Sunday, May 31, 2015

Melted Quarter Minimum Wage

Economists have figured out who’s really to blame for exploding income inequality - The Washington Post:

"Income Inequality" is nearly as big a problem today as gay "marriage" -- which ought to be enough to tell even someone of minimal intellect and attention span that conditions are either extremely good, or we have totally lost touch with reality.

Definitely both. For thousands of years and for billions of people even today, food, shelter, BASIC medical care, uncontaminated water, safety from violent attack, etc are the consuming interests. Such could easily be the case in the US in a very short period due to many causes -- power grid failure, computer networks failure, famine, epidemic, major volcanic eruption, etc ....

"Wealth" and "income inequality" make assumptions about real value -- what it costs in some human measure to buy the basics of life. The stuff we REALLY need. One meme going around a bit lately is the relationship of 1965 minimum wage in 1965 silver quarters and our minimum wage today. The minimum wage was $1.25 then, and if you take 5 pre-65 silver quarters at a melt value of $3.03 each even given the fairly low current silver prices, the value of that wage in silver today would be $15.15 ... isn't it funny that $15 per hour is an  quoted number! Maybe our problem is with the MONEY???

One of the earliest silver coins minted was a "denarius" which was considered the DAILY wage for an unskilled worker and with which they could purchase about "20 loaves of bread". Given no working women, no birth control / larger families, and the fact that "man does not live by bread alone", one can see that living on the "minimum wage" in 260 BC or so was likely a challenge.

A day of human labor and things like loaves of bread are something that we can look at in order to get some handle on VALUE vs "money".  The greatest economic leverage for humans to provided by what Ricardo called "comparative advantage" which allows specialization, the ability for each to produce what they are optimally most able to, as individuals, locales and countries. Iowa does good at corn, Maine at lobsters for obvious reasons, and DC excels at "red tape";-)    In order to specialize, we MUST have a "medium of exchange" which is as efficient as possible.

BUT, "as possible" includes a reasonable expectation of "stable VALUE"! "Money" is NOT VALUE!

Which brings us back to "commodity money" of which gold and silver are only the most widely recognized. Historically, no government as been able to resist running up debts and "paying them off" by debasing the currency.

This is easy to understand -- inflate US currency to where the hourly wage is $18T and somebody can donate one hours worth of work to pay off the US debt!! No doubt a loaf of bread would cost in the the trillions, but hey, we would all be trillionaires!

If you read through the linked article to come to the sad realization that the folks at WaPO have come to a barely rudimentary understanding of comparative advantage and the value of specialization -- in a world with fiat currency, lots of technology and a government willing to allow financial industries to leverage themselves at an obscene level **AND* cover their losses when the leverage fails!!!!!, the big money is in FINANCE, and everyone that is good at it makes out like a bandit!

This is as hard to understand as the supposed response by bank robber Willie Sutton when asked why he robbed banks -- "because that's where the money is"!!!! We ALL have a basic intrinsic understanding of  both value and comparative advantage -- a decent educational system would just put it into terms so that the average 5th grader would be smarter about this than the current WaPo reporters are.

That also explains why the fastest growing wealth area in the US is Washington DC ... THATS WHERE THE MONEY IS!!! Note ... it is NO LONGER WALL STREET, even though that is what the Ds and the MSM would like you believe! I've long believed that the separation of the financial center in NY and the government center in DC was an absolutely brilliant accident that allows those of us who want to pay some attention to see what is REALLY going on with a lot more ease.

I'd like to bring this to a simple and clear point -- but I can't come up with one quite as simple as I like, so I'll list a few:
  • When our economy is working, it GROWS, so people can get richer but not take anything away from others (all boats rise). HOWEVER, due to the inverse magic of BO policies, our economy is essentially ZERO GROWTH, and in the first quarter of the last two years it SHRANK. This is very bad news. Washington is getting richer and the rest of us are getting poorer!
  • Fiat currency and poor education on basic economic principles leave 80%+ of Americans in a state where they don't understand value, growth, comparative advantage nor much of anything about our economy. This leaves them completely at the mercy of "The Party" (D), it's media like the WaPo, and charlatans like BO and Hillary to lie to them on a daily basis.  
  • As the problems with economic mismanagement grow -- as they did under FDR, Carter and BO, one of the big mechanisms used is overt cooking the books to "hide the decline" as I covered here
  • Misleading the public, hiding real results, inflating the currency, encouraging dependence on government and having an education that fails to teach basic economics are all ways to increase government power so that the left can take total control -- in fact, so that most people will CLAMOR for them to take more control! 
How long before this house of cards comes down? If I knew I'd make A LOT of money -- as it is, I hope that I have moved enough assets into areas that will allow me to survive better than 80-90% of Americans, **BUT** that will likely depend a lot on how strongly and how deeply CONFISCATION hits at crunch time. On that front, writing this blog is a foolish thing to do -- but there is a bit of the Biblical "If I told them to be silent the very stones would cry out" problem.

We are all idiots in more than one way, this is just one of mine!

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Saturday, May 30, 2015

Conservative Commencement

Life lessons from Justice Thomas | Power Line:

We are all prejudiced.

I am strongly prejudiced in favor of Jews because of their chosen position as a people, the suffering they have endured and persevered through, and the fact that some of the highest quality people I ever worked with were those from Haifa, Israel. The last judgment may be influenced by prejudice -- I don't believe it is, but that is the nature of prejudice.

I'm strongly prejudiced in favor of Blacks that hold opinions even slightly in contrast to the 90% plus percentage who hold that Blacks are required to 100% be Democrat, in favor of massive welfare, affirmative action, and assign all poor behaviour by Blacks to "discrimination or slavery". Clarence Thomas certainly earns my favorable prejudice on that front, as well as Thomas Sowell, Bill Cosby ( a Democrat, but willing to state that Blacks must have some sense of personal responsibility if they ever want to succeed), Mia Love, Allen West, Tim Scott and others.

I'm prejudiced against the left wing liberal establishment. People like Teddy Kennedy -- born to the most extreme privilege possible, a lifelong womanizer whose young secretary died in his car, in part because he failed to report the accident until the next morning -- who never the less, alone with former Kleagle of the KKK, Robert Byrd attempted a "high tech lunching" of Thomas in his confirmation hearings because of Thomas's  courage to stand up for his convictions in the face of attack from  TP - "The Party" (D).

I'm prejudiced against the arrogance of the left -- people like BO who talk of the common man as "... they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations". Or Hillary with her "the great story here for anybody willing to find it and write about it and explain it is this vast right-wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband since the day he announced for president". 

TP is the dominant power in the US by a wide margin, and with every added "entitlement", regulation, agency, interpretation of the "commerce clause", and Constitutional short circuit (immigration, BOcare, etc), they inch closer to totally UNLIMITED power. The Thomas hearings were a good example of how far they will go to prevent anyone who is not a "party believer" from being appointed to a position of power. Totalitarian power is the goal of the left -- to allow a "free and open sharing of ideas" or certainly power is anathema to leftist thinking.

The speech that Thomas gave to a graduating class at his alma mater in 2008 inside the linked article is a lesson in simplicity, humility, wisdom and extreme rarity -- as the LA TImes noted, the odds of having a conservative speaker at your commencement are at best 1 in 6, most years zero chance for the Ivy League.,
Though there are many enticements and distractions, it is up to each of you to take care of your respective business. Remember, the rewards of self-indulgence are not nearly as great as the rewards of self-discipline. 
But even as you take care of business, there are a few other necessities for the journey. At the very top of the list are the three F’s—faith, family, and friends. When all else fails and we feel like prodigal sons and daughters, they will always be there, even if we don’t deserve them. Having needed them, I know they will always be your saving grace.
Our modern society is all about self-indulgence and the opposite of at least faith and family -- friends are OK as long as they are "the right kind" from the left viewpoint. One should have a group of friends that agree lock-step with the liberal worldview that has been hammered in each day by school, music and entertainment.

Men like Clarence Thomas are very rare and getting more rare. I still like to have hope, that maybe "being good, saying your prayers, doing your chores/homework, respecting your elders and doing your best" will become so absolutely countercultural that a generation will look a the fallen civilization that we have become and reject the lack of useful values. I'm not holding my breath, but hope does tend to spring eternal.

We all have our prejudices. My prejudice for men like Clarence Thomas is one that I think I'll keep!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Hide The Decline, GDP Measure Changes In July, 1Q -.7

Revising how the US calculates GDP will not have a happy ending | Heidi Moore | Business | The Guardian:

The US GDP for the first quarter of 2015 has now been officially adjusted to show a decline of .7 ... last year 1Q was also a decline. With a maximum of irony for the warmist administration, both bad numbers were partially blamed on cold and snow!

