Tag Archives: Obamacare

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Astronomy, business, Culture, Economics, Environment, Foreign Affairs, Global Warming, government, history, military history, Mother Nature, Politics, science

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

Leave a comment

Filed under business, Economics, Foreign Affairs, Global Warming, government, Mother Nature, Politics

2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

We’ll do some politics and history to celebrate the 4th and our heritage…..

The announcement that the employer mandate in Obamacare will be delayed for at least a year raises several troubling questions, not the least of which is the legal authority of the President to take this action on his own.  The Obamacare act uses the word “shall” to implement this provision on Jan. 1, 2014.  Will this usurper ever bend to the injunctions of the rule of law?  What higher duty does any President have than to see that the laws are “faithfully executed”?  We need to remain a nation of laws, not diktats of mere men.  Regardless of the merits or demerits of the Obamacare act we must preserve our adherence to the rule of law or we are swimming in deep waters of turmoil.  Sure hope someone will challenge this delay in the courts.

In shouldn’t be surprising that the guy in the White House would ignore the laws he finds inconvenient to advancing his radical liberal agenda.  Look at his non compliance with two circuit court opinions on his alleged “recess” appointments to the Labor Board and his total failure to enforce the existing immigration laws.  He unilaterally granted special status to those illegals he deemed worthy by executive order over a year ago.  This was contrary to the existing law of the land.  Let Congress pass the laws and if he wants different laws then ask for them.  He is asking us to bow to his diktats like serfs of old.

It was with mixed emotion that I attended the 4th of July parade in my neighborhood.  I want so much to  have pride in the nation and its leaders.  But our current direction is not anything I can support.  I don’t want Big Brother or Big Sister dominating my life.   It is hard to have pride in a nation that believes me and my fellow countrymen are incapable of taking care of ourselves.  If they don’t trust us to do the sensible and moral thing then why should we trust them?   Neither condescension nor dominance is the right path for leadership of a free people.  Those work only in the totalitarian states.

Boy are all those European nations really doing the Casablanca routine with their shock and dismay that the US is spying on them.  Give me a break.  Intelligence gathering goes on all the time even among the closest allies.  During WWII our diplomats and yes, spies, gave confidential reports all the time on the intentions and actions of Great
Britain and for sure the Soviets.   Doesn’t mean we don’t like them or trust them but sometimes self-interest gets in the way of even mutual goals.  I am not offended that the British or Swiss poke around as much as they can to discern the intentions of the US.   Hell, most of the time we can’t discern the intentions of our own government.   Just like the inspector in Casablanca who was “shocked, shocked” to learn of illegal activity, nothing will come of this one and it will fade away.  After all would those feigning outrage want us to reveal everything we know about their spying on us?

You should be reminded that even before the Declaration of Independence in July 1776, that we had already fought very significant engagements against the British in open rebellion in Boston.  Bunker Hill, Washington’s appointment as commander and the withdrawal of the British from Boston had all already occurred.  The British had moved their strategic location to New York by this time.  The Declaration is a great document and rightly revered by those who love personal freedom but it was really stating the obvious.

The Summer Solstice comes about June 21 each year and is our longest day.  Intuitively one would think that would also coincide with the hottest time of the year.  The days have been lengthening for months at that point and after that date the days begin their steady shortening for the rest of the year.  Why is it that July and August are the hottest time of the year when the length of the day is already in steady decline?   Most places in the northern hemisphere by mid August are 45 minutes to an hour shorter than they were in mid June yet it is hotter.

When worrying about global warming take a peek at some history before you reach any conclusions.  First, the current drought in the US in NOT the worst in memory.  You read that false headline all the time when there is an article about global warming and it goes without challenge.  I don’t have to read or research this allegation, I lived it.  Yes, we do have a drought underway in the Southwest but so far it is peanuts compared to the drought we had from the late ’40’s to the late ’50’s.   This latest drought has only been about 3 years so far.  In the mid ’50’s if you drove thru the Southwest you could see dead cattle, horses, goats and other live stock literally lying in the pastures.  I did with my own eyes more than once.  Nothing of that sort is occurring yet at this time.  In 1939 and again in 1940, at the beginning of the War they had really hot summers in England.  Some predicted then drastic changes.  Churchill had special linen suits tailored due to the extreme heat.

Likewise during WWI there were many examples of extreme weather.  There was lots of scientific discussion of the cause and many very smart people speculated that the weather changes were due to the huge artillery barrages from the trench warfare on the Continent.  It is true that millions upon millions of tons of artillery rounds were fired by both sides throwing dust and debris into the air which was carried by winds and that included the toxins from those shells, such as cordite.   I have enormous respect for science but do like to make sure it is science unbiased by a political agenda.   Study, look at details, be sure to separate conclusions from fact and reach your own conclusion.  Don’t trust for God’s sake computer models.  Those are just computations based 0n human input with all the foibles of humanity.

