Tuesday, June 17, 2014

IR-YES!


How Stupid do They Think We Are?

The IRS harassed certain tax-payers for political reasons.  This much is clear from the evidence.  

There is strong circumstantial evidence that this was done at the direction of the White House.  The Obama administration is denying such a link, but the head of the IRS visited the White House 118 times during 2010-2011.   That is exactly 117 more visits to the White House than during the Bush administration.   When Doug Shulman was asked why he visited so many times he replied “the Easter Egg Roll, with my kids…”.   That’s a lot of Easter Egg rolls in just two years.

So it is clear that he is lying.

In order to prove collusion with the White House, the House has asked for email records for a number of IRS officials, including Lois Lerner.  Since Ms. Lerner has famously plead the Fifth, invoking her right against self-incrimination, she clearly has something to hide.

Here comes the whopper.

Now the IRS claims that they lost Lois Lerner’s emails.  Two whole year’s worth.

That’s right.  They simply can’t find them.   Oopsie!

How stupid do they think we are?  The chances that all the emails in question were ‘lost’ is exactly zero.

Standard IT procedures call for the periodic back up of data,  including emails.   In fact, the government itself mandates email retention policies for many regulated industries.  Standard diligence and competence would have email servers being backed up on a regular basis.

These periodic back-ups are then stored in offsite, secure locations.  This protects the back up data in the unlikely event that something happens to the original. There are some very basic questions that need to be asked about how this happened.

To believe that the emails are all lost is to believe that the mail servers and everyone one of potentially dozen’s of copies of the data were somehow accidentally lost at the same moment.

This is either criminal negligence or a criminal conspiracy.

The fact that they are trying to peddle this nonsense with a straight face means that they have a profound lack of respect for the intellect of the American electorate.

Nixon got impeached for, among other things, asking the IRSto target political opponents.  The IRS told Nixon No.  It is obvious that Obama’s request was met with an enthusiastic IR-Yes!


Friday, June 6, 2014

Why the Left Hates


Why does the Left hate so much?   As Michelle Malkin has pointed out, they are pretty much unhinged.

Why do they throw pies, smash windows, burn police cars, and generally behave in an appalling manner?
Anti-pollution protesters showing how much they hate air pollution...

Why do they issue death threats and revel in violence, both real and threatened?

Why does the Left have a near monopoly on terrorism?

I think the answer is very simple:  When your positions on issues are not rational, is it not possible to defend them with reason.  

Absent a rational framework for debate or conversation, you are left with name calling and violence as your only recourse.   And that is a much easier course of action than examining your belief system to understand why your world is so fact-free.

The pro-abortion cult is so wedded to their faith in 'reproductive rights' that they literally cannot conceive of a logical, factual response to questions like 'why should I pay for your abortion'.  So they have a melt down.

The climate change acolytes are so lost in the fever swamps of eco-communism that they cannot see the forest for the trees.   The only response they have to inconvenient facts like 'the earth has not warmed in over 17 years' is to scream and call you names.

The Luddites of the anti-GMO movement weep in hysteria at the mere mention of facts like 'after several trillion GMO-meals, there is zero evidence of any problems'.  Then they call you a corporate shill.

The perpetually offended throw Racist! and Homophobic! back at you as if it answers your question of 'why should one class of citizen be treated differently than others'.  Then they get personal.

There are ill informed morons that scream invective and names on both sides of the debate.

But the vast majority of the incivility comes from the know-nothing Left.

If you are looking for a measure of how well informed people are on both sides we can look to a few proxy measures:
  • Conservative books outsell liberal books by huge margins
  • Right wing media is vastly more popular than the Left wing variety.
  • Conservatives routinely outscore Liberals on political and general knowledge tests
Leftism is a faith, and the only defense of faith is violence and intolerance.

As Reagan so eloquently pointed out,

Well, the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they are ignorant, but that they know so much that isn’t so...





Monday, June 2, 2014

Everything is a lie. Everything.


Every thing the Obama Administration does or says is a lie.   A big bald faced lie.

Fast and Furious?  Lies.

Benghazi?  Lies.

VA Scandal, IRS scandal, Obamacare, ... all lies.

These are not run-of-the-mill campaign promise lies.  We all know that politicians will say what it takes to get elected.  These are deep, important lies.

And now we find out that the Bowe Bergdahl story is a lie.

The administration has known all along that this story stunk and that he was very likely a deserter and a traitor.  Rather than make the simple statement that he was missing under unusual circumstances, they made up a lie.   And forced people to sign non-disclosures.

I understand the lies about Fast and Furious.  That is criminal offense for which Holder should be in jail and Obama should be impeached.

I get it about Benghazi -- they panicked over the potential damage to the president in the upcoming imminent election.

And all the other scandals would damage Obama, so they lied.  I get it.

But what possible reason is there to lie about Bowe Bergdahl?    How can a deserter hurt the President?

Why couldn't they tell the truth when we went missing?

How do we get to the point where we have a government that lies about everything even when there is no conceivable reason to do so?

It the corrupt culture in Washington so far gone that they cannot event distinguish things that they need to lie about from things that they can say honestly?  I am getting the impression that even that question would baffle them.

Like a fish that does not know he is wet, Obama doesn't even know he lives in a world of deceit and treachery.


Saturday, May 31, 2014

I am Mad as Hell


Obama might be the maddest President to ever hold the office.

His immediate response to any allegation of malfeasance or scandal in his Administration is to blurt "Nobody's madder than me!"  or "I'm angry about it".





