But Now You Know

The search for truth in human action

It’s Not Even an Effing Mosque


The official story…to my puzzlement, not contradicted by even the people against it…is that some Muslims, who may or may not be secretly part of a terrorist organization or something, are building a mosque across from where the World Trade Center was destroyed by some Muslims.

If this were the truth, I’d be sympathetic with the hue and cry against it.

But it’s not. The above story is absolutely false, even in its basic facts.

It’s Not a Mosque

This is the Park51 building, as planned. Does it look like a mosque, to you?

First, the Park51 building won’t be a mosque. It will be a “community center” that will contain, like a Catholic community center, a 500-seat auditorium, theater, performing arts center, fitness center, swimming pool, basketball court, childcare area, bookstore, culinary school, art studio, food court, September 11th memorial, and a prayer area. Sounds more like a YMCA, to me.

Now nobody calls a Christian community center a church, of course. Even though it contains a chapel, it’s simply not a church.

And an Islamic community center one is not really a mosque.

The People Building it Are Sufi

Pretty much all of the terrorist organizations in the world that are focused on the United States are Wahhabi, funded and trained by our allies in Saudi Arabia, and often closely coordinated with our allies in the Pakistani military.

Wahhabism is a crackpot fundamentalist version of Sunni Islam. Think of Sunni as being like Protestantism, a relatively liberal branch of the religion overall, and Wahhabism as being like the Protestants who dance with snakes and talk in tongues.

Meanwhile, most of the rest of the terrorist organizations in the world that are Islamic at all are Shi’ite. This is the largest of the three branches of Islam, and the most basic one, with an older lineage than Sunni Islam. Think of that as being somewhat like Catholicism…most Shi’ites are peaceful, but you have the crazies, like the Irish Republican Army is for Catholicism. You can’t really blame the rest for those nutjobs in the IRA targeting other peoples and religions.

And then you have the Sufi. These are a bit like the Mormons are to Christianity. They’re a “third way” sort of group, very peaceful and focused a lot on mysticism and spirituality, not the practical mechanics of the Big Two. No terrorist organizations, in the whole world, are Sufi. Some Muslims say they’re so different that the Sufi aren’t even Muslims, at all.

The people building the Park51 community center across from the World Trade Center are Sufi.

“Muslims” Didn’t Attack on 9-11, Specific Crackpots Did

Remember when those guys blew up a Federal building in Oklahoma City? The OKC Bombing?

They were Catholic. Did “Christians” blow it up?

What if people had then protested that a Mormon Temple couldn’t be built across from the ruins, because “Christians attacked us there, it’s adding insult to injury!”

Associating the Mormons with some Catholics (they were) who attacked America on that day would be insane. Since we understand Christianity here, we see that immediately.

But hey, at least it’d be an actual Mormon temple. This isn’t even a mosque we’re talking about here.

Sinead O'Conner crazily associating all Catholics with the IRA terrorists

So OK, what if it was a YMCA (that’s the Young Men’s Christian Association), being built across from where the Irish Republican Army had slaughtered a bunch of Protestants?

Protesting because the YMCA is Christian like the IRA would be laughable…because we understand the huge difference.

Well, the difference between the Sufi community center and the Wahhabi terrorists is like multiplying the OKC/Mormon difference TIMES the IRA/YMCA difference.

Funny, both of the most obvious Christian Terrorist examples I came up with were Catholic. Does this mean Catholics are terrorists? Hopefully, you have enough sense to realize it has nothing to do with Catholicism, even though the IRA actually believe it does.

The same is true of even the two branches of Islam that have terrorists in them. But it’s triply true of the Sufi, THE ONE BRANCH, of the three, that has NO terrorist organizations at all.

Nobody wanted to build ANYTHING in that spot, from the day it was damaged by debris on 9-11, until these Sufi decided to build Park51, their equivalent of a YMCA, there.

And we’re going to throw a tantrum about it? We should be high-fiving them, instead.

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August 23, 2010 Posted by | International, Politics, Religion | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Employer’s Right to Hire…and Fire


Help (BANNED) WantedThe job you really want, right now, is being held by some lazy, incompetent fool, whose boss wants to fire him…but cannot, thanks to people like Representative Steve Cohen, Democrat of Tennessee. In fact, Cohen probably identifies with the guy stealing your job.

This is because of the way government meddles with the hiring and firing of employees, now.

Involuntary Employers

Obviously, part of the problem is that it’s so hard to fire bad employees.

  • First, ridiculous laws allow privileged groups to claim discrimination or mean treatment based on race, sex, lifestyle, or many other things, claims as vague and unrefutable as fake neck injuries…and just as indicative of the evils of lawyers and our corrupt legal system.
  • What’s more, an employer is nearly as likely to be assumed guilty, by the public or the courts, as if accused of child molesting.
  • The maze of what is a privileged group is so insane that the employer can’t guess WHO might turn out able to sue. Are you of a privileged lifestyle? A favored fringe religion? They’re not even allowed to ask…so EVERYONE is seen as a potential trap.

So the safe thing to do is just leave the bad employee in his job, and suffer the economic burden to the company (and therefore economy), spending even more money to work around the problem.

If only employers were free to fire bad workers, it would be easier for ALL workers to get jobs, and then prove themselves to keep them. Even if you lacked experience, an employer could feel free to take a chance on you, and see how you work out.

Forced Anonymity

Since you are banned from proving yourself on the job, you need to prove yourself before you’re hired, but when you first apply for a job, the employer knows nothing about you but some claims on a piece of paper. When he interviews you, he can ask questions that show how much you have memorized, and he can get an idea of how likable you are…but he still can’t know how you behave as an employee.

It’s to your benefit to be able to show a prospective employer what a great worker you really are, and the only really effective way to do this is through references.

But laws and our harmful legal system have made that almost impossible.

The references of bad former employees have to fear repercussions if they say anything bad about an employee…in fact, it’s considered increasingly dangerous to say anything NEUTRAL about an employee, as this has become a way of clearly not saying something good about him, to bypass the prohibition.

This means that anyone trying to call your references can’t really trust all your good reviews, so you’ve lost this tool for proving your value.

Know Your Associate

It is also illegal, effectively, to hire mainly people you know or have some social affiliation with, especially if most of whom you know are healthy, straight white males. You are required to have some artificial ratio of sex, race, sexual preference, even political viewpoint and other things, depending on how crazily PC your state is…and statistics say you won’t accidentally know exactly the right proportions of each, when thinking of what friends could fill that job opening.

This is unfortunate, because you have a better idea of the abilities of people you know, despite any biases you may have from friendship or other factors, than you could possibly know about strangers applying, especially under the current anti-reference conditions.

Another tool for finding a good employee, down the drain.

So employers are unable to screen workers well before they hire them, yet are trapped with the bad ones once they do.

Let’s Ban MORE Hiring Tools!

Not trying to prove the point by showing he's fugly, just want you to see who's attacking your right to win a job

As employers grow more desperate to find ways to pre-prove employees they are scared to hold to any standards once hired, some are resorting to running credit checks. Obviously, while it doesn’t directly show how they work, it increases the odds of knowing something about the character of the person. Not perfectly, but it gives them some chance to reasonably guess.

So you can’t prove your worth on the job, because the employer fears firing being stuck with bad workers.

You can’t prove how great you are with references, because it’s effectively illegal for them to be honest.

One of the few ways left is to allow a potential employer to run a credit check. Sure, it doesn’t show how you do a job, but there is some loose correlation between character and good credit. If your credit’s at least OK, the odds are at least somewhat better of you taking commitments seriously. And, anyway, it shows you have less incentive to steal from the company.

