Anniversaries

Seventeen years ago today the World Trade Center was hit. It was a disaster visited on us on the scale of Pearl Harbor, made worse because its victims were civilians. It was also an intelligence failure, the perpetrators should have been easy to catch, all were what we now call ‘known wolves’. Our government ignored the warnings.

And so began the so-called Global War on Terror.

Other than the Kabuki theater of airport security, and the invasion of American’s rights by our government, there have been two campaigns. One in Afghanistan and one in Iraq. Neither has been successful, although Iraq came close before Obama ordered the big bug out.

But it has kept a lot of money flowing from the government to a lot of special interests. Seventeen years is a long time – if we can’t win a war against some 7th-century tribesman (and there are legitimate reasons why that is harder than a modern society) in that time, well, maybe we should just call it a day. We can always blow it up again when they get out of line.

No real shame in that. Alexander the Great couldn’t get it done, neither could the British Empire at its height, or the Soviet Union. It’s a quagmire and a money pit.

But six years ago, we saw the results of feckless leadership, we saw it in Benghazi.  Daniel John Sobieski wrote about it for American Thinker.

The arrogance of the man who lied to the parents of the Benghazi dead in front of their sons’ caskets as they were returned to the country they fought for is mind-boggling.  As he attempted to rewrite many chapters of his failed presidency in a speech at the University of Illinois, he called the accurate and documented reports of the criminal negligence of secretary of state Hillary Clinton and himself during the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack on our Benghazi compound a mere “conspiracy theory.”

Conspiracy theories don’t produce body bags, sir, but perhaps you don’t remember that night all too well because you spent the time four brave Americans were being killed under your command in Libya readying up for a Las Vegas fundraiser.

Kris Paronto, former Army Ranger and CIA contractor who fought with his colleagues on the roof of the CIA annex in Benghazi, remembers that night and tweeted his response to the then-president’s arrogant and dismissive ridicule of their sacrifice and your incompetence:

Benghazi is a conspiracy @BarackObama ?! How bout we do this,let’s put your cowardly ass on the top of a roof with 6 of your buddies & shoot rpg’s & Ak47’s at you while terrorists lob 81mm mortars killing 2 of your buddies all while waiting for US support that you never sent

Obama and Hillary had plenty of warnings that the security at Benghazi was woefully inadequate, that the compound was swimming in an ocean of terrorist training camps.  They ignored these warnings, and when the attack happened, they did nothing when a rescue mission could have been mounted.  Instead, stand-down orders were given to would-be rescuers, and following the attack, the infamous video lie was concocted and spread over the airwaves, with President Obama repeating it no fewer than six times in a speech before the United Nations.

Hicks, the last man to speak to Ambassador Chris Stevens, has exposed the video lie, documenting how he told Hillary’s State Department what was happening in real time that fateful night and how her State Department ignored warnings from Chris Stevens and others about the gathering terrorist storm and the woeful  lack of security.

Now retired, private citizen Hicks goes farther, telling Fox News Hillary Clinton broke laws while condemning four Americans to death at the hands of terrorists:

Just as the Constitution makes national security the President’s highest priority, U.S. law mandates the secretary of state to develop and implement policies and programs “to provide for the security … of all United States personnel on official duty abroad.”

This includes not only the State Department employees, but also the CIA officers in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012.  And the Benghazi record is clear: Secretary Clinton failed to provide adequate security for U.S. government personnel assigned to Benghazi and Tripoli.

The Benghazi Committee’s report graphically illustrates the magnitude of her failure.  It states that during August 2012, the State Department reduced the number of U.S. security personnel assigned to the Embassy in Tripoli from 34 (1.5 security officers per diplomat) to 6 (1 security officer per 4.5 diplomats), despite a rapidly deteriorating security situation in both Tripoli and Benghazi.  Thus, according to the Report, “there were no surplus security agents” to travel to Benghazi with Amb. Stevens “without leaving the Embassy in Tripoli at severe risk.”

Keep reading, there’s more at the link.

