Archive for November, 2010

Hamas-linked CAIR to Muslims: Pat yourselves down in airport security checks

November 25, 2010

Burqa_afghanistan_01.

Just let them pat themselves down. It'll be fine. (Courtesy Wikipedia)

Hamas-linked CAIR to Muslims: Pat yourselves down in airport security checks

CAIR wants muslim women in veils to offer to “pat themselves down” to satisfy the TSA at the airport.

If the TSA goes for this exception — and who will be surprised if they do — it will validate my suspicion that the “enhanced” security measures have less to do with security than with conditioning the traveling public to being treated like presumptive criminals, stripped of dignity, privacy and any sense of their bodies as their own property.

This will make them fit better into the brave new world Dear Leader has in mind for us.

Muslims, like socialists and communists, are already collectivists with a diminished sense of personal sovereignty, and thus, already are a better fit in the new order. Thus, they will get a pass, although it is temporary.

Eventually, Marx and Lenin have to step into the ring with Allah and Mohammed, and decide once and for all which religion will run the world… until then, muslims get a pass.

S510 — OBAMAFOOD – Starvation as a Weapon

November 23, 2010

Russian dictator and mass-murderer Josef Stalin, with Molotov, architects of the forced starvation of peasants

Josef Stalin understood the power of political persuasion. He secured the allegiance of his subordinates by murdering many of them as an example to the rest.

On a grand scale, however, he understood the persuasive power of man-made starvation.

You can only shoot so many people in the head in the basement of the Lubjanka Prison at a time, and the logistics of ammunition, shooters and body disposal impose an upper limit on the rate at which that can happen.

Suppose, however, that you find the entire population of a region to be inconvenient. You already have absolute power over the means of production, transportation and communication, because you are the head of a communist state, and that is what communism means.

Suppose that region is the Ukraine, one of the most fertile regions on earth. There are about 13 million people there who are distressingly unwilling to serve the state as they should. They deserve a bullet in the head, but the numbers are daunting.

You are saving up bullets to use on the German fascists, whose brand of socialism is competing with yours to enslave Europe, and getting more powerful by the day. “Cutthroat competition” may be a cliché among the capitalists, but to socialists, it is a literal way of doing business.

In this competitive environment, getting 13 million Ukrainians to stand up next to a ditch so you can shoot them is unlikely, and the logistical limitations frustrate the sensibilities of an absolute dictator.

The owners of the mega-farms of the Tsarist era have all been killed off by Lenin at the beginning of the 1917 revolution, but the vacuum has been filled by millions of peasant farmers, in Ukraine and other Soviet slave states, whose success at food production has made them distressingly independent of the Soviet state. Stalin sees them as the vanguard of a Ukrainian nationalist independence movement, and thus intolerable.

Food is power, and Stalin knows it.

He confiscates the stored grain that was both a form of currency, and the seed for next year’s crop, reducing the peasant farmers from self-sufficient producers to slaves, a status more consistent with the role he wants for them in his socialist utopia.

He sells a lot of the grain on international markets, making the communists seem productive, to the inattentive world, although the result will be starvation.

He introduces “internal passports” to discourage migration from the areas he has stripped of the capacity to produce food, effectively isolating them from the rest of the world, and, as the judges did for Terri Schiavo, “let nature take its course.”

While the New York Times expressed its admiration for the Soviet dictator in an endless series of articles by self-appointed Stalin PR flack Walter Duranty, the real consequence of “Uncle Joe’s” dabblings in the grain market is mass starvation.

While they hated his competing brand of socialism, the Nazis must have been impressed with his ruthlessness and expedience in disposing of inconvenient masses of people.

Fast forward eight decades, and tell me, please, what this has to do with a Senate bill, S.510, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act.

The purpose of this bill is “food safety,” right? Protecting our food supply, right?

Sure, in the same way Obamacare was about “reforming” our health care system, and “Cap and Trade” is about “protecting” our environment. What could go wrong with giving federal bureaucrats control over our health care, and over our energy supplies?

Throw in federal control over our food supply, and you have either a safer, more stable America, or you have the three sides of an iron triangle in which to make Americans prisoners in their own homes. I suspect the latter.

I sent the following letter to my US Senator, Nominal Republican Lamar Alexander, who is a co-sponsor of this power grab.

