Friday, August 24, 2012
By Mischa Popoff
In Canada we have a strange tradition of "spreading the wealth around." Provinces are divided into "Have" and "Have-Not" categories, and the federal government redistributes wealth from the Haves to the Have-Nots. Aren't you glad you're an American?
But hold on. It gets worse.
Sometimes, when politicians in a province think they're not getting enough redistributed wealth from the feds, their premier (equivalent to your state governor) will move heaven and earth to get a better deal. Such is the case right now, as the premier of the province of British Columbia (B.C.) is using every phony environmental concern in the book to stop a pipeline from running across her turf that would carry crude oil from the oil sands of Alberta to a port where it could then be shipped to China.
You'll recall how President Obama used phony environmental concerns to forestall the Keystone Pipeline, which would carry crude oil from Alberta down to refineries in Texas. When it became obvious to our prime minister (the equivalent of your president) that Obama wasn't going to budge on Keystone, he wisely approached the premiers of B.C. and Alberta to see if they could work out a deal to get that crude to China instead. And everyone in Canada was very pleased with this idea because, as explained, the wealth that would accrue to Alberta would be spread around nicely and evenly all across the land.
All was going well until one fine day, when the premier of B.C., Christy Clark, got it into her head that she needed to hold out for more money. To heck with the rest of Canada! And Alberta.
Clark is predicting all sorts of disasters that could occur if a pipeline running across her province were to spring a leak. But I can guarantee you it's all just a bunch of trumped-up, phony-baloney environmental posturing, because after all, she's stating pretty clearly that more money will solve the problem.
No...not more money to ensure that the pipeline won't burst, or more money in some sort of environmental-protection contingency fund that could be drawn upon at such time as there is a leak. No, silly -- Premier Clark simply wants more money in her general-revenue coffers so she can spend it right away, and hopefully get herself re-elected.
So if Clark doesn't really care about the environment, what, pray tell, does she plan to spend this money on? Ah...now this is something that you as an American might be able to relate to, especially if you live in a state like California, where public-service pensions are poised to bankrupt your whole state.
Start by wrapping your brain around the fact that 750 public-sector employees in the province of B.C. earn more than $200,000 a year, with top wages approaching a cool million! And they're all in line to receive gold-plated, indexed pensions, with full benefits, 'til the day they, or their spouses, die.
If they all retired right now, they'd drain over $200 million per annum out of the province's treasury (which is empty, by the way) in exchange for doing nothing. That's $200 million a year for just 750 people -- barely enough to fill a high-school gymnasium shoulder to shoulder. And the rest of us have to pay for that.
But these people must be the exceptions to the rule. Right? La crème de la crème of the province's public sector? Surely most civil servants in B.C. earn more modest wages, something in the neighborhood of a teacher's starting salary of just $47,000. Right?
With a population of just under four and a half million, we've got a whopping head-count of over 64,000 public servants in this classic left-coast province. This means that about one and a half percent of our total population -- counting every man, woman, and child -- works for the provincial government. That's more than three percent of our entire workforce! And it's not where these public servants start in terms of salary that matters; it's where they end up just before they retire that costs us.
Believe it or not, teachers in this province earn $74,000 a year after just eight years on the job. (And I'll bet you thought Governor Chris Christie had problems with teachers in New Jersey.) And that's assuming a teacher has only a basic education degree. If she holds a second degree, a master's or Ph.D., she receives more...much more. And no matter how many degrees a teacher holds, they all get steady annual raises until they retire, at which point they start getting 70% of their salary, or more, plus all benefits, indexed to inflation, for the rest of their or their spouses' lives.
Get out your calculator.
A single teacher can easily cost this province as much as $2 million while working, and another $3 million in retirement! Add those numbers together, then multiply by 64,000, and you'll begin to see what's motivating Clark to use what amounts to nothing more than environmental blackmail to get a bigger share of the deal from Alberta. You know...the province where all the oil is actually located.
Never mind that this province's current debt is hovering around an unsettling $51 billion -- more than $11,000 for every man, woman and child. We're on the hook to dish out over $320 billion (that's $320,000,000,000) over the next few decades in retirement benefits!
Somehow, I don't think tourism (B.C.'s last remaining "resource" after the near-total shutdown of our mining, lumber, and fishing industries) is going to cover it. And so, Clark will use any tactic she can in order to get a bigger share of Alberta's wealth so that she might, in Barack Obama's resplendently socialist words, "spread it around" to her civil servants.
