Category Archives: business

2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

Ok, sports fans and the great unwashed out there, buckle up for another ride on the
Wabash Cannonball express down the valley of curiosities of the inquiring mind.

Ebola hysteria reigns at least in the headlines and surely in many a concerned household.  But recall that mankind has dealt with far worse plagues and disease outbreaks in times past and we are still here.  The Roman Empire had two major episodes with plague, the 14th century saw an estimated 25 to 33% decline in population from the plague and likewise the 17th century had a horrible outbreak on the plague.  London was hit with the plague and the Great Fire in the 1660’s.  There were two common themes to all these occurrences.   First the plague eventually played itself out.  Either there weren’t enough hosts left to support it or mankind developed its on immunity through the natural processes of biology, or some combination of both.  The medical treatment was simply to let the sick lay down and give them nurture from those willing to risk being near them.  The second feature all those centuries ago was a quarantine.  History is replete with ships from suspected areas of contamination being denied access to port.  They were told to sail away, as recently happened with that cruise ship that was denied docking in Belize and Mexico.  Even with their less sophisticated medical knowledge the ancients understood the basic benefit of cutting off all intercourse with infected areas or people whether that was a nation-state, city or individual.  We really don’t need to try and re-invent the wheel here.  If we did absolutely nothing,  ebola would die away at some point but we can accelerate that process with sensible isolation policy.

ISIS–never go to war half-heartedly and without an intention to destroy and defeat your enemy.  History makes this point clear.  One has only to look at Korea and Viet Nam to see the efficacy of that maxim.  As has been said before War is too important to be left to the politicians.  Once the decision is made to answer the bugle’s call, let the military achieve their assigned objective.   And certainly never telegraph your punch.  Don’t tell the enemy what you will or will not do militarily.   To the contrary let them know that you will do whatever is required to destroy them.   As evil as ISIS is we should eliminate them.  Yes, send in combat troops to every center where they are now nesting.  Kill every one of them we can find.  Sure some will survive and the ideology of hate of that branch of the Muslim world will still exist.  But not one dime of help, aid or nation building.   Destroy what we have to and leave.  Be prepared to come back and do it again in a few years if necessary.   Such a p0licy would encourage most Muslims that there is a better way to express their religion and to function in the modern world with peace and such progress economically as they choose and pursue on their own initiative.

I noted the recent article pointing out how ordinary folks were having their bank accounts seized by the IRS because of a pattern of making cash deposits of less than 10k.   People, that has been the law for decades regrettably.  I have always abhorred those RICO and money laundering laws.  I do understand the desire to corral the mafia and other assorted bad guys,  I don’t like them and wish them nothing but the worst life can offer.  But go after them for an actual crime and why create a “crime” for someone doing what they wish with their own money?   That law is especially egregious.   You can be convicted of a crime for simply taking your own money, honestly earned, and depositing it in your own bank account if you do so in a manner that some damn assistant US attorney in his mind thinks is a “pattern to avoid reporting requirement”.  Hells bells what have we come to?  This is  supposed to be the US where you can mind your own business and live you live quietly and even off the grid if you prefer.  Unless it is stolen money or the fruit of some specific criminal activity you should have the right to do with your money as you damn well please and not be required to offer and explanation to anyone–including the Feds.   And if it is ill-gotten gains then the Feds must be required to prove that in court before they can lay hands on your money.

Karl Marx viewed everything and explained everything in society and the economy as part of the class war.  Modern Democrats divide all Americans by class and view all their political strategies as part of a class struggle.  Black and white, the 99%, war on women, you name it.   They clearly have read their  Marx thoroughly.   Capitalism was the great evil Satan for Marx and what Democrat these days (with rare exceptions) has anything decent to say about Capitalism?  Bernie Sanders is an openly avowed Socialist and believes government should own the means of production for many major industries just as Marx proposed.  Today the Demos don’t advocate direct takeover but they accomplish their goal a bit more subtly by Federal regulation.  They have just turned the entire health care industry into a government utility.  Their prices, services and means of operation have to all  meet Federal standards.   Even the Marx dictum of “the dictatorship of the proletariat” is alive and thriving in the Democratic agenda.  Now the dictatorship is the elites in government whether elected or part of the vast army, literally, of bureaucrats doing the will of their party at EPA, HHS, FERC, FCC , etc.   They know better than the common man  what  is good for him.   Just as the Commies the Democrats don’t really trust the people at all.   You think FDR’s old buddy Stalin trusted those millions in the Ukraine that he starved to death?  Or the other countless millions he and his successors condemned to the Gulag.  Read your Solzhenitzin.

“Where men cannot freely convey their thoughts to one anther, no other liberty is secure”  Wm. Hocking, American 20th century philosopher.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

Coming out of a winter hibernation and a move so its time to crank up the word machine and brush off the mental cobwebs…..

Moving ain’t fun.  A fundamental truth.  Especially true if you have been in the old homestead for a long time.

The Russians call the Ukraines in Kiev Nazis.  Even some of the media has picked up on that theme and talks about the Ukrainians who fought with the Nazis during the War leaving the clear impression that the Ukrainians were true Nazis at heart.  The truth is much more complicated.  Stalin during the ’30’s literally starved to death untold millions of Ukraines.  The exact number will never be known.  In addition many of the Ukraines like the idea of owning their own piece of dirt as had been their tradition for centuries.  When the War and the Germans came it is true that many of the Ukraines joined the German army to fight against the commies and Stalin.  That did not make them fans of Hitler or the Nazis but simply people who were faced with two difficult choices but decidedly believed the Nazis were the lesser of the two evils and the Germans fostered that notion with hints of some autonomy.  They weren’t Nazis, they were Ukrainians fighting communism.