Having them run a credit check on you may be the thing that seals the deal.

But now,  Representative Cohen and others like him want to ban even this entirely plausible hiring tool.

They literally want to make it illegal for you to give your job prospect permission to run a credit check.

Obviously, aside from how almost any intrusion in the free market causes harm, this is wrong. They want to deprive both you and the employer of one of the few remaining ways to prove you should be hired.

Why, we wonder, aren’t they instead trying to restore the other, better ways that were already banned?

If checking credit does not work well, it will die out with competition. If it works well, they have a RIGHT to use it.

Interestingly, the only employers I’ve ever had do a credit check on me were government agencies and their contractors….and this bill exempts those, as corrupt Congresscritters typically protect themselves from the bad laws they impose on us.

This bill needs to be stopped, and the current laws preventing good job matching need to be fixed.

August 7, 2010 Posted by | Economy, Family, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Forget the Fed


End the DEBT

The Federal Reserve, though bad, is a scapegoat, and ending it would neither reduce the deficit, nor rein in the printing of money

Among my political companions, “End the Fed” has been the hot, trendy thing for a while. This is mainly because Ron Paul correctly distrusts it, and has sponsored a bill to have it audited.

Now, I almost named this article Eff the Fed, because I, too, dislike it, and know it can never manage money properly…no government agency ever could. Instead of the a fiat dollar, we should have a free market in currency, like the Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek advocated . But when it comes to the fight to end it, there’s a problem.

The End the Fed crowd seems to think that getting rid of it is some magic bullet, that will accomplish all kinds of different things.

They believe it will:

  • Bring back “sound money”, by imposing a gold standard.
  • End the printing of new, extra money
  • Restrain runaway government spending
  • Prevent budget deficits

The problem is that ending it will accomplish none of those things.

In fact, it would probably make them worse.

Why?

Because the Fed isn’t what started those things happening, and none of them depend on the Fed’s existence.

Axe the IRS

In effect, fighting those things by attacking the Fed is like wanting  to fight the income tax, and high taxes, by demanding “Ax the IRS”.

Obviously, we had taxes before the IRS, and we’d have taxes after it. In fact, the IRS was not created by the 16th amendment establishing the income tax, but five decades earlier, by Abraham Lincoln.

If we got rid of the IRS, we’d still have the income tax, and high taxes. Putting our time, energy, and money into attacking the IRS would be a waste of time, when we could have fought for actual tax reduction, reforming or ending the income tax, et cetera, directly.

What’s worse, the government would still want to oversee the taxes we failed to actually fix, and would probably end up using something worse than the IRS.

Well, all of this is true of the Fed, as well:

The Feds Don’t Need the Fed

The Fed and a Gold Standard are Compatible

Trade Dollars, coins minted in the US during the gold standard, in an attempt to offset a shortage of money

Ending the Fed won’t bring back a forced gold standard, because they are two unrelated issues.

We had both at the same time for decades, anyhow.

The US had a fiat gold standard from 1873, through 1934.

The Fed, of course, was established in 1913. It existed alongside the gold standard for over two decades. It helped cause the Great Depression while the US was on a gold standard. It created floods of new money in the 1920s, and drew down the money supply by 30% (which would cause any economy, at any time, to collapse) in 1929…both of these things while we were on the gold standard.

Congress Would Just Print More Money

Not only did we have a gold standard while we had the Fed, but we also printed fiat paper money when we did not have the Fed. The reason the dollar is sometimes called the Greenback, is that this was the nickname commonly used for the paper money common in the United States in the 1860s and 1870s, printed to finance the Civil War, known for its green ink .

Right now, the Federal Reserve is a bureaucratic middleman, standing between Congress and simply printing money willy-nilly. The Fed uses what are ironically called “mechanical” means, to create its electronic, funny money for banks. In other words, it has a set of rules that cause the money to be created according to some specific set of conditions, not simply all the money the government wants.

An actual Greenback, fiat paper money printed in the US before the Federal Reserve

Without it, Congress will simply mandate the printing of more money, on its own, surely in accordance to its bloated, and ever-snowballing spending. They printed floods of extra money before the Fed, and would print it after.

As with the IRS, however it replaces the Fed (and, in a sense, it will have to) will probably be with a mechanism that is even worse.

The US government issued treasury notes, and created deficits in other ways, for the majority of US history where there was no Federal Reserve Bank, and would do it again without it.

Restrain the Deficits…How?

This is the silliest one, and speaks to an ignorance of how the Fed works.

The Federal Reserve certainly responds to some deficit spending by selling more treasury notes…but as with printing money and collecting taxes, this would happen whether the Fed existed or not. It simply is the middleman, again.

You might as well blame the mailman for delivering your bills.

A Big, Fat Windmill

The problem with Don Quixote attacking windmills wasn’t just that the windmills wasn’t only that the windmills weren’t actually dragons, harming people.

It was also that he was wasting the energy and time that could have gone into fighting actual bad causes.

And that’s what the End the Fed noise is doing. This energy could be spent fighting deficit spending directly, which has run rampant under Democrat and RiNO alike…or any of dozens of other issues of government abuse.

It’s Going Nowhere

Of course the last problem with tilting at windmills was that it was never going to get rid of them, anyhow.

The Federal Reserve is in no danger of being “ended”. Ron Paul is actually only sponsoring a bill to audit the Fed, which (unfortunately) will not even permanently open its records to the public, the way they need to be. It will do even less to “end” it, since government self-investigations only ever are used to create a pretense that a few new regulations have “put the problem behind us”, and things usually just get worse, thereafter.

A majority of Americans oppose the drug war. Nearly all Americans not directly on the government teat oppose its massive spending and deficits. But the mechanisms for keeping the Fed in place, on both the private and public side, are massive. Not only would getting rid of it have no more effect than axing the IRS, but it’s no more likely to happen.

How To Actually Fix Things

What we need to do, rather than waste our time tilting at the Fed, is to directly address the problems we’re using it as a whipping boy to attack, or at least focus on their actual sources.

For example:

Balance the Budget; A balanced budget amendment would stop massive deficits, rein in government spending, and eliminate much of the incentive to print money and treasury notes, under the current system.

Line-Item Veto; Giving the President the power to veto any specific detail in any spending bill would be a step in that direction, as well. This may need to be an amendment, too, in order to override corrupt Federal courts claiming that it’s somehow unconstitutional.

Pull the Pork; Rules against pork, against Congress specifying projects in detail intended just to send money to their own cronies in their district, would be devastating not only to spending (which, unfortunately, is more centered on entitlements), but also to motives to give officials legalized bribes like campaign contributions.

Or maybe something else, entirely…but, whatever is done, it needs to be done. We need to choose surmountable obstacles that will actually matter, not waste our effort and attention on some scapegoat, however undesirable it is. The Fed is a poster child for government’s destruction of finance and economy, but what we need now is real solutions, not symbolic gestures, however satisfying this one would be.

July 5, 2010 Posted by | Economy, liberty, Philosophy, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

…Then Why Did They Hate Bush and McCain?


I am puzzled by those few remaining people who defend Obama adamantly…because most of them claimed to hate Bush.