“Say not, I will do so to him as he hath done to me: I will render to the man according to his work”   Proverbs 24/29.   http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

Leave a comment

Filed under business, Economics, Environment, immigration, Mother Nature, Politics

2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

Hopefully you are still in communication with the outside world there in your bomb shelter hiding from those N. Korean missiles….if so then here are some thoughts to mull while passing the time.

We recently wrote a blog about the Tesla story with those tax rebates and rigged batteries to limit range capacity and the Global warming cabal.  A footnote, just a couple of days later Hansen of the Goddard Institute announced his resignation from his government job.  He of the religious convictions regarding global warming.  To give you a hint of his perspective during all the time of his pontificating on the subject you might be interested to know that his new life is one of litigation.   He intends to join in a number of lawsuits by the Greenies to fight carbon and promote a carbon tax.   Those who have blindly followed him for the past decade have had a leader that is about as much scientist as L. Ron Hubbard.

We are all familiar with the three configurations of water on Earth, a solid (ice), liquid and a vapor.  But that is just on Earth.  In space in morphs into a another stage.  The ice in the comets whizzing by us when it gets close enough to our Sun will not melt as on Earth and become a liquid then vapor.  It sublimates directly into a gaseous form of the components.

One doesn’t know whether to cringe in fear or laugh out loud at the recent bloviating from N. Korea.  They do have lots of cannons and tanks and of course a few nukes lying around.   An attack would be horrible no doubt but the outcome would result in mass destruction in their own backyard.   Even if we didn’t want to do much you can rest assured the South Koreans and Japanese would respond with vigor because they would see such a conflict as a threat to their very existence.   It is harder to know how to respond because of the looks of that kid they have allegedly running the country.  Looks do matter and he looks like a cartoonish Saturday morning character on a kid’s show.  It is hard to see any redeeming physical feature in that guy.   And his best buddy is Dennis Rodman!   Hard to take someone like that seriously but I suppose we should.   He sure doesn’t have the looks or demeanor of someone with gravitas like a Churchill or a Reagan.

In case you haven’t seen the latest about the Obamacare coming soon to a hospital or doctor’s office near you, the Navigators that are supposed to aid everyone in learning how to read the 61 pages of instructions to sign up for the new pr0gram and help you move through the online version will come from the same background as the guy in the White House–they are going to be your local community organizer.  That is not a joke, check it out for yourself.  The guidelines for their selection state specifically that they should represent specific demographics in the community and speak the language of the people there.  If you live in a majority minority neighborhood and you are white then no need to apply; you don’t meet the specs.  The act says they should come from community organizations, like ACORN type folks.  Well, for one I thought everyone eligible would already be proficient in English.  It is still a requirement for naturalization.  Illegals are not supposed to be eligible.   It will pay over 20 bucks an hour and they plan on over 20,000 of these Democratic recruiters, er, Navigators.   I am sure they will do a great job of registering new voters but have some doubts about the quality of advice about which insurance is best for the people wanting help.

The unemployment rate and jobs numbers for March are out.  Both numbers are so fuzzy.  The participation rate is the lowest it has been in 35 years and that is probably the most significant number of all.  That is the number of people actually working versus those in the total workforce.  There is a better way to gauge how well or awful the economy is doing. All those numbers are based on surveys on only a few companies and households around the country and the rest is “modelling” to project the final numbers.  Each month the States send in real numbers, not estimates or survey analysis to the Commerce department that gives the total for all income taxes withheld from employees and sales tax revenues.  Yes, the self-employed aren’t in those numbers but it still covers the large majority of our population.  Those totals will go up or down depending on the health of the economy.   At least they are real numbers, not subject to manipulation or guesswork.   That total number each month would give a much more accurate picture of how we are doing than the current estimates we get.  This is not an original idea with me but it is a good one.   I like anything that is based on raw data rather than numbers that are the result of bureaucratic massaging.

Really enjoyed The  Bible shown on the History channel.  Thought it was well done.  They sure couldn’t cover all the stories in the Bible and finished in 5 episodes but wish they had substituted the story of Joseph for Samson.  His was such a great story of the rise and fall of circumstances and ultimately redemption.   So many of the best and worst of Mankind’s attributes are revealed in that story.