If Monica wants to be taken seriously then she should have avoided that picture spread with her lounging on the couch.  Didn’t exactly portray the image of a mature gal not trying to exploit her prior persona of the Linda Lovelace of the White House.

When will the civilized world quit pretending that Africa is a legitimate part of the world community?  The latest episode in Nigeria is only representative of their dysfunction.  There is not only Nigeria but we have Mali, South Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, Cameroon, the Congo, Uganda, Chad and Libya to name merely the most outrageous places.  The West needs to stop sending any kind of aid.  Those people have the resources to do quite well.  It is up to them to make the countries and world they want.  We can’t import decency or democracy.  Their militaries by turn are cowardly, incompetent, tyrannical or corrupt.   They need to live in a house they built, not one provided by the Peace Corp.  Can anyone honestly say that the generosity and sympathy of the West has made any significant difference in the last 60 years?  That is three generations.  How would letting them fend for themselves possibly be any worse than the current situation.

Remember that science is never “settled”.  The very nature of the beast is questions and then more questions after apparent answers are found.  Not my brilliant observation but from David Deutsch.  He refers to the dire predictions due to  global warming, prophecies, not science.  Just for you consideration, he is an Oxford don, world renown physicist, philosopher and member of the Royal Society, not exactly marginal thinker or denier.  He would no doubt be apoplectic being called a “denier”.  Check out his The Beginning of Infinity.  Pretty heavy going but worth it in the end.

The current rate for a 10 year Treasury note is about 2.5%.  That rate is strictly a function of the market manipulation of the Federal Reserve.  What do you think  the rate would be if the Fed was neutral and let the market alone determine what the proper rate should be?  Maybe 2% or maybe 6%.  Whatever you think it would be the difference between a true market rate and what the Fed is dictating now means that there are some serious losers in the market due directly to their policies.  Those losers aren’t so-called fat cats on Wall Street necessarily but there are some of them too.  For every trade on Wall Street remember that there is a seller for each buyer whether for stocks or bonds.   Pension plans and unions are some of the biggest investors along with endowments of major universities on Wall Street.  Current losers are the seniors for sure and the savers among us.  It makes those in their mid years to start eating their seed corn rather than save because there is no incentive or reward for saving  in the near term.  Supposedly the Fed works for our benefit but its hard to discern that benefit.  Seems more like the inmates are running the asylum or Dr. Frankenstein let loose on the financial system and sure enough he has created a monster he can’t control.

We’ve all known someone who talks too much.   They will never shut up.  Worse they think you are interested in everything they have to say;  even the stuff that is stupid,  logically inconsistent or borders on that line between outright lies and embellishment.  Why does such a thought evoke images of daily briefings or speeches from the occupant of  the White House of today?

We are approaching  the 70th anniversary of D-Day.  I wonder what the average heart rate was for those boys jumping out of a C-47 or down the ramp from a LST?   It had to be a terrifying experience and their bodies reacted accordingly.  We should be very thankful that they were able to overcome that fight or flee syndrome all men have in face of extreme danger.   I not only tip my hat to them but am grateful and worry whether this generation is worthy of the sacrifice they made.

Strange we don’t hear a peep about the antarctic ozone hole or the impending ice age that were all the rage 30 years ago based on “settled” science.  Although the Yankees might have thought they were in at least a mini ice age last winter.   But, lo, spring came again as it has since the earth began spinning and circling the Sun.

“The instinct of ownership is fundamental in man’s nature”  William James, American psychologist and philosopher. http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

Well, the Holidays are over and the hibernation will be interrupted long enough for the current thoughts and ramblings of the gray matter…..

Another State of the Union address and again we call for the elimination of the current method of delivery.  It is pure political theatre and propaganda.  Regardless of what party controls the White House the prevailing showmanship of the delivery should be stopped.  For well over 100 years the State of the Union was a straightforward written report to Congress from the President.   We need to really tone down this useless drama show.  It should be a business meeting between the Executive and Legislative branches of government.  Put it on C-span and no applause and distractions.  Let the President and his Cabinet present facts and figures about our economy, national security and society.  Let the Congressmen ask questions and challenge the data and assumptions and proposed policies.  It should be give and take.  The Presidents written report should be no longer than 20 pages in length, anything more and you’re getting hyperbole and fluff.

Saw a shooting star the other night.  It was the first one I’ve seen in a number of years what with all the bright lights of the city and trees and roof lines.  It was quite dramatic and very bright as it descended to earth.  So large that I actually listened for a boom.  Did see one so large and close that it produced a loud boom decades ago.  Better than any fireworks display when they are that large.

Not at all surprised that so many people were having their private insurance policies cancelled due to Obamacare.  Those reading these pages remember that I said that would happen back in ’10 when the thing was passed and I actually read the bill.  It provided that the policies being grandfathered in could only be those that never changed.   “Any” change meant they no longer met the standard of a “qualified” plan as approved by the bureaucrat in charge, the HHS Secretary.  So if your premium in the plan you liked was $300 per month and it increased by $5 per month then that change would kick you to the exchanges and you had to get the government approved plans, period.

