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Too polite of a society

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When I was going to High School in the 70's fights were a rare thing. If you came to blows with another student, it was not over a trivial matter. Generally, a couple of punches were thrown, then you got into wrestling scrum until a teacher broke it up. After that (and we were appropriately "cracked" or paddled), the matter was settled. We did not carry weapons in school, although some might have come to school from hunting with a shotgun still in their truck. The thought to escalate a fight to that level and use a firearm was nonsensical, it just didn't happen, you never considered it. "Bad form" I guess is how the British would describe it.

Adults (in certain lower socioeconomic circles) almost fought for fun. But when things came to blows, it was almost Marquess of Queensberry rules. There were certain things you did not do, certain lines you did not cross unless the "disagreement" was very personal. I guess you could say, in its own way, this kind of fighting was "polite."

Society was also to a large degree polite. I don't know if it was causation or correlation between this polite society and "polite fighting"  that if you got into another mans face without good reason his fist got in your face.

But of course, society changes. Today we are by and large cowed into submission because we have been taught "violence never solves anything." All we have to do is look into Starship Troopers and see this exchange:

One girl told him [Mr. DuBois] bluntly: “My mother says that violence never settles anything.”

“So?” Mr. Dubois looked at her bleakly. “I’'m sure the city fathers of Carthage would be glad to know that. Why doesn'’t your mother tell them so? Or why don’t you?”

They had tangled before — since you couldn’'t flunk the course, it wasn'’t necessary to keep Mr. Dubois buttered up. She said shrilly, “You’re making fun of me! Everybody knows that Carthage was destroyed!”

“You seemed to be unaware of it,” he said grimly. “Since you do know it, wouldn'’t you say that violence had settled their destinies rather thoroughly?"

Do I think we should "be more violent?" No. Violence should never be the first option. It shouldn't be a second or third option either. But it should always be an option. Of course, today maximum violence is the first option. People are shot and killed routinely for insignificant issues.

Think of it this way: every interaction we have with other people has a cost and a price. While those words are used interchangeably, they do not mean the same thing. In economic terms, the price of something is what we pay in currency to obtain a service or product. the cost is what we have to go through to obtain enough currency to perform that transaction.

In a societal sense, transactions with other people cost us only our time and the price is very low, even in the case of a contentious interaction. Case in point, this woman (I won't call her a lady) gets up in a couples face for "spewing pollution." Both parties are where they are for their own innocent reasons. I highly doubt either party was there to aggravate the other. But this woman had her reasons to confront these people.

Now for a thought exercise. DISCLAIMER: Would this happen in real life? I highly doubt so. This is a "WHAT IF..." type of scenario.

Let's say that about the 1:00 point of that video, they guy gets fed up with Prius Woman and punches her lights out. One solid good punch which knocks the woman on her ass. The guy then says, "I can do that again if you press the issue." So Prius Woman runs back to her car, calls 911 and the police show up. The officer speaks with both sides, then pulls Prius Woman aside.

"Ma'am," the officer says, "let me get this straight. You were both sitting here and you decided to go to them and yell at them for parking near you and having a bad smelling truck. At that point he punched you."

"Yes , officer!" Prius woman yells. "I want you to arrest them! I want to file charges for assault!"

"Ma'am," the officer says, "If anyone is getting arrested, it would be you for assaulting them, because you instigated and escalated the encounter. You are very lucky that he only hit you once. You could have been beaten to a pulp, or shot and killed. This gentleman exercised extraordinary restraint. You are not hurt except for your pride. Please take this as a learning opportunity to not get into other peoples faces for trivial matters. Good day."

My end point is this: if Prius Woman knew up front, before she got into their faces that by her actions she would have a 100% chance of getting her lights punched out, do you think she would have started the encounter in the first place? Hopefully she would be smart enough to not start the encounter. I am under no illusions here. In our current society, if my thought exercise was anywhere close to reality, Prius Woman would have walked up and without a word doused the couple with pepper spray at a minimum.

Is this approach going to work in all places and circumstances? Of course not, and if you try to infer so, I must in response infer you have a brick for a brain. As a rational being, you need to weigh the pros and cons of an interaction before you get into it and if you can get out of it.

 
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The case for school vouchers

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The definition of insanity is basically “doing the same thing repeatedly expecting a different result.” Stupidity has to be defined as “Trying harder to increase results when earlier tries with the same method have not produced a measurable positive result.”

It’s actually become one of those blasé dichotomies about Liberals: “We spend too much on healthcare!” but then they turn around and say “We need to spend more on education!” We as the government are spending more and more on education, yet we as children, parents and communities are receiving very little returns for our investment.

I found this PDF, State Education Trends where spending and SAT scores are broken down by state. The data is quite alarming. The spending by states on education between 1972 and 2010 has been nothing less than staggering. In inflation-adjusted dollars, the average nationwide school spending per student has increased 118 percent. There is a wide variance in the levels of the increase, Arizona’s spending has gone up only 60 percent while Montana’s spending increased a whopping 225 percent.

Yet, the Liberals favorite standard, the SAT scores (Liberals want everyone to go to college and not to trade school) has dropped. Four states have had the SAT scores increase over the given period, with Mississippi on top of the list at an 11 percent increase. Alabama, Louisiana and Michigan all also had an overall increase of SAT scores. North Carolina has remained unchanged. This leaves 45 states whose SAT scores have declined. For those of you who don’t math very well, 90% of the states have seen their SAT scores decline. New York and Delaware tied for the bottom at an 8 percent decline, followed by Wyoming (remember, their spending increased 225 percent) Rhode Island and Pennsylvania.

Here’s the telling part: The number of school employees (Teachers, assistants, administrators, clerical staff, maintenance, etc.) have increased 97 percent. I find this interesting because in California (I don't know about the other states), teachers have the choice on if they want to join the state Teachers Union. However, paying dues to the union is mandatory. You have to pay, member or not. Where does that money go? Into lobbying to increase the scope and power of the public education system, of course! Where else would it go?

Here’s an example to give you a context. In 1970, say a school system had 1,000 students and 50 employees (a 20:1 ratio). In 2010, there are now 1,008 students and 99 employees, for a 10:1 ratio. So we have more people “working for the children,” but we aren’t seeing a net increase of our children’s test scores.

Since 2000, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) has been giving a standardized test to 15-year-old students every three years to judge and rank countries by student performance. This test scores the students on math, science and reading.