And yet, of course, in policy Obama is just Bush III:

Bush = Obama

  • Bush had a massive “stimulus package” that used Keynesian/socialist theory to try to “help” the economy. McCain voted for it.
  • Obama voted for it. Obama followed up with a second “stimulus package” of his own.
  • Bush expanded the war in Iraq with a Surge, while gradually drawing things down in Afghanistan, pretending they were getting better. McCain supported him.
  • Obama is expanding the war in Afghanistan with a Surge, while gradually drawing things down in Iraq, pretending they are getting better.
  • Bush expanded socialized health care entitlements more than ever before in US history, with the prescription drug benefit. McCain voted for it.
  • Obama is trying to expand socialized health care entitlements more than ever before in US history.
  • Bush responded to each natural disaster by throwing money at it.
  • Obama is responding to each natural disaster by throwing money at it.
  • Bush bailed out the banks, and expanded regulations on them.
  • Obama bailed out the banks, and is expanding regulations on them, using the Bush plan.
  • Bush protected the unions while the car companies were trying to file bankruptcy, including a massive bailout.
  • Obama protected the unions while the car companies filed bankruptcy, after including a massive bailout.
  • Bush kept Guantanamo open, and “tried” people held for a year or more without trial, in secret military tribunals.
  • Obama is keeping Guantanamo open, and is “trying” people held for a year or more without trial during his own administration, in secret military tribunals.
  • Bush passed the USA PATRIOT Act to grant himself police-state powers in violation of the Constitution
  • Obama refused to rescind, or allow to expire, the USA PATRIOT Act police state powers that violate the Constitution

McCain = Obama

  • McCain proposed a trillion-dollar global warming tax/trade scheme in 2007
  • Obama proposed a trillion-dollar global warming cap / trade scheme in 2009
  • McCain opposed drilling in the Antarctic and off the coast of Florida in 2007
  • Obama opposed drilling in the Antarctic and off the coast of Florida, in 2007 and today.
  • McCain censored political speech in the name of “campaign reform” with McCain/Feingold
  • Obama is fighting to censor political speech in the name of “campaign reform” against the the Supreme Court
  • McCain supports amnesty for illegal aliens
  • Obama supports amnesty for illegal aliens
  • McCain promised to never overturn Roe v Wade
  • Obama promises to never overturn Roe v Wade
  • McCain wanted to undo the Bush “tax cuts”
  • Obama wants to undo the Bush “tax cuts”
  • McCain voted for massive new penalties and liabilities for tobacco companies
  • Obama wants massive new penalties and liabilities for tobacco companies
  • McCain voted for massive new penalties and liabilities for gun companies, and restrictions on gun shows
  • Obama wants massive new penalties and liabilities for gun companies, and restrictions on gun shows

What on earth was their problem with Bush and McCain?

Maybe they’re just racist against white people…

March 9, 2010 Posted by | Economy, environment, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Why Universal Medicare Isn’t an Option



At one time, those advocating a “public option” were trying to claim it was not a socialized health care proposal like Medicaid/Medicare.

Now they’re actually proposing that this massive socialized bureaucracy be extended to cover all Americans.

Surgeon, chained by the nanny state The obvious question is, with a system that requires the whole of the nation to suffer a massive tax burden in order to cover only 14% of the population, where are we going to get the huge amount of money necessary to cover 100%? Especially when that system is already underfunded, in danger of going broke in only a few years.

Right now, most Americans pay more to FICA than they pay in income taxes.

What happens when you increase it to cover SEVEN TIMES as many people?

Are YOU ready to pay 700% as much in taxes, to cover universal Medicare?

This socialized system only works because it involves the productive part of America paying out the nose to support a tiny fraction of the population. Making it universal would be, quite literally, saying “I know how to make a pyramid scheme work: Put EVERYONE at the top of the pyramid, at  the same time!”

Why Would We Want To, Anyway?

That is aside from how bad, how harmful, Medicare already is to America, even when it only covers one seventh of Americans:

  • Fraud and Theft: Medicare is already fraught with fraud…it is thought that between sixty and seventy two billion dollars are stolen from the taxpayers via Medicare fraud, each year. That’s $72,000,000,000 every year. Imagine how much the fraud would balloon if the government had to police seven times as many people. The lost money would be comparable to the recent Stimulus/Bailout spending, but it would never end.
  • Too Expensive and Inefficient: Medicare is ALREADY expected to run out of money by 2017, becoming bankrupt even with its current users and tax burden. How are we going to expand it 700%?
  • Abysmal quality: Consumer and doctor dissatisfaction with Medicare is only surpassed by the similarly government-mandated HMO system.
  • Driving Costs: The ballooning cost of health care is consistently charted as having begun in the late sixties, right after the creation of Medicare. This system strips away consumer controls of prices…if the government took over the buying of your meals, the price of food would similarly go through the roof.
  • Tax the Poor: The wealthiest segment of Americans is the oldest. Americans tend to gain more wealth as they age. Yet the poorest segment of Americans are forced to pay in full for FICA, already. In effect, the poorest are being taxed for the richest.


Next time someone suggests that we should simply extend Medicare to cover everyone, because it’s working so well, ask him where we’ll get the two billion people necessary to fund extending that this fraud-ridden, insolvent, price-ballooning system to the 86% of Americans who now fund it for the rest.

February 18, 2010 Posted by | Economy, Health, liberty, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Our Fifth Year of Global Cooling: Coldest Since 1996


Chart documenting the five year global cooling trend

This is a graph made from NOAA's data for the past decade, showing how the global temperature has been falling for four years. It includes an early rough number for 2009, obtained from a contact there.

Well, it’s unofficially official:

2009 was, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the coldest year in a decade, and they expect 2010 to be worse, perhaps the coldest since 1996.

Oh, don’t worry, you won’t find this news posted on the main page of their website, or in any press releases. They quietly stopped posting charts of annual temperatures in 2006, when the cooling started. But you can find the numbers buried on their site, for example here, and my contacts at NOAA and NASA (I once was a consultant for both) affirm that they have the 2009 numbers, but that the mandate is to sit on them as long as possible, and find ways to present them that will do the least damage to the global warming cause.

Because their budgets depend on scaring people with the global warming myth, various government organizations and bureaucrats have desperately been spinning this cooling trend, even as they avoid directly mentioning it. Around 2006, there started a growing trend to refer to it as “climate change”, not global WARMING, because they wanted to re-brand it before the cooling became well-known.

Now, as the global cooling trend has continued for five years, you can actually find global warming profiteers saying as crazily anti-scientific things as “global warming will probably take a break for a while”, as if it were a tired old man, not a weather phenomenon.

Global Warming protesters proving they are tone-deaf to irony, while demonstrating the spread of the Al Gore Effect: The more they protest, the colder it gets.

The Climate Bogeyman

Now we’re all familiar with witch-hunt logic:

We throw the unpopular woman in the lake:

  • If she drowns, she was innocent.
  • If she floats and survives, she’s a witch and we burn her at the stake.

This kind of evil trick has been used by people seeking power through fear, for as long as recorded history.

It is one thing that Principles of Justice, and the Scientific Method, are supposed to counteract.

Sadly, this appears to be the same logic that the global warming profiteers use.

If the weather is warm, it’s proof of global warming, if it’s cold, it’s proof the weather has been disrupted by global warming.

The scientific method does not stop them, even though they are “climate scientists”, because they do not use it. They have long-ago abandoned the rules of hard science.

When we had an abnormally large number of hurricanes back around the time of Katrina, this was a result of global warming, and we could only expect things to get worse.

When the next few years were abnormally quiet, including one of the mildest hurricane seasons in history, it meant nothing.

When it’s really hot somewhere locally, they say it’s evidence of global warming.

When it’s really cold, it not only means nothing, “that’s weather, not climate”, but maybe it’s because global warming is disrupting the weather, so it proves global warming.

A few glaciers are shrinking faster than normal…global warming.

Some other glaciers are growing larger than in recorded history: Not worth mentioning.

The north polar ice cap had a significant melt: Warming.

The Antarctic ice sheet grew larger than in recorded history: Silence.