Imagine if the manager of your Target store had the same response:

Me: We need a clean up in aisle 5...
Manager:  I just learned about this, and I am mad as hell, and if true, people will be held accountable.

Me: The checkout lines are really long
Manager:  I just learned about this, and I am mad as hell, and if true, people will be held accountable.

Me:  You are out of stock in the dairy case
Manager:  I just learned about this, and I am mad as hell, and if true, people will be held accountable.

Me: You employees are all out in the parking lot on a smoking break
Manager:  I just learned about this, and I am mad as hell, and if true, people will be held accountable.


This interaction would be frustrating because it is the manager's job to know about these things.

Ignorance is no excuse.  A store manager who professed such profound ignorance about the activities in his store would be fired on the spot.

It is Obama's job to know.

Getting angry about everything is the response of a petulant 5 year old child, not an adult holding the highest office in the land.

Obama is the most immature man to ever hold high office.

And come to think about it, that makes me mad as hell.

Friday, May 23, 2014

10 Things Most Americans Don’t Know About America


Mark Manson has a few things to say about America in his blogpost that has gone viral on Facebook.

 "This is how I lovingly describe my current relationship with the United States. The United States is my alcoholic brother. And although I will always love him, I don’t want to be near him at the moment."

Why the love-hate relationship with America, you ask?


1. Few People Are Impressed By Us

"they’re not going to be excited that you’re American. It’s not some badge of honor we get to parade around....As Americans, we’re brought up our entire lives being taught that we’re the best, we did everything first and that the rest of the world follows our lead. Not only is this not true, but people get irritated when you bring it to their country with you. So don’t.

We are were taught that America did everything first because...well, we did do everything first.  Radio, Television, microwaves, moonwalking (the astronaut kind, not the Michael Jackson kind...well, ok, both kinds), the internet, the transistor, the movies, the Ferris wheel, the zipper, you get the picture.

If people around the world are not so impressed by us, then how come they are all wearing American brands, watching American movies, and using American inventions?

They say if you invent a better mousetrap the world will beat a path to your door.  Well, guess who invented the mousetrap?  That's right, William Hooker, an American.

2. Few People Hate Us

most people in the world don’t really think about us or care about us.

People in the rest of the world may not think about us as much as we might think, but I know for a fact that we think about them WAY LESS than they think about us.

There are entire countries that fewer than 5% of Americans ever heard of that hate us with a passion.  If you are so certain that the world does not hate Americans, then I am sure you will feel comfortable walking down the street in Baghdad.  Or Tehran.  Or Paris, for that matter.

There are plenty of people in the world that hate America.  Just ask the Ambassador to Libya and his protection detail.

3. We Know Nothing About The Rest Of The World

For all of our talk about being global leaders and how everyone follows us, we don’t seem to know much about our supposed “followers.”  In a recent survey of young Americans, 63% could not find Iraq on a map (despite being at war with them), and 54% did not know Sudan was a country in Africa. Yet, somehow we’re positive that everyone else looks up to us.

This is an indictment of the government run school system more than anything else.  So the teacher's unions have taken in billions of dollars all the while committing educational mal-practice means that you hate America? 

The flaws in our understanding of the world come from 3 sources.  1.  Bad government run schools, 2. a popular culture that does not value history, 3. the uncomfortable fact that what happens in the rest of the world is really not that important.

4. We Are Poor At Expressing Gratitude And Affection

There’s a saying about English-speakers. We say “Go fuck yourself,” when we really mean “I like you,” and we say “I like you,” when we really mean “Go fuck yourself.”

In our culture, appreciation and affection are implied rather than spoken outright. Two guy friends call each other names to reinforce their friendship; men and women tease and make fun of each other to imply interest. Feelings are almost never shared openly and freely.

Mark is condemning much of Anglo-Saxon culture, and he really needs to get out more. The coarse 'fuck you' culture to which he refers may be prevalent on the East Coast, but here in the Midwest that sort of behavior does not fly.

Our dispassionate behavior is taken from the behavioral standards of the puritans and the mainline Protestant congregations that were the earliest 'lifestyles of the rich and famous'. 

5. The Quality of Life For The Average American Is Not That Great

If you’re extremely talented or intelligent, the US is probably the best place in the world to live. The system is stacked heavily to allow people of talent and advantage to rise to the top quickly.
The problem with the US is that everyone thinks they are of talent and advantage. As John Steinbeck famously said, the problem with poor Americans is that “they don’t believe they’re poor, but rather temporarily embarrassed millionaires.”

This is a load of horse crap.  Life here is better for more people than anywhere else in the world.  How many people give up their life here to emigrate to these foreign paradises that Manson idolizes?  None.  How many people come here?  Millions.  

Manson's opinion is that idle time and less material goods are better than effort and stuff.  Well, based on the flow of immigration, the rest of the world thinks differently.

And Steinbecks observation is not the problem with poor Americans, it is our greatest virtue.

6. The Rest Of The World Is Not A Slum-Ridden Shithole Compared To Us

If there’s one constant in my travels over the past three years, it has been that almost every place I’ve visited (especially in Asia and South America) is much nicer and safer than I expected it to be. Singapore is pristine. Hong Kong makes Manhattan look like a suburb. My neighborhood in Colombia is nicer than the one I lived in in Boston (and cheaper).

Here Mark is projecting his won prejudice on the rest of us.   Just because you assume the rest of the world sucks doesn't mean we all do.