In 2015, the United States scored 40th (470), 25th (496) and 24th (497) in the respective areas out of 72 countries. The #1 performer in all three areas? Singapore, scoring 564, 556 and 535. Here’s the kicker: According to UNESCO, in 2010 Singapore spent 11% of their GDP per capita per student on primary education and 16.7% on secondary education. The United States spent 20.9% on primary and 24.3% on secondary. When you factor in the difference between the GDP’s, Singapore spent 60% as much per student in elementary schools and 75% of what the US spent for high school.

If I was an educator with some common sense, (I have some common sense but I’m not an “educator” except in the context of this blog educating you, my dear readers) maybe we should send some people over there to you know, look at how they do things and see if we can use bits from it to improve our children’s scores?

The United States was meant from the outset for each state to be a “different experiment in freedom.” Everybody try things in different ways, then report back to the group on what works and what doesn’t. Then (the most important part) the states that didn’t do so hot go back and try what worked. Out of 100 different experiments, 90+ will probably fail, however they provide valuable data other states can use, even if they know what not to do. When we have one federal governmental bureaucratic entity dictating most of how things will be done, there is no room for that experimentation.

I cannot say this enough: I am all for maximum personal choice. I firmly believe that parents should have the choice to send their children to the school of their choice, public, private, charter or home. If the community charges school taxes, the parents should have that money earmarked for their children to pay for the school of their choice.

You don’t get better unless you have competition. Competition forces you to get better at your product or service. If you have no competition, you languish, if not decline because you don’t have to improve yourself. Your customers will come to you because they have no choice.

 
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Why integrity is critical today

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Simply put, there is too much information in the world today. Currently, we have about 1 Zettabyte (1 Billion Terabytes) of data (raw and processed) available on the Internet, with that number growing by terabytes almost every second. One person cannot absorb more than a shadow of a sliver of information for every subject that impacts their life. Even then, it would take months or years to be truly knowledgeable on even one subject.

This means that there is not enough time in the day for us to learn about and contemplate everything that affects our lives on the “meta” level. This means that we have to trust SME’s (Subject Matter Experts) to boil these critical subjects and discussions down into its core meaning so we can digest it, make a semi-informed decision on it and carry on with our daily lives.

Which leads us to an "Adam Ruins Everything" video. I have already commented on his video on the Electoral College. Adam lays out quite plainly in this video, Low-Fat Foods Are Making You Fatter that scientists either had a personal agenda or were paid to cherry-pick and “shave” data to provide the predetermined result of “fat makes you fatter.” I don’t care if it’s the Sugar Industry, the Beef Industry or the Vegan Industry, using data that only supports your predetermined conclusion theory, you’re lying.

Oh, sure, you can hide the true data in a single paragraph while you spend 20 pages explaining your predetermined conclusion, like I talked about here in Lying Statistics and say you’ve been truthful. That’s like a company having a 20 page EULA (End-User Licensing Agreement, all that Legalese you click “I Agree” on without reading when you buy software) that in the next-to-last paragraph, it says, “By agreeing to this EULA, you willingly surrender permanent and total custody of your immortal soul to this company.”

I understand the plight of the researcher. They are struggling to get funding to do their research, but many industries are only willing to pay for research that supports conclusions that are favorable to them. So if you surrender your integrity, you can get gobs of money to do research that is favorable to your sponsors. If you don’t, the end result is you leave the scientific/research industry because you can’t get funding. What I am trying to say that today, more than ever, we need to have integrity above all else in the industries that give us the information that is critical for us to make proper, informed choices.

I would welcome an honest, open, reasonable debate on the climate of our planet and possible solutions. Is Mankind significantly impacting the climate? I honestly don’t know. I am inclined to believe we are a flea jumping up and down on the back of an elephant, but at the end of the day, I don’t know. I don’t have the data, the training or the time to perform due diligence on the subject.

And when I see data that “proves” Global Warming is happening coming from weather stations 5 years before they are built, or I hear a change in how seawater temperatures are collected (was from heat neutral buoys, changed to ships that generate heat), or raw data is “revised” to be more in-line with the predetermined conclusions, the scientists lose their integrity in my eyes. I am also equally skeptical of the “Global Climate Change ‘Pause’ “ for the last 15-20 years.

Then you have the scaremongers who in the 70’s were screaming about “Global Cooling” and wanted Nixon to spread coal dust on the poles, to Al Gore in the early 90’s saying “we have 10 years to save the planet.”

Just as an aside, I heard a talk radio host from that time read passages from either Al Gore’s book Earth in the Balance or the Unabomber’s Manifesto and invited callers to guess which book the host was reading from. I could tell every time, but only because Ted Kaczynski’s 35,000 word diatribe was mostly multi-subject run-on sentences. The message was basically the same, Gore just had a better command of the language.

Back to the subject. So here we have government-sponsored scientists, backed by national governments (who always have a vested interest in increasing their control over the populace) “proving” Global Cooling, then Global Warming, then Global Climate Change (because that means whatever they want it to mean).
Whenever a spokesperson for any cause says, “We have to do this and we have to do it right now.” I go the opposite way on reflex. Why? Have you ever been the victim of a “con” or a “confidence scheme”? That’s exactly what the “con man” does. He gains your confidence by showing you something that you can confirm as truthful. Then he starts plausibly stretching the truth and speeding up the tempo so you don’t have the time to contemplate and check out the new information. He needs you to trust him, we need to get this done before the window of opportunity closes/the cops get here/whatever. It’s at this point (if he has gained your confidence) that your bank account empties into his and the con man disappears. This is also a common occurrence with unethical salesmen as well. “If you don’t sign this contract right now, your car will go out the door with someone else and you will never find another one like it again.”

The same exact thing applies in this instance. Al Gore flies in chartered jets to all corners of the globe to tell people they need to cut back on their CO2 emissions because the planet is “doomed” if you don’t do what he says starting when you walk out of the conference. Of course, you can buy “carbon credits” from him his company which will delay the “impending doom.”

By the way, his house down the road in Nashville uses more electricity in a month than my house does in a year. I guess conservation of our resources is only for the masses.

Just in case you think I’m picking specifically on Al, I would give the same scrutiny to Joel Osteen. I don’t play favorites.

What we, that’s you and I, need to do is demand integrity from everyone who impacts our lives. Our co-workers, our bosses, our elected leaders and most especially ourselves. Because a person builds their integrity on their word. If their word is no good, they have no business being in any leadership role or working in a critical infrastructure position.

As the old Russian saying goes, “Trust, but verify.”

 
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The face of socialized medicine

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Do you want to know why I am against government-controlled, single-payer socialized healthcare? Let me tell you.

Meet Charlie Gard:

PAY Charlie Gard

If you haven't been keeping up with the news, this 11-month-old child has a rare genetic defect called infantile-onset encephalomyopathic mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, or MDDS. It is so rare that there have been less than 30 documented cases world-wide. Charlie is deaf, blind and has severe brain damage from his condition since January 2017.