The Fall of Global Warming

Why do we hear about unusually warm local weather, but not unusually cold? The warming of the Arctic, but not the record ice of the Antarctic? The melting of a glacier, but not the last two unusually cold summers in the US?

As the actual global cooling trend creates an environment that dooms the global warming profiteers’ gravy train, it is accompanied by snowballing evidence of the fraud and money-motivation of those who perpetrated this scam in the first place.

  • Climategate, for example, was just the first in a series of revelations of actual attempts to cover up global cooling, and create an illusion of global warming, going back to 1996.
  • The Climate Change Timeline documents the pattern of claims that the earth was suffering runaway cooling, warming, cooling, then warming, every time the temperature naturally rose or fell in a perfectly healthy cycle.
  • For the third time, key Russian figures supporting global warming officially turn out to have been false, with the truth supporting global cooling.
  • A growing number of global warming “scientists” are reversing their positions, admitting to “mistakes” that created a false appearance of global warming…here is the latest.

Why haven’t they given up? There’s no money in that.

Like I was told by a NOAA exec when I was consulting for that organization:

A government agency can’t justify its budget by telling people GOOD news.

February 17, 2010 Posted by | environment, International, Politics, Science | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Real Conservatives Aren’t Cowards


Neocon frauds claim we need to submit to Big Brotherment, then expect us to believe they're against Big GovernmentFew things are as shameful, to an American, a Conservative, or a Republican, as watching some neocon on TV talking about how we should all surrender our principles and liberties out of fear.

“Freedom is all fine and good,” they say,” until someone gets hurt. Then you realize it’s time to let Big Brotherment protect us.” Of course this is what Liberals say in general. But the neocons, unlike other Liberals, are pretending to be Conservative, discrediting our movement with their cowardice.

These timorous beasties claim that we should only believe in liberty when it’s convenient. After 9-11, for example, pretty much every American principle of freedom and justice should be out the window. Don’t we have a right to privacy? “We have a right to not be killed by terrorists”, they respond.  Freedom of speech? “You can’t place freedom above safety!”

Well, as an actual American, and Conservative, I say:

They who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

Ben Franklin, classic liberal and therefore modern Conservative, had it right.

It’s ironic to watch faint-hearted neocon pundits claim that Americans should be too afraid to put terrorists on trial in New York, giving otherwise-scared-of-everything Liberal New Yorkers the chance to say “bah, I lived through 9-11, and I say bring ’em on: Justice will be served!”

This very exchange, almost to the word, occurred on The Daily Show recently, Jon Stewart playing the part of justice-defending American, Newt Gingrich pretending to be a Conservative, yet advocating the philosophy of trembling terror.

Likewise, the neocons oppose the closing of the Guantanamo prison camp, or the opening of a prison for foreign terrorists in America…Gitmo North, they call it. Instead of supporting the principles of justice and natural rights the Founders recognized, we should be too afraid of terrorists to hold them on our soil, where those principles must legally be upheld.

These neocons fought against Reagan tooth and nail during his administration. They ran a Nixonian Republican, John Anderson, against Reagan as a vote-splitter in1980; they literally preferred that Carter win. More recently, they wasted eight years of Republican presidency violating every Conservative principle Reagan upheld, during the Bush administration. They are the opposite of anything we actually believe in. Remember, the bank bailouts, stimulus packages, and American automaker takeovers were all started by the neocons. Obama is only following their example.

It’s time we stood up and rejected their pusillanimous assault on our natural rights. Next time someone says “it’s a different world, since 9-11”, say “but the same principles of liberty and justice hold true”.

We are Conservatives, not cowards.

February 13, 2010 Posted by | International, liberty, Philosophy, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Conservatives Say: It’s OK If Obama Blames Bush


No RiNOs (Republicans in Name Only)Yes, whenever the sagging economy comes up, or the foreign quagmires, Obama blames Bush. And certain talk show hosts have defensive hysterics over that.

But, unlike neocons at Fox and on the radio, and other advocates of Big Brothernment, true Conservatives have no problem at all with this, for two reasons:

First) It’s true. Bush governed like a Liberal, spending money, increasing regulations, and dragging us into a trillion dollars in wars, and then mismanaged them abysmally. Even if it is embarrassing to  “our side”, we believe in supporting the truth, taking responsibility for mistakes (something Bush rarely did), and fixing problems.

Second) It’s not a condemnation of Conservatism, anyway, because Bush was so Liberal. Like neocons in general, he only talked Conservative, but when the chips were down he always turned to huge government solutions, more squandering of taxpayer money, et cetera.

It’s no surprise that we had economic and political trauma, when Bush violated Conservative principles in these ways:

  • He had claimed the economy needed to be deregulated, yet he rolled out more huge regulatory schemes, even counting only his first two years in office, than Clinton did in eight…hundreds of billions of dollars in new regulations on insurance, shipping, health care, and many other industries.
  • Even his “tax cuts” were mostly semi-annual welfare checks disguised as “refunds”, along with “tax credits” that are literally welfare, plus a maze of new exemptions that truly increased tax compliance cost just as much as any actual tax savings. Compare this to Reagan simplifying the tax code so much that people saved as much in compliance costs as they saved in taxes.
  • His “solution” to the failure of socialized education was to break his School Choice promise and set up a massive Federal bureaucracy called No Child Left Behind.
  • His response to 9-11 was to set up a police state in violation of the Constitution, to refuse Afghanistan’s offer to turn over bin Laden for war crimes trial in order to invade, and to attack Al Qaeda’s mortal enemy, Saddam Hussein.
  • His promise to make Socialist Security more privatized and voluntary was abandoned because he was spending all of his political capital on a voluntary trillion-dollar set of wars.
  • Speaking of socialism, until Obama’s health care plan passes (shudder), Bush’s prescription drug plan stands as the largest socialized medicine expansion in US history.
  • Speaking of being more Liberal than Clinton, in EVERY SINGLE YEAR, of his eight years in office, Bush increased domestic spending more than Clinton did in his entire second term.
  • His answer to Katrina was to throw $87,000,000,000 dollars at the region, that had already squandered more than the rest of the nation’s combined Army Corps of Engineers budget at NOT fixing its levees.
  • His response to the economic decline was to not only increase spending above his super-Clinton levels, but to bail out companies and squander hundreds of billions on “stimulus” packages that actually depress the economy more.

Who’s seriously surprised that this kind of socialism caused an economic depression? Hoover’s big-government approach helped cause the Great Depression, and Bush’s similar approach did the same.

Real Conservatives don’t try to defend this. Instead, we say:

Yes, that’s right, Bush’s domestic policies cause economic catastrophe…so stop doing exactly the same stuff, Obama!

October 29, 2009 Posted by | Economy, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Obama Could Earn That Nobel Prize, After All


Alfred Nobel's Hemp-Puffin' Stuff Medal

What could move a Conservative advocate of Liberty to commend Barack Obama on a policy decision? How about taking perhaps the first significant pro-freedom action by a president since Reagan?

Obama has pretty much failed the “peace” part of his campaign/policy promises…which is really bad, because that’s the only good part of his entire platform…until now.

His Iraq policy is a mirror of what Bush was claiming to plan, anyhow. His Afghanistan policy is one of increasing warfare and expanded support of the terrorism-sponsoring Pakistani government. He isn’t actually closing Guantanamo. He is pushing to maintain the unconstitutional, police-state PATRIOT Act. His government has been more transparent than Bush’s, but that’s like having more water than the Sahara Desert; he’s still been secretive, and deceptive.

But he’s now doing one thing right.

Obama is the first Democratic president I know of to actually act on the Liberal claim of opposition to the insane drug war. At all.