Never mind that this province's public sector currently costs taxpayers more than $3 billion across 90 largely useless government agencies.
Never mind that public-sector wages and benefits far exceed anything you'll ever get in the private sector.
Never mind that public-sector employees work shorter hours and retire earlier than anyone in the private sector.
And last but not least, never mind that the private sector generates wealth while the public sector does not, and cannot. In fact, if anything, the public sector absorbs wealth, like Bounty paper towels absorb a juice spill on your kitchen floor.
Yeah, never mind all that. The big hit to this province's treasury (which again, I remind you, is empty) is yet to come.
Historically, in both the United States and Canada, only military personnel qualified for government pensions. They had, after all, served the rest of us in a most literal sense. Politicians left whatever they were doing in the private sector to actually "serve" in public office. And public-sector employees gave up the highs and lows of private-sector employment in exchange for job security.
But today, thanks to a perverse laxity in negotiating with public-sector unions by politicians who receive campaign contributions from those same unions, we now watch as teachers work less than 190 days a year and as public servants in general take full retirement after pushing paper for just a quarter-century, or less. No wonder FDR was dead-set opposed to unions in the public sector.
No wonder Clark has her eye on Alberta's pie. And the sad part is that even if she gets her way, it still won't be enough.
Mischa Popoff is a policy adviser for The Heartland Institute and a research associate for The Frontier Centre for Public Policy. He is also is a freelance political writer with a degree in history.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 08/20/2012 16:46 -0400
According to Wikipedia, Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) affects one percent of the population and has little to do with looking at yourself in the mirror. It has a lot to do with unrealistic fantasies of success, power and intelligence. Some NPD sufferers become cult leaders or mass murderers, the rest become economists and policy-makers. Despite having a highly elevated sense of self-worth, narcissists have fragile self-esteem and handle criticism unpredictably, so let’s keep this to ourselves….
Velocity of money is the frequency with which a unit of money is spent on new goods and services. It is a far better indicator of economic activity than GDP, consumer prices, the stock market, or sales of men’s underwear (which Greenspan was fond of ogling). In a healthy economy, the same dollar is collected as payment and subsequently spent many times over. In a depression, the velocity of money goes catatonic. Velocity of money is calculated by simply dividing GDP by a given money supply. This VoM chart using monetary base should end any discussion of what ”this” is and whether or not anybody should be using the word “recovery” with a straight face:
In just four short years, our “enlightened” policy-makers have slowed money velocity to depths never seen in the Great Depression. Hard to believe, but the guy who made a career out of Monday-morning quarterbacking the Great Depression has already proven himself a bigger idiot than all of his predecessors (and in less than half the time!!). During the Great Depression, monetary base was expanded in response to slowing economic activity, in other words it was reactive (here’s a graph) . They waited until the forest was ablaze before breaking out the hoses, and for that they’ve been rightly criticized. Our “proactive” Fed elected to hose down a forest that wasn’t actually on fire, with gasoline, and the results speak for themselves. With the IMF recently lowering its 2012 US GDP growth forecast to 2%, while the monetary base is expanding at about a 5% clip, know that velocity of money is grinding lower every time you breathe.
The Fed’s refusal to recognize the importance of velocity of money quickly goes from idiotic to insidious. Here’s a question: If I give you 50¢ and as a result of that transaction, you owe me $1.00, what interest rate have I charged you? Obviously, I’ve charged you 100% interest and I don’t give a rat’s ass about you or your kids. I’m pure evil and you’re pure stupid. But believe it or not, this kind of master-slave arrangement isn’t enough to satisfy a true narcissist. The narcissist needs to be exalted for his actions, no matter how unjust.
He likes to be thought of as “accommodative.”
In 2011, every dollar of GDP growth created $2.08 in debt. In real life, that’s 108% interest plus the nominal rate, and our twisted leaders want you say, “Thank you sir, may I have another!”
