Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What the heck is Net Neutrality?!



John and I were talking over dinner last night and realized, we both have very vague ideas about what the heck net neutrality is and does, and why we need it in the first place... we both hit all the main points and understood what the bill is meant to do, but had different feelings about the whole thing. We both felt fairly "neutral" about the whole thing, it seems to be a fairly harmless bill to prevent a non-existent problem, so whats the big fuss?!



Here is the basic arguments for net neutrality (from the ACLU), It's the "We must prevent future problems that may or may not happen, because so far the internet is awesome and we do not want that to change!!" argument. I totally agree. The internet is awesome and we would like to keep it that way, so lets keep things going with the free market solutions that have kept it that way so far, and worry about correcting market failures if there ever is actually evidence that the market has failed us and our freedoms.

It's not like people's lives are at stake if some bastard company slows a customer's connection speed or blocks a website, but rather an area that has been successfully been kept in check by the free market of the internet up to this point. If the things that the net neutrality proponents actually do start to happen, then we can talk, but for now I think we are alright with our regulation-free wild, wild west environment of the internet and it seems to suit us just fine. One thing that both sides of the 'net neutrality' argument seem to agree on is... the internet is freaking awesome and we would like to keep it that way!

I just don't understand how allowing the government to enter into regulation of the internet helps to keep it the same as it always has been, rather it seems to open the door for some huge changes. I would like to keep the political pressures of lobbyists and special interests away from my internet, thank you very much!!!

As far as I can tell, this is a regulatory measure that seems relatively harmless and does pretty much nothing. It is just the government kicking the door open to further regulation and claiming its territory over the internet. It's kind of like an animal marking it's territory... it is relatively harmless other than the fact that it tells you that the animal is planning on coming back again.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Five great things about the green movement... from a skeptic.

So, I don't think it's any secret that I am not a huge supporter of the green-movement inspired legislation of carbon trading, cap and trade.. I don't believe in the catastrophic predictions of human-caused global warming. I am not even all that sold on recycling, even though I do recycle metal cans, plastic and glass. (There are high enough efficiencies in recycling these materials, especially the cans, that warrant my efforts. It really bugs me to picture people working in mines to obtain metal for the cans that I would just throw away. I don't know how they do it!) That said, I think there are some great things that have come from the green movement that has resulted from the alarmist warnings of global calamity...

First, Reusable bags. You don't have to think that humans are destroying the world to appreciate garbage minimization. I LOVE my Envirosax!! They go everywhere with me. Now I can shop at Aldi/Save-a-lot without worrying about the bags (They are super cheap grocery stores that do not have bags unless you purchase them. Also, you have to insert a quarter to unlock a cart, so they do not have to hire people to gather carts form the parking lot at night. The parking lot stays clean with everyone returning their carts to save their quarters!) I save so much money shopping there because my Envirosax make it so convenient! Last week I spent $67 on groceries for a family of five!


Second, alternative energy sources in the home. Because of the green movement there are many homes that now have energy when the power goes out due to installations of wind turbines and solar panels. I love being self-reliant... I am not yet, but some people are, and that is awesome! (My wood stove is sitting in the garage, not hooked up in the least, but it is on my 'to do' list on my chalk board in the kitchen.)

Solar shingles

Third, greater energy efficiency. Due to the whole global warming thing, people have become self-motivated to insulate their houses, get better windows, etc. Even though I am not worried about carbon emissions in the least, I am a cheapskate who likes to keep warm, and people will stay warmer for less effort and money with better insulated houses.

Fourth, I think the bike thing is kinda cool, as long as it is not enforced legislatively. I love riding bikes, I like the new bike paths and do not mind community tax dollars (as long as they are coming from that specific community) to pay for these paths. It is just fun! Even though you are still zipping past everything at a good pace, it makes life seem so much more real than when I stare at it out of a car window. I still have not ridden to Kroger with the kids. It is right down the street, but bikes have very little space for groceries. I need an SUV bicycle.



Fifthly, if that's even a word...Gardening is cool again!!! There are many people that now know how to garden that did not know how in recent years. This is awesome! I love gardens and gardening. I think it is good for the soul. I don't know why. Also, if the world does go to crap and things get too expensive for any reason, maybe the green movement will have helped us to be more self-reliant and not totally lost, starving and dying of hunger if things get a little rocky.


With our bikes, wood stoves, gardens, envirosax and solar-shingles, we should be good to go!!! Even though I freakin' hate the legislation and alarmism that has come from global warming theorists, I do like the self-reliant spirit that it has inspired in many. It has helped wake up the survivalist in all of us and instill a sense of responsibility to keep our environment clean, which I think we all agree on.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Too much stuff!!! ...and yet I still want more.

"Frugality is good, if liberality be joined with it. The first is leaving off superfluous expenses; the last bestowing them to the benefit of others that need. The first without the last begets covetousness; the last without the first begets prodigality. Both together make an excellent temper. Happy the place where that is found."
-William Penn

"We make ourselves rich by making our wants few."
-Henry David Thoreau

"In a consumer society, there are inevitably two kinds of slaves: the prisoners of addiction and the prisoners of envy."
-Ivan Illich

"Be not made a beggar by banqueting upon borrowing."
-Ecclesiaticus 18:33 (Apocrypha)

"Our houses are such unwieldy property that we are often imprisoned rather than housed by them."
-Henry David Thoreau

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wanna ride?