They found Richard III’s body recently and confirmed through DNA that it was he indeed.  He has been vilified over the centuries for his alleged murder of his two nephews after he had them held in the Tower of London when he assumed the Crown after his very short reign as regent for one of those nephews who was the son of Edward IV.   Shakespeare of course made that alleged murder famous in his play of that name.  The bodies of the nephews were indeed found about two centuries later in 1674 under a stairwell in the Tower.   There has never been any conclusive proof of the murder.  It was a turbulent time at the end of the War of Roses and many deaths and assassination among the royal contenders.  He may not have ordered their murder it is just as likely that one of his supporters did the deed with his tacit approval.   Much like Solomon condoned the death of his rebel son Absolom, until the deed was done when he was racked with grief.   Richard probably didn’t have much time for regrets though as he had to fight off rebellion from the beginning of his short two-year plus reign and the threats from France and Brittany.   Still a good murder mystery.

At Bosworth field per the Bard spake Richard III,  “A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse.”   Richard III, Act V, scene v.   http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Astronomy, business, Economics, Foreign Affairs, Global Warming, history, Mother Nature, Politics, religion

2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

Happy Easter and some thoughts to ponder on Good Friday…..for the best price in town.

Lots of articles in the last week about the flying car.  You are bound to have seen them in the papers or on the news channels.  I saw many that intimated that this was a really new innovation.  Guess what, go back and look at Look or Life magazine in the fifties.  They had flying cars then and some were predicting that they would be the wave of the future; the future being defined as the ’70’s or ’80’s.  Remember there really isn’t anything new under the Sun.   Each generation seems to think it is the first to read and write and know how to invent things.

We’re up to the 100th anniversary of the Titanic sinking.  Many headlines reporting on the tragedy used the word “souls” to describe those lost in the cold seas.  Interesting that in that age it was not considered unusual or some kind of Judeo-Christian bias with those headlines.  It was instinctive in the people of the age to use such language.   Even today the airlines and cruise ships still use that phrase (unless they have changed very recently) to denote the number of passengers and crew on board.  Of course the word does carry a religious connotation and that is good.  Otherwise it would just be bundles of meat on board a ship or plane.   You just can’t square the circle with that word in an atheistic world.

Well over 200 years ago scientist were able to figure out that the earth had bulges in its crust and that it was not a perfect sphere but “squashed” a bit at the poles.  I marvel that they could make that correct assessment with such primitive tools by our standards.  Mostly they used readings of barometric pressure to determine altitude and thus the “bulges” here and there or conversely the flat spaces.  This was important to improve the mapping needed for commerce and the correct meridians.  They had to be pretty fair mathematicians and scientists in my mind.  Would you have been able to do that?   They probably all were tops in the classes in trig and geometry.

When you look at the stars at night they are not exactly where you see them.  All light rays entering earth are bent by our atmosphere and thus the image you see is not where you “see” it but slightly off to one side or the other. 

Wars have always produced controversy and discord within the warring nations and often the soldiers don’t understand or support the conflict they have been ordered to endure.  Iraq, Viet Nam and even back to the Greeks and Romans there were disagreements about how or even whether to proceed.  There is a letter from a British officer in Boston in 1775 that complains that no one back home understands there plight being trapped in Boston by the Washington and the revolutionaries.  He says they are short of food and other supplies and the actions of the British army at Lexington were cruel.   He even asserted that if the men had any way out they would desert and leave the Generals alone.  Of course the Generals and the Admirals were also constantly sniping at each other blaming one another for not being aggressive enough with the rebels.

Imagine that very prominent Democrats and Republicans including many who were governors or top government officials, the military chief of staff, the head of the DNC, the directors of the FBI and CIA were all put on public trial and executed over a two year period for crimes against the people.  This is what the friend of the hard left and the NYT, Joe Stalin did in 1937 and 1938 to literally dozens of his Communists brethren.   No one knows for sure how many lessor lights were also tried and executed or sent to Siberia.  The prominent ones were in the scores.  The trials were public and all the accused to a man confessed in open court to their alleged crimes and then were promptly killed.   One can only guess why they confessed since they knew they were dead men anyway.  Threats to family is believed the most likely cause; they confessed in an effort to save their families additional suffering but even that was not always successful as many family members were taken and sent to the Gulag anyway.   Then the process was done all over again after WWII in the early ’50’s by Uncle Joe.  Can you believe some of the Russians are trying to revive admiration for Stalin?   Romney is correct, they still aren’t our pals.