Having been born in Britain, he has been under the care of the National Health Service (NHS), Britain's Socialized healthcare system. The all-knowing, all-seeing doctors there have decided that there needs to be a cease in Charlie's care, allowing him to die from his condition. The doctors petitioned the court to carry these plans out and the court agreed. This is the perfect example of Sarah Palin's "Death Panels." Bureaucrats who have never met you and you will never be more to them than a file folder of information who will decide if you receive treatment or not.

Oh, but you see, it gets much, much better.

Charlie's parents don't want to give up on their child and let Charlie die. To that end, they have raised over $1.6 Million to take him to the United States for an experimental treatment that might save his life. They petitioned the court months ago to allow Charlie to travel and receive this treatment, at no cost to Britain or the NHS. And the court said, "No." Not "Okay if an American Doctor and Hospital will take him," a plain, flat-out, nonnegotiable "No."

If this were a movie, at this point the Renegade Special Forces Captain and his squad of crack SAS Paratroopers would say, "To hell with the bloody orders," mount a rescue operation to grab Charlie and his parents from the hospital, make a mad dash through traffic to the airport and a waiting transport plane which would take off from the taxiway, avoid the fighters sent to shoot them down and everyone escapes to the United States to live Happily Ever After.

Except this is not an action movie. This is real life and to be quite frank, there is no cavalry coming over the hill to save Charlie. When President Trump and the Pope have called to extend help to Charlie, yet The Powers That Be have decided that they know better than Charlie's parents (because this is Great Britain, where the Subjects only have the rights given to them by the government) and Charlie needs to have all but Hospice care withdrawn so he can die naturally and comfortably. Which is going to happen tomorrow, 7/28/17.

That, my dear readers, is why I am for the patient (parents in the case of children) to have the choice of treatment within the means of their pocketbook. Not the doctors, not insurance bureaucrats and most especially of all, not government bureaucrats.

If we institute government-controlled healthcare, this will be a common occurrence. As soon as a patient goes "over budget" on their treatment, the care that might have saved their life could be withdrawn all because a bean-counter said so.

Tell me you are okay with that. Tell me if you develop an aggressive cancer at 35 that could be cured, but the government bureaucrat weighs the cost of the treatment and the chance of a successful treatment against your future potential contribution to society (i.e., taxes) and decides the cost is not worth it, that you would quietly accept that decision that are going to die. Let's say your family raises the money to fund the treatment, but the bureaucrats still say "No" and refuse to release the medications and resources to treat you. TELL ME YOU WOULD ACCEPT THAT. Because with Socialized, government-controlled healthcare, it happens right now.

If you would fight for your own life, no matter the odds, then you don't want government bureaucrats deciding if you're going to get the treatment or not. You cannot be congruent with Socialized healthcare and want to live when faced with that situation and have someone else choose your fate for you. So, why force it on everyone else?

 
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Commandments and Beatitudes

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Like many of my articles here, they take on a life of their own as I am writing them. The twist at the end came about the other day while doing the outline for this in my head.

I saw this meme a while back and while I agree somewhat, I also disagree to a certain degree.

bibles in prison

So this meme to me implies that we should be teaching our children the morals inculcated in the Holy Bible, specifically the Ten Commandments. I would like to say that if I could get one moral lesson into our schools, my first choice would be the Beatitudes. Unless you have studied the Bible, or are Catholic, you probably don't know what the Beatitudes are. Or, you might have heard some of them but you don't know them by that name or their context.

When we talk about the Books of the Bible, remember that these were written by men whom we believe that were inspired by God. Second, this history started out as an oral tradition before being written down in Aramaic. Then you have translations over the centuries through several languages, filtered through the perceptions and agendas of the translators in order to get to the Bible we have today. Of course, there are also several “lost books” that were excluded as well, but that is something I am not qualified to speak about.

Just to give you an ear worm, when I get to talking about the Ten Commandments, I will be specifically referring to the Fifth through Tenth Commandments. The first four relate to the relationship between God and man. The last six are for how man is to treat his fellow man.

Back to the Beatitudes. The Sermon on the Mount is related in Matthew 5:3-12

Matthew 5:3-12
[3] Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
[4] Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
[5] Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
[6] Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
[7] Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
[8] Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
[9] Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
[10] Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
[11] Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
[12] Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

So there you have it. But wait, there's more!

You might want to read the rest of Matthew 5, because it expounds on the above. The caveat is, Jesus often spoke in parables. I certainly hope he did not literally mean to pluck out your eye or cut off your hand if you stumble (i.e., fall into temptation). Two mistakes and you're done!

Looking at Matthew 5 as a whole, it all has a simple message. “Be excellent to each other.” This message is reinforced in Matthew 22:37-40 where Jesus gave us the Commandments we should be following today.

When Jesus spoke of the meek and those who “hunger and thirst for righteousness,” does this mean that we should be totally passive in the face of those against us? I don’t think so, because in Luke 22:36, Jesus tells his disciples to sell their cloak to buy a sword if they don’t have one to defend themselves. Also, those who had not studied the Bible during the “WWJD?” craze were surprised and/or offended when someone said, “Chasing people around with a whip and overturning tables is one of the things Jesus did” as related in Matthew 21:12-13. So, maybe, the deepest message of the Son of Man was, “Do no harm, help others when you can, but take no shit.”

Now we can turn to the Commandments. The “man-to-man” commandments as handed down to Moses by God amidst the thunder and flashes of Sinai were,

Honor your parents (and by extension, your elders)
Do not murder
Do not commit adultery
Do not steal
Do not lie
Do not covet the possessions of another.

Six through Ten became the foundation of our legal system today. It was God’s way of saying, “Be excellent to each other.” I can agree wholeheartedly that these concepts should be taught and reinforced in our schools today, along with the Beatitudes above.

Our Colonial Ancestors were raised with a strong moral foundation. This foundation was taught to them in the home, school and church. Our departure from these ways and methods has likely been a major contributor to our current moral turpitude and by extension our enormous prison population.

Ready for the twist? That last-minute thunderbolt of realization? Because here it is.

I have heard atheists argue that we don’t need God to scare us into treating each other right and giving us rules on how to do that. They argue that “we would have come up with these morals on our own.” I have to disagree with that for this simple reason. Atheists in Western civilization have lived under this moral and societal framework for thousands of years because the majority of people who comprise Western civilization are inspired by the words of God and Jesus. Simply put, the way things are around you when you grow up will be “normal” to you, 99% of the time. Growing up around people who discuss and debate certain ideas will of course seem to be natural ideas when you’re on the inside of that structure.

