me

Do you want to know more about the guy who's on the other side of your screen, saying all this stuff?

Then come right in...

ribbons

These are my Mission Statements.

rant

These are my longer "deep-dive" articles on specific subjects so they don't get lost.

partyfavor

The fun stuff that doesn't fit elsewhere.

Why big government is bad

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

One of my core values is that people should live as they please with a minimum intrusion from government. The People should be able to act in their affairs as they please, even to their own detriment as long as the actions do not hurt others. The laws should be as few as possible and they should (in our Founding Fathers words) "be understandable while running."

Milton Friedman, in his case against big government, says this (paraphrased): "Big business and big government are friends. Big business can lobby to the government for laws that favor them and hurt their competitors. Big government would have that power, while a limited government would not. " So, all y'all who want government in every aspect of people's lives are helping the mega-corporations all y'all rail against.

Case in point: Thanks To Lobbying, It's Illegal To Power Your Home With Solar Panels In Florida.

I bet you didn't know it, in many areas, especially urban areas, it is actually against the law for your home to not be connected to the electrical grid. Let me explain why.

A former supervisor and good friend of mine lost her house in the Nashville Floods some years back. She lived on the shore of a river that was flooded to prevent the breach of a dam. She rebuilt her home, literally 12 feet higher. She had a cinderblock foundation 12 feet high (that is now a garage and storage area) built, then her house was built on top of that. The thing of it was, when the house was finished, she couldn't move in until a "Certificate of Occupancy" was issued by the local building inspector giving her permission to live in her house.

Back in the 1930's, during the early days of the Tennessee Valley Authority, many homes in remote areas that wanted electricity in their homes used gasoline generators or private (small) hydroelectric dams to power them. Then the TVA came along and "insisted" that these remote homes connect to the electrical grid (and pay to plant poles and run the wires up there). Those people who were resistant to the insistent sometimes would find a bullet hole in their generator, or their dam exploded, ruining their power production.

I bring up those stories because if someone finds out that you have disconnected from the utilities, the utility company can get the government to revoke the Certificate of Occupancy for your home. It won't matter that you have a Tesla roof and power wall, the government will force you to vacate your home until you restore utilities. Don't think so? Call your local power monopoly and ask them what would happen if you told them to pull their electric meter.

Give this some serious thought. Citizens in states with prevalent sunshine (Hawaii, Florida, Texas, etc.) would have a great opportunity to live on their own terms, generating and storing their own electricity. Big, controlling governments and power monopolies however don't like that. They can't control you as easily, nor take your money willy-nilly.

Just remember shit like this when you demand a controlling, Socialist nanny-state to run your life for you. The end result will be you won't have the ability to act in your own best interest without prior permission from government. Yeah, good luck with that.

 

But at what cost?

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Since Obamacare became the laws of the land, I have been saying "Obamacare was designed from the start to be a clusterfuck of Biblical proportions. It is so bad, once it is fully in place and people see just how bad it truly is, they will clamor for anything that's not Obamacare. And that's when Single-Payer will be rolled out."

We are now at that point.

Today, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) will introduce this bill to the Senate, "The Medicare for All Act." The good news is, 2/3rds of Democrats realize that they are dead politically if the co-sponsor this bill. Those who are on the record as co-sponsors are Tammy BALDWIN (D-WI),Richard BLUMENTHAL (D-CT), Cory BOOKER (D-NJ), Al FRANKEN (D-MI), Kirsten GILLIBRAND (D-NY), Kamala HARRIS (D-CA), Martin HEINRICH (D-NM), Mazie HIRONO (D-HI), Patrick LEAHY (D-VT), Mr. Edward MARKEY (D-MA), Jeff MERKLEY (D-OR), Brian SCHATZ (D-HI), Tom UDALL (D-NM), Elizabeth WARREN (D-MA), Sheldon WHITEHOUSE (D-RI).

Would you like to know the unfortunate truth? You know, those pesky things called facts about what will most likely be the consequences if this (or some version) becomes law? We only have to look as far as Senator Sanders home state of Vermont and his own words.

From Sanders' own mouth,

“But I think what we understand,” Sanders said. “Is that unless we change the funding system and the control mechanism in this country to do that. For example, if we expanded Medicaid [to] everybody. Give everybody a Medicaid card – we would be spending such an astronomical sum of money that, you know, we would bankrupt the nation.” [emphasis mine]

From the Wall Street Journal article, The Single-Payer Siren Song (it's behind a paywall, but the important part is right there) where Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin was actively looking at a Single-payer system for his state. He abandoned the idea in 2014 when he realized there would have to be an additional 11.5% payroll tax, plus raising the income tax by up to 9.5%.

In my personal case, if my income was divested of my healthcare deductions, then the payroll tax and income taxes were added, my bi-weekly take-home pay would probably drop about $125 a check because the taxes are more than what I'm paying now. Someone making say $15/hour without benefits, their paycheck would DROP at least $350 a paycheck. Considering they were only bringing home $2,185 before, that just got cut to $1,817 for two weeks at your "living wage."

And, of course, costs and prices would skyrocket because Medicaid only pays providers 80% of what private insurance pays them. Just as an economic survival factor, providers will have to raise their prices to Medicaid by 20% to not take a pay cut. Or, no longer accept Medicaid insurance.

Just as a thought exercise, what do you think would happen if "BernieCare" became law of the land and everyone got a Medicaid card, but no doctors would accept it?