Fighting wars half-heartedly is always a recipe for disaster. Korea and Viet Nam are probably the worst examples but Afghanistan isn’t far behind with that current guy in the White House view of the military and the mission there.   The object of any military action should always be to destroy and subdue your enemy and do so with all the resources at your command.  History teaches well the old maxim that when you go against and remove the King you better get rid of all his heirs also.   If we aren’t committed to eliminating the Taliban as a force then we might as well get out completely and go back in at our pleasure when we detect specific threats.   If our guys can’t conduct aggressive offensive operations as of now then they are merely becoming targets for the attacks of the Taliban at their pleasure.

Read another detailed and thorough article this week about the probability of our magnetic field starting another flip.  That means the magnetic poles will switch places and your compass would point south, not north.  If that is beginning to occur then it makes a mockery of the concern over alleged global warming.   The process could take thousands of years and the effects on Mother Earth would be enormous.  Weather would change for sure as would the overall climate and the effects of the increased radiation from the Sun would tear apart much of our modern infrastructure built on electrical power and electronic machines of all stripe, not the least of which would be your handy computer.   The magnetic field has flipped many times over the eons and many scientist believe we over  due for another  anytime.  The magnetic field has already weakened and some view that has the harbinger of the flip.  So another item to add to your list of worries but this one is real, the danger is only a question of time, not an if.

About two weeks before we dropped the first A bomb on Hiroshima a US sub made one of the most unusual attacks of the entire War.  The sub had already sunk several Jap ships in a harbor and was due to return to base but the captain noticed a  railroad trestle right on the shore line that was used by the Japs to transport supplies to the war making factories nearby.  They couldn’t have used a torpedo but were innovative both captain and crew.  They decided a shore party could attach a explosive device to the tracks and get the next train to pass after installation.  It took several days to figure out how to do it.  They used the explosive charges that normally are used only to scuttle the ship for the pow factor.  But then they had to devise a method to make the “bomb” explode at the right time to take out the train.  They jerry-rigged a trigger from a battery and copper wires.  The trigger was to be placed under the metal rail after they dug out a small pit for the explosives and then when the train passed over it would depress the rail a bit and that would close the electric circuit and ignite the device.  In the dark of the night a couple of nights later the landing party of 8 went ashore, dug the pit and placed the device there.  As they were heading back to the sub in a rubber dingy a train pulled into sight and then onto the trestle area embankment and sure enough it worked and everything went sky high.  The Captain was already a Medal of Honor winner when this took place.   Needless to say it was the only sub to take out a train during the War.

Even the Fed is beginning to taper.  Now if we could only get Congress to “taper” also and spend less.  I don’t feel like I get a bang for my tax bucks paid, er, extorted, to the Federal government, do you?

“Liberty alone demands for its realization the limitation of the public authority, for liberty is the only object which benefits all alike,…”  Lord Acton, British historian  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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Polarization Is Us

How many times in the last few years have you read an article about how polarized our political process has become?   More than you can count likely and the same comments are heard on all the news broadcasts on almost a daily basis and have been like that for several years.  It is as though we have entered some new era of political disputation on a level never seen before to listen to the wisdom of the pundits.  Of course it goes without saying that the same discussions of polarization always immediately are followed up with some ponderous words and even polling data that allegedly show how badly the majority of Americans seek compromise.   The word dysfunctional is then tossed at Congress because they haven’t passed a lot of new laws during a particular session.

First of all why is it considered a good thing that Congress is passing new laws?  Don’t we really have enough of them already?  Aren’t we literally drowning in laws at the Federal level and in all those departments, agencies, bureaus and centers and such?   No one can ever accurately give the number of Federal criminal laws on the books at the moment.  Some have estimated them to be at least 70,000 separate criminal statutes but no on really knows.  It would take several thousand pages to list the various department, sub-departments, agencies and bureaus of one kind or another in all the Cabinet level departments plus the independent agencies created by special act of
Congress.  Again do a Google search or whatever you like and you will find it is impossible to get a complete listing of these different entities funded and run by the government at taxpayer expense performing Lord only knows what function much less whether that function is useful or necessary.

In the economic field consider the different organizations we have at work, at least nominally at work compared to the private workplace, studying, analyzing and recommending policy for the economic growth of the US.  There is the GAO which monitors and supposedly audits government operations for waste and efficiency (don’t laugh, I know that efficiency is an oxymoron when it comes to Government work).  Next up how about the Council of Economic Advisors.   Then here is the OMB, the Office of Management and Budget.   That is followed by the Federal Reserve which has an army of economists and actuaries and statisticians.  Hey, how about the Department of Commerce in addition to those.   Then there is the Department of Labor and its separate BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics).  And lastly there is the Department of the Treasury.  Shouldn’t the Treasury be advising on almost all these matters?  If not then clean house and hire competent people.   Those entities are mere proof of duplication  and redundancies gone mad.   You know what is sad is that is not even the complete list for that one category.    And some liberals complain that Congress has ‘t passed enough laws.

If compromise means we have to pass new laws then I am agin it.  How about compromise agreeing to eliminate the useless and wasteful laws on the books now.  Wouldn’t it be grand to have a new Cabinet Department of Elimination who sole purpose was to bring to the attention of the people these useless and wasteful laws bureaus and programs.  I mean do we really need a bureau still regulating grape production?

We have faced much more severe polarization in our past than we confront today.  At the beginning of our nation we had great divides between  the Rebels who supported and won the Revolutionary War and the Tories who continued to support the King and England to the bitter end.  Many of those Tories had their property taken by force or only marginal legal process.  Remember that a third of the population then were Tories from Maine to Georgia.  That is a very large percentage of angry folks.  Setting aside the issue of slavery there was tremendous hostility between New England and the South from independence to the War Between the States over trade policy and the open seas.  The merchants and the farmers had very different views of economy.  Indeed it was the New England states in the early 19th century that first seriously proposed secession from the Union over trade policy, not the Southern states.   In the late 19th century that was open antagonism between the rural and farm country and the urban and eastern cities.  Thus the appeal and abhorrence of William Jennings Bryant by those respective sections and demographics of the country.