Found this gem at a local park. Oh man, that's creepy!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Economics: Not just money

John had a professor at CMU back in the day, who was the best Economics professor ever, from the sounds of it. He pointed out that economics is not just about money. Wealth is not the only motivator that enters into people's decision-making processes!

His list of motivators were Truth, Wealth and Honor.
I have to get in touch with this guy at some point and have him lay it out for me. This is a much more complete list than the usual monetary view of economics.

Economics is the mechanics of the world. It is the science behind why we do the things we do, and the fools try to pretend that they can create
some math equation to explain it. It encompasses psychology, finance, land usage, etc.. The reality is, people are way more complicated than a math equation. Economic planning is futile! You would think after the equations fail for so long and the prediction so far off each month, that they would ditch the equations after a time, but they just keep juggling, modifying and recycling their equations and hoping it will work the next time around! Isn't this the definition of insanity?

The best planning a planning commission can do stops after they release the chains. The rest will be taken care of with laws of morality, and are not to be lifted even for the most elite of citizens. That is our greatest problem, the laws do not apply equally to all. Then when one of the 'exempt' gets caught, the rest of us get slapped with more laws that the 'exempt' will navigate around anyways.

Oh man, I totally took this one on a ranting tangent... I am very susceptible to tangents!
As F.A.Hayek has said, "The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design."

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Articles

Economics Is Not Just About Money - Economics Is About Resources Of All Types


There is a common public misconception that Economics is about money and finance. This is absolutely not true. While there are certainly monetary elements present amid Economic Study, the discipline of Economics is about the best possible uses of resources of all types, whether they be land, labor, capital, time, technology, equipment, natural resources, or anything else. The terms supply and demand are familiar to us all.

**(While this is true, this article does not hit upon the totality of economics. It still is limited to efficiency as the major motivator of decision-making. Often times the dynamics of human relationships, religion and morality overrule a person's motivation to be efficient or financially better off, and play a much larger role in their decision-making process.)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Cheapskates Unite!! Let's hit those sales!

Cotton, corn and oil prices are going through the roof, but the prices have not yet hit the sales shelves!!! The rising prices are a result of our weakening dollar, and they are only going to get worse from here. They have only just begun, and on everything! Can you think of ANYTHING that does NOT involve cotton, corn or oil in some way? (Hint: everything must be driven to your local store, and most animals eat corn.)

You have probably heard of all the "quantitative easing" (aka money printing!!) that the fed is doing these days. These two events are not unrelated.
Quantitative easing weakens the dollar (prints money, increasing the amount of dollars in the market, and decreases the value of each dollar) and results in higher prices. In other words, inflation.

So, what do we do when we know prices are going up? Stock up now!!

Here is the fun part... everything you buy now is effectively on sale!! Especially this week, since it is the week of Thanksgiving, everything is literally on sale!

You don't want to take these truths and stock up on purses and perfume. You want this information so you can stock up on the essentials! I am talking food and clothes. If there is anything you know you will need in the future, buy it now! If it is non-perishable,it is in your best interest to go grocery shopping for the entire year and buy kids clothes for them to grow into.. coats, shoes, basics. It's all cheaper now than when you are going to actually need it. So hit those sales and go get those black Friday specials, and try to stay away from that half-off big screen that is screaming your name, because stuff is about to get really expensive out there, you are going to need that cash!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Guilty Pleasure of the Week: Ron Paul

Article

Bernanke's worst nightmare: Ron Paul

Ben Bernanke has had his hands full since his first day on the job as Federal Reserve chairman nearly five years ago. It's about to get even tougher.

His harshest critic on Capitol Hill, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, is about to become one of his overseers.

Paul, who would like to abolish the Fed and the nation's current monetary system, will become the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy.

f you've never heard of the committee before, you're not alone. But Paul promises you'll be hearing a lot more from it.

"It's basically been a committee that's dealt with commemorative coins. I'm going to deal with monetary policy," he said.

To this I throw my head back, grab my belly and exclaim, "Bwahahahahahaha!!!!"

Thursday, November 4, 2010

We're doing it!!

I just registered for the Robby Dawkins Conference at the Vineyard Church of North Grands Rapids!! I am pretty excited about this!! We were shown this clip at church a couple months ago and I am really excited about what simple Love looks like when put into action. Unfortunately many churches portray a bit of condemnation rather than follow the biggest commandment we were given, love!!



Last night that fact kinda hit me. A friend of mine was telling me how her son has always felt the desire to be a youth pastor, and after a youth pastor internship he was turned off by the legalism and condemnation he felt. He has been wandering ever since. I realized how many people have turned from God and His church due to the concentration on legalism and condemnation that many churches portray, and how complicated it is sometimes to keep simple. Jesus came to remove condemnation and for the forgiveness of our sins, and we just keep insisting on concentrating on sinfulness and condemning people.

God's message to Robby was, "Keep it simple, love them, and let Me change them!" We always think it is our job to change the sinners, but it is not! We do not have to praise the sin, but others sin is not an excuse to turn them away from God or think that they are a lost cause. God is not deterred by our sin or unbelief, He knows how to handle it!

Love is the greatest commandment we have been given, and we have a hard time keeping it that simple. Our human nature is drawn to rules. Tell us what to do! Tell us what not to do! Give us something to do! ...And all we are told to do is believe the gospel and love! The simplicity leaves us scrambling and confused, and God keeps having to drag us back! Keep it simple!