So what is a failed administration with failed economic policies to match it's failed foreign policy to do? Just what the warming crowd has done multiple times -- change the how the numbers are calculated, HIDE THE DECLINE!
For the first time, the US is changing the way it measures its economic growth, the measure we call our gross domestic product. Starting in July, the keepers of US economic data at the Bureau of Economic Analysis will stand over the usual cauldron of GDP – a stew that includes how much Americans consume, government spending, investment, exports and imports. They'll begin to add new ingredients that, in a puff of smoke, will create a more favorable, higher gross domestic product. 
The new ingredients include Hollywood royalties from TV, movies and songs – some Tinseltown magic, really – as well as revenues from scientific research and development. Like a feelgood movie, this will make us feel positive, briefly – boosting our GDP by as much as 3% from its currently anemic level of 0.4%.
Won't that be nice! We add 3% ""growth" by waving a wand! Starting in July, unless you see the numbers next to a "historical GDP number", you have to subtract 3% to compare what is being reported with what you think GDP means.

Note that both of news of the decline in GDP and the change in the number calculation are from foreign news sources -- I can find them on known conservative sites in this country, but in general the MSM doesn't seem to be very interested in reporting this.

Too much important soccer news I guess!

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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Bernie Sanders on Rape, Deodorant, and Economics

Sen. Bernie Sanders' Essay: Women 'Fantasize About Being Raped' | MRCTV:

I'm not really saying that this '72 piece ought to get a lot of coverage -- but then we KNOW how W's time in the TX Air National Guard, Romney's "bullying", some rock at TX gov Perry's DAD'S ranch, etc, etc have been treated and how various Republican "way old bad sayings" will get coverage.

So Bernie Sanders had some off-beat ideas of women fantasising about gang rape during sex -- if we treated both sides the same, I'd be OK with just letting bygones be bygones. (although listening to the munchkin explain himself might  be a hoot).

His KNOWN CURRENT ideas on economics are bad enough to make one cringe. The man pines away for the consumer approach of the old USSR:
You can't just continue growth for the sake of growth in a world in which we are struggling with climate change and all kinds of environmental problems. All right? You don't necessarily need a choice of 23 underarm spray deodorants or of 18 different pairs of sneakers when children are hungry in this country.
The USSR used to have SOAP -- when they had it. You waited in a long line on a day when they were supposed to have some, and if they didn't, you did without. Oh, and at various times during the reign of those "socialists", something north of 30 million people STARVED, not "went hungry".

We have BO in the WH -- we need all the deodorant we can get!

He wants to return to the 90% tax rate -- and probably not the fake old version with miles of loopholes so that  nobody  paid it. A real 90% tax rate would have the same effect on the economy that showing Sanders article on sex to a modern MSM reporter! (stop dead and stare blankly, "what am I supposed to do"?)

I will say one thing -- Bernie does truth in labeling. If the Democrat party simply called themselves the Socialist Party we would be working from a lot more truthful basis!

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Corruption, Thy Name Is Clinton

Where there’s corruption, there’s the Clinton Foundation | Power Line:

I have little interest in further revelations about the Clinton Crime Family -- anybody who remotely cares has known since prior to his first term as president that this couple had merged politics, corruption and crime into a noxious package that has been worked over and over to gain them power, privilege and wealth. I preferred the Kennedys -- at least they created their criminal wealth the old fashioned way -- by running booze!

This article caught my eye because of the vacuous nature of it and the little pulling back of the curtain to show Slick Willie's temper just a bit :
Bill Clinton looked anything but happy as he strode into the Savoy Baur en Ville hotel in Zurich in December 2010. The receptionists could tell he was irritated, but had no idea just how angry he was. 
After closing the door to his suite, he reached for an ornament on a table and threw it at a wall mirror in a fit of rage, shattering the glass. . . . 
‘Clinton was fuming,’ said one well-placed source. ‘He felt humiliated and felt the decision did not make sense.’
Not a very pretty picture -- a former POTUS angry to the point of destroying hotel property due to an agreement over a SOCCER SERIES! Not exactly war and peace, life and death, etc. Were he not a left wing icon, such a temper might be called a "character flaw" -- but proper ideology trumps that!

The most incredible thing to me is the incredible double standard. A CEO that makes 10's of millions for running a company with 10's and thousands of employees, 100's of billions in revenues and 10's of billions in profits is somehow considered "greedy" -- where the same folks that are incenses over the CEO are completely fine with the Clinton's using political positions to shake down organizations world wide for 100's of millions of dollars!

Being left means never having to explain yourself!

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Police Kill 9, Wound 18 In Baltimore

9 killed, 18 injured in weekend shootings in Baltimore | Maryland News - WBAL Home:

oops ... it wasn't the police, it was just regular folks shooting each other. Never mind, no news story here that people need to hear about!

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Lessons of History, By Will and Ariel Durant

The subject and linked book is a bit like "Cliffs notes for history" ... with naturally the slant of the authors, but everything has to have SOME slant!

I found the following quote from comte de Saint-Simeon to the most useful in the book ...
The law of human development… reveals two distinct and alternative states of society: one, the organic, in which all human actions are classed, foreseen, and regulated by a general theory, and the purpose of social activity is clearly defined; the other, the critical, in which all community of thought, all communal action, all coordination have ceased, and the society is only an agglomeration of separate individuals in conflict with one another. Each of these states or conditions has occupied two periods of history. One organic period preceded that Greek era which we call the age of philosophy, but which we shall more justly call the age of criticism. 
Later a new doctrine arose, ran through different phases of elaboration and completion, and finally established its political power over Western civilization. The constitution of the Church began a new organic epoch, which ended in the fifteenth century, when the Reformers sounded the arrival of that age of criticism which has continued to our time…. 
In the organic ages all basic problems [theological, political, economic, moral] have received at least provisional solutions. But soon the progress achieved by the help of these solutions, and under the protection of the institutions realized through them, rendered them inadequate, and evoked novelties. Critical epochs— periods of debate, protest,… and transition, replaced the old mood with doubt, individualism, and indifference to the great problems…. In organic periods men are busy building; in critical periods they are busy destroying. 69 Saint-Simon believed
The highlighted quote is the core ... man needs SOME provisional idea of "what is the good" before masses of people can be expected to FREELY build toward some goal. Absent that agreement, effort is essentially based on "destruction" -- division, protest, debate -- in short, lack of agreement on "the good".

Like all simplifications of something as vast as history, the organic / critical split is far from perfect. The US was "organic" on freedom, growth, advancement and "under God" from 1776 up until sometime in the early 20th century, but we were obviously "critical" on the question of slavery. The issue might really be if there is an  "overarching set of principles" in which MOST of the elements of life are agreed. It doesn't have to be total.

A totalitarian state can use force to attempt to progress to some edicted goal by power, but that is far weaker than a real general consensus of "the good".

The other obvious points brought home by the book are:
So the first biological lesson of history is that life is competition. Competition is not only the life of trade, it is the trade of life— peaceful when food abounds, violent when the mouths outrun the food.
The second biological lesson of history is that life is selection. In the competition for food or mates or power some organisms succeed and some fail. In the struggle for existence some individuals are better equipped than others to meet the tests of survival.
The third biological lesson of history is that life must breed. Nature has no use for organisms, variations, or groups that cannot reproduce abundantly.
Nothing at all newsworthy for regular readers of this blog -- nor one might argue to anyone that observes the world as it is.

The question is of course what to do about all of that -- deny it? Kill or strongly handicap the better selected? Deny that generations not bred or killed in the womb will fail to inherit the earth?

Again, for nearly 200 years the US largely lived according to "natural law". Freedom allowed the most successful competitors to succeed, have large families and to drive the nation forward generation by generation.  Technology in the form of birth control and abortion gave both the means and the illusion that we controlled nature. What we "controlled" was the ability to modify our system to ignore the natural in microcosm, but in the macrocosm, nature still rules -- and for those willing to pay attention, that fact gets more obvious with each year as our system that was once aligned with principles that worked succumbs to those that don't .

A worthy read -- I have of course just scratched the surface of the book here, but it is not a long or hard read. Well worth the trouble -- a high rating on Amazon and deservedly so.

Lack of Will, Having Another Beer

The Iraqis’ “lack of will”. . .and Obama’s | Power Line:

Last week, our Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter, said that the Iraqi army "lacked the will to defend Ramadi".