2011 wasn’t an anomaly either; it’s the new normal. Since the Bush deficit increases (to call a spade a spade) went into effect, the rise in debt has exceeded the rise in GDP 6 of the last 10 years (the four years of positive GDP-minus-Debt can be directly attributed to the housing bubble). That never happened in the U.S. during Great Depression/WWII era. One place where it did happen was in the Weimar Republic (which shortly thereafter became known as Nazi Germany) . No one’s ever done a better job of explaining how quickly things unraveled there than Art Cashin (this is an absolute MUST read):
In 1920, a loaf of bread soared to $1.20, and then in 1921 it hit $1.35. By the middle of 1922 it was $3.50. At the start of 1923 it rocketed to $700 a loaf. Five months later a loaf went for $1200. By September it was $2 million. A month later it was $670 million (wide spread rioting broke out). The next month it hit $3 billion. By mid month it was $100 billion. Then it all collapsed.
….In 1913, the total currency of Germany was a grand total of 6 billion marks. In November of 1923 that loaf of bread we just talked about cost 428 billion marks.
So I’ve got a whole bag of “Fuck You!” for anyone who still thinks nothing could be worse than another Great Depression. The path we’re on ends with mountains of corpses when the great experiment fails.
America’s most prestigious education institutions have become grooming salons for malignant narcissists. Men and women high on their own self-important sense of entitlement, but short on any sense of honor or duty (like passing a budget or arresting someone who stole a billion dollars) and devoid of any real insight or achievement. So far it’s working out quite nicely for them:
Fun fact: Washington DC now boasts, by far, the highest and fastest growing income per capita in America.
No matter what color Kool-aid you prefer, a Harvard Law School graduate who wipes his ass with the constitution will occupy the White House until 2016. Any flavor difference you think you detect is artificial. Neither party has any intention of balancing the budget or stopping the generational rape of America. They exist only to give you the illusion of choice.
There’s another reason nobody wants you thinking about velocity of money and triple-digit principle-based interest rates. When you get comfortable with the idea that the same dollar gets spent over and over in the economy, you’ll begin to reconcile that notion with the fact that total government spending (Federal, State and Local) accounted for over 40% of GDP in 2011. Then it becomes clear that you are already living in on of those countries where the government controls everything (call it whatever -ism you want). Next thing you know, you’ll start connecting the dots between the nation’s skyrocketing public debt and the private fortunes amassed by a select few, and no one who’s in on the fix wants that.
Better than one in seven Americans are now on food stamps thanks to Washington’s disastrous policies, but narcissists refuse to recognize the consequences of their own actions. That’s how they sleep at night. They see themselves as saviours, feeding the inferior huddled masses too stupid to fend for themselves, so of course they deserve more money. The only thing they learn from shitty results is that they need more power, more control and more money.
The so-called “fiscal cliff” represents nothing more than a return to policies proven far less dysfunctional than the current ones, but Washington doesn’t see it that way. Instead they want you to beg them to save you from this horrific monster and adore them when they double down on policies that serve to increase your dependency on them.
By any and all reasonable measures, it’s worse than the Great Depression, and still deteriorating. Just remember that truth is the narcissist natural enemy before you speak.
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Policy makers in Washington and other capitals around the world are debating whether to implement another round of stimulus spending to combat high unemployment and sputtering growth rates. But before they leap, they should take a good hard look at how that worked the first time around.
It worked miserably, as indicated by the table nearby, which shows increases in government spending from 2007 to 2009 and subsequent changes in GDP growth rates. Of the 34 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development nations, those with the largest spending spurts from 2007 to 2009 saw the least growth in GDP rates before and after the stimulus.
The four nations—Estonia, Ireland, the Slovak Republic and Finland—with the biggest stimulus programs had the steepest declines in growth. The United States was no different, with greater spending (up 7.3%) followed by far lower growth rates (down 8.4%).
Still, the debate rages between those who espouse stimulus spending as a remedy for our weak economy and those who argue it is the cause of our current malaise. The numbers at stake aren't small. Federal government spending as a share of GDP rose to a high of 27.3% in 2009 from 21.4% in late 2007. This increase is virtually all stimulus spending, including add-ons to the agricultural and housing bills in 2007, the $600 per capita tax rebate in 2008, the TARP and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailouts, "cash for clunkers," additional mortgage relief subsidies and, of course, President Obama's $860 billion stimulus plan that promised to deliver unemployment rates below 6% by now. Stimulus spending over the past five years totaled more than $4 trillion.
If you believe, as I do, that the macro economy is the sum total of all of its micro parts, then stimulus spending really doesn't make much sense. In essence, it's when government takes additional resources beyond what it would otherwise take from one group of people (usually the people who produced the resources) and then gives those resources to another group of people (often to non-workers and non-producers).
