Wednesday, April 27, 2016

"False Song of Globalism" - Goldie Locks is at it again

Herr Trump has some great new comments and as per usual he gets it about half right.

Goldie Locks (Trump) had a great speech today. He expertly displayed his total ignorance on the global dynamic all while making crazy sweeping claims. 

Let's hit some highlights.

He was highly critical of NAFTA. Ok - probably far from an ideal agreement but it made, in general, good steps. Goldie however says that it meant U.S. jobs were shipped south of the border - and he is probably right. NAFTA essentially opened the Mexico/U.S./Canadian border to trade. With very few exceptions, goods passing through those borders do so without tariff or other trade fees common in cross border trade. That means that goods produced in those countries flow freely and quickly compared to goods produced in most other countries, China for example pays tariffs on things like tires as they enter the U.S. However the border remains closed to labor trade. So if the "goods" you have to trade is your time in the form of labor NAFTA doesn't apply to you. The extension of that is low wage employees are not able to easily enter the U.S., those jobs are then relocated to other countries. The catch is that many desirable well-paying jobs go with them. Factory managers and supervisors, automation and process improvement specialists, supply chain management professionals, accounting professionals all go with the factory that is moving for inexpensive line workers. Conclusion? Opening the border to labor would bring jobs back to the U.S. The U.S. has a much more desirable political environment (compared to Mexico) however the lower cost labor has outweighed those factors - so jobs stay in Mexico.

Another highlight of Goldie Locks' off-gassing was "ISIS will be gone if I am president. They will be gone quickly...”

Umm.... Didn't you just regal us with your thoughts of U.S. over-globalization? How do you intend to neutralize ISIS while scaling back the U.S. global presence? Just like goldie locks when she was caught in the little bear's bed had nothing to say and just hid Goldie Locks did the same thing. No explanation on how he would eradicate ISIS or even what "quickly" meant - you just better believe that it is going to happen. 

He continues to amaze me with his ability to easily win over voters almost everywhere he visits. He almost totally lacks substance in everything he says. He offers nothing but rhetoric and will ultimately give nothing but conjecture. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

"Affluenza" Teen a happy update

Get up to speed by ready a CNN write up on the case.

I touched on this subject a couple weeks ago in my post on how removing personal responsibility is ruining America. The Texas judicial system has given us a beacon of hope by putting the Affluenza idiot behind bars for 720 days. When he gets out after that he will have to serve the remainder of his original parole - which he will hopefully violate and be put back in prison where he belongs.

Let's be clear - we are talking about a person that killed four people and seriously injured another. There is no rational system of justice that would have let this person go free.

I have a persisting question though, if AF Teen is not responsible for his crimes (murder) then who is? Several states have laws holding bar tenders accountable for knowingly over-serving patrons who then drive drunk and litigation against bars is common. AF Teen's defense team made the case that he was not responsible basically because his parents had coddled him to the point that he didn't understand personal responsibility, that he had a total disconnect between his actions and their consequences.

So my question is - why then were his parents not held accountable? There was a slew of lawsuits filed against his parents and their company (who owned the car he was driving) - but that is what insurance is for. There was no real action taken against the parents for what amounted to baby-ing their son into a total absence of responsibility.

For example lets say someone commits a murder but a related party is accused. In the trial of the accused they are found not guilty because of compelling testimony by the person that actually committed the crime, going into detail about the person's innocence because of their own guilt. What would basically every competent prosecutor do next? Arrest the person that confessed to the crime.

So my final question: if AF Teen's parents where responsible for his total lack of personal responsibility why was the responsibility for his actions not then placed on the parents?

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Magic Mushrooms lead to magic motorcycle ride

Drug prohibition is preventing us from having the conversations that are needed. It needs to be responsible use not never use.

I had a pretty good laugh about a story from Lindon, Utah last night - and laughed more talking about it with my co-workers this morning. The gist of the story is that a man from Lindon, Utah took some Xanax and ate some mushrooms (not the grocery store variety) and decided to go for a little drive. He proceeded to hit multiple cars before crashing into the garage of a house. Luckily no one was injured and this story gets to stay funny instead of being tragic.

For those that don't know - there is a family of mushrooms that have a substance that induces a hallucinogenic state. In other words if you eat those mushrooms you will start seeing things.

The story from last night had the 29 year old ingest-or of the mushrooms sitting on a motorcycle pretending to ride it complete with motor noises and all. He also drove his mustang into a closed garage - damage he caused is estimated at around $100,000. He is currently sitting in a Utah County jail.

Don't get me wrong, I think using illicit drugs is a bad idea - especially if you are going to be driving, even more so if combined with other prescription drugs. If you want to eat a bunch of mushrooms that will make you see dolphins and rainbows while sitting in your living room - that's your business. But we can't have that conversation. We can't talk about how to be responsible when using substances that modify your mental state; remember there is a "War on Drugs." Drugs are bad and you should never use them is the only acceptable conversation. 

I won't debate the morality of freedom in recreational substance use, that's not my target today. My focus is on changing the conversation to promote a reasonable and responsible use of those substances. There is plenty of evidence of successful abstinence based sexual education (don't have sex until you are ready use protection when you do) - why not have the same education on substances?

You might scoff at the idea of using 'shrooms' responsibly. Did you know another famous hallucinogen LSD has its roots in clinical psychology and continues to be researched to this day fort's uses in overcoming things like alcohol and nicotine addiction? Granted most of those studies are not considered "mainstream," it serves as a case in point - there is a way to responsibly use many "illicit" drugs.

I'm not suggesting we take grade school students and give them a local drug dealers number. I am suggesting that drug education be changed to focus on not using drugs AND give students tools to use those drugs responsibly should they make that decision. I am talking things "like if you are going to be doing drugs you should be in a safe location and with people you can trust."

Many people turn to substances as a way to self medicate. We should create an environment where people can talk about their true feelings on the subject instead of feeling they have to hide it from the people that are best equipped to help them. It seems tragic to me that someone trying to quiet feelings of depression would partake of an illicit substance in an irresponsible way then cause harm to another person (or their property) and be sentenced to life as a 'convict'.

Friday, April 15, 2016

How To: Four way stop - the beginners guide.

More on how to drive and not irritate those around you. Now focusing on how to handle the dreaded four way stop.

This should be logical for anyone that has been driving longer than two weeks; yet some drivers seem to really struggle with this.

We will start with the basics - because apparently they were almost entirely missed by far too many people. 

In this diagram who proceeds first?

Seems simple enough - the Orange car has the right of way. 

Why is that the case? 

Work through it logically. If the Orange car begins first when can the Green car start? Answer - almost immediately. Because the Orange car only needs to clear half the road for the Green car to proceed safely it takes less time for both cars to clear the intersection.

Orange car first - Good!
Now raise your hand if you have ever been the one in the "Green" car and had the driver of the "Orange" car try to wave you through. I bet almost everyone has either done that or had someone do it. Why is that so stupid?

If the Green car goes first it has to clear the WHOLE intersection before the Orange car can pull out. 
Green car first - BAD

The reason this matters is not for just those two cars but because of the domino effect it has. The second scenario can take significantly longer. If that is multiplied in a busy intersection it can result in big delays. The funny thing is that come people (idiots) might be saying "I am just being courteous." No - you are being a control freak. By not following the same principles you are causing delays for everyone that comes after you. Not very courteous.

Now for something a little more advanced.

The Orange car is turning left - who goes first?

The Orange car is turning left. Who goes first?

Obviously the Green car, and for the same reason as above. This is even the case if the Orange car get there "a little" before the Green car. Because the Orange car has to cross in front of the Green car the Green car would have to stay at the stop until the Orange car has cleared the intersection. By allowing the Green car to begin first the two cars can start at almost the same time - since the Green car will have cleared the path of the Orange car around the same time the Orange car is turning.

That also let other cars flow through faster as well.

Really this is something everyone should already know. Just use common sense and stop trying to wave people through to "be nice" - you are pooping on all the cars after you, just to be nice to one person. Stop it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Driving is not hard, all it takes is a little common sense.

Something easy to make the roads a little safer, and irritate others a little less.

Driving is not hard. There is a few rules to follow and a few things to learn then everything will be just fine. There are a few rules that if not followed will cause problems.

The first rule every driver should learn is - Speed Kills.

Full disclosure, I have numerous speeding tickets. The issue is that speed requires faster and more appropriate reactions. Your car handles differently at 75 mph then it does at 30 mph. A sharp turn at 75 will result in total loss of control (especially in an SUV) while at 30 it is probably manageable.

But what really causes the danger in relation to speed? It's not that driving at 75 is inherently more dangerous (it might be I am not looking at research for this) it is the difference in speed that causes issues. So driving 75 may not be more dangerous, but driving 75 while everyone around you is driving 35 is definitely more dangerous; the opposite is as well (driving 35 while everyone else is driving 75). So speed kills, but it is the difference in speed that is really the issue. That brings me to my next rant - Freeway on-ramps.

Freeway on-ramps have been the bane of my existence since moving to Utah. On a regular basis I get on the freeway with someone in front of me that doesn't understand the purpose of a freeway on-ramp and thinks it is acceptable to be traveling at significantly below freeway speed. The purpose of these small stretches of road is to get your vehicle up to freeway speed, so that when merging onto the freeway you do so safely.

I don't really know if this is something that happened in Arizona and it's just that I started noticing after moving here but it drives me nuts. Here's why, as per above - a difference in speed is what causes an unsafe situation. By not getting up to freeway speed you are forcing those behind you to also not get up to freeway speed. When you then merge onto the freeway, cars coming up behind you (l traveling at freeway speed) are forced to slow down, when that happens the space I had to merge safely shrinks and suddenly becomes an unsafe amount of distance. Meaning? Your lack of proper acceleration (the difference in your speed) has created an unsafe situation for multiple drivers behind you.

Now you may be saying "well if people would just move over or slow down so I could merge I would get up to freeway speed and everything would be just fine" and if you are, please slap yourself in the face, hard - maybe even consider using some sort of wooden spoon to really get the message across (I'll leave that to your discretion). The traveling lanes of the freeway are not for accelerating they are for traveling, at freeway speed. The on ramp is for getting up to freeway speed. If you would use the road for the intended purpose everything would be fine. By not getting up to freeway speed you are creating a domino effect. It may not cause an accident every time; it does cause congestion and confusion EVERY TIME.

Notice I said 'freeway speed' not 75 mph, that is intentional. A skilled driver looks far down the road and is able to see the relative speed of traffic and adjust their acceleration accordingly. The key is that your speed match the traffic you are entering; don't expect traffic adjust to your incompetence.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Clinton Emails: Her attitude is even more troubling

Photo Courtesy of TheCut

Her actions directly violated federal law; worse is what her actions indicate she thinks of herself and the American Public.

If you have ever watched any spy movie or T.V. show or have been alive longer than 7 years you should at least be aware of what "top secret" means. However if you are the former First Lady, two term U.S. Senator, U.S. Secretary of State and a current U.S. Presidential Candidate for some reason that would have been missed while attending Wellesley College and while earning a J.D. from Yale.

Most should be aware of the felonious activities of Clinton but if you just got out of an extended coma I will summarize: Hillary Clinton joined former opponent Barak Obama's cabinet as Secretary of State. During her time as Secretary of State she used an unauthorized personal email server for all her email communication. 

For those who don't know, an email server is a computer that is used to store and route email messages. By law, emails of top cabinet officials are processed through secure government servers with extremely robust electronic and physical security. Meaning - computers with strong software and in a secure building. Clinton's server? The basement of her house.

Ever since this was discovered she was downplayed the issue at times changing her story from "I am not a technical person" to "I didn't know it was an issue" to "No classified communication went through that server." In fact at one time she claimed that she used her personal server because she didn't know how to get multiple email accounts into her smart phone, while having a personal iPad that had exactly that - multiple email accounts. 

None of her story matches up, but that isn't my point here. My point is she knew full well what she was doing was wrong - she just didn't care. And what's more is that she thinks the American public at large are too stupid to care. WikiLeaks has a dedicated search to Clinton's emails. Try searching through it. Look for keywords like "Libya" to find her discussions on a US response to the revolution there. Search for "Benghazi" to read some comments on the event that took the life of U.S. Ambassador Stevens. You could try searching for some of her top campaign contributors such as Corning. Care yet? - you should.

Tell me this - One of her major contributors received "favors" from her while she was Secretary including helping on a trade dispute with China.   Somehow buying favors from high ranking US officials isn't illegal?

The questions remains: will the American people really accept a person that thinks she is above the law and that they are too stupid to understand as their President? I truly hope not.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Removing Personal Responsibility is Ruining America

Lack of personal responsibility has caused huge portions of our national debt and it will only make the problem worse.

This problem really started with, or gained speed, with the introduction of the Social Security system. This system started during the Great Depression and was signed into law by Franklin Roosevelt - a Libertarian's best friend. People were loosing jobs, loosing homes, loosing farms and kids were going hungry. The solution has become expenditures that account for close to 40% of the $3.684 trillion in total federal government spending (as of 2013). Some estimates have the current program with an unfunded obligation of $15.1 trillion - meaning that estimated payments out exceed estimated payments in by $15,100,000,000,000.00 - or more then 10,000 times the total wealth of Goldie Locks.

And what has been the result? The program is filled with fraud, and significant numbers of people currently paying into the system don't think they will ever get a benefit from it. 

What happened is this - as the program grew and grew people planned for retirement less and less. People put off saving for retirement until later and later, foolishly thinking they will be able to live off social security benefits. Instead of expecting people to be responsible for their retirement we have provided a program that allows people to completely ignore the need to plan. They have no personal responsibility. 

Looks at the case of the "Affluenza Teen". This idiot was able to literally murder people and say that he shouldn't be punished be cause he had no idea what personal responsibility meant. He and his parents are possibly some of the worst people currently living.

Think about what one of the main talking points was during the debate surrounding the passing of the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care) - What if some kid doesn't have insurance and gets in an accident, do you want to sentence him to death because he can't pay for care or to a lifetime of debt? My answer was always, Yes. It's logical that if someone is faced with knowledge that buying insurance or not buying insurance means having a limb saving procedure instead of amputation there would be a much higher number of people getting insurance. Heck - insurance companies might even use that exact case in their marketing campaign, imagine that; * Enter dimly lit room, young man sitting in tattered chair missing his leg from the knee down* "I thought I was invincible. I was healthy and active, what could I possibly need medical insurance for? Boy was I wrong. Coverage from Mutual Red Shields of Dayton Insurance would have saved my leg." *Scene*

Yes, for many reasons but most prominently is that is the only way to change the course we are on. We could eliminate almost all Federal deficit spending simply by expecting people to be responsible for their own retirement. And whats more? Doing that would put more money into the hands of people that need it (by eliminating FICA taxes).

The message is this; moving back to holding individuals personally responsible for their future, they will become more invested in their future. And that is what we want, people that really care about what they are doing and how it's being done. Instead we have Affluenza Teen - so distant from his personal responsibility that he gets wasted drunk kills a few people and gets what amounts to a slap on the wrist.


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

How Trump will build a border fence should be obscene, not brushed under the rug.

The person that Republicans want to be the next leader of the "Free World" wants to hold an entire country hostage, just to build a fence.

I can't believe the reaction and response that came from Goldie Locks recent comments about how he would coerce Mexico into funding a border fence. There are numerous problems with what he claims he would do, least of which is the fact that there would be little to no legal way of actually cutting off the flow of currency into Mexico. 

Let's start with trade impacts. Rest assured that if money was stopped at the border agricultural products would be as well. Do you like that tomato on your sandwich? 100% - A Mexican response to those actions would be an instant stoppage of all shipping of all good out of Mexico - at minimum it would include a dramatic increase in tariffs. Oh also - has he not heard of NAFTA? It's nothing major, don't bother learning about it Herr Goldie Locks didn't.

What about banking impacts? Goldie's comments seemed to indicate that he was targeting money that emigrants were attempting to send home to their families. Not being an expert on cross border money movement I can only guess that doing that would be incredibly difficult. From what I do know bank will aggregate sometimes thousands of smaller transfers into a single larger transfer to reduce time and costs. Doing what he postulates would mean forcing banks to individually identify the source and destination of each transfer, then analyze the intent and purpose of the funds. Who would pay for that? US consumers, through higher card processing fees and other charges. 

Legal? Not only is what he saying most likely against several provisions of NAFTA, the only real way he could sequester an individual's funds is if they were the subject of legal proceedings. That he could get around through some provisions of the Patriot Act, but that would mean basically classifying all person to person transfers across the US-Mexico border as being linked to terrorism. Sounds like a stretch to me.

But let's get down to the real problem, the problem that really brings out Goldie's true colors. The fact that cutting off this supply of money is in a very real way cutting off money that many, many families living south of the U.S. border depend on. And not just to buy a new pair of Nike's but to buy food. Goldie has no problem sentencing people in numerous countries countries to slow starvation just for the sake of rhetoric, simply because he is a blow hard buffoon. 

Monday, April 4, 2016

Refuge from the Storm

What can we do for refugees seeking shelter from the storm of war?

A couple years ago the tide of refugees seeking to escape native lands plagued by war was just starting to surge. I remember discussing it several times with my wife. I was torn, like many in the countries seeing an influx of refugees - more so because of my Libertarian beliefs. Most if not all of these refugees come from countries known for terrorist presence. My concern was how can we know which refugee is coming with good intentions and which are coming as wolves in sheep clothing? My dilemma was further complicated by my belief that open borders foster the best relations between countries.

In the height of our sometimes heated discussions on the subject, an acquaintance of my wife (who had a son that played with our son) shared her story of fleeing a war torn country as a little girl. She told of being separated from her parents for hours and being put through horrible interrogations for extended periods of time - in the end her whole family was cleared to relocate to the U.S.

The answer that I struck on? There is nothing we can do, including an intense battery of questioning, that will reliably identify those pretending as refugees in order to cause harm. Pretenders will of course been trained on how to closely impersonate legitimate refugees, probably even know how to endure extended interrogations. 

What we can do, starting the instant they arrive is begin to reshape their perception and idea of who we are. Those seeking to do harm have been taught an alternate view of the world outside their terror cell. We need to work on breaking down that perception. Many might believe that their religious beliefs cannot live in harmony with those of a different Belief. We need to show them that they can. They need to see the countless people of their same Belief do exactly that. 

We also need to accept that of those seeking refuge, the vast majority simply want a place where they do not have to live in fear - so much so that many trade homes for tents. These are not the wars our grandparents fought. There is no uniform and no battle plan. The neighbor on the left could be fighting for one side and the neighbor on the right could be fighting for the other. The threat that every day could be your last and that it could be ended without provocation is very real.

These people deserve a fresh start. The first thing we can do is work to remove the barriers preventing them from getting it. Make the entry process easier, make the work permit process easier, make it easier to get the documentation they need to start a life in their new country.