This is the action of at best, a feckless, but more likely seditious, if not actually treasonous government. This is the history of the so-called deep state, and why it must be rooted out. It is not American government as we have known it. I’m not sure what label to apply to it, but I want nothing like it in America.

It is the major threat to the liberty of America, and Americans.

Advertisements

Who’s Fish Is It?

Greg Walcher from The American Spectator wants to know. So do I, So does President Trump. Here’s why.

[R]estaurant owners may know that open-faced sandwiches are regulated by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA), part of the Department of Health and Human Services. But if a second piece of bread is added on top, it is regulated by the Department of Agriculture (USDA). That’s because the USDA has a very specific definition of a sandwich: two slices of bread with the meat in the middle. So, is a hot dog a sandwich? The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council says no, but the State of California says yes. How about a burrito? Massachusetts ruled that a burrito is not a sandwich, but New York says it is. A cheese pizza is regulated by the FDA, but add pepperoni and it becomes a USDA matter. When you make an omelet, FDA regulates the eggs you crack, but if you pour liquid eggs from a carton, it’s USDA.

Regulations can be confusing, sometimes because of vague wording, but often because of overlapping jurisdictions. It is not always obvious who is in charge. Clean water rules are under the jurisdiction of the EPA, but projects that might affect stream water require permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. A salmon or sturgeon swimming in the ocean is under the jurisdiction of the National Marine Fisheries Service, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce. But if the same fish swims upstream into a river, it becomes province of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, part of the Interior Department.

Pundits have made fun of such regulatory silliness for years. Hillary Clinton joked about the sandwich rules when running for the Senate 18 years ago. At least two presidents have cited the weird pizza rules, yet nobody did anything about the regulatory mess.

That is the impetus behind a new Trump Administration government reorganization proposal, which could have a dramatic effect on management of Interior, Commerce, USDA, and HHS, among others. In some areas, jurisdictional lines would become much clearer. For instance, all agencies that regulate food safety would be consolidated under the USDA, covering virtually all the foods we eat.

The “civil works” programs at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would be moved to the Transportation and Interior Departments, which would better align those missions and eliminate much duplication. The Corps of Engineers is an unusual creature, a military agency headed by a general, which reports to a civilian at the Pentagon (Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works), and regulates economic activity that has nothing to do with the Army. The Corps owns and operates dams and water infrastructure, exactly like Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation does.

As an example, in my home State of Colorado, the Corps has Chatfield and Cherry Creek reservoirs, but Reclamation has Blue Mesa, Granby, McPhee, Ridgway, Rifle Gap, and a couple dozen others.

It’s just silly. Yes, I can understand how it got that way, but just because there is a reason for silliness is not a reason why silliness must go on forever.

And it can lead to real costs, even jail. We’ve all heard the stories about how being forced to comply with one regulation, law, whatever, requires one to break another. Some say that it is a feature, not a big, of the big state, that they can arrest anyone at any time. Well, that might be a feature for the denizens of the stagnant swamp, it is decidedly a hindrance on anyone trying to accomplish anything.

The President has a plan to reorganize government, consolidating a lot of the programs. It probably doesn’t go far enough, and many of them should likely be simply eliminated, and their powers cease, but half a loaf is better than no bread at all. I’m not sure there has really been progress on this front since Coolidge was president.

And the real problem is this, with all the overlapping authority, the ability to hide responsibility and make people spend years running around in the maze has likely done more damage to our economy than China could do in a century. Time to clean the stables.

My grandfathers lived in a world where what was said in Minneapolis was much more important than what anyone said in Washington, at least in peacetime. That was what the founders envisioned, in most things other than defense, government should be close enough to home for the citizens to slap it up the side of the head with a two by four, not so far away that we need an ICBM to get their attention.