In case you didn’t know, he has actually rescinded the Bush/Clinton orders to target, under unconstitutional Federal law, medical marijuana users in states where that treatment is legal.

Carter didn’t do anything good about the drug prohibition. Clinton…well, he was the first president to attack the medical marijuana users. Johnson is the guy who started the modern drug war. FDR and Truman were the ones who pushed the prohibition of marijuana in the first place.

Reagan privately opposed drug prohibition, but sold out on the “you’ve gotta pick your battles” theory of compromise with the badguys.

The 1994 Republican Revolution involved some rumblings of decriminalizing marijuana, but of course they sold out all Conservative, pro-liberty principles, within a few years. Gingrich adopted the very desirable platform of the Contract with America based on the popularity of liberty in the polls, but never believed in it.

Anyway, to get back to the topic at hand, the last two presidents violated the Constitution, especially the 9th and 10th amendments, by specifically going after medical marijuana users in those states where it had been legalized. I had no reason to expect otherwise of Obama’s Business as Usual administration, but they have announced that this practice will now end.

I commend him, on what is actually the first important pro-liberty action from a president I can recall having encountered in years. Drug prohibition is one of the most harmful and inexcusable of American domestic policies, but is generally overlooked, or made worse, by the Mainstream political sellouts.

If he kept going down that path, he’d actually deserve to have been given a Nobel prize…years from now, when he left office.

October 26, 2009 Posted by | liberty, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Decline in Family is Caused by High Taxes


uncle-greedy

You may not realize exactly how much of your work is purely for Uncle Sam's profit.

Blame the Parents

Statistically, parents really do spend less time with their families, these days. Because of this:

  • Social conservatives, and some others who blame Hollywood, the music industry, and public schools for the decline in “family values”, condemn parents for not spending more time with their kids to offset those bad influences.
  • Teachers, in a dramatic demonstration of how to serve as an irresponsible role model, prefer to blame parents, not themselves, for the decline in public education’s results. Those parents just aren’t spending the time with their offspring that they once did.
  • Police like to blame parents for the trouble kids get in after school…they’re not spending enough time with them as role models.
  • Technophobes blame newfangled televisions, video games, the net, and mobile phones for, well, anything cultural or behavioral…and blame the parents for not screening such entertainment, not knowing what the kids are seeing.

Family Matters

And, statistically, there’s no question that there’s some strong correlation between the amount of time parents spend with kids, or families in general spend together, and many other things, like drug use and success later in life. The more family time, the better-off the kids are.

It isn’t clear which way the causal relationship goes, but there’s certainly something happening there.

Prosperity-haters therefore blame most of society’s problems on how Greedy Materialists in America spend all day working, both parents, therefore leaving the children in the hands of day care help that is luck to keep the kids healthy and sane, much less serve as good role models and teachers.

If only they were willing to do without many of the nice things in life, like a second car and TV, they’d raise better kids.

They’re halfway correct.

The problem isn’t that people are so greedy as to wish to have decent lifestyles for themselves.

Even your combined household income, after all government burdens, ends up being a fraction of what you earn

Even with your combined household income, after all government burdens, you end up keeping a fraction of what you earn

Working Man’s Burden

The actual cause of this decline in family time is taxes.

You thought the title was simply hyperbole to drag you in, didn’t you.

The typical main breadwinner in the US pays about 28% of his income in Federal taxes.

The typical second earner in the US brings in 27% of the first earner’s income, after taxes.

This means that the second parent is actually gone all day just to pay the first parent’s taxes.

And that’s only counting Federal taxes taken directly out of each earner’s check.

It doesn’t count the massive local tax burden they both pay for the public school that is failing their children, the state income taxes, and the many other tax and regulatory burdens we all shoulder outside of the direct hit on our paychecks.

But what it all adds up to is that, if not for high governmental costs, the second earner would not have to work at all, and yet the family would still have more money than it does now.

One of You Labors ONLY For Government

Toiling for the government's profit is not nearly this much fun in real life

Toiling for the ruler's profit is not nearly this much fun in real life

In fact, the second earner’s ENTIRE after-tax income is only a fraction of their household’s governmental burden.

Just cutting the tax and regulation-compliance burden in HALF would allow the second earner to stay home completely, or both earners to work far less than they currently are, and therefore spend more time with the kids…or even each other.

The greed is not on the part of the people who want to live better lives, but the government bureaucrats and the selfish people who support their massive spending (calling for expanded government, voting for politicians who bring home pork), therefore a tax burden so huge that people need to spend all day working, neglecting their families.

The death of the family is yet another problem caused by Big Brotherment, not simply bad parents.

Social conservatives, cops, teachers, and everyone else who is concerned about absent parents and family values should focus first on freeing parents to do something other than toil for the tax man.

October 1, 2009 Posted by | Economy, Family, Politics, Society | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

New Page: The Culture of Safety Does More Harm than Good


culture-of-safety-tall-300px

But Now You Know has a new permanent page, a useful list of many ways in which today’s worry about safety is actually dangerous.

The increasing obsession with safety in the US has the opposite effect of the one intended. As with a mother determined to keep her child from all pain, the actual result is greater danger, more harm, and less actual living and happiness.

  • Avoiding germs gives you a weak immune system
  • Mandatory safety standards often cost lives
  • The FDA’s years-long approval process dooms terminal children
  • They need to suspend our rights…in order to fight for LIBERTY in the war on terror?

Let’s start with something even the caution-mongers can understand:

Avoiding risks can actually be physically dangerous. SOME exposure to risk prevents atrophy, giving the mind or body the opportunity to learn how to care for itself.

And then something the fear-freaks can never understand:

Life without risk ends up being barely worth living. Take away the freedom to choose what risks to take, and you take away the liberty to choose how much life to enjoy.

YOU may not want to do X, because it’s scary for you, but other people may find it worth the risk.

Issues explained and carefully footnoted on the page include:

  • Exposure to Germs is Good for You
  • Gun-Free Zones CAUSE School Shootings
  • Even Moderately Frequent Hand-Washing Increases the Risk of Dermatitis
  • Protecting Wall Street with Bailouts Causes More Crashes:
  • Always Wearing Sunblock Promotes Skin Cancer
  • The FDA Kills
  • “Dangerous” Playgrounds Help Kids Learn
  • Big Brother and the Nanny State
  • Safe Play Makes Kids Fat
  • Too Much Safety KILLS
  • Outward Bound is Crippled with Safety

Read the actual page, here.

September 25, 2009 Posted by | environment, Family, Health, Politics, Society | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

America Already HAS Death Panels and Waiting Lists


Next time you see someone mocking the idea that America could have health care waiting lists and death panels, point out that we already do.

There is one domain of medical treatment that is mandated socialism-only, by the Federal government.

And, unsurprisingly, this system has a waiting list of over 100,000 people at a time.

You usually have to wait at least 1,000 days…nearly three years…for treatment.

In fact, you usually die before you get treated.

Why?

Big government types have heartlessly condemned thousands to death, by banning compensation to organ donors

Big government types have heartlessly condemned thousands to death, by banning compensation to organ donors

1,000 Day Waiting List

Because it’s illegal to compensate people for donating their organs.

That’s right, you can’t pay someone for a kidney, whether they’re alive and donating one, or they just died and are a good organ donor whose family desperately needs the money.

Because of this, out of the 2,000,000 Americans who die every year, only 5,000 donate their organs. The vast majority of potential organ donors do not…but, obviously, more would if they had the hope of helping their own families deal financially with their death.

And so, with this socialized organ donation system, there is a waiting list of over one hundred thousand people, and you will probably die during the average of 1,000 days you will wait for an organ.