S.510 is a huge extension of federal authority into food production, with a great deal of discretion left to the “Secretary” (of HHS) as to its scope.

I cannot find anywhere an explicit exemption of coverage for individuals or families who want to grow or produce their own food, but a great deal of costly bureaucracy imposed at all levels of food production.

Like the indignities to which air travelers are now subjected, this will be expensive and of little use to advance its stated goals.

The Congressional Research Service summary of S510 includes the following language:

“…require that each person (excluding farms and restaurants) who manufactures, processes, packs, distributes, receives, holds, or imports an article of food permit inspection of his or her records if the Secretary believes that there is a reasonable probability that the use of or exposure to such food will cause serious adverse health consequences or death.”

This would appear to require extensive record-keeping by me, if I want to grow vegetables in a garden. “If the Secretary believes” I have to show this paperwork to federal bureaucrat inspectors, I have to, and for no other reason than it is what the “Secretary believes.”  Criminal penalties may apply, if the Secretary wants them.

Furthermore, nowhere in the summary do I find what effect on the cost of producing food at any level, from the home garden to the corporate farm, this law will have.

As a cosponsor of this legislation, it is your responsibility to justify the legitimacy of this bill under the Constitution, and to account for the costs and benefits of this bill to the consumer.

I believe you cannot justify the constitutionality of this legislation, or its costs.

Leaving so much discretion to an unelected bureaucrat (how many times do phrases like, “at the Secretary’s discretion,” “if the Secretary determines,” “allows the Secretary to promulgate…” appear in this bill?) only reminds us of the enormous abuses heaped upon us in Obamacare.

I have had enough of this kind of intrusion on our rights under the guise of protecting us. You should be embarrassed to be associated with such a blatant power grab.

Please uphold your commitment to the Constitution by withdrawing your support from S.510 and working to defeat it.

Respectfully,
Thomas D. Cox

I guess if you can subject American air travelers to invasive x-rays or plastic-gloved groping as if they were presumptive criminals en route from their cells to the exercise yard, you can expect them to surrender their health care, their energy sources and now – their food supply — to federal government control.

Just hope and pray you don’t fall into what the government sees as a ‘politically inconvenient” group.

Socialism, the Perpetual Money Machine

November 11, 2010
Fludd's Perpetual Motion Machine (Wikipedia)

Fludd’s Perpetual Motion machine, circa 1600, courtesy of Wikipedia

Perpetual motion describes hypothetical machines that operate or produce useful work indefinitely and, more generally, hypothetical machines that produce more work or energy than they consume, whether they might operate indefinitely or not.

There is undisputed scientific consensus that perpetual motion would violate either the first law of thermodynamics, the second law of thermodynamics, or both. Machines which comply with both laws of thermodynamics but access energy from obscure sources are sometimes referred to as perpetual motion machines, although they do not meet the standard criteria for the name.

Despite the fact that successful perpetual motion devices are physically impossible in terms of our current understanding of the laws of physics, the pursuit of perpetual motion remains popular.”

WIKIPEDIA

Yes, it does. Several inventors claim to have developed machines that take a small amount of energy input, and put out a much larger amount of energy, usually in the form of electricity. None of these inventions has resulted in a marketable product that has been shown to work.

Of course, the fundamentals of conventional physics don’t allow for more energy to be produced by a closed system than is put into it, period. Grumpy and intractable physical limitations like entropy and friction keep perpetual motion in the realm of fantasy, wishful thinking and investment scams. Barring the discovery of utterly new physical principles, perpetual motion remains in that realm. Energy and mass are conserved. All of the energy in the universe eventually degenerates to heat.

Most people understand that, at least intuitively, if not intellectually. Of course, there are enough credulous customers to draw scammers and opportunists to the smell of money. After all, “A fool and his money are soon parted.”

Why then, do so many people accept without question the existence of  a perpetual money machine, also known as socialism? Too many of the people who know better than to believe there is a way to something for nothing from a perpetual motion machine, willingly accept that government can somehow produce wealth without consuming wealth — a perpetual money machine.

Yes, taxpayers furnish the energy input to government’s machinery, but there is only so much taxpayers’ money. When government pays out more than it collects, debt ensues.