The FISA Court and the Dossier

Mollie Hemingway has one of her outstanding “What You Should Know” posts up about the FISA dossier that dropped last Saturday night. As always, it was released then to avoid attention, well that no longer works. Mollie says:

Newly released documents confirm House and Senate investigators’ claims that the Department of Justice and FBI used materially false and misleading information to secure wiretaps on Carter Page, a former volunteer foreign policy advisor to President Trump. The highly redacted documents released in response to Freedom of Information Act requests show how the FBI was able to convince the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to surveil the Naval Academy graduate and energy consultant for a year of his life.

The wiretap was applied for and granted in October 2016, shortly before the end of the presidential campaign. Approved applications last for 90 days. The Department of Justice requested and received three renewals, for a total of one year of surveillance. Despite claiming to the court in 2016 that “the FBI believes that Page has been collaborating and conspiring with the Russian Government,” the government has yet to charge Page with breaking any of the serious laws it alleges he knowingly transgressed.

Here is what the highly redacted FISA applications show us thus far.

She lays out the salient points here with explanations. I’m not going to, read her article. I’m just going to bullet point it.

  • “The Dossier Provided an Essential Part Of Application
  • The Dossier Was Not Verified
  • The Applications Employed Circular Reporting
  • Cites Steele’s Credibility, Despite Overwhelming Evidence To Doubt It
  • The Applications Made Materially False Claims”

In other words, it was an amateurish, even clownish, put up job, that can’t stand the light of day.

As Sens. Graham and Grassley wrote earlier this year:

In Steele’s sworn court filings in litigation in London, he admitted that he ‘gave off the record briefings to a small number of journalists about the pre-election memoranda [i.e., the dossier] in late summer/autumn 2016.’ In another sworn filing in that case, Mr. Steele further stated that journalists from ‘the New York Times, the Washington Post, Yahoo News, the New Yorker, and CNN’ were ‘briefed at the end of September 2016 by [Steele] and Fusion at Fusion’s instruction.’ The filing further states that Mr. Steele ‘subsequently participated in further meetings at Fusion’s instruction with Fusion and the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Yahoo News, which took place mid-October 2016.’…

The first of these filings was publicly reported in the U.S. media in April of 2017, yet the FBI did not subsequently disclose to the FISC this evidence suggesting that Mr. Steele had lied to the FBI. Instead the application still relied primarily on his credibility prior to the October media incident. […]

That’s true. Donald Trump shows up in the application as Candidate #1 and Hillary Clinton shows up as Candidate #2. The Republican Party is identified as Political Party #1. So it would have been easy to note that the dossier was secretly bought and paid for by Candidate #2 and Political Party #2. Instead, a veritable word salad is deployed to hide that significant fact.

The court is told Source #1 was told “that a U.S.-based law firm had hired the identified U.S. person to conduct research regarding Candidate #1’s ties to Russia” and that Source #1 wasn’t told about the motivation behind the research. The FBI surmises that Source #1’s boss — Fusion GPS’ Glenn Simpson — wanted information to discredit Candidate #1’s campaign.

On and on and on it goes. And as it does it becomes obvious, that everything Rep Nunes and his associates have said is the truth, and everything that these government functionaries have said is a lie, designed to undercut and remove the duly elected President of the United States.

The ‘Deep State’ in action. Careless, perfectly willing to lie, to do anything, in fact, to protect bureaucrats like themselves from the legitimate wrath of the people. And mind you, if Hillary had won, we wouldn’t know any of this and by the time she left office, we would not have a chance to reclaim our government.

It’s going to be a near run race as it is, but thanks to some very brave people, we do have a chance, so let’s take it in both hands and run with it.

Outside the Philadelphia Courthouse, Ben Franklin was asked what sort of government the convention had given us, here is his answer, as relevant as ever.

A Republic, if you can keep it.

POTUS, SCOTUS, and the Rule of Law

So tonight we’ll know who Trump’s second pick for the Supreme Court is. There is a list of twenty-five names if you’ve been comatose, and four of those are considered front-runners. They are Raymond Kethledge, Brett Kavanaugh, Thomas Hardiman, and Amy Coney Barrett. I’ve read a certain amount about each of them, and while my sentimental pick is Amy Coney Barrett, I don’t really care. They are, each and every one, an outstanding choice. None are really conservative, or liberal, all are originalist and textualist, which is as it should be.