BO is wrong about his definition of judicial activism.  That is when the Supreme Court or any other court finds a new right in the Constitution that doesn’t exist of rules in a way that goes against the plain language of the Constitution.  The classic example is Roe v. Wade.  Regardless of the merits of abortion rights that is not the issue.   The problem is that the Court found a right of privacy in the penumbra of the Constitution whatever the hell that means.  As a lawyer and citizen that just makes no sense and I resent the Court making up law.  Interpreting law is fine but they should create it.  They also shouldn’t find that a farmer growing his own crops on his own land for his own consumption is engage in “interstate” commerce.  

“I desire what is good; therefore, every one who does not agree with me is a traitor”   Barak Obama,,,,,oops,,,,it was King George.  www.olcranky.wordpress.com

Leave a comment

Filed under business, Culture, Economics, geography, history, military history, Politics, religion

Of Human Nature And Government

Human nature has numerous and variable components.  It is composed of greed, cruelty, hate and hunger for power over others, among other elements.  But at the same time we are capable of love, charity, spirituality  and a willingness to work for the common good.  Governments since the beginning of time have tried to bend, shape and mold human nature but always without ultimate success.  Governments can and do regulate our behavior but all attempts to fundamentally change human nature have by controlling our behavior have never succeeded.

When we were still very primitive and mostly nomads and hunter-gatherers, we didn’t need much structure to our society and government.  Everyone was pretty much own their own and the “glue” of society was pretty much the family unit or small tribes of related families.  It was only with the settlement of specific areas and the development of agriculture that we needed a government as such.  The rise of agriculture gave rise also to the towns.   The towns were necessary to trade the produce of the farms and for artisans to build the crude implements for the farms and then the armies to protect them from marauders.   Security was issue number one in our earliest days of societal formation.  Thus the towns and the surrounding farmers had to form a government of some kind to provide for that security and to arbitrate disputes among society.  You will recall that Moses was called the “Law Giver” by the early Jews because he not only brought the ten commandments but reams of other laws to regulate society and system of judges to resolve issues among the people.  

In our modern era the most striking example of government trying to harness and reign in human nature by controlling the actions of the people was the failed experiment with Communism.  The foundation stone of Marxism you will recall was that ownership of private property was anathema.  Indeed he said himself that the theory of Communism could be summed up by “Abolition of private property”.    From  primeval times when men first fashioned bows, knives or other tools the idea of “owning” what you made or created was yours has been part of our human nature.  It is a subset of greed.  It is yours and not “theirs”.   But even in that utopian world of everyone sharing everything equally there were always differences of “wealth”; some had the nice houses and some had to live in government apartments.  The Commies were able to control the actions of the people for a few generations but ultimately the fight against human nature collapsed.   The greater the effort to contort or shape human nature the greater the odds are that the attempt will fail.

Every nation in the world has an army or one sort or another.  That is because of the human need for security and survival.   Even the Swiss have an army, a pretty well-trained in fact.  Peace-niks around the world can campaign all they want but this will be true forever.   We are willing to sacrifice some of our liberty and desire for liberty to have an army, likewise we will allow ourselves to be taxed for roads and bridges because our human nature inclines us to believe that such things are not only good for everyone but for us as individuals.  The more we perceive this personal benefit the more we are willing to allow government to control such activities and others.   We are all so different and have very different levels of expressing and feeling our love, greed or other aspects of human nature.  When government does something big it always needs to take this into account or it actions will be rebuffed by the people.  The trick is to find that consensus middle where the majority will sense that the control over our behavior doesn’t clash to fundamentally with our individual expression of human nature i.e., our desire for liberty and control over our own destiny.   Such analysis applies to the recent Obamacare laws and the ongoing public disputations regarding its efficacy and desirability.   Yes, they have such systems in parts of Europe but it s not as monolithic as often portrayed.   Even in Great Britain you have always  been free to see your own doctor and pay for it yourself and/or receive charity donations from your church or other organization to help with costs. 

One of the biggest problems with Obamacare is the inherent unfairness the young and healthy or the old and healthy have to endure for the benefit of others.   The facts are that many folks live their entire lives and spend next to nothing on medical care and then just die one night in their sleep.   In my seventy years I can assure you that the medical premiums I have paid over the years far exceed the costs of medical care I have received by an astronomical sum.  The insurance carriers have made a f0rtune so far off of me.  Many of you will be in the same category.   I am not mad they make money.  I do want the coverage in case of need; that is why it is called insurance.  But it has so far been a one to one relationship between me and my insurance company without any government coercion on either party.   Obamacare changes all that.   Human nature is to want to “do it my way” as the old song says, not the way dictated to me by a faceless bureaucrat.   It should be no surprise to a thoughtful person that the majority of Americans are opposed to this law.  We want “ownership” over our own bodies and what we do with it.   Our medical care is the best in the world.  It is too expensive for sure but there are ways to address that issue without challenging the fundamentals of human nature to be in charge of our own lives to the maximum extent possible.  