Don’t believe the history you read by journalists.  If you actually read real history you will be quite aware that there was open hostility for most of FDR’s reign.  He said awful and threatening things about business.  He was a vicious politician and pounded his political opponents without mercy and tried to institute and complete government take over of the entire economy with his NRA, National Recovery Act, that thankfully was rightfully found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court and that is when  he strove mightily to pack the Court with Cronies which also failed.  As much as he was loved by many he was reviled by more than 40% of the people, again not an insignificant slice of the population.  He only came to appreciate Business when the War came and he realized he desperately needed them to win the War.

Soon we will discuss the acrimony existing at the birth of the nation and Reconstruction by the North.

We’ll survive the current discord and division, that isn’t the question.  How we survive and with what freedoms is the issue.  Even  the Germans survived the Nazis and the destruction of the War.  That was pretty severe polarization among themselves and the rest of the world to boot.

“A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence”  David Hume,   Scottish philosopher.   http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

 

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

Do we laugh, cry or just go into our hole when we read the headlines from today?…thoughts and reflections on same follow.

Well, it is Yellen for the new Fed Chairmanship.  One wonders  a year from now who will be yelling for Yellen or yelling at her.   The elderly and the prudent savers of the US certainly won’t benefit from her severe easy money policies and extremely low interest rate regime.  The ants will continue to get crushed for their diligence and hard work and the grasshoppers will continue to eat off the fat of the land produced by the ants.

The arguments and conflict over the debt ceiling and payment of the Federal debt has been around since literally the inception of the country.  As we transitioned from the interregnum after the Revolutionary War to our current Constitution we had a big argument then about the debts run up by the Colonies to fund the War.  There were many who advocated not paying all that debt especially to the foreigners who had bought it i.e. the Dutch and French and even some Brits.   But Hamilton’s view prevailed and the Constitution honored all the outstanding debt of the US, Colonies.  Yes, there were some “fat cats” in the US who also profited enormously from this decision because they had bought up many of those bonds for pennies on the dollar.  But Hamilton and the like-minded believed we had to pay all those bonds to protect our credit and against the future need to borrow more and that meant paying all creditors regardless of their moral worth.  They were all paid 100 cents on the dollar with interest.

We are not yet bankrupt or a dead beat because the US does have the capacity to pay all its debts in full.  The current argument is correctly about future fiscal policy to see we remain that way.  The current trajectory of the Democrats will indeed drive us to bankruptcy.  That can and must be changed so we remain solvent.  The existing fight truly is about making the Democrats recognize that reality and adjust our spending accordingly.  Yes, the guy in the White House has it right–the numbers do not lie.   Houston, we have a problem!

Unless you keep up with the foreign press reports you would not know that the Arctic sea ice has in fact increased this year by 60%.  Strange that the Europeans are even more paranoid about the global warming hysteria than we are but they are the ones that most often report the facts and critiques of the IPCC reports and global warming alarmists excesses.

Historically, the Democrats and the Paul Krugman’s of this world have taken the position that the US debt is not a major worry because with just a little tinkering we can grow our way out of it.  They believe that increases in population will result in constantly growing GDP and thus the size of the debt will be manageable in relation to that larger economy.  Many arguments can be made against that proposition on the merits and the numbers especially when you include in the off balance sheet liabilities like Social Security and Medicare.   However there is one other flaw in the dialectic, who can guarantee they we will continue to grow?  Japan and Europe are already in the midst of a significant population slow as is China.  Why wouldn’t that happen here?    Then the debt would loom even larger not seem manageable relative to the size of the overall economy.   Those Democratic liberals are making a gamble on the future based on what scientific evidence?  They love to talk science.  But that theory is faith, not fact.

We’ve passed the Harvest Moon and already the moms in our neighborhood are putting out their Halloween stuff in the yards and on the doors.

I want to be safe and secure in the US and have no problem at all with taking out  the bad guys around the world.   The radical Muslims are our enemy and we do need to be vigilant and aggressive in combating them.  But, but, but….do we really need a million square foot facility in Utah for NSA in addition to all those thousands of worker bees there in the DC area?   Do we really need those 50,000 plus TSA folks doing those ridiculous searches at the cost it requires?  I don’t travel much anymore but when I do I sure don’t feel any safer with them around.  I don’t think they would deter in the slightest a serious terrorist bent on mayhem.  Indeed my last trip through their procedures I was questioned by a black lady wearing her hajib.  That didn’t exactly increase my level of confidence and it sure didn’t help that she was rude to boot to everyone passing through her line.   There are over 35,000 in the FBI and 114,000 in the Justice Department.  There is no way we need that many people protecting us from those breaking Federal criminal statutes.  They need to be cut back, not eliminated but cut back for heaven’s sake.   The FBI used to do most background checks for security clearances but they don’t even do most of that anymore it is done by contractors.    It seems to some of us that we have lost our sense of balance on these issues.

And on that subject why does the EPA, the IRS, Labor department, Interior department and many others have guys running around with guns and badges?  Can’t they have the FBI do the arresting when they come across a crime.

Wouldn’t it be interesting if the Feds were required by law to list all their departments, agencies, bureaus and the zillion other special committees along with their cost and personnel count online.  It wouldn’t be binding of course but then allow the public to “vote” on each one.   Either to eliminate it completely or change the funding level for each identified entity.  Might be a true wake up call for the Feds.