God shows us the Glory we can attain by following His path and the consequences if we don’t. He gave us the free will and the choice to choose our own path. It is the religious institutions Man who tries to scare us into following God through the threat of fire, brimstone and damnation.

To see if man could have developed these morals independently of God we have only to look as far as the cultures “discovered” by Missionaries and conquerors in our past. Did any of those cultures have this same set of values? Maybe some of those cultures had a “social contract” that is incomplete or watered-down compared to the Commandments in question. I admit, I am no sociologist or anthropologist, but I cannot recall in all of my reading and research in a variety of subjects that there has been a society that had developed independently from the Western world and had a similar set of moral laws, developed by themselves or their Deity.

My point is, as children we are taught by our parents on how to talk, interact and treat with others with kindness and respect when we meet them. Without this structure, it’s a “Lord of the Flies” world. I make the case that God, our Almighty Parent, is preparing us for that moment when we meet Him or possible extraterrestrial cultures so that we can do it with kindness and respect.

 
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Protesting Properly

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So I get into a "discussion" on Facebook the other day about peaceful protests, because the United Nations, that bulwark of integrity, is warning the GOP about infringing on the right to peaceably assemble. Republicans are criminalising peaceful protests across America, UN experts warn. Tennessee is one of the states called out in the last paragraph of that article.

I will say up front that my understandings of Tennessee SB0944 and HB668 were incorrect. I found them (the links should be proof of that) and I have read them. I will cover them in the appropriate part later on.

Let's set this table. This is going to be one of my "converging" articles, where I start with several different concepts and tie them all together.

1) Always remember, the First Amendment restricts the federal government and them alone from placing limitations on what you say and how you say it. Your employer can freely set restrictions on what and how you express yourself publicly or attach consequences after-the-fact. An organization you belong to can make your continued membership conditional on your public thoughts as well. If you don't like those restrictions, you are free to leave that employment/organization.

1a) If you do speak your mind publicly, no one has to listen to what you have to say. Nor can you compel them to listen. You might compel their presence (job/membership requirement) but they don't have to listen.

2) There is no right any person has that allows them to interfere with or abridge the rights of another.

3) In any protest/demonstration, be it peaceful or violent, there are three basic groups. The protesters, the protested and everyone else (which I will refer to as "the third group" for lack of a better and less awkward term). The objectives of a protest should be to a) generate support from the third group to b) cause a desired change in the actions of the protested. The larger the protest (because you have generated lots of supporters), the more political power the protesters have and the more pressure the protesters can bring to bear on the protested.

Any group of protesters that disrupts/angers the third group by their own actions will ultimately fail in their objective because they will not generate the positive public opinion for them and against the protested. Instead, the protesters will harden the hearts of the third group against themselves and destroy any chance for them to affect the change they want. Now, if the protesters do things that angers the protested who then does things to the third group to stop the protesters and their protesting, that's another matter.

The one universal rule to building support for a successful protest/coalition is to invoke the self-interest of the third group. Showing them how their lives are negatively affected now/in the future by the protested, versus how their lives would be positively affected if the protesters win, that's how you build support (and membership).

A great example of an effective non-violent protest is the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which the seminal event happened in March 1955 with the arrest of Claudette Colvin, a 15-year-old Black teenager, not Rosa Parks in December of 1955. Claudette's arrest and conviction led to the SCOTUS case Browder v. Gayle (1956) where the SCOTUS decided that segregation of public transportation is unconstitutional. Rosa Parks is associated with the boycott because she was arrested December 1st and the boycott started December 4th. Claudette was the foundation and Rosa was the last straw. That time between Claudette's and Rosa's arrests was spent building the concept, planning and execution of the boycott. The boycott lasted 381 days and hurt the bus authority, because at the time 75% of the riders were Black.

The important part about this is that no buses were burned, no property was destroyed or defaced. No one stopped the buses from their schedules. I commend these people because many were beaten and/or arrested as the Blacks of Montgomery attempted to get where they needed to go without the bus system. Violence was visited upon them and they did not respond in kind.

The people with whom I was discussing this subject were disgusted and appalled at my views. I was called violent and a sociopath for "wanting to run people down." They never read what I said, didn't hear my qualifiers. They had it firmly stuck in their heads that I would barrel through the protesters at full speed. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

They also held the erroneous belief that intentionally blocking a road is "a peaceful protest." "Peaceful" and "force" are two mutually exclusive things. Because force means violence. Violence does not have to include physical damage to anybody or anything. If one person prevents another person form carrying out an action, force must be applied to cause that. The force can be mental/emotional ("I'll hurt myself if you do that!"), social/economic ("You're fired/expelled if you do that!") or physical (blocking access or physically holding onto the other person).

T.C.A., § 39-13-303 is titled "False imprisonment" and Section (a) reads:

"A person commits the offense of false imprisonment who knowingly removes or confines another unlawfully so as to interfere substantially with the other's liberty."

Section (b) classifies this as a Class A Misdemeanor.

Think about this for a moment. The protesters could step into the road, yet yield to vehicles who wish to pass. I would consider that peaceful. The second option for the protesters is to refuse anyone to pass, at which time they would all be guilty of T.C.A., § 39-13-303 because they are interfering substantially with my liberty, which in this case entails me traveling down the road they are blocking.

Just to make it clear to my Liberal friends and readers, if a group blocks a roadway with the intent of disrupting the lives of those trying to move down that road, you are angering the third group. Your problem is, you're angering them against you, not the protested. You might want to re-read my universal rule above. Sure, the 1% of those "feel good first" people might join with you, but the other 99% would probably knock over that a bucket of water next to them if you were on fire.

Before I get into my "violent and sociopathic" response to having my path blocked, let's go over SB0944/HB0668:

Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 29, Chapter 34, Part 2, is amended by adding the following as a new section:

(a) A person driving an automobile who is exercising due care and injures another person who is participating in a protest or demonstration and is blocking traffic in a public right-of-way is immune from civil liability for such injury.

(b) A person shall not be immune from civil liability if the actions leading to the injury were willful or wanton. [links to definitions are mine]

So, this law does not absolve the driver from any criminal liability. It protects the driver solely from being sued for damages from those who won't get out of the way. I think my prospective actions detailed below would fall within the standards as set forth in the above legalese.

I drive an 8 foot tall panel work truck, so the "law of gross tonnage" is in my favor. The right of the protesters to protest stops before they interfere with my right of free passage on public right-of-ways.