Margaret Thatcher painted a neat bulls eye on the fundamental flaw of the perpetual money machine when she was describing in an interview the damage a socialist government in Britain had done to the economy:

Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people’s money. It’s quite a characteristic of them. They then start to nationalise everything, and people just do not like more and more nationalisation, and they’re now trying to control everything by other means. They’re progressively reducing the choice available to ordinary people. — (Thames TV Interview, February 5, 1976. Emphasis added)

Does this ring a bell with anybody?

When the taxpayers are paying all they can, many modern governments just keep on paying it out, and damn the debt torpedoes. When it becomes difficult to borrow money from individuals, organizations and other countries, some governments just invent money out of thin air, or try to. They fire up a perpetual money machine.

Our government has just issued bonds (borrowing from lenders with the promise of repayment with interest), and then issued “money” to buy those bonds back from the lenders. The “money” is “money” in quotation marks, because it has no inherent value, like gold or land, and it is only worth what the government can convince people it is worth.

It is also referred to as “fiat money,” not because it can only be used to buy one brand of Italian car (whose name has been said to be an acronym for, “Fix It Again, Tony!”), but because “fiat” is Latin for, “Let it be done.”

When a government issues a fiat, questioning its validity draws the same answer a child may get from its parent, in lieu of a rational explanation:

“Because I said so!”

Parents sometimes exercise such autocratic power over their children, when there is not time for a rational explanation, or when they assume that the child needs to believe the parental pronouncement regardless of the child’s capacity to understand the explanation. Autocratic governments often exercise the same sort of authority over their subjects – uh, citizens.

“This dollar will buy you a loaf of bread, because the government said so.”

When individuals issue “money” to pay debts, it’s called “counterfeiting,” and it is regarded as a crime, because… because… only governments are allowed to issue worthless money. The whole sum of money in circulation is reduced in value because of the loss of faith in its value. Faith is all that supports the value of fiat money.

Counterfeiting, in other words, is a government monopoly.

Sooner or later, the worthless money becomes recognized as such, and it no longer will buy anything, or anything much. Where a “dollar” used to buy a loaf of bread, inflated “dollars” will only buy a slice. When potential sellers of goods and services realize that money is, in fact, “fiat money,” hyperinflation may result, and a wheel barrow full of dollars may only buy breadcrumbs, if anything at all.

People holding a lot of “fiat money” in cash may find the best use of it is to burn it to keep warm.

This has happened in modern times, in places like the Weimar Republic and Zimbabwe

50-million mark Bank Note, Weimar Republic (Wikipedia)

The problem with “perpetual money machines,” socialist governments that hand out monetary favors to favored constituents without regard to where the money will come from, is a law as intractable and grumpy as entropy and friction – the law of scarcity.

Scarcity is a sophisticated name for a simple truth, which is what all natural laws are, at heart. That simple truth is: There is a greater demand for some things among humans than there is a supply of those things.

Rather than strive to understand the implications of this truth, politicians, as Thomas Sowell has said much more eloquently (and with far greater street cred), here, and, in a second installment, here, prefer to hide behind the elements of fiction that have driven public interest in drama for centuries: heroes, villains and victims.

Discussing scarcity requires an attention span and an understanding of logic that following reality television does not. Politicians are competing for an audience with “Dancing with the Stars” and the Comedy Channel, and they know that emotion and contrived drama trump rational analysis every time.

Politicians set up “big oil” as a villain, for example, casting people at the pump as victims, and themselves as heroes, with their congressional committee rooms as the backdrop. By calling oil company executives on the carpet before their committees, the politicians can compete among themselves for face time on television with stupid questions and self-important speeches, interrupting and drowning out potentially rational replies from the oil executives.

The perpetual money machine keeps cranking out dollars, passing them to favored constituents. The debt keeps rising, as do the prices of gas and groceries. Politicians keep on casting themselves as heroes, while the victims go from bad to worse.

Meanwhile, the inefficiency of government, as measured by the small fraction of each tax dollar supposedly aimed at solving problem X that actually gets to problem X, is as stubborn an impediment to the efficiency of the perpetual money machine as is friction to Fludd’s perpetual motion machine. Regulatory bureaucrats, campaign finance committees, favored contractors and unions all peel off their take before the money arrives at the people, pavement or endangered species it is supposed to be helping.