Paul Mirengoff over at PowerLine says that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that two of them have fewer obvious problems in confirmation, and therefore he suggests either Kethledge or Hardiman. That is a valid opinion, it’s going to be a very noisy confirmation, and it would be very good to get it done by election day, and optimally by the Court’s next term, so what he thinks would be easier for him to ramrod through the Senate matters. It’s not the only consideration, but it is an important one, and with a field so bursting with talent, it matters.

McConnell reportedly believes that Barrett might encounter resistance from Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski because she is an outspoken social conservative who some observers believe may be more amenable than others on the short list to overturning Roe v. Wade.

Kavanaugh might present different challenges. His role in the George W. Bush administration and in the Ken Starr investigation has generated millions of pages of documents. Senate Democrats would demand to see every one them. This could stall the nomination, making it impossible to confirm Kavanaugh before the Supreme Court begins its next term and maybe before the mid-term elections.

So we’ll find out who the President wants tonight. We can already see what the left will bring to the battle: emotion and prejudice. Neither are valid. What is at stake here is the Republic, and the rule of law and all four of these eminent jurists have their heads on pretty straight.

Steve Chapman in Reason spoke to this point back in 2008.

One of the axioms of American democracy is that we are a government of laws, not of men. We are supposed to follow the requirements of our Constitution and statutes even when they yield results we don’t like—say, freeing a person who appears guilty.

In this format, it actually goes back to John Adams in the 1780 Massachusetts Constitution, but in reality, it is enshrined in Magna Charta, and in King Alfred the Great’s charter. It is one of the main reasons why the United States and (so far) the United Kingdom have remained free and built the modern world.

It’s a lovely feeling, isn’t it, to know that while careers are at stake, we can trust the president to make an excellent choice?

In a related thought, as I was listening to the anguish last night from Britain at the way HMG is attempting to sell out Brexit over the heads of the people (more perhaps later in the week on this) it struck me, as it often does, how lucky we are to have President Trump, untoward Tweets and all. We have a president who understands how to negotiate, how to take the people into his confidence, and other things. But above all, we have a President who puts country before party. Who is quite obviously an American patriot, who puts America first, and after the Obama regime, it is so very refreshing. I hope (and pray) the British can find someone to put Britain First.

Other stuff, mostly in Britain

Well, I’ve nothing much prepared for today, so let’s get a bit more bashing of Britain out of our blood, shall we. Then perhaps we can move on. I’m quite pleased, by the way, that yesterday’s article drawing on Solzhenitsyn was our most read post in over a month, and I think the most read ever, in the UK. Still lot’s of good and decent folks there, just not in authority. Let’s start with why the mayor of Londonistan thinks Trump should not visit

There some good stuff in that, as for visiting London, well I tend at this point (admittedly still in pretty hot blood) think instead of visiting England, Trump should appoint a commission to look into the lack of civil rights in the country.

Peter Hitchens is not right yet about emigrating, but the trend is not favorable, and I would seriously consider it if I planned on having kids. Who wants to watch the government starve your sick kid to death.

The Council of Ealing (it’s in west London, BTW) has passed an ordinance prohibiting prayer vigils within a hundred meters (328 ft, for normal people) of a human abattoir abortion provider. There is no record at all of the people, mostly Catholics, interfering at all with those going to and from the so-called clinic. From the Catholic Herald.

They accused Ealing Council of violating basic rights to free speech, prayer, and free assembly

A group of mothers has lodged a High Court challenge against a so-called “buffer zone” outside an abortion clinic today.

Alina Dulgheriu, a mother who was helped by a pro-life vigil, filed the challenge to Ealing Council’s decision to enforce a Public Space Protection Order mandating a 100m (328 ft) exclusion zone around an abortion clinic.