Often as not, the qualification for receiving stimulus funds is the absence of work or income—such as banks and companies that fail, solar energy companies that can't make it on their own, unemployment benefits and the like. Quite simply, government taxing people more who work and then giving more money to people who don't work is a surefire recipe for less work, less output and more unemployment.
Yet the notion that additional spending is a "stimulus" and less spending is "austerity" is the norm just about everywhere. Without ever thinking where the money comes from, politicians and many economists believe additional government spending adds to aggregate demand. You'd think that single-entry accounting were the God's truth and that, for the government at least, every check written has no offsetting debit.
Well, the truth is that government spending does come with debits. For every additional government dollar spent there is an additional private dollar taken. All the stimulus to the spending recipients is matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis every minute of every day by a depressant placed on the people who pay for these transfers. Or as a student of the dismal science might say, the total income effects of additional government spending always sum to zero.
Meanwhile, what economists call the substitution or price effects of stimulus spending are negative for all parties. In other words, the transfer recipient has found a way to get paid without working, which makes not working more attractive, and the transfer payer gets paid less for working, again lowering incentives to work.
But all of this is just old-timey price theory, the stuff that used to be taught in graduate economics departments. Today, even stimulus spending advocates have their Ph.D. defenders. But there's no arguing with the data in the nearby table, and the fact that greater stimulus spending was followed by lower growth rates. Stimulus advocates have a lot of explaining to do. Their massive spending programs have hurt the economy and left us with huge bills to pay. Not a very nice combination.
Sorry, Keynesians. There was no discernible two or three dollar multiplier effect from every dollar the government spent and borrowed. In reality, every dollar of public-sector spending on stimulus simply wiped out a dollar of private investment and output, resulting in an overall decline in GDP. This is an even more astonishing result because government spending is counted in official GDP numbers. In other words, the spending was more like a valium for lethargic economies than a stimulant.
In many countries, an economic downturn, no matter how it's caused or the degree of change in the rate of growth, will trigger increases in public spending and therefore the appearance of a negative relationship between stimulus spending and economic growth. That is why the table focuses on changes in the rate of GDP growth, which helps isolate the effects of additional spending.
The evidence here is extremely damaging to the case made by Mr. Obama and others that there is economic value to spending more money on infrastructure, education, unemployment insurance, food stamps, windmills and bailouts. Mr. Obama keeps saying that if only Congress would pass his second stimulus plan, unemployment would finally start to fall. That's an expensive leap of faith with no evidence to confirm it.
Mr. Laffer, chairman of Laffer Associates and the Laffer Center for Supply-Side Economics, is co-author, with Stephen Moore, of "Return to Prosperity: How America Can Regain Its Economic Superpower Status" (Threshold, 2010).
Thursday, August 9, 2012
according to data from the new NOAA/NCDC U.S. Climate Reference Network
I decided to do myself something that so far NOAA has refused to do: give a CONUS average temperature for the United States from the new ‘state of the art’ United States Climate Reference Network (USCRN). After spending millions of dollars to put in this new network from 2002 to 2008, they are still giving us data from the old one when they report a U.S. national average temperature. As readers may recall, I have demonstrated that old COOP/USHCN network used to monitor U.S. climate is a mishmash of urban, semi-urban, rural, airport and non-airport stations, some of which are sited precariously in observers backyards, parking lots, near air conditioner vents, airport tarmac, and in urban heat islands. This is backed up by the 2011 GAO report spurred by my work.
Here is today’s press release from NOAA, “State of the Climate” for July 2012 where they say:
The average temperature for the contiguous U.S. during July was 77.6°F, 3.3°F above the 20th century average, marking the hottest July and the hottest month on record for the nation. The previous warmest July for the nation was July 1936 when the average U.S. temperature was 77.4°F. The warm July temperatures contributed to a record-warm first seven months of the year and the warmest 12-month period the nation has experienced since recordkeeping began in 1895.
