major reason all business is suffering. Regulations, Unions and Taxes are reasons General Motors cannot survive even with the taxpayer bailout. Today, 70% of GM cars sold in the U.S. are manufactured outside the U.S.

Consider the Dodd-Frank law of 2010. Its aim was noble: to prevent another financial crisis. Its strategy was sensible to improve transparency, stop banks from taking excessive risks, prevent abusive financial practices and end “too big to fail” by authorizing regulators to seize any big, tottering financial firm and wind it down. But Dodd-Frank is far too complex, and becoming more so. At 848 pages, it is 23 times longer than Glass-Steagall, the reform that followed the Wall Street crash of 1929. Worse, every other page demands that regulators fill in further detail. Some of these clarifications are hundreds of pages long. Just one bit, the “Volcker rule”, which aims to curb risky proprietary trading by banks, includes 383 questions that break down into 1,420 sub questions.

Hardly anyone has actually read Dodd-Frank, besides the Chinese government and a few lawyers. Those who have struggled to make sense of it, not least because so much detail has yet to be filled in: of the 400 rules it mandates, only 93 have been finalized. So the result is that financial firms in America must prepare to comply with a law that is partly unintelligible and partly unknowable.

Who are the big losers after the new government regulations of the banking industry were implemented? Consumers like you and me! Instead of being paid interest on deposits in checking accounts, we are now charged fees; fees for this and fees for that. The bankers are not driving Chevrolet Sparks and living in one bedroom apartments. They still have their Country Club memberships and have easy access to politicians.

Dodd-Frank is part of a wider trend. Government keeps adding stacks of rules, few of which are ever rescinded. Government writes rules to thwart terrorists, which makes flying in America an ordeal and prompts legions of brainy migrants to move to Canada instead. Government writes rules to expand the welfare state. Obamacare does nothing to reduce the system’s staggering and increasing complexity. Every hour spent treating a patient in America creates at least 30 minutes of paperwork, and often a whole hour. The number of federally mandated categories of illness and injury for which hospitals may claim reimbursement will rise from 18,000 to 140,000. There are nine codes relating to injuries caused by parrots, and three relating to burns from flaming water-skis.

Government even has a solution for the pesky problem of going out of business. Look around your city and you will likely see an incredible number of vacant business buildings and factories. The city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin makes it incredibly difficult to go out of business. In order to close down a business, Milwaukee requires you to purchase an expensive license, you must submit a huge pile of paperwork to the city regarding the inventory you wish to sell off, and you must pay a fee based on the length of your “going out of business sale” plus a two dollar charge for every $1,000 worth of inventory that you are attempting to sell off. You see, Milwaukee makes money from your misery! And you thought starting a business was difficult!

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is projecting that the food service industry will have to spend an additional 14 million hours every single year just to comply with new federal regulations that mandate that all vending machine operators and chain restaurants must label all products that they sell with a calorie count in a location visible to the consumer.

I think we all know that California has gone off the deep end with ridiculous regulations. For example, dance schools are required to have a police permit, used bookstore owners and those who sell to them must be fingerprinted and books must be held for 30 days before they can be sold, a cyber cafe must provide 20 square feet of floor area per computer. I wonder how much the bureaucrat earns who measures cyber cafes. These are among the examples cited in a new report on the hassles of owning a business in L.A. It’s hardly news that the rules and regulations are way more cumbersome than other cities, but the Institute of Justice, a public law firm, provides a number of examples on just how crazy the system has become.

• Los Angeles imposes draconian restrictions on home-based business and bans many–including dog sitting, sewing garments and cutting hair–outright.

• Would-be restaurateurs in Los Angeles must endure months, if not years, of hardship and spend tens of thousands of dollars navigating the city’s labyrinthine permitting process–a fact that has given rise to a cottage industry of “permit expediters.”

• Tree trimmers, wallpaper hangers, fence builders and numerous other trades must obtain a state-issued “specialty contractor” license, obtainable only after several years experience, a state-administered test and a background check.

• Startup clothing designers on the Los Angeles fashion scene must pass a state-administered examination and pay a hefty sum to obtain a “garment manufacturer’s” license. Yes, only the state knows how gowns should be designed!

• eBay-type drop-off stores are required to fingerprint customers, report daily to the government and hold merchandise for 30 days before offering it for sale.

The mayor’s office had been touting a plan to streamline the permit process, but after two frustrating years the plug was pulled. There was just too much resistance from city department heads and too much complexity in overhauling the system.

America is meant to be the home of the free. Unlike Europeans, whose lives have long been constrained by meddling governments, Americans are supposed to be free to choose, for better or for worse. Yet for some time America has been straying from this ideal.

Two forces make American laws too complex; one is hubris. Many lawmakers seem to believe that they can lay down rules to govern every eventuality. Examples range from the merely annoying such as a proposed code for child care centers in Colorado that specifies how many crayons each box must contain, to the delusional conceit of Dodd-Frank that you can anticipate and ban every nasty trick financiers will dream up in the future. Far from preventing abuses, complexity creates loopholes that the shrewd can abuse with impunity.

The other force that makes American laws complex is lobbying. The government’s drive to micromanage so many activities creates a huge incentive for special interest groups to push for special favors. When a bill is hundreds of pages long, it is not hard for congressmen to slip in clauses that benefit their chums and campaign donors. Obamacare includes tons of favors for the pushy. Congress’ last, failed attempt to regulate greenhouse gases was even worse. To top it off, every organization from auto dealers to veterans trots up to Washington calling for increased funding for this and that. Our debt and unfunded requirements already amounts to over a million dollars per taxpayer.

Complexity costs money. Sarbanes-Oxley, a law aimed at preventing Enron-style frauds, has made it so difficult to list shares on an American stock exchange that firms look elsewhere or stay private. America’s share of initial public offerings fell from 67% when Sarbox passed to 16% now, despite some benign tweaks to the law. A study for the Small Business Administration, a government body, found that regulations in general add $10,585 in costs per employee. It’s a wonder the jobless rate isn’t even higher than it is. I’m talking about real unemployment rates, not bogus government figures.

Can we have a little simplicity? America needs a smarter approach to regulation. First, all important rules should be subjected to cost-benefit analysis by an independent watchdog. The results should be made public before the rule is enacted. All big regulations should also come with sunset clauses, so that they expire after four years unless Congress explicitly re-authorizes them.

It is not asking too much for rules to be much simpler. When regulators try to write an all-purpose instruction manual, the truly important dos and don’ts are lost in an ocean of verbiage. Far better to lay down broad goals and prescribe only what is strictly necessary to achieve them. Legislators should pass simple rules, and leave regulators to enforce them.

Extreme power must be wrenched away from unelected bureaucrats. Simplified regulations must be approved by elected officials who are accountable to the voters while bureaucrats must be subject to dismissal just like the rest of us. The fewer bureaucrats and liberal politicians we have lurking about, the better America works.

If you have examples of outlandish regulations in your state or community, please share them in the comments.