7. We’re Paranoid

Not only are we emotionally insecure as a culture, but I’ve come to realize how paranoid we are about our physical security. You don’t have to watch Fox News or CNN for more than 10 minutes to hear about how our drinking water is going to kill us, our neighbor is going to rape our children, some terrorist in Yemen is going to kill us because we didn’t torture him, Mexicans are going to kill us, or some virus from a bird is going to kill us. There’s a reason we have more guns than people.
In the US, security trumps everything, even liberty. We’re paranoid.

Americans are falling for this paranoid crap precisely because we are the greatest nation on earth.  We have vanquished all real danger.  We live longer, we have less discomfort, we live in amazing luxury.  And so we invent stupid little scares like  Alar and Radon to replace the real fears of malaria and starvation that plague the rest of the world.

8. We’re Status-Obsessed And Seek Attention

We’re status-obsessed. Our culture is built around achievement, production and being exceptional. 

Uh, yeah.  I thought this was obvious.  We are a nation of achievers and do-er's.  Nearly every person here is descended from someone that had enough balls and motivation to leave their home village and emigrate to America.    This is wonderful.  Our competitive nature is what makes us a great people, not some defect that we need to apologize for.

Why does Mark hate everything that makes America great?

9. We Are Very Unhealthy

Unless you have cancer or something equally dire, the health care system in the US sucks. The World Health Organization ranked the US 37th in the world for health care, despite the fact that we spend the most per capita by a large margin.

This is a load of crap -- the study to which he refers uses such measures as 'social justice' to rate the quality of our healthcare system.  Naturally, we get a big fat mark down in the category, and yet we still rank 37th.

Here is the true test of the quality of the healthcare system:  How many Colombians come to the US for surgery versus how many Americans travel to Columbia.  Score one for America.  What about the poor you ask?  Fine.  How many American doctors travel Columbia to provide free medical services, and how many Colombian doctors travel this way and set up free clinics?  Score two for America.  A 'survey' that ranks the US 9 spots behind Columbia is a load of crap.

...we eat chemically-laced crap because it’s cheaper and tastes better (profit, profit). Our portion sizes are absurd (more profit). And we’re by far the most prescribed nation in the world AND our drugs cost five to ten times more than they do even in Canada (ohhhhhhh, profit, you sexy bitch).

How, exactly, is serving cheaper, better tasting food a bad thing?

I have news for you, Mark.  Large portion sizes decrease profits.  If restaurants served less food per meal they would make more profit..  So your commie world view is a bit off.


10. We Mistake Comfort For Happiness

The United States is a country built on the exaltation of economic growth and personal ingenuity. Small businesses and constant growth are celebrated and supported above all else — above affordable health care, above respectable education, above everything. Americans believe it’s your responsibility to take care of yourself and make something of yourself, not the state’s, not your community’s, not even your friend’s or family’s in some instances.

Yes, Mark, this is the country of the individual.  It is one of our most cherished values.  And if you don't understand that, you don't know as much as you think.

Unfortunately, a by-product of our massive commercial success is that we’re able to avoid the necessary emotional struggles of life in lieu of easy superficial pleasures.

So suffering is a value to be worshiped?  Imagine how happy Mark would have been as a Jew in the 1940's.  How fulfilled his dreams would be as a black sharecropper in the antebellum South.  Success is a problem to you only if you have never really been through a bad time.

Throughout history, every dominant civilization eventually collapsed because it became TOO successful. What made it powerful and unique grows out of proportion and consumes its society. I think this is true for American society. We’re complacent, entitled and unhealthy. 

Civilizations collapse when they lose sight of the core values that made them what they are.  The US is in fact losing touch with our core values, but it is because of socialist whiners like Mark.

In summary, Mark is ashamed of America because he does not understand or appreciate the core values that make us great.   It is a shame that this anti American drivel has gone viral.


Reparations are a Bad Idea

Reparations are Owed is the title of a recent article in Slate Magazine.

The basic premise is that Black people are owed something for all the trouble they went through during slavery and all the hardship they endure as minorities in this country.

The writer will accept either direct cash payments or government programs as a way to pay back the trillions in stolen wealth.  Quite generous of him, I must say!

This idea is unfair, unworkable, and unjustified.

Never mind the details of who pays whom.  We could spend weeks debating whether Barack Obama, son of a black man who was neither an American nor a slave, is entitled to any money. Or is Barack Obama, the wealthy son of a white woman, on the hook to pay?

Never mind the welfare state, or Pigford, or affirmative action, or any of the myriad of things that could already be called reparations.

Never mind that hundred of thousands of civil war dead paid a very steep price to liberate the slaves.

Let's look at the basic premise: Are black people today owed anything as compensation for the fact that black people in the past were held as slaves and discriminated against?

The answer is no.

There is no moral or legal justification to confiscate wealth from one group of people and give it to another based on some wrong committed centuries ago.


There is also no net harm done to blacks.  


In fact, it appears that American blacks got a pretty good deal in the long run.



Reparations advocates point out that the labor of millions of blacks was stolen from them and that this amounts to trillions of dollars in damages.  This is true.  Wealth was stolen, though probably not to the extent that the advocates claim.

But what about the benefits to current blacks?  Don't they get some benefit from living in one of the wealthiest nations in the world?

If the slave trade never happened then most black people that descended from slaves would still be living in Africa.  Mostly central Africa, where GDP per capita is around $2,000.  Life expectancies are in the 40-50 range.  There is little in the way of basic infrastructure like running water and electricity.

US per capita GDP is over $50,000.  99% of American poor people have running water and electricity. 98% of American poor have color television.

For a group of people that had trillions in wealth allegedly stolen from them, and who are oppressed by the Man on a daily basis, American blacks sure seem to be doing pretty well when compared to the places that they left behind.