OK, that average temperature for the contiguous U.S. during July is easy to replicate and calculate using NOAA’s USCRN network of stations, shown below:
Friday, August 3, 2012
The White House thinks that schools are providing too much discipline to black students, and it is proposing race-based quotas for school suspensions. That’s right, affirmative action for school discipline. Could Asian students be disciplined more to meet quota requirements? That’s what Trifecta thinks. Hear what race-based school discipline means for American education.If you’re pressed for time, at least listen through Scott Ott’s answer where he posits some excellent questions and a prediction that’s dead on:
ByEvan MackeyCable television is replete with nature-themed shows these days. Some of the most popular are those that feature quirky blokes who get dangerously close to deadly animals, usually because they claim to have an understanding of the beasts. The results are predictably dangerous, and sometimes deadly. There is an inherent savagery found in the animal kingdom that we ignore at our own peril. We in the civilized world have become so removed from the realm of the wild that we seem to have lost touch with our instincts when it comes to our perception of other creatures that inhabit the earth.
This skewed perception often produces horrific results. There is no shortage of video footage of hapless or naïve people who sometimes unwittingly provoke potentially deadly encounters, or happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Polar bears are portrayed as our soft and cuddly friends, but how many people fully understand that a polar bear would ravage and consume your flesh in an instant if it had the chance? The same goes for their black and brown cousins. And how many know that those cute, chubby hippos are just as deadly as crocodiles?
Similarly, although they may seem like overgrown pets, wild animals raised in captivity are capable of inflicting serious harm. Chimpanzees have always been depicted as whimsical little guys who are so good at "aping" human behavior, but we often tend to forget that they are wild animals capable of unbelievable viciousness. Even the oh-so-adorable panda bear has been known to get in on the act.
More than any other creature, sharks seem to embody animalistic savagery in its purest form. They provoke some deep, primal instinct of fear within us, and why shouldn't they? These are extremely powerful and aggressive apex predators that have jaws lined with rows and rows of razor-sharp teeth. Yet there is a popular sentiment among shark experts that our fear is misguided and naïve, and that sharks are actually "harmless" to humans. Apparently, these docile creatures are simply misunderstood. It is merely human ignorance that has caused them to be depicted as mindless eating machines.
To illustrate that humans have no need to fear sharks, one of the aforementioned shark experts stood hip-deep in a lagoon infested with bull sharks. His intention was to disprove the supposed myth that these fish are deadly man-eaters. This "expert" went on to assert that once the circling sharks sensed that he posed no threat, they would simply leave him alone. Long story short: he is very lucky to be alive today, although he is missing a very large chunk of his left leg. In subsequent interviews, he has stated that he still can't believe that a shark would intentionally harm someone who has such understanding and empathy for it. He claims that it must have been his fault. Perhaps he did something to offend the shark.
Please forgive the lengthy set-up to an eventual point, but does all this sound vaguely familiar? Is it not reminiscent of the attitude of progressives toward violent Muslims whose soul and explicit mission is our violent destruction? There is no shortage of evidence of their desire to do us harm, in the most violent way possible. No one is safe from their evil goal -- not women, or children, or the elderly, or the infirm. Those who are deemed "infidels" are targeted for torture and grisly death. They even murder their own family members in the name of "honor." And yet, those on the political left seem to believe that these vile marauders just need our empathy and compassion. Even otherwise shrewd and intelligent individuals place themselves into situations where they fall victim to such savagery. We have gone to ridiculous extremes to appease, even to the point where this administration has expunged the word "Islam" from national security documents. Other nations have gone even farther to placate violent radicals. In other words, free people are being fed to the sharks by weak-kneed progressives, whose first instinct is to mollify the enemies of freedom.
Of course, the comparison between shark and jihadist is far from perfect. It would be ridiculous to imply that a shark attack is fueled by personal hatred of its victim. To assume such a thing would be as naïve as assuming that it also has the capacity for benevolence in its golfball-sized brain. Also, to be fair to the sharks, Islam has killed far more human beings.
The point is that it is in a shark's nature to kill and eat prey that ventures into its domain. It's what it does. It's all it knows. Similarly, the very nature of violent Islamic jihad is death and destruction. To assume otherwise is extremely naïve and potentially deadly. Still, the political left favors a policy of détente with murderous thugs, as if mollification will cause them to renounce jihad. The logic goes that if we only avoid any direct confrontation with the enemy, he'll forget his evil ways and learn to love us. It is identical to the left's traditional take on any other violent offender roaming the streets of this nation. That the criminals despise and attack us must be our fault, not theirs. The left stubbornly adheres to this philosophy even after the enemy has repeatedly torn the proverbial flesh from our limbs. Obama's policies have placed us once again hip-deep in shark-infested waters, giving the jihadists more opportunities to sink their teeth into us again.
