Friday, April 30, 2010

Running Out Of People

Are we actually running out of people? No. What we are running out of is a certain kind of people. Mark Steyn in a column from this past February explains. He puts it in terms of the Greek crisis.

What's happening in the developed world today isn't so very hard to understand: The 20th century Bismarckian welfare state has run out of people to stick it to. In America, the feckless insatiable boobs in Washington, Sacramento, Albany and elsewhere are screwing over our kids and grandkids. In Europe, they've reached the next stage in social democratic evolution: There are no kids or grandkids to screw over. The United States has a fertility rate of around 2.1 – or just over two kids per couple. Greece has a fertility rate of about 1.3: 10 grandparents have six kids have four grandkids – i.e., the family tree is upside down. Demographers call 1.3 "lowest-low" fertility – the point from which no society has ever recovered. And, compared with Spain and Italy, Greece has the least-worst fertility rate in Mediterranean Europe.

So you can't borrow against the future because, in the most basic sense, you don't have one. Greeks in the public sector retire at 58, which sounds great. But, when 10 grandparents have four grandchildren, who pays for you to spend the last third of your adult life loafing around?

By the way, you don't have to go to Greece to experience Greek-style retirement: The Athenian "public service" of California has been metaphorically face down in the ouzo for a generation. Still, America as a whole is not yet Greece. A couple of years ago, when I wrote my book "America Alone," I put the Social Security debate at that time in a bit of perspective: On 2005 figures, projected public pensions liabilities were expected to rise by 2040 to about 6.8 percent of GDP. In Greece, the figure was 25 percent: in other words, head for the hills, Armageddon outta here, The End.
Well you should go and read the whole thing. Mark has a way with words.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Beaver Nation

While reading a review of the book Making Haste from Babylon: The Mayflower Pilgrims and Their World: A New History I came across this interesting tit bit (British spelling).

Then there's the year 1620, when the Mayflower landed at Plymouth. Instead of seeing this as the first great turning point in the nation's colonial history, the date "when America began," Bunker argues that we might consider 1628 as an alternative. That was the year that colonial leaders sailed up the Kennebec River in southern Maine to establish a half-forgotten trading post at a place called Cushnoc, staking their claim as New England's primary dealers in beaver pelts. Only by investing in that highly desirable commodity did the settlers finally prove themselves to be more that mere "dabblers, clinging to their footholds along the coast." Beaver skins -- the single way "the Pilgrims could find the money to pay their debts and finance new supplies from home" -- transformed a tenuous, fragile community into something permanent.
Funny thing is that my first mate did a lot of trapping when she was growing up. We were talking about it the other day and #1 daughter was not amused. And #1 daughter is also not amused with the first mate's proficiency in firearms. I'm hoping that once she gets more real wold experience her attitude will change.

Popular history is that the Pilgrims went hungry due to bad luck.
The official story has the pilgrims boarding the Mayflower, coming to America and establishing the Plymouth colony in the winter of 1620-21. This first winter is hard, and half the colonists die. But the survivors are hard working and tenacious, and they learn new farming techniques from the Indians. The harvest of 1621 is bountiful. The Pilgrims hold a celebration, and give thanks to God. They are grateful for the wonderful new abundant land He has given them.

The official story then has the Pilgrims living more or less happily ever after, each year repeating the first Thanksgiving. Other early colonies also have hard times at first, but they soon prosper and adopt the annual tradition of giving thanks for this prosperous new land called America.

The problem with this official story is that the harvest of 1621 was not bountiful, nor were the colonists hardworking or tenacious. 1621 was a famine year and many of the colonists were lazy thieves.

In his 'History of Plymouth Plantation 1620 - 1647,' the governor of the colony, William Bradford, reported that the colonists went hungry for years, because they refused to work in the fields. They preferred instead to steal food. He says the colony was riddled with "corruption," and with "confusion and discontent." The crops were small because "much was stolen both by night and day, before it became scarce eatable.
So a society based on communal profits and theft does not work well. Where is the USSR when you need them?
But in subsequent years something changes. The harvest of 1623 was different. Suddenly, "instead of famine now God gave them plenty," Bradford wrote, "and the face of things was changed, to the rejoicing of the hearts of many, for which they blessed God." Thereafter, he wrote, "any general want or famine hath not been amongst them since to this day." In fact, in 1624, so much food was produced that the colonists were able to begin exporting corn.
So what did work?
... in 1623 Bradford abolished socialism. He gave each household a parcel of land and told them they could keep what they produced, or trade it away as they saw fit. In other words, he replaced socialism with a free market, and that was the end of famines.

Many early groups of colonists set up socialist states, all with the same terrible results. At Jamestown, established in 1607, out of every shipload of settlers that arrived, less than half would survive their first twelve months in America. Most of the work was being done by only one-fifth of the men, the other four-fifths choosing to be parasites. In the winter of 1609-10, called "The Starving Time," the population fell from five-hundred to sixty.

Then the Jamestown colony was converted to a free market, and the results were every bit as dramatic as those at Plymouth. In 1614, Colony Secretary Ralph Hamor wrote that after the switch there was "plenty of food, which every man by his own industry may easily and doth procure." He said that when the socialist system had prevailed, "we reaped not so much corn from the labors of thirty men as three men have done for themselves now."
So how socialist does a country have to become before it stops working? I don't want to find out.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Another Glorious Victory

In the never ending progress of the drug war it appears that Mexico is making great progress against the drug cartel. Or is is cartels? Or a loose confederation of independent operators?

The federal government insists it is steadily wiping out the once-powerful Beltran Leyva cartel. Two of the Beltran Leyva brothers are behind bars. Last week, troops captured Jose Gerardo Alvarez, another purported leader of the gang who had a $2 million U.S. bounty on his head.

Troops fought Alvarez and his men in a wealthy neighborhood on the outskirts of Mexico City, leaving three people dead. The battle brought closer to the capital the kind of bloody conflicts that have often rattled states on the northern border and the country's two coasts.

Authorities say Alvarez, known as "El Indio," was behind much of the fight for control of the Beltran Leyva cartel, both in Cuernavaca and the Pacific resort city of Acapulco to the southwest.

The U.S. State Department hailed his capture, saying Alvarez has overseen major deals involving the trafficking of crystal methamphetamine and other drugs between Mexico, Central America, South America and the United States.

President Felipe Calderon counts the downfall of the Beltran Leyva brothers as one of the biggest accomplishments of his military-led offensive against drug traffickers.

Calderon has deployed tens of thousands of troops and federal police across the country since taking office in December 2006, a campaign the U.S. has backed with training and equipment through a $1.3 billion aid package.

Drug-gang violence has since soared though, claiming nearly 23,000 lives throughout Mexico, with Cuernavaca becoming the latest front.
Is the war now going on in Mexico a conspiracy of evil or the profit motive at work? If it is a conspiracy of evil - well we are in trouble. On the other hand if it is just the profit motive at work then something can be done. Prohibition is the only difference between a pile of vegetables and a million dollars. Laws passed by city councils and legislators can be repealed.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Go Your Own Way

Monday, April 26, 2010

Adopt A Loser

The Democrats appear to be adopting another losing position when it comes to the Banking Bill.