This only entails a small group of protesters who have the intent to impede others. If there are hundreds/thousands of protesters, I will not try to push through them, because the "law of gross tonnage" is not in my favor. If they are using the road to move a mass of people, such as across a bridge, I will wait because they have the right to travel that road as well, just not block it.

1) If a group of protestors do not block traffic, I have no problem with that. They could be the Hillsboro Baptist Church and I would not jump the curb for them or anybody else. The protesters (not the HBC) might even get a "support honk" from me.

2) If I know that a group is blocking a given road, I would avoid the area. As I drive around the Tri-State Memphis Metroplex fixing the equipment in my charge, I always have at least two alternate routes to get from point A to point B.

3) If I didn't know they were there and I can't get around them, everything from this point on is on them. Because if they do not let me pass, they lost the "peaceful protesters" label at this point.

3a) I would stop short of them, loudly asking for them to part so I can pass.

3b) If they do not part, I will let them know I am coming through.

3c) I will advance up to and through them, one inch at a time until I am clear. For people with common sense, this would be the time they would part and let me go on my way unmolested.

4) At the first brick/rock/gunshot, all bets are off. I refuse to be the next Reginald Denny or one of the dead from a riot.

As a final thought, I had to be well aware of the phrase "innocence in the eyes of the law" when I carried a weapon. It meant that if, on the horrid occasion I would have had to draw my weapon and possibly end the life of another, I had 47 things (slight exaggeration) that I had to do exactly right to avoid being prosecuted for the crime of defending myself. I had to not escalate the situation, attempt to disengage from the situation, "Shoot to stop the threat," not tamper with evidence and a whole lot more. When protesters actively interfere with the rights of others, they lose that "innocence."

 
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Our two Bills of Rights

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I'll bet you didn't know we had two Bills of Rights, did you? Everyone (should) knows the Bill of Rights as declared in the first Ten Amendments in the Constitution. A group of Founding Fathers known as the "Anti-Federalists" were of the mind that these assumed and undeclared Rights would be trampled upon by the federal government unless formally declared.

A total of twelve Articles were approved by Congress and presented to the States in 1789. The ten we now call the Bill of Rights were approved by the States in 1791. Of the two not ratified, one eventually became the Twenty-Seventh Amendment, which says a Congressional pay raise approved today cannot take effect until the next Congress convenes (we have a new Congress every two years). The last one is a "housekeeping" Amendment that details the growth of the House by changing the proportion of citizens to Congressmen as the country grows. Considering the number of House members was permanently set by law at 435 in 1929 by the Permanent Apportionment Act of 1929, I doubt this one will be ratified.

Just so you have an idea about the reasoning on the Bill of Rights, you can read the Preamble for it. You didn't know the Bill of Rights had a Preamble, did you?

THE Conventions of a number of the States having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best insure the beneficent ends of its institution.

So, let's detail the entire list of Rights as given in the first Ten Amendments. These are paraphrased for brevity:

  • Freedom of religion
  • Freedom of speech
  • Freedom of the Press
  • Freedom of the People to peacefully assemble
  • Freedom of the People to petition the government for a redress of grievances
  • Freedom to bear arms for defense of self and country
  • No soldier to be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner
  • The Right of the People to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures
  • No warrant to be issued without probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation
  • All warrants to be specific in searches and seizures
  • Felony charges shall be issued by a Grand Jury
  • The Right to not be subject to double jeopardy (recharged with a crime after being found not guilty)
  • The Right to not be a witness against themselves
  • The Right to not be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law
  • The Right for just compensation if private property be taken for public use (Eminent Domain)
  • The Right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury
  • The Right to be informed of the charges against you
  • The Right to face the witnesses testifying against you
  • The Right to compel witnesses for you
  • The Right to obtain a lawyer to aid in your defense
  • The Right to a trial by jury in civil lawsuits
  • The Right to not have excessive bail imposed
  • The Right to not have excessive fines imposed upon conviction
  • The Right to not have cruel or unusual punishments inflicted upon conviction

The Ninth Amendment means that any enumerated (declared) Rights in the Constitution shall not be used to deny or disparage (constrain) any undeclared Rights of the People.

The Tenth Amendment restrains the federal government to the powers delegated to it by the Constitution and what the States do not prohibit the federal government from. All other undeclared Rights are to be held by the States, or the People respectively.

Out of the twenty-four Rights bulleted above only #'s 19 and 20 (compel witnesses to testify for you and a lawyer) have the government force someone to help you. The other twenty-two restrain the government from taking away natural rights.

On January 11th, 1944, President Roosevelt gave a State of the Union address to Congress. In it was this part:

In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all—regardless of station, race, or creed.

Among these are:

1. The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;
2. The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
3. The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
4. 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;
5. The right of every family to a decent home;
6. The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
7. The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
8. The right to a good education.

These were not numbered in the speech, I did so to refer to them below.

1 & 2. We have these rights today. I can truthfully say for the vast majority of people, the only limit to a person's income level is themselves and what they are willing to do. I say that because most of us are not willing to pay the dues for that big paycheck. It takes years of hard work and a fair chance of total failure to be an "overnight success."

3. I support this, but only so far. A farmer should be able to grow whatever crop or product they want to, without some crops and not others being subsidized by the government. Farmers should not make the decision to grow a particular crop because the government is subsidizing the farmer to grow (or not grow) it.

4. I fully support anti-monopoly laws. I also fully support a business to be as free as possible of government regulations in an attempt to regulate or control businesses and industries. See Operation Choke Point.

7. I support these because I have used them to support my family. I used them for only as long as I needed them, then got off of them when I could stand on my own. I believe that it is an obligation for society in general and government in particular to help those who truly cannot help or fend for themselves. I am against the perpetual help of those able to work.

5, 6 and 8. These are different aspects of the same issue and can be interpreted in two ways:

568a: Everyone has equal access right now to housing, healthcare and education. If you want that 5 bedroom/6 bath mansion, you need to perform the steps necessary to acquire the resources and income to purchase it at a fair price. Everyone has access to medical care right now, all that they can afford. As an aside, medicine and healthcare in general has saved zero lives. They have extended the lifespan of many people and preserved their quality of life, but medicine, doctors and healthcare can only at best temporarily defer Death. For education, don't spend $75,000 on a degree that the job it qualifies you for only pays $24,000 a year. Too many people are going that right now.

568b: Everyone should get these things no matter their economic situation. First of all, if you work a crappy job and live in a crappy house, don't demand that things be given to you. Use it as an incentive to improve your lot in life through your own efforts. What you need to go through will be difficult and probably unpleasant. The payoff makes it worth the effort.