Thank you to the Nelsons for watching the kids while we are away! It's an overnighter!

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Also, we are going to a Ben Folds Concert this weekend with our dear friends, the Shavers. Thank you Pasqualis for watching the kids for Saturday night! Wow! Two weekends in a row! Luxurious!!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Toddler Survives!!!

Dude, this is so the best story of the day!!!
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Toddler survives seven-floor fall in France

Toddler survives seven-floor fall in France AFP – A view of the building from which a 18 month-old child fell from the 7th floor the day before, bouncing …

PARIS (AFP) – An 18-month-old boy survived after falling seven floors and bouncing off a Paris cafe awning into the arms of a passer-by, witnesses said Tuesday.

"My son saw a little boy on a balcony. He had gone right outside the railing... I said to myself I mustn't miss him," the toddler's saviour, local doctor Philippe Bensignor, told AFP, recounting Monday's drama.

"I had time to move from side to side to get in the right position," he added. "The little boy was fine. He cried a little bit but calmed down straightaway."

An official involved in investigating the incident said the boy had been left alone in the family apartment in northern Paris with his sister by their parents, who were taken into custody afterwards.

"It's a real miracle," said the cafe's barman, who gave his name as Gaby, pointing to a small tear in the awning where the toddler bounced off.

"We were closed yesterday but the mechanical device for closing the awning wasn't working."

Monday, November 1, 2010

Attack ads circa 1800

A hilarious look at our rich American history of attack ads...
you "Hatchet-faced nutmeg dealer!"

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What's up with depopulation?

I have been hearing a lot about depopulation in recent years... from influential supporters to the last DVD of my Discovery Earth DVD set. Yeah, I couldn't watch the last one. The rest were great, but the last one was all about agenda, and part of that agenda was depopulation.

I am always surprised at the support for this sort of idea.





The "No!!! Not you too!!" List...

“In order to stabilize world population, we must eliminate 350,000 people per day. It is a horrible thing to say, but it is just as bad not to say it.”

- Jacques Cousteau, 1991 explorer and UNESCO courier


“I believe that human overpopulation is the fundamental problem on Earth Today” [and] “We humans have become a disease, the Humanpox.”

- Dave Foreman, Sierra Club, co founder of Earth First!


“We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population.”

- Margaret Sanger (founder of Planned Parenthood/ abortionist)


“Society has no business to permit degenerates to reproduce their kind”

- Theodore Roosevelt


“If I were reincarnated I would wish to be returned to earth as a killer virus to lower human population levels.”

- Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, leader of the World Wildlife Fund


“A total population of 250-300 million people, a 95% decline from present levels, would be ideal”

- Ted Turner, founder of CNN.


“The most merciful thing that a family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.”

- Margaret Sanger

“Eugenic sterilization is an urgent need … We must prevent multiplication of this bad stock.”

- Margaret Sanger

“Eugenics is… the most adequate and thorough avenue to the solution of racial, political and social problems.”

- Margaret Sanger


“I wish very much that the wrong people could be prevented entirely from breeding”

- Theodore Roosevelt

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Surprising consequences of Minimum Wage

It is tempting to think that the minimum wage is a wonderful thing. It increases the size of our paychecks and helps alleviate poverty, right?! But, just because we say it is so, does it make it so? Proponents of the minimum wage often acknowledge the power of the market when it comes to price determination of products, but many fail to realize that the market powers are just as real when it comes to the price of labor... and when you artificially manipulate markets, there are always unintended consequences.

Many economic planners think they can solve a problem by legislating it away. People's paychecks too small? Minimum wage! Lack of health insurance? Make it illegal to be uninsured! Now Timothy Geithner has a problem with our huge trade deficit, and he is planning to go to the G-20 and legislate it away! All of this legislation is implemented with a fundamental misunderstanding of why the problems exist in the first place!

Tim Giethner seeks to set world 'guidelines' to achieve more 'balanced global growth'. He is worried about our 'unsustainable' trade deficit. To think that you can just declare what a nation's trade deficit is going to be through new magic guidelines is a fundamental misunderstanding of economics, and is protectionism at its worst. A trade deficit is a result of transactions and marketplace decisions. It is a symptom, not a cause. If you want to effect trade deficits, you do not mandate trade deficits. You looks at the policies that cause those trade deficits.... minimum wage rate anyone?!

Nations do not trade, people trade. The deficit or surplus is a snapshot of the aggregate of those transactions. If you want to lower our trade deficit and allow us to be more globally competitive, lower our minimum wage!! Reduce our subsidies, tariffs, welfare, unemployment... All of these are effecting our international trade. Now, before you call me absolutely heartless, hear me out!

As a result of global competition, businesses now have access to cheaper labor worldwide. As a result, the market value of the wage rate worldwide is reduced. Due to our minimum wage rate laws, our market is not able to adjust to these changes. When our wage markets cannot adjust to the market rates due to legislation, businesses move the jobs overseas, where the wages are less.

Do not worry... global competition does not mean that wages will fall forever, just until they reach a market equilibrium. The perks of free trade and globalization is that the prices of goods also fall. In America, we readily accept the lower priced goods, but resist the fall in wages. We have been fortunate to have created many higher wage jobs, mostly in the service sector that need local employees. We may have hit a wall in this direction as more people cut back on the luxuries of the service sector. You can only avoid reality for so long.