With crucial midterm elections nearing, Democrats have lost the advantage they've held for years as the party the public trusts to steer the economy.
I wonder if that loss of trust has anything to do with the banking bill proposals? In theory (whose?) there are supposed to be strict limits on Government borrowing for bailouts. In practice? Well it may not work out that way.
The Wall Street reform bill headed for a test vote on the Senate floor Monday night will allow the Federal Reserve to continue to pump trillions of dollars into major banks largely in secrecy, the co-author of House language that would open the central bank to an audit charged in a memo to the Senate.

“The Senate has a provision in its reform bill that purports to audit the Fed. But, it really doesn’t do anything of the sort. I’m going to run down the details for you, and reprint the legislative language so you can read it yourself,” writes Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.).

It would not allow the GAO to look into the Fed’s massive purchase of toxic assets, its hundreds of billions in foreign currency swaps with other central banks or its open market operations, among other restrictions.
I'm convinced that there are never any accidents, oversights, or loopholes when it comes to drafting legislation. There are paid for holes and gratuitous holes. Never loop holes. Because if what Congress does is not intentional then what do we have? That would mean they do not even rise to the level of a Parliament of Whores.

The bail out "loop hole" is not the only criticism of the bill.
Relatively small institutions compared to the names often cited in the news, community banks typically operate in small towns, urban neighborhoods or the suburbs. Their remit usually involves funding small businesses that require credit in order to operate payrolls and to expand, and lending to families financing home purchases or college. Many of those familiar with the banking industry, overall, say that community banks bore little to no responsibility, on balance, for the financial meltdown that occurred in 2008. Nonetheless, an analysis of the Dodd bill indicates that if it passes, community banks will be subject to a whopping 27 new regulations that one individual who has worked with banks professionally and is closely tracking the legislation says “could threaten to put many community bankers out of business, thus reducing competition in the banking sector overall, and diminishing consumer choices.”
And that friends is how the government cartelizes the economy. They regulate the competition out of business.


And then there are the corporate governance issues.
Another handoff to unelected bureaucrats, this time at the SEC rather than at the Federal Reserve. They did so well with Madoff, why not give them the additional job of rewriting Amerian corporate governance? The "investors and pension holders" that Mr. Obama really has in mind are things like the New York and California state pension funds that have already been troubled by scandals and politicization. Shareholders have a role in corporations, as even good capitalists like Carl Icahn recognize. But using the proxy power to take control of companies away from management and directors and into the hands of radicals is straight out of the Saul Alinsky playbook.
The question is: why are these economy wreckers doing what they are doing? Is it really revolution by legislation? Stupidity? Campaign donations?

Or just help friends and hurt enemies.
Section 972 of the bill authorizes the SEC to require firms to allow shareholders to nominate directors in proxy statement. Such proxy access turns corporate board elections from a process designed to ensure that each board has a good mix of skills and experience into a popularity contest where the long-term interests of the stockholders become secondary to political agendas or corporate raiders. The process can also be used by labor unions, politicians who manage public pension funds, and others to force corporations to respond to pet social or political causes.
But that is not all. The real corker in my opinion is the silent Inspector General. You never heard what he didn't say? I think that is the point:
Does nothing to address problems at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These two government-sponsored housing giants helped fuel the housing bubble. When it popped, taxpayers—because of an implicit guarantee by the U.S. Treasury—found themselves on the hook for some $125 billion in bailout money. Not only has little of this amount been paid back, but the Treasury Department recently eliminated the cap on how much more Fannie and Freddie can receive. Yet the bill does nothing to resolve the problem or reform these government-run enterprises.
I discussed some of that in The Best Congress Fannie Could Buy and Barney Frank Frankly Not Frank and ACORN Is Not About Nuts and probably a few other places.

The root cause of all this is the belief that a badly run corporation sucked dry by unions and management can be reformed by government intervention. I admit of the possibility. I deny the likelihood.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Nook e-Reader

I note that Barnes and Nobel is offering the Nook e-Reader. I wonder if it is safe for children? I wonder what they were thinking? I can just hear the conversations: "Not tonight dear, but the Nook e is fully charged."

Amazon sells them if you have to have a look:

Barnes and Noble NOOK e-reader

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Saturday, April 24, 2010

What Happens When You Run Out Of Them?

It seems that the Greek socialists are not happy with their government's plan to rectify Greek finances.

About 3,000-4,000 protesters marched through central Athens, carrying banners reading "tax the rich" and "Don't take the bread from our table." Scuffles broke out when about 150 demonstrators challenged police lines near the city's central Syntagma Square, and police responded with tear gas.

Greek airports remained open, however, after air traffic controllers suspended their participation in the strike because of the travel chaos caused by Iceland's volcanic ash cloud.

Labor unions fear deeper cuts after the Socialist government began talks this week with the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission for a three-year rescue package aimed at easing the country's acute debt crisis.
So what happens when you run out of rich to tax? California.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Birther State

Arizona has become a Birther State. Not full fledged so far. Only the Arizona House has passed the bill.

Even by the measure of Arizona's long history of conservatism, the past week has been extraordinary.

In the past six days, the legislature has passed the nation's strictest anti-illegal immigration bill, a law permitting concealed weapons, and the House has approved a bill requiring a presidential candidate to show his or her birth certificate to appear on the state ballot.

The last bill, which now must pass the Senate, was a clear nod to the birther movement, which claims that President Obama was not born in the US.
But is it just Arizona moving to the right? Nope. Utah seems to be shifting as well.
In a surprising development that sets the stage for a dramatic political showdown, tea party and grass-roots conservatives tell Newsmax they have seized control of Utah's GOP delegate system, and are now in a position to select which candidates will represent the party in the midterm elections.

"Our feeling is that the majority of the Republican Party delegates are now tea party people," Brian Halladay, one of the founders of the grass-roots Utah Rising organization, tells Newsmax.

Utah GOP leaders say they can't be sure, but concede the activists' assessment may be accurate.
That is definitely encouraging. But there are other folks who are not encouraged. In fact downright dismissive.
McCarthyism? Jim Crow? Segregation? Japanese internment?

Child's play. ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis says the times people are living in now will "dwarf" all those stains on America's history. And she points to the Tea Party movement -- or "bowel movement," in her words -- as a harbinger of the persecution to come.

"They are coming. And they are coming after you," the embattled head of ACORN said during a talk last month to the Young Democratic Socialists, the youth branch of the Democratic Socialists, the U.S. branch of the Socialist International.

During the address, Lewis praised the group's members for calling themselves socialists, and warned that undefined forces are plotting their doom.

"Any group that says, 'I'm young, I'm Democratic, and I'm a socialist,' is all right with me. You know that's no light thing to do -- to actually say, I'm a socialist -- because you guys know right now we are living in a time which is going to dwarf the McCarthy era. It is going to dwarf the internment during World War II. We are right now in a time that is going to dwarf the era of Jim Crow and segregation," Lewis said.
So let me see here. The Japanese were put in camps by Roosevelt and Democrat President Woodrow Wilson instituted segregation in the Federal Government. Evidently she doesn't know her history very well and hopes that her audience got an education in government schools as well.

Well history or no history - she is bothered by the Tea Parties because, and I'm sure you will be very surprised to hear this, they are not very socialist friendly.

And how about Colorado?
A Rasmussen survey released Monday paints a strange picture of Tea Party participation in Colorado. According to the report, 33% of likely Colorado voters identify themselves as participants in the Tea Party movement, compared with 24% nationally.
That is enough to swing elections. If enough of the support comes from outside Party mechanisms.