That is hardly surprising really. Iraq was a country drawn on a map by Winston Churchill (and others). It is made up of Sunni and Shia Muslims as well as Kurds. It never had any great historical common ground -- "We hold these truths to be self-evident" kind of stuff. It might as well be split into parts of Iraq, Turkey and who knows what. A lot of the countries over in the sandpile are just lines on maps, and often not even lines along any natural boundary. The IA - MN border is a bit hard to pick out when driving. Most of WI - MN is pretty easy. It makes a difference.

The obvious irony of our SECDEF saying the Iraqis "lack the will", when it is abundantly clear that our current administration for sure lacks the will big time is uncomfortable and sad.

Does America lack the will, or just BO? The evidence is strong that we as a nation now do -- there is no real outcry against BO's feckless foreign policy. On momentum we still have troops in South Korea and Germany along with many other places as remnants of WWII and the age when we were the "exceptional dominant superpower", but those seem anachronistic.

Historically, the superpower list is a short one ... Egypt, Greece, Persia, Rome, "The Barbarians" -- Genghis Khan, Visigoths, etc, then the British Empire, then the US -- contested with the USSR for 45 years, but then the sole remaining.

"Everyone has to believe in something -- I believe I'll have another beer" might best summarize the current American outlook. We are certainly not superman "Truth, Freedom and the American Way"! We are definitely not "God and Country" ... it would likely be a federal crime to try to make that a slogan! We are certainly not "The New Frontier" -- we have given up on frontiers, space is left to Russia and the Chinese.

America today is a lot like a large family where a once prosperous last grandparent has passed on, trying to split up the remaining assets without out too much rancor. Can the blacks, whites, browns, old, young, more prosperous and less prosperous find some mostly equitable way to hack up the old family business / farm / legacy, because it is clear nobody wants to dirty their hands running it, and they sure as hell are NOT going to be trying to expand it!

Why would they do that? It was "imperialistic", "created on the backs of the poor, the black, etc" ... besides, BUILDING something is HARD WORK! Even worse, while the vision of building perfection and certainly the criticism of what was built before seems clear, doing yourself is fraught with issues of imperfection, "unfairness" ... "inequality"  ... Pass the beer!

Lacking will when what you were bequeathed is a pile of sand with a bunch of unrelated tribes on it is understandable. Lacking will when you were bequeathed the greatest nation on earth, shining city on a hill, one nation under God, liberty and justice for all, sea to shining sea, amber waves of grain and all that is a WHOLE lot sadder.

Where does "will" come from in the liberal mind? "I gotta get me what that other guy has!"?

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Benghazi Boredom Story, E-mail Edition

Hillary Clinton 2016: The 15 Benghazi emails you need to read - POLITICO:

After over a century of expert mass media/advertising manipulation you would think that Americans would be the most sophisticated and cautious information consumers.

But we are clearly not.

We love a "story". We ought to know by now that we love a story, and given our weakness for such, advertisers and media people work very hard to give us what we want. Naturally, with the content that THEY want!

Story of the Iraq War -- "Bush lied, people died" ... everything else from the MSM fits on that theme and supports it. Information that doesn't fit that theme -- and may make people think that it isn't that simple at all, or the theme is far from correct, is simply not reported, or reported in a way that seems to support the theme. (eg, WMD found in Iraq or Syria today are "just there")

Story of Watergate -- "Nixon broke the law in coverup, courageous media defeated evil liar". On NPR, this story gets trotted out a couple of times a year as bigger than WWII. For the left, it was -- it was at least as good as the Berlin Wall falling was for people of the right. Again, a strong theme ... reported often over decades becomes a simple established fact.

Nobody is going to tell you to go off and read 15 e-mails on Bush going to Iraq or the Watergate story -- my God, in a nation of where "Hope and Change" works, 15 emails is beyond "War and Peace"!

Libya could easily be done as Iraq and Watergate (and many other things have been).

"Obama and Hillary broke Libya and thousands of lives, including the US Ambassador were lost". I'm not a marketer ... the "Dardanelles Disaster" was often called "Churchill's Folly" ... the double D's work well. Rhyming is very good.  Get the "hook" right and the narrative fits neatly ... like a popular song.

As one of the e-mails referenced shows, Hillary was big in the Libyan "strategy". BO and Hillary, with no congressional vote, destabilized Libya and took down Gaddafi who had become remarkably well behaved after he saw what happened to Saddam. Gaddafi had unilaterally gave up his WMD programs and opened for inspection.  That tidbit was of course one of the little facts that did not fit well with "Bush lied, people died", so there was not a lot of coverage for it.

"O-Hillary broke Lib - I -yah, now they own it!" ... in which case things like thousands of refugees dying in trying to escape via the Mediterranean, Christians beheaded in Libya, the death of the Ambassador and Navy Seals, etc would be seen as an ever growing "bill for damages"  for breaking a nation for reasons that nobody seems interested in even asking -- to the extent that the BO administration has had an answer it is something like "Arab Spring". "Get rid of the dictator and good things will happen".

The other e-mails in the list that would fit a narrative very well (if there was one) are the ones about that relate to Sidney Blumenthal "Sid Vicious" every evil one has to have "henchmen". Bush - Cheney - Rove for example. Blumenthal fits such a role exceedingly well -- if anyone cared even slightly about the story of Libya and Benghazi. But, since any hint of a narrative has been scrupulously avoided, there is no story. 

Which is really the eternal question. To create a story or not? There can easily be a story built on nothing -- The "outing" of Valerie Plame was a story with no real basis, yet it occupied a Grand Jury and much media time from 2003 - 2006. There was no "outing" because she wasn't a secret agent -- but if she had been, it was confirmed it would have been Richard Armitage that outed her, and he was considered one of the "good guys" against the Iraq war, so nobody would care if he accidentally did.

ALL stories from the real world are over-simplifications of facts. "Kennedy got us to the moon" and "Reagan ended the USSR" are both simplifications, but stories with significant basis in the real world. None of our stories are completely true -- no human has access to anything even close to all the facts, and even if we did, without significant moulding of the picture of reality it is impossible for us to process.

The DEFINITION of human understanding is very close to "having a narrative". Can I give you an "elevator pitch" on what happened in Vietnam, how I met my wife, how the Internet works, why I think Obama is a bad president ... and on and on to infinity. For things we truly understand at a deep level, we have non-story subconscious "core truth", but we can't communicate that -- that is why the super smart programmer often comes across as "not having a clue", because he can't make a "story" out of his understanding, it is too detailed and deep.

So "The Story" of Libya and Benghazi is a boring non-story. "A bunch of Republicans trying to pin something on Hillary or BO". Most of this is just due to the big capable story telling guns in the MSM not being on the job telling the tale, some of it is due to the decline of America.

In 1979, when Iranians took the US Embassy in Tehran, the nation was riveted. Some of this was no doubt due to the fact of hostages being held, but a good deal of it was due to A UNITED STATES EMBASSY having been overrun. Even after Vietnam, many Americans still saw this nation as the top Superpower -- ahead of our nearest competitor the USSR. Seeing us unable to defend our Embassy in what we saw as a small backwater nation was something that hurt the pride of people proud to be Americans.

That is probably the real basic story here. We are no longer the nation we were in 1979. Seeing an Embassy destroyed, the US Ambassador killed and body desecrated, brave Navy Seals calling for support with no response from our leadership has no effect on 80% of Americans today. We are not a nation that believes that we are exceptional. We believe that it is possible to care only for our ease in the manner of cows chewing our cuds.

Today we like stories that make us feel good. It is too much trouble to test their truth or consider their dark sides.

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Monday, May 25, 2015

Proof Of God, The Inhumanity of Western Civilization

Dennis Prager -- Judaism's Sexual Revolution: Why Judaism (and then Christianity) Rejected Homosexuality:

This is a somewhat longish but highly important article, VERY worth the time to read. It is uncomfortable, because it paints human (especially male) sexuality in a light that we would prefer not to be painted -- but it makes a very strong case for the truth of that painting.