Meanwhile, the diminishing value of each dollar from the perpetual money machine is a tax on everyone who earns, saves or spends that money.

Retirees are caught in a vise. The value of their pension dollars shrinks, as the prices of the things they must buy continue to rise.

Minimum-wage employees find themselves unable to afford the gas to get them to their minimum-wage jobs, making government unemployment “compensation” more attractive, even though the money behind that “compensation” is cranked out by the same machine, with the same, ultimate cost to the unemployed and to everyone else.

The “rich,” those who have enough money left over after they pay for the essentials of life to be willing to put that left-over money to work making more money, become uneasy with the diminishing value of their wealth. They pull back the ‘extra” money, and put it where they think its value will drop as slowly as possible, so as to have more of it left when the prices of essentials rise even more. The “rich” include small business owners, and these “rich” people employ about 70% of all employed Americans. Employees the “rich” suddenly find they cannot afford, are laid off. New employees they might have hired, remain unemployed.

Crank that perpetual money machine up! There is more “money” needed to pay the unemployment benefits of those who are laid off or not hired as a result of the decreased value of fiat money. More, less-valuable money hits the street, and the value of all the money in circulation drops. Inflation continues. Economic friction continues to convert the “money” cranked out by the perpetual money machine into wasted heat.

Am I way off-base, here, to think socialism is no more sustainable than a perpetual motion machine? I don’t think so. Both are fictions based in the ignorance of the public as to immutable laws, and neither has ever worked, nor will ever work.

Perpetual motion machine scams may cause fools and their money to be parted, but socialism is a stepping stone to economic disaster.

Governments that run perpetual motion machines either fall and are replaced with fiscally conservative leadership, or they degenerate into dictatorships, like those in the last century, that were responsible for the murder and enslavement of hundreds of millions of people.

History, like immutable laws, is a dispassionate, but brutally honest teacher. Socialism, the perpetual money machine, is a scam and an inevitable, costly failure.

“They always run out of other peoples’ money.”

Zimbabwe Z$100 Trillion

$100 Trillion Dollar Bill, Zimbabwe (Courtesy Wikipedia)

It’s Not the Marketing, Democrats, It’s the Product. SOCIALISM STINKS!

November 4, 2010
New, Improved Socialism!!

NEW! IMPROVED! BUY NOW, OR JUMP IN MASS GRAVE!

Those of us above a certain age remember when TV ads trumpeted a “new, improved” cereal or dish detergent. All the proof we had of newness or improvement was the package, which had new, snazzy colors and maybe a cool, new shape. Sure enough, the words, “NEW!” and “IMPROVED!” are there, right on the label.

Of course the new product often came with a new, improved, higher price.

When we opened the new, improved package, we often found the same, old product inside, or an old product with irrelevant tweaks and tunes that left us with same ole’ same ole’. The marketing department obviously ran the show in these enterprises, and the product research and development department was AWOL or irrelevant.

It doesn’t matter whose picture you put on the box – Hitler, Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot — socialism is a failed product that has been repackaged countless times over the last 150 years. It has never worked, and despite a death toll of well over a hundred million innocent people in a seemingly endless series of ruthless and bloody “marketing campaigns,” it keeps coming back.

The latest attempt at socialism, advanced by Democrats and RINOs, is a hideous parade of defective products:  Obamacare, Government Motors, Cap and Tax, and union pension bailouts, to name but a few. President Obama, in a post-mid-term election presser intended to explain away the blunt rejection of the same old product with his latest packaging, stubbornly refused to understand the meaning of the election results.

The problem, he said, was with the message. It was just bad marketing.

As the Gipper famously said, “There you go, again.”

No, Dear Leader, the problem isn’t the marketing. The product – socialism — stinks, has always stunk, and always will stink. No amount of marketing, packaging, promotion, rebates, coupons or discounts will sell socialism, because it is an inherently defective product.

Socialist regimes always have to threaten their customers with death or imprisonment to get them to buy it, and they inevitably have to carry out those threats, if their regimes last long enough.

Whether or not it is imported from China, socialism is easily broken into sharp-edged, poisonous choking hazards, and ultimately, it is a threat to health, safety and, especially, to freedom.

It’s not new, it’s not improved, and we aren’t buying.