Every time you disconnect the cost of a good or service from the price paid by the consumer for that good or service, prices go up because nobody really cares what the prices are because they don't have to pay for it. It's "free" to them.

Prices come down when the consumer has a choice and price shops. Why should I pay $100 for a service at Dr. A when Dr. B offers the same service and quality for $80? We see that every day because millions of people go to Amazon to buy stuff and not the store down the street because the price of goods on Amazon are cheaper and delivered to your door.

What we need are prices at a doctor's office up on the wall like they are at McDonald's. You walk in and see what an office visit costs, how much for lab testing, and all the way down the line. We can then look on the insurance company's website and see how much they pay for those services. You go to the provider, get the service, get the bill to show what services you received. You then send it off to the insurance company and they reimburse you. Because you price shopped, you can either pay or pocket the difference.

It would take 18-24 months for everything to stabilize, but I can be reasonably sure that prices will come down. Why? Because the consumer can decide if the price is worth the cost. Remember, the cost is what you pay in cash, the price is what you have to do (work overtime, sell things, skimp on other things, etc.) to acquire that amount of cash. If a family member comes down with cancer or other serious condition, the family makes the decision on how much care (if any) the member gets. If the treatment for a cancer diagnosis will cost the family $20,000 (Because it will cost $100,000 and the insurance will only pay $80,000), which would grant the sick member with a 20% to live more than a year, what would you do? The choices are simple, destroy the families finances and more than likely die in a year or two, or pass on sooner.

Yes, choices like that are upsetting. They are not easy and you will live with regret either way. Today we see cases where people will demand insurance companies pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to extend the life of someone by a few weeks or months. Is this cost-effective? Say we have a finite pool of money (because, you know, we do). We can use this money to either extend the life of person A by 6 months, or extend the life of person B 20 years. Or, how about extending the lives of 20 people (B through U) by one year? If you were a family member of A, what would you choose?

What upsets me is Liberals screaming "PEOPLE WILL DIE WITHOUT HEALTHCARE!!!!1!!!!!111" I hate to tell them this, people die every day, sometimes with the best healthcare on the planet. Medicine can only delay what is inevitable for all of us. In fact, medical errors in the US account for over 250,000 deaths annually, third in number after heart disease and cancer.

Think about it. Most of the time, medical care only treats the symptoms of the illness until the body itself can repair the damage. If you get a cold, the doctor tells you to buy stuff that will stop the runny nose, body aches, diarrhea, vomiting and so on so you can not feel so bad and can function until your body kills off whatever is making you sick. For emergency care, say you gash your arm or get a compound fracture on your leg, the medical professionals who treat you will only stop the bleeding, keep you breathing and prevent infection until your body can repair itself. People die only because the body cannot repair the damage or illness happening to it.

I know this stuff is hard. No one wants to make these kind of choices. That being said, we all make choices daily that have lasting effects. They have to be made because we can't have "everything all the time." To think so is to not live in reality.

Taking a break

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

I have been having fun (off and on) posting to a twice-a-week schedule. I was hoping to get noticed by one of the Conservative Media and possibly asked to do some paid work. I am sorry to say that didn't happen and other factors have become a higher priority that I must suspend regular postings for the foreseeable future.

The classic phrase is "Gone Fishin'," however I never developed an appreciation for the hobby, despite spending my teenage years living on the shore of a lake considered to be a Trout-fishing Mecca. So, I think the term "Gone Gaming" is more appropriate.

This is not "Good-Bye," but rather in the pre-Internet days when our connections were via dialup, electrons were at a premium and baud rates were 300 8N1, "TTFN."

gonegaming

 

History is very messy

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

History is a very messy affair. No person of historical significance (other than Jesus) has ever been perfectly good or perfectly bad because we are all flawed beings. We all make conscious choices that we know when we make that choice are good or evil, sometimes the choices we make and think are good turn out later to have disastrous consequences and vice versa.

My lesson here is "Never take the condensed version of history at face value."

Case in point: The Cuban Missile Crisis. History is full of stories about how JFK "Faced down the Soviets aggression and made them blink under the threat of a nuclear war." History is not as compelled to tell you why the Soviets put those missiles in Cuba. You see, in 1961, Kennedy deployed Jupiter IRBMs (Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles, ICBM's baby brother) in Turkey and Italy. Which for the Soviets, was their equivalent of them planting missiles in Cuba was for us. Had Kennedy not deployed IRBMs to Europe, the Soviet Union would not have deployed IRBMs to Cuba.

Second case in point: Have you ever owned or ridden in a Volkswagon Beetle? This iconic vehicle, of which over 21 million were made, was the brainchild of... Wait for it... Adolph Hitler. In German, "Volkswagon" literally means "People's car" or "A car for the people." Please, tell your local Antifa member who owns one of this fact. Does that excuse his brutal extermination of 20 million "undesirables" plus the 83 million war dead? Of course not.

So now let's get to my main point, the Civil War.

Robert E. Lee was initially offered the position of Commander of the Union Army when the Southern States started seceding. At that time, many Citizens of the United States regarded themselves as Citizens of the State first, then as a Citizen of the United States. Lee declined the offer when Virginia seceded because his loyalties were with Virginia, not the Union. Technically, he did not own slaves. His wife (a granddaughter of Martha Washington, her father was adopted by Washington) inherited 57 slaves and the land that now comprises Arlington Cemetery when her father died in 1857. George Washington Parke Custis (Lee's father-in-law)  stipulated in his will that the slaves be freed within five years of his death. Lee, one of the executors of his father-in-law's estate, freed the slaves five years and two months after Custis' passing. Lee had not owned slaves prior to this, nor afterwards.