The basic proposal of the article is that Judaism created the concept of "homosexual" -- in all other ancient life, sex was a power relation between penetrator and penetrated. Gender was just one of the many things that didn't matter to the ancient male.
The revolutionary nature of Judaism's prohibiting all forms of non-marital sex was nowhere more radical, more challenging to the prevailing assumptions of mankind, than with regard to homosexuality. Indeed, Judaism may be said to have invented the notion of homosexuality, for in the ancient world sexuality was not divided between heterosexuality and homosexuality. That division was the Bible's doing. Before the Bible, the world divided sexuality between penetrator (active partner) and penetrated (passive partner).
Prager covers a lot of ground in the piece -- the ancient civilizations and sexualized religions that surrounded the Jews as well as the Greeks, the Romans and others. Quite in contrast to the idea that Judaism and Christianity "subjugated women", he points out the obvious fact that males are more powerful -- they take what they want by force, and what they often want is sex. Without restraint, the world they create bears little resemblance to Western Civilization -- even in its rapidly declining form.

I've often stated the things that most convince me of Christianity:
  1. Nobody dies for something they know to be false. Many of the disciples that bore witness to the Resurrection would have had to know it to be false if that were the case, yet they went to their painful deaths as martyrs testifying to it as truth. Not human behavior if it were not true. 
  2. Nobody would make up the New Testament -- it is full of things that are simply extremely poor salesmanship. Peter denying Christ, the bickering among the disciples, the differences in the accounts. Including the testimony of women as witnesses (they didn't get the vote in the US until 1920, their status in the 1st-2nd centuries was nada). Sure, TODAY, we understand that a too pat story with too perfect hero's is a sign of fabrication, but the ancient world did not see that -- they wrote the Iliad and the Odyssey, Gilgamesh, etc ... a suffering saviour that dies a horrible death on a cross? Not a good founding story for a religion!  
To these, I will now add the following proof. Without intervention from a higher power,  powerful men are not going to give up total sexual license and limit themselves to one or even a small number of females. Even today, young men regularly destroy their lives or die because they are completely unable to trade short term pleasure / power / thrills / experience for longer term gain. This is with the influence of thousands of years of attempted civilization. Praeger puts it better:
"In all my research on this subject, nothing moved me more than the Talmudic law that Jews were forbidden to sell slaves or sheep to non-Jews, lest the non-Jews engage in homosexuality and bestiality. That was the world in which rabbis wrote the Talmud, and in which, earlier, the Bible was written. Asked what is the single greatest revelation I have derived from all my researches, I always respond, "That there had to have been divine revelation to produce the Torah." The Torah was simply too different from the rest of the world, too against man's nature, to have been solely man-made."
We can pick up a living thing and instantly know "this is not of human construction". Or we can go to any of our stores and pick up items that are clearly "not a construction of nature".

Just as we can look around us at the universe and know in our soul that this was created, even more so, we can realize that without the hand of God, none of what we call Western Civilization today would exist. Thanks be to God that he has promised that his Word and Church will endure, so it will not ALL be lost -- but only the most blind can fail to see that massive pieces of the once great civilization are falling around us.

As Praeger says in another part of the article, even if most people were blinded, we will never look at blindness as "normal"!

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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Tactical Setback Day

Summer 2015 Forecast: Much of U.S. Could See Below-Average Temperatures -

Reading detailed history makes one aware that "the experts" are nearly always very wrong, and "the common wisdom" is only common.

Last week we were treated to ISIL taking over the Iraqi city of Ramadi, and a BO speech to the graduating Coast Guard class that featured "Climate Change" as our leading military challenge.
"You don’t sit back; you take steps to protect your ship," Obama said. "Anything less is a dereliction of duty. The same is true for climate change."
The linked article for this post points out that much of the US is expected to have a "much colder than normal" summer. The residents of Ramadi likely would have an even more disbelieving attitude to the pronouncements of a once very important, possibly even exceptional nation ... now similar in stature to "Greece" ... or possibly even "grease" ... for the treads of Russia, China, ISIL, or who knows what formerly lowly opponent.

On the world stage -- at least as reported through the lens of US media, we have one of the greatest events in world history happening -- ALL POSITIVE, on par with what, if anything that has happened or could possibly happen?  ... the end of WWII? the development of fusion power? the Emancipation Proclamation? The Moon Landing?

I speak of course of Ireland VOTING for gay "marriage". For a media normally enamoured with rule by fiat as to such "rights", it falls into that surreal realm. Does this mean that the rights of gays are greater or less than  those of women relative to the slaughter of generations in the womb? It is hard to even imagine something as horrible as the inviolate "right" of a woman to kill her child being put to something as fickle as "a vote" is it not? The SCOTUS has ruled against even the most minuscule attempts of any state to regulate such a cornerstone position of modern left wing thought.

I can only conclude that "consistency is not an issue" -- were "the vote" to go the other way, "democracy" should immediately be usurped by any means possible -- hopefully "the court". Thus in keeping with the only true morality of the left "we hold to what serves us".

On that front, the ecstasy of the left on the Josh Duggar news of sexual touching of minor girls (while a minor himself), reported to his parents, reported to the authorities, and dealt with while he was yet a minor is something to behold. Yes, I understand the emotional reaction of those who have no morals finding that one who attempts to have morals has failed. It is nearly as giddy as the joy when another one of their own gets away with being caught in a moral failing which they never claimed to even care to avoid -- Bill Clinton getting off is the great example, but there was another more in the news last week, David Letterman .

In contrast to say Bill Cosby, Letterman is another proof that if you have the right politics, even if you push the limits of using position for sexual favors, all will be forgiven. So go and sin ... quietly if possible, as long as your leftist political fealty is pure! If you are even CHILD of the wrong political thought, there is no such thing as a minimum age of accountability -- you must be held accountable. No forgiveness, no compassion, no veil of "being a minor"! Refusal to renounce God, family, morals and to bow to the supreme power of the state is the unforgivable sin of both Satan and the left!

Again, this is NOT new ... Roman Emperors had their boys, concubines, etc It took centuries there before the rot seeped to the masses and the empire fell. So too the British Empire -- many of the lavish weekend parties at the vast country estates during the supposedly repressed Victorian era were thinly veiled spouse swapping events mostly hidden from the lower classes (servants were considered to be furniture).

Like the flesh that serially forms the corporeal national body over time, civilizations are born, (sometimes) flourish, peak and then die. In the case of the Greek, Roman and English, sometimes pieces of what they were live on in their offspring, but of this there are no guarantees.

Will some future space exploring Chinese or Russian civilization even recall the old once great USA, or will  all be ground to powder as a nuclear, biologic or possibly drone war victorious Islamic Caliphate treats all the previous civilizations as they have treated ancient artifacts everywhere they have conquered?

To the victors go the spoils ... and the very writing of the memories of what has gone before. It is a huge and expensive responsibility -- in commitment to the values of a civilization, passing them on from generation to generation, the vast investment in blood and treasure that it takes to continue to grow and expand those values. Old things like Freedom, Justice, reverence for God, holding the traditions of your nation and civilization with awe and reverence. All those things we no longer care about as a nation. Welcome to "Grease" (as in spot).

Perhaps it is time to rename "Memorial Day" to "Tactical Setback Day"?

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Friday, May 22, 2015

Polar Ice, To Melt or Not to Melt

Updated NASA Data: Global Warming Not Causing Any Polar Ice Retreat - Forbes:

This is ONE data point from NASA. To summarize:

  • All our DETAILED and GLOBAL temperature, Co2, etc measurements are VERY recent in terms of climate data. "1979" before we had significant sensors in space to start to gather true global data. 
  • 1960-1980 were a relatively cool climate period -- thus the thoughts in the 1970s that we might be entering another ice age. 
  • The Little Ice Age, roughly 1300-1870 added a lot to glaciers -- especially mountain glaciers. Nearly all of our even rough measurements from stations WIDELY scattered around the globe comes from post 1870 -- so that also tends to show "warming" ... from a very cold period. 
  • The accuracy of our information, even the space based information is "within a degree or two" or "a percentage or two" on things like ice coverage. 
So, given all that, it appears that when one considers TOTAL POLAR ICE -- sea ice and glacial ice, at the poles, we are back to within 5% of 1979, and thus the headline "No Polar Ice Retreat". Our accuracy isn't that good, and 1979 as a "base year" for ice extent is questionable at best.

Forbes is conservative -- the mainline media is not likely to pick this up, because it doesn't fit with the "warming crisis" narrative that they and "The Party" (D) hold to. Just last week, BO was blaming ISIL on Global Warming, so don't expect the MSM to be casting any doubts on it's total truth anytime soon!

