How To Have Your Voters and Eat Them, Too

DragonThe Obamafolk are reported readying the issue of regulations that will substantially boost overtime pay by increasing the numbers of workers qualified to receive it. Workers will be expected to be happy over this. They are not supposed to notice that in such slow demand times as we now see, overtime hours are scarce. For the goodies to materialize, a busier economy will be needed. Employers however, will notice the fact. They will continue to contribute to Democrats.

Meantime this Obama Administration of worker’s friends is free to continue importing record numbers of aliens to compete with domestic workers by accepting lower wages. The Obamafolkcan pose as pro-labor while pushing wages down at the same time, an unfortunately necessary act if America is to return to competitiveness in the world’s markets. Politicians well know this fact but none wants it attached to his/her/its name. And as good little Matthusians, none can admit the possibility of technological rescue from this economic trap.

The also rely upon the economic ignorance of voters; seeing the illusion of more pay, workers are expected to overlook the uncomfortable fact that they will be the ones providing the extra worker pay via higher prices for the goods and services provided by those workers. That is probably a safe political assumption; workers to date have failed to make the connection. Pay rises: prices rise because of it; any gain is illusion. So the game goes on.

If the Republicans try to point this out; they will be anti-labor. It’s a win – win tactic for Democrats. Who will point to the increased imports of Chinese goods that used to be made in the U.S. until they came to cost too much? We note the current push for a $15 an hour minimum wage in the fast food industry, disregarding the new robots that make faster and better burgers than can human hands.

Our species has an amazing capacity for ignoring any reality whose result is unwanted. We recall the ancient Chinese story of the wandering dragon reported in the vicinity of the village. Village elders convened to decide what to do. Both flight and fight were urged; but the cost of either was seen as too high. Ultimately, the decision was to do nothing,  hoping that if they ignore the dragon, it might go away. (The dragon enjoyed a nice lunc.)

Just as the wellbeing of American workers makes a nice lunch for the politicians …

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Will Figure Skating Arise From its Fall?

FallFigure skating, like tennis, was the pastime of daughters of well-to-do country club folk who could afford it, until television ratings lifted both to popular notice. But while schools and parks installed tennis courts, expensive ice rinks were ignored. Tennis developed from growing masses of participants; figure skating developed as a high ratings TV show.

Reasons are debated but the fact is, nobody much watches figure skating anymore; it is relegated to a few brief annual appearances on sports channels. The sports’ governing U.S. and World bodies are existing on savings; neither has income enough anymore to support present programs. So, what is the future of this once highly rated sport?

To us, it seems parallel to the future of the U.S, a once highly rated nation. Neither can afford current spending indefinitely. Too long continued deficits will put the U.S. into the spot now occupied by Greece. U.S. Figure Skating and the International Skating Union are no better off. Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Energy folk combine to keep boosting the cost of the power used to make ice for figure skaters.

The sport will go on where government pays its tab for the international attention produced but that too is in decline. While schools fund tennis, families must fund figure skating; the number of families with that capability is shrinking.

Do you know who is the current National Roller Skating Champion? If so, you probably know the National Tiddly Winks Champion as well. Before much longer, the dismal economics of ice rinks will put figure skating into the same condition. At least until a suitable substitute for ice becomes available or energy becomes cheap again. However, as so few are watching now, few will notice.

A pity; figure skating provided many exciting and beautiful moments in its regrettably brief time under the lights.

The sport won’t vanish entirely of course; it existed before popularity came upon it and it will exist after, too. But it won’t be the same and few will care. This year’s roller skating national championships will be held next month at the Albuquerque, New Mexico Convention Center as they were last year. Few noticed; the skating was not what it used to be. The ‘sport’ now only exists for its participants and the remaining roller rinks that house it. So it is coming to be with figure skating, for what amount to the same reasons.

What's Missing Today...

What’s Missing Today…

But unlike roller skating, figure skating on ice has been beautiful while it has lasted.

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Greece’s Wiley E. Coyote Moment?

The Wiley E. Coyote Moment ...

The Wiley E. Coyote Moment …

To begin: We are more opinionated than knowledgeable;. apply salt. For youngsters, Wiley E. Coyote chased the little Roadrunner (a Southwestern American ground-loving bird) off cliffs; the bird would take wing but the wingless coyote would not notice his predicament until, ten feet off the cliff edge, he chanced to look down. Then, he fell.

To proceed: the Greeks gave us Classical civilization; proved unable to govern themselves and faded from history. More practical Latins from Rome tied together that which would be Western Civilization, proved unable to govern themselves and also faded after giving us Christianity; thank you, Constantine. Oh, and the Renaissance. Eventually …

In the corruption and decline of said Christianity, Luther, Calvin and others purified (as they saw it) corrupted Christianity and imposed it upon those that they could. Depending upon one’s viewpoint, that was the “Reformation” or the “Protestant Revolt.” You know all this.