“All I know is what I read in the papers.”  Will Rogers  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

 

 

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

The surprise isn’t that history repeats but that folks are surprised when the same thing occurs again and they think it is something new.

If you  searched or stumbled across the back pages of the news today you may have seen the article about the arctic sea ice.   Since spring of this year we have seen repeated stories about the allegedly alarming reduction in the arctic sea ice and as a harbinger of global warming doom.  Yet, today in the small print we note that the sea ice there has actually increased by 30% this year.  But the media types immediately in the same articles continue the warming that the “models” show that the ice will decline rapidly.  Where’s Groucho when you need him–who you going to believe your lying eyes or what these smart folks tell you?

Both the message and the messenger are important on the major issues of the day.  Syria is a case in point.   Hitler was a great messenger regardless of his evil.  His message was evil for the most part.  Yet it can’t be denied that he could sell the message extremely well.   Check out those old videos of his speeches.  He was very effective with his audience and that is what counts.   In Syria we have the bad combination of a terrible message and an ineffective and arrogant messenger.    The I, Me, My guy in the White House is so egocentric that he makes the issue all about him.  That wears thin after a while and has in this instance.  There needs to be a compelling message and that hasn’t been presented.  Exactly what are we attempting to achieve in Syria?   Whatever that may be, do the facts at hand regarding the combatants there and their goals match up with any vital interests of the US?

Harry Truman was not my guy.  Didn’t like him but he did speak plainly which is appreciated.  At least you knew the devil and his designs.  When faced with a similar conundrum about picking sides between two abhorrent foes he was direct.  When Hitler invaded Stalin’s play pen old Harry said clearly that he didn’t like either of them and he hoped that would slaughter each other.  This was before he become vice president.  At least he knew evil when he saw it.

Vladimir Putin, the great peace maker.    That is something for an old KGB hired hand and ruffian.   I believe he has read his Machiavelli more carefully than our guy.

After a long hot summer it is hard to believe that in only a few weeks some parts of the country will see the first flights of Canadian geese heading south.

We are all familiar with  the basic story of William the Conqueror and his conquest of England and the Battle of Hastings in 1066.   The Normans were on the move during this period of history.  What very few know is that a relative of his Robert Guiscard was during the same time frame conquering and liberating much of central and southern Italy and Sicily.  He and his quite small army threw out the Muslims from Sicily and areas of southern Italy and at the same time dominated Rome and the Pope.  The Pope was glad to have him because he was Christian and was fighting the Muslims and restoring the prestige and power of the Church.  Old Robert also was about gaining power and dominion over as much land as he could.  He even expelled the Byzantine empire from those central portions of Italy.  His children were married off to cement alliances and his 12 sons aided in the conquests.   Those independent Italian  principalities lasted well into the 19th century.  Napoleon’s son become the King of Naples centuries later.  Robert never had more than 10,000 Normans to accomplish all this.  He formed alliances with local groups who had their own  reasons to want the Muslims out and have different rulers in other areas that weren’t dominated by Constantinople.

It is a truism of investing that you don’t buy or sell stocks of feelings or emotions.  But I guess those green tree -huggers slept through that part of the class.  They are still buying Tesla even though the stock is selling at a negative, yes, negative 89 times earnings.  And about 80% of their “earnings” come from selling those energy tax credits to others, not selling and making a profit on  cars.   Good luck to you if you are one of those investors.  Sooner or later morning comes and one has to face the reality of the day, not the dreams of the night.

The Great Pyramid of Cheops is the largest.  The square base is aligned correctly on a north /south and east/west setting.   From the chamber of the Pharaoh buried in the middle there are two passage ways that run at about a 45 degree angle up to the surface hundreds of feet about ground level.  The one facing south points directly at the belt of Orion; Orion was the Egyptian Osiris God.  The one pointing north faces true with the North Star.   Clearly those two markers in the sky were very important to them for whatever reason.  We’ll likely never know for sure why but we know when they constructed these huge structures that those stars were very important.  They went to a lot of trouble to make those alignments happen.

Even as late as this summer Bernancke has continued to insist that the Federal Reserve is not monetizing the debt.  That simply means printing up new money to cover the Federal deficit.  Let’s see, they have been buying 45 billion per month of US Treasuries for well over a year.  The US has run a deficit over or near one trillion dollars for 5 years now.  The Fed now owns more US Treasuries than even China even though some politicians keep talking about the Chinese being our largest creditor.  The Fed is buying about 75% of all US Treasuries trying to keeping rates low. Those rates have jumped dramatically this summer from 1.4 in May to near 3.0 as of today.   Would the US treasury have been able to borrow all those trillions without the Fed at such low rates?   And remember when the Fed “buys” treasuries it does so with a keystroke on a computer, not real money.  But not to worry we’re aren’t monetizing the debt.

“The law is silent during war.”  Cicero.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

If you can spare a dime, I’ll give you two cents worth of unvarnished wisdom in exchange…or at least stoutly stated opinions on life and the world.

What is it with all this dithering at the White House about which side to choose in Egypt?  There are clear lines of demarcation.  The Muslim Brotherhood is the enemy of democracy as we know it and are definitely prone to violence and suppression.  The Generals are a bunch of angels but at least there would be much more stability under their rule and a greatly reduced risk of violence and terrorism being spread from Egypt or indeed fomented by the Brotherhood.   In the real world you have to deal with those in power and those more closely aligned with your own country’s interest.   That doesn’t make the Generals are best friends forever but they are clearly the best alternative.  Get on with it and support them and foster as much influence as we can in that region.  The other course is self-destructive to our own interest unless we want even more terrorist attacks.

