Showing posts with label Socialism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Socialism. Show all posts

Friday, January 4, 2013

Fix Is On- There Wasn't An AR-15 Involved in Sandy Hook?

So it turns out the asshat who shot all those kids in Connecticut did not have a Bushmaster AR-15 with him at all. This fear driven propaganda is just an excuse to push a totalitiarian socialist progressive agenda to disarm law abiding Americans.


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Guns For Me But Not For Thee

As Chris pointed out If armed security guards are ineffective, why do anti gun people send their children to schools with lots of them?

Why do their kids deserve to be safer than my kid or yours? 

How is it that some cops who get to carry all the time off work anywhere and public officials or rich folks who have armed security think I should not be able to have a weapon?

The only conclusions I can come to is that A) they think they are superior to normal folks and B) gun control is not about guns it is about control.

Also on another note if I ever get to rewrite the Constitution I will add an amendment that all elected officials are required to send their school aged children to the worst performing public school in the area they represent. Maybe then they would get serious about fixing education.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tab Clearing

Lizard Farmer links to an interesting CALL article it gives the weight of a bunch of different military gear.

John Mosby weigh's in on the 'Combat Light' discussion. As with most things John writes I find little to disagree with. It is pretty obvious to me that the gear needed for a specific mission can vary widely. An afternoon or an overnight is different from 2 weeks (or indefinitely), summer is different than winter (especially in the mountains or way up north) and vehicle based operations, though they have their own issues, are different than hoofing it.

Fake gold bars have showed up in NYC. 

It seems that President Obama said "I actually believe in redistribution, at least at a certain level to make sure that everybody's got a shot." No comment here.

Mitt Romney said "There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what," Romney could be heard saying in the clip, referring to those who don't pay federal income tax. "There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it." I am ambivalent about this. It is an oversimplification as there are rich and poor on both sides of the political spectrum. However it is probably not totally inaccurate. 

It turns out that the miraculously lucky spontaneous attack on our consulate in Libya by average citizens during a riot wasn't actually so spontaneous and involved some hard core Al Qaeda types. Imagine my face showing great shock at this recent revelation.

Along these lines there is a whole mess of rioting all over the Middle East, North Africa and elsewhere. The whole thing is really ridiculous. I don't care what the guy next door thinks about my religion; let alone somebody in a country I need a couple minutes to find on a map. Things like this make the whole 'Islam is a religion of peace' argument an uphill battle.



Thursday, September 23, 2010

Privatising Social Security

I have an idea. How about we choose to save, invest and plan for our future or not. Those who do not can try to continue working, mooch off family or starve. So if you don't have the discipline to save then be sure to have really good relationships with your kids I guess.

I am pretty confident in my ability to take the money which is stolen from me every paycheck and put it towards my long term future. I put a good portion of my take home earnings toward that goal and if I put that toward my personal retirement plans it would be just great. I am far more confident in our planning than I am in the government's promise to provide me with a safety net by stealing from my children and grandchildren.

Friday, August 13, 2010

quote of the day

"The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But under the name of 'liberalism' they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a Socialist nation, without knowing how it happened."
-Normal Thomas

Monday, June 14, 2010

Greek Debt Downgraded to Junk

Read about it. I have heard this called the year of sovereign risk. Will next be the year of sovereign default?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Living In a Duel Currency World

I live in a duel currency world. I am paid in one currency and it isn't the currency of the country I live in. I routinely (if not constantly) carry 2 currencies and use them to buy goods and services in order to live my everyday life. Here are some random thoughts that come from these experiences.

This is one of the many things that Americans simply do not deal with. An American can live a normal life and just never come into contact with anything but good old US Dollars. America is a huge and powerful country. For a normal persons life in the US there (except paranoia or unorthodox financial transactions) is simply no need to hold anything but dollars.