Political correctness has turned common sense on its head and created a hospitable environment for all those who are intent to commit unspeakable acts of violence. It has bred such a fear of being labeled "judgmental" into so many of our citizens that there is now an overwhelming tendency to ignore our intuitive reflex for avoiding dangerous people or situations. According to P.C. dogma, it is a mortal sin to be afraid of someone who looks threatening, even though he may very well be threatening. In a gesture of true understanding, you must override every reasonable fear instinct and reach out to this poor "misunderstood" individual or group. You may be putting yourself and your family in jeopardy, but that is the price one must pay in order to foster tolerance. We have been so conditioned to believe that one should not "judge a book by its cover" that we have become subject to a broad societal tendency to suppress blatant warning signs. We have even gotten to the point where we are told that to fear dangerous animal predators is a form of bigotry.
Unlike other animals, we humans have the gift of reason, which affords us the ability distinguish between right and wrong, good and evil. We do not operate purely on instinct, nor should we. But neither should we completely eschew our instinctive capacities in an ill-conceived attempt to accomplish some foolishly idealistic goal of political correctness. Like it or not, there are still human beings who are driven by primal, dark urges. If given the chance, they will act on these urges. And like other predators in the animal kingdom, they are drawn to the weak, the gullible, and the unsuspecting.
(See also: "Why Muslims Must Hate Jews")
By Lloyd Marcus
I jump on every opportunity to respectfully challenge my 84-year-old black dad's loyalty to Obama. Dad has been a Christian pastor over 50 years. He lives in Maryland, and I live in Florida. I called Dad to ask if he participated in Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day. He said no, he had not heard about it. Then, he added, "All I know is Chick-fil-A discriminates against gays."
Folks, I was outraged. Struggling to keep my composure, I passionately said, "Dad, that is a lie! You have got to stop getting your news from the mainstream media!"
I went on to explain to my dad what the protest and appreciation day were really about. Dad was shocked. He does not support same-sex marriage, and he was pretty grossed out when I told him that in retaliation homosexuals have planned a "kiss-in" at Chick-fil-A restaurants.
I also took the occasion to inform Dad that black pastors across America have organized to protest Obama's support of same-sex marriage. Again, Dad knew nothing about the black pastors' protest.
At my local Chick-fil-A restaurant, Mavis and I were the only blacks there in support of the protest, amongst hundreds of white Christians and Tea Party patriots.
So what is going on? Why is the truth not getting to a majority of black Americans? I fault a majority of black media outlets and the mainstream media.
For the most part, conservative talk radio is a white thing. Even black conservative radio talk show hosts have a mostly white following.
How do we get the truth to black America? Since I am writing about this problem, one might assume I have a solution. Well, I do not, and it frustrates me.
My conversation with Dad was yesterday. He called me at 9 AM this morning. "Why haven't I heard about what Christians were doing in support of Chick-fil-A?" I told Dad the reason is because the mainstream media, where he gets his news, is in the pocket of the socialists/progressives who embrace same-sex marriage. The mainstream media (CNN, ABC, CBS, and NBC) gave the phenomenon minimal coverage.
Dad was surprised to learn that all who oppose same-sex marriage are branded bigots and haters by his beloved Democratic Party and the mainstream media. Dad said he does not hate or judge anyone. However, the Bible says homosexuality is wrong. He must stand on the Word of God.
Patriots, my excitement was overwhelming. For years I have been waiting for the correct moment and approach to "respectfully" tell Dad that his blind loyalty to Obama and the Democrats contradicts everything he has stood for and taught me. The moment was miraculously here. Dad was on the phone, asking questions and listening.
My mind was racing. "OK! OK! How can I give him a history lesson and Conservatism vs. Liberalism 101 in as few words as possible?" I thought, "Calm down and take it slow." We talked for an hour.
Dad did not know that not only did Obama say that he supports same-sex marriage, but he vowed to be an advocate of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender communities. Dad told me to send him the link, which is pretty amazing, considering I have not been successful getting Dad to check his e-mail.
Dad was unaware that the Democratic Party is considering making same-sex marriage a part of its platform.
