Feb 16 2009

The Keynes-stoned cops are in control now

Category: Congress,economy,governmentharmonicminer @ 10:45 am

Read this next paragraph carefully.   If people who believe such things are ever in control of our government and you are not frightened by the implications, then you simply didn’t understand what you read.
Keynes Returns

“The time has already come when each country needs a considered national policy about what size of population, whether larger or smaller than at present or the same, is most expedient. And having settled this policy, we must take steps to carry it into operation. The time may arrive a little later when the community as a whole must pay attention to the innate quality as well as to the mere numbers of its future members.”

The problem, as is pointed out in the article at the link above, is that people who believe this ARE in control of government, right now. Read the whole article. Then pray.

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Feb 15 2009

I give up. We’re doomed. REDUX

Category: economy,government,taxesharmonicminer @ 10:40 am

The California legislature is about to drive California straight off the Santa Monica cliffs into the Pacific Ocean.  They appear to be driving blind, in the fog, with their eyes shut, on icy roads, without seat belts in a vehicle without airbags….  or doors, or brakes, for that matter.

They are essentially refusing to make any significant cuts of any kind in state spending (a couple of cosmetic reductions, but nothing that matters, or will actually make a difference…  remember they call it a “cut” when all they’ve done is increase it by less than they’d planned).  And they are making a HUGE tax increase, across the board, in a state with very high taxes already.  They’re reducing the child deduction credit, hugely, directly increasing the tax bill of families.  They’re doubling the annual car tax.  They’re adding 12 cents per gallon gas tax, to an already high gas tax, compared to other states, and it ain’t for roads, it’s to fund bizarro offices and bureaucrats who do nothing but sit around dreaming up new regulations to harass people and business.  And, of course, to reward all the special interest groups and entitlement leeches who put them in office.  They’re raising the SALES TAX by 2 cents per dollar (some accounts say “only” 1 cent, but the 2 cent report persists), and California’s sales tax is already 8% in most places.  And there will be a 2.5% “surcharge” on income tax.  Holy Moley.

I am not rich by any stretch, just pretty middle class, and a quick tally leads me to believe that between all these things, I’ll spend about $2000 more in just California taxes per year in the new regime….  and one of my cars is a 2005 Prius (with about 120K miles on it now)!

What do all these taxes have in common?  They are very regressive taxes, meaning they hit lower income people the hardest, percentage wise, and families with children get hit the worst.  Whatever happened to the Democrats being the “party of the people”?

As with the federal government, all they know how to do is spend money they don’t have.  They have apparently no sense of how economics actually works.  They have no concept of what damage they’re doing to the business environment in California.  Businesses are leaving in droves, and other states are chortling at their windfall of new businesses.

I am in mind boggle.

And just to complete the picture, they’re about to approve ridiculous environmental regulations, and “endangered species” regulations, that will make it possible for the eco-pagans to sue just about everyone for just about everything.  THAT will really help the economic recovery, won’t it?

I’m crawling into a hole and pulling the lid in after me.  Then I’m getting out the shovel and digging deeper.

The California Republican party is just about the most pitiful entity since, I dunno, the Roman Viola Ensemble featuring Nero the violinist as guest performer.  They are simply gutless.

I didn’t know when we elected him that Arnold was planning to TERMINATE California as a viable state.

I think my ten year old would do a better job of running the state.  She actually counts her money to see if she can afford things.

But Arnold (RINO that he is) and the Democrats are throwing us to the lions…  who are very hungry, even though they were just fed yesterday.

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Feb 10 2009

Hope and Change, part 2

Category: government,Obama,societyharmonicminer @ 10:05 am

Obama has appointed a committed “freedom of porn” advocate to the DOJ as Deputy Attorney General. This man’s track record is full of lovely highlights, detailed here, but here’s the gist:

…there’s another nominee with bigger disqualifiers than unpaid taxes.

Imagine. A veteran pornography defense attorney takes a top spot at the agency charged with enforcing the nation’s child pornography and obscenity laws.

And that’s what will happen if David G. Ogden is confirmed as Deputy Attorney General, the second in command at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the nation’s top law enforcement agency.

……..

Ogden isn’t just a lawyer who’s had a few unsavory clients. He’s devoted a substantial part of his career in defense of pornography for more than 20 years.

The last thing the Department of Justice needs is a deputy attorney general with a track record on behalf of those who’ve deluged America with pornography and against the federal laws he would be sworn to enforce.

Read it all at the link. It’s simply chilling, and more than a bit repellent.

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Jan 28 2009

Forms of government, some truth about left and right

Category: capitalism,constitution,government,left,politics,right,socialismharmonicminer @ 10:53 am
Not a perfect presentation, but much better than what’s typically on offer in the schools, or the media.