Many Americans end up going on a trip here or there at some point, if just to Canada or Mexico. These people end up dealing in a foreign currency but often exclusively. They change the dollars they are going to spend on entertainment, dining and shopping into pesos or whatever and just use that currency for the duration of their stay. While dealing in a foreign currency is a novel experience it doesn't compare to dealing with two (or I guess more) currencies on a regular basis to conduct normal transactions.

People will not accept currency they are not used to. If they don't know what it looks like or what it is worth they will not take it. Businesses will deal with currencies that pop up regularly in the hands of intended customers, well that and the owners know what it looks like and is worth. I recall a few years ago some TV blip about how the Dollar was dying (long before the Sub Prime mess) because some trendy shops in NYC were accepting Euro's. A big part of why it made the news was that there were trendy wanna be European (it is a sort of East Coast thing I think) Wankers involved. A more practical example would be a city near the border with Mexico or Canada accepting their currencies or a store in an area with a large immigrant population accepting that currency. Also the theme of a business accepting currency that they know the look and value of which shows up repeatedly continues. In my immediate area a good percentage of businesses will accept dollars, of course as well as euro's. If I drove 25 miles to a little random village they would only accept euro's.

While a wad of "stable" currency could be valuable as an inflation hedge don't necessarily expect the local grocer in Peduke, Iowa or Andersonville, Texas to accept Swiss Franks or Australian Dollars or whatever.  If the local currency goes to heck in a hand basket some people may learn more about different kinds of currency. Often people end up using a precious metals shop/ money changer to convert their currency into local money at the current exchange rate to buy whatever they need.

The biggest thing you need to live successfully in a dual currency world is the ability to rapidly make fairly accurate calculations between currencies. This means knowing what the exchange rate is and being able to do some math rapidly. Unless it is making huge shifts don't worry about this one too much the goal is to put the cost of a service or item into terms you can work with. Think about it like converting metric to standard or whatever. Really for average personal transactions a pretty accurate figure is good enough. To put that into perspective 2 percent on a hundred dollar purchase is 2 dollars. When you talk about transactions in thousands or tens of thousands of dollars or more a 2 percent difference matters but for a round of drinks or dinner or such it really doesn't.

You just need to be able to do this to know if a given price is good or too much.

What I am describing is a (relatively) free market scenario. Anybody inclined to do so can carry whatever kind of currency they want. Only my resources, desire and ability to find random currencies limits what I can carry or hold. The key is to see what value you are exchanging for a given good or service. Does it really matter if I pay ten dollars or about 7.60 E for a given item? No it does not because they are worth the same.

The same could be said about precious metals. Does it really matter if you pay for something with $340 or a quarter ounce of gold (lets say the value is the same, I know it is close)? No it doesn't.

Where things get downright crazy is when the system is strongly regulated by a government, go figure! Governments with a weak or essentially worthless currency often try to keep their currency alive through price and wage controls. Also it might not suprise you but this doesn't work real well. At best it works in the most utterly authoritarian and isolated regimes like the former USSR which was also big and resource rich enough to be able to manufacture (at least junk versions) of most things they need. These governments will find a way to trade for essential items they can not produce nationally. Following typical authoritarian priorities this means fancy cars and luxurious stuff for the elites and things to keep the military running to hold down their unhappy population. Not much else gets imported because go figure an appliance plant in a place that doesn't suck has no interest in their worthless currency.

Also these countries at least try to limit possession of and transactions in other more stable currencies or precious metals. Part of this is Gresham's Law but the bigger issue is (official) exchange rates not being equitable. Getting back to my free market example for a minute. If a nice dinner at a little restaurant/ bar/ hotel costs the equivalent of 10 euro's or 13 dollars (or lets say a half ounce of silver) and I can easily trade between the three at the current honest rate I just pay with whatever is most convenient. Now back to a sucky (generally socialist) country. Their currency is valued way too high. The "official" exchange rate is a joke. Often these governments will (with varying degrees of success) restrict or outright ban the possession of other currencies.