Other people have to swim through shark infested waters or cross a burning desert to get to the land of milk and honey.  Blacks were born here.  They already won the lottery.   They were born Americans.

Instead of focusing on the grievances of the past, perhaps black people would be better served by focusing on the gifts of the present.

They live in the greatest country in the world with nearly unlimited opportunity.

Shut up about race grievances and get on with your life already.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Voter ID is un-Reasonable

In a recent article on Reason.com, Steve Chapman attempts to poke a few holes in the case for Voter ID.

His claims are flawed and his conclusions are weak.

In his attempts to claim that many people don't have ID's, he trots out some statistics that hint darkly of racial bias:

Fifteen percent of white adults in Wisconsin, and half of blacks and Hispanics, don't drive. Passport holders are a minority of the population. A lot of people don't need a photo ID to board a plane because they don't fly.

Disparate racial impact does not prove bias.   If Voter ID laws are racist because they impact minorities more often, then traffic laws are racist because they impact white people more often.  This is silly.

He then features a few anecdotes from people that have a hard time getting an ID.  An elderly Puerto Rican, a homeless Veteran.   These prove nothing -- we already know that there are people out there without an ID.   And for every "no ID" story there are matching stories of voter fraud that have resulted in criminal convictions.

He then tries to discredit the list of activities that require an ID in everyday life:

In fact, the Transportation Security Administration doesn't bar anyone who shows up without an ID. In that case, the TSA says, "You'll be able to fly as long as you provide us with some information that will help us determine you are who you say you are."

The fact that the TSA doesn't require government issued ID is irrelevant -- they still require you to prove your identity.  The fact that they allow some flexibility does not change the fact that you cannot fly anonymously.  You must prove who you are in order to fly.

His over reach in his attempts to discredit all the simple life activities that require ID gets him in trouble:

Opening a bank account? Larry Dupuis, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin Foundation, says he never had to show an ID to open his account, which he did some two decades ago. "It's really a post-9/11 thing," he says, for banks to require one. But many poor people don't have bank accounts.

You did not need an ID 20 years ago?? So what?  You need one now.  This anecdote does not undermine the claim that ID is required for most every thing, it reinforces it.  And again, the fact that poor people don't have bank accounts does not make ID laws racist.  It just proves that poor people don't have money.

He then tries to claim that voter fraud doesn't matter anyway:

If a person forbidden to vote manages to cast a ballot by pretending to be someone else, by contrast, the election result will almost never be affected. Besides, the sort of fraud that an ID would prevent is exceedingly rare. The court in Wisconsin found the requirement would block vastly more legal voters than fraudulent ones.

The election will almost never be affected??   I seem to recall that Al Gore lost an election for President by a few hundred votes out of 55 million votes cast.  And never mind that the election might not be affected, when you vote illegally you invalidate the vote of a legitimate voter.   That alone is reason enough to protect the right to vote with some simple requirements for proving who you are.

This logic cuts two ways: If a fraudulent vote does not matter, then disenfranchising a legitimate voter who has no ID does not matter either.   You can't claim that voting is an act so sacred we cannot place barriers around it and also claim that a fraudulent vote does not matter.

This entire article is un-reasonable.






Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Another Day, Another Hate Crime Hoax

From the perspective of someone who reads only the headlines in the national news, the last 20 years has been and endless string of hate crimes:  Rapes, graffiti, hangings in effigy, and more.   Every few months the ugly dark side of American racism or sexism would burst forth on the national scene.  This has resulted in much self flagellation, weeping and gnashing of teeth, and finger pointing.

Truly a mark of shame on our great nation that we have such people in our midst.  

Fortunately, none of it is true.  

Virtually every single hate crime that splashed across our national consciousness was fake.  The list of fake hate crimes is endless. 

But while the 'hate crime' is front page news, the inevitable retraction is buried in the middle of the paper. People remember the initial hoopla and never learn that is was all a fake. 

The latest revelation comes nearly 10 years after the initial incident.  A lesbian student faked a hate crime to get out of doing a homework assignment.  There were press releases, candlelight vigils, and a huge uproar as the initial crime was followed up by a wave of anti-lesbian crimes.   All of it perpetrated by the student that wanted to get out of a homework assignment.   This is no cute student prank: people were arrested at gunpoint as possible suspects. Committing this sort of hoax is a serious crime. 

From Tawana Brawley to Duke Lacrosse to a nearly endless list of famous faked crime of hate there is a drumbeat of faux hate being used for political purpose to drive an agenda.  

This is very damaging to our nation.  

It creates a false impression that we are an incorrigibly racist and homophobic people when exactly the opposite it true.  It reinforces the impression that hate crimes can happen anywhere -- they don't.  They only happen when they are faked. 
Umm...... Actually, no, they can't 
The fake race crimes also serve as a smokescreen for the real race crimes that happen regularly but don't get reported -- the black on white hate crimes like the Knockout Game. 

America is one of the most enlightened places on earth when it come to race and sexual orientation. You don't think so?  

Go live as a black person in Japan.  Go wave that rainbow flag in Iran.  Go drive a car in Saudi Arabia, lady.  

You will quickly realize what true hate crimes are. 

The United States is the greatest nation in the world, and Americans are the best people in the world, and I am tired of fake-hate crime perpetrators making us look bad and not paying the price for it. 

Don't believe me that the hoaxers don't pay?  Watch Al Sharpton on his nationally broadcast television show and then tell me what price the hoaxers pay for their crimes. 



Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Rule of Law is dead. Welcome to the Rule of Whim

The Rule of Law is dead.  Welcome to the Rule of Whim

The US Government is now deciding what businesses deserve to have bank accounts and which ones do not, all without the benefits of legal authority or passing laws.