Ms Dulgheriu was joined at the press conference by other mothers who had been supported by vigils. “Without sufficient justification, Ealing council has decided to criminalise otherwise lawful behaviour…to criminalise charitable activity that is needed by some of the most vulnerable women in our society,” she said.

Situation normal for the UK these days.

And a bit more on Alfie, more even-tempered than I can manage, but just as accurate, from Sohrab Ahmari writing in Commentary.

[…]The cases are silly, but the chilling effect on free speech in Britain is all too serious—and real.

That brings us back to Alfie. As the case has progressed, the political, religious, and class fault lines running through it have become ever more visible. Alfie’s parents are working class and Catholic. Judging by the social-media outpouring, many of their supporters hail from a similar class firmament: the type who voted for Brexit, who read the Sun and the Daily Mail, who are puzzled by all this talk about gender and newfangled pronouns, and who quietly cheer Donald Trump across the pond.

On the other side stands an administrative elite that has had it with “these people”—with their voting habits, their sentimentality and patriotism, their common sense on Islam and integration, and, well, their failure to understand that it is up to experts, not parents, to discern the “best interests” of a toddler like Alfie. The members of this elite worry a lot these days about the health of liberal-democratic order. An entire cottage industry has sprung up, churning out books and policy briefs on how to preserve democracy against populists and uncouth, excitable majorities. But fair-minded observers of the Alfie Evans debacle can decide for themselves which camp poses the greater threat to freedom in Britain.

Never in all my life did I think I would see such words published about Britain, let alone agree with them completely. Sad days, my friends.

In other news, I understand that the White House correspondents hosted a very ugly bash the White House Press Secretary dinner Saturday night. Inventive group, these cretins, always finding more ways to alienate themselves from the people of America. Rather like the London elites, in fact.

 

Guilds in America

Over in The American Spectator Andrew Wilford had a few things to say about how state licensing restricts trade. In fact, he, like me, calls it the guild system. We do that because that is exactly what it is. Here’s some of his.

Occupational licensing remains one of the most effective methods of restricting employment in the country. Experts have estimated the economic costs of excessively strict occupational licensing around the country at $203 billion. Burdensome licensing rules function as a way for entrenched professionals to restrict competition in their industry—licensing rules have resulted in 2.8 million less Americans employed. A study out of Alabama shows how effectively these anti-competitive professionals lobby for excessively restrictive licensing rules to keep the number of new licenses issued at a minimum.

If anything, he underestimates. And don’t think that it is only a problem for hair-braiders and barbers and such. It permeates construction, while not doing anything at all to improve either quality or price.

Let’s revisit something I wrote about it back towards the end of 2012.


Guilds, Licensing, Inspections, and Code, Oh My

Guilds and Licensing

You’ve often heard me say that trade licensing is like nothing so much as the medieval guilds. Here’s why.

You decide you want to be an electrician, so you go get a job with one or you go to a community college, now you can get your apprentice card, you lucky boy or girl. Either way, once you’re on the job site, you’ll carry parts, run a broom, maybe bend some conduit, dig a trench, the stupid stuff that young people always end up doing. That’s fine, it’s been that way forever, I did it, and so did my dad.

You keep doing that for a few years (it varies with school or pure apprenticeship) and you’re qualified to take the journeyman test. They claim it has some electrical knowledge on it but, for the most part, it’s a code test, which is important, but not the be all-end all you think. Let’s say you pass, many don’t, 5 or times isn’t uncommon. I think it’s a ridiculously stupid test and open book at that, but it’s not up to me. Now you’re a journeyman.

As a journeyman you can supervise three apprentices (these are all Nebraska examples) in theory you could be in charge of wiring the new skyscraper in Omaha, as a 25-year-old journeyman. (Don’t worry, you won’t be, usually, that job will have 50 or so electricians on it). But most likely you’ll be in charge of a crew, and as you learn what you’re doing your responsibilities will increase. It’s not all that bad a system.

The next step and many never take it, is to take the contractor’s test, it’s a little more difficult but not much. If you pass and buy insurance you can be an electrical contractor. Woo-Hoo!