I think somebody said once that when the free market becomes criminalized then criminals will run the free market. People will find a way to smuggle in goods that are otherwise rationed or unavailable (to the non elites). Authoritarian Communist regimes are big on security of their borders. Despite their propaganda it is really more about keeping their people from leaving than anybody from invading.

The thing is that authoritarian communist regimes conscript a large amount of their force and pay is generally quite poor. So unmotivated poorly paid people guard their borders. While I have zero sympathy for corruption in military and government of non sucky countries I understand why it exists in sucky ones.

If I had an equivalent job in a sucky socialist country with price controls I might well be put on border guard. I would likely be in charge of some random intersection and the land around it. I would be poorly paid and my men would be paid worse. If an enterprising individual wanted to bring a truck of black market items across that checkpoint and wanted to make a deal I would be sympathetic. I would get some cash and my guys on guard would get a bottle of Jack Daniels or a carton of Marlboro's or some Levis or whatever. Would we stop spies or shoot at invaders, of course, but a little black market action is another matter.

Sucky authoritarian communist countries have black markets to varying degrees. People smuggle stuff in or steal stuff from work or whatever and trade it. In more extreme cases the local currency might not even be accepted there, but if you have something they want you can trade. Many average and poor people are stuck out of this market in its most narrow meaning because they do not have access to other currency. They may however have a skill or some stuff they snagged from work to swap with a neighbor who works at a place that makes something they need.

This sort of duel currency world is infinitely more complicated. It is often impossible to trade the local currency for a more valuable one. It is often illegal (if just poorly enforced) to possess other currencies or precious metals. Instead of just going to a store and getting what you need it can be a pain.

In conclusion. If you can afford it having a percentage of your resources in an alternate currency or precious metals makes sense. Knowing the value of different currencies and precious metals is prudent. It is essential to be able to rapidly figure out the real cost of goods and services.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

quote of the day

"Here's a simple task. Try to find someone who can explain to you how we will be able to afford to pay Social Security and Medicare benefits ... together with ObamaCare ... in, say, ten years."
-Neil Booritz

Sunday, May 2, 2010

quote of the day

"The way to crush the bourgeois is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation." – V.I. Lenin

Friday, April 30, 2010

quote of the day

"The only reason,and it is the only reason for a gun registration is to confiscate said guns at a later time. The Soviets did it, the Nazis did it, the Chairman Mao did it. And we all known how those turned out. Gulags,ovens, and mass starvation."
-Conservative Scalawag

Monday, March 22, 2010

Focusing on my own Comings and Goings

Last night I started some pineapple dehydrating. For the last batch I bought a whole fresh pineapple but this time I got a couple cans of pineapple rings. The rings have the benefit of being a lot cheaper because unless you live in the tropics pineapples are expensive. These turned out to be really good. Decreasing the dehydrating time slightly helped but also it was easier to get uniform slices to dry the same. Did I mention these are really good.

I didn't work today. Sleeping in was nice and had a leisurely morning. Took Wifey to work and then headed back home. I have been watching the news but only halfway paying attention. Mainly I have been cooking. I made a big old crock pot full of chili. In about an hour when the beans are all the way done it should be pretty darn tasty.
Chili is best with corn bread. We have used the recipe on the bag of corn meal a couple times and found it grainy and not particularly great. I mentioned looking for a good recipe on Facebook and MIL sent me a link to this post by The Pioneer Woman. I got to cooking this stuff up and it looks pretty darn good.
This whole health care debacle has been in the back of my head all day long. However life is just too short to get all whipped up about something I can't do anything about it anyway. I am going to have some chili and cornbread now. After dinner I will have a drink and do some reading. All things considered it hasn't been a bad day here.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

quote of the day

"I am fine knowing you love Stalin, its the hiding it and lying about it that I have had enough of."
-Pearls

Why I Am An Unabashed Capitalist

We have been real busy at work the past 3 weeks or so. I made special arrangements with my boss to skip out for a couple hours to take care of some stuff. Specifically my read passenger side tire has a slow leak I have been meaning to get fixed. The auto shop on post has a 9-9:30 am walk in time. I got there at 9:02 and said "my tire has a leak". The guy told me "um we are doing an inventory today so you need to go to the skill center". I get that with many businesses the place completely shuts down a few times a year to do a full inventory or what not. This was not the case. The place was open. The fat lazy slob just didn't want to do his darn job.