It seems that the Department of Justice has been pressuring banks not to do business with shady customers such as payday loan franchises, tobacco sales outlets, and porn stars.   Also on the list are firearms dealers, fireworks stores, and coin dealers.

If you are involved in businesses that the government does not like, they are going to shut you down.

The problem is that none of these business are illegal.

No laws have been passed.  No judges have ruled.  

This sort of rule-by-whim is wildly unconstitutional and a blatant assault on the values that have made this country great.

Pornography and porn stars may be unsavory to the DOJ, but these people are not doing anything illegal. Selling guns and ammo might be shady to our overseers, but it is a constitutionally protected activity.  The opinions of the Department of Justice are not relevant here, only the actual laws matter.



Making it difficult or impossible to to do business has the same effect as a ban -- these activities are eliminated or driven underground.

This is not only an affront to our liberty, this is going to trash the economy as well.  There is a direct and proven correlation between the rule of law and economic activity.   Businesses cannot thrive where they don't know the rules and their money can be seized at any moment.

When history looks back at the collapse of America they will see this -- the destruction of the rule of law -- as one of the primary causes.



Thursday, April 17, 2014

Stupidity is the the New Normal

This country has plunged head first into the stupid pool.

The latest evidence?

Oregon officials are draining a drinking water reservoir because someone urinated in it.

That's right.   We are flushing 8 million gallons of water down the drain because some drunk guy pissed through a fence.  It is costing $35,000 to drain and refill the reservoir.

$35k in taxpayer money literally down the drain.

Let's establish a few facts:

  • Urine is sterile, it contains no infectious vectors.  
  • You can drink urine directly with no ill effects. Crazy health nuts do it all the time. 
  • This urine would be diluted to 1 part to 64 million after he pissed a pint into 8 million gallons
  • 1 part in 64 million is not detectable in any test that has been devised
  • The rotting and diseased carcasses of animals are routinely pulled from these reservoirs and they don't drain them because of that. 

So why are they wasting all this time and water?

Water bureau administrator David Shaff told KATU it's not about the science.

"There are people who will say it’s an overreaction,” he said. “I don’t think so. I think just dealing with the ‘yuck factor,’ I can imagine how many people would be saying, ‘I made orange juice with that water this morning. That’s not what I want to hear.’ ”



So we are spending $35K so this guy doesn't have to defend science from the scientifically illiterate who worry about the 'yuck' factor.

We are all on the stupid train now.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Re-populating Detroit won't help

There have been a number of proposals to fix what ails Detroit by importing hundreds of thousands of skilled immigrants to help re-build the city.

This idea will not work.

The 67% decline in the population of Detroit is the symptom, not the cause, of the decline in that city.

People have fled Detroit because it has been ruled by Democrats for over 60 years and has implemented a number of anti-business, high tax, anti-freedom proposals.  The affluent and the middle class have the resources to relocate and they have done so in droves.  They fled the policies of socialism and decline.

Importing new people to live under the same failed policies won't change anything.

Those people will remain mired in poverty and dependence along side the current crop of residents of the Democratic plantation.

If you want to save Detroit you need to change the policies, not the people.

Socialism Works!

The latest news out of Venezuela is that there are massive food shortages and anti government demonstrations.

The Maduro regime, following the Chavez blueprint, has been loudly cheered on by the Useful Idiots of the world as they have aggressively implemented socialism.


Useful Idiot Poster Child Sean Penn
It took only 15 years of socialism to change Venezuela from the most productive and wealthiest nation in South America to a basket case that cannot feed it self.

See?  Socialism works!
Empty shelves... thanks Sean Penn!

This was entirely predictable.   What was surprising is the speed at which the country collapsed.  It took the Soviet Union 70 years to collapse, but here we see the economy implode in a little more than a decade.

Why so fast?

The modern technology dependent economy is much more fragile than the brute force agriculture and steel economy of the last century.

Farming depends on high tech tractors and bio-engineered seeds, not draft horses and gleaners.   Manufacturing companies are critically dependent on free trade and a global supply chain, not coal mines and steam locomotive driven trains.

When you block free trade and seize the assets of the corporations that are feeding your nation, they stop feeding your nation.  The gulf between modern agribusiness and traditional farming methods is huge -- enough to plunge the nation into famine.

Socialism works -- assuming your definition of works is 'destroys the economy'.
Socialism is the equal sharing of misery

The good news is that the modern economy can't survive for very long under socialism.

The Bolsheviks condemned millions to 70 years of oppression and poverty.  The Venezuelan's are lucky, their country won't last the year.



Thursday, January 9, 2014

Some Promise Zones are More Equal than Others

Our fearless leader, Barack Obama, has proposed Promise Zones as the cure for what ails the country.

His announcement that the Federal Government will, by Executive Order, put teams of Federal Workers on the ground to 'cut red tape' and give money to community groups and leaders, is perhaps the largest over reach by any President, ever.

There is one good thing here:  At least Obama admits that government regulations destroy opportunity and hinder economic growth.

Other than that, there are a few problems with this idea.

Incoherence -- Obama says 'In a country as great as this one, a child’s zip code should never be what determines his or her opportunity' and proposes to fix this by giving extra help to people... in certain zip codes.

This makes no sense even in the rarefied air of Washington rhetoric.

Totalitarianism in Populist Drag --  This is the exact same idea proposed in the 80's by Jack Kemp.  His so-called Enterprise Zones would give certain politically favored people economic and social advantages over other, less favored people.   The problem then, as now, is that this is a massive transfer of power to the government.