Our current minimum wage rate law is moving our jobs overseas, and therefore moving our production overseas. Since everything is produced overseas, the manufacturing industry here is dying. When industry moves over seas, everything is produced overseas. Because of this we have to import all our goods, resulting in a huge trade deficit. It is really that simple.

As long as we have people willing to work in these jobs, at the lower wages, which is debatable, the manufacturing in America would thrive. But our markets have not been given a chance. It may be the case that the jobs and industry would have left anyways, due to the American labor market not willing to supply their labor at lower market rates, but we will never know. This opportunity has been made illegal due to minimum wage legislation.

Two of the government market manipulations that create an unwillingness to work in these lower wage positions are unemployment benefits and welfare. These policies create an effective minimum wage, without actually having to create one. As long as people can receive a paycheck without working, it will be an option that will enter into their cost-benefit analysis before accepting a job. Example, if I know that I could make $200 a week on welfare or unemployment benefits, that would be a strong incentive not to take the job that would pay me $250 a week to make Levi's jean. I may be willing to give up that extra $50 for 40 hours of my time.

Another area effecting trade, which is much more obvious, are tariffs and national trade policy. Protectionist policies are very tempting in a recession, and I fear that this is where Geithner is tempted to go.



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Article

Geithner's Goal: Rebalanced World Economy

Mr. Geithner said the world sorely needs to agree on guidelines for exchange-rate policy. "Right now, there is no established sense of what's fair," he said.

He also said the U.S. is pressing the Group of 20 industrial and developing nations to adopt numerical gauges to judge whether individual trade surpluses or deficits are "sustainable," a way to measure progress towards the goal of more balanced global growth.


From my email

I just found your pro/con minimum wage arguments... love it!

I have one more for the pro side:

Trade deficit reduction- minimum wage laws cause jobs to move over seas seeking cheaper labor and causing the death of the manufacturing industry in the USA. Result: We do not produce anything in the states anymore and we must import most of our goods, resulting in a steep trade deficit. Global competition is driving down the dollar value of manufacturing jobs and the minimum wage laws are limiting how our employment market can respond to these changes.
[Article: The U.S. Trade deficit: are we trading away our future?]

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A good book

I just finished a really good book. It is about a four year old little boy with a bum appendix. He had to undergo surgery and almost (did?) died. While he was in surgery he saw some amazing things. In the months and years following his hospital visit, he reveals to his family (in bits and pieces) that he had seen heaven. It is so charming and strange to read of the testimonies of this little child and realize the reality of heaven, and that it is a real place with real people we will see some day.

One of the sweetest things was little Colton (the four year old boy) meeting his sister in heaven he did not know he had. (His family had a miscarriage before he was born)

Oh, and he has become a bit of a critic of Jesus artworks. There is not a picture or painting of Jesus that has satisfied him, until he saw the painting by Akaine Kramarik, another little child who says she has been given visions of heaven. When he saw this painting, his parents asked him, "Ok Colton.. what's wrong with this one?" Colton replied, "Dad, that one's right."

Detroit

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Has money corrupted science?

US physics professor: 'Global warming is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life' (link to letter)

(excerpt)...Some have held that the physicists of today are not as smart as they used to be, but I don't think that is an issue. I think it is the money, exactly what Eisenhower warned about a half-century ago. There are indeed trillions of dollars involved, to say nothing of the fame and glory (and frequent trips to exotic islands) that go with being a member of the club. Your own Physics Department (of which you are chairman) would lose millions a year if the global warming bubble burst...

Exemptions vs. Equality under the law


As in most legislation, there are intended consequences. When you manipulate the marketplace, it is hard to predict what the ripples will effect, but the ripples that the new health care bill has created are already staring to reveal themselves, and were not a surprise to many detractors that were sounding the alarms during the debates.

McDonald's announced in late September that it was going to drop health coverage for it's workers due to increased costs created by the new health care regulations. Since then, they have received an exemption from the law, as well as 29 other businesses and teacher unions.

Instead of acknowledging the failures of a policy, legislators provide exemptions to the law. A law is very rarely repealed when it does not work as planned, instead of repeal, the legislators choose to create new legislation to address each of the unintended consequences, resulting in a very complicated and viscous cycle of legislation.

Our Governor, Jennifer Granholm does the same in Michigan when she is forced to face the reality of the unintended consequences of her policies. She never repeals those policies, instead she provides exemptions.

Exemptions fly in the face of equal justice and create an environment in which each individual is subject to different laws. She acknowledges that businesses are drawn to Michigan when their taxes are lowered, but has a huge spending habit and a distaste for across the board tax cuts. Instead of lowering taxes, she approaches each individual company and offers them each their own tax bribe. This results in a few businesses choosing Michigan, only after she incurs a huge monetary cost and time investment to seduce these companies into our state.

Why create the need for individual deals, exemptions and negotiations rather than repealing the cause of our economic illness? Why does our government insist on treating the symptom rather than cure the disease? I argue it is pure pride and human nature... People do not like to admit failure!! Instead they seek to make it illegal and immoral to react to the marketplace incentives they create, or they carve out personal exemptions.