Abraham Lincoln, that "savior of the Union," tromped on the Constitution so hard and so many times that it is astounding. Too bad history does not cover very well that he suspended habeas corpus so that Lincoln could jail state and federal lawmakers who opposed him. His violations are too numerous to mentionin the scope of this article. Suffice it to say, Lincoln's presidency could be best described only by words from a hundred years later, "We had to destroy the village to save it."

Then you have that old devil, Nathan Bedford Forrest.Yes, that "founding member and Grand Wizard of the KKK." The facts state otherwise. He was an early member, not a founding member, there is a difference. The evidence he was a "Grand Wizard" of the KKK seems to be that the position was invented for him.

Yet, he turned away from the KKK. As Grand Wizard, in January 1869 he issued KKK General Order Number One: "It is therefore ordered and decreed, that the masks and costumes of this Order be entirely abolished and destroyed."

His last public appearance, at a July 1875 meeting of the Independent Order of Pole-Bearers Association, an organization of black Southerners advocating racial reconciliation, Forrest made these remarks:

Ladies and Gentlemen I accept the flowers as a memento of reconciliation between the white and colored races of the southern states. I accept it more particularly as it comes from a colored lady, for if there is any one on God's earth who loves the ladies I believe it is myself. (Immense applause and laughter.) This day is a day that is proud to me, having occupied the position that I did for the past twelve years, and been misunderstood by your race. This is the first opportunity I have had during that time to say that I am your friend. I am here a representative of the southern people, one more slandered and maligned than any man in the nation.

I will say to you and to the colored race that men who bore arms and followed the flag of the Confederacy are, with very few exceptions, your friends. I have an opportunity of saying what I have always felt – that I am your friend, for my interests are your interests, and your interests are my interests. We were born on the same soil, breathe the same air, and live in the same land. Why, then, can we not live as brothers? I will say that when the war broke out I felt it my duty to stand by my people. When the time came I did the best I could, and I don't believe I flickered. I came here with the jeers of some white people, who think that I am doing wrong. I believe that I can exert some influence, and do much to assist the people in strengthening fraternal relations, and shall do all in my power to bring about peace. It has always been my motto to elevate every man- to depress none. (Applause.) I want to elevate you to take positions in law offices, in stores, on farms, and wherever you are capable of going.

I have not said anything about politics today. I don't propose to say anything about politics. You have a right to elect whom you please; vote for the man you think best, and I think, when that is done, that you and I are freemen. Do as you consider right and honest in electing men for office. I did not come here to make you a long speech, although invited to do so by you. I am not much of a speaker, and my business prevented me from preparing myself. I came to meet you as friends, and welcome you to the white people. I want you to come nearer to us. When I can serve you I will do so. We have but one flag, one country; let us stand together. We may differ in color, but not in sentiment. Use your best judgment in selecting men for office and vote as you think right.

Many things have been said about me which are wrong, and which white and black persons here, who stood by me through the war, can contradict. I have been in the heat of battle when colored men, asked me to protect them. I have placed myself between them and the bullets of my men, and told them they should be kept unharmed. Go to work, be industrious, live honestly and act truly, and when you are oppressed I'll come to your relief. I thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for this opportunity you have afforded me to be with you, and to assure you that I am with you in heart and in hand" (Prolonged applause.)

I don't know about you, but that sounds like someone who made a mistake and was trying to do the right thing. Did I mention that in August 1874, Forrest wrote to Tennessee Governor Brown, offering "to exterminate the white marauders who disgrace their race by this cowardly murder of Negroes"? Does this sound like a man who he is currently painted to be?

Don't paint people in absolutes, because we aren't.

Switching Sides

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

I have been hearing lately about “sure, the KKK used to be Democrats, but now they’re Republicans.” This has caused some confusion in my mind, so I’ve been doing some research off and on, while letting my subconscious mull it over. A couple of days ago, I got the message from my subconscious saying that a conclusion has been reached, so here it is:

First of all, history is unequivocal in the facts that Democrats were the party that supported slavery. After the Civil War, it was Democrats that formed the Klu Klux Klan, and forced Jim Crow laws on Blacks in the South.

In the 1950’s, it was Democrats that fought integration of the schools. George Wallace, the Democrat Governor of Alabama himself stood at the doors of the school that was the first to be integrated. The Civil Rights Act of 1957, which was to support the SCOTUS decision Brown v. Board of Education. Senator Strom Thurmond (D-SC) filibustered the bill in the Senate for 24 hours and 18 minutes by himself. By the way, 107 House Democrats and 18 Senate Democrats voted against this bill. 19 House Republicans also voted against it.

When the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was being debated, Senator Thurmond again led the filibuster effort, blocking all work in the Senate for 57 working days (the Senate is only “in session” three days a week). Senators Richard Russell (D-GA), Robert Byrd (D-WV), William Fulbright (D-AR) and Sam Ervin (D-NC) filled out the filibuster team.

According to people who have told me “Klukkers are now Republicans” it was about this time that the “racist Democrats” heard the “Republican Dog Whistle” that the GOP was going to be the “party of racists” and invited them to switch sides. Never mind that the Republican Party was formed specifically to end slavery. Please, forget that most of the integration and equality efforts were by Republicans.