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Trigger Intellectualism

The History of PTSD and the Evolution of Trigger Warnings | The New Republic:

The linked somewhat pretentious article can be summarized as:

  • "Trigger Warnings" -- for survivors of rape, domestic abuse, PTSD, etc are on the rise, especially in universities. 
  • The root causes for sensitivity of the "PTSD sort" has been going down -- it used to be surviving things like genocide, famine, the plague, the holocaust, and is now being applied to things like "bullying", "sexual harassment". 
  • We used to see human suffering as potentially spirit enhancing in a heroic, transcendent, religious way ... now it is purely "cause for therapy" ... and protectiveness "safe places". 
The article closes with: 
It’s easy to caricature the vanguard of the so-called politically correct: to paint them as fanatics who are trying to destroy well-established norms of free speech. But they are not caricatures; they are products of history. Most current college students grew up in the shadow of September 11, with the specter of large-scale terrorism always looming and with a steady stream of soldiers returning home to grapple with their demons. It is no wonder that they feel that they, too, deserve security, even in the precarious and flimsy form of trigger warnings and safe spaces.

It is always "easy to caricature". Some kids indeed had to grow up after 9-11, some had to grow up with the constant spectre of nuclear war "duck and cover" in the Cold War, some had to grow up after WWI and WWII with 10's of millions killed in Europe, some Jewish kids grew up after the holocaust killed 6 million of their families and friends -- some even wrote books like Victor Frankl "Man's Search for Meaning".

I'd argue that to claim that post-9-11 is somehow understandable as a "special product of history" **IS** very much a caricature that shows a complete lack of understanding for humanity and human history. The Plague killed around 50% of Europe's population in like 10 years around 1350. That we are here is strong evidence that "life went on".

Yes, 9-11 was a big event -- 3k dead out of over 300 million in the US, and the deaths of nearly 7k servicemen as of 2015. The Civil War on the other hand killed over 600,000, and total WWII deaths civilian and military were over 60 million.

The hallmark of the "intellectual" used to be perspective and intellectual distance -- a "bigger picture". Somehow, our supposed intellectuals have COMPLETELY lost that!

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Gas Can Explains It All

Five Years of Gas Can Hell! - Beautiful Anarchy:

The linked article is worth reading, but if you don't have the time, just think and understand. It is all very clear.

Gas cans used to work -- they were metal, often with a flexible spout that could go in anywhere. They had vent hole so that when you poured, gas came out.

You can't buy a gas can that works anymore. They have strange push valves that have to be precisely braced against "something" ... which often doesn't exist, because the tip has to push open some other little door to prevent ??  fumes I guess, but that is what the cap is for.

And they have no vents ... so they slowly blurp, often spilling on each blurp.

Filling the mower with gas has become a guaranteed spill. A spill used to be rare, now it is standard.

Why? Because the government decided that the old cans were "too prone to spill" -- so they created all sorts of new cans that are GUARANTEED to spill!

The government wanted to "fix" something and they destroyed it. This is what happens. If there was competition, nobody would ever buy one of the current gas cans, they would buy one that worked.

But we can't, the government has outlawed gas cans that hardly ever spill in favor of ones that always spill.

That is exactly and precisely how government works. You may THINK that you have a counter example, but what you are seeing is "lag" -- FICA hasn't blown up YET, but YET is what to focus on.

The ONLY hope for mankind is LIMITED government -- keep it small, keep it controlled, force it to be in competition with private solutions. Let it become the monster that we have allowed and it destroys all!

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Wings, Bikers, Gangs, Waco

Waco coverage shows double standard on race -

As a member of a couple of Gold Wing forums on the net, I see all sorts of posts to the effect of "Harley riders give motorcycling a bad name", "No Gold Wings were involved in the making of this riot" etc.

It is human  nature to want to feel superior, and when given the chance, we all have a tendency to take it.

The operative term in Waco, as in a lot of black on black violence is GANG. Neither Harleys or guns are causes of violence. Defining groups with symbols, colors, turf, handshakes, etc and then having conflicts arise does tend to cause violence.

The linked article thinks that focusing on the "biker" aspect of the participants and not mentioning race is a "double standard". Maybe. I tend to think that if we have a non-racial grouping for a riot, as in  "student", "union", "xxx team fans", etc, we use that rather than race.

Otherwise, in this country with segregated areas of cities "black" or "hispanic" are used. When the pictures of the riots show 100% black people, it seems disingenuous to say "generic people rioted". Indeed, in Baltimore and Ferguson, the people rioting were saying they were rioting BECAUSE of "treatment of BLACK people" -- their self identified race was the purpose of the riot.

The writer of the linked article meets another stereotype -- the liberal writer so far from reality they would need a telescope just to see a tiny bit of it's light.
So why is it that in cases such as Michael Brown and Freddie Gray -- and so many others — race is made central to the story, even in instances where the black and brown people involved are victims of police violence?
Uh, because the entire discussion is about the race of the "victim"???

Waco has nothing to do with race, and it only has to do with "biker" because this particular set of Gangs are BIKER Gangs.

We all know what "Biker" means -- loud Harley, boots, dressed like a pirate, tats. It's a stereotype rigorous enough to be it's own parody. As the "1%ers" who are the kind of Biker Gang that are responsible for Waco are PROUD to say, they are the 1%! 99% of "bikers" are not bad ass gang members -- they may be tough, risk takers, etc, they are just not members of a violent biker gang.

The fact is that we LOVE stereotypes! Those Wing forums are also loaded with pictures of Wings "attacking a DQ", or overweight Wing riders at a big table "Wing riders KNOW what to do at a restaurant ... EAT!"

But then there is me -- middle of the bell shaped curve, no distinguishing features, rides both a Harley and a Wing, utterly devoid of distinguishing characteristics, doomed to comment from the ivory tower on the associations of others.

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Monday, May 18, 2015

Stephanopoulos Behind the Curtain

Clinton Foundation donors include dozens of media organizations, individuals -

I still run into the occasional really really pure lefty that seems to believe that the ONLY "biased media" is Fox news or talk radio -- everything else is "unbiased". But at least the less looney half of the left understands that basic bias exists. Most holdout "there is no left press bias other than Fox" people were pretty disappointed when the Berlin Wall fell, and are still pretty shell shocked as to why it would even happen, so I'm sure this data on the Clinton Foundation and Stephanopoulos won't affect them either.

This is just a tiny bit more documentation for what anyone reading this blog already knew decades ago. The Clinton's may be slightly more egregious than some, but really folks, this is NOT news. The numbers are very well known, over 90% of the press self identify as Democrats if asked in private, and that often includes campaign contributions, as well as direct advocacy and "gifts" in dollars and in kind.

We already knew that Stephanopoulos was a hired Clinton shill for a number of years before going to ABC -- the same thing happens on Fox for Republicans -- Gingrich, Huckabee, etc. The only difference is that Fox makes it clear that those people are "former whatever", but REALLY, do we need that? Have we become such idiots that we have to constantly see a label to know "there is bias here"?

"Meet the Press" Tim Russert was chief of staff for Daniel Patrick Moynihan and worked for Mario Cuomo up to '84. The current "Meet the Press" moderator Chuck Todd, worked for Tom Harkin, far left IA Democrat Senator. Brian Williams (my helicopter was shot down) was an intern for Jimmy Carter. We could keep rolling a long time here, but for anyone with even a tiny reality base, this is old, old, news.

The reason that it gets covered though is that the pure Democrat - Media - Education - Wall Street - Elite axis is loathe to admit the obvious truth of media bias, so when there is an especially egregious "slip" as in the Stephanopoulos case, they like make it SEEM like this is really somehow "news". It is yet another proof of the very shabby game that has been afoot as we have slipped to one party rule.

It is much like the Wizard of OZ, exposed by Toto, still trying to work the big machine as if the fact that he is now just a normal VISIBLE little man working a great big scary machine had not been fully exposed.

"Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain"! The sad part is that the true ideologue Democrats are required to pretend that they DO NOT notice!!

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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Republican Death By Train

Hours after tragic train derailment, MSNBC ghoulishly uses it to advance a political agenda; Update: Train was going twice the speed limit « Hot Air:

The same day as the Philly train crash, NPR was all over the "connection" with Republicans trying to control spending and the deaths on the curve in Philly.

Government currently spends about 35% of everything the US produces each year (GDP). That percentage has been growing forever -- but like all growing things, there is very likely a limit. What we see now is that GDP has started to grow very slowly, AND this is at a point where interest rates are historically low while government debt is historically high. A reasonable betting man would say it is unlikely that interest rates will hold at this level.

From a Democrat view, trying  to control government  spending on anything, save defense, is universally bad. Government workers (including AMTRAK workers) are Democrats, so having more of them and paying them more is GOOD! (as opposed to corporate and other profits, which are BAD!)

