Category Archives: Fall of Western Civilization (197)

Appeal to Authority?

There was a fire at the Bellagio last night. Firefighters arrived in about 5 minutes and thanks to a quick and overwhelming response, they had it quelled within 20 minutes. Then there’s this indictment of today’s society:

At the fire’s start, [Adrea] Sloniker [from Seattle] said she was confused. She was looking for authorities to direct people what to do or where to go, but she said there were none.

I get it that she is from the Pacific northwest, but how can you be so reliant on “authorities” that you have no clue what to do when you see a fire?

Posted in Fall of Western Civilization | 3 Comments

When cash is banned…

Then only criminals will have cash. Apparently in Europe and, if you believe the pundits, even some US states, governments are banning cash transactions above a certain threshold. It’s all for the good of the people, mind you. According to the powers that be, only drug dealers and criminals use large amounts of cash.

Call me old school, but I’ve always liked cash. I never travel out of town without it. Cash is king. It is accepted nearly everywhere. Cash opens doors. Cash bolsters your bargaining position. Whipping out a wad of cash lets people know you’re serious about buying something, much more so than pulling out even the blackest of credit cards. Plus it’s a great deal for the seller, who doesn’t have to worry about getting paid. Credit cards are, after all, simply a promise by a third party (VISA, MC, AMEX, etc.) that you’ll pay. And of course it comes with all sorts of strings attached like charge-backs, 3% or higher fees, not to mention the additional restrictions that the credit card companies impose.

Nothing beats cash (other than maybe gold or silver), and I would encourage people to going back to using it.

Posted in Fall of Western Civilization | 2 Comments

Red Alert: One income for all: far fetched or communism?

Here we go again with utopian dreams that are not rooted in reality. The AFP posits a future society that will no longer be centered around work and instead everyone will be given a guaranteed stipend (entitlement) by the state.

Enter the concept of a “universal basic income”, a flat sum paid to all regardless of your existing wealth or ability to work. It is one of the rare ideas that has support from both the libertarian right — which favours tearing up the welfare state — and the left wing.

Someone who supports this idea andclaims to be libertarian right, obviously doesn’t know what libertarian means. The state cannot provide something material without first taking it from someone else.

At the least, advocates argue, a basic income could replace the thicket of unemployment benefits currently on offer in many advanced economies. Those can, perversely, discourage people from retraining in new fields or taking on lower paid work that society needs, such as care for the elderly.

What’s the difference? A guaranteed basic income would also discourage people from working lower paid jobs. Why scrub toilets 10 hours a day when I can sit on my ass and do nothing?

At its most ambitious, the proponents say, it would give everyone a safety net and encourage new modes of thinking: work might no longer define our lives and instead we might find productive existences in volunteering for the greater good, or in the creative arts.

[…]

“As new technologies replace work, the question for the future is how best to provide economic security for all,” economist and former US labor secretary Robert Reich wrote in a blog post.

“A universal basic income will almost certainly be part of the answer.”

And there lies the fundamental misunderstanding of what exactly money is and what it represents. Money is work, and work has always been part of life, since the dawn of time.

In prehistoric times, when you needed shelter, you built one. And when you needed food, you hunted or gathered. Intelligent animals like man quickly figured out something called specialization and cooperation. That means we’ll work together and I’ll build the shelter while you go find food and water. (For those of you who are milleniums, it’s sort of like on those survival reality shows.) One man can concentrate on building and another man on finding food. Add in a third man, and he might provide something else of value like security from outside threats (animals, Huns, etc.).

Through specialization and cooperation and trading skills, each man is better off. Rather than each man individually having to master every skill, they can work together and collectively do things faster and with less effort. This left over time and effort is called profit, and it frees up man to do other things of value. This bartering of goods and services creates a better lifestyle for everyone involved.

Now, since not everything is equal in value, nor is it consumed at the same rate and at the same time, it becomes quite convenient to have a placeholder for goods and services. In modern society, this placeholder is called money or currency. Thus currency is not severable from work and nor the value that work provides to other members of society. Severing that link will make money worthless. And this is why simply printing more money has never worked and creates hyperinflation.

The only way for socialist governments to hand out money without completely devaluing it, is to seize it from someone who actually did work for it. And you have to do that without destroying that person’s will to do future work. This is essentially what taxation is.