Imagine a world in which a politically drawn line is the difference between success and failure for your business.  If you are subjected to a web of crushing federal regulation and your competitor across the street is not, your life's work and investment will be destroyed overnight.   The temptation to gerrymander the lines to save your business will be strong, and the state will literally have the power of life or death over people and their businesses.  This will not go well.

Unconstitutional --  In theory, the regulations that Obama is promising to waive for certain favored constituencies are based on laws passed by Congress.  The President has no power to change these laws.  Jack Kemp at least proposed his idea in the form of legislation.  This president as planning to do this by fiat.  Even if this is a good idea, which it most assuredly is not, it is unconstitutional to implement by Executive Order.   Not to mention that this likely fails the 'equal protection' clauses of the Constitution.  Two different sets of laws depending on which side of the street you live on?  Not going to pass muster with the Supreme Court, I would imagine.

This announcement is dripping with stench of boondoggle spending and cronyism.

These areas – urban, rural, and tribal – have all committed, in partnership with local business and community leaders, to use existing resources on proven strategies, and make new investments that reward hard work. They have developed strong plans to create jobs, provide quality, affordable housing and expand educational opportunity, which we’ll help them execute with access to on-the-ground federal partners, resources, and grant preferences.
Each of these designees has a proven track record of working collaboratively; their officials work as a team with business, faith-based and non-profit organizations; and with the public to ensure that opportunity becomes real for every member of their communities. 

Let me translate for you:  we are going to give gobs of money to ACORN-like community groups and they are going to ensure that Democrats get elected forever.

This is right out of Animal Farm.  The people inside the Promise Zones will be more equal than those poor benighted souls left on the outside.


Monday, January 6, 2014

When is 100 Million Dead Not So Bad?

When is 100 million dead people not so bad?  Well, when it is not true, for starters.

The latest hysterical claims from the global warming fanatics is that 100 Million people will die from the effects of Climate Change.

Why should we care what these whack jobs are claiming?

One reason is the that other Leftist whack jobs are using this entirely made up number to excuse the actual 100 million murders perpetrated by socialist governments in the last century.

"Socialism killed 100 million??  Oh yeah, well Capitalism is killing people too!  Just you wait and see!"

Let's look at the claim they are making.

Basically, they are taking a small increase in mortality they claim will happen (ie, that they have completely made up) and multiplied it by a lot of people over a very long time.    They are claiming 100MM deaths over 70 years against a world population that is 6+ billion and growing.

If you use a long enough time frame against really big population numbers you can come up some really big made up numbers.

The percentage of increased mortality they are estimating is roughly .02%.  This is 2/10ths of one percent.

This percentage is so small as to be undetectable and below any statistical relevance.

This claim is a lot of hot air.


You Spelled 95% Accurate Wrong


The Left continues to bang the drum that the US Military is committing murder mass murder as we fight wars around the world.  

The latest claim is that 5% of the people killed by drone strikes are innocent.  

If that number is true, then the United States is the most benevolent and caring country that has ever been established.  That number means that we are 95% accurate with our drone strikes.  

95% Accurate!!!

There has never been a military that has come close to that degree of accuracy.  Civilian death have always been a part of warfare.  In some cases, civilian deaths were the entire point of the war. As recently as WWII the US military deliberately targeted civilian populations as a means to win the war. Even if you ignore the obvious events like nuking Hiroshima, we bombed Dresden and killed 100,000 civilians on purpose.  

95% accuracy is an incredible technical and policy achievement. 

We should be proudly trumpeting our incredible skill and technical prowess as further proof of American Exceptionalism. 

Five Economic Reforms Millennials Should Be Fighting For???


The latest internet squabble is over a Rolling Stone article  that advocates 5 things that the "millennials' should be fighting for.

Bad grammar in the title aside, here are the main points of the article:

1. Guaranteed Work for Everybody
2. Social Security for All
3. Take Back The Land
4. Make Everything Owned by Everybody
5. A Public Bank in Every State

Before we dissect each point, let's take a quick peek at the overall incoherence of the article.

Point 1 guarantees work for everyone.   Point 2 guarantees an income even if you don't work.  Why do you need guaranteed work if you already have guaranteed income?  Who would choose to work if the alternative was to not work and still get paid?

Point 4 calls for the elimination of private financial assets, and Point 5 calls for a public bank into which you deposit your private financial assets.  Hello?

Each of the points, when examined in detail, betrays the intellectual vapidity and the complete detachment from reality of the author.

1. Guaranteed Work for Everybody
...The easiest and most direct solution is for the government to guarantee that everyone who wants to contribute productively to society is able to earn a decent living in the public sector. There are millions of people who want to work, and there's tons of work that needs doing – it's a no-brainer...
... Imagine a world where people could contribute the skills that inspire them – teaching, tutoring, urban farming, cleaning up the environment, painting murals – rather than telemarketing or whatever other stupid tasks bosses need done to supplement their millions. Sounds nice, doesn't it?

Sound nice?  (the underlying thought behind all liberal ideas, BTW, it 'sounds nice').

The furious envy that drives the author is betrayed by the thought that 'bosses' hire people to do 'stupid tasks' to 'supplement their millions'.  Last time I checked, no one is forced to work in any of these jobs. Businesses exist ONLY to make profit for the owners.  That is their sole purpose, and to demean the tasks that help them create value shows that the author has never run a real business.


2. Social Security for All
What if people didn't have to work to survive? Enter the jaw-droppingly simple idea of a universal basic income, in which the government would just add a sum sufficient for subsistence to everyone's bank account every month. 