It appears that the train was running over 100 MPH into a curve rated for 50MPH. Thanks to government unions which had a "fireman" on diesel locomotives over a quarter century after the complete switch to diesel, our trains still don't have automatic speed control. One of the evil things Regan forced in the '80s was the dropping of the "fireman" position the rails -- but I believe some hung on until the '90s! The government - union connection is a very strong one.

Imagine the politics of replacing a (union democrat) engineer with a computer! Since our trains are all a federally operated system, one can't expect any efficiency or cost containment, but some of the numbers and complexity quoted in this linked article might even give a lefty pause! $3.5 BILLION for speed control!

Anybody have cruise control on your car? Anybody have GPS? I hate to point this out, but trains tend to really stick closely to their tracks -- I'd strongly suggest a MAX speed control system that linked the throttle / brakes with GPS could be produced VERY cheaply. We aren't talking aircraft flight control here ... and looking around a bit, even THAT is now only about $5K for a Cessna 172!

Even fully feather bedded government kickback laden idiots should have no trouble putting auto speed / brake control on train for 10-100X the cost of what FLIGHT control costs for a Cessna! A train really only operates in ONE dimension, the "track dimension" ! So if it was 100x the cost, it would be 500K a train, x 300 (AMTRAK currently operates 300 trains a day in the US), so a "mere" 150 MILLION! Again, that is at 100x the cost for an AIRCRAFT flight control system!

But don't hold your breath. Controlling government costs is WRONG ... no doubt it will take the ENTIRE $3.5 Billion with cost overruns, extra kickbacks, plus, plus plus -- part of the reason listed in one article for the slowdown was "towers on Indian lands", and EPA studies!

Damned bloodthirsty Republicans!

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MN Orchestra, Crying With Cuban Pride

Minnesota Orchestra, in Groundbreaking Cuba Tour, Sells Out House -
The Cuba tour generated a great deal of excitement in Minnesota: The orchestra hung a huge banner announcing the tour outside its concert hall, and the performances here are being broadcast in the United States on the radio and streamed live on the Internet — where some fans annotated it minute by minute on Twitter. “I’m crying with pride,” Emily E. Hogstad, a musician and blogger who follows the orchestra closely, posted on Twitter. “I didn’t know you could CRY WITH PRIDE.”
Well, huge excitement in leftist MN at least -- MPR has been all over this, other MN news outlets, not so much.

Isn't it all so wonderful ...
It was not your typical concert at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis. Tickets here cost around 50 cents, with students paying only half that — part of an effort to make cultural events accessible in a country where salaries are low, said Rafael Vega, the director of the theater, which also presents ballet, concerts, plays and comedy. The concert sold out quickly.
After 50 years of glorious communist rule, salaries are very low, and (not mentioned here), over 50% of the residents live in conditions rivaling the areas of New Orleans post Katrina that were ABANDONED! Marx be praised!

Ah, the joys of communism, and how WONDERFUL that the US is cozying up to that kind of "successful government".

See, W Bush had the wrong ideology -- he was on the idea that HIGHER salaries and BETTER living conditions were good. So he was heartily castigated for over $114 BILLION in aid sent to New Orleans for Katrina aid ... but over half a population living in the conditions that W spent money to get people out of in NO is just fine in Cuba.

When one goes left, ideology is **ALL** that matters!

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Friday, May 15, 2015

Hopeful End of Jeb

In hindsight, Jeb Bush acknowledges he wouldn’t have invaded Iraq | Miami Herald Miami Herald:

There are few things more vacuous than the "If I knew now what I knew then" question. It is completely absurd on the face of it -- one need only look at Wall Street investing, sports betting, careers, etc, etc to realize that it gives any makes mockery of both intellect and an even grade school understanding of history.

Hindsight may appear at first glance to be 20/20 in things as simple as picking a stock or a sports game, in the real world, it just blindness.

Bashar Al-Assad in Syria is much the same sort of strongman ruler that Saddam was in Iraq. Syria has certainly gone swimmingly well. "More focus" was all that Afghanistan needed, both Kerry and BO chortled. 75% of the deaths in Afghanistan have now occurred under BO although given the paucity of media reporting on such matters at this point, the average sheeple could be forgiven for having no idea.

To ask the "hypothetical" is to be expected of the lowbrow sensibilities of the entertainers we call "media people" in these sad times is inexcusable. To answer one, especially one as fraught with "damned if you do, damned if you don't" as the Iraq one is just beyond the pale for a supposedly seasoned politician.

Conservatives have to be pragmatic. Pragmatism is both the reason to consider Jeb, and the reason to reject him. He must be considered because he was elected Governor of Florida twice, and given the Democrat lock on over 200 electoral college votes, all it takes are "the givens" + FL to put Hillary in the WH.

He must also be considered because he was a successful Governor of a large state. That is executive experience. BO had no meaningful experience to be president and neither does Hillary, Democrats could care less -- they aren't about the US being successfully run, they are about buying more votes and allowing more undocumented Democrats across the boarder so they get a complete lock on the WH rather than just 90% of one.

Power for power's sake.

Jeb must be rejected because he is "Democrat lite". He too would keep the hispanic floodgates open to convert the US to another hispanic state -- his wife is hispanic, he knows Spanish, and "mistakenly" listed himself as hispanic on some recent document (a rather bizarre "error"). He must also be rejected because when you have an R next to your name, you don't get away with being an idiot. "Being for the Iraq war before you were against it" doesn't work well for a D, it doesn't work AT ALL for an R.

The quicker Jeb is gone, the better.

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Casey At The Bat, US vs China

U.S. Gambit Risks Conflict With China - WSJ:

On the world stage for the century or better prior to WWI, Great Britain was the sole world superpower and sea power combined with it's vast empire and huge trade advantages kept the world in a long peace.

The US was gaining in power, but felt that given geography, it could be isolationist. The Lusitania broke that reverie in WWI, and Pearl Harbor broke in in WWII. By the end of WWII, air power, missiles and nuclear weapons made it clear that isolation was not an option. While regional powers existed, the military stakes were global.

The Cold War based a bi-polar power structure on strategic nuclear superiority, but even with physical walls and massive censorship, the USSR could not hide the fact that it was losing the war of production and technology to the west from it's own population. Reagan finally called their bluff and the wall and everything else of the old Soviet Union came tumbling down.

But the US, in much the same mode as at the end of WWII immediately retreated from the world stage, assuming things would "sort themselves out" without an dominant power. They did, in the form of a rapid rise of Islamic terrorism and 9-11. They also sorted themselves out in the rapid rise of China, the return of the Russian Bear under strong man Putin and a host of smaller rising powers around the globe -- India, Brazil, Indonesia, etc. Power is part of the natural order, and nature abhors a vacuum.

While the US responded strongly to Islamic terrorism for a period, the post 1990 US as largely been focused on broader and more equitable consumption, more leisure, higher wages, better retirement, more equitable medical care, housing -- essentially a rush to what is hoped to be a very comfortable lowest common denominator. After a reluctant half-century as one of the poles in a bi-polar world, the US has decided it is no longer exceptional -- or as Obama said, "exceptional like Britain or Greece". I always found this comment interesting, as in both WERE once exceptional -- he may be giving the US the same nod. It WAS exceptional until it made the mistake of electing him.

So China is rising, and flexing it's muscles in SE Asia -- and dangerously, our feckless leadership might be going to challenge them as the linked article discusses. This too is a classic example of how the "once great" hastens their decline by first allowing their military, economic and most importantly, home tradition of resolve and willingness to sacrifice for greatness to decline and then get themselves into a confrontation with a rising power that has been gaining power the old fashioned way:

Indeed, China’s military strategy in the region has been built around developing the means—missiles, ships, warplanes, antisatellite weapons and cybercapabilities—to deter America from intervening in any crisis by dramatically raising the potential costs.
The aging hero, sports star, gunfighter, etc takes "one more shot". Sometimes in fiction, it works out, in reality, not so much.

'via Blog this'

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The 50 Year $22Trillion War

War on Poverty After 50 Years: Conditions of the Poor in America:

Go off and read the report. It isn't that long and the graphs are stunning.

Poverty was in rapid decline in America when we declared war on it -- then it flattened out. (if you want more of something, subsidize it!)

Now it is lodged at about 15% of the population over a long term, BUT, we have spent more than 3x the cost of ALL OUR WARS since the revolutionary in this stalemate battle.

The basic reason is very simple ... single parent families. We have spent more than all the wars combined and achieved a funding of single parent families doomed to live in poverty. Big government in action!