I don't care how you slice it, when you mandate the services of one individual as the "right" of another, that is slavery. For housing, you obligate contractors, carpenters, plumbers, electricians and more to "give" you adequate housing because the government will never pay market value for their materials and services. The same goes for doctors, nurses and medical technicians "giving" you healthcare. Ditto for teachers.

Oh, you want affordable housing, healthcare and education! That's something totally different. I can solve that in 10 minutes and it will take about a year to sort itself out. Get the government and it's over-regulation and subsidizing programs that destroy the price:benefit ratio out the window out of those and other industries.

The first Bill of Rights in this Article recognizes that those rights come from each person's Higher Power and the law of the land (Constitution) restricts the power of the government to infringe upon them.

The second Bill of Rights comes from a usually benevolent government that has proven itself capricious in its delivery of those "rights" and at the heart of the matter "gives" these "rights" to you because it does not believe you are capable of doing it on your own. Think about that.

 
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Where you sit determines where you stand

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This is a lesson on how to pick your battlegrounds by careful selection of your source materials. So I catch this on FB from one of my Left-leaning friends:

it isnt in the constitution

Let’s take this apart and show him where he’s so far off base that he’s not in the same ballpark.

To start, this is the preamble to the Constitution, which the second definition reads, “the introductory part of a statute, deed, or the like, stating the reasons and intent of what follows.” In other words, a mission statement. As an “introductory part,” it does not lay out the method, nor the part of the government tasked with achieving this goal.

When we look at the phrase in question, “…promote the general Welfare,…” we need to realize our Founding Fathers (FF) used very specific words to show their intent and meaning.

When we look up the definition of “promote” the first one makes it pretty clear: “to help or encourage to exist or flourish; further:”

I see this as “creating or expanding the conditions under which the program/company/person can improve in some measurable way.” The term “general” means to extend this to all affected equally, without favoring some of them.

But you see, the meme says, “…will pay for its citizen’s health insurance.”

To show why this is BS, we only have to look to the prior statement in the Preamble, “…provide for the common defense,…”

“Promote” and “provide” are obviously two different words. They also have two separate and distinct meanings. The seventh definition of provide is defined as, “to make arrangements for supplying means of support, money, etc.” I picked that one specifically because right after the above, it reads “(usually followed by for)” which we have in both phrases under examination.

So, Provide actually means “pay for or directly furnish,” Promote means “create conditions under which it is possible to flourish.”

Hm. I don’t see this as the best way to make your point.

Now, if the meme maker had gone into the Constitution itself, they might have found under Article 1, Section 7 Clause 1, we find “…and provide for the common defense and general welfare…”

“AHA!” you might say. That validates the meme! But wait, there’s more! The full quote for that is, “…and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States;”

When our FF wrote about individual citizens, they used the term “the People.” If they had meant for Congress (after all, this is Article 1 we are talking about here) to provide for the People, I’m moderately sure they would have used that term in the Preamble.

I am also well aware of the Madison (not to “meet the infinite needs of the general welfare”) vs Hamilton (which to have Congress spend money on the People was okay) debate which culminated in the SCOTUS case United States v. Butler (1936) which pushed the interpretation of the phrase “general welfare” into the Hamilton camp.

Really, if you are confused about this, all you have to do is look at the very documents the FF used to explain the Constitution to the Citizens of the United States: The Federalist Papers. The last five paragraphs of Federalist 41 speaks eloquently on this part of the Constitution. Admitted, while it was published anonymously under “Publius” on January 19, 1788, it is assumed that Madison wrote it. That section is too long to quote here, follow the link.

In conclusion, this meme doesn’t have a leg to stand on. First of all, the OP picked the wrong part of the Constitution to build their argument upon, second the guy who wrote the Constitution thinks their argument is bullshit. It is not the intended purpose of the federal government (through the Constitution) to provide for individuals, rather promote the conditions under which they may flourish.

When the federal government spends money directly on its citizens, it’s called “Bread and Circuses.”

 
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Now taking applications

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I have come to the realization that I have more things to do than Carter has Little Liver Pills, to use a phrase from my Grandmother.

carters llp

I don't have anything witty, insightful, thought-provoking or anything like that this morning. I became deeply involved with solving a technically complex feature of a spreadsheet for another of my blogs last night instead of generating content here.

In consequence thereof, I am accepting applications for four unpaid staffers. Job requirements include intelligence, able to do light cleaning, plumbing, carpentry, miniature painting and yard work. The ability to discover information way beyond a simple Google search is essential. A high degree of precision in all duties is required. If your orderliness and precision can make someone with OCD weep with joy, you will be given serious consideration. In these positions you will be expected to work 170 hours a week, so bored you will not be.

 
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Down the memory hole

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I find it ironic that many Liberals are equating the Trump Presidency with the Party out of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. If you haven’t read the book or you don’t understand the reference, the memory hole is where documents about the past which do not agree with the position of the Party are put, to be destroyed and thus never existed. The Party says what was the past, and if you remember differently, then you are wrong. Winston insisted on being wrong and the Party “helped” him to think correctly.

I find it ironic because Liberals are intent on throwing many things that are an integral part of American history and culture down the memory hole, simply because “it offends them.” Case in point, all references to the Confederacy.

Living in Memphis, on a typical workday I drive past at least 3-5 Confederate monuments of one kind or another. I frequently pass by the graves of Nathan Bedford Forrest and his wife, which are on Union Avenue in Midtown Memphis.

I get upset every time I go past a Confederate monument. It offends me greatly. I am not upset that Forrest was a slave trader. I am not upset that he was an early member of the Ku Klux Klan. I am upset that our ancestors came to blows rather than working things out so up to 750,000 people didn’t have to die horribly at the hands of friends or family members.

Every time I see some symbol of the Confederacy, I think about the horrors experienced and perpetuated on both sides. About families divided over this issue. About the hate that perpetuates to this day.

I fully understand and appreciate what and why the Southern States did what they did, which was to stand up for what they believed in and if necessary, lay down their lives to preserve it. I think their basic concept was wrong, because one person should never own another person like they own their home or car. I respect their stand, and I have no qualms about liking or supporting someone from the present day being proud that their ancestors stood up for what they believed in. If they profess to me a stereotypical belief against minorities, then I don’t support that and I let them know.

The bottom line is, when we divest ourselves of all of these reminders, make like it never happened, shove them down the memory hole and make them disappear...

...It just means that we are setting ourselves up to have another Civil War. The fighting this time won’t be over slavery, it won’t be a whole section of the country trying to secede, but we will be divided in our States, our communities and our families.

THOSE WHO FORGET THE PAST ARE DOOMED TO REPEAT IT.