Go back a few months to those headlines in the Spring about the global warming threat de jour.  You may recall that we were scheduled, due to global warming per the Al Gore ideologues,that we were going to have a really bad hurricane season with 11 predicted and four making landfall; also we were to have a very bad wildfire season and a significant increase in tornadoes.  The facts so far this year–zero hurricanes, and in spite of the real problems for those directly affected, the wildfire season is much less than a normal year so far and lastly, even the NOAA folks have acknowledged that the tornado season has been remarkably quiet even with the tragedy in Moore.   I predict boldly we will have extreme weather somewhere ever year.  Giant blizzards and searing heat waves and outbreaks of hurricanes and tornadoes.  Thus it has ever been in recorded history and thus it will be.   Oh, the IPCC draft also owns up to the standstill in warming worldwide for the last 16 years.   According to the wizards of smart it is the Sun (duh), ocean bottoms heating up or even as they admit, maybe, just maybe they overestimated the effects of CO2 in the atmosphere.   Stay tuned, the report will change when the politicos at the UN get their hands on it.

Like bureaucrats everywhere ever time the Fed when it gets caught doing something generally viewed as wrong they simply re-define the issue.  Bernancke with a straight face says he is not monetizing the national debt.  Yet for two years now the Fed has been buying 75% of all the Treasuries issued.   But he says that is monetary policy and investing and not simply allowing the US government to spend money it doesn’t have by printing more money every time it buys those Treasuries to fund deficit spending.   It would be different if real investors from around the world were buying up those Treasuries and putting real money into the coffers but the Fed with a keystroke on its computer merely creates money out of thin air.

It is still hot as the devil, but you can look at the calender and take hope.  Fall is approaching and the start of school, high school football and the hunting season.  When all those get going it just feels cooler.

All that hype about Musk’s hyperlink or hyperloop transportation made us smile.  That idea has been around for decades.   Any casual reader of science fiction will have come across descriptions of such transportation methods.  They all involve a tunnel and the carriage being suspended by magnetic opposing forces or air and they always travel in their own self-contained system because you couldn’t have two of those carriages traveling at those speeds passing each other.  The wind vortex would dislodge them.   It is a quite old idea and very feasible with one huge caveat.  The cost would be prohibitive.   Like the New York subways system on steroids but the tunnels even more structurally secure and the carriages would have to be more or less bullets in motion.

Anyone besides me remember that phrase the guy in the White House repeated ad nauseam in the run up to the passage of the Obamacare law where he stated over and over that “the average family will save $2500.00 a year in premiums”.    All those who expect to save that much be advised we are meeting in the phone booth on the corner next week.  Have ANY of you or any of your friends or relatives reported to you they are going to be saving $2500.00 next year on their health care?

In view of the alleged gas attacks in Syria I read like you did that our military was “updating” its target list for Syria to attack the manufacture or distribution of gas weapons.  I suppose we’ll never get away from political spin and propaganda.   They issue such press releases and nonsense to give the great unwashed the impression they are doing something special in response to those alleged gas attacks.  Some facts and clarity–it is the military’s job to constantly “update” potential targets around the world.  That is their job.  Don’t know if they do it daily, weekly or whatever but the process is always ongoing.   The Air Force and Navy intelligence guys are doing that as part of their regular duties.    And no doubt our drones are watching carefully for any signs of gas weapon deployment daily.   There is no “updating” going on just the routine duties of our guys in uniform.

“Truth is the greatest of all national possessions.  A State, a people, a system which suppresses the truth or fears to publish it, deserves to collapse.”  K. Eisner  19th century Bavarian journalist.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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Darwin’s “Duh” On Social Darwinism

Many folks on the Left including the guy in the White House have used the phrase –social darwinism–as a pejorative turn of phrase.  That has been a trend for decades.  The current occupant of the White House used it a couple of months ago to describe policies that favor more individual responsibility and less federal government control of almost every aspect of your life.  He likened it to every many for himself and survival of the fittest which he viewed as equal to the vilest of human instincts.  His view is that the federal government is there to prevent any such notion or reality of social darwinism to take root or flourish.   The view of the Left is that everyone is in fact equal as opposed to being entitled to equal opportunities in your individual pursuit of life.

This view is evident in the Left’s obsession with a free education for everyone all the way through college level  degrees.   You can only judge them on their rhetoric; they say the want “every child” to get a college education.   Then what would be the value of such a degree?   The Left is constantly hammering the perceived belief that everyone is capable of a college education if only allowed the opportunity.  Of course the also scream at every opportunity that they are the party of “science”;  that their views are based on hard scientific fact–from Keynesianism to climate change.  They certainly believe in Darwinism and the theory of evolution.  They couldn’t be more demeaning to anyone of has any questions regarding any of these theories, or in their world, facts.   Yet when facts and science don’t jibe with their ideological views then they are a quick as a brown fox to jump the fence and abandon the logical conclusions of some of the science.