I will admit, that this is when the Republican Party started its ascent to prominence in the politics of the South, but it was not because of a “Republican Dog Whistle.” It was for another, more basic reason.

President John F. Kennedy, who is still by-and-large revered by Democrats, would have been a Republican today. A Roman Catholic, he would probably have been against Roe v. Wade. I can be as sure as anyone can be today because Kennedy appointed one Justice to SCOTUS, Byron White, who voted against the decision. Kennedy was also pro-RKBA, pro-tax cuts and anti-affirmative action. Kennedy’s positions on these subjects were considered the ideological base of the Democrat Party in 1960.

It was in 1962 that Reagan switched from being a Democrat to a Republican, saying that famous line, “I didn’t leave the Democrat Party, the Democrat Party left me.”

That the Democrat Party has stood for higher taxes, anti-gun, pro-affirmative action and pro-abortion (because, you know we have to force pro-life clinics to talk about abortions) since about 1968 until today, only says that the people who have run the Democrat Party have moved very far Left in their political views.
Coupled with the “toe-the-line-or-lose-your-toes” stance Liberals have (remember my post on Liberals eating their own?), it is no wonder that some Democrats have switched sides. They remained where they were ideologically, however the Democrats run to the Far-Left meant that some of these people found their ideological beliefs now aligned more with Republicans than Democrats.

How about that. Occam's Razor still applies.

Baby in the house!

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Baby chick, that is.

I have owned a pair of Sun Conures since 2001, which means they predate this blog which was started in 2003. Rocket was the first one I bought, whom I took pity on. Rocket shared a tree perch with a Macaw at the breeders home and the Macaw didn't like Rocket, so the Macaw nipped 3 of 4 toes off one foot. Corky, short for Corkscrew (a type of model rocket) followed a couple of months later.

rocketcorky

They are about half way through their life span, and I never bothered to have their sex determined, which involves plucking a blood feather and sending it off for DNA analysis. If you have ever talked with me on the phone while I was home, you have heard them. They are loud, squawk a lot, and are very affectionate.

Almost a year ago, they discovered that they are a pair and started having sex. Corky is male, Rocket is the female. Eggs followed shortly there after. I built them a nest box, which they have chewed the lip (to keep things from rolling out) and the top off of it. I wasn't too concerned about egg viability because they were probably not fertile because of their age.

Probably.

Thursday night, we started hearing a very soft "peep, peep" coming from their cage. Lo and behold, a little baby Conure chick was there, freshly hatched. Panic mode ensues, hay was added to the cage and chick supplies were quickly researched and to be purchased in the morning.

Hoist by their own petard

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Before I start this, let me be unequivocal: I do not want to write this. The suggestions I will make later are detestable, especially to me. That being said, Liberals opened a door I have repeatedly warned them about. You made your bed, now lie in it.

I HATE klukkers and supremacists of any color. I hate them more than the Blues Brothers put together and multiplied by several orders of magnitude. If you believe that one person or group is better than another person or group based on skin color or genetic heritage, you are a fucking idiot and I give you fair warning, do not try your shit with me. If you do, I will be all up on you to a scale that will have R. Lee Ermey giving me a slow clap. If I find a supremacist (no matter the color) on fire, I will not throw gasoline on him. I will throw kerosene on him, because it burns slower and at a lower temperature, thus it would be a longer and more painful experience.

As a young man of 14, I first heard and took to heart the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to judge people by the content of their character rather than their skin color. I have never regretted that decision. As a young man, I had a KKK member try to recruit me. The event was so sickening to me that almost 40 years later, I still remember where I was, his face and what the business card he gave me said.

That being said, I am going to say something that upsets me. You see, in the wake of the recent events in Charlottesville, GoDaddy kicked a white supremacist website, The Daily Stormer, off their servers. Let me tell you why I am against that.

The MSM has always employed a trick to play up (or down) crowd size in order to advance their agenda. When 200 people showed up to a Hillary rally, the MSM implied 2,000 showed up, while when 2,000 showed up at a Trump rally, the MSM made it seem like only 200 showed up. They are doing the same with these white supremacists.

If you rounded up every white supremacist in the United States (no, we are NOT going to shoot them) and dropped them all in the same congressional district, they could put up one of their own for Congress and not win. There is not enough of them to be the majority in a single Congressional District. While they do exist, the numbers are few, bordering on insignificant.

The supremacists, with the help of the MSM, are following the first rule of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals: Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have. The supremacists want to appear bigger than they are (to imply they have more power than they actually have) and the MSM wants them to appear bigger than they are so the MSM looks more powerful than they are when the MSM “takes down the alt-Right.”

Now, in case you missed it in the SCOTUS case Metal v. Tam, the Supreme Court ruled (split decision 4-4, but both sides basically agreed) that:

A law found to discriminate based on viewpoint is an “egregious form of content discrimination,” which is “presumptively unconstitutional.” … A law that can be directed against speech found offensive to some portion of the public can be turned against minority and dissenting views to the detriment of all. The First Amendment does not entrust that power to the government’s benevolence. Instead, our reliance must be on the substantial safeguards of free and open discussion in a democratic society.

So there can be no “hate speech” standard, because a) the government would have to define it and b) the government is restricted in every way, shape or form from touching that subject. There are very special and specific restrictions, namely Obscenity, Child Pornography and “Fighting Words and True Threats.” You can read about it here.