Imagine how many more people would sign their donor cards, put that in their living wills, et cetera, if they could hope that they could at least help support their family, if they did die.

Consider how many families, left destitute because the bread-winner unexpectedly died without life insurance, could at least have the hope of compensation because he was an organ donor. In fact, 35% of all people who did sign an organ donor card fail to donate because their family refuses consent after they died. How many might have chosen otherwise, if they could be compensated for the emotional sacrifice?

It’s even possible for people to choose to donate some organs while alive. The kidney waiting list, in some parts of the country, is ten years. That’s 3,650 days waiting for a kidney, on a dialysis machine that slowly kills you. Yet people could choose to donate a kidney any time, even when alive and healthy. Frankly, I’d never do that for money, but other people should be free to disagree with me.

As dramatized on a popular TV show, Gregory House on his his way to a modern-day organ death panel, which rejects his patient, condemning her to death

As dramatized on a popular TV show, Gregory House on his way to a modern-day organ death panel, which rejects his patient, condemning her to death

Actual Death Panels

And let’s be clear: Because there is such a waiting list, there are actual panels of people who decide where each donated organ will go. They pronounce who gets them first, and who will not be allowed to have one at all, because it’d be a “waste”.

If you need an organ transplant, a panel will actually weigh how old you are, what shape you’re in, even what your lifestyle is, and then decide not only where to place you on the list, but even whether to just let you die. That’s right, if they don’t approve of how you live, they can pass you over to die.

Older people are actually passed over, because they’ve lived longer, and more “deserving” people moved ahead of them even after they’ve waited on the list.

There are already panels of people who will literally decide to let your grandmother die untreated, because she’s lived long enough.

It not only could happen in the US, it already does.

Do we really think, given the chance, that this won’t expand into every other part of health care that becomes socialized?

Criminal Transplants

It is a far greater crime when the government causes a death, because it is using supposedly legitimate authority to do so

It is a far greater crime when the government causes a death, because it is using supposedly legitimate authority to do so

Like Canadians and Brits sneaking to the US when their governments put them on endless waiting lists for life-threatening or painful conditions, Americans condemned to die by the socialized organ transplant system in America end up flying overseas, to obtain transplants, if they can afford to do so. Therefore the socialist prohibition actually ends up linking wealth to survival even more, not less as intended…only wealthier Americans can afford to fly a foreign country and pay for a transplant out-of-pocket. What’s more, it’s far more dangerous than an American transplant, since the US has the best surgery outcome rate of any nation on earth.

Meanwhile, avoiding questions of whether people really want to sell their organs, or are doing it for money, actually produces an even more dangerous system of commercial organ transplants, that of black market organs. There really is a question of whether an organ obtained this way was gotten from a consenting patient…and yet such a system exists only because it’s illegal to do so openly, with safe documentation.

Fix Transplants, Don’t Break Everything Else

Hope and/or pray that the US transplant system is de-socialized before you end up needing an organ, so that you won’t have to wait for years, and probably die without treatment.

And, as important, fight to keep the rest of the American health care system from ending up in the same, deadly, condition.

September 17, 2009 Posted by | Economy, Family, Health, Politics, Science | , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

4th Year of Global Cooling, NOAA Says


I was reading over some discussion of the Climate Change Timeline, and realized that people are failing to notice the most important news it contains:

We are, according to NOAA, currently in our fourth year of global cooling.

This is even more significant than the 114 year cycle of taking each minor change in temperature and projecting ice ages or global warming four different times.

NOAA and NASA avoid actually saying this, because they have a lot invested in profiting from global warming…but their own data say the earth is cooling, and has been for years. I will show this below, using their own numbers, without any changes made to them. I just don’t cut it off the details in the middle of the decade, like they do. I’m too honest.

Why Stop Reporting Temperature Changes?

You’ve probably seen that scary chart they like to show, where the temperature climbs way to the top. It’s pretty much everywhere on their side.

Here’s NOAA’s copy:

Notice that NOAA is still stopping their chart in 2006, although they have had data up to 2008 for a long time

Notice that NOAA is still stopping their chart in 2006, although they have had data up to 2008 for a long time

Notice that its dates are very vague, and that it stops in the middle of this decade, with the very last temperature actually declining a bit. You may need to click it to see the large version.

The big problem with the chart, hidden by the vague dating, is that it ends in 2006. I have been unable to find a NOAA chart that actually includes the last two years of data.

This makes no sense, because they have data all the way up to the beginning of 2009, and have for a long time.

Here is the data that is used in that chart, on NOAA’s own site.

All you hear about, these days, is that each new year is “one of the ten warmest on record”. But that is a spin on their data…2006, 2007, and 2008 were each cooler than the year before. Why not mention this cooling trend?

The Coldest Year Since 2000

Here, on the left, is NOAA’s global mean temp for each of the past 10 years. They measure this in ten thousandths of one degree from the 100 year average:

In this chart, using NOAA Climatologist data with clearer formatting, you can see that we are in a four year cooling trend, right now. Also notice that this entire chart encompasses barely more than one half of one degree. Click to zoom in for fine detail.

In this chart, using NOAA Climatologist data with clearer formatting, you can see that we are in a four year cooling trend, right now. Also notice that this entire chart encompasses barely more than one half of one degree. Click to zoom in for fine detail.

1998 0.5969
1999 0.4198
2000 0.3885
2001 0.5188
2002 0.5738
2003 0.5811
2004 0.5409
2005 0.6128
2006 0.5599
2007 0.5459
2008 0.4793

Blue is cooling, red is warming.

Why do those who are profiting from the global warming industry describe 2008 as one of the ten warmest years on record, instead of as the coldest year since 2000?

You can also see this, if you zoom in, on the chart at the right.

By the way, the trendline added in black is calculated from their data as an 11 year moving average, which makes sense to use just in case the sun is actually influencing temperatures on our planet. It is therefore very slow to show a reversal in trend…see how it falls behind the change in every other case. Yet it’s now showing a cooling trend, at the far right.

With the numbers on the left, you can see it is not only growing cooler, each year since 2005, but that it cooled fastest in 2008. If we graphed this trend, 0, -529, -140, -646…the curve says we should be in an actual ice age by 2020 or so. I did that last bit in my head, but if you work it out formally, send me a copy.

The Next Ice Age?

Why do we hear about unusually warm local weather, but not unusually cold? The warming of the Arctic, but not the record ice of the antarctic? The melting of a glacier, but not the last two unusually cold summers in the US?

Why do we hear about unusually warm local weather, but not unusually cold? The warming of the Arctic, but not the record ice of the Antarctic? The melting of specific glaciers, but not the last two unusually cold years in the US? Unusually bad hurricane seasons, but not unusually mild ones?

By the way, don’t actually worry about that cooling trend, yet. Real scientists know that static analysis is worse than useless. You can’t just take any four data points and assume they will go on that way forever. If you do that, you end up looking as foolish as “we have 20 years until the end of civilization” crackpots Thomas Maltus and Paul Ehrlich.

On the other hand, EVERY time you have a reversal of three points in the same new direction, on the above chart, it turns out to be a reversal in the overall trend.

For example, 2005-2008 is a mirror image of 1909-1913, where the cooling had reached its peak, and the global mean was about to move toward warming.

And, overall, global cooling is worse for humanity and civilization than global warming.

Whether by coincidence or not, many failures of civilizations and economies have appeared to hinge around sudden cooling periods. There is no corresponding evidence of warming bringing down societies.

Regardless of what the actual temperature trend is, if anything, or what actually is causing it, the motivation of people who report every year the global temperature rises, but are silent every year it falls, seems worse than suspect.

These people are no more to be trusted than a tobacco scientist, and for the same reason.