Curiously, the places that had endured it, prospered; immigrants to America from those places contributed much that made America into that fabled golden city upon the hill. (Attitudes have much to do with results, right?) and now, finding themselves unable to govern themselves, Americans are in the same financial conundrum as the Greeks. Being larger however, the pace is slower. Elephants walk.

So watching Greece is also watching America, just a bit offset in time.  In the E.U. we see the Germanic north and the Latin south in a similar relationship.  Will Greek banks open tomorrow, Monday? Not if they’re wise. Greeks are lined up to withdraw all that they can, distrusting both the banks and the government that obviously, lied to be elected. It promised a salvation that does not exist. With this, stock markets are declining everywhere, but not yet collapsing. That will come; we would like to know exactly when.

It is a time for cash under the mattress, not in banks. Even that is no parachute, though; governments have a long reach these electronic days. Might keep food on the table though.

We opined the other day that the E.U. would finesse a bailout for Greece. Brunnhilde (Flight of the Valkyries in the background) Merkel is post-Reformation but the ECB and IMF aren’t. Greece suddenly looks like toast. But this is Sunday, a week’s worth of time in these cases. Tomorrow may seem very different; we’ll have to wait the night. We still (more stubborn than smart) lean toward a deal of some sort. And as our spouse enjoys reminding us, we’ve been wrong before. Still … the table stakes are large; who knows the under the table stakes?

We offer one bit of advice: Watch closely as Greece goes down, then assume your own country (no exceptions) is next. We suspect that you will, doing that, be glad that you did it. Sooner or later, but glad.

Wine has been increasing in price, along with much else in the U.S, though we re constantly assured there is no inflation. Perhaps increased costs of living are no longer considered inflation?

Russia has not invaded Ukraine, you can keep your doctor, Iran will sign a nuke deal, we support Israel, the economy is recovering and the planet is warming, right?

We are reminded of old advice offered new arrivals in Alaska in times now past: “Believe nothing that you hear, and only half of what you see.”

And stash a few bucks under the mattress …

Posted in Debt, Economics, Government | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

GLEANINGS FROM THE pASSING SCENE … (Politically Uncorrected)

Alfred_E__Neumann Saturday selections of the week’s news nuggets:

The U.N. is pursuing the arrest of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for war crimes; specifically, injuries to civilians when the Israeli Army went into Gaza to stop the missile attacks. (Shooting missiles at Israeli civilians is ok; injuring an Arab while stopping the missiles is a war crime?)

The White House  wants doctors to warn patients of global warming. (More high tech, high cost prescriptions?)

A South Carolina cop was fired after posting a Facebook photo in Confederate flag boxer shorts. (We guess that some free speech is less free than other free speech … or maybe because he was out of uniform?)

Non-white U.S. babies now outnumber white babies and whites are dying faster than they are being born. (So, as graduation rates decline and crime increases, that will be because of racism?)

A Newspaper limited op-ed commentary on gay marriage after the Supreme Court decision. (Remember when papers published opposing opinions? Are you THAT old?)

An American-owned Air Products plant in France was attacked with a resulting explosion and a severed head attached to a fence; Arabic writing decorated the head, plus an Islamic flag. (Get used to it …)

Cleanse America of its Confederate past: Eliminate the Democratic Party! (We note that Governor Nikki Haley, who seems to have started this flag brouhaha, is a Republican.)

A list of Corporate payments to pro-ObamaTrade senators who helped push through the secret trade legislation. (Put it in the bottom of a birdcage with the Obamacare liast!)

Mrs. Obama’s school lunch rules have created a black market in salt, pepper and sugar. (It’s called: “economics,” though we wouldn’t expect lawmakers to understand …)

Uber was protested by French taxi drivers in Paris, burning cars on the street. (Wouldn’t they and France do better if they adopted Uber’s methods and competed? Do they have cars in France or still use horses and buggies?)

President Obama’s new policy: The US Will Allow Ransom payments by families of kidnapped ‘hostages’ rather than prosecuting them for paying. (Both compassionate, and guaranteed to move kidnapping into mass production …)

Why were polls so wrong at the UK election? (Because they lied?)

CA Obamacare has capped the amount a patient can be charged monthly for pricey drugs. (Hmnn … is California screwing the drug sellers, or the states’ taxpayers?)

A Black teen kicked and beat a young mother holding a toddler “for being  white.” (You saw it on the news, right?)

Scientists predict a New Mini-Ice Age via decreasing solar output. (Earth still warming, though )

A Man was beaten and robbed at his table outside a coffee shop. (What happened to the tip?)

A Woman was slashed with a machete in midtown Manhattan. (Income and housing equality)

Whole Foods :  New York City charges mispriced labeling. (Who can you trust?)