Noted liberal polling organization, Pew, looks at where America is heading and comes to a tentative conclusion.
"By almost every conceivable measure,” reads the latest Pew research poll out this week, “Americans are less positive and more critical of government these days.” Calling it a “perfect storm” of conditions that have brought about a widespread distrust of the federal government, Pew points to the bad economy, bitter partisanship, an unhappy mood among voters, and “epic discontent” with Congress and elected officials.

I didn’t need Pew to tell me that fiscal conservatism is becoming more popular than either political party. When I ask folks I meet what their political outlook is, very few say “Republican” or “Democrat.” Almost everyone now starts by saying they’re a fiscal conservative, then places themselves on the spectrum of social issues from conservative to liberal. I have yet to hear anyone say, “Well, I’m a fiscal liberal ...”

That’s because no one outside of the White House and the speaker’s office thinks government spending is the answer--to problems in the healthcare system, to the environment, and to some degree, to the problem of failing schools.
It looks like the socialists of ACORN may very well be the ones being flushed this November. Which would make her recent comments projection and good news for the Tea Party.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Official Business

This story is going to give the Federal Air Marshalls a bad name.

A federal air marshal is being held in jail on $250,000 bail on a charge he raped an escort at gunpoint in a SeaTac hotel while wearing his badge.

According to documents charging Lecheton "Omar" Settles, 30, of Herndon, Va., with first-degree rape, he threatened to use his position as a law-enforcement officer and his government-issued firearm to commit the rape.

Police and prosecutors say that Settles, who was in town for official business, called an escort service on Friday from his room at the Marriott.

When a female escort arrived, Settles was dressed, court documents say. The woman agreed to dance in lingerie for $180, according to charging documents.

When she emerged from the bathroom, however, Settles was naked. He wore his badge around his neck and was holding a handgun, police and prosecutors said.

According to charging documents, Settles told the woman he was a U.S. marshal and that she had to do what he told her.

Settles is not a member of the U.S. Marshals Service, the documents state, but is a federal air marshal employed by the Transportation Security Administration, which provides security for airports and airlines.

Court documents say that Settles placed the handgun on the bed while he raped the woman and then demanded that she return the money he'd already paid her.
Not only did he have to pay for it but he couldn't afford it. What a loser. Well at least he had a Federal Job. Figures.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Doing The Conservative Thing

I’m still waiting to see a Conservative stance on the drug war:

“We should do the conservative thing and go back to the way things were before Progressives screwed it up with their ideas of prohibiting plants and plant extracts in order to gain moral uplift.”
Conservatism these days is not a thought out ideology. It is just a series of conditioned reflexes.

The idea that government can provide moral uplift either directly or by contracting out the job is non-sense on stilts. The incentives are wrong. Of course the other conceit is that by either macro or micro policies including a series of punishments and rewards the government can produce a producing economy.

But real economies are different. The real economy is really a series of blind amoebas searching out higher concentrations of useful nutrients. i.e. What job needs to be done. Can I do it at a profit? Are there higher profit opportunities available? Are the rewards commensurate with the risks? What is the opportunity cost? What to do about low profit potential but vital support functions?

You know. The kinds of things government doesn't like to think about.

Any way, with government there is no incentive to solve a problem. The incentive is to get more money to solve a problem. Every year. As it is with economics. So it is with morality and culture.

This rant inspired by something from The Other McCain.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Purchasing Magazine Closing

Purchasing Magazine is ceasing publication.

Reed Elsevier, parent company of Purchasing, announced today that it is closing Purchasing and the magazine's website, purchasing.com, as well as most of its other U.S. publications, effective immediately.

The closing is part of a broad divestiture that itself is part of a restructuring of the London-based Reed Elsevier.

The magazine has published for almost 95 years and has been the leading magazine in the supply chain sector of the economy.
This is so doubly sad. It is not just the loss of future publications that will hurt but also the loss of older issues for research purposes. The technical magazine sector of publishing is under severe pressure. It is only a matter of time before more publishing companies throw in the towel one way or another. Either going out of business altogether or going with a www only format.

Also closing:

Manufacturing Business Technology
Industrial Distribution
Logistics Management Magazine
Material Handling Product News Magazine
Plant Engineering Magazine
Control Engineering Magazine
Semiconductor International Magazine

The Wiki reports that at least 23 magazines (including the above mentioned) are being closed. Obviously this is an opportunity.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Consultation

Adam was not alone in the Garden of Eden, however, and does not deserve all the credit; much is due to Eve, the first woman, and Satan, the first consultant.
- Mark Twain, Notebook, 1867

Monday, April 19, 2010

It Is Not Happening Here

It looks like drug prohibition has given us a gift.

The battle for Ciudad Juárez began about two years ago when the Sinaloa drug cartel, led by Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman and based along Mexico's Pacific coast, began trying to wrest control of the crucial drug smuggling corridor into the United States from the Juárez cartel.

Fighting for the Juárez cartel is a street gang known as the Aztecas that operates on both sides of the border. Most Azteca members are heavily tattooed ex-cons who served time in Texas jails. One of the top Azteca leaders, Eduardo Ravelo, is a U.S. citizen.
Ah. A multi-national enterprise. That seems rather discomforting in this particular case.
Criminal gangs working for drug cartels already operate on both sides of the border, and in a sign of the growing risks, on March 13 gunmen killed three people linked to the U.S. consulate in Juárez. The sky-high murder rate is driven by two rival groups – the Juárez cartel and the Sinaloa cartel – and their battle for control of drug smuggling into the United States.

The FBI estimates that 40 percent to 60 percent of the narcotics and marijuana smuggled from Mexico to the United States moves through the corridor, which runs roughly from the Texas border with New Mexico to Big Bend National Park, about 300 miles southeast.

Murder is only one of Juárez's problems. Ambitious cartel underlings have diversified into extortion, kidnapping, carjacking and robbery. When President Felipe Calderón sent 10,000 soldiers to Juárez in March 2008 to bolster security after a purge of corrupt police, the army largely ignored other crimes to focus on the cartels, and crime has taken off.

The result is a palpable sense of unease despite assertions by the mayor, José Reyes Ferriz, that only 200 of the 2,400 people killed last year were innocent bystanders.
Coming soon to an American city near you. In fact the prototypes are already installed and they are producing satisfactory results. All we need is a crack down to produce the requisite amount of violence.

The question for me is how long can the war be contained to Mexico? Not too much longer.
Mexico's drug war is spreading uncomfortably close to the capital at a time when drug-related violence is spiraling out of control throughout the country.

Over the weekend, panic gripped the central city of Cuernavaca after alleged drug traffickers imposed a nighttime curfew on the city, which sits just an hour south of the capital. Cuernavaca, a city of one million, is a popular weekend retreat for Mexico City residents and is also well-known to Americans as a retirement spot and a place to learn Spanish.

On Friday, an e-mail from a purported drug gang warned residents to stay indoors past 8 p.m. "We recommend you not go out to restaurants, bars, etc. because we might confuse you with our enemies," said the e-mail, a copy of which was seen by The Wall Street Journal.
They can close down a city with just an e-mail. That is some awesome power.

I think that pretty soon Mexico is going to say "No Mas" and come to terms with the gangs. Either officially or in a covert manner. And then the gangs will go hunting for bigger prey. Or maybe one gang will win the Mexican Drug War and the losing gangs will decide to come north.