A supremacist website can legally say “We’re better than you!” all they want. They will and should run afoul of legal entanglements if they start calling for “All [insert color of choice here] people need to band together and eradicate all those who [insert nonsensical criteria here] tomorrow!”

Why would I want this kind of hateful spewing of ignorance available to everyone? Because if we as a society can restrict their speech, then eventually society might get around to restricting mine.

Just like Maximilien Robesperre who fanned the flames of the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror. As a member of the Committee of Public Safety, he sent thousands to “the National Razor” (i.e., the Guillotine). Because you cannot control a large monster like this once created, Robesperre himself eventually earned a place in that line that ended with his head in a basket. The lesson here is, if I call for “off with his head!” at someone today, others might call “off with his head!” at me tomorrow.

So I want these idiots on the Internet. That way, we know what they are saying and what they are doing. We fight ignorance and hate with truth and love. If we silence any group we don’t agree with, we force them into the darkness, where they and their ideas can fester, leading to long-term problems.

By the way, I do not condone doxing, because if done improperly, innocent people get hurt. Case in point, this image:

doxing

While these two men have a passing resemblance and the guy on the right works at the place the guy on the left has on his shirt, these are not the same person. I have a deep-dive article on this in progress.

Now we get to the part I do not want to write. That being said, I also don’t want myself or this website silenced or threatened with silence because someone decided the words on here constitute that ambiguous “hate speech.”

I stand up to protect the unrestricted voicing of opinions, no matter who says them. I will equally support Planned Parenthood, Black Lives Matter, supremacists of all colors and creeds, all religions, the NRA, Hillary Clinton, Slate, Salon, Fox News, the New Black Panthers, the Huffington Post, Breitbart and a thousand more organizations. They should be allowed to voice their opinions as they see fit.

Now, if I think their views and opinions are stupid, I’m going to say that as well. I think they have to right to embarrass themselves in public however they want to.

I have said many times in many places (unfortunately I have not codified it on this website) that a business should have the right to refuse any transaction with a customer for any reason. However, in their rush for social justice, Liberals went the other way, thus forcing the door open for my following suggestion.

And just to prove that we are a nation of laws and not feelings (and the laws work equally for all), I offer this advice to the person who owns The Daily Stormer:

Just like the case of David Mullins and Charlie Craig sued Masterpiece Cakeshop and won because the bakery refused to produce a product for their same-sex marriage celebration, you can sue GoDaddy. Masterpiece Cakeshop ended up not producing cakes for anybody because of this situation.

You might not get your hosting back, however it would probably be easier and cheaper to capitulate and furnish your hosting than have the government force GoDaddy to provide “comprehensive staff training,” rewrite company policies and provide reports for the foreseeable future to make sure they aren’t violating the rights of anyone else.

In both Ohio, the state in which you reside, and Arizona where GoDaddy is located, there are public accommodation laws that prevent discrimination on the basis of religion or creed.

Mr. Daily Stormer, I’m sure you attend a church that makes the postulations on a regular basis that “Whites are the Superior Race.*” Using that as a basis, you can argue that since that is part of your religious belief system, your expressions of hate and derision for non-whites are religious in base and nature, thus protected by those same accommodation laws that same-sex couples can use to force a business to provide them a product or service against the will of the business owners.

I’m not a lawyer and I didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, however I think if you use that argument, you have a fair chance to force GoDaddy to accommodate you.

As a final thought, both radical left- and right-wing groups can use the same strategy and reasoning to prevent Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, snapchat and all of the other Social Media companies to likewise restrict their views.

This is why I advocate for government staying out of peoples’ lives as much as possible. Because when you set the precedent for government to force a business to do (or not do) something that the government shouldn’t be regulating in the first place, don’t be shocked when that tactic and reasoning are used against you to force you to do something that is reprehensible to you. Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.

* Of course, I’m reasonably sure if you attend church, it is probably some form of Christianity. A lot of supremacist people who are “God-fearing people” might be horrified to learn that Jesus was a Semitic Jew, dark-skinned and dark-haired. Not the blond haired, blue-eyed handsome guy you see in the drawings today.

North Korea Update

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

As a follow up to my North Korea Brief, did you notice in the past two days that the prospect of North Korea launching missiles at Guam very suddenly evaporated? Kim Jong Un Backs Down In Nuclear Showdown With Trump.

This is what I consider to be a rather wonderful application of B. H. Liddel Hart’s indirect approach to diplomacy. Remember, if the US had to actually invade North Korea, China was going to intervene on the side of NK.

All Trump had to do was talk about opening an investigation into China’s trade practices concerning Intellectual Property and Patent thefts from US companies doing business in China to China’s President Xi Jinping. That happened on Friday, August 11th. Mind you, nothing as of this moment that I write this has actually started beyond a memorandum to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to look into the matter.

On Tuesday, August 15th, Dear Leader Kim Jong-un decided to not fire missiles at Guam, reserving the right to change his mind, if “blah, blah, blah.”

Let me spell this out. The US market is China’s biggest customer. If we suddenly start “finding discrepancies” if how China deals with our companies, we might have to do something about it, like halting Chinese imports. This would be a bad thing for China.