Jennifer Granholm also views each of these tax credits, ironically, as lost revenue, when in reality, each dollar she receives is greater than the zero amount she would get if they were not here at all, which would be the reality if the bribes were not offered or accepted. Instead of gratitude and appreciation, the reward these businesses receive for creating jobs in Michigan is constant threat from our state government that their negotiated tax 'deals' will be taken away.

If she were to create an environment that was equally attractive for all business, then businesses would flood into the state without the time and money she needs to travel and set up meeting with each business's board of directors, etc. They would "magically" appear all on their own.

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Businesses are often demonized for completely legal responses to market incentives, one of the most common is moving jobs overseas. Jobs moving overseas are just a symptom of market incentives created by legislation. So, who is the bad guy? Who needs correcting? The businesses or the laws, or both? This concept will be further discussed in a post regarding the unintended consequences of the minimum wage.

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Also, here is an article that is completely off-topic

Demystifying Deflation

Before you hail the Fed and Uncle Sam as our economic saviors, there are two things you should understand about the wrenching deflation we face: 1) The conditions which make us ripe for a severe deflation were caused by the very institutions that now propose to save us from it, and 2) it is the lesser of two evils.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Reason Magazine: October 2010


Articles

Austerity Agonistes

Why left-wing economists’ warnings against austerity programs are wrong


...surveying the data of 44 large fiscal adjustments across the globe since 1975, concluded in a 2010 report that cutting annual spending by 1 percent triggers a net 0.6 percent in economic growth. As we will see below, this is a good deal compared to the $1.10 reduction in GDP we get for each $1 spent by the government to stimulate the economy.

...in the best-case scenario, a dollar of government spending produces much less than a dollar in economic growth—between 40 and 70 cents.

...for every $1 in tax-financed spending, the economy actually shrinks by $1.10. In other words, greater spending financed by tax increases damages the economy.

...the total number of jobs the government attributed to stimulus spending as of April was 682,000. Factoring in stimulus dollars spent up to that point, the average cost of these jobs was $282,000. That’s a lot of money. Worse, four-fifths of these jobs were in the public sector. This outcome is far afield from the administration’s original promise that the stimulus would create 3.5 million jobs over two years, 90 percent of them in the private sector.

...on average, the creation of 100 public jobs eliminated about 150 private-sector jobs, decreased by a slight margin overall labor market participation, and increased by about 33 the number of unemployed workers. Their explanation was that public employment crowds out private employment and increases overall unemployment by offering comparatively attractive working conditions. Basically, public jobs, especially ones that also exist in the private sector in fields such as transportation and education, offer higher wages and benefits, require low effort, and therefore crowd out many private jobs. When these new employees are paid with taxes it negatively impacts the economy.

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Got an Environmental Catastrophe?

Blame the government.


The first question you should ask when you see environmental misbehavior is: What is the government doing that encourages people to act that way?

Quantitative Easing?!.... don't call it inflation!!


This morning I woke up to NPR morning edition talking about quantitative easing. So, what is quantitative easing? Long definition short, printing money.

As NPR pointed out, this has not really been tried much before and no one knows if it works, but this is the only option the government has left to try. Stimulus was very lack luster, the interest rates are already at zero percent, and that's not working. So the only thing left to do is print money! Monetize the debt! Buy treasuries from banks and pay for them with money printed out of thin air (...and, of course, a little paper and linen... and a lot of pixie dust). To NPR's credit, they laid out two options, they either try quantitative easing, or do nothing (praying..."please do nothing, please do nothing!!) This is the only thing government can do (actually the Fed) without consulting the congress or the public. We or our representatives have absolutely no say in this! (That's not shady at all!)

Does this result in a back door bailout for banks? Yes!! The banks get a ton of debt taken off of their records.

Does this result in lower national debt? No, the debt is just transferred to the fed!

Does this increase the money supply? Absolutely!! It is a fancy term for INFLATION!!! This is the one term I was waiting for in NPR's reporting, but they never said it. This is the dirty word of the day that the Feds do not want you to say! Inflation, inflation, inflation!!!

There is no proof that increasing the money supply increases wealth, what it does is devalue the currency! The only thing this helps is debt burden. Sure, your cost of living will go up. Inflationary policy rewards those with massive debt burdens lighten the burden of their debt, but punishes savings by devaluing each dollar saved. In short, if you are financially responsible you are screwed.. this rewards the irresponsible big spenders. The biggest and most irresponsible being our government (and financial sector).

Our government is under serious pressure to decrease our debt burden. The world market is threatening to abandon the dollar as the world currency due to our irresponsible national debt. What would happen if they abandon the dollar? Well, basic supply-demand tells us that it would result in inflation! It would result in a plummet of demand, dollars flooding the market as everyone unloads their currency, and a glut in supply. The value of the dollar plummets and inflation in prices soar.... (this might be a good time to trade in your US currency for some Canadian dollars. Later you can cash them in after the storm.)

So how do we ward off the world abandoning the dollar and inflation at home? Cut spending, cut spending, cut spending!!! There is some truth that this would result in further pain, but it is short term pain for long term gain. This would result in deflation. This is true. But deflation would be healthy at this point, and there are thing you can do to shorten the pain of deflation and kick start the economy. Our government is telling us they are out of options, but the real solutions lie in the options they are not willing to try!