And every day I wonder how much longer this stupidity can keep going. And at the end of ever day I'm amazed. Another day's useless energy spent.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Graphene Advances

Mass produced graphene Transistors just got a little closer with this laboratory advance in graphene film fabrication.

"Before we can fully utilize the superior electronic properties of graphene in devices, we must first develop a method of forming uniform single-layer graphene films on nonconducting substrates on a large scale," says Yuegang Zhang, a materials scientist with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). Current fabrication methods based on mechanical cleavage or ultrahigh vacuum annealing, he says, are ill-suited for commercial-scale production. Graphene films made via solution-based deposition and chemical reduction have suffered from poor or uneven quality.

Zhang and colleagues at Berkeley Lab's Molecular Foundry, a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) center for nanoscience, have taken a significant step at clearing this major hurdle. They have successfully used direct chemical vapor deposition (CVD) to synthesize single-layer films of graphene on a dielectric substrate. Zhang and his colleagues made their graphene films by catalytically decomposing hydrocarbon precursors over thin films of copper that had been pre-deposited on the dielectric substrate. The copper films subsequently dewetted (separated into puddles or droplets) and were evaporated. The final product was a single-layer graphene film on a bare dielectric.

"This is exciting news for electronic applications because chemical vapor deposition is a technique already widely used in the semiconductor industry," Zhang says.
It is always nice to have a process that just needs to be adjusted. Even nicer is that it is a production process. There are probably 1,000 more steps like that required before your next microprocessor is made of charcoal (with a few enhancements).

Graphene has some exceptional properties.
In a semiconductor there is a quadratic relationship between the energy and momentum of the electrons. But in graphene that relationship is linear. Papers #2 (Geim’s group) and #3 (Philip Kim’s group, Columbia University, New York), published side by side in Nature, report on an important consequence of the linear relationship. They independently discovered that electrons move through the films as if they have no mass. That’s because the energy-momentum relationship means that electron transport is governed by the relativistic Dirac equation.

In semiconductors, electron transport is ruled by the non-relativistic Schrödinger equation. So electrons in graphene behave like relativistic particles and travel at about 106 m s-1. Although that speed is about 300 times slower than the velocity of light, it is much faster than the speed of electrons in conductors. The electrons travel sub-micron distances without scattering, something unheard of in semiconductors. Suddenly, ballistic transistors, in which electrons barrel through the device like a bullet, begin to look feasible.
I think massless electrons could come in quite handy. Provided you could produce them on demand and control them. You know. Power and Control.

Here is a fairly recent book on the subject that may help you get up to speed:

Graphene


H/T DavidWillard at Talk Polywell

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Zama Ombies

So I'm noodling across the net and came across a reference to this book:

Obama Zombies: How the Liberal Machine Brainwashed My Generation

So naturally I'm interested in the reviews. Here is one reviewer, E. Berry "zeetwo8", whose family is having buyers remorse.

I can't believe where we are at this present time in America. My whole family voted for Barack...I mean my whole family..we are all white working class people. We usually get together for major family events, of which was my mother's 85th birthday. It was not too long before politics was brought up and I have to say, on save my admitted socialist sister attending NYU journalism program, we are all kinda' shell shocked about what just went down in D.C. with the vote on health care. We all talk about how this system needs fixing, as a couple of us are in the health care industry. But, the way this was passed has left most, not all, but most of us very troubled.
Well a lot of us tried to warn you but you were so caught up in hope and change that your eyes glazed over whenever we tried talking reason.

The reviewer does finish off on a positive note.
This book has really opened my eyes and made me really slow down, take a chill pill and slowly, patiently and OBJECTIVELY watch what politicians say and do so that one can make a more reasoned decision.

Thanks Jason for writing this book for my generation. With this new perspective, we have no excuse for repeating this mistake...
You are not going to get anything even close to OBJECTIVE if you keep getting your news from Amalgamated Pravda Inc. Anyway - there is more good stuff in the review. Go read it.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Protect The Rich

Why protect the rich? Because who will the government come after once it runs out of rich people's money?

Inspired by a bit disparaging the Tea Party folk as protectors of the rich.

Taking A Position

The conservative position: Some one could be doing something bad and the evil goes unpunished - we must pass a law.

The liberal position: Some one could be unfairly taking advantage of another in an economic transaction. The evil goes unpunished - we must raise a tax.

Which is why I am neither a liberal nor a conservative. I don't believe government can provide prosperity or moral uplift. And worse: by trying to do either it actually does the opposite.

===

The above was sparked by an interchange with one of my favorite correspondents. We have a lot of points of agreement. Otherwise we go at each other with no quarter. Which is why I love our correspondence.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Friday, April 16, 2010

Jack Herer Has Died

The Examiner reports that The Emperor of Hemp, Jack Herer, has died.

Jack Herer, much beloved Emperor of Hemp and marijuana hero. is dead at age 70. Herer was a tireless advocate in the battle to end marijuana prohibition. He was perhaps the world's most famous activist for the decriminalization of marijuana and the utilization of hemp.

Jack Herer was born June 18, 1939. A former Goldwater Republican, Herer became a political activist and the author of The Emperor Wears No Clothes, a book which is now a classic polemic in the effort to decriminalize marijuana.

Herer argued for the decriminalization and utilization of marijuana. Marijuana has been shown to be a renewable source of fuel, food, and medicine, and can be grown in virtually any part of the world. Herer was one of the first to show that the U.S. government deliberately hides the proof of marijuana's efficacy and utility. Herer devoted his life in support of cannabis, hemp and marijuana.
I met Jack in 1993 at a Rally in Rockford put on by then Rockford NORML director E.J. Pagel. Jack gave the greatest hugs. He will be missed.

If you haven't already, may I suggest reading a copy of Jack's book:

The Emperor Wears No Clothes: The Authoritative Historical Record of Cannabis and the Conspiracy Against Marijuana

You can also see a video about Jack's life:

Emperor of Hemp: The Jack Herer Story

It is narrated by Peter Coyote who I used to know from a time long ago in a galaxy far away.

The US Government did have a few good things to say about hemp at one time. Hemp for Victory. You may also like Hemp in Illinois. Some history about a time when the government wanted citizens to grow hemp.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Victory Slide

After passing the historic health care bill (how soon can we make it history?) obama seems to have slipped in it.

President Barack Obama's national standing has slipped to a new low after his victory on the historic health care overhaul, even in the face of growing signs of economic revival, according to the latest Associated Press-GfK poll.

The survey shows the political terrain growing rockier for Obama and congressional Democrats heading into midterm elections, boosting Republican hopes for a return to power this fall.
Pyrrhic Victory.

H/T Instapundit

Patriot Pride



Found at Big Government

H/T Instapundit

Not What I Want Them To Hear

Senator Chris Dodd has a problem. With Republicans. They are not telling the American people what Dodd wants them to hear.

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd threatened Wednesday to end negotiations with Republicans on a financial regulatory reform bill if they continue to lead what he called a misinformation campaign based on Wall Street talking points.

“My patience is running out,” Dodd said on the Senate floor. “I’ve extended the hand. I’ve written provisions in this bill to accommodate various interests. But I’m not going to continue doing this if all I’m getting the other side is a suggestion somehow that this is a partisan effort.”
That was certainly forthright. Now if he would only explain the connection with campaign donations the circle would be complete.