A Fireman who won’t fight fires stays on payroll because he’s black, per report.(Racism?)

International banking giant HSBC is leaving Brazil and Turkey (as well as cutting 50k jobs worldwide.) (Now why would they do that?)

10 Shot at a Detroit block party. (They went to the party, right?)

A Naked couple was arrested. (But just barely …)

A Woman was hospitalized for 4 days from wearing ‘too tight’ skinny jeans. (Foolish, not funny.)

Confederate Flag sales ‘skyrocketing.’ (Like guns?)

US Marines will deploy via foreign ships; USNavy lacks capacity.  In the same navy, this (see link) Missile Target just cost the US taxpayers $13 billion.

A Drone followed a woman home from a bar, then crashed into her car. (They serve drinks to drones now?)

And so another week … Enjoy; after all, you’re helping to pay for most of it …

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Does the Supreme Court Follow Law … or Politics? (Obamacare, Gay Marriage and the US Constitution)

Supreme CourtAmerica’s Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice Roberts, has again saved Obamacare and, excoriated by Chief Justice Roberts, declared gay marriage a Constitutional right. Justice Scalia said in dissent that these decisions show that “words have lost their meaning” and that the Court prefers some laws over others. Re gay marriage, he accuses the Court of usurping Congress.  What are we to think?

Lets consider: When the Constitution was signed in 1787, it did not empower the Supreme Court to review and decide Constitutional cases as a lot of lawyers and some elderly citizens are aware. An oversight, or wisdom? We know not. But 16 years later, the Court appointed itself to that position in Marbury vs. Madison. The case is famous for its empowerment of the Court; its details are usually unmentioned. But they are interesting …

Marbury was a pesky, little liked local Justice of the Peace. James Madison was Secretary of State and a future President. But unfortunately, the law from what we can tell, favored Marbury in the dispute. For Madison to prevail, a reinterpretation of the law was required. And to reinterpret the law, the Supreme Court needed authority that the Constitution had not provided.

Chief Justice Marshall and his cohort then awarded themselves the supra-Constitutional power, reinterpreted the law and found for Secretary of State Madison. (Some things never seem to change …)

And if one stops to consider, ever since then, the Constitution has been replaced by the Supreme Court. (Reality Sucks?)

We are told (quietly) that the GOP, while publicly reviling the Obamacare decision, is in fact, relieved. It fits, declarations of repeal have rung hollow from the outset. so parse all this, what do we have?

Well, the Constitution is silent on healthcare and marriage. The despicably-drawn ‘Affordable Care Act” (written by public school grads?) exceeds Constitutionally awarded Federal authority we think and is gobbledygook besides, so far as we see. No matter, Chief Justice “Humpty – Dumpty” Roberts’ words mean exactly what he chooses them to mean, neither more nor less as Justice Scalia claims. Obamacare is safe in Roberts’ hands. Whether or not the nation is safe, is to be seen.

Gay marriage is now a Constitutional right, by decree since it is nowhere in the constitution. Neither does it exist in Scripture, old law or even in comic books. It is a social neologism. Homosexual folk have every right that the rest have; but no more than that. They can freely contract as they wish as can we all. But marriage is unavailable to them because it is a unique contract based in reproduction of the species; as they cannot reproduce, that contract is unavailable to them. Just as a partnership between doctors or lawyers cannot include a non-doctor or a non-lawyer; folk who are simply not qualified for that particular contract.

By assigning a Constitutional right to gay marriage, the Court has made a joke of the Constitution. The real but unmentionable issue is the subsidies for married folk in the Tax and Social Security and other laws. These were to help motivate people to reproduce and raise kids. Now they will be due homosexuals who will not reproduce, negating the original purpose of the subsidies.

We note too, that the Social Security, healthcare and other subsidies now due homosexual spouses have been underfunded even without these new ‘mouths to feed.’ Where is the additional money to pay homosexuals to be found? We are anxious to discover that … few seem to have been interested in it so far.

We read that Governor Bobby Jindal suggested just “get rid of the Court.” Well, that will require some though, but perhaps he has a point.

Posted in Government, Social Issues, Supreme Court | Tagged , , | 15 Comments

Greece, the E.U. America and Ben Franklin Face Reality

Benjamin FranklinA thought occurred to us while we awaited the E.U.’s discovery of a plausible means to rake some faux money over the Greek financial cesspool. The thought relates to the larger subject of reliance upon government, presently the reliance of Greece upon the E.U. We submit that such reliance is an perpetual illusion.

We noted recently that America’s Founders trusted in God and were avowedly suspicious of government while the American leaders whom we have elected today advise trust in government and suspicion regarding God. Quite a reversal, is it not? (Though we have read that Pope Francis’ science advisor is an avowed Atheist.)