That would NEVER happen at a normal shop like a Les Schwab or Jimbo's Tires. An employee who blew off a customer like that would get seriously reprimanded if not fired on the spot. Not even Walmart employees would try and pull that garbage.

The thing is this guy doesn't care because there is no incentive for him to. Many mechanics or tire guys or whatnot get paid hourly. The difference is that in a private business they have an owner or a supervisor who is motivated by profit and thus cares about their profit which comes from how many customers get served. 

Though I dislike this particular fellow I can't really blame these guys. People are motivated when they have incentives. Take away incentives (profit) and you take away motivation.

That is why I am an unabashed, unapologetic capitalist.

Monday, January 18, 2010

quote of the day

"We have socialized risk and privatized gain."
-Eliot Spitzer last night on GPS with Fareed Zakari. I do not generally watch anything on CNN or like GPS. However they had Eliot Spitzer and the guy from Freakanomics on so it was interesting.

The guy is a first rate jerk by pretty much every account. His use of the obscure Martin Act as NY Attorney General was described as "the most egregious and unacceptable form of intimidation we've seen in this country in modern times." Basically my understanding is that he would just mess with people until he found something to convict them on or they were just ruined in legal fees or had their reputations permanently tarnished. Also as a special bit of irony he went after people for the (essentially victimless) crime of high end prostitution. One might find it amusing that he spent about a hundred thousand dollars on prostitutes, most notably Ashley Dupre. Any group of people who are foolish to elect him back into office truly deserve what they get.

In any case none of that matters because the quote is dead on.

Friday, January 15, 2010

quote of the day

“The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.”
-Winston Churchill

Saturday, November 21, 2009

quote of the day

"Advocates of government control [of health care and insurance] want you to believe that the serious shortcomings of our medical and insurance system are failures of the free market. But that's John Stosselimpossible because our market is not free. Each state operates a cozy medical and insurance cartel that restricts competition through licensing and keeps prices higher than they would be in a genuine free market. But the planners won't talk about that. After all, if government is the problem in the first place, how can they justify a government takeover?"
-- libertarian journalist John Stossel,

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Fall of the Wall

Today is the 20th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall. I remember it on the nightly news when I was a kid. Not well but guys standing on a big concrete wall with sledge hammers and a lot of people who were all happy and stuff. I think the impact of the Cold War (certainly best symbolized by the Wall itself) upon Germany is at least to those in my approximate generation completely under rated.

To me prior to coming here if you had to list things which were significant and involved Germany you would mention the World Wars, and Beer and maybe David Hasselhoff. Specifically I tended to focus in on WWII and The whole attempted takover of the world and genocide bit. I think elements of those things are significant but less so than the Cold War.

I say this because the effects of the Cold War were more significant and longer lasting. Yeah Germany tried to get a bigger piece of the colonial pie which Britain, France and to a far lesser degree Spain had pretty much divided amongst themselves. They pretty much took over Europe for awhile and killed a whole bunch of Jews, Gypsies and other folks. However not that long after the war their situation in relation to the war wasn't that different from that of their neighbors on both sides. A whole generation of young men were pretty much gone, lots of innocent people were dead and the national infrastructure was wrecked. The story of a German woman was probably not that different from that of a Belgian woman or a French woman. Times were hard, her sons went off and some or all of them died, for times food and fuel was limited and things generally sucked. At some point there was some bombing or shelling in the area and at some point strange young men in weird uniforms occupied the area and may or may not have done some bad stuff.