So what was this "misinformation" he was in a snit about?
Congressional Republicans, led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, began an effort Tuesday to paint the bill as doing little to curb future taxpayer bailouts of large financial firms. The White House responded sharply pushing back on the claims all day Tuesday.

The GOP points to the inclusion in the bill of a $50 billion fund, which is paid for by the firms and would be used to wind down a failing institution. But Republicans say it will act as a safety net for Wall Street to continue to push their businesses to the brink of collapse.
And no mention of Fannie and Freddy you Republican cowards.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Giving Up The Pretense

I got an e-mail from Tea Party Patriots.

Many have asked about the news that there may be "infiltrators" at tea parties around the nation. A website (crashtheteaparty.org) was recently set up. The creator, though he tried to hide his identity, has been outed; his name is Jason Levin, and he's a middle school teacher in Beaverton, Oregon. He's on record saying that you might see some of his team in Nazi uniforms at your local tea party pretending to be racists and other offensive characters. Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy doesn't it? And one has to ask the question; if tea partiers are racist, anti-Semitic homophobes, and it's so obvious, why does he need to plant people who pretend to be those things at your tea parties?
Good question. The Patriots suggest you be prepared.
1. Be prepared. Make sure your security team knows about the potential for disturbance, and your procedures for dealing with any issues. If you have law enforcement at your event, let them know about the potential threats in advance. Most are happy to remove people who intend to disturb your event.
I must say it is nice to be on the side of law and order from time to time. Keeps me from feeling so all alone.
a. Have a plan. We suggest that you handle every incident in a predetermined manner. Your preparation will allow you to handle any incident in a calm and reasoned manner.
I take slight exception to this. Don't have one plan. Have twenty. Or a hundred. Then mix and match them according to circumstances. Avoid being too predictable. And don't do anything you don't want to show up on nightly news. The world is watching. The Patriots suggest calm and video. I second that motion.
iii. Partner up. If you are going to deal with one of these situations, always have at least one other person with you. It's imperative that any situation not be your word against someone else's. Have a witness and a helper with you at all times.
I suggest 3 person teams. What is the third person for? Video. So we have a 3 person team. A confronter. A runner who should know where to go or who to call for help. (Keep those cell phones charged and handy). And finally a camera operator.
c. Don't worry...be happy. If you weren't so good at what you are doing, and so successful at influencing the debate in this country, people wouldn't feel compelled to try to shoot you down using sleazy tactics. You are dominating the political playing field, and doing so by being honest, operating with integrity and staying within the law. Be proud of what you are accomplishing, and enjoy your day.
And don't forget to buy some buttons. Reminds me of my hippie days but with different slogans. I do miss the incense.

And in case you missed it Andrew Breitbart discusses how to do confrontation. The short version? Just ask questions.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Confrontation



Watch the second part. See the discussion at Bring your cameras and video recorders.

This seems like a pretty good camera for the price. More than enough pixels for the Internet. Kodak EasyShare C180 10MP Digital Camera with 3x Optical Zoom and 2.4 inch LCD

This video camera had decent reviews: Kodak Zi6 HD Pocket Video Camera

Any way - good enough for YouTube and the nightly news. And one other thing. Keep your batteries charged and take your camera with you.

H/T Instapundit

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Not Interested In Politics

This is about the best take on the Tea Party participants (as opposed to the "leaders") that I have read so far.

Beyond their fiscally conservative principles, the ideology of the people involved in the tea party movement tends to vary dramatically. So far, tea party activists "haven't been interested in politics," Fitton said.
Which reminds me of an experience I had last week at a Tea Party. I met some old friends of the family who are involved in Rockford Pro Life and asked them pointedly if they were interested in any way in laws banning abortion. Their position was that the Federal Government should stay out of the issue. Neither banning abortions nor paying for them. That is a position I can support. And it fits with the smaller government theme of the Tea Parties. So I visited their www site and found it a little too Christian for my tastes. But let me re-iterate that I like their position. Are there any secular anti-abortion groups that hold that position?

And I really like the idea of conservative groups that understand the difference between changing the culture and changing the laws. There are limits to what law can do. Did I mention the Drug War?

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Desiree Bassett - Power and Force



From the blurb at YouTube:
Desiree Bassett of Connecticut shreds guitar like no other her age! sit down and enjoy! The song is called "Power & Force, which is also the the title of her all original CD. Desiree also wrote this song at the age of 10.
Desiree has a fan club where you can listen to cuts from her album Power and Force.

You can get the album at Amazon: Vol. 2 Power & Force

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Don't Bogart That Joint

The law meets popular culture [pdf] in a marijuana case.

The Commonwealth has argued that the use of the word "selling" in the second paragraph of $ 32L, which word is not found elsewherein G.L. c.94C, evidences that the offense of possession with intent to distribute when applied to quantities of marihuana less than one ounce continues to be unlawful. According to this argument", the use of the term 'selling' . . . was intended to refer to the sale of marihuana in the broader sense i.e., distribution and possession with intent to distribute marihuana."( Memorandumin Support of the Commonwealth's Motion To Reconsidera t p. 6.) For the following reasons the Court rejectst his argument. As portrayed in popular culture, the personal use of marihuana is often a shared, communal experience. For example, the late 60's not quite classic tune, "Don't Bogart That Joint",' (Lyrics by Lawrence Wagner and music by Elliot Ingber) contains the chorus:

Don't bogart that joint my friend
Pass it over to me
Don't bogart that joint my friend
Pass it over to me.

The somewhat closer to a classic 1966 Bob Dylan song, "Rainy Day Women No. 12 &35" includes the recurring refrain, "They'll stone ya when . . ."2 In the world of film, "Easy Rider", a 1969 release included a scene in which the characters portrayed by Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson sit around a campfire sharing marihuana cigarettes passing the cigarettes between themselves. The 1970 film "Woodstock" which documented the 1969 Woodstock Music and Arts Festival, includes many scenes of concert-goer sharing what is identified as marihuana by passing marihuana cigarettes and other smoking implements to one another. [n 2004, one of the so-called" stoner" films, "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle" features an opening scene in which the protagonistss hare marihuana then head to a White Castle restaurant. More recently, in March 2009 an episode of the NBC drama" Parenthood", which follows the triumphs and travails of the fictional Braverman family, included a scene in which one adult family member held up a bag of marihuana confiscated from his adolescendt daughter( not in her presence). The girl's uncle grabs the bag, saying that they should see what his niece has been up to and rolls a marihuana cigarette which he and the other adults then share, passing it from one to another. Based on these cultural references which have endured and been repeated for more than 40 years, the court understands that the use of marihuana commonly includes sharing the drug amongst several users.
I wonder where the judge went to college. I wonder when he went to college.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Status Of Crime

Camden, New Jersey has a problem.

For nine months last year, Ron Mills was locked in the Camden County Jail.

For nine months he held firm to his story that the drugs he was charged with possessing didn't exist.

Last month Mills' story was validated when a former Camden police officer admitted in federal court that for more than two years he and four other officers arrested suspects with planted drugs, carried out illegal searches and wrote false arrest reports.

Mills' story, which was detailed by former Patrolman Kevin Parry in court, is now being laid out in one of a growing number of lawsuits planned against the city.
That is the trouble with status crimes. Only a police officer is needed to give evidence. If you are going to falsely accuse some one of robbery you generally need a civilian accomplice who will testify "I wuz robbed". Somewhat more difficult than just planting evidence and making up stories. A tactic often referred to by police as Testilying.