We are supposed to be the United States, with the basis of our country being E Pluribus Unum, which means Out of Many, One. Let’s start acting like it.

 
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Sometimes you can do everything right

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I am very sad to say, sometimes you can do everything right and still end up losing.

On June 16th, the officer who shot and killed Philando Castile was acquitted of all charges. My prior comments on this subject are here and here.

First of all, I am all for holding officers accountable. If they screw up, they should be held to a high standard. Second, "acquitted" does not mean "not guilty." It means the prosecutor did not prove to the jury that the accused was guilty of the charges beyond a reasonable doubt. O.J. Simpson was acquitted of the murders of two people, however it is pretty clear to anyone with a modicum of common sense that he did it.

Philando Castile did everything he was supposed to. He did everything right as it was taught to him by law enforcement and the NRA. Identify that you are legally armed to a police officer on initial contact. Make no movements without being told. Follow all commands. What makes this a tragedy was a nervous officer feared for his life and shot. That does not make it good, right or justified. It just is. All it does is makes this a tragedy for all people involved and their families.

I have seen a lot of backlash against the NRA because they didn't "immediately respond" about Castile's death, like they did about the killing of five Dallas police officers by a sniper a day or two afterwards. The difference is that in the sniper shooting, there is very little ambiguity about the circumstances, and there was a lot of ambiguity about Castile's death. An investigation needed to be performed in the matter of Castile's death to determine circumstances and context.

Just to show you how quickly things can go south during a traffic stop, This video was an officer from the Opelika, AL police department shooting an airman involved in a minor traffic incident.

At 32 seconds, the airman opens the door to his vehicle. At 35 seconds, the officer sees something in the airman's hands and commands, "Lemme see your hands!" At 37 seconds, the officer commands "Lemme see your hands!" a second time and two shots are fired. At this point the airman goes down. Think about this, two seconds between the first command and shots fired. It is obvious that the airman has something in his hands. A later, second and third look shows it to obviously be a wallet. At first look though, you can't be 100% sure and that kind of "not sure" can easily mean "dead officer."

Here is a second video to prove how deadly two seconds can be to a police officer:

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This was a shooting in West Memphis, AR by a "sovereign citizen" and his son. At the 5:58 mark, the son slightly opens his car door. At 6:00 the man starts resisting and the son comes out of the vehicle with a rifle, shooting both officers. Over the next minute before they drive off, they execute both officers, and the son fires a couple of "goodbye" shots into them as they leave. The officers were probably fatally wounded in the 2-5 seconds or so after the boy exits the vehicle. The rest of the time is probably "making sure" the officers were dead.

I bring this particular shooting up for two reasons. First, this happened "just over the bridge" from where I live in Memphis. Second, I lived for several years in Bartlett, TN, a suburb of Memphis, where Robert Paudert was the Chief of Police. I interacted with him a couple of times on some community projects. He appeared to me as a likeable, no-nonsense person. Robert became the Chief of Police for West Memphis, AR a couple of years later. His son, Brandon Paudert was one of those officers killed.

Armchair quarterbacking rarely does any good for incidents like this. Sure, you can pause and rewind the video and view it from 3 different angles to get all the nuances and things that were missed during the live action. We should study this kind of video to improve training to make sure it does not happen again unnecessarily (because despite our best efforts as flawed beings, it will happen again), not to microstudy, then parse millisecond-by-millisecond in order to assign blame.

 
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Deflect and obfuscate

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Liberals are very similar to the old-time snake-oil salesmen. They talk fast and use words you don’t understand to get you to trust and believe them. Case in point,

.

In 2 minutes and 30 seconds, Reich fast talks his way through seven “economic lies.” What he gives you are actually non-substantive soundbite talking points that don’t inform you, they just give you words to parrot. Because they are soundbites given to you that you haven’t actually read or researched about them, you can’t back up the talking points when someone asks you a question that requires more information or thought than the initial talking point. This is why I think the Left resorts to yelling, name calling, personal destruction and their favorite card, violence or the threat of violence. They have to shut down anyone who challenges the talking point because there is nothing behind it. Most of their positions are indefensible in the face of actual scrutiny.

I would have loved it if he had spent an hour on each one, giving reasoned and verified data on what he says. Of course he won’t because once you actually see the data, it will be obvious to anybody with a modicum of reasoning that he’s selling you snake-oil (i.e. empty promises).

Case in point: #6, Social Security is a Ponzi scheme.

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Transcript: Wrong. It’s solid for 26 years (until 2037) and would be for the next century if we lifted the ceiling on income subject to Social Security Payroll taxes.

Now, if you did not know who Mr. Ponzi (the caricature he drew at triple speed) was, or what a Ponzi scheme is before you watched this clip, do you now know what a Ponzi scheme is or why Social Security is not a Ponzi scheme? I didn’t think so.

If you already know what a Ponzi scheme is, did Mr. Reich explain anything about it at all, or did he just let us know that Social Security is solvent for a while (as I wrote this, that 2037 point has drifted down to 2033 according to Social Security themselves) and we can push the “solid date” to 2111 if the rich pay more taxes.

To explain and give context, a Ponzi scheme is named after Charles Ponzi who used this technique in 1920. The scheme entails taking money from investors on a continuous basis, paying the early investors with the money “invested” by later investors.

Let’s say Mr. Smith is convinced by Mr. Ponzi’s salesmanship about “guaranteed income” and in January Smith gives Ponzi $1,000 on Ponzi’s promise that the “guaranteed income” will net Mr. Smith a return of his investment of $250 by June. In May, Mr. Ponzi convinces Mr. Jones to invest similarity as Mr. Smith. Mr. Ponzi then takes $250 of the $1,000 Mr. Jones gave him and gives it to Mr. Smith. This convinces Mr. Smith to invest $10,000 with Mr. Ponzi, hoping to reap a benefit of $2,750 (he is still earning that “$250 profit” on the first $1,000) just in time for Christmas. Now Mr. Ponzi has to come up with four new investors, to pay out the $3,000 to his “investors” ($2,750 for Smith and $250 for Jones). Why four investors? Because Mr. Ponzi has expenses, you know...

Eventually, this all comes apart because Mr. Ponzi cannot continue to recruit the number of investors necessary to continue paying the “profits” out to earlier investors indefinitely. This is called a geometric progression. If Mr. Ponzi needed two new investors for every current investor, the progression would go something on the order of 1, 3, 9, 27, 81, 243, 729, 2,187, 6,561 and so on until he can’t recruit enough people or he figures his bank account is big enough and he flees the country.