We control the prisoner by confining him to a cell.  His behavior is very restricted but even there we cannot control his thoughts or emotions.  We haven’t changed human nature only actions.  The American people will allow control of some of our freedom but only if we see some of the personal benefit in that surrender of independence.  That is not a bad thing; it is our nature and should be embraced.

“Law, morality, religion, are to him (the proletarian) so many bourgeois prejudices, behind which lurk in ambush just as many bourgeois interests.”  K. Marx….www.olcranky.wordpress.com

Leave a comment

Filed under business, Culture, Economics, government, history, Mother Nature, Politics

2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

If you don’t think these are worth the price we offer a refundable scrip for the next edition at twice the price and all for only 19.99.  Otherwise enjoy your investment for today.

On the renewable energy/green front there is no one more “green” than the Germans.  They have the world’s largest users of solar panels and the like.  They also announced last year they are closing all their nuclear plants within a decade partially as a result of the Japanese disaster.   However if you read the fine print in the news lately they have sharply cut back on their subsidies for solar and just last week a second solar panel facility filed for bankruptcy.  Hmmm, they will figure it out, they are Germans after all, but one wonders if they have really picked the right horse for the future ride.  You want a preview of our solar future, watch the Germans for the tell.

Speaking 0f green, we notice that the Labor dept. stats list a bus driver driving a hybrid bus as a “green” job for their estimate of th total jobs in the category.  One would think the bus driver would drive whatever type bus they gave him.   Delve into the report yourself and see how well your tax dollars are spent by bureaucrats probing all aspects of the economy and then counting as green jobs everything they in their infinite wisdom perceive to be connected to that movement.  Even if you believe every categorization they make do we really need to pay someone to come up with those numbers?  How does that info add to our economic output?

You can sleep easier now.  Those particles sent from Switzerland to Rome didn’t travel faster than the speed of light after all.  Seems the machines weren’t properly calibrated and the readings were false.  Whew, otherwise a lot of what we trust in like gravity would have been in question.  We already have enough questions about life as it is.

In the earliest days of our Republic we still had a fairly primitive economy compared to the English.  Yes, we had a currency but its value was still in doubt and the merchants of the day had to be pretty darn good with their math and up on world affairs and the different values of foreign currency.  At that time it was still very common for commercial transactions to be consummated with foreign currency.  Spanish doubloons, English pounds sterling, Dutch Guilders and Italian ducats were still pretty common currency all along the eastern seaboard and the ports there.  The merchants had to determine how to make the conversions for many different currencies and what currency would be accepted by their counterparties, especially those overseas.  Foreign merchants were reluctant to accept payment in US funds.  But our paying off our state bonds, as promoted by Hamilton, greatly helped the value of our money.

The Egyptians built truly remarkable structures in the ancients times–the Pyramids, the Sphinx and all those buildings at Assam and Memphis.   Interesting that they never could figure out the engineering or muster the will to build the Suez canal.  That had to wait for millenia and the Europeans.  It was the French who built the canal to great fanfare but lukewarm financial support in the mid 19th century.  It took about ten years to complete and the British were constantly carping about it.  After all they were the world’s leading economic power then and controlled most international trade.    The Brits even provoked turmoil among the workers on the canal who they touted as slave labor.  After completion there was one other problem the engineers and businessmen involved hadn’t paid enough regard.  The early days of the canal were less than successful because most ships still were moved by sail.  The prevailing winds in that region move west to east and thus passage was long and sometimes not possible at all for days at a time.  It took the steam engines and ironclads to make it a success.  They maybe should have consulted more with the seafaring men before they started they venture.  Amazing how overlooking the obvious happens over and over.  The original company that built the canal went bust.  There is a lesson there for all of us.

The reports say that there are 25 Secret Service agents with the Obama kid on her vacation.  That is probably and sadly  correct,  I suspect.  As stated here before that protection for Presidents and others has reached ridiculous proportions. Yes, we need some protection for Presidents and those in succession and maybe a very minimal amount for ex-Presidents but that is it.   As late as Harry Truman’s term and Ike, they just left the White House as private citizens and went home.  Twenty-five agents for a child of a President is absurd regardless of who is President and regardless of Party.  We need to regain some sense of balance and responsible use of taxpayer money.  If we are that worried about the President’s safety then just use a company of Marines around the White House, they are already being paid.  Just asking for some common  sense in all this. 