'via Blog this'

Let's Agree With BO on Wealth

Obama Dismisses The Wealthy As 'Society's Lottery Winners' | The Daily Caller:

OK, it is all a lottery -- chance. You are born with whatever you are born with, you have whatever parents you have, life is a bunch of random circumstances.  You are rich, you are poor, you are an athlete, a criminal, a saint. It just randomly happens. It's a lottery!

There are no predictable effects of human agency. What happens, happens. "It is what it is".

BO, Aaron Rodgers, Warren Buffett, Steve Jobs, Adolf Hitler, Winston Churchill. All random -- just the odds, the breaks, the roll of the dice. What you do makes no difference, and there is no reason to kid anyone that it does.

Why bother with early childhood education? Some will win, some will lose -- it is a LOTTERY! Why do you expect different results from educational investment? Early, late, never ... whatever. ANY investment? Any action at all? Why?

Why make it a "little tax"? Why not just give everyone a guaranteed income? Hell, make it a million dollars a year for every man, woman and child. Print it. It's a freaking LOTTERY -- human actions are meaningless! Character, hard work, thrift, education, etc -- ALL BUNK. It is just a complicated set of dice. It's the breaks ... the stars, the random things that happen. Nobody has any control, nor ought anyone kid themselves that they do.

After all, BO is president!!! Doesn't that PROVE that there is no such thing as merit??

If anything could prove that merit, intelligence, character, competence, decency, rationality, hard work, honesty, or anything else of a positive nature is COMPLETELY MEANINGLESS, does not BO sitting in the Whitehouse at least cast strong doubt on what we formerly thought counted?? He is there -- if it was based on any form of merit at all, he would not be there, so he must be right!

He is right, it is all random. So why bother to do ANYTHING! The results of any suggested policy are also completely random in the BO universe, so why bother? Any action you take is just as likely to turn out negatively as positively after all.

The (random) emanations of BO are indeed the essence of modern "wisdom"!

'via Blog this'

Monday, May 11, 2015

.380 America

Saudi King blows off Obama | Power Line:

The .380 is a 9mm "Kurz", German for "short". "Short" is what our current odiferous leader and increasingly America is relative to respect on the world stage.

The last two years of the Bush administration the media spent nearly 100% of it's time abusing W, and one of things they LOVED to focus on was any sort of comment, snub, allusion by some other power in the world to how bad W was.

BO was to fix all that -- he got a Nobel Prize just for being elected after all.

Actual results? Oh, Iran gave our merchant ship back last week, damned nice of them considering what doormats we are now!

In early April, the Russians intercepted a US plane in a manner that we said was "unsafe" -- we have "protested". I can almost hear Vlad saying "How is that reset goin for ya Barry?". Kerry is over there licking some boots this week apparently.
Mr. Kerry’s visit is likely to be seen in Moscow as evidence of the U.S.’s inability to deal with problems in Iran, Syria and Ukraine without Russian cooperation
This is really old news ... here is a WaPo from last fall .. but it is WAY older and more common than that. The fact of dominance hierarchy is wired into nearly all species on the planet -- humans didn't miss those genes, and when we band together to form nations, the stakes go up. In old business meetings it was sometimes called "butt sniffing" in honor of dogs working out the hierarchy, and while our consciousness brains may like to lie to us about it, our snake brains know who the likely alpha male / females are in every room we are in. Your ancestors lives depended on it every moment of every day in the tribe -- it's a base feature of the homosapiens model.

So like in the alternate universe old Star Trek, when the alpha takes a powder, everyone moves up one! Oh happy day! ... at least unless you are not some old dog " stuck in the "US is exceptional" past ?

'via Blog this'

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Depression '16, Seven States Decide

Depressing reminder: The 2016 election will be decided by seven states — and Florida is an absolute must-win « Hot Air:

We can talk about how much we don't believe that Jeb Bush is the answer (and I don't), but unless either he or Rubio are on the ticket, Republicans really aren't taking a "conservative" approach to 2106. It is quite easy to see why political realists give Jeb a strong look.

"The Party" (D) has firmly locked up the blue states listed on the linked map since '92 (with a little caveat for NM that doesn't really matter). That means 247 electoral votes bought and paid for by unions, public employees, welfare minorities, and the "elite" ... that need to lock down just one more state and the US Presidential branch will be theirs for the foreseeable future.

The red states are less certain ... in '92 and '96 having Billy Clinton on the ticket put states like MO and TN in the D column ... as well as of course AK ... but let's go with the map, 206 likely R, with a lot less paths to 270 for the R, none of which include losing FL.

Walker - Rubio or Walker - Martinez look like good potential tickets to me. Shake WI out of the blue camp, do all you can to swing FL, and hopefully that will be enough. I don't want a Senator with no executive experience at the top of the ticket -- I don't like Jeb much at all, but I like him FAR better than Hillary. If it MUST be a choice between Rubio at the top or Jeb, I hold my nose and pick Jeb. President is NOT a job for someone with no executive experience -- if BO hasn't proved that sufficiently then there was nothing AT ALL good about his disastrous presidency!

It is a LONG way until November of 2016, but as this chart shows, and I have pointed out in this Blog a lot of times, TP is very close to getting a lock on one branch of Government -- the WH, which means they will shortly lock the 2nd -- the SCOTUS,

"Pragmatics must take precedence over elegance (and lots of other stuff), for nature can not be fooled".

'via Blog this'

Friday, May 08, 2015

Free Speech For Me, Hate Speech For Thee

Free Speech vs. Hate Speech -

Over years of thinking and experience, I've come down to "Consistency is not an issue" as being the core of "liberal" thought. We could go on a VERY long and boring list of cases of this --

We will only do a "boring 3". Back to the topic of "what does no consistency mean"?

For one big thing, it means UNequal treatment under the law. The "progressive" income tax tells you that --  different rates to different people based on level of income. We see it in the IRS -- let's allow groups that agree with our political viewpoint to be tax exempt, and not allow those that have differing views to have the same status. Oh, while we are at it, maybe we ought to audit a few of the people on the donor lists of those "wrong thinking groups"!

In the linked article we see it with "free speech". Want to have a tax supported art exhibit with a crucifix in urine? or possibly the Virgin Mary with elephant dung? Not a problem ... and CERTAINLY not "hate speech"!

A picture of Mohammad? The NYTs labels this "hate speech" ... and THAT is not allowed!!

Which brings us to that not so subtle core of "liberalism" -- Consistency is NOT an issue! Since it is not an issue, it is perfectly reasonable -- and even prudent, to have one set of laws, rules, freedoms, etc for those that follow "liberal" orthodoxy, and a different set of rules for those that do not!

The current "Progressive States of America" has a state religion called "progressivism", and those that are not members of this religion are subject to the usual treatment of "heretics" down through history.

There is nothing new under the sun.

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Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Rule of Law or Violence

EXCLUSIVE–Pamela Geller Calls Out Cowardly Conservatives, Says She'll Organize Another Free Speech Event in Near Future **FULL IMAGE GALLERY** - Breitbart:

The purpose of the rule of law is to allow human interaction with a minimum of violence. Under the rule of law, EVERYONE complies with the SAME law in the same way. The US Constitution used to have this principle, it was called "equal protection".

But, POWER is always in conflict with the law, so it was decided that taxation ought to be applied unequally, or "progressively" -- meaning those who made more should not pay more only because they paid the same percentage on a greater amount, they ought to pay a greater percentage! No more equal protection!

Once the floodgate was broken, equal protection simply went away. All affirmative action laws explicitly break equal protection, our taxes and regulatory codes are now BASED on UNequal application of favors, kickbacks, penalties, etc based on location, sex, race,  level of production, etc, etc. -- ultimately, based on political POWER as opposed to LAW.

When LAW rules, then violence is reduced. The state has the sword as decreed by God, but the population with the exception of a few actual criminals obeys the law, so violence is at a minimum.

Remove law and honesty also disappears. Everyone inherently sees the corruption of unequal treatment -- even those that vote for it. They know that they are trying to take advantage of others to gain advantage for themselves (or see it as "payback"),  therefore "get what you can, cheat if you have to, everyone else is doing it too" becomes the zeitgeist of the society. Corruption invades all aspects of life.

Without rule of law, the rioter, or in the case of Islam, the terrorist gains power. Which naturally begets more riots, more terrorism -- more violence. The state wants to maintain control of course, so it also increases in violence. Because all has now become corrupt and violence is increasing, the state adds more and more power -- and more and more enforcement, which tends to lead to still more violence and corruption.