The best visual I can use to describe how economics works is, imagine a person walking back and forth on a gymnastics balance beam, which is only 4” wide. This beam is suspended above a pit of hungry crocodiles. While walking back and forth on this balance beam and trying not to become crocodile lunch, this person has to juggle 15 running chainsaws. That are on fire. Any mistake, slip or mis-timed move and things rapidly go from bad to horrific.

There would be no winners in this. If we halt Chinese imports, their economy would quickly collapse. Which by consequence seriously hurt the US as well, since China is using the profits from what they sell to us to buy our Treasury bonds and keep our government overspending. Our government would then crash like Greg Biffle and Kasey Kahne trading paint and causing a twenty-six car pileup at Daytona in 2014. No one wants this to happen. Not the Chinese and certainly not us.

So I can only conclude that between when Trump spoke with Xi on Friday and Kim trying to back down gracefully on Tuesday, I can only infer that there were a lot of talking between Xi and Kim, along the lines of Xi saying, “Listen to me very carefully, you short, fat, petulant child, if you launch your missiles, after Trump bombs your sorry ass back to before the stone age I will send my troops into North Korea. My troops will find you and they will drag you face down behind a truck all the way to Beijing where I will personally drill a hole in your sorry bowl-cut forehead and I will scramble your grey matter with an egg beater to solve this problem I have with you. HAVE I MADE MYSELF ABUNDANTLY CLEAR!!!?!?!?!” (Not a direct quote. Probably.)

So by using the indirect method of threatening the entire Chinese economy, Trump forced China’s hand to do Trumps dirty work and bring Kim to heel. I fully anticipate that if this trade investigation gets anywhere, it might find a few minor violations which will be swiftly dealt with and it will be quickly back to business between the US and China. Was this Trump's idea, or did this come from one of his economic advisors? Don't know, don't care. I still don't like him, nor trust him. But I have to admit, this is an elegant solution to this crisis.

Look for China to retaliate in some way, probably in 6 months to a year. They do not like being made fools of, nor to do the work of their enemy. They are also patient. Let's hope Trump will be prepared and can apply a deft Judo move and thwart whatever the Chinese try.

Philly soda tax update

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

I wrote in March of this year the post Chutzpah about the 1.5 cent-per-ounce distribution tax on “sugary beverages” in Philadelphia. I found these two articles to explain what is going on today, Philly’s Drink Tax Is Hurting Consumers, Businesses, and the Poor and Soda Tax Experiment Failing in Philadelphia Amid Consumer Angst and Revenue Shortfalls.

The City initially estimated that they would collect $46.2 Million in revenue between January 1st, 2017 when the tax started and the end of its fiscal year June 30th. Through some accounting sleight-of-hand known as “revised projections,” city officials stated that they have “adjusted” this number to $39.7 Million, a 14% downward revision. Too bad the actual receipts came up short of even that number, at $39.46 Million.

As with most taxes, it hurts those on the bottom of the economic ladder the hardest. Those with transportation engaged in the classic American pastime of tax avoidance by shopping outside Philadelphia where the tax was not collected. Those who couldn’t drive out to the suburbs to shop made the difficult choice to buy less food or less soda.

Please notice in the receipt below that the tax is over half the price of the product and the transaction was cancelled.

philly soda tax receipt twitter

Then there are the secondary economic effects of such a tax, between Coca-Cola (40) and PepsiCo (80-100) over one hundred people have lost their jobs at the bottlers because of the drop in sales. PepsiCo is also pulling all of their 12-pack and 2-liter products from all stores that sell those products in Philadelphia. I don't have any information on if or how many people working at grocery stores, convenience stores and other places that sell soda have lost their jobs due to decreased sales at their store, or how many stores had to close because the drop in sales killed their profitability.

There is a (somewhat) good news part to this rather stupid idea, beer is now less expensive than soda, so Philadelphians are now consuming cheaper but higher calorie beer and thus becoming more overweight than they would have been if they had stuck with the now unaffordable soda. I called this a stupid idea because the tax covered all sugar-sweetened sodas, fruit drinks, sports and energy drinks, sweetened water, pre-sweetened coffee and tea and mixers in alcoholic drinks. Starbucks and other places that prepared the drinks were exempted. To show you that this is about 1) controlling the citizens and 2) raising money for the city coffers by taxing citizens to the breaking point, zero-calorie diet drinks are also subject to the tax. Thomas Farley, the head of Philadelphia’s health department admitted his stupidity when he explained why diet drinks are included: “People will be less likely to switch from sugary drinks to diet drinks, but they may be more likely to switch from sugary drinks to water, and that is what we want.” (emphasis from National Review article)

So again, Liberals show their inability to grasp second-level thinking. They institute a tax and base their economic budgets on past levels of consumption, never considering for a second that their tax might cause a decrease in demand for the product they are taxing.

When (not if) the taxes come in short of what the politicians already spent, they face a fiscal crisis. This means the services supported by the tax are now cut back or even eliminated, while the citizens have less money in their pocket. Both lose in the short and long term.

 

North Korea Brief

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

This post is going to have a lot of information in it to give you a good context of what is going on, what could happen and what is likely to happen with the current situation with North Korea.

First, we are still at war with North Korea. A cease-fire was signed in 1953, but no cease of hostilities has ever been given. We currently have about 35,000 troops in South Korea.