Say you decide to go out on your own, which is really the only point to that license, you might be a good electrician, many are barely OK and lazy to boot in my opinion. But here are some things you need to know:

  • How do you do a fair estimate?
  • How do you figure out how much of which material to use? [Most house plans leave all that up to you, and if they’re three or more years old, they’ll need revision for the current code cycle]
  • How do you figure a fair return? Not that you’re going to get it on residential work.
  • How does accounting work?
  • What do you have to do to comply with OSHA?
  • What is and when do you have to apply NFPA 70E or NFPA 101
  • What is the UL White book, and why does it matter.

My point is, there’s a lot to being a contractor that a journeyman rarely sees.

Oh, did I mention that your present contractor has to sign off on you taking the test? That’s where the guild thing comes in. It’s nothing less in my mind than using the government in restraint of fair trade.

Inspections

Here inspection is done by the State, and they’re pretty good, knowledgeable, fair, and consistent. Just about all you can ask, really. Or is it? See the thing is, their job is to enforce the code, period. And as we’ll talk about in the next section that introduces some problems.

What I would like to see is this, when you buy a home, if you want insurance (and most mortgages require it) why couldn’t the insurance companies require that electrical, plumbing and whatnot be brought up to code, using their own or contract inspectors, which would mean that every once in a while homes would get inspected and not the messes that some so-called handymen leave behind them.

Nothing new about this either. When I was young, nearly every factory in America was insured by Factory Mutual. Factory Mutual not only required compliance with a very strict code, that covered lots of things, they even had their own labs for rating products, and if your product didn’t have an F-M label it couldn’t be used. But if you complied, the insurance was pretty cheap. Why? Because the losses were low. You know, the free market at work.

Codes, Codes, and more Codes

Residential

For the most part, electrical work is covered by the National Electric Code (NEC, NFPA 70), it’s a good code. Like it plainly states it is not a design manual, although if I want the job, I’m usually not going to go very far beyond it. If wired in accordance with the code, your house will be safe, it may be adequate and convenient, or it may not.

But there are problems. If your house was wired in the 50s or before, it may still have a 60A main, you will find it inadequate. If I remember the code started requiring 100A in the early 60s as it still does. So if you have that 60A service, usually it will have two sets of cartridge fuses labeled main and range, which is what they are normally used for, in addition, it will have four of the old plug fuses, we call them Edison base, same as a light bulb.

Here’s the kicker, say you blow a fuse, and you call me, and by some miracle I can come right over, if that panel shows any sign of overloading, like too big a fuse for the wire size, or pennies behind the fuse, or even if it’s hot (and I’ve burned myself on a few). I can do one of several things, I can replace all the fuses with the proper size Type S fuse and its adapter so that you can’t overfuse, although you’ll be very limited on load, I can replace the panel, or I can refuse to work on it. That’s it.

The best option for Joe Homeowner is to replace it. That’s problematical too though. In the current code, I have to protect just about every circuit in the house with either a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) or a combination type Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) instead of using a regular circuit breaker (I can’t even buy a fusible panel anymore).

GFCIs work fine here, no problem, it’s one of the very few ways I can replace a two wire outlet as well. AFCIs can be an entirely different kettle of fish. Invariably if I try to put one on the old cable with the woven covering, it won’t work, it could be something as minor as a staple driven too tight or something. If I’m in that spot, from the get-go, I’m going to tell you, you have to rewire your house. You really do need to anyway, but here we are talking about it on a cold winter’s night while we watch your pipes freeze.

OK, that’s settled, right? Oh, you want an estimate or a bid. OK, that better for both of us, anyway. It’s gonna cost you about $5000 dollars, more or less.

Why?

Because times have changed, in 1965 or so we went to grounded outlets, first with a small conductor and then with a full size one, it was a very good idea.

In about 1980 we started required bathrooms and kitchens to have GFCIs essentially wherever we are within six feet of water, and in the basement, garage, and outdoors. Again a good idea.