We can see that the US is a long way down this death spiral. A large number of people now respect the threat of violence from Islam, and seek to silence those that may offend the violent Muslim. Violence, power and threats are what are respected -- might is right! Morality, kindness, Christian values are not. Those were respected in the old world of "rule of law", but no more.

So, since Christians abhor violence, they may be coerced to bake cakes for gay "weddings", but since Muslims would likely become violent if such force was applied to them, they are exempted. The modern leftist state has far more in common with Islam than with Christianity -- Christianity and Judaism are religions of law.

Islam and leftism are religions of the sword -- where POWER is the only morality.

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Abolish Bedtime Stories, Then Families

The Telos of Liberalism: Your Children’s Bedtime Stories | Power Line:

Western Civilization was based on a Judeo-Christian morality that was remarkably close to "common sense" or "natural law" relative to what works and what doesn't. Lifetime marriage between a man and a woman responsible for raising children, sanctions against murder, stealing, covetousness,  greed, adultery, fornication, respect for parents and authority, etc.

The left doesn't think much of such morality and gets even more incensed when they find that following such morality has better outcomes than "doing what feels good". They get very ticked when what the espouse has negative results, and what they look down their nose at has positive results.


So what is a "liberal" to do? -- obviously, they need to stamp out things like bedtime stories (which seem to be especially egregious at providing advantage), or possibly even stamp out the family! Seems obvious if you think like a "liberal" -- meaning that things you like need to be subsidized, things you don't need to be illegal!

This is not a new conclusion -- the USSR did all it could to remove kids from the home at younger and younger ages and have them raised by the state -- ditto National Socialist Germany, Red China, Cuba, and of course modern Europe and the US in their own ways.

Mandatory non-parochial public education with no subsidies for parochial even though it consistently outperforms public on standardized tests is one way. If the results look bad, the key is to outlaw the standards and certainly the successful alternatives! Putting children into earlier and earlier state control "head start", "pre-school", etc is the current push from the left.

Our country may be becoming less free every day in regard to individuals  ability to define marriage or the life of the unborn as they see fit, and certainly in deciding what to do with the money they make, but it is VERY free as to social scientists deciding on the proper ways in which "family" or what is or is not allowed in "family" may be administered. We do indeed live in a "brave new world".
One way philosophers might think about solving the social justice problem would be by simply abolishing the family. If the family is this source of unfairness in society then it looks plausible to think that if we abolished the family there would be a more level playing field.’ 
‘What we realised we needed was a way of thinking about what it was we wanted to allow parents to do for their children, and what it was that we didn’t need to allow parents to do for their children, if allowing those activities would create unfairnesses for other people’s children’. . . 
‘The evidence shows that the difference between those who get bedtime stories and those who don’t—the difference in their life chances—is bigger than the difference between those who get elite private schooling and those that don’t,’ he says.
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Income Mobllity, Where You Grew Up

The Best and Worst Places to Grow Up: How Your Area Compares -

Follow the link to the article and hopefully your browser works as well as mine did to allow you to interactively see the big and little picture of income mobility in the US by county. I'd recommend going off and playing with that a little first.

Back now? Good ... if you followed my advice, you went over, focused on either where you were born or where you live now (likely both), hopefully also got the bigger picture as well and then came back. Humans focus on themselves -- both Jesus (love your neighbor as YOURSELF) and Adam Smith (make self-interest work for all) were right!

The light blue on the chart is "no data" ... the dark blue is really good, the green is good. The red is really bad, the orange bad, yellow is average.

When you look at the chart, it looks like the upper Midwest and the eastern slopes of the central Rockies got splotched with blue and green, while both coasts and the south get a lot of red, orange and yellow. It would be great to have some other such charts so we would run off and do correlation games -- note, while that is fun, it DOES NOT show causality, the "why" ... but it might give us some hints.

But I'll do some conjecture anyway -- it is always fun to let our biases run wild.

  1. It isn't "red vs blue" counties. We have seen those charts too many times with essentially the whole country being red except for the very center of urban areas and a few larger counties in MN, CO, CA, VT, etc. So scratch the easy one. 
  2. Cold weather / long winters jump to mind. When it is cold from November - March, and maybe only June-July-August being really "summer", there is just more time to hit the books when young and to work hard later in life. 
  3. Immigrant heritage. If you did a correlation of Scandinavian / German heritage with those charts what would you see? In the current world it is popular to say "we are all the same" -- certainly the chart shows that we are not the same relative to income mobility. Might culture matter? Dangerous thought I know. 
  4. Low population density effects? I'm guessing the big swath of light blue down the middle would be blue / green if there was enough data. Higher population density means "more things to do" -- mass kinds of things, entertainment kinds of things. Low density means that you have to come up with your own things to pass the time (innovation)-- maybe with a tiny group of often life-long friends (outlook / attitude).  
  5. All the stuff I haven't thought of ... and this is likely the longest and most important list. My biases lead me down certain paths just like everyone else. Maybe the "reasons" are too complex to tease out -- I tend to not believe that, but it is possible. 
I find these things of interest. Actual data that MIGHT be actionable if we were really so inclined. 

Can ANYONE look at that chart and believe that a FEDERAL program bent on treating everyone the same has ANY prospects of being successful? I sure don't. 

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Jews Offer No Apology for Holocaust

Event organizer offers no apology after thwarted attack in Texas - The Washington Post:

The "Southern Poverty Law Center", a very popular leftist organization with The Party (D),  has the ORGANIZER of the Texas cartoon event on their "list of extremists" and the linked article focuses on those who would practice freedom of speech as being the problem as opposed to those who would murder in the name of Islam.

Note that the "Southern Poverty Law Center" ALSO finds many CHRISTIAN groups to be "extremist" -- those opposed to abortion, gay "marriage" and things like crucifixes in jars of urine as art. You know EXTREMISTS!

Lincoln, JFK, RFK and MLK all did things to "incite" their attackers -- Lincoln defeated the Confederacy, JFK was too anti-communist for Oswald, RFK was not pro-Arab enough for Sirhan Sirhan, and well, MLK was black ... reason enough for a lot of Southern Democrats in the '60s. It is even possible that women dressing too provocatively is a trigger for SOME rapists -- but when we were a nation of LAWS as opposed to men, it was considered very bad form to "blame the victim".

It still is if the "victim" just knocked over a convenience store and is charging an officer as in Micheal Brown. The left still likes that cake -- when they like it. They just want to both eat it and like it -- it is sort of like intellectual deficit spending.

How could it get so that Christians are singled out for attacks, fines and harassment by  law enforcement for their beliefs on abortion or gay "marriage", while even direct violence against someone exercising their Constitutional right of free speech is blamed for the attack vs the attackers?

Step by step, the same way that tyranny always replaces freedom.

If you listen to NPR, you now know that "intelligent, reasonable people" don't "provoke" Islamists.

 Before the Jews were rounded up in Germany, "intelligent, reasonable people" stayed away from Jews and looked the other way if Jews were being harassed -- "they had it coming". It doesn't happen "overnight", but over the past 6 years it has been accelerating here very rapidly.

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Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Treating People as Livestock

Race, Politics and Lies - Thomas Sowell:

A great one by Sowell. He makes a point that is obvious, but hard to see because of the "boiling frog" effect of our constantly living in the media pot.
When the recorded fatal shooting of a fleeing man in South Carolina brought instant condemnation by whites and blacks alike, and by the most conservative as well as the most liberal commentators, that moment of mutual understanding was very fleeting, as if mutual understanding were something to be avoided, as a threat to a vision of "us against them" that was more popular.
Everyone agreed that shooting a fleeing back man in the back was wrong. Oh, never mind -- the narrative is that whites are racist, can't have THIS story hanging around!

So we move on to Baltimore ... while ignoring the truth of what has happened to black communities over the past 50 years:
You cannot take any people, of any color, and exempt them from the requirements of civilization — including work, behavioral standards, personal responsibility and all the other basic things that the clever intelligentsia disdain — without ruinous consequences to them and to society at large. 
Non-judgmental subsidies of counterproductive lifestyles are treating people as if they were livestock, to be fed and tended by others in a welfare state — and yet expecting them to develop as human beings have developed when facing the challenges of life themselves. 
One key fact that keeps getting ignored is that the poverty rate among black married couples has been in single digits every year since 1994. Behavior matters and facts matter, more than the prevailing social visions or political empires built on those visions.
Incentives and sanctions matter. The results of policies like those that have been used with blacks in America are universal , treat people like livestock and eventually they begin to act like livestock.

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