H/T: Jonah Goldberg

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Jan 27 2009

Madness Pelosi-style

Category: abortion,freedom,government,parenthoodamuzikman @ 2:44 am

Yesterday Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, announced that birth control (read as “abortion”) funding would be a part of the Obama economic stimulus package.

Well, the family planning services reduce cost. They reduce cost. The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now and part of what we do for children's health, education and some of those elements are to help the states meet their financial needs. One of those - one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception, will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government.

So, according to Pelosi, the birth rate should be controlled for financial reasons.  Too many new babies could overwhelm our already stretched state budgets.

Well, I spent some time thinking about her comments and I think I may be able to go one better. Perhaps a lottery system could be put into place.  Those individuals (we don’t really say “families” any more) wishing to have a baby would have to register with the State of California Birth Lottery.  In fact, as another cost-saving measure we can have the California State Lottery run the birth lottery as well.  A scratcher could be included with each pregnancy test sold.  Scratch off to reveal 3 matching pictures of Pelosi and win the right to have a baby.

Of course there is also the Big Spin – but with the Birth Lottery we can call it the Big Insemination.  There will even be three “Twins” slots. But don’t let the ball land in a N.O.W. slot or you’ll have to get an abortion, paid for by the California Birth Lottery, of course!

Think of how easy it will be to control the state population – simply alter the odds of winning by changing the rules as needed.  And think of how much more lottery money will come in as those young couples purchase tickets by the thousands hoping for one of the lucky few birth licenses available.

Of course this is just the beginning.  If Pelosi thinks economic stimulus should include birth control, how much longer do you suppose we’ll have to wait before we see on-line Euthanasia Poker.  After all, if we’re doing this to reduce the financial burden for states then by all means let’s help keep those Medical and Medicare budgets in line by simply killing old people, terminal patients, and the mentally ill.  Most of the health care money is spent ion those types of patients and the action should result in considerable savings.  Remember – It’s about money, not life.

Yesiree, Euthanasia Poker should come shortly after nationalized health care.  When the government starts paying for health care then you know they’ll have to start making decisions about who should get care and who shouldn’t.  After all, the states are in a “terrible fiscal budget crisis now”.  One can’t expect EVERYONE to get the care they need – it’s just not realistic!  So brush up on your Texas Hold Em, if you don’t have a pair of jacks or better you might just be forced to “fold” and proceed directly to the Soylent Green line.

Do you think this sounds far fetched?  Me too. Except after hearing Pelosi yesterday you must admit it’s not out of the question.  NOTHING is out of the question these days.

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Jan 19 2009

Get ready to be sued by your shoes

Category: government,Obama,societyharmonicminer @ 9:53 am

In Iraq, it is a mark of great disrespect to hurl your shoes at someone, as George Bush learned first hand in a news conference.  In the brave new world of the “apostle of change” that we’ve just elected, you may get sued by the family members of your shoes for desecration of a corpse, as President Obama’s appointment of Cass Sunstein to “regulatory czar” will usher in a bright new day of animal rights. Here’s his opinion:

“[A]nimals should be permitted to bring suit, with human beings as their representatives, to prevent violations of current law … Any animals that are entitled to bring suit would be represented by (human) counsel, who would owe guardian like obligations and make decisions, subject to those obligations, on their clients’ behalf.”

This guy is nutty as a fruitcake, and a professor at Harvard Law School, two things that often go together. He wants to outlaw hunting, make us all vegans, ban the use of leather products, end medical animal testing that saves human lives, etc. I wish this was an exaggeration, but a short perusal of his book, Animal Rights, suggests otherwise.  Here’s a choice phrase from one of his gushing reviewers:  “a remarkably fresh collection of essays exploring our relationship–moral, legal, social, and epistemological–to nonhuman
animals.”  I guess that makes you just a “human animal.”  I don’t know about you, but to me anyone who even uses the phrase seems incompetent to have an opinion on the matter.  I don’t have an epistemological relationship with my dentist, let alone my daughter’s fish.

I guess when you talk to the animals enough, you start to think you are one.  I suppose that makes sense…  I have a dog who thinks she’s human.

More background here.

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Jan 16 2009

Irrational choice theory

Category: economy,governmentharmonicminer @ 10:41 am

On rational choice theory, risk aversion in economic behavior, and what happens to risk aversion when the risks are someone else’s, not yours:  Irrational Economic Man by Michael Shermer

research in behavioral economics has revealed that many, if not most, of our economic choices are driven not by rational calculations but by deep and unconscious emotions that evolved over the eons. Among these irrational emotions is “risk aversion,” a psychological effect that is actually part of the reason that financial markets work so well. People are more averse to risk than traditional economics would dictate, and that restraint helps keep most speculative market behavior in check.