If under Obamacare the individual mandate is upheld we will  have lost most of our traditional freedoms to a central government that can run rough-shod over our State’s historical role of being in charge of police powers.  Next to regulate “interstate commerce” the Feds could require that all future IRS payments be made with US Treasury notes or bills.  They would force you to loan money to the government then take those same notes you hold as payment for your taxes.  Multiply that over millions of tax payers and you are talking real money.   If they can make you buy insurance what makes you think they couldn’t require you to loan them money?   Regardless of the need for health care reform such alleged reform is not worth allowing unfettered power to the Federal government.   That is why we only gave them enumerated powers and have a Bill of Rights. 

“History teaches that among the men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying obsequious court to the people; commencing demagogues, and ending tyrants” A. Hamilton.  www.olcranky.wordpress.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Culture, Economics, Foreign Affairs, government, history, Politics, Socialized Medicine

Economic Free Lunches And Tooth Fairies

The White House has made its pronouncement regarding the demand that religious institutions must provide contraceptive medicines and devices for all employees.  We all know that they have modified that version by now saying that the institution itself will not have to provide such coverage in its policies and pay for it but that the insurance carrier for the institution will provide such service and must do so without any charge, it will be free to the employee.  Even that modification is somewhat vague if you have seen the testimony of Sibelius regarding the issue.  She is still talking about how the institutions have 13 months to comply and that they are still seeking accommodations with them whatever that means.   It is amazing that they White House thinks that by merely stating that something will be free makes it so.

If it is legal and constitutional in the first place to require an insurance company to provide a service that is free to the insured that doesn’t mean it is free.  We still have the 5th amendment to the Constitution the last I checked.  Supposedly the money for the contraceptive service will come from the insurance company’s reserves.  That is part of their capital and thus belongs to the shareholders which is a very diverse group of folks.  Some insurance companies are still stock companies that means that every insured is also a shareholder and even those that are not have shareholders that are pension funds, hedge funds, mom and pop and other public groups of all stripes.  The government regrettably does have the power to tax but that is different that a straight up “taking” of private property without just compensation.  The government is taking that money for an alleged “public purpose” which is the standard for determing whether or not the 5th amendment applies.   It would seem the government would be required to either pass a new tax provision or else pay for the property taken.  The 5th amendment doesn’t only apply to real estate although that is the most common usage by government. 

But beyond that slight shortcoming there remains the question of how this is “free”.  If allowed by law then the insurance companies still have to pay for the covered medicines and devices.  It sure isn’t free to them and it will reduce their profits.   Does the government intend to also require the pharma and medical device makers to also provide this service free?  Like always when the government says something is free to the intended beneficiaries  like so many of the entitlements it is only shifting the cost to someone else.  Free means you are paying for it but someone else is footing the bill. 

Even the Soviets after decades of trying never could figure out how to have a cash and capital free society.   Even if you didn’t pay a dime for medical services from the Soviet regime then that only meant that the regime was making someone else pay with their labor to produce the good or service.   It still wasn’t free.   Just because something is free to you doesn’t mean it was free to those who provided you with that good or service.  Even if we adopted the Soviet style and had all medical care controlled by the State and you never had to pay a dime for insurance or any medical treatment doesn’t mean it would be free.  The cost would have been borne by other taxpayers in our society.  Of course in our modern US of A that means half of us since that is all that pay any income tax.

We can have an argument about socialized medicine and that is ok, part of our process.  But the hypocrisy and lies are intolerable.   Trust me the free lunch is an urban myth.  That free lunch at school for example isn’t free, someone is paying for it just not the recipient of that nutritious meal.   If you were a car mechanic would you like the government to mandate that in the future you had to do oil changes free of charge to the car owner?  The government could well take the position that a well running vehicle is vital the well-being of the owner and that regular changes are good for the eco-environment and thus a public good.   Ergo it is only right that you give them the oil change without charge.  Would you believe that that oil change was free?  

We need to eliminate that mind-set from our political discourse that anything is free.  We have to earn it one way or the other.  There is nothing immoral or evil about that attitude, indeed that idea is what got us out of the trees and moved us from the caves to the houses and villages.   Providing for yourself and being charitable are part of what makes us decent human beings.   Believing in a beggar thy neighbor approach to society will only fragment and rend the very fabric of our society because of its inherent unfairness, a concept much bandied about these days.   www.olcrany.wordpress.com

love thy neighbor as thyself,,,,no more, no less and expect the same of him.

1 Comment

Filed under business, Economics, government, Politics, religion, Socialized Medicine

2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

Rummaging around the corners of the mental attic we came across a few thoughts that only needed to be dusted off.  Maybe you’ll find  them worthy of a moment’s reflection or at least amusement.