September 11, 2009 Posted by | environment, Politics, Science | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

What If Car Insurance Were Like Health Insurance?


Insurance is supposed to be something you hope to never, ever use.
Not even once.

That’s how, for example, car insurance works. If you’re careful and lucky, you’ll “waste” money on it your whole life, and never need to make a claim. You are just pooling a risk with everyone else, and only a few of you should need to cash it in, per year.

But imagine if we all had car “insurance” that covered routine things we expect to need, like oil changes and gasoline.

Since we, and the insurance company, know we will be paying for these things regularly; our insurance cost will go up by the full amount of what we’d have paid anyway, plus the extra overhead for their bureaucratic costs and profit.

You Pay Extra for “Free” Stuff

If you think gasoline is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free.

If you think gasoline is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free.

If your car insurance now costs $800/year, and you spend another $800/year on gas/oil, for a total of $1,600/year, the price of your insurance will probably go up to well over that. For example, with a mere 10% profit margin, plus another 10% in bureaucratic costs, the extra $800 would cost you $160 on top of itself.

So you’d pay $1,760 to have “full coverage”, instead of $1,600 to have normal insurance and buy your own gasoline and oil changes.

But, worse, since we’re not actually paying for each gallon and pint out of pocket, demand for gasoline and oil changes will go up, which will increase the price. It will increase it a lot.

Think of how much people changed behavior because gas prices were high in 2008. It dramatically cut demand. People bought more economical cars, moved closer to work, didn’t drive on distant vacations as often, et cetera. And this helped cut the cost of gas back in half, because the price is set by, in part, a combination of supply and demand.

With gasoline costing “nothing”, people would feel free to buy cars that get worse gas mileage. They would feel better about living farther from work. They could go on road trips as often and far as they pleased.

So the price of gasoline would skyrocket.

But since most people would have “full coverage” insurance, they wouldn’t even notice that.

What we all would notice is the price of car insurance going through the roof.

If car insurance covered normal and minor costs, its price would expand out of control

If car insurance covered normal and minor costs, its price would expand out of control

Let’s say the price of gasoline only doubles, back to its 2008 prices. Now people are using $1,600 in gasoline per year…except they’re also driving more. Let’s say only 25% more…that’s $2,000 in gasoline. Including the profit margin and bureaucratic cost, that means the price of “full coverage” goes from $1,760 per year to $3,200 per year.

But it doesn’t stop there…the insurance company doesn’t really have the same incentive, nor power, to hold down prices that consumers do.

Oh, pundits imagine they do, because they’re big companies and all that…but they lack the power of the actual consumer: They can’t make people stop driving and getting oil changes. So the oil and gas providers are able to start raising prices, as long as they can justify it…and when money’s involved, people can justify a lot. For example, now the gas stations and quick lube joints have to pay a whole second staff just to handle the “insurance” paperwork, in order to get paid for the gasoline and oil changes we buy.

So the price of gas and oil will go up even more than supply and demand would require…which means that $3,200/year for “full coverage” car insurance is only the start. If we add a mere 10% on that for the oil/gas companies’ insurance compliance staff, plus another 10% for padding they can get away with because the insurance company can’t make its customers stop going in response to high prices, then $3,840 per year.

The Uninsured Suffer

Of course, one group will feel the pinch of gasoline and oil change prices going up:

We who are smart enough not to waste our money on “full coverage”, but buy our gasoline and oil out of pocket, saving the twenty percent overhead on the insurance. But now we’re paying insanely high prices for these things, either way.

In fact, soon nobody without “full coverage” car insurance will feel like they can afford to drive, because gasoline and oil changes are so expensive.

Next step: Rationing of gasoline

Next step: Rationing of gasoline

Inevitably, this would all balloon into a:

Car Care Crisis

Media and Liberal politicians would be demanding that government insure all Americans who are not already covered, and that they “control car care costs”, which would be expanding to cripple the economy.

They would, surely, try to nationalize automotive care…they already hate that we drive so much, they say so all the time. Instead of trying specific, reasonable things, of course, they’d demand that we put all eggs in one basket with a single, gigantic, hurried bill passed into law, all or nothing.

This, of course, will end up making things worse, as such brute-force government interventions always do.

All because people were foolish enough to start buying “insurance” for predictable, regular needs, instead of only for catastrophes they hope will never happen anyway.

Health Insurance = Car Insurance

This is what is happening, now, in the health care industry.

We are paying up to $8,000 per year for a family of five, in order to get “full coverage” that pays for our normal checkups, our doctor’s visits for colds, the flu, emergency room visits for skinned knees and sprained ankles…and then we are paying for ALL of that minor, predictable stuff, plus profit and bureaucratic costs, and increased paperwork costs from health care providers, and padding of costs handed off to insurance companies…through skyrocketing health insurance prices.

Before government stepped in, health insurance was only for rare emergencies. It cost a tiny fraction of what it does today, even considering inflation. But then government took over half of health care spending with the socialized Medicare/Medicaid programs, and forced employers to offer “full coverage” health insurance, hiding the cost you pay by deducting it from what they would offer you in the first place.

The crisis this created is exactly what we should expect to happen. The problem is simply that we’re paying middleman, for no reason whatsoever, and getting exactly what we deserve.

September 10, 2009 Posted by | Economy, Family, Health, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Why Workers Dislike Unions


We’re told by teachers, politicians, and the media that unions are the best thing ever to happen to people who work. Without them, we’d all be working 80 hour weeks, for pennies per hour, and dying by 30 from how dangerous the conditions are.

And yet, for some reason, most people not only don’t belong to unions, are not even thinking about forming unions, but wouldn’t even want their industry unionized, if they had the chance. In fact, unions are dying out. The odds are that if you don’t more or less inherit a union career because you’re locked into a Company Town situation, you will never join one.

As Americans have gained more freedom to leave unions, they have mostly stopped belonging

As Americans have gained more freedom to leave unions, they have mostly chosen independence

In the 1940s, 35% of American workers belonged to trade unions. Today in the private sector, membership is less than 7%. It is even lower in states that protect your right to have a specific job without joining a union.

Why?

Because, in reality, a union takes more freedom away from a worker, than from anyone else.

Pay is Important

It’s not fun, negotiating with an employer for your compensation. Well, not unless you’re really in demand. Then it can be joyful agony, trying to decide which offer is best, and what to require you be paid…but, the rest of the time, it’s unpleasant.

But the joy and pain are both because of how completely important your pay for your work really is. Your entire lifestyle depends on that set of decisions.

Not just how much you’ll be paid, but in what form. Do you want more cash, or would you prefer more days off? Are you better off putting up with a company insurance plan, that is cheaper but less responsive and lacking in choices, or more money and save up for your own checkups? Do you want paid lunch and breaks, or more money and come home sooner?

The problem with a union is that it strips away any control you have over that life-changing question.

You don’t even get to choose when, or how, to negotiate. Union management takes all power away from you, and you have to cross your fingers, praying whatever they think is best happens to be something you can tolerate.

Even under the best circumstances, they’ll be negotiating for the lowest common denominator. What the average worker is worth, and the union will gain from getting. The problem is that in the real world, almost nobody’s average. A good compromise, famously, is one where everyone goes away equally unhappy. With a union, you don’t just have to compromise with an employer, but also with all of the other workers.

You Become a Cog

With a union, you must settle for:

What the average worker is worth…

Diluted by what benefits the union management and corporate management negotiate.

You also lose the power to be paid for your effort, quality, ideas, and unique traits.

Right to work states protect your choice to not join a union, even if there is one at the company where you work

Right to work states protect your choice to not join a union, even if there is one at the company where you work

For example, you may be willing to work extra-hard to make more money, or have more job security. You may not even need to work hard; there may be some special part of your occupation you’re particularly good at.