To lessen the effects of deflation (which is the direction the markets want to go and is why government intervention is not working, they are fighting against the market) you can cut regulation, release the chains, cut government spending, and cut taxes when and where we can... but tax cuts may not be possible, as we have a large debt hole to dig ourselves out of. These methods are all very popular among the public right now, but getting government to listen is a whole other story. Government, just as individual citizens, do not like to give up money or power once they have had a taste of it, and this would put more money and power back into the hands of the citizens!!

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Articles

QE Won’t Work; Markets Won’t Care

“The bank sector remains weak,” he goes on, “and unable to increase lending to companies. There are dangers that further QE could lead to major new problems rather than leading to economic recovery.”

Then there are the curmudgeons at Capital Economics. They’re resolutely refusing to touch the QE Kool-Aid too.

“Quantitative easing provides commercial banks with an opportunity to lend more money. But it does not guarantee that they will. Banks may lack capital or be worried about the financial health of prospective borrowers. Or nobody may want to borrow money, even when interest rates are close to zero.”

Private vs. Federal Government Saving



Nearly 30 years ago, Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volker had to raise U.S. interest rates to 20% to combat inflation of 13.5%, following the stagflation of the 1970s.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What do we do with all those "Climate Deniers"?

NASA’s James Hansen has called for trials of climate skeptics in 2008 for “high crimes against humanity.” Environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. lashed out at skeptics of 2007 declaring “This is treason. And we need to start treating them as traitors”In 2009, RFK, Jr. also called coal companies “criminal enterprises” and declared CEO‘s ’should be in jail… for all of eternity.”

In June 2009, former Clinton Administration official Joe Romm defended a comment on his Climate Progress website warning skeptics would be strangled in their beds. “An entire generation will soon be ready to strangle you and your kind while you sleep in your beds,” stated the remarks, which Romm defended by calling them “not a threat, but a prediction.”

In 2006, the eco-magazine Grist called for Nuremberg-Style trials for skeptics. In 2008, Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki called for government leaders skeptical of global warming to be thrown “into jail.” In 2007, The Weather Channel’s climate expert called for withholding certification of skeptical meteorologists.

A 2008 report found that ‘climate blasphemy’ is replacing traditional religious blasphemy. In addition, a July 2007 Senate reportdetailed how skeptical scientists have faced threats and intimidation.

In 2007, then EPA Chief Vowed to Probe E-mail Threatening to ‘Destroy’ Career of Climate Skeptic and dissenters of warming fears have been called ‘Climate Criminals’ who are committing ‘Terracide’ (killing of Planet Earth) (July 25, 2007) In addition, in May 2009, Climate Depot Was Banned in Louisiana! See: State official sought to ‘shut down’ climate skeptic’s testimony at hearing.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Indonesia goes "John Galt"

Tired of the fiat national rupiah always losing value through inflation, some Indonesians are going "John Galt"! They are unhitching from the system and creating their own free market money. They have created the Gold Dinar and the Silver Dirham, and they seem pretty happy about it!



The dangers of disconnecting financial capitalism from the marketplace of reality.

When the dollar and the financial marketplace was based on the gold standard, it was backed by actual wealth and amount of gold in existence. Now that we have disconnected from the backing of gold, we can and have invented an unlimited source of currency, material and electronic, that is not backed by reality. We do not have a healthy version of financial capitalism, and the structure of the marketplace that our government has created has removed the natural checks that the marketplace usually uses to keep itself in a healthy balance.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Pick Your Poison...

"Our constitution was made for a moral and religious people; it is wholly inadequate for any other." -John Adams

"The less restraint shown from within the more must imposed from without." -Edmund Burke

I have long wondered... what the heck is fascism? I always pictured it pretty much like communism with a frowny face and wearing a military uniform.

(Post still in progress... busy reading about fascism)

Ok, I read a bit about fascism and apparently I am not the only one that has a problem placing it on the political spectrum. Rather than a particular world-view, the main similarity of fascist governments are their methods- creating national unity rallied behind a common enemy in response to a perceived threat to society, such as moral degradation by whatever means necessary, and totalitarian control... The ends justify the means! And the ends seems to be whatever the particular dictator thinks is the perfect society. For arguments sake, let's just consider it a right wing phenomenon, since that is usually where it is placed.

Anyway, the reason I was looking this up was not just some freak curiosity, but rather to help explain left -right politics a little bit and the dangers of big government on either side.

In our political parties today, we often see two big-government proponents arguing amongst themselves. Usually they spend most of their time ripping each other to shreds, and often these are the only times that they are telling the truth... One thing both the Nazis and Communists had right back in the 30's is that the other one sucked!!

There are extreme dangers of big government, whether left or right- civil liberties lost on the right, economic liberties lost on the left. Both our current administration and the previous one have taken away a little bit of both! They do not really seem to care which side of the political spectrum they grow on, as long as the direction is up!! (using the triangle graph above.)

Bush is infamous for the Patriot act and the wire taps, but also Medicare Part D and rampant spending and regulations!! Obama is infamous for Health care reform, big regulation, but also making the Patriot act permanent, continuing the wire taps and also passing the financial regulation bill will allow government access to your bank accounts.

Just as fascism, I have a hard time placing either of these political leaders on the left-right political spectrum.

I know Bush has always been characterized as extreme right, but I have a hard time placing him there based on the evidence. The only thing that could possibly place him on the right is his war-prone tendencies. Defense is about the only thing he was right-wing on at all, well... that and tax cuts. He was pro-amnesty for illegal immigrants, created medicare part D, and his daughter came out recently in support of the new health care bill and his wife is pro-gay marriage and abortion rights! He was a centrist big-government guy.