It seems the European leaders are very good at having meetings and making announcements about plans to stabilize their Euro.  But have you noticed that the follow-up is pretty weak.  It seems so many of the deals never get actually implemented.  I mean there was a “deal” for the Greek debt about three months ago but no real money has changed hands and the Greeks haven’t yet satisfied the new loan terms.  Same is true with the alleged fund to back up the European banks and nations from almost a year ago.  The money hasn’t hit the table yet.  They seem to be good at having press conferences but not good at the follow-up execution of their plans.  I suppose Nero is their example.  After all Rome was eventually re-built.

Speaking of Greece, it is interesting that it is the private lenders, bondholders, of Greece that are having to take the 50% haircut. The various European governments and their central banks aren’t taking any loss on their bonds.  Makes one wonder exactly who in the future will be willing to loan to the Greeks.  It will probably be the European governments by hitting their taxpayers.  At least as long as those taxpayers believe the cost is worth it to keep the peripheral countries in the Eurozone.  The French and Germans may well decide it isn’t worth it.  Hmm, wonder is some day most of US citizens will feel the same way about California, Illinois and New York.  Why is it again we need to send a disproportionate amount of our tax money to those States while they never rein in their budgets?

I haven’t heard Tim Tebow ever say he believed the Lord gave him or his team a victory contrary to many news reports.   All I ever heard him say was that he thanked the Lord for a victory–quite a difference.

If you ever doubt the importance of the rule of law and the importance of which law applies then take a look at the Greek loan negotiations.  One of the requirements of the European banks and IMF is that English law applies to the new loans, not Greek.  Consistency and fairness regarding dealings among citizens in their private affairs and between citizens and their government are very important and our Anglo-Saxon common law is the best yet.  Far better than the many alternatives over the years tried by others. It is recognized even by those hostile to any vestige of English culture or heritage.

With the ongoing debates about the total US debt and the US tax code, we still like the idea promoted here before of making the Feds give a complete line item of the expense categories of the Federal budget on the back of your tax return.  Then you could check which programs you were willing to support and pay for.  The list would have military, HUD, welfare, EPA, etc.  Those that are real greenies could devote all their taxes to the EPA and those that don’t like it wouldn’t give it a dime for example.   Same with the military and all areas of government expenditures.  Its our money after all and I can’t think of a good reason why we shouldn’t have more input into how it is spent.  

During the political season (of course these day’s when does that season ever stop) it would be good if the politicos and the pundits would recall some sound advice from long ago.  When the government and its laws become too large and cumbersome then the politicians running that government are much more inclined to submit to the seduction of interest or resentment.  It seems BO in particular is into the resentment game and the interest game.  Why is it good for the body politic to have one large segment of the population resenting another large segment?  It would seem that is the perfect formula for extreme discord and eventually dis-union.  After all why expect one interest group to want to work with an0ther that they resent?  That resentment appeal is indeed a seduction and like all seductions a dangerous game to play.

In a society where the goal is equality of outcome,  history would unfortunately teach us that all that will produce is equality of servitude.   To achieve that equality of outcome always requires the blunt force of punitive measures by the government in charge.   There are no exceptions to that.  Why do you think Obamacare has criminal sanctions for those who don’t follow its mandate?  If you don’t report on the IRS forms correctly your insurance you will be guilty of filing a false document with Feds.  Don’t take my word for it, look it up for yourself; that is if you can find it in the gazillion criminal laws on the Federal books. 

What are the Scots thinking?  Do they really believe they will be better off as an independent country?    They are a great people with a proud history even if a turbulent one over the centuries.  Even the Romans find them so difficult to deal with they built Hadrian’s Wall at the border.  Whatever their cultural disputes with the English they will be worse off on their on.  They and their English brethren have survived many a hardship together and they have collectively advanced themselves immensely over the years.   They should think long and hard about what they will lose if they go it alone.  There will be no more pounds flowing from Whitehall to the north and I am not sure the world is beating at their door to buy Scottish goods and services. 

We have too many federal laws especially when you include all the regulations of our various agencies and bureaus of government; there are literally millions of them.  We need less laws and not more to fix our economic affairs.  I love the old Roman approach to new laws.  In the days before the Caesars the proponent of any new law would go before the assembly to offer it with a rope around his neck.  If the law wasn’t approved the innovator was instantly strangled with his own rope.  That would sure make politicos think a bit before they shot off their mouth about some new proposal.  Boy, makes you nostalgic for the old days.  www.olcranky.wordpress.com

Leave a comment

Filed under business, Economics, Foreign Affairs, government, history, law, Politics

2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

Maybe we should start charging a few sprinkles of gold dust for these pearls of wisdom but for now we’ll hold firm at our bargain prices.