Human nature and experience for millennia demonstrated that there are indeed vast differences in intellectual and cognitive abilities.   Julius Caesar and Leonardo di  Vinci were noted as geniuses from an early age as was Bacon and Newton to name only a few.  In the last century we’ve had the benefit of refined testing with IQ’s and other skill test to determine not just ability but actual intellectual performance.  We all know that 100 for example is the average for the IQ test.  That means that there are gazillions of folks in our fair land that have IQ’s below that level.  Some of those with hard work and devotion probably can get a college degree and God Bless ’em they would truly deserve it.   But many simply don’t have the brainpower to achieve college degrees.  That does not diminish their worth as citizens, neighbors, friends or family, but it does mark a demarcation of intellectual achievement.   It is a waste of time, talent and money to try to send those without the capacity to college.    Yet the Left insist we expand even further the student loan programs and want to emphasize the societal goal of almost universal college education.  Here they simply will not accept the science and facts.  Not anywhere near that many people can or should be going to college.  At most around 15% or so of our population is and should be college material.   That degree should mean something.  It should signify real intelligence and also a steadfastness of purpose in those who attend college.  If 80% of young people are attending college then we all know as a fact that there is no way they are all qualified to be there.  The course requirements are being watered down or affirmative action programs are allowing admittance and advancement.

There is nothing demeaning about trade school or community college courses and certificates.  A fine violin maker doesn’t need a college degree.  We all appreciate the work of a talented furniture carpenter.  There is value and human merit in working with a metal lathe for one’s lifetime work.  A skilled mason makes buildings and homes more beautiful.  Horse trainers and even computer geeks don’t need college degrees to do their chosen labor.  Everyone sure loves the plumber when he shows up after the flood in the laundry room.   Recognizing reality and science doesn’t mean that anyone short of a college degree has to be or should be demeaned by those who do possess those degrees.

Darwin was correct.  All animals, including man, do evolve.  The best and the brightest and the most advantageous traits are the ones that thrive and survive.  Yes, Darwinism does apply to societies.  Either it applies to Mankind or it is junk science.  The Left can’t have it both ways.  There is a social darwinism at work whether we like it or not, want it or not.  Just look around you.   Some people cope and adjust and advance much better than others.  Some survive hardships and even severe dangers and other succumb to adversity.   And yes it is true that the survivors tend to seek each other out and marry and produce children with those traits.  Those with minimum intelligence and other limited abilities tend to fail and are the ones most dependent on the government.  In the middle are most of us with enough skills to muddle along and don’t damage the future gene p0ol.  We just ask for a fair shot in society so we can achieve as much as our hard work and talents will allow.    Most of us wish we had an IQ of 150 but we don’t.  We are creatures of our backgrounds both genetic and the milieu in which we were raised.   The Left and the rest of us are far better off recognizing the reality of social darwinism at work and dealing with the society we have rather than trying to conjure up a society that only Alice and the Cheshire Cat would recognize.

“In the survival of favoured individuals and races, during the constantly-recurring Struggle for Existence, we see a powerful and ever-acting form of Selection”  Charles Darwin.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

 

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

The summer heat makes opinions and thoughts bubble up……let’s see if they are over cooked….

As you age you will notice more often that some old and useless items have an intense emotional value that exceeds all rendering.   In our breakfast nook there is a special built-in mail box, bulletin board, black board and mail box covering one wall.  We had it added special when we re-modeled over 30 years ago.  Then one of the kids used a wood burning tool and wrote everyone’s name above the mail box slots, even one for Mom and Dad.   Messages, congratulations, notices, team schedules and take out restaurants graced the bulletin board and the black board held comments from the ridiculous to the sublime over the years.  The mail boxes were for their letters and school papers and then there was the general small storage box right above each name for whatever small items they wanted to store there.   Toys, jewelry and birthday and Christmas cards have been there along with every other matter under the Sun.   It is merely a collection of cedar wood and nails.  It won’t go with us when we move.   It hasn’t been really used for years now because the youngest is 37 but no matter.   I will miss the family wall cabinet and mail box.  It reflected lives lived.

Here is the best compromise on the immigration debate–allow the illegal aliens to have permanent resident status but never citizenship.  If they really came here for work, money and opportunity then such move will allow that goal to be met.   Same with the kids.  Never citizenship.  We all have to suffer for bad decisions of our parents.  There is nothing special about illegal aliens to justify a more sympathetic attitude.

Another anniversary of the end of the active fighting on the Korean War.   Those poor guys had a rotten hand from the git go.  The first of the no-win wars.   In fact the spin doctors for Truman were active then and abetted by the compliant liberal press.  They insisted that it was in fact a “police action”.  Damned if the NYT and others of that ilk didn’t report it that way with a straight face.  Before the first year was done the front had moved back and forth several times and then settled down pretty much along the 38th parallel where it remained for over two long years before the cease fire that remains in place.   It would have been nice for the American people to know that Truman didn’t intend to do anything to achieve even a hint of victory.   He held up that facade of making an effort until he left in ’53 and then Ike mercifully put and end to it.

The guy in the White House makes a protest of “phony scandals”.   Such an old but still effective political and propaganda tool.  Simply re-label an event or transaction or program to your liking and if the press will report it that way–viola!, you have just diverted the attention of a sizable portion of the population that only follows reality shows and headlines but never dares look at facts to support their position whatever it may be.   Don’t take my word for it read the master of the art–Goebbels.   His diary should be required reading for journalists and marketing majors.   Most people rarely look beyond their own feet and the next step.   They wouldn’t see a mushroom cloud on the horizon until told to look out the window by CNN.

Anthony Weiner.   That is the lead up and the punch line.   Of course there is also the international implications of the situation.  I mean if Huma and Anthony can co-exist maybe there is hope for the Palestinians and the Israelis.   We should just make sure there a plenty of porn sites in operation across borders in that area.  Wouldn’t this be a truly new low even for New York if he were to win?  And if you know anything about New York politics that reaches down to some pretty subterranean depths.