Why would North Korea, Iran or any of these less powerful states be so eager to join the Nuclear Club? Because they realize that no nation can resist the conventional (i.e. non-nuclear) force the United States can bring to bear on them militarily. Properly unleashed, we would roll over them like a truck running over a squirrel. Now, if a nation had the ability to deliver a nuclear warhead into the middle of our conventional forces or on top of our command and control structure in theatre, that drastically changes how we would do things.

Let’s talk about what a nuclear weapon really is. It is a device using nuclear fission or fission-fusion (in the case of a thermonuclear or “H-bomb”) to create a really big explosion. A nuclear weapon can be used in two ways: property damage in the case of a ground or air burst, or an EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) at high altitudes to destroy electronic and electric grid equipment. I’m not going to get into the "how that happens" of that here. Suffice it to say an EMP over say, Salt Lake City will destroy most if not all computers, cell phones, tablets, etc. from about the Colorado/Kansas border back to the West Coast. This would also destroy most of the electrical transmission in that area. The long term effects of that is no power to anyone for months, if not years because just about every transformer and other major component of the electrical grid would have to be replaced.

North Korea’s biggest nuclear test to date was about 20 kt, (kilotons, or 20,000 tons of dynamite). This was the size of the Nagasaki blast. This will be a fission blast. By contrast, one of our Minuteman III missiles has either 3 W78 warheads of about 330 kt or a single W87 475 kt warhead.

North Korea has just claimed (without outside verification) that it has “miniaturized” a physics package (that’s what a nuclear device is referred to as) to a weight and dimensions to make it feasible to launch it on a missile.

For the missile itself, just because you send something up, there is no guarantee it will land where you want it to. We don't know, and the NK’s probably don't either, what the CEP of their missiles are. The CEP, or Circular Error of Probability, means if you have a CEP of one mile and you launch 10 warheads at the same spot, 5 of them will land within that one mile circle, the other 5 outside.

I gave you all of that so you can understand why I am saying this:

If NK actually launches a weapon at Guam, (210 square miles in a sparse area of the Pacific Ocean, 2,100 miles from NK) the missile has to actually survive the boost phase (a 50/50 shot at best with NK’s hardware), then have an untested physics package survive a re-entry (which NK has never even tried, let alone succeeded with this) and it has to actually go off correctly (i.e. initiate an uncontrolled nuclear chain reaction) within 1 mile of Guam to actually do damage. In my estimation, when I give a 10% chance of a successful strike, I am being generous.

I stated a 1 mile accuracy because with a 30 kt device, anyone within 1.75 miles of the bomb will receive 3rd degree burns. You can check it out here, put “.03” in the yield area, because a 30 kt weapon is .03 mt.

NK has promised to “bracket” Guam with four missiles. Given their ability to aim, they might actually hit when they were trying to miss. I highly doubt, given their probable stockpiles of nuclear weapons, that these missiles will be armed. But then again we are talking about a spoiled man-child who executed an uncle by mortar fire.

What is going to drop that 10% chance to zero is the US military. Ticonderoga-class cruisers and Arliegh Burke-class destroyers carry several Standard Missile-3 weapons, which are designed to shoot down ballistic missiles and even satellites in low Earth orbit. I would be shocked if there were not 1-2 of these ships already on station off Korea, Guam, Hawaii and the West Coast, ready to intercept any missiles that are launched against us. Guam also has a THAAD battery, which is a land-based anti-ballistic missile system. If we have three ships and the THAAD on the path the missile must take, North Korea would have to simultaneously launch at least 10 missiles to even have a chance of one getting through.

Now let's talk about our man-child, Kim Jong-Un. We used the concept of MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) against the Soviets during the Cold War. We made it public that if the Soviets launched even 1 missile at us, we would launch everything in retaliation. With the Soviet Politburo being comprised of reasonable men who wanted to survive, they never intentionally brought us to that brink.

Our short buddy Kim, well he’s looking to become a god and he won't hesitate to sacrifice his entire country to obtain that godhood. Think Emperor Cartagia from Babylon 5.

By the way, thanks to Obama and his conciliatory attitude toward Iran and their nuclear program, we are going to be in this situation in about 15 years again with them. Except they will use their nukes against Israel because they have the blessing of Allah to do so. But I digress.

There is a major player I have not mentioned yet: China. During the Korean War, when UN forces made it to the NK-China border, China intervened and pushed UN forces back to the 38th parallel. China has an interest to keep the current power structure in NK active, if only to act as a thorn in the side of the US. NK is China’s barking dog, growling and snapping at anyone nearby.

China has an “official unofficial” news site, Global Times, which released this “editorial” on August 10th. Here’s the important part:

Beijing is not able to persuade Washington or Pyongyang to back down at this time. It needs to make clear its stance to all sides and make them understand that when their actions jeopardize China's interests, China will respond with a firm hand.

China should also make clear that if North Korea launches missiles that threaten US soil first and the US retaliates, China will stay neutral. If the US and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so.

China opposes both nuclear proliferation and war in the Korean Peninsula. It will not encourage any side to stir up military conflict, and will firmly resist any side which wants to change the status quo of the areas where China's interests are concerned. It is hoped that both Washington and Pyongyang can exercise restraint. The Korean Peninsula is where the strategic interests of all sides converge, and no side should try to be the absolute dominator of the region.

This boils down to “if NK launches, it’s okay with Beijing if the US spanks NK. If we send troops, to actually solve the situation, China will get involved.”

From the “Official Official” Chinese website Xinhuanet comes this relation of a conversation between President Xi Jinping and President Trump, where Xi urges cool heads on both sides of this issue.