What if people didn't have to work:?  What if Unicorns were real?  People DO have to work.  The means for our survival does not drop from the sky like mana from heaven .  We must produce the food and shelter we need to survive.   The fact that modern capitalism produces so much surplus wealth that the author has apparently become detached from reality does not change the fact that unless people work there is no food to eat.


3. Take Back The Land
Ever noticed how much landlords blow? They don't really do anything to earn their money. They just claim ownership of buildings and charge people who actually work for a living the majority of our incomes for the privilege of staying in boxes that these owners often didn't build and rarely if ever improve.... In any case, we have to stop letting rich people pretend they privately own what nature provided everyone.

Again, we see the author's total detachment from reality.  Landlord's actually do provide a valuable service.  They provide capital to allow people (like the author) who lack capital, to live in housing they could never build themselves.

Property rights and capital produce apartment buildings.  No property rights and socialism produce the shanty towns with cardboard and tin shacks you see throughout the third world.

And nature did not provide apartments.  People did.  Search the world and you will not find an apartment building that sprung forth from the bosom of nature.   People saved money and built the building.  They improved the land.  Absent property rights in land, these improvements do not happen and everyone is living in a cardboard hut.


4. Make Everything Owned by Everybody
... Just buy up their stocks and bonds. When the government does that, it's called a sovereign wealth fund. Think of it like a big investment fund that buys up assets from the private sector and pays dividends to all permanent U.S. residents in the form of a universal basic income. 

This idea assumes that the government creates value when it prints money.  This is absolutely not the case.  A dollar is a claim on the work of other people.  I trade you a dollar for the scarf you made, or you give me a dollar in exchange for an hour of my labor.

The money the government has comes from the taxpayers, and the 1% pay the vast majority of the taxes.

Taking peoples assets away and giving them back a claim on their own future labor is not progress, it is theft.


5. A Public Bank in Every State
 The whole point of a finance sector is supposed to be collecting the surplus that the whole economy has worked to produce, and channeling that surplus wealth toward its most socially valuable uses. It is difficult to overstate how completely awful our finance sector has been at accomplishing that basic goal. Let's try to change that by allowing state governments into the banking game.


No, banks do not exist to channel wealth to 'socially valuable uses'.  They exist to make profit for the owners.  
One reason that our finance sector has failed to meet that 'goal' is that it is not trying to accomplish that goal. 

And allowing the government into banking will have the same degree of success that the government has had in backing green energy companies.   Every one of those investments has failed spectacularly, with Solyndra being the $500MM poster child for how badly the government invests.  

Imagine if the entire world were run by the people that invested in Solyndra?


In summary, the author has a bunch of half baked ideas that don't stand a chance of succeeding in the real world. 

And for the record, the alternative to low wages is not higher wages, it is no wages at all. 




Thursday, November 21, 2013

Who needs who, redux...

Boeing corporation is in the midst of a labor negotiation with the unions, and they seem to have reached an impasse. 

Never fear, a solution is at hand!!

Newly elected Seattle councilman Kashma Sawant has exhorted the workers to seize the means of production.

Sawant is calling for machinists to literally take-possession of the Everett airplane-building factory, if Boeing moves out. She calls that "democratic ownership."

“The only response we can have if Boeing executives do not agree to keep the plant here is for the machinists to say the machines are here, the workers are here, we will do the job, we don't need the executives. The executives don’t do the work, the machinists do,” she said.
Sawant says after workers “take-over” the Everett Boeing plant; they could build things everyone can use.

“We can re-tool the machines to produce mass transit like buses, instead of destructive, you know, war machines,” she told KIRO 7.

Oh, really?
The workers don't need the executives?

They will sell products designed by whom?  With raw materials delivered on time by whom?  The contracts will be written and executed by whom?

Look, I am not a fan of lawyers, purchasing agents and Human Resources, but you will need them to do business in the modern world. 

The workers a Caterpillar learned the hard way during the 1990's who really needs whom.  They went out on strike and the managers came in an ran the plants themselves.  The results?  Costs went down, quality went up. and Caterpillar posted record profits.  It was huge disaster for the unions and it was very clear that the executives need the worker far less than the workers need the executives.

I don't expect the socialist politicians to understand the real world.. After all, they don't have to live in it. 

But factory workers need to get a clue. 

Running a business is not easy and the workers are far better off under Capitalism than any other economic system.

Monday, September 9, 2013

If One Million Muslims protest with 2 Million Bikers revving, does it make any noise?


 
The planned Million Muslim March on 9/11 has caused some controversy.   People are annoyed that the Muslims would march on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.    I am not sure, however, that there is much to get annoyed about.  The Facebook page for the event has only 57 likes – or one for each state, as one wag put it.

So the Million Muslim march will likely be a complete bust, with a few hundred or few thousand attendees, at most.

The real event on 9/11 will be the counter-march.

The 2 Million Biker march.

And this is not the spandex and 10-speed biker crowd.  This is the Harley, leather and American Flag biker crowd.  These are the people that ride to military funerals to block out the sight and sound of the Westboro Baptist church nut bags.  These are patriotic Americans with a willingness to put their bike where the mouth is.   Or something like that.

The Muslims have been granted a permit to hold their event, but the Bikers have been denied a permit to ride through without stopping.
 Undaunted, the Bikers are going to ride anyway. They will simply have to obey traffic signals, etc.
This should be an interesting event.  I am guessing the Muslims will be outnumbered 100-1.  The Bikers will ride slowly and peacefully around the city, snarling traffic and deafening bystanders for the entire day.