Now Obama, his friends seem to be leftist, but his policies just seem big all over the place. Big secrecy, big social programs, big business subsidies!

There are significant dangers of big government on either side of the political spectrum. The pressures we need to apply to our elected representatives these days is down, smaller is better. Whether left or right, we are far to close to the top of the triangle for comfort. We need to bring it back down, but the only way for our government to be able to scale down is for our society to become more self-sufficient.

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Articles

Religious Freedom and the First Amendment


... I, as an individual, choose to live by the teachings of Christianity and submit myself to the authority of God as the recognized Higher Authority... Now, if we, as a family, live in a community in which every individual and family has done as we have done, then a civil governance structure exists in which each chooses to live by the same moral and religious creed, respecting the rights of self and all others.

Under such a structure in which I choose to live by a moral and religious creed acceptable to the community, a limited form of government is all that is required as I, as an individual, and every other individual in the community, as well, have chosen to accept the responsibility of governing self according to a universally accepted moral and religious creed.

Now continue to build that structure from the community to the highest form of government and you have a nation of people, all living by the same moral and religious creed, establishing self-governance at every level, requiring a limited form of government to secure order, justice and liberty.

This is what John Adams referred to when he stated: "Our constitution was made for a moral and religious people; it is wholly inadequate for any other."

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Green peace?!

Now, as you are very likely well aware of, there is a huge debate going on over climate change/ Global warming/ Global climate disruption...etc. Not everyone is convinced of the scientific proof behind these theories or the severity of their predictions.

In fact, many scientists who acknowledge the theory that man can effect climate change strongly disagree on the alarmist predictions and destructiveness of that change. But, alarmist predictions get a lot more attention and a stronger reaction from the public. Some are even led to believe that the world as they know it will end if they do not seek immediate action, and it is leading to lots of anger. When people think that their life is at stake and they are not winning the debate for legislative action, how will they react? How far are they willing to go when they feel that their life in on the line? Apparently all the way...


Do not watch with kids!! Hint: they blow the "deniers" up!!

Top video created by the 10.10.10 movement, and the bottom created by Greenpeace.


Diversity of skin good, diversity of minds bad. Got it!

Libertarians like to repeatedly inform others that laws are always enforced at the point of a gun. If you refuse to follow the law, eventually the law must be enforced at the point of a gun. They like to say this to make you realize that when you make silly laws like "Do not sleep in your bathtub" (Detroit) you are advocating the arrest of anyone who falls asleep in their bathtub. Apparently the green movement is completely fine with this. They realize that laws are enforced at gunpoint, and they are not deterred by this fact.

As far as the global warming debate goes, silencing facts and arguments is not the way to go! There are too many questions and data-corruption behind this theory to ignore. The debate is going on, whether climate alarmist like it or not, and they are losing the debate. They are becoming defensive. They think their planet is at stake and some are becoming dangerously defensive!

Why do so many leftist movements end in death when the masses refuse to be "educated"? I thought they were proponents of "peace"!!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Freedom from Responsibility

In FDR's 1944 State of the Union Address, he laid out a Second Bill of Rights. It was essentially a bill of rights to free you from your responsibilities. Sounds good, right?!...

"The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;

The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

The right of every family to a decent home;

The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

The right to a good education."

Each one of these "rights" requires another to provide you your "right" through his or her labor. This redefines rights as something another MUST provide for you! What about the doctor? Teacher? Job provider? Not to mention the market forces that determine your wage rate and ability to provide you your paycheck. This was also called an "Economic Bill of Rights", but in this list, your rights are another mans chains! This this is so economically nonsensical, yet it's proponents have not gone away.

We have heard that "Health care is a Right" in the last health care bill debates, but this ignores the fact that one man's health care is another man's labor! Do you have the "right" to force another to work for you?! Is he subject to whatever you are willing or able to pay him? Do we still have the right to withhold our labor unless we agree to the monetary compensation we feel we are worth? ...Employment is just another free-market transaction, as long as we are economically free. It is a trade of products, labor for money.

If we decide that we need a car, do we have the "right" to a car or do we have the responsibility to obtain the finances to purchase that car? There are some who say we do have the right to that car, because cars are so central to our lifestyles. But think of the economic slavery this entails.

Many would be willing to trade the burden of their responsibilities for
the economic security of slavery. Sometimes our responsibilities can be a large burden to bare, but we must think of the alternative. And doesn't it come down to the golden rule?.. "Treat others as you would want to be treated." Would you like to be told what you are going to be paid and be forced to accept, or what customers you must serve and who you cannot? If so, maybe economic slavery is the way to go!

Glenn Beck actually had a pretty good segment on this topic....



But remember, as in actual historical examples of slavery, you may not have to worry whether you will eat or where you will sleep, but neither will you have much choice in the matter. ("Beggars can't be choosers!") And as always, slaves are subject to the kindness of their captors... And when your captor (and provider) is the government, who are you going to sue?

If you do not like my terminology, you may couch them in better language if you like... maybe instead of "economic slavery", you would rather call them "economic rights". It sounds much better!

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Speaking of the Bill of Rights...

Did you know that the Tenth Amendment is extreme?!..Oy



Ironically, the crowd that thinks we need a second bill of rights, seemingly to give us more rights, do not want us to exercise the rights given to us by the first one!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Economic Liberty... too old fashioned?!