I explained to Dad that the mainstream media spins the truth and, in many cases, lies to support its socialist/progressive, anti-Christian, anti-God agenda.
For example: Dad heard from his media sources that Republicans, Christians, and conservatives are trying to ban contraception for women. Yes, Dad was familiar with the reported "War on Women."
I told Dad that no one is trying to stop women from obtaining birth control. Contraception is cheap -- available at Walmart for five bucks or so. I explained that under ObamaCare, Christian institutions and Christians will be forced to fund contraception and abortion services against their will and their faith. Again, Dad was shocked. Dad said he does not want to fund such services.
My 84-year-old dad joined the Democratic Party in his youth, believing it to be for the hardworking little guy. I informed Dad that that Democratic Party no longer exists. In short, spoiled-brat old hippies run the Democratic Party today.
A majority of the Democratic Party leadership comprises far-left liberals who hate America and believe that man can fix every problem. God is an imaginary being clung to by ignorant, bitter, and racist middle Americans. These Democrats believe they are intellectually superior -- and thus far better-qualified to manage our lives. This is why the Democratic Party seeks ever-expanding governmental controls over our behavior. Outrageously, death panels in ObamaCare even give government power to decide who lives and who dies.
In response to the socialists/progressives' disbelief in God, Dad, a preacher over 50 years, said, "Your house had a builder. I did not see him. Nor do I know him. But I know he exists. Man also had a builder."
Dad ended our conservation with "I'm going to Chick-fil-A today to spend some money."
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
By Burgess Owens
As a 10-year veteran of the NFL, I had a unique perspective weekly to see the heartfelt commitment of the fan. Regardless of years of disappointing and winless seasons, the true fans remained die-hard in their loyalty to "the Team." The true fans were capable of not only painting their cars and homes their team colors, but also naming family pets and offspring after famous NFL all-stars.
On our way to the Super Bowl XV Championship, the Oakland Raiders played a frigid 1981 AFC playoff game in Cleveland, in which the temperatures plunged to -35 degrees. I remember looking up in the stands to see a dedicated Cleveland Brown fan celebrating topless. I've often wondered if there was a price that young man later paid for his rambunctious youthful zeal. Would there be in his future some physical accountability for this fanatical commitment to "The Team"?
I've since wondered: when does this type of loyalty and willingness to sacrifice all that is dear begin? Does it stem from decades of family tradition, a love of the team colors, or did his high school team share the same mascot? The answer is found under the heading of pure emotion.
There was a different, visionary team commitment that guided the black community at the beginning of the 20th century, best envisioned by educator, entrepreneur, and founder of Tuskegee University Booker T. Washington. He articulated a pathway, via meritocracy and capitalism, by which the black community could experience independence and self-sufficiency. He felt that respect and acceptance could be commanded from others through a good work ethic, business ownership, and commitment to morality and to family. Washington once stated, "Say what you will, there is something in the human nature which makes one man, in the end, recognize and reward merit in another, regardless of race."
Unfortunately, over the last five decades, far too many Americans have lost the belief in the ideals of meritocracy and capitalism that once empowered past generations of American visionaries. Now almost half of our country's populace and over 90% of the black community cling in fan-like loyalty to an ideology as reality-defying as the fanatical bare-chested young man in Cleveland celebrating in the dangerously frigid -35-degree weather, showing his dedication to "the Team," heedless of commonsense understanding of the fundamentals of personal health and welfare.
Over the last 50 years, the black community has, en masse, worn the uniform of an ideology that has left its communities and schools totally bankrupt. Through decades of empty promises and investment of human life and capital, it has shown a total dedication to an ideology whose strategy has resulted in consistent and dismal losing seasons. Unfortunately, unlike in the entertainment world of sports, where fans go home or simply turn off their wide-screen and then debate what might have been, these losing seasons have had dire human consequences that cannot simply be walked away from. These consequences can be documented in every predominately black community where liberal and socialist policies rule. From cities like Detroit, where the population has dropped by 25% over the last decade and 47% of those remaining are deemed functional illiterate, to Oakland, where a liberal school board attempted to legitimized a debased "urban" slang called Ebonics, highlighting its low expectations of its minority children, to D.C. and Chicago, which alternate as our country's murder capitals, these cities reflect the culminating impact of citizens trapped in government-mandated hopelessness. They reflect the intergenerational failure that has been embraced as the norm, with statistics of single black mothers at an astounding 70%, where abortion profit centers find a welcome home and take the lives of an average of 325,000 black babies each year since 1973, where 50% of black teenagers are unemployed, and where a failed educational system guarantees that far too many are unemployable.