The one thing which makes Germany's national experience vis a vi WWII different is a broad sense of national shame. They let a real asshat gain power and then their country tried to take over Europe and killed a whole shit ton of people. The jewel in their crown of guilt is the holocaust. However the way this is expressed is in a sense of real reluctance at wide military action which for different reasons (mainly the shell shock of loosing a huge part of two whole generations of young men) pretty much all of Europe has.

Attempting to disconnect WWII and the Cold War into discrete events is something of a tenuous operation but not entirely undoable if some imagination is used. The war on the Eastern Front (Russia vs Germany) could well have gone differently (more that it could have gone slower for the Ruskies not so much the end result) or the Allies could have moved a little faster and Germany would have been left to recover and rebuild from the war with out a bunch of commies waiting to storm through the Fulda Gap. Interesting what if's aside the two issues can be somewhat seperated.

A good comparison for how Germany rebuilt after the war would be Japan.

It is almost impossible to imagine a country being suddenly cut in half with almost no travel (at least for average folks) in between. The image is particularly stark when you consider Berlin being cut into pieces. Your Mom lives across town, too bad maybe you can see her in a few decades.

To make the contrast between West and East Germany all the more distinct one side got massive aid to rebuild and the other got systematically stripped of anything useful and was run down. The West generally was a decent place to live and the East was not so nice by really any measurable criteria I can think of.

While Germany could have recovered from the war within the time it takes to age a good Burbon the Cold War lasted about 45 years depending on which events you count or where you were. I would submit that Germany is still feeling the after effects of reunification. The East has far higher unemployment and hasn't generally caught up to the developed and productive Western part of the country.

This quote really sums it up best " It was expected that stronger growth would begin reducing the numbers of unemployed by 1995 and that Germany would return to its postwar path toward prosperity. But the absorption of eastern Germany, and the methods by which it had been accomplished, had exacted a high price throughout all of Germany." I would submit that this price is still being felt.


In any case the damn commies (not to be confused with our kind though slightly stern Social Democrat allies:) lost which is always a good thing. 

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Travel Update

Yesterday we went to Trier which was pretty amazing. The Palace and the Porta Nigra were completely amazing. Walking in an intact Roman City gate was completely awe inspiring as was standing in a Roman Amphitheater. We will definitely go back there to see the museums and some other stuff.

Also apparantly Commie Karl Marx was born and went to school there. When walking by the Jesuite school he went to I observed that they didn't teach him very well becausse he turned into a fucking commie which is pretty stupid.

History is fun and it helps give me a sense of perspective on small current affairs sort of stuff.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Motivation and Greed, Classism and Perks- Rant #2

Lets start with some definitions thanks to the might and utility of Wikipedia.

"Motivation
is the activation or energization of goal-oriented behavior. Motivation may be internal or external."

"Greed in psychology is an excessive desire to acquire or possess more than what one needs or deserves, especially with respect to material wealth."

Lets talk about motivation first. We do almost everything we do because of some sort of motivation. I am currently drinking coffee with a bit of sugar and milk in it (pause while I refill my cup), my motivation for drinking it is that it tastes good to me and gets me going in the morning.

Most of us have motivation to work (using work as a generic term for whatever you do for money) from a couple sources. Hopefully we at least sort of enjoy our jobs. Maybe we enjoy some prestige or respect or various fringe benefits of our job. Lastly we get to monetary compensation a la pay. We work because we get money which we use to pay for basic necessities like food, shelter, transportation, coffee and beer. Very few people would still be going to their jobs if they stopped getting paychecks. The ones who would probably have long term secure jobs and think there is a reasonable chance this is just a short term FUBAR time.

Motivation is why we do what we do. It all boils down to motivation.

Now onto that evil thing called greed. Lets read its definition again.

"Greed in psychology is an excessive desire to acquire or possess more than what one needs or deserves, especially with respect to material wealth."

That reads like some commie assed shit to me. Excessive desire to acquire or possess more than one needs or deserves. Who gets to decide what someone else needs or deserves? Maybe a panel of intellectuals and other wise and good individuals should decide. That sounds like socialism to me and I want no part of it.