But haven't we heard that story before?
The Rampart scandal refers to widespread corruption in the Community Resources Against Street Hoodlums (or CRASH) anti-gang unit of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Rampart Division in the late 1990s. More than 70 police officers in the CRASH unit were implicated in misconduct, making it one of the most widespread cases of documented police misconduct in United States history. The convicted offenses include unprovoked shootings, unprovoked beatings, planting of evidence, framing of suspects, stealing and dealing narcotics, bank robbery, perjury, and covering up evidence of these activities.
Those Rampart boys sound a bit excessive. Even for out of control police.

But back to Camden.
In announcing the case dismissals for the first time last month, Camden County Prosecutor Warren Faulk described their extent as "unprecedented in the state of New Jersey."

Cherry Hill attorney Michael Pinsky said in his 46 years as an attorney he has "never seen mass dismissals like this."

But the corruption in Camden isn't completely unique, as rogue officers from Philadelphia to Los Angeles have caused thousands of cases to be dismissed.

In the mid-1990s, a police scandal in Philadelphia's 39th District led to at least eight officers pleading guilty to corruption charges. Hundreds of criminal cases were thrown out by judges and lawsuits against the city tallied at least $4 million in settlements, according to media reports.
Say didn't they have problems like these during alcohol prohibition? Yes they did.
Prohibition also fostered corruption and contempt for law and law enforcement among large segments of the population. Harry Daughtery, attorney general under Warren Harding, accepted bribes from bootleggers. George Remus, a Cincinnati bootlegger, had a thousand salesmen on his payroll, many of them police officers. He estimated that half his receipts went as bribes. Al Capone's Chicago organization reportedly took in $60 million in 1927 and had half the city's police on its payroll.
One of the reasons I think police have a need for prohibition to continue for as much longer as is possible is that there are a lot of ugly things that are going to be uncovered when this rock is lifted.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The War On Drugs Is Doomed

Here is one I missed from the Wall Street Journal of 22 March.

This is especially troubling for Mexican law enforcement because marijuana use, through medical marijuana outlets and general social acceptance, has become de facto legal in the U.S., and demand is robust. The upshot is that consumption is cool while production, trafficking and distribution are organized-crime activities. This is what I called in a previous column, "a stimulus plan for Mexican gangsters."
I have been calling the drug war unadulterated socialism since 2000. Price supports for criminals and terrorists. I have also been calling it Cultural Socialism and Republican Socialism.

Good to see the main stream finally catching on. I did feature the WSJ video accompanying the article in this 25 March post.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Consequences



H/T Jccarlton at Talk Polywell

Nineteen Days

Cong. Crittek Bart Stupak helped put the health care bill over the top. However, it seems that just 19 days after passing this landmark turkey he has decided to spend more time with his family.

Rep. Bart Stupak insists that tea party activists outraged over his crucial support of health care legislation didn't run him out of office, but his decision to retire gives conservatives a rallying point as they target Democrats in the midterm elections.

The congressman, an anti-abortion Democrat whose high-profile role in the "Obamacare" debate earned him enemies on the left and the right, said Friday that he's leaving because he's tired and has accomplished his No. 1 goal: improving health care.

"The tea party did not run me out," Stupak told The Associated Press in a phone interview. "If you know me and my personality, I would welcome the challenge."

Stupak had been a consistent landslide winner in his sprawling northern Michigan district, and the opening now offers Republicans a ripe opportunity to regain a seat they held for decades until Stupak prevailed in 1992.

His political foes — tea party activists and abortion opponents — both claimed credit for forcing him into retirement, and Michigan GOP Chairman Ron Weiser declared that the nine-term incumbent had become the first casualty of the battle over health care in Congress.
Say what you will but I question the timing.

Friday, April 09, 2010

China's Real Estate Bubble



I'd say China's growth is unsustainable. There are indications.
The popping of China's current housing bubble -- considered inevitable by regional experts such as Andy Xie -- could have widespread consequences. If housing turns down in China, China's growth could slow or even decline. And since the entire world is looking to China to lead global growth, then that could spell major trouble for the "global economy is recovering" story.

The reflation of China's real estate bubble has a number of causes, and the most obvious one is that nation's stupendous $586 billion stimulus, which was packaged with efforts to promote real estate lending and development to boost growth. According to China's central bank, new home mortgages in the first nine months were quadruple the amount borrowed a year earlier.

In terms of GDP -- China's GDP is $3.3 trillion compared to $13.8 trillion for the U.S .-- China's $586 billion stimulus is three times as large as America's $787 billion stimulus. China's stimulus spending is a heart-pounding 17.8% of their GDP, as opposed to America's comparatively modest 5.7% of GDP.
I can't see this turning out well. Of course China has large reserves of other country's currencies. And if they spend it all? Then what?

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Light Up


H/T Diogenes via e-mail and The Sniper who created them and has more. And who for the price of viewing this picture here insists that you give him a visit. It would be the honorable thing to do.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

A History Lesson



I had something to say about all this yesterday. F. A. Hayek had something to say about it in 1944:

The Road to Serfdom

H/T Diogenes via e-mail

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Revenue Enhancer

Philadelphia has decriminalized pot. At least for amounts under one ounce.

By Kamika Dunlap on April 7, 2010 9:55 AM

Philadelphia's new marijuana policy will take effect next month and decriminalizes the small possession of pot for personal use.

The goal of the new policy is to sweep about 3,000 small-time marijuana cases annually out of the main court system in an effort to unclog Philadelphia's crowded court dockets, Philly.com reports. The policy decriminalizes small amounts of marijuana possession.

The policy shift will allow prosecutors to charge such cases for people with arrested with up to 30 grams (slightly more than an ounce) of the drug as summary offenses rather than as misdemeanors. As a result they may have to pay a fine but face no risk of a criminal record.

The fines could range from $200 for minor drug possession and first-time offenders and $300 for others. The fines could generate significant revenue for the Philadelphia courts.

Many marijuana consumers in Philadelphia welcome the new approach. Members of the city's defense bar also endorsed the new marijuana-prosecution policy.

Crushing state budget deficits gave advocates in California, Washington, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New York and elsewhere an opening to pitch marijuana as a new source of tax revenue.
I wonder if police will be carrying scales?

Monica Yant Kinney I think has the best take on this.
Goldstein thought pols might act to avert a lawsuit over startling statistics showing black men make up more than 75 percent of pot arrests. Instead of fear, the promise of saving beaucoup cash - and even raising revenue - spurred the shift.

"There was," he noted, "too much money on the table to leave it."

You'd think if authorities are now treating pot possession as a summary offense, they'd simply seize the weed, issue a ticket, send the smoker walking, and save cops' time. But Williams won't go there, calling full-blown marijuana arrests a time-honored means of "clearing a corner."

Besides Williams, two state Supreme Court justices have signed off on the kinda-sorta-decriminalization, wink-and-nod-minimization pot policy change. One is Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille, once the D.A. The other is Seamus P. McCaffery, the Harley-riding former cop who called advocates' wishful thinking about legalization "a crock."

"I spent 20 years patrolling the streets," McCaffery told me. "I'd lock up Monica Yant Kinney if I caught her smoking a joint."