Now we require AFCIs on almost anything else in a dwelling unit. It’s not a bad idea, they detect an arc in the wiring and shut off the circuit.

Not least of the problems is that instead of about $5 for a circuit breaker, these (and GFCIs) are about $50. They also change some of our methods of wiring, and yes the new ways are more expensive in both time and material but, it can’t be helped.

Now the fun begins. Under the code, certain things are required.

  • An outside light, wall switch-controlled at each entrance
  • An outside outlet, as described above
  • Outlets, not more than 12 feet apart in all rooms of dwelling units, including any wall more than 18 inches long, except some halls and stairwells.
  • Wall switch controlled luminaires, or in some cases outlets, in all rooms, controlled at each entrance.
  • Bathroom circuit, 20A GFCI cannot serve anything else (sometimes it can serve another bathroom)
  • Kitchen, 20A GFCI, outlets every 24 inches over the countertop (not excluding that fancy island), two circuits required minimum.
  • There are limits as to how many outlets can be on a circuit 7 for a 15A circuit if I recall.
  • Any appliance that has a nameplate that calls for a separate circuit, has to have one. Invariably dishwashers, garbage disposers, freezers, furnaces, and icemakers do
  • A laundry outlet that serves nothing else.
  • Usually, I’ll spec a circuit for the refrigerator because they don’t always play nice on GFCIs or AFCIs and I hate call-backs.

So where are we, somewhere in the neighborhood of a dozen or more circuits, electric dryer add 2, electric water heater add 2 more, air conditioning add 2 more. If I remember, and I’m writing this from memory, the biggest 100A box I can buy has about 15-20 spaces in it, and it’s very poor design not to leave room for expansion, so you’re looking at a 200A service. In truth, I haven’t recommended anything else in 20 years, and I’ll bet those that insisted on saving that 50 or so bucks regret it now.

Did I mention that I have to use tamper-resistant outlets too? It’s not a big thing, only about a dollar more per outlet.

So after you cry for a while (I don’t blame you for it either) you say OK and pay the deposit which will be in the neighborhood of $2500. Now we can pull the permit and get started.

Everything I’ve mentioned above is required by code. I and the inspector have no choice. What we used to be able to do is to stage it, we could figure out the whole job, change the panel now, and rewire later, and occasionally it still can happen. Oh, don’t forget to schedule the drywall guy and painters, cause we’re going to damage your walls.

But, here’s the problem, remember where we started this story, when I walked in, I burned my hand on your panel. Let’s say you just got a job that pays say $10 dollars an hour, and your house payment is $300 a month. How are you going to be able to pay me? The short answer is, you can’t. I know it, you know it, and the inspector knows it too. But we’re all stuck.

Thing is, a competent electrician can do other things to make it reasonably safe, without all that drama. But the way the code is written we can’t.

That’s one of the reasons I like the system I outlined above, when you’re buying the house, you’ve got options, maybe the seller will help, in the worst case maybe you can include it in your mortgage,  instead of trying to do it right now when you have a problem.

Basically, we’ve made code compliance so expensive that we are leaving very dangerous situations in homes because no can afford to fix them. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in their quest to make electricity safe for a two-year-old, have priced fixing actual real-world hazards out of reach of the average homeowner.


Now mind, electricity can be dangerous, and complying with the code is important. But the roadblocks we place in the way of somebody wanting to do the work are ridiculous.

When I lived in Indiana, which had no state license (still doesn’t, I think) the work I did still had to pass inspection, and that is proper.

The real problem is contained right here, to get the license you need your employer to sign off on it. If you’re a decent electrician, why exactly would he? It’s directly against his interest to do so unless he’s your daddy. Usually, he won’t, and so you’re stuck. The other thing is, the ECs control the commission, which can take your license back for any or no reason.

A system designed to use the government to hurt the consumer, and that’s pretty close to a working definition of a guild. Something they told me in school is one of the things that stifled progress in the middle ages. I’m sure it did because it does now.

%d bloggers like this: