Sunday, August 31, 2008
I've heard God works in mysterious ways, but blasting a Democrat city, with a Democrat mayor, seems a hard way to show favor to Democrats and disfavor to Republicans.
I guess it shows the special relationship Democrats have with God. As the news media deifies Obama, God feels compelled to chip in His two cents.
In "Promises to Keep," a memoir that was published last year and became an instant best-seller after he was tapped as Obama's running mate, Biden never mentions his asthma, recounting an active childhood, work as a lifeguard and football exploits in high school.
Isn't this the same Joe Biden who is so proud of his vitality?
The one who told a questioner that he had a higher IQ than the questioner, even though he graduated near the bottom of his college graduating class?
Yep, he's the one.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
So far this year, Mexico has had 2,700 drug murders in only two-thirds of a year, about 700 deaths less than the total US combat deaths in over five years of war.
In 2008, Oakland, California has almost as many homicides as the United States has had combat deaths in Iraq. Add in homicides in Richmond, California, and the total probably exceeds US combat deaths in Iraq.
It's not cold or heartless of me to put these deaths in perspective. I regret each death, but I've lived long enough to have known of far worse, and I don't understand Liberals' concerns for our war deaths, but lack of concern for far worse associated with their consumption of illegal drugs that drive the drug war deaths.
Is it because the drug war deaths in Mexico can't be blamed on George Bush?
Thursday, August 28, 2008
That’s not what Barack and the Democrats were hoping for – good news about America is bad news for Democrats.
First they had to run from Iraq because the surge worked. Now they’ll have to duck the economy, because it’s chugging right along. The way things are going, all the Democrats will have left is “hope” and “change.” “Hope for,” and “change what?”
Obama hasn’t told us yet. He’s hoping we don’t notice, and change our minds about voting for an inexperienced, nebulous novice.
Monday, August 25, 2008
If you vote for or against someone because of their skin color (for, because their skin color is the same as yours, against, because it isn’t) are not you engaging in racist activity, i.e., casting your vote on the basis of race?
Of course you are!
And if you vote for or against someone because of their sex (for, because their sex is the same as yours, against, because it isn’t) are not you engaging in sexist activity, i.e., casting your vote on the basis of gender?
Let me have an “Amen, Brothers and Sisters!”
And is there any proof that this sort of thing is going on?
Of course there is!
Over 90 percent of voting Blacks – some estimates are over 95 percent – have and will vote for Obama because he’s Black. Of course, Democrats are no strangers to special interest (i.e., bigoted) voting, engaging in it far more than Republicans. Democrats expect women to vote for women, Hispanics for Hispanics, and Blacks for Blacks.
Or without a candidate of the proper race and/or sex, for a candidate who will give special attention and favors on the basis of race or sex, not on the basis of what's best for the country.
Republicans expect Republicans to vote for varying degrees of conservative political belief, because they believe that smaller government and stronger individuals are best for the country. If Mr. Powell or Ms. Rice could overcome their aversion to political campaigning, the world would hear thunderous support for a Black and/or woman from Republicans, particularly if they are followers of the philosophies and teachings of Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams.
It just doesn’t seem fair, does it? Conservatives –shunned by Blacks - have great Black leaders, Drs. Sowell, Williams, and Rice, and General Powell, for example, and Liberals have charlatans like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.
You do get what you deserve.
Democrat special interest (i.e., racist and sexist) politics was obvious in the Democrat primaries: Obama won Southern states where most Democrats are Black (and which will go Republican in the general election, anyway), and Hillary won the big Northern and Western states, with majority White (and pro-Hillary female) populations.
Now White and/or female Democrats are trying to figure out what to do with an unproven, inexperienced candidate. While world events throw cold water on the idea of electing a president with little or no real world experience, many Democrats realize they want effective leadership more than an historic first Black or woman president.
Obama is not the answer, and neither is Hillary.
Someday soon we will have one or the other, but not yet.
However, if we can get Ms. Rice energized, we can have both.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Usually it takes a long time for something to reach its peak and turn mediocre, i.e., to “jump the shark.” In the case of Obama’s presidential campaign, it only took Russia invading Georgia to start the downhill slide. His subsequent selection of Joe Biden for running mate shows Obama understands that he needed a sudden injection of “gravitas.”
It’s not like Obama-Biden is a match made in political Heaven. Not so long ago, Biden noted that Obama didn’t have what it takes to be president, remarking that: “The presidency is not something that lends itself to on-the-job training.”
Selecting Biden shows how desperate Obama is to patch over his yawning foreign policy knowledge and experience hole. Although Joe Biden is deeply flawed goods (plagiarist, liar about his class standing, degrees, and scholarship), he still is the best of the sorry bunch Democrats have to offer. Besides denigrating Obama’s experience, Biden also pronounced the surge a failure just as it was snatching defeat from the jaws of surrender-monkey Democrats.
Of course, Biden could and did go the way of many Democrat hopefuls, like Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, and announce that he was always against the war even when he voted for it. Also like most Democrats, after announcing he had always really opposed it, he has had to hope for bad war news.
Democrats make odd patriots, since good news for America is always bad news for them.
It is disbelievable that Barack Obama, chanting his mantra of nebulous change, has now dug deep into the Democrat bag of old bones and come up with a defining dinosaur. There is not one tired, old Democrat program that Joe Biden has not been a party to.
Reforming Social Security? Good ‘ole Joe will be against reforming it, until the day (not long until 2016) it dies. St. FDR in Heaven won’t let that happen!
Reforming Medicare? It’s already dead, but Joe still doesn’t want to change it. I’m sure Joe thinks that St. LBJ will raise it like the Phoenix from its funeral pyre.
Joe Biden, like another Democrat fossil John Kerry, was for war in Iraq before he was against it. Democrats now applaud him for having the fortitude to bail out on his first choice as soon as the going got tough. In fact, Joe Biden was a leader of the valiant charge of the “surrender monkeys.”
With the political and military acumen that typifies Democrats, Joe Biden pronounced the “surge” a failure just as it was proving just the opposite. Joe Biden on the surge:
The surge isn't going to work either tactically or strategically,” Biden told the Boston Globe last summer. “Tactically it isn't going to work because ... our guys go in and secure a neighborhood, but because we don't have enough troops, we have to turn it over to the Iraqis, and they can't hold it or won't hold it.
More Democrat wishful thinking? They wanted the surge to fail in the worst way.
As usual, Obama and Biden are applauded by the Main Stream Media for having the courage of their lack of convictions.
Both have neither the judgment nor the ability to make tough choices, but Democrats call cowardice and indecision virtues.
When asked by George Stephanopoulos if he had said “The presidency is not something that lends itself to on-the-job training,” concerning whether Obama was ready to be President, Joe Biden said one of the few things he has gotten right: "I think I stand by that statement."
I’ll bet he won’t stand by it today.
That was one of the few signs Joe Biden has shown of having any sense. While he was dumb enough to get caught for plagiarism, he was doubly dumb by plagiarizing an ineffective British Labour leader, Neil Kinnock. For those who protest that Biden’s plagiarism was accidental, we have voluminous evidence that Biden is a stranger to truth from his undergraduate days:
Within days, it was also discovered that as a first-year law student at Syracuse Law School, Biden had plagiarized a law review article in a class paper he wrote. Though the dean of the law school in 1988 as well as Biden's former professor played down the incident of plagiarism, they did find that Biden drew "chunks of heavy legal prose directly from" the article in question. Biden said the act was inadvertent due to his not knowing the proper rules of citation, and Biden was permitted to retake the course after receiving a grade of F, which was subsequently dropped from his record. Biden also released his undergraduate grades, which started off poorly and remained unexceptional. Further, when questioned by a New Hampshire resident about his grades in law school Biden had claimed falsely to have graduated in the "top half" of his class, (when he actually graduated 76th in a class of 85) that he had attended on a full scholarship, and had received three degrees. In fact he had received two majors, History and Political Science, and a single B.A., as well as a half scholarship based on financial need.
Joe Biden and Barack Obama.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
(It didn't take long for even dense Mayor Bloomberg to find out how dumb his idea was, as this article shows. These photos are courtesy The New York Daily News. Click here for more.)
The cost would be much lower, and instead of providing only ten percent of New York’s power needs in ten years, you could supply 100%.
"When it takes to producing clean power, we're determined to make New York the No. 1 city in the nation," said Bloomberg.
Why not make it the No. I city in the world and go all nuclear? Right now Paris, France would probably be No. 1, because France generates 80% of their power needs from nuclear, which is much more environmentally friendly than wind and solar.
Skeptical? How about this example.
To generate the equivalent peak power of a small nuclear plant, solar panels require 12.5 square miles of pristine desert land. Even then, because the sun shines at varying degrees of intensity during the day, and not at all during the night, total output is only one-third of that small nuclear plant.
Or how about this example? On a 100+ F day when electricity demand was at its afternoon peak, Texas' 6000 MW of installed wind generation was supplying only 600 megawatts (MW) of power to the grid, whereas a generic nuclear power plant would produce almost double the MW using less than one percent of the land required for wind power, and would produce it much more cheaply and closer to its users, instead of a thousand miles distant.
The higher the percentage of power provided by solar and wind, the more critical the need for back-up power generation to make the grid 100% reliable. Both Mayor Bloomberg and T. Boone Pickens ignore or gloss over this inconvenient truth.
If you’re concerned about greenhouse gasses (I’m not), nuclear produces far less than wind or solar, because far less earth is disturbed during its construction, and less energy is used in its fabrication compared to wind and solar equipment.
In fact, although Mayor Bloomberg’s advocacy of these impractical schemes can be credited to typical political pandering (and monumental ignorance), the position of environmentalists is a model of unprincipled hypocrisy. At the same time they are frantic to prevent drilling in 2000 acres of mosquito-infested tundra in ANWR, they are rapturous over the prospects of solar projects covering hundreds of square miles of scenic desert, requiring enormously expensive and visually polluting transmission lines.
At the same time they vehemently oppose off-shore drilling for oil, they want far larger and more numerous wind turbines all over New York City bridges and skyscrapers, in the Hudson and East Rivers, and off the coast of Queens, Brooklyn, and Long Island.
There is no rational explanation for such schizophrenia. The environmentalists’ overriding principle is to save the environment, but they can’t bring themselves to even mention the most obvious means available, nuclear power. In their mad rush to protect so-called pristine wilderness, i.e. ANWR, they have no compunctions about polluting far more scenic and fragile habitat with huge arrays of solar panels and turbines, and enormously expensive and intrusive transmission lines.
In order to pursue their anti-corporate, anti-Republican, and of course anti-Bush agendas, they are willing to sacrifice those things that just a few years ago they considered sacred: the untrod desert, vistas without visible power lines, and bridges and buildings celebrated for their pure architectural beauty.
San Franciscans recently voiced their opposition to building a higher suicide barrier on the Golden Gate Bridge because it would detract from its esthetics. I wonder how they would vote on a suggestion to put turbines atop its towers and to cover its surfaces with solar panels?
I wish Mayor Gavin Newsom would follow Mayor Bloomberg’s lead and suggest it.
Mayor Newsom can commit adultery, blame his failings on alcoholism, use sanctuary-city polices to hide illegal alien felons from federal law, and still be considered a viable Democrat candidate for governor. However, if he messes with the Golden Gate Bridge, he’s toast.
Monday, August 18, 2008
I read the post by Angry Bear (slightly left of center economic commentary on news, politics, and the economy) and his readers’ comments, and soon felt I was witnessing the rearrangement of deck chairs on the Titanic. Their debate spent inordinate time and energy discussing the Special Treasury Bonds held in the Social Security Trust Fund that are issued when its surplus is transferred to the General Fund. Angry Bear and cubs felt these bonds were real, and could be negotiated on the bond market the same as any other Treasury Bond. Others disagreed, characterizing them as “play money.”
The cause of the historical diversion of the Social Security surplus occasioned a prolonged round of partisan finger pointing, although it is clearly the love child of LBJ and the Democrats as they sought a means to finance the Great Society, create Medicare, expand the Vietnam War, and do it all without raising taxes.
However, astute bond traders/investors/students of finance noted that the Special Social Security Trust Fund bonds are government bonds that can only be redeemed by our government issuing regular Treasury Bonds redeemable from the General Fund, which would require the General Fund to reduce expenditures and/or raise taxes to fund their redemption.
Hallelujah, they got it right! Of course Angry Bear and his cubs fought on, laying down smoke screens including a gratuitous offer to buy the doubters’ shares of Trust Fund bonds at 10 cents on the dollar.
Their silliness reminded me of my silliness twenty years ago, when I offered to relinquish any and all claims I had for all time against Social Security if they would only refund my and my employers’ total contributions to Social Security. I pledged if Social Security would do this, I would be responsible for me for the rest of my life.
Further, in terms of healthcare, all I asked was that I could stop paying into Medicare and only receive the lifetime medical coverage through the United States military medical system that I was promised upon retirement from the Air Force.
Social Security and Medicare never accepted my generous offer. Had they, I would have taken the $47,935, invested it in an S&P 500 index fund, and each month thereafter increased my investment in the fund by 12.4% (the FICA rate) of my income. At the end of this year I would have an account valued at over $500,000, based on the actual performance of the S&P 500 during the past twenty years.
I get under $2,000 per month from Social Security, so if I stopped investing the $500,000 and took out $2,000 a month, it would last over twenty years (my current life expectancy is fourteen more years, or to age 80). Of course I would keep it invested, and since the rate of return of the S&P 500 since January 1980 for all full-year increment holding periods is 13.9%, I could withdraw an average of $5,790 each month and never touch the principal. That’s almost triple what I’m getting from Social Security, and I would still have half a million dollars for special needs or to ease us through hard times.
Unlike under Social Security, if I died young – like right now at age 66, which is the life expectancy for Black American males – I would still have $500,000 to pass on to Alice and my sons, grandchildren, and great-grandchild.
Mentioning Alice reminds me that if she could have opted out of Social Security only twenty years ago, she would now have an S&P 500 index fund valued at over $600,000, and our combined annual income from our privatized equivalent of Social Security would be over $150,000 without pulling a penny from our total principal of over $1.1 million.
There is an obvious bottom line here, and I’ll spell it out. Like John McCain said, Social Security is an absolute disgrace.
I’ll spell out another obvious conclusion. If Democrats had not demagogued reforming Social Security, our senior citizens would not have shot down their own chances for luxurious retirements by fanatically defending the present abomination.
Not only is it an absolute disgrace, but it is a political football and cash cow for Democrat politicians. They shamelessly pander saving Social Security to gain senior votes, while even more shamelessly diverting the surplus to pander to special interest groups and buy their votes.
In the end it’s poetic justice: Democrats cheat the old of incomes and estates they could have had, and are thanked for doing it, then spend the Social Security surplus to buy the votes of younger Americans so they can be cheated of their futures too, while profusely thanking their cheaters.
I just wish I didn't have to be an unwilling participant in their stupidity.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Both of us knew that Social Security wouldn’t pay me much, even though I earned above or near the maximum for FICA contributions for almost all of a working life now approaching fifty years.
Over the years Alice and I have heard Democrats putting down Social Security privatization, saying that it wouldn’t pay as much and was too risky. As a test, I thought it would be a good idea to use real income and contribution amounts to get an accurate estimate of how a person would have fared if Social Security had always been privatized. Fortunately for my project, Alice had “Your Social Security Statement” in one of her voluminous files (she never throws away anything) and I copied her Social Security income by year onto an Excel spreadsheet, beginning with the $40 she earned in 1959.
The next part, calculating how much Alice contributed to Social Security each year, took a little research. Happily, such research in the Age of Google is the essence of simplicity, and I immediately found a Social Security page on JustFacts.com that provided a table of Social Security tax rates:
Year Social Security Tax Rate
By multiplying Alice’s Social Security earnings each year by the tax rate for that year I calculated how much Alice contributed each year. Since Alice earned more than the Social Security ceiling since 1977, I projected her income and contributions through the end of 2008 and found she had contributed a total of $220,254.56 from 1958 through 2008.
The next part was simple, but a bit tricky since it required me to select a table of values for stock market investments covering at least a half century. I selected a table of the Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of the S&P 500 for two reasons. The CAGR gives about a one percent lower rate of return than using simple averages, but avoids the valid criticism that a simple average method mechanically distorts the effects of year-to-year fluctuations. The other reason I chose it was that an index of the S&P 500 reflects a simple, inexpensive mutual fund investment option that has been available for a long time.
I used the date range calculator for each of the fifty years 1958 through 2007 (I valued 2008 FICA contributions at face value). It was laborious work, but now you don’t have to do it, because I’ve done it for you.
Year Compound Annual Growth Rate
Now all you have to do is post this to your Excel spreadsheet, and multiply your contribution each year by the CAGR value for that year. When you’re finished, just sum the total and you will find how much your contributions would be worth through 2008 if they had been invested in an S&P 500 index fund. (This fund would be much larger if you assume that dividends are reinvested.)
Alice would have had a fund worth $765,722.90. If she drew on it now, at the rate of the $2,000 per month Social Security would pay if she started now, it would last her 32 years, or until she was 98 years old, even if she never re-invested a penny. That’s a good thing, since Alice, now at age 66, has a life expectancy of another 18 years to the age of 84. If she only made it to 84, by drawing out $2,000 a month she would still have about $333,000 left to pass on in her estate.
(Unfortunately, in our current government-run system, as soon as you die, your Social Security disappears unless you have the unlikely situation of a spouse who does not qualify in their own right, or unmarried minor children.)
Alice, being a very successful businesswoman, would of course re-invest her privatized Social Security funds, and would probably just leave it in an S&P 500 index fund.
The average rate of return for all holding periods beginning in 1926 (the year the S&P 500 was actually founded) is 11.0%. The average rate of return for all holding periods beginning in January 1945 is 11.6%, and since January 1980, the average rate of return for all full-year increment holding periods is 13.9%.
Let’s keep it simple and say that the market can only do 10.0% per year now, so in each month of 2009 Alice leaves the principal alone and only takes out as income the average monthly increase of $6,380 ($76,560 per year), which is only about 3.2 times larger than she would have been paid under Social Security.
Don’t forget, Alice can keep drawing on her funds at this rate for years and still have over $765,000 untouched to pass on tax-free one day to her heirs (assuming that politicians don’t get greedy, as they usually do, and levy an exorbitant Death Tax on these previously taxed funds).
So why don’t we have privatized Social Security? To answer this question, ask another question. Why aren’t there any funds in the Social Security Trust Fund?
There aren’t any funds in the Social Security Trust Fund because Democrat politicians realized that historical Social Security surpluses could be diverted to finance current spending through the simple device of replacing the Trust Fund surplus dollars with special Treasury Bonds (or government IOUs).
In essence the government said, “I’ll borrow from myself, spend the money, and when Social Security goes into deficit spending in 2018, I’ll increase payroll taxes plus borrow from the General Fund – excuse me, sell back the IOUs, causing the General Fund to borrow and increase taxes to make up the deficit - while pretending the whole time that Social Security is solvent until 2044. By then I’ll be long retired, and some other poor suckers will have to try to clean up the mess.”
Our government has always trusted that we are first too stupid, and then too greedy, to privatize Social Security. Too stupid to realize it is a horrible investment for workers, but a great cash cow for politicians to tap for funds to spend to buy our votes. Then we have to be too greedy to stop them from buying our votes, and to phase in privatization and pass down a better system to our descendents.
As a final point, and one deserving of a post all its own, if we all had been paying into a privatized account, an S&P 500 index fund (the S&P 500 contains 70% of our stock market capitalization), instead of a government deep in debt, we would have an economy awash in capital. All of our contributions invested in our economy instead of frittered away by politicians would be powering economic growth, and high levels of research, development, and innovation.
As an incidental consequence, the high level of economic activity would also be generating high tax revenues, especially at reduced tax rates.
We would have universal health care through personal Medical Savings Accounts, not a bankrupt Medicare system and Medic-Aid that has been cut so much that doctors are refusing Medic-Aid patients.
We have seen the future, and it works, but only if we can take back control of it from the politicians.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
However, on further inspection I found what Google News featured as a news article was actually only a very opinionated, fact-free Letter to the Editor. In a way I can understand the Google News confusion. The San Francisco Chronicle news articles and editorials usually are very opinionated and fact-free.
Aisha, Mohammad says he has a big surprise for you tonight!
When real news is afoot, The Chronicle has no appreciation for its relative worth, and we find abominations like their placement on page E-3 (the Entertainment section) of Salman Rushdie’s complaint about Random House pulling an historical novel about the prophet Muhammad and his child bride Aisha because of speculation that it would anger Muslims.
Damn it! Everything angers Muslims! Since when have American publishers, writers, and journalists based their actions on avoiding offending Christians, Jews, Hindus, Whites, Blacks, misogynists, racists, and etc.? Actually, if the misogynist and racists are Muslims, which many are, are publishers, writers, and journalists do go out of their way to avoid making them angry.
Why have violent, ignorant savages been given power over the thoughtful and educated of the world? Once the irrational fear of Hitler and his Brown Shirts that brought the Nazis to power in a cultured and refined nation, one with a proud tradition of great literature and music.
What Random House has done is a book burning without the messy need of inciting a howling mod and lighting a fire. They have allowed a book to be banned by illiterates.
In America we proudly (but erroneously) quote Voltaire: "I disagree with what you have to say but will fight to the death to protect your right to say it."
But then we amend our courageous stance: “However, even if I agree with you, if it might annoy an illiterate Muslim ten thousand miles away, I’m out of here!”
Friday, August 15, 2008
I’m sure they feel righteously indignant that the Great Right Wing Conspiracy is sticking its prurient nose in another Democrat’s personal life again. After all, John told Elizabeth about the affair two years ago, while she was still in remission for breast cancer, then promised to be good, and in return she promised to give witness to his being an honorable, moral presidential candidate.
However, when her cancer recurred and Elizabeth was told it was incurable, John clumsily continued the affair and made a mockery of the lies that he and Elizabeth told to further his ambitions.
Who would be that callous and cruel?
Actually, when talking about Democrats, the list of the callous, cruel, and stupid ones is quite long when it comes to sexual misconduct. And their loving wives seem to all be Hillary clones, because they all “stand by their men.”
However, Hillary paid the ultimate price for her loyalty, because she will never be the First Woman President of the United States. Hillary was understandably filled with glee when Bill’s scandal weakened Al Gore enough to cost him the presidency, because that fit well with her own presidential ambitions after she first paid her political dues in the Senate. After all, if Al had won in 2000, he probably would have won again in 2004, and Joe Lieberman, as his vice-president, would have been the favorite in 2008.
However, with Al out of the way, and your place-holder Kerry conveniently losing in 2004, the way was clear for your anointing.
Except John Edwards took a very large portion of votes that would have gone to Hillary in Iowa, giving Obama an easy first place victory over Edwards, and Hillary a close third. It was all over for Hillary before she even got started. Her aura of invincibility and inevitability was shattered – even though she got the non-Black female vote, Obama got all the Black vote, which was enough for him to win in the South (where Democrats don’t win presidential elections), even as Hillary won all the big states that give Democrats a shot at winning the presidency.
If Edwards had been found out sooner – the Inquirer reported his scandal in November, but the Main Stream Media ignored it – Edwards would have been a non-starter, and Hillary would be the Democrat nominee.
Hillary would then have the female vote, the Black vote, the union vote, the teachers vote (I guess I already covered that in the union vote), enviromentalist, socialized medicine - in a word, all the Democrat special interest groups that vote for their selfish agendas instead of for the good of the nation.
How about that, Hillary? You set the Gold Standard for Democrat women by standing by Bill through all his cheating, and now Elizabeth stood by her man long enough to let him shatter your dreams. Bill and John certainly screwed around, but you ended up screwing yourself. You’re finished, and you know it.
The parade has passed you by.
If Obama wins, it’s all over for Hillary, because he runs again in 2012, and in 2016 Hillary is a 68-year old Senate drudge.
If McCain wins, Hillary has a chance because she’ll only be 64, but McCain will be doing a good job, and Republicans will be on a roll. Democrat Senators like Hillary will be back on the legislative dung hill where they belong – prospering mightily financially, accomplishing nothing legislatively.
Still screwing each other, but not screwing us.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
One can understand this turning inward. India has long been a land of external restraints. Families told you whom to marry, what to study, where to work. Bureaucrats told you whether you could get a phone line or start a business. A caste determined the amount of respect you could command.It might seem uncharitable of me to mention that when Indians were full of ideas and dedicated to government service, i.e., were red hot socialists, almost all Indians led miserable lives mired in crushing poverty. Intellectuals spent copious quantities of time discussing almost everything and accomplishing absolutely nothing. As such they were prototypical intellectuals, knowing that they have the answers to all the ills of mankind, if mankind would just put them in charge.
Today millions of Indians, from maidservants to doctors, are revolting against those destinies. They share a new belief in the power of self-contained individuals: a belief that individuals must not slight elders but must no longer depend on them; must not forget their roots but must now stray from them; must not crave a government job like their fathers but must now survive as though the state did not exist.
And, in relying ever more on themselves, this group of Indians relies ever less on India.
Much to their chagrin, when socialism waned and individuals gained power formerly exercised by the state, individuals found that freedom empowered them in a way that following political ideologues never did. They discovered that people serve states, not vice versa, and that by relying on themselves they do better for India than they did when they placed their reliance on India.
Of course, that is anathema to liberal politicians, who understand that if the people realize they can take care of themselves, they won’t be beholden to politicians for special treatment and favors.
To a liberal politician, losing faith in the power of government to take care of you is a loss of idealism. It is also the first, best step to take to prosperity for both the individual and the state, and to gain true power for both.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Mr. Pickens noted that Robert Kennedy Jr. is an enthusiastic supporter of wind power, although he didn’t mention that Uncle Ted and the Kennedys virulently opposed placing windmills off Hyannis Port. As Mr. Mandle mentioned, Mr. Pickens also avoided mentioning “the enormously expensive construction of new wind turbines and the vast extension of the national electrical grid that will be required.”
If we doubled the percent of electricity generated by nuclear to 40%, we would still be behind France at 78%, and Japan will be at 40% by 2013. In the European Union, nuclear power generates 30% of electricity.
Apparently Mr. Pickens, recently investing heavily in Texas wind power, sees no need to mention that nuclear can achieve his goal of reduced dependence on foreign oil much more effectively and less expensively.
Apparently the United States, land of the most complete and sophisticated weather measurement and recording systems, has decided to pass on global warming, and Chicago is only one of many measurement points that are not cooperating with the United Nations global warming alarmists.
I'm sure that Al Gore and the Alarmists are going to find that Chicago's cooler summers are another sign that man-caused global warming has taken firm hold. True believers interpret everything to support their beliefs.
Decade has had fewest 90-degree days since 1930, By Tom Skilling, Chicago Tribune, August 13, 2008
Of course everyone remembers Al Gore and his Acolytes getting all over the Category 3 hurricane that hit New Orleans, citing it as proof positive that the Warming was upon us.
August is the wettest and often the muggiest month of the year. Yet, summer heat continues in short supply, continuing a trend that has dominated much of the 21st Century's opening decade. There have been only 162 days 90 degrees or warmer at Midway Airport over the period from 2000 to 2008. That's by far the fewest 90-degree temperatures in the opening nine years of any decade on record here since 1930.This summer's highest reading to date has been just 91 degrees. That's unusual. Since 1928, only one year—2000—has failed to record a higher warm-season temperature by Aug. 13.
That is why this linked article should be of interest. It shows steadily decreasing hurricane strength since 2004, and that:
During 2007, the Northern Hemisphere as a whole experienced the lowest ACE hurricane energy & number of hurricane days since 1977. 2007 was the 4th slowest year in the past half-century (since 1958)...
Saturday, August 09, 2008
Mr. Skibbins is apparently proud of Progressive economists, since his letter was only a bibliography of their names and titles, devoid of any other information besides their admission of belief in greater government control. I could cite many experts more prominent and relevant to current economic theory that the Progressives, but two will suffice: Mr. Skibbins’ late Sea Ranch neighbor, Milton Friedman, and Friedrich Hayek, prescient author of The Road to Serfdom, published in 1944.
Progressives strangely think that if an uneducated, unskilled, malnourished worker overseas can do a job as well and cheaper than an American, that the American should want his government to fight outsourcing instead of encouraging him to get a better job. Or that it is in mankind’s best interest to deny the world’s impoverished the means to survive and perhaps even prosper.
While progressives believe in government solutions, John Maynard Keynes was shown the light. He said that Hayek’s claim that temporary governmental fixes usually become permanent and growing government programs, stifling the private sector and civil society, was "deeply moving." Hayek included this quote on the cover of The Road to Serfdom.
Mr. Skibbins concludes that corporations should not be “making profits for their owners at the expense of the rest of us.” Of course, corporations get their operating capital from investors. When they are unprofitable, owners lose their investments, the corporations soon cease operations, and then their former workers join the ranks of the unemployed. And unlike the “exploited” workers dear to Progressive lore, today’s workers are usually also owners of corporations through 401K and IRA investments.
Government already mismanages many things at the expense of the rest of us, particularly Social Security and Medicare, so I’m sure they could completely foul up corporations if we were fools enough to let them try.
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Indeed, futures contracts are traded numerous times before the commodity – not just oil - is finally delivered. In fact, that’s the way commodity market trading is designed to function.
As Robert J. Samuelson explains in Newsweek, July 7, 2008, commodity investing is different than stock trading or real estate. Unlike Mr. McManus’s Enron-like example of traders trading oil back and forth on paper, oil futures trading creates a gain and a loss on each trade.
The International Energy Agency predicts that demand for crude oil will rise strongly over the next five years (2007 through 2012), driven by global economic growth of 4.5 to 5.0 per cent a year.
Concominantly, world crude oil production declined about half a million barrels per day in the past three years (2005 through 2007), and the combination of rapidly increasing demand with supply stagnation has drawn down worldwide oil inventories.
The surplus oil buffer – the excess of production capacity over demand – is shrinking from 3 million barrels per day to 1.5 million.
In summary, demand for oil is strong and growing steadily, and supply is actually shrinking along with productive capacity.
For the United States, oil production has declined steadily since 1970: 9,640,000 barrels per day then, only 5,100,000 now, or a decline of 47%.
US oil consumption is 20,770,000 barrels per day, compared to approximately 14,500,000 in 1970, or an increase in consumption of 43% while our production was falling 47%.
In the past two decades US crude oil reserves have fallen 23% to 280 million barrels, or enough to last less than two weeks at our current consumption rate of almost 21 million barrels a day (an additional 706 million barrels, or 34 days’ worth, is held in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve).
While Democrats demagogue speculators, all signs are that the market is adhering to the laws of supply and demand. Light, sweet crude for September delivery has now fallen in six of the last nine sessions and has shaved 18 percent off its trading record of $147.27 reached July 11, curbing speculation by costing many speculators their shirts..
"People are looking for any excuse to sell oil right now," said Jim Ritterbusch, president of energy consultancy Ritterbusch and Associates in Galena, Ill., and are doing so, even when faced with possible strife with Iran and a hurricane in the Gulf.
Following Obama's remarks that he would support offshore drilling in the US, "the market is increasing the odds now that the drilling deal will get done and we will see more production coming out of the Gulf of Mexico," said Phil Flynn, analyst at Alaron Trading Corp. in Chicago. "There's nothing that cures high prices like high prices."
As Anthony deJasay cogently explains: Like oil, speculators too can burn.