The ideological teams of liberalism, socialism, and progressives have been granted over 50 years to prove the validity of their strategy. For Americans of all backgrounds who are committed to a successful outcome for their fellow citizens, who won't settle for perpetual excuses, it has become crystal-clear that it is time for a new coach and a new strategy. The message in November to Coach Obama and his Democratic team needs to be...it's all about the Team, and "Team America" is priority #1 with us.
Burgess Owens is the author of the soon-to-be-released book It's All about Team - Exposing the Black Talented Tenth. He is a former first-round draft pick of the NY Jets, who concluded an All-Pro career with the Oakland Raiders after a career-highlight win in Super Bowl XV over the Philadelphia Eagles. Learn more at www.BurgessOwensTalks.com.
America may be going out of business when it comes to starting new businesses, according to a recent report.
The study—from the non-profit New America Foundation—argues the U.S. is seriously in danger of losing its entrepreneurial spirit because the number of small business created has been declining since the 1970s.
"We see entrepreneurship declining per person and what figures there are have over-counted the number of small businesses," Khan says
There are several problems that are all interconnected here.
One of the common mantras is that "financing" is critical to small business. This is a lie. What's critical to small business is capital. Financing is not capital -- it spends the same way (credit) but is the near-opposite of capital as capital is previously-earned economic surplus, while credit is tomorrow's expected economic surplus.
One comes from industry and hard work, the other from leverage. One is a measure of success previously put forward and then risked in an effort to compound one's gains, the other is an attempt to skim off a piece of the action without putting up one's former success first.
This is almost-universally intentionally misrepresented in the media. Yet throughout American history, most small businesspeople did not rely on financing to start and build their businesses. They began in their garage or with equity infusions from their relatives and friends, often as co-conspirators (partners, etc.) All were exposed to the risk of personal loss of funds already made in the new venture, not a speculative bet "on the come" financed with some sort of hinky loan (or worse, a draft written on their family residence!)
The SBA has made this situation worse rather than better, as it has reinforced a false paradigm.
By doing this they have damaged entrepreneurs who actually start businesses and risk their own capital in doing so. This in turn means that reckless skimmers, who simply do not care if their venture is sustainable as their own ass is not on the line, become "competitors" and engage in practices that nobody would if it was their own money. Reckless lending is just one example; would Lehman have gotten as far upside down as it did were the executives actual money on the line as partners? Nope. But as soon as you allow people to counterfeit credit competition is no longer about calculation of risk and reward since the risk is not yours.
Second, offshoring has made the large business able to smash into the dirt the small operator who cannot possibly compete at that scale. This works fine for someone in a niche business, but as soon as you find mass-market appeal you get pounded through blatantly-unethical acts by far-larger firms. Leaving aside ability, entrepreneurs who have an ethical problem with slave labor and poisoning the environment to get a 25 cent advantage in price with which to undercut their competitors have no clear options available to them.
Then there are government costs and intrusions. I dealt with this when I ran MCSNet; some of the rules, regulations and taxes were just plain silly, but the cost of compliance was real. It's only gotten worse since the 1990s.
Finally there are situations like Blitz. You probably have one of their gas cans in your garage. The tort bar claims they sold "defective" gasoline cans. You'd think that the "defect" would involve a can that, for example, split open and spilled gasoline where it could catch fire.
“The lawsuits have involved adult individuals who have used gasoline to start a fire or accelerate a fire,” she said.
Let's put in plain language -- the lawsuits involved people who poured gasoline out of a Blitz can either onto something they then lit on fire (and got burned when it flashed) or poured gasoline on an existing fire.
As a result of our so-called "liability" system when someone is a five-alarm dumb-ass and lights themselves on fire by pouring gasoline on a lit fire, or uses gas as a firestarter and fails to do so in a way that precludes themselves from being immolated, it's the container manufacturer's fault.
And as such this small business, which employed 300 people, is gone.
I have a number of ideas for small businesses. I have capital to deploy in an attempt to start and run them too.
I will start and run exactly zero of them until and unless the three points above are addressed.
And that, my friends, is why entrepreneurship in America is in decline.