At the same time, McCaffery seems to admit that until now, the penalty hasn't fit the crime. "We're giving young men and women criminal records," he demurred, "when it doesn't need to be that way."
Ah. Raising money from the previously untaxed. And the best thing? There is no limit on the amount that can be assessed on any given criminal - uh I mean taxpayer, or should that be citizen? Every State treats its marks, uh, I mean citizens, differently. Take California for instance.
On Wednesday, advocates for legalizing marijuana officially secured enough signatures to put a referendum on the California ballot this November asking voters to legalize and tax pot.
Taxes are a big selling point. Politicians can't resist. "People who want to be taxed? Its a miracle." But it is also a protection racket. "Please tax us so we don't have to live in fear."

So far the city of Washington DC hasn't caught on.
"California, like it or not, really pushes American politics and business in one direction or another," said St. Pierre, noting the issue is also expected to soon land on the ballot in Nevada and Oregon. "I am going to guess four to six years after the citizens of California pass something like this, there is either an initiative here or the city council takes it up."

Already, D.C. Council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) has been grumbling publicly that some of the District's drug laws need to be reformed because too many residents are being locked up for drug possession. But Council member David A. Catania (I-At large), the chairman of the Committee on Health, and other council members have made it clear they do not want the medical marijuana legislation pending before the council to spiral into a debate over outright legalization.

A Washington Post poll conducted in January found District residents were split on whether they supported legalizing small amounts of marijuana for personal use. Forty-six percent of residents favored the idea, but 48 percent opposed.

But while 60 percent of whites supported legalizing marijuana, only 37 percent of African-Americans felt that way, largely due to strong opposition among older black women.
I would love to see a Republican Congress vote out prohibition as a fiscal sanity measure. Just to see heads explode on all sides of the issue.

Here are a couple of books on the subject. This one I have read:

Marijuana is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink?

This one I have not:

Why Marijuana Should Be Legal

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Racist Tea Parties


More Rockford Tea Party pictures


I don't know who the above gentleman is (I think he is a candidate for office in Illinois - my mate took the picture) but he was speaking at the Rockford Tea Party yesterday and was warmly welcomed. Let me add that I was talking for a few minutes with a black guy who had a Naval Air Wing cap (VA-45 IIRC). We had a very pleasant and animated discussion. He was not at all agitated as some one might be under threat of any kind. I have felt angry crowds (Century City - Los Angeles - anti-LBJ rally) and at no time during the Tea Party did I ever feel anything but peace and serenity. My mate said it was one of the most centered large gatherings she had ever attended. She also remarked that she felt the most anger when hanging out with Democrats. Interesting.

Why bring up something so utterly unremarkable? Hot Air sheds some light on the subject.
One purpose of the endless racial demagoguery of the right by the Frank Riches of the world is, of course, to make life hard for minorities who break with leftist orthodoxy. They’d never admit that, which is understandable, but they’re also rarely ever called on it, which isn’t. For all the media navel-gazing these days about how political rhetoric mainstreams hostility, the “race traitor” accusation that’s almost universally experienced by minority conservatives I know and that’s implicit in any grotesque caricature of tea partiers as some sort of neo-Klan rarely gets attention outside of right-wing media.
Here is the account of a TV Reporter about his Tea Party encounter.
[H]ere's what you don't often see in the coverage of Tea Party rallies: Patriotic signs professing a love for country; mothers and fathers with their children; African-Americans proudly participating; and senior citizens bopping to a hip-hop rapper. ... It is important to show the colorful anger Americans might have against elected leaders and Washington. But people should also see the orange-vested Tea Party hospitality handlers who welcome you with colorful smiles.

There were a few signs that could be seen as offensive to African-Americans. But by and large, no one I spoke with or I heard from on stage said anything that was approaching racist.

Almost everyone I met was welcoming to this African-American television news producer.
In other words - at another place at another time he didn't feel in any way intimidated at the event he attended.

And then we have some crazed Jewish guy saying totally unhinged things about Tea Parties.
MEMPHIS, TN - The Mid-South Tea Party is fuming over comments made by Congressman Steve Cohen comparing the national movement's members to the Ku Klux Klan. We told you this weekend about the legislator's words on an obscure radio talk show, “The Young Turks.”

"The Tea Party people are kind of, without robes and hoods. They have really shown a very hardcore angry side of America that is against any type of diversity,” Rep. Cohen said on the show. “And we saw opposition to African Americans, hostility toward gays, hostility to anybody who wasn't just, you know, a clone of George Wallace's fan club. And I'm afraid they've taken over the Republican Party."
So why do I bring up that the guy is Jewish? Well I'm rather obviously Jewish. And I never felt a bit of animosity. I never once got an angry vibe. What I got was a feeling of determination. The feeling of, "We are going to turn this country around. We have already started. Won some battles, lost some. The next Big Battle will be on Nov. 2nd. Be there. Bring Your Friends. All of them. Now is the time for some advanced planning. Make sure they are all registered to vote."

In a similar vein may I suggest this 5 minute Bill Whittle video.

And just in case you have forgotten what the Tea Party is about:

Tea Party Difference

Click on the above image and learn how to spread it around.


Cross Posted at Classical Values

The Trap

The trap is simple: some really smart managers with really good tools can greatly reduce the "waste" of the system to the profit of all. That is the essence of communism, socialism, fascism and every kind of despotism known to man.

And don't forget envy. i.e. "Share the wealth"

F. A. Hayek in his nobel lecture entitled The Pretence of Knowledge discusses the error of the first assumption. About envy? I don't expect to see an end to it anytime soon. It may be a bug but it is also a feature.

The theory which has been guiding monetary and financial policy during the last thirty years, and which I contend is largely the product of such a mistaken conception of the proper scientific procedure, consists in the assertion that there exists a simple positive correlation between total employment and the size of the aggregate demand for goods and services; it leads to the belief that we can permanently assure full employment by maintaining total money expenditure at an appropriate level. Among the various theories advanced to account for extensive unemployment, this is probably the only one in support of which strong quantitative evidence can be adduced. I nevertheless regard it as fundamentally false, and to act upon it, as we now experience, as very harmful.
That sounds like it was written yesterday. It was actually presented in December of 1974.

Then he lights into the notion that government spending can cure mal distribution of resources.
Let me illustrate this by a brief sketch of what I regard as the chief actual cause of extensive unemployment - an account which will also explain why such unemployment cannot be lastingly cured by the inflationary policies recommended by the now fashionable theory. This correct explanation appears to me to be the existence of discrepancies between the distribution of demand among the different goods and services and the allocation of labour and other resources among the production of those outputs. We possess a fairly good "qualitative" knowledge of the forces by which a correspondence between demand and supply in the different sectors of the economic system is brought about, of the conditions under which it will be achieved, and of the factors likely to prevent such an adjustment. The separate steps in the account of this process rely on facts of everyday experience, and few who take the trouble to follow the argument will question the validity of the factual assumptions, or the logical correctness of the conclusions drawn from them. We have indeed good reason to believe that unemployment indicates that the structure of relative prices and wages has been distorted (usually by monopolistic or governmental price fixing), and that to restore equality between the demand and the supply of labour in all sectors changes of relative prices and some transfers of labour will be necessary.
I didn't know he was a Tea Party guy.