There have been many comments about a couple of the Supreme Court Justices recusing themselves from hearing the ultimate appeal of the Obamacare law because of perceived or real bias about the legislation.  They focus on Thomas and Kagan.  Him because they don’t like his wife being involved in the political debates of the day and her because she was an active member of the Justice department as the law was formulated and debated.  Some have argued that the US code requires them to remove themselves and others say that mere prudence would demand it.  There have even been calls for new legislation that would mandate (that word again) that Justices recuse themselves under defined circumstances and that the matter should be determined by an independent panel of “legal ethicists” ( real  oxymoron if there ever was one) when a motion is filed to remove a Justice from a case.   Those are all well and good but they all overlook one vital consideration–that our three branches of government are separate and equal.  Just as the Supreme Court cannot tell the House or Senate how to run their affairs or pass legislation or demand that the White House institute a certain administrative order or policy, the Legislature cannot tell the Supreme Court how to conduct its business.  The Supreme Court would never recognize any legislation regulating its internal affairs and would indeed find it unconstitutional.   For good or ill we have to live with what we got and that is the Supremes determing their own eligibility to hear cases that come before them.

Is there anything more nostalgic and fun that watching that child or grandchild as they walk up the sidewalk to enter elementary school for the first time?  They are a little tentative and have that huge backpack hanging down almost to their knees and those fresh new clothes mom bought for the occasion.  You stand there wondering how those first 5 or 6 years flew by so quickly.

Just as you have to put up collateral sometimes if you want to borrow more money it appears the Greeks are running into the same demands from its creditors.  You have to pledge your car or offer a second lien on your house and your unsecured creditors don’t like that if they know about it.  Now Finland is demanding that Greece put up collateral in the form of cash or real estate for Finland to fork over its share of the bailout money from the Eurozone countries.  Naturally the other Euro folks are howling.  They think it undermines the overall effort to help Greece or more likely they are simply miffed that they didn’t think to ask for collateral themselves before they handed over the bailout funds.  The next payment is due in September to stay tuned and let’s see how these negotiations work out.

Loneliness is one of the most powerful and depressing of our emotions.  It is one thing to enjoy one’s privacy but quite another to be lonely.  Atheists must be the loneliest people in the world.

The basics of economics always works even in the worst of times.  After WWII in Germany every city of any size was virtually destroyed.  You’ve seen those old newsreels of Berlin and the blocks and square miles of devastation.  Nothing worked for a while.  The bombing and the moving armies of the Allies and the Communists had leveled just about everything.  There was no food in the cities, no water, no electricity and no means of transportation.  Health care was very limited and the rape and pillaging was rampant  in the Soviet areas.  In the rural areas much of the crops for the 1945 harvest were very low because there weren’t enough workers to finish the harvests or the supplies to produce the crops were very limited.   But of course there was food and even an excess in the countryside.  Efforts were made to bring the food stocks into the cities but met initially with very limited success.   The farmers needed to eat too and there were refugees running literally all over the countryside pillaging.  But most important of all was the reluctance of the farmers to bring their harvest to the cities.  After all what would they get in exchange for the crops?  There was only the most crude of working economies and that dependent on the scrip and whim of the conquerors.  Lastly, what was there to buy if they were given some kind of paper money?  Nothing.  Even if you had what passed for “money” in those dark days you really couldn’t exchange it for anything you wanted or needed.  There weren’t any cars, washing machines, radios and cigarettes or alcohol except that pilfered from the conquering armies.   A valuable lesson in both the demand concept and the medium of exchange idea.  

So many people still get confused about how and when we went off the gold standard.  Sometimes you hear it was Roosevelt and others talk about Nixon closing the gold window.  There were two events that get conflated too often.  Roosevelt confiscated the gold coins and outlawed the use of gold to settle debts in the US.  You were required to turn in your gold coins for paper money and couldn’t have contracts requiring gold payment. It was internal to the US and its citizens.  Even Roosevelt couldn’t control the entire world and much of the world continued to use a gold standard in one form or another.  In ’71 Nixon finally said the US would not settle its international accounts with gold.  Before the foreign countries could come here, and they often did, and trade in their dollars they had earned and exchange them for gold which we had to fork over.   Nixon stopped paying in gold and would henceforth make payment only in other dollars or goods.

Some in power now echo the political philosophy of Louis XIV whether they acknowledge it or not.   Louis famously said “It is legal because I wish it”….hmm.  Sound ominously familiar.  www.olcranky.wordpress.com

1 Comment

Filed under business, Culture, Economics, Foreign Affairs, government, history, law, military history, Politics, religion