Two young men demonstrated their ability to hack into the control systems of the modern cars last week.  They can make your car stop, accelerate, turn either direction or turn off the engine in addition to other minor nuisances.    With the proliferation of computer controls and electronics this should come as no shock but it is nevertheless very scary.  Apparently when the car manufacturers turned to computers and electronics they didn’t think about anyone hacking into the systems.  First they tell we’ll have driverless cars soon and now before that is ready to launch they inform us that some pimply-faced 18 year-old can grab my steering wheel from miles away.   Imagine the havoc a couple of those jerks could cause during afternoon rush hour in your town be controlling just a handful of cars on the major freeways.   On top of this latest concern we have to face the reality of the Government, boo, hiss, being able to track your every move in your car.   Hell, are cars going to be worth it soon?  Be lots of folks who will like the latest in the mechanical engineering but will be wanting to retrofit and take out the computer control systems and GPS signaling devices and those black boxes.    Naturally, such people who don’t want their cars tracked or controlled by others will be on a suspect list by the NSA as potential bad guys.   You’ll need a horse and buggy for privacy in the near future.

“That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath been; ”  Ecclesiastes, 3/15  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

 

 

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

The comments and actions or inactions of the politicians provide plenty of fodder for the inquiring mind…..

Those on the Right generally bemoan the level of regulation of business and even private affairs and those on the Left defend each of them and call for even more regulations for ever perceived problem whether real or only imagined.    A few facts might be helpful in determining the level of regulations we face in the US now.  If you are a big bank then you are subject to the regulations and injunctions of–the SEC, the FDIC, Office of the Comptroller, the Federal Reserve, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the new committee under the Dodd-Frank law and that leaves out the other government agencies like EEOC, OSHA, the NLRB, the Commerce department and even the EPA and of course the IRS.   Those are the ones that come to mind much less those other arcane Federal entities that have a hand in regulation we can’t think of now.  You think that is enough regulation?

Does anyone anywhere anymore take a few two by fours and old apple crate and wheels from an old pair of roller skates and make a small derby car for their three or four year-old?   It really isn’t that hard and it is a great Saturday project for Dad and his son.  Try it sometime and you learn something about yourself.

France has historically prided itself on a vigorous protection of individual rights including the right of free speech similar to our own.  Just this week they made another arrest for an alleged criminal violation because of speech.  It involves a Norwegian fellow that supposedly made “aggressive racist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic remarks on the internet.  Let’s assume that what he wrote was indeed very vile, nasty and offensive.  But the West has become so addicted to the notion of political correctness that we are intruding on the right to free speech.  After all if I restrict what you say then you may be able to restrict what I say.  And like art much of the offensive language is in the eyes of the beholder.   Even if the comments are outright racist do we really want the Government to impinge in any degree on our comments?  After all we allow the most vile images in the art world that are grossly offensive such as a crucifix in a bottle of urine in the art gallaries as an expression of free speech but someone is not allowed to vent against another group he finds abhorrent.  Let all the ideas have free license in the marketplace of ideas however repugnant.   We have faith that ultimately the better thoughts and arguments will prevail among a free people.   You have a right to despise red-headed, one -legged Irishmen and call for their deportation through new legislation.  It might be an awful idea and even silly but free speech is all or control by the State, there is no middle ground.   Free speech rights are a zero sum game either you have them are  they are regulated which means you have only the free speech rights allowed by those in power.

Politicians will, when convenient, deny that the Sun rises in the East.  Witnesses Jay Carney’s recent statement this week that there is no evidence that Obamacare is slowing or impeding hiring in the US.  What is so sad is that there will be millions out there that will hear that and shake their heads up and down in agreement.   That statement has as much truth as the assertion of the guy in the White House a couple of years ago that passage of Obamacare would save the average American family $2500.00 a year.  Some still believe that even in face of revised health insurance  premium statements moving up.

I was blessed with a great mom.  She was full of energy and had a true joie du vivre and watched over me and my brother.  Yet by today’s standards she would probably be brought up before the child welfare services.  When I was about 11 or 12 we lived in a neighborhood that was still open land in many areas as the building bo0m after the War continued to fill in the vacant areas.  My friend had some horses about a mile from our house.  On many occasions my mom would let me and my friend go to the corral alone.  We would saddle the horses, bridle them and then go riding for an hour or so in the woods, creek bottoms and fields still extant in the neighborhood and then undue everything and stall the horses and come home.  Horses for you city slickers can be dangerous.  When a 1000 pound animal decides to do something he will regardless of what you want him to do.  I fell off a few times and was thrown off a few times.  Got some bruises and bumps but no broken bones and don’t think it lowered my IQ, but others may disagree about that.  It was a lesson in learning to handle freedom and the responsibility that goes with it.  You may think I am a bad seed to rat out mom now but the statute of limitations has long since run.

Poor Walt Disney must be spinning in his grave. First it was John Carter a couple years ago and now it is the Lone Ranger.  He knew it was best to tell a fun and interesting story and stay away from silly social issues of the day.   People always like a great story told and shown with verve but a significant part of any potential audience will rebel against a propagandist vent unless it is totally patriotic.    You might disagree but the ticket sales speak for themselves.

Best cartoonist ever?….without a doubt this vote goes to Bill Mauldin and his Willy and Joe series from WWII.  If you’ve never seen them you really should.  He had a deft touch about the average Joe and his worries and hopes and helped everyone truly appreciate the little joys in life.

“Where the people possess no authority, their rights obtain no respect.”  Geo. Bancroft, American historian.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

 

 

 

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