So what are we to make of these opposed realities in the light of the irrefutable reality in which we are — well, not condemned exactly, but certainly forced, to live? Our Left folk demand these days that we replace God with Government to solve our problems. Noble government will strip the “rich” of their ill-gotten gains and parcel them out fairly to us all. A new Heaven, for which we will not have first, to die. The small voice in the background murmuring: “There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch” can be drowned out if we but scream loudly enough.

So as the shower’s warmth feels good and the soap has not all rinsed off yet, let us contemplate: What is Government, that we should so trust it?

Primus: We justify the existence of government out of our need for peace and order that a constant percentage of us will always attack. Only government can defend us from crime and war that are both built into us. So we have government.

But are not those who are that government of our same species? If so, a constant number of them will pursue those same evils from which we have asked government to defend us, no? And is it not the reality that government tends to attract such sociopathics even more than other pursuits? So the device we have chosen to protect us is even more likely to be infected than the rest of our society? Physician, heal thyself! A cure that has, from prehistory to now, eluded us.

In historical fact, so far as we have been able to tell, the more government that has existed in some place, the more corruption has bloomed with it. And such corruption seems inversely proportional to the wellbeing of the general public.

America’s Founders knew – and said — such things of course; our present leaders have rinsed them from the public dialogue and the public education system as well. It is hard to deify Government when its clay feet are too prominent. Best hide them in modish footgear.

President Ronald Reagan (or one of his writers) famously commented that: “Government is not the solution; government is the problem,” or words to that effect. Well, an actor, he got away with the line. But more fundamentally, government is not the problem either, though it is no solution, certainly.

Homo sapiens is the problem and it is not solved by giving him a government job. Too often, the opposite is the case. Our Founders seem to have been better realists than our present elected ‘leaders.’ Or at least, more honest.

They knew and said repeatedly, that in the end, it would be up to us. We have had plenty of warning. Before them, from both history and scripture, too. Nor were they Pollyannas over our prospects; the famous quote from Ben Franklin makes that clear enough. Asked in Philadelphia what new government the Founders had provided, he responded: “A republic … if you can keep it.”

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Confederate Flags Follow Crosses Out Of Public Places …

CONFEDERATE BATTLE FLAG

CONFEDERATE BATTLE FLAG

ISIS, we are told, just destroyed an ancient shrine in Palmyra. The Governor of South Carolina called for removal of historic Confederate flags from the states’s Capitol. Alabama’s Governor fell into line. Big Retailers  blared that they would no longer sell Confederate stuff. But on the Internet,  Confederate Flag Sales Rise.

Human political responses differ little from place to place and from time to time. Destroy what you oppose, or what opposes you; what is more human than that? Respecting Confederate flags today, The Politics are simple enough. Public education has declared that the Civil War was about slavery, an untruth but never mind, it’s convenient. And slaves were certainly involved.

Never mind either that the politicians who freed the slaves were Republicans and the postwar locals who imposed lynch law in the south via the Ku Klux Klan, were stanch Democrats. That is how it was then, not how it is now.

Post Civil War, southern states clung to symbols of state’s rights to limit the imposition of Federal power at their expense. The Founders’ distrust of central government was not yet forgotten and Federal troops still garrisoned their territory. Today, the relics of that remain in statehouse flags, on state license plates and in the rear windows of pickup trucks, often alongside rifles prominently visible through the glass. The Confederate flag in the South is a version of “Don’t Tread On Me,” the Gadsden Flag of the Amerian Revolution.

GADSDEN FLAG

GADSDEN FLAG

With both Republican and Democrat liberal politicians using the Confederate symbology to represent anti-black racism, the symbols will vanish from public spaces as religious symbols are doing. Government prefers that it is the only symbol that matters. With the symbols gone from sight and likely from “Common Core” public education, the hope is likely that they will be gone as well from the minds of the next generation and troublesome States’ Rights with them..

That may be or not. The coming financial decline and accompanying reduction of both living standards and international standing that awaits only the next stock market collapse will divorce government and people, igniting presently unpredictable events. Centralized power may well be reinforced to deal with unrest; it may instead be rejected as the prime cause of the problems. In Greece, we expect the Tsipras government to fall as reality sets in. For the U.S. we will have to see.

The American South has a history of local independence unique to that region. So does the American west. Inundations of migrants from other places and from other states has diluted that, we will have to awit how much.

The corruption of crony capitalism is visible in the big retailers whose knee-jerk  abandonment of selling Confederate symbols when the politicians acted illustrates a greater interest in pleading governors than in satisfying economic needs of customers. The boom in Internet sales shows that the customers exist.

The Confederate flag will come down. Perhaps the citizens will force it back into view or the Gadsden in its place, one way or another. Or maybe few will care. It will be informative, whatever occurs.

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