But most unions avoid the idea of being paid for how well you do the job, replacing it with being paid for how many years you’ve worked. What could be a worse system of payment than this?

Of course it’s bad for the customers, because quality falls by the way-side…and therefore is bad for the company, as its profit depends on that quality. But it’s also bad for you, the worker, whose efforts become meaningless…just hang on to the job for as long as you can, that’s the only way you can make more money.

Likewise, no amount of effort can protect you from being laid off during the slow or hard times, with a typical union contract. You could be the very best at your job, but if you’ve only been there a few years, you’re out the door.

The Worst Kind of Middleman

It’s bad enough that unions harm companies, consumers, and society by causing unemployment, playing insider favoritism, price increases, inefficiency, low quality, reducing non-union worker pay, and other means, plus all the above disadvantages to union members, but what do you gain, in return for this?

  • The right to be forced to pay union dues, whether you find them worthwhile or not.
  • The privilege to have part of that hefty fee spent to bribe government officials with policies you probably don’t actually like, and be punished if you object.
  • The fortune of having some of the rest divvied up among the secretive, corrupt union management and their cronies and masters, for no apparent reason whatsoever.
  • Oh, and the joy of having yet another Tyranny of the Majority government ruling over you, in the form of that union’s quasi-elected crony management.
You have a right to set your own standards, not depend on a bullying middleman

You have a right to set your own standards, not depend on a bullying middleman

It’s no surprise that unions actually reduce real household income.

Not a Number, but a Free Man

The reason most of us eschew labor unions like they’re a porcupine who recently attacked a skunk’s posterior, is that we really are better off as free people, than as vassals of a collective, whose real function seems to be the profit of its “leaders”.

In other words, I’d rather protect my right to earn pay based on what I’m worth, not my seniority, and not be given useless token “compensation” that sucks part of it away, like hourly coffee breaks and a dubious promise of unreasonably high, distant retirement pay, I probably won’t see, once the union bankrupts my employer.

Wouldn’t you?

Words of the Sentient:

Unionism seldom, if ever, uses such power as it has to insure better work; almost always it devotes a large part of that power to safeguarding bad work.
– H. L. Mencken
THe methods by which a trade union can alone act, oare necessarily destructive; its organization is necessarily tyrranical.
– Henry George

Unionism seldom, if ever, uses such power as it has to insure better work; almost always it devotes a large part of that power to safeguarding bad work.

– H. L. Mencken

The methods by which a trade union can alone act, are necessarily destructive; its organization is necessarily tyrranical.

– Henry George

September 7, 2009 Posted by | Economy, Politics, Society | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

The Tyranny of the Majority, vs the Unanimity of Liberty


T
he Founding Fathers despised democracy. They called the idea of 51% voting to impose its will the “violence of majority faction“. Poor Thomas Jefferson spent a great deal of effort and political capital proving he wasn’t a closet democrat. When writing Democracy in America, French philosopher Alexis DeToqueville coined the phrase Tyranny of the Majority referring to an idea from Plato’s Republic.

Majority rule imposes the will of a mere half of the population, plus one vote, upon minorities in each issue.

It is just as wrong to violate someone else's rights, even if you outnumber them and have a vote

It is just as wrong to violate someone else's rights, even if you outnumber them and have a vote

You need only to look at how this impacted blacks in the US to understand how evil majority rule over the minority is.

The Founders sought to solve this problem, by banning democracy in America, setting up a Republic where the majority could never legally vote to violate the natural rights of the minority. The only powers allowed to the Federal government were those listed in the Constitution, with the 9th and 10th articles of the Bill of Rights banning it from doing anything else, even if the majority voted for it.

Majority as Consensus

Of course the Federal government has been corrupted enough to overstep its legitimate authority, but that’s another article.

The modern apologists for majority rule, who unfortunately have managed to get the word “democracy” spun into a positive thing in public schools, defend their tyranny over minorities by saying “hey, at least we can be sure that there isn’t a larger group who opposes a vote, than the group who supports it”.

Advocates of liberty, though, object that you still should not violate the will of ANY people, in a free society. They say that you have no more authority to violate the rights of another because you are a large group, than if you are one man trying to impose your will on your neighbor. At least not legitimately.

Of course, the obvious retort is “hey, the only way to solve the problem of having minorities on issues is to have a unanimous vote…and that’s impossible! If we depended on unanimity, then nothing would ever get accomplished at all!”

majority-rule-orourkeBut this isn’t true:

Unanimous Self-Government

A free market is based, purely, on unanimity.

This is because the fundamental principle of liberty is private property:

Each person is a government of one, over his rightful possessions, starting with his own body.

But if someone wanted a vote on what everyone in the country is going to have for supper tonight, the odds are that he would not be able to get everyone to agree on the same thing. So if this were a power of the government, up to half of the population, minus one vote, would have their right to choose what to eat violated.

Of course that’s if there are only two options…which is a sort of farce of an election in the first place. With a real selection of all things people might reasonably desire for supper, probably more than 99% of people will be forced to eat something they would not have chosen.

And, let’s face it, with how goofy people are, you’re almost always going to end up being forced to eat something you don’t even like, much less want for tonight.

Eccentric sitcom character Mrs. Slocombe used to emphasize a decision by saying "and I am unanimous in that!"

Eccentric sitcom character Mrs. Slocombe used to emphasize a decision by saying "and I am unanimous in that!"

On the other hand, if each man governs his own life, as in a free market, then you may choose not only exactly what to eat, but even when to eat it.

Every time you are hungry, there is a vote, and you are unanimous. Sure, it’s limited to what you can afford, but what better way to determine what a meal is worth than that? Imagine if the majority were always voting themselves caviar and steak, bankrupting society.

With majority rule, you only get rare input at all, and only one option is selected, with most people being losers in the process.

But with the free market, you vote every instant, of every day, and are able to reverse yourself at will.

Of course, this also applies to groups, not just individuals, because their membership is purely voluntary, unlike an authoritarian government:

Sure, your chess club or paintball team may have majority votes, but your participation in them is purely consensual. Each moment of your life, you are free to leave, and if you stay you are voting unanimously for your own membership.

If you leave an organization in a free society, they are not going to blockade your house until you’re forced to fire on them, and then claim you started a hostilities, invade, and conquer you.

democracy.sucksIf the majority of your local town council votes to condemn your perfectly sound family home, just to put up a strip mall that will bring them more tax money and campaign contributions, it does this in violation of the unanimity of private property rights, and you can’t simply withdraw your membership.

Don’t worry; in two years you’ll be allowed to cast a single vote against at least one of those politicians who stole your home…if you still live in town, and at a legal residence, not in a cardboard box.

You might even try to get 51% of all voters in your city to set aside all other issues and vote for the single challenger to each of those bad politicians.

Of course, if your private property rights were protected as they should be, you wouldn’t be in this predicament. Maybe you should just push for laws protecting those rights in general, so such things couldn’t happen in the first place.

While majority rule imposes tyranny over minorities, capitalism, through private property rights, protects even the smallest minority, that of the individual, with unanimity.

Words of the Sentient:

The political principle that underlies the market mechanism is unanimity. In an ideal free market resting on private property, no individual can coerce any other, all cooperation is voluntary, all parties to such cooperation benefit or they need not participate.

— Milton Friedman, The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits, The New York Times Magazine

Measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority

— James Madison, Federalist Papers #10

Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There was never a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.

— John Adams, , letter to John Taylor, April 15, 1814

August 28, 2009 Posted by | Economy, Philosophy, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

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