Now, if NK actually launches at US territory, this is where multiple scenarios can happen.

Scenario A:

The most likely is NK launches one or multiple missiles at Guam. I am 99% sure they will be successfully engaged and destroyed before they become a threat to Guam.

This will be a conventional, not nuclear response.

We already have most of those coordinates and will be doing satellite intelligence that day for final coordinates. Ships will already have their orders and be waiting for the final targeting data and the execute order.

US cruise missiles will be launched from US ships which will be stationed off strategic areas of NK, under the cover of darkness targeting radar installations first to limit NK’s ability to respond to threats. A second wave of missiles would then destroy any set missile launch points and/or known portable missile launchers. A good punch to disrupt the NK Command and Control structure will probably be the end of the US retaliation.

Scenario B:

NK actually launches a nuclear weapon which is not shot down and by accident or on purpose (on the part of NK), explodes over or near Guam.

See conventional response above, on steroids. I hope and pray no nuclear devices are used in response.

In this scenario, I can see an erasure of the NK military. Every ship and sub bigger than a rowboat will be engaged and sunk, in port or on the open seas. Any NK aircraft within weapons rage of a US combat unit will be shot down. Every known base, munitions stockpile and rally point will be rendered unusable.

I have no insight on NK’s coordinated actions with their missile launch or their plans for retaliation for US response. I would trust Charles Manson before I trust Kim Jong-Un.

I do know that Seoul is within artillery range of North Korea, and there are probably 100+ “tubes” (military speak for pieces of artillery or mortars) in place already. They can be firing within 5 minutes of getting the order and each tube can get out 4-6 shots a minute until they run out of ammunition or are destroyed.

I can see 1-2 ships in international waters not too far away from where the artillery is probably located, who will close and provide counter-battery fire against that artillery if necessary.

As in the aftermath of any armed conflict, there are no winners, only survivors. I hope above all that no conflict breaks out.

That being said, in 1986 President Reagan bombed the crap out of Libya and we did not hear a peep of trouble from him for seventeen years. The only reason we heard from Gadhafi then was because Bush 43 was looking for WMD, and Gadhafi surrendered his so fast it was almost comical.

Thank President Clinton for starting this mess and Bush 43 for cocking things up worse. The base fact is that NK was never sincere in agreeing to the “framework.” Which leads to the fact that if you negotiate with someone who is not sincere, you don’t negotiate with them, you spank them appropriately when and how.

 

Integrity Update

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

In this article I talked about the importance of integrity, the demand that your word be impeccable in your trustworthiness.

So now it comes to light via The Australian (sorry, it's behind a paywall) that the Thredbo Top weather station has been deleting record cold temperatures (remember it's Summer in the US, it's Winter in Australia). Two meteorologists noticed temperatures of about -10C (14 degrees Fahrenheit) disappear from the records.

The culprit? A smart card reader. Riiiiiiiiight.

It has been reported online that electronic smart cards were allegedly fitted to the BoM’s automatic weather stations, which put a limit on how low temperatures could be recorded in official weather data. The BoM declined to comment ahead of the internal review.

[...]

On her website yesterday, Dr Marohasy said it was not the recording­ devices that were at fault. “To be clear, the problem is not with the equipment; all that needs to be done is for the smart-card readers to be removed,” Dr Marohasy said.

I deal with card readers every day in my job. If a smart card reader is deleting data, then the idiots who wrote the firmware for the reader need to be flogged. There is no computational power in the reader itself to manipulate data other than to translate it from "computer-speak" to "smartcard-speak." At best, there has to be an logic trap that they screwed up on as part of the translation process because the deleted readers are all two digit negative numbers. At worst, the logic trap was intentionally there to "shave off " low temperatures. I will lean toward the former due to Occam's Razor, but I'm not entirely eliminating the latter.

 

Distractions from the real stuff

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Back in January, right after Trump took office, I wrote the post Trump the Magnificent, which was all about misdirection.

Apparently, The Atlantic, not exactly a bastion of Conservative principles (I am being facetious, they are quite Liberal in their ink) recently came to the same realization. Trump Has Quietly Accomplished More Than It Appears.

While the Democrats and the MSM are distracted by Scaramucci's short tenure as White House Press Secretary, their persecution (not prosecution) of the "Trump-Russia collusion" and the rest of the "chaos," things have been happening behind the curtain that will have long-term effects.

Trump, between his Tweets, who he picks for various high-profile positions and their personal issues have created a smoke-screen that the shallow, salacious-seeking MSM can't get past to see the real changes being made.

When I play strategic-level wargames, I am always doing multiple feints. Except they aren't feints. Each one is a real threat and can strike a killing blow, or disappear in a puff of smoke when struck at. The Democrats and the MSM better hope and pray Trump is not as ruthless as I am. When I corner an enemy, I leave a way out. Sun Tzu taught me that because a cornered enemy will fight harder than one who can escape. Sun Tzu also taught me to make that "escape" a path straight to Hell with booby-traps, ambushes and dead-ends to sap the will of the enemy and pick them off until they are destroyed or surrender.

Trump is leading his opponents down a primrose path. By the time they realize where they are, they will be over the cliff, with jagged rocks rapidly approaching.

Trump is playing a very long game. And right now, he's winning.

Too polite of a society

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

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.

 

The case for school vouchers

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

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.

 

Why integrity is critical today

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

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.”