As everyone knows by now, many of our major financial institutions weren’t nearly averse enough to risk over the last decade and a half. In seeking quick and carefree profits, along with trying to appease politicians pushing for wider homeownership, they tossed all restraint out the window, with devastating economic consequences. How did this happen, and how can we keep it from happening again?

It’s all worth reading, but here’s the payoff, pretty obvious to anyone who’s been paying attention:

By entering the business of risk protection, the government has reconfigured the economic game: in profits, we’re capitalists; in losses, we’re socialists.

Let’s be brutally honest. The CEOs, CFOs, and COOs of the Wall Street financial giants who signed up for our new corporate welfare program are now welfare queens. They’re on the dole. In an ideal world, they would all be put on a very public welfare-to-work program—as in the welfare-reform movement of the 1990s—that tethered salaries directly to the amount of money paid back, with interest, to the people who earned the money in the first place: taxpayers. The corporate leaders could even appear on a new Fortune 500 list, ranked by how much of our money they had returned.

What would help ameliorate future financial crises? The government should not be in the business of hiding real risks through political imperatives, or of insulating corporations from the risks that they have freely taken. Doing so confounds the normal risk signals that keep the market in balance. For risk aversion to keep markets working, people and corporations have to be allowed to assess real risks and to fail if they take inappropriate risks. Only the people who produce wealth can properly assess how best to risk it in future investments. The Warren Buffetts of the world can do that. The Ben Bernankes cannot.

Yep. As I’ve written many times before, the laws of economics are as real as gravity, and as unforgiving, and cannot be repealed by government fiat. But just as you have a few glorious seconds of freedom with an incredible view after leaping off the top of the Grand Canyon, government interference in market mechanisms can produce a real rush… for a short time.

Unfortunately, I have the distinct impression that the economic policies of the administration of President-elect Obama are going to involve simply climbing a bit higher (maybe quite a bit higher)  before jumping (or being pushed)…  sort of like erecting the Space Needle next to the Grand Canyon, and then jumping off that.  It’ll be a glorious ride, with a really exhilarating dénouement.  Think of it as printing enough money to build a 40 story tower, lighting a match, and then jumping off as the flames rise.

I wish I could just stay home from this particular vacation, but I have the feeling we’re all in for a wild ride.

UPDATE:  Privatized Profit, Socialized Risk discussed here.

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Dec 26 2008

Exporting California

Category: government,societyharmonicminer @ 10:18 am

It used to be common to see signs in California, bumper stickers, etc., that read, “Welcome to California. Now go home.”

This was back in the days when Americans from all fifty states were moving to California in record numbers, not just coming for vacations. Californians were fearful of losing the quality of life that they cherished, because of the enormous influx, and so the signs were quite popular. If you live in California, you haven’t seen one of those signs lately, have you?  In the current politically correct environment such a sign would not be seen as being aimed at Americans from other states.  Rather, it would be seen as being aimed at illegal aliens from our wannabe 51st state, just south of the border.
Continue reading “Exporting California”

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Dec 18 2008

How much do YOU trust the government to handle life and death decisions for YOU?

Category: government,healthcare,left,militaryharmonicminer @ 10:00 am

Our military wins whenever it isn’t forced to quit by our civilian government. But it isn’t precisely “efficient”, and has the same amount of politics, stupidity, and shortsightedness as the rest of the world. When lives are on the line, that can be deadly.

WASHINGTON — Military leaders knew the dangers posed by roadside bombs before the start of the Iraq war but did little to develop vehicles that were known to better protect forces from what proved to be the conflict’s deadliest weapon, a report by the Pentagon inspector general says.

The Pentagon “was aware of the threat posed by mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) … and of the availability of mine resistant vehicles years before insurgent actions began in Iraq in 2003,” says the 72-page report, which was reviewed by USA TODAY.

The report is to be made public today.

Continue reading “How much do YOU trust the government to handle life and death decisions for YOU?”

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Dec 11 2008

Dividing the promised land part 2

Category: economy,environment,government,humorharmonicminer @ 1:10 pm

This is about our adventures in dividing a 5 acre lot into two 2.5 acre lots, in San Bernardino County in southern California. It will include human folly, financial folly, governmental folly, economic folly, and environmental folly. Plenty of folly to go around. If you missed it, this post will make a lot more sense if you read Part 1 first.

So, we hired a real estate agent to help us through the land subdivision process. We were starting this about 2 years ago, when the real estate boom was in full flower, and everybody was very busy, including our agent, all the county offices and employees involved, and all the private companies the county engages to perform certain services for it. So, initially, we waited.

Then we waited some more.

What we didn’t know is that while we were waiting, the prices for every aspect of the process were going up, eventually reaching about $20,000, instead of the $14,000-$15,000 we were told initially.

Continue reading “Dividing the promised land part 2”

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