When my parents started working as adults around 1935, they paid into Social Security and their SS taxes helped pay the benefits of Ida May Fuller (the first recipient). Back then, there were seven people paying SS taxes to a single recipient receiving benefits. Also, it was kind of a rare thing for people to make it very far past 65, so those that did receive benefits were on the rolls for only a couple of years.

When I joined the Navy, my SS taxes were part of the checks my parents received. My dad retired in 1979 after having paid into the system for 45 years, my mother for about 15 years, being a stay-at-home mom and occasionally working part-time after they got married. They collected SS benefits for 22 years until they passed in 2001. Today, there are only 2-3 wage earners paying to the system for every recipient.

In the 80’s Congress began “raiding the Social Security Lockbox.” What that actually means is the Social Security Administration began purchasing government bonds as an investment. Today, there are Billions of dollars’ worth of these bonds in the SS account, instead of actual liquid cash. These are the “IOUs” that everyone is screaming about.

Remember, it is these government bonds that allow the government to overspend, creating the annual deficit. For the large entities (Social Security, foreign governments, investors, etc.) that purchase large amounts (Millions and Billions worth) of government bonds , they purchase a bond for a fixed term. In order to keep the fiscal juggling act going, when that bond matures, many use that money to immediately buy a new bond. Depending on circumstances, the interest on the bond may go into the purchasers pocket or be used to buy more bonds.

Social Security has been buying bonds, as well as additional new bonds as the old ones mature. In 2033, Social security will have to start “cashing in” those bonds without purchasing new ones because there won’t be enough people paying taxes to support the payments to retirees. This is when they (and we) might find out that the Government can’t pay the full amount on those bonds, if at all. That’s when the juggling act falls apart. That’s when we have more people asking for a return on their investment than SS can take in from new “investors.”

And that is why Social Security IS a Ponzi scheme. Anyone who tells you differently is bullshitting you.

 
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Flag Day

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Today is the anniversary of when the Second Continental Congress in 1777 adopted the flag that is the ancestor of the one that flies all over this country today.

This flag has been through lots of revisions over the years. It was a flag of fifteen stars and fifteen stripes that flew over Fort McHenry (representing the addition of Vermont and Kentucky) during the bombardment it endured during the War of 1812 that led to the phrase “Star-Spangled Banner” in the poem "Defense of Fort M'Henry" which became our national anthem.

This flag, to me, does not represent the government of this country, rather it represents the People, where the true power of our government comes from. Many people have served under this flag in one or another of its iterations in defense of the concepts of Freedom and Liberty.

Every day, men and women in our armed forces come home in coffins draped in this flag.

I WILL NOT IDLY STAND BY
AND SEE THIS SYMBOL DESECRATED.

Do not let me see you stepping on, burning, or disrespecting this flag in any way. I will stop and give you a beat down so severe that your grandchildren will feel it.

flag day

Thank you for your time and attention. Have a wonderful Flag Day!

 
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Everything is rationed part 4

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This is part 4 of the three-part “Everything is Rationed” series.

The primary point of this part, sub-titled “ethical dimensions of a responsible business” is that I hate bean counters.

Who (or what) are “bean counters”? These are the people who make the decisions concerning the costs of the parts used in their product. Part A1 costs the company $1.00 to purchase. Part A2 is by another manufacturer, is almost as good as Part A1, however the company can buy it for 90 cents. The “Bean Counter” will almost always go with Part A2 on the sole basis its 10 cents cheaper.

Bean Counters also like to produce products with “planned obsolescence.” This means one or more parts in a product are designed to fail after a certain period of use, usually several months past the end of the warranty. When (not if) those parts fail, a newer model is now out at the same or less price, with more features. So you have the choice to either fix the broken equipment (at a cost close to or exceeding a new unit) or discard the broken unit in favor of a new unit. This is the downside to our consumerism economy.

Thinking about this, I was reminded of a collection of Sci-Fi short stories from the 40’s that I read as a teenager called Venus Equilateral (Wikipedia, Amazon). It was about a station that relayed messages between Earth, Mars and Venus when the Sun interfered with direct communications.

In the story QRM—Interplanetary, a pointy-haired boss came on the station to “cut expenses.” He ended up spacing a room full of genetically-modified sawgrass that was used to replenish the oxygen in the station’s air. He thought “equipment” replenished the air and he saw this room was “full of weeds.” The PHB thought the plants were wasting space. This “cost-cutting” almost suffocated everyone on the station.

To cut costs for the sole reason to “maximize profits” or “boost the quarterly report” is a bad reason in the long term. Because you are probably sacrificing future profits for short-term gains today.

Case in point: the 6-pack plastic ring used to keep aluminum cans together. They are easy to make and inexpensive (at less than a penny each). The bad news is, while the rings are photo-degradable (and thus not likely to end up strangling wildlife like they used to) and while they do break down into smaller bits, they do not fully disappear. There is a long-term negative environmental impact from them and all similar plastic products.

Then we have these:

A fully biodegradable product that is compostable and edible by wildlife. The problem? A current cost of 15 cents per unit.

If companies that sold their product in cans made enough demand for this kind of holder, the economy of scale would kick in and the price per unit would drop. If Anheuser-Busch and one or two other “big name” companies decided to use these, it would not be unreasonable to expect the cost per unit to drop under a nickel.

Would you pay a nickel more a six pack if that recyclable, compostable and edible can holder held your beverages together? I don’t think you’d even notice the price difference. If you knew the better environmental impact of that holder, you might even switch brands, who knows.

I also found this article, Christian-Based Firms Find Following Principles Pays from the 12/8/1989 Wall Street Journal. Sorry, you have to pay to see it. in the article, it talks about business who adhere to Christian principles and how their growth is significantly higher than those who do not engage in these principles. You don't have to be Christian to adhere to these principles, which entail actually serving the customer to help them grow their business, treating the customer fairly and most importantly treating the employees fairly. When Hobby Lobby made negative news due to their stance on abortive birth control, the MSM never mentioned that they pay their employees $14/hour to start. The MSM never clearly said that Hobby Lobby offered sixteen barrier methods of contraception and only opposed four abortive methods.

In case you didn't know it, In-N-Out Burger puts Bible verses on their shake cups, burger bags and other packaging. They are small, so you have to hunt for them.

James Freeman Clarke is quoted as saying, “A politician thinks of the next election - a statesman, of the next generation.”

I can reframe this slightly to say, “A bottom-line businessman sees only the next quarterly numbers – an ethical businessman sees the impact of his business in a hundred years.”

If we had enough “ethical businessmen” in our companies and corporations, we would have little or no need to governmental bureaucracy to micromanage them.

How about all of us start treating our planet as something that we should leave to our children better than how our parents gave it to us?

 
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