Example: My Grandmother owns an amazing vacation home which is probably worth around 3/4's of a million dollars in today's market. She and Grandpa both had pretty good jobs and they saved and invested wisely, particularly in real estate. They sold a couple small apartment complexes and ended up buying this place for a bit under 200k twenty years ago.

Does she need this place? No she does not. Does she possess more than she needs? Probably. Could the money gained from selling that place buy several families a nice modest residence and get them our of the rental trap or off the streets? Yes.

Fuck that. She worked hard and got a nice place and now she is enjoying it. She spends 2-3 months a year there and rents it out for most of the rest. We went there while I was home and had a wonderful time. There have been almost two decades of great family vacations and times and it is worth it to her to keep the place so those continue.

Greed does exist and on an individual level it causes some personal grief because they can't be happy with what they have.

On a big picture level greed is a good thing. Would Bill Gates have invented Microsoft and revolutionized our world if he would not make any money? No he would not have. Would he currently be employing thousands and thousands of people at very good wages if he wasn't motivated by making money? No he would not have.

That is just one example, there are too many more to possibly list.

I think almost all complaints of "greed" are just classicist pseudo socialist gripes. Just like the whole "yuppy survivalist" thing. You are just fine but the people two, three or four levels above you are bad.

It is "motivation" when you seek a promotion or a bonus or try to grow your business but it is greed if someone else does the same? These arguments stink. I am not a shill for big business and often I am a serious critic of them (bail outs, buddy buddy legislation, etc) but I fundamentally think that as long as they don't break the law they should try to make as much money as possible.

In my last rant's comment section someone spoke of the difference between legal and "right and wrong". Methinks the argument is mainly theoretical. While we do not live in a zero sum world every time you get a job someone else doesn't get it. Every time your business expands into a new area it probably means that either someone else can not start a business there, is failing or has failed. At the end of the day we all owe it to ourselves to do the best for us that we legally are allowed to. This is called freedom and it is why America is the greatest nation on earth.

Is it "wrong" for a bank to foreclose on a nice elderly lady who just can't pay the last couple years of payments on her modest home? It certainly isn't nice but life is tough. Freedom is free, it is not pretty and it often is not nice.

On a slight tangent I can not help but note some blatant classism in people who gripe about big business or bankers or whatever. These are the same folks who (you could argue rightly) rant and rave about programs, subsidies or preferential treatment for those in poverty. Why should they get a handout, they didn't earn it!

Oh Really. My observation has shown that if it comes from your pocket or helps someone else it is a handout or welfare or whatever other stigmatized phrase you choose. However if it benefits you at the detriment of those who make more money it is fair and much needed, after all it is just letting you keep more of YOUR MONEY.

The concept that you should be able to keep 100% of your income is a fine one. It would not work because at the end of the day we need some level of government (how much can be debated hotly) and that costs money. Saying that you should be able to keep every dollar you make and those below you can be damned also is fine. A legitimate argument can be made that your premace is correct. However I just do not understand how people who want to keep their own money and pet legislation (mortgage interest deduction, etc) without giving any special treatment to those below them (welfare, earned income credit, etc) can be so ademant about cracking down on the earnings and "greed" of those who do better than them via the characterization of these folks as "big business".

It is a loophole when it benefits someone who makes more than you. It is fair and right if it benefits you. It is a handout or welfare if it helps someone who makes less than you.To me this view is at best a bit hypocritical.

I think some laws concerning big business and certain financial institutions are completely wrong and obviously the direct result of cozy relationships with elected officials. I think those elected individuals should be voted out of office (or at least put on notice) and the laws should be changed. However I do not look down on business taking advantage of "loopholes" which exist as any more evil than someone who deducts their home mortgage interest from their income on their taxes or someone who claims earned income credit or whatever else.

This covered a lot of ground and I am interested in your thoughts?

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