It will be fascinating to observe how the media reacts to this.   Other than completely ignoring the bikers, it will force them into verbal gymnastics to spin the days events.   The few hundred Muslims will be completely overshadowed by the sight and sound of hundreds of thousands of Harley's cruising through the city.
I look forward to complaints from the Muslims that riding a Harley is racist. 
 

 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

New York, meet Detroit...


Republican Mayors have run New York for the past 20 years. (Ok, Bloomberg is pretty liberal, but he is still less Lefty than the Democrats in that state).

Things have been pretty good in New York during that time.  Crime is down. Incomes are up.  The city is one of the shining examples of western civilization.

It looks like that run is about to come to an end.  The odds on favorite to win the mayoral election this fall is Bill de Blasio, a hard core socialist and wealth redistributor.  As noted in this article in TPM:

de Blasio for Commisar!
"But de Blasio’s campaign is framed around the problem of inequality and he’s been pretty specific about what he’d do. The centerpiece is a sizable hike in the taxes of upper income New Yorkers to pay for universal pre-k and after school programs throughout the city. The rest center around policies and laws to prop up the low-end wage structure."

The TPM article laments the fact that despite many candidates talking about income redistribution, no one has really done anything about it.  It goes on to say

"How much you can really move the needle on these questions in a single city with two other states nearby is a very open question. But New York, given its size and the relative immobility of some of its major industries, is perhaps the only city where you could take a stab at it. So it will be interesting to see how this all plays out. "
In other words, he is planning to soak the rich, and he is hoping that they will not move away and foil that plan. 

Good luck with that.  

Detroit found out the hard way that when you soak the rich and subsidize non working class, you destroy the entire city.

The assertion that New York's industries are immobile and therefore can be heavily taxed with little risk that they will move on to greener pastures is absurd.

Detroit had the quintessential immovable industry -- large smoke stack factories with a huge embedded supply chain of smaller factories.    And yet virtually the entire industry has moved away from Detroit.

New York does not make cars.  It sell financial instruments.   This is a completely mobile industry  -- all you need is an Internet connection.

If you start taxing New York millionaires, don't be to surprised when they become Hilton Head millionaires.

If de Blasio and his fellow travelers get their wish, they will destroy New York City.

R.I.P. Parody


The Obama Administration, and Democrats as a party, are officially beyond parody.

There is no joke you can make, or mocking barb you can toss, that is not immediately bought to life by some Democrat.

When Obama started to wobble on Syria, the wags and the bloggers pointed out that he surely was about to blame Bush for the current mess in the Middle East.


The ink was still wet on that particular lampoon when James Carville (D - Middle Earth), decided to make that argument.

Here is the exchange with Bill O'Reilly:

O’REILLY: Libya a mess. Iran is defiant.
CARVILLE: Come on, look. When is all of this — when was it not? I mean, Gaddafi is gone. It is a mess, I agree with that. But, you know what, it’s a mess and we haven’t lost any kids over there which says something and –
O’REILLY: I’m not sure that’s a litmus test, it doesn’t seem to be any clear vision on the part of President Obama. He doesn’t have — ‘here is what I want.’ He doesn’t have that.
CARVILLE: You know, what I would say and maybe a little bit of a different view here. I think what really is freaking people out is the incompetence of the Bush administration in Iraq.
O’REILLY: You’re going to blame Bush?
CARVILLE: Of course, the Iraq thing is why people have so much trepidation about going into Syria. They said the last time we went over there, look what happened. I really think this has something to do with it.


So there we have it people. 

It is all Bush's fault.

And Parody is dead.

Monday, August 19, 2013

What is Venezuelan for 'Atlas Shrugged'?

The Wall Street Journal today discussed the current state of Venezuelan economics and the picture ain't pretty.

Hugo Chavez was a champion for the poor and a foe of the dreaded oligarchs and capitalists.  So he did what all agrarian reformers and socialist parasites do.  He helped the poor by destroying the rich.  He nationalized the oil company, the factories, the large farms.  He imposed price controls and heavy regulations.

In short, he imposed socialism on the wealthiest nation in South America during his 14 year tenure.

A few short years later, the results are becoming apparent:

  • Venezuela went from a net exporter of rice, beef, and coffee to a net importer of these staples.
  • Imports have quadrupled to $60B per year since Chavez took power.
  • 30% of the non-poor have fallen back into poverty
  • The budget deficit is running at 12% of GDP and inflation is at 42%
  • Bauxite production has fallen 70% since they adopted a model that shuns profit making and focuses on cooperatives
  • Rice production on some farms has fallen 30% for lack of spare parts, fertilizers and herbicides
  • The entire country ran out of toilet paper and police were raiding the homes of people suspected of hoarding extra rolls of Charmin.

All of this is, of course, entirely predictable. This is textbook socialist dysfunction right out of Atlas Shrugged.

Every socialist economy has failed, and Venezuelans are about to pay the price for Chavez's communist ideals.

After the 2010 nationalization of the countries primary supplier of farm supplies, it is now routinely late in delivering the basics like fertilizer and herbicide.  The farmers cannot get spare parts for tractors, and the price controls on rice make buying new equipment impossible.  So the farms fall in to disarray and production falls. 

The socialist rot spreads across the entire economy. In a capitalist economy an alternate supplier would step into the breach and fill the need, resulting in farmers getting what they need. 

The entire economy is propped up on oil production.  If that falls further than it already has or if prices fall, god help the Venezuelan people.  30% of the people who were middle class have now fallen back into poverty.

I guess Chavez loved the poor so much he decided to make millions more of them.