"A point that a lot of liberals tend to ignore... is that the people who need constitutional protection for economic liberty the most are the poor and members of minority groups. It's not rich white guys who are driving taxi cabs. Unfortunately just about all the Supreme Court Justices are hostile to the idea of economic liberty,with the possible exception of Clarence Thomas."

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On another note...

I was just talking to John and found myself smiling at the thought of going into restaurants with my kids sans the old fashioned cloud of smoke hanging in the air. (Michigan just instituted a smoking ban in bars and restaurants last spring)

Apparently I am a very wish-washy Libertarian, because I do not think it is good idea to burn tires or cigarettes inside. Even if there were no health implications, both smell like sh*t.

I find it strange that it ever became socially acceptable to smoke indoors. Could you imagine being allowed to bring small tire shavings, or even incense, into a restaurant and set it on fire? ...even if it was in a nice little bowl? I am sure the owner would come over and put a stop to it promptly!... but that would be the owner of the property, not the government, setting the standard.

Restaurant owners were coming around and becoming smoke-free voluntarily, but the law definitely sped things up. Both the free market trend of smoke-free restaurants and the no-smoking law were responses to the opinion of the public at large. It often takes a movement among the people to create free-market or government responses.


Republicans deregulate?! ...Really?!

Graph from kick butt Reason article

And we wonder why the Bush tax cuts did not result in more job creation?! It was counter-acted by a regulatory spree!!! Sure, you can keep your money... but you can't do anything with it! ...Would you like some chains with your tax cut? That on top of huge spending that will result in the necessity of huge tax burdens in the future.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

It pays to be a lobbyist!!

(one of the strongest unintentional arguments for term limits)

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Article

The Market for ‘Pull’ on Capitol Hill

Economists can actually measure the value of insider connections:

[L]obbyists connected to US Senators suffer an average 24% drop in generated revenue when their previous employer leaves the Senate. The decrease in revenue is out of line with pre-existing trends, it is discontinuous around the period in which the connected Senator exits Congress and it persists in the long-term. … Measured in terms of median revenues per ex-staffer turned lobbyist, this estimate indicates that the exit of a Senator leads to approximately a $177,000 per year fall in revenues for each affiliated lobbyist.

The fall is steeper, the researchers find, when the departing member of Congress sat on a powerful committee such as Appropriations, Senate Finance, or (on the House side) Ways and Means. Lobbyists who are ex-staffers are also more likely to quit the lobbying business once “their” member departs office. Incidentally, actual per-lobbyist revenue is lower than you might assume from the above figures, because many lobbying contracts are shared out among several participants with each individual getting only a portion of the proceeds. (Jordi Blanes i Vidal, Mirko Draca, and Christian Fons-Rosen, “Revolving Door Lobbyists,” via Alex Tabarrok).

If you needed another reason to vote against that unsatisfactory incumbent this fall, reflect that by doing so you’ll also be dimming the stars of his or her unsatisfactory ex-staffers.

481 degrees in Escanaba?!

What's up with that?!... That's funny! I don't remember it being 481 degrees this fourth of July!!!

The web pages at the center of this latest climate storm were created by NOAA in partnership with Michigan State University.
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Articles

Official records have been confirmed as evidence that a handful of temperature records for the Great Lakes region have been hiked up by literally hundreds of degrees to substantially inflate the average temperature range for the northeastern United States.

The tax-payer funded National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has become mired in fresh global warming data scandal involving numbers for the Great Lakes region that substantially ramp up averages.

Massive New Global Warming Scandal NOAA
A beleaguered federal agency appears to be implicated in the most blatant and extreme case of climate data fraud yet seen. Official records have been confirmed as evidence that a handful of temperature records for the Great Lakes region have been hiked up by literally hundreds of degrees to substantially inflate the average temperature range for the northeastern United States.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Consumer Reports vs the FDA

If Consumer Reports (a free market watchdog for product safety and quality) had the track record of the FDA, they would have been out of business a long time ago!!!!

The FDA is not subject to the market forces of public opinion because it is a government instituted monopoly. If it were a private free-market venture, it's terrible reputation and track record on public safety would have destroyed it a long time ago.

Many cases of corruption have been documented, and their inspectors proven less than competent (recent egg recall). Special interests hired and put on the payroll, creating a conflict of interests that endanger the health of every American. Non-fermented Soy and Canola oil are only two examples of failures of the FDA, causing the safety of our food supply and pharmaceutical products to fall well behind that of other nations.

Also, the FDA is becoming known for restricting products from the market for reasons far removed from product safety, but rather special interest pandering or consistently
enforcing the government agenda of the day .

By contrast, Consumer Reports protects its reputation by strict adherence to truth in product testing and is largely immune from special interests and corruption because they rely on the purity of their reputation for their entire existence. If it had the reputation of the FDA, it would not exist.

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Consumer Reports Slams FDA
Consumer Reports today slammed the FDA's decision to allow the risky diabetes drug Avandia to remain on the market.

The agency "falls short of its counterpart across the ocean, the European Medicines Agency, which decided Avandia was too risky" to remain available, a Consumer Reports editor wrote in a blog post.


Breaking the FDA Monopoly

Many readers might consider my proposal to be quite radical, but it simply returns us to the FDA’s role prior to 1962: certifying that a drug is safe.