He goes on at length as is the custom of worthy Nobel recipients. But let me give you the short version alluded to above. There is no way by general rules to obtain an optimum general functioning of a machine with 300 million pieces which are only loosely constrained by the rules imposed. In other words it is impossible to figure out the right general rules (beyond a very limited set). i.e. "subsidize here and limit investment there" can't work. OK. Suppose you tell the 300 million exactly what to do and give them each detailed instructions. Who is going to write those instructions - every day. How will you co-ordinate the necessary adaptations? An ice storm in Florida. A tornado in Nebraska. An earthquake in Missouri? And what if the predicted ice storm doesn't happen.

So macro policies are inefficient at best and micro policies are impossible. What does that leave?

Liberty is the best way for economies to adjust. The more government encourages monopoly the worse the outcome. Government Motors? Crisis Motors? Bank takeovers. Green jobs? It is not going to work well. In fact it may well work in reverse.

Well Congress spends the money. I think we need a new one.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Waiting While Topless

It seems that there are no laws in Maine against women going topless. A Cafe in Main features topless waitresses. The video at the site is Not Safe For Work but it is also a sociological study so it has redeeming social value. Just in case your local prosecutor should ask.

What made me go out and find that story? This story about some women from Portland, Maine who didn't want to be noticed for going topless. Are they nuts? Well nuts is not exactly the right word. It'll come to me. Maybe.

H/T Instapundit frequently links to his wife (Dr. Helen) and this is no exception. I would too if my mate had a blog. Just the keep the peace. You know how it goes. No peace. No........... I forget. Maybe it'll come to me.

Anyway for women with a liberal outlook on life but who don't understand profit, this book might help:

Topless Prophet: The True Story of America's Most Successful Gentleman's Club Entrepreneur

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Rockford Tea Party Pictures 6 April '10



About 1,000 people at Davis Park as we arrive:



A view of the Rock River. The day started out cloudy.



As the day went on it got sunnier and the crowd got larger. At the peak I'd say there were 2,000 to 3,000 people in attendance. The organizers predicted 1,000.



An old friend of mine from my Libertarian Party days:



The crowd has definitely gotten larger.



I liked This Sign:



The other side of the sign:



One of the Bikers that escorted the Tea Party Buses to the park. The gentleman is a Marine Corps Veteran.



A good time was had by all.

And don't forget:

Tea Party Difference


Click on the above image and learn how to spread it around.

Update: 6 Apr '10 2352z

Here is a video by Bill Whittle on what the Tea Party is about and what you should do. About 4 1/2 minutes and well worth your time. And the video pretty much explains what today's rally was about and what it was like and he wasn't even there. And in line with what Bill suggests (go to a Tea Party), I like Tea Party Patriots for information. There are other places. Find one you like and keep in touch.

Further update: 7 Apr '10 0024z

I got this link for a series of April 15th rallies in Illinois at today's gathering: illinoistea.org.

20,000 vs 100

Harry Reid is having a very bad month. After 20,000 showed up in Seachlight, Nevada for the Throw The Bums (including Harry) Out Tour, Harry was only able to get 100 people to come to his rally. That is no typo. Let me spell it out. One hundred.

SEARCHLIGHT-- U.S. Sen. Harry Reid launched his re-election campaign Monday with a sentimental send-off from his hometown of Searchlight, cheered on by more than 100 close supporters.
OK. So it could have been more than 100. It could have been 102 or 103. No mention of whether pets and reporters were counted.

And thanks to Instapundit I found more bad news for Harry.
A new state poll of Nevadans out Monday from Rasmussen Reports confirms what has become increasingly clear in recent weeks: American voters are angry about numerous things and their prime targets of opportunity in 2010 are incumbents.

According to the new poll, fully 62% of Nevadans think it would be a good thing if most incumbents up for reelection across these United States lost this coming November.

An identical 62% of Nevadans also think it would be a good thing if President Obama's recently signed healthcare legislation was repealed; that figure is slightly higher than the national repeal rate.

Unfortunately for Nevada's five-term, 70-year-old senior Sen. Harry Reid, he is not only an....

... incumbent up for reelection this year, he was one of the top driving forces behind Obama's unpopular healthcare legislation. It appears he's going to need those millions from two Obama fundraisers in-state.

In an interview to be broadcast on Fox News on Monday night, Reid sounded defiant, mocking Republican Sarah Palin's speech at a recent tea party in Reid's hometown: "I was going to give a few remarks on the people who were over here a week ago Saturday, but I couldn't find it written all over my hands."

Palin had vowed to thousands of supporters: "We're sending a message to Washington. It's loud and it's clear, and in these upcoming elections we're saying that the big-government, big-debt, Obama-Pelosi-Reid spending spree is over. You're fired.
It looks to me like Harry will be retiring in Jan. '11. I hope he finds the joys of involuntary retirement as attractive as millions of other Americans do. i.e. painful as hell. But all is not gloom and doom for Harry. He has his government pension to look forward to. Which is something most Americans will be paying for until the day he dies. But I look on the bright side. It is cheaper than having him in Congress.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Tea Party Coming To Rockford and Madison

Do you recall my recent Report From Omaha? I reported on the Tea Party Express Bus Tour's stop in Omaha. On April 6th they will be coming to Davenport, Iowa and Rockford, Illinois and Madison, Wisconsin. Here are the details for Rockford.

Rockford, IL

Date/Time:

Tuesday, April 6th at 2:30 pm

Rally Location:
Davis Park
329 South Wyman
Rockford, IL
You can find maps at the links if you are unfamiliar with the area. Barring unforeseen events I plan to be there.

The Rockford Register Star has a story.
David Hale, coordinator of the Rockford Tea Party, said he expects about 1,000 people to show up for the Rockford rally, which begins at 1 p.m.

“This is a patriotic, musical, speaking show, really,” Hale said. “This is a movement that’s really fresh.”

A slate of conservative speakers will take to the stage. Scheduled speakers include Adam Andrzejewski, former candidate for Illinois governor; National Taxpayers United of Illinois President Jim Tobin; and Joe Walsh, a candidate for the Illinois 8th Congressional District.

The Tea Party Express bus will arrive at 2:30 p.m.

In an e-mail to Rockford Tea Party members, Hale encouraged people to bring signs and said there could be national media coverage of the downtown Rockford rally.

“Make signs with honest and heartfelt slogans. No Obama Hitler Signs please. Please make signs. They are one of the best parts of having a Tea Party,” Hale wrote. “If you think Obama is a communist, that’s another story. I doubt anyone will get mad about that.”

Asked why he thought it necessary to suggest the kinds of signs, Hale said the key for the movement is to stay on the party’s message of limited taxes, fiscal responsibility and adherence to the U.S. Constitution.
David Hale has a page at Tea Party Patriots. You can sign up with your local Tea Party Patriot group at Tea Party Patriot Sign-Up.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Sustainability

So I'm looking at a bunch of links about sustainability and I come across this link to a Huffington Post article. As usual I have some points to make:

The Sun is going to burn out in a billion years or three. Nothing is sustainable.

There are 746,712,500,000 metric tons of Earth for each inhabitant. (assuming 8 billion) do you think that will be enough?

When people start talking about Lebensraum ugly things start to happen. Not all at once but over time. The sustainable people start doing nasty things to the unsustainable people. Just to hurry things along. Or to slow things down. Depending.

A Layman's Explanation Of Polywell



You can get the Physicist's explanation at: Bussard's IEC Fusion Technology (Polywell Fusion) Explained

Found at Maggie's Farm

H/T Jccarlton at Talk Polywell

Cross Posted at Classical Values