While new technologies may replace some specific jobs, but they will never replace the concept of work. After all, someone has to create and maintain those new technologies. And by taxing that work that is beneficial for everyone in society, what you’re really doing is stealing from the productive and giving it to the unproductive. And that is bad for everybody, including the unproductive.

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Red Alert: Nothing Says Freedom Like Mandatory Voting

Bobo is floating the idea of making voting [for Democrats] mandatory. This raises busing people to the polls to new heights.

Obama floated the idea of mandatory voting in the U.S. while speaking to a civic group in Cleveland on Wednesday. Asked about the influence of money in U.S. elections, Obama digressed into the topic of voting rights and said the U.S. should be making it easier for people to vote.

Just ask Australia, where citizens have no choice but to vote, the president said.

“If everybody voted, then it would completely change the political map in this country,” Obama said, calling it “potentially transformative.” Not only that, Obama said, but universal voting would “counteract money more than anything.”

Bobo wants to transform America and this would certainly help achieve that goal.

Posted in Fall of Western Civilization | 3 Comments

The United States of SWAT

John Fund takes note that a lot of three letter executive branch government agencies seem to be forming their own armies. The Bureau of Land Management standoff in Nevada was nothing new.

Dozens of federal agencies now have Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams to further an expanding definition of their missions. It’s not controversial that the Secret Service and the Bureau of Prisons have them. But what about the Department of Agriculture, the Railroad Retirement Board, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Office of Personnel Management, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service? All of these have their own SWAT units and are part of a worrying trend towards the militarization of federal agencies — not to mention local police forces.

I first became aware of this trend back in the 1990s when the IRS raided one of my old watering holes, The Jewish Mother restaurants in Virginia Beach. A disgruntled former employee made some extravagant claims to the FBI. Not getting any traction, she took her case to the IRS:

Mr. Colaprete said his problems began when he fired a bookkeeper, who had a criminal record, for stealing and she told the I.R.S. “a fantastic tale of money laundering, gunrunning and drug dealing by my partner and me.” He said agents were told that he had cocaine “stacked like cord wood.” Mr. Colaprete said the stories were untrue and a cursory inquiry would have shown that.

The IRS took the bait and raided and shut down his two restaurants; rousted his family from their beds (and one from the shower); and seized computers and records. Eventually everything was returned with no charges filed (and no apologies). There were some congressional hearings, and the IRS got a slap on the wrist, but it’s obvious that the trend has continued.

Fund has similar examples from seemingly innocuous agencies:

Take the case of Kenneth Wright of Stockton, Calif., who was “visited” by a SWAT team from the U.S. Department of Education in June 2011. Agents battered down the door of his home at 6 a.m., dragged him outside in his boxer shorts, and handcuffed him as they put his three children (ages 3, 7, and 11) in a police car for two hours while they searched his home. The raid was allegedly intended to uncover information on Wright’s estranged wife, Michelle, who hadn’t been living with him and was suspected of college financial-aid fraud.

The year before the raid on Wright, a SWAT team from the Food and Drug Administration raided the farm of Dan Allgyer of Lancaster, Pa. His crime was shipping unpasteurized milk across state lines to a cooperative of young women with children in Washington, D.C., called Grass Fed on the Hill. Raw milk can be sold in Pennsylvania, but it is illegal to transport it across state lines. The raid forced Allgyer to close down his business.

It’s time the Posse Comitatus Act was expanded.

Posted in Fall of Western Civilization | Comments Off on The United States of SWAT

Twitter TV

I’ll be the first to admit I’ve never liked twitter. I generally have no interest in opening an account nor following anyone. And I’ve come to hate Twitter TV. I don’t know if it’s TV channels jumping on the twitter bandwagon or if twitter is paying for exposure on mainstream programming, but I cannot stand inane twitter popups whilst I’m watching my shows.

I’ve tuned out from more than one show for showing stupid, vapid comments every five seconds. Maybe I’m becoming an old fuddy duddy.

Posted in Fall of Western Civilization | Comments Off on Twitter TV

Red Alert: Obama Pay Czar to Regulate Compensation

This is the kind of stuff that happens in Venezuela or Banana Republics…

In a one-two punch at the pay culture of banks and Wall Street firms blamed for the financial crisis, the U.S. government announced plans to aggressively regulate compensation at thousands of lenders and impose steep pay cuts at seven companies that received billions in federal aid.

Posted in Fall of Western Civilization | 3 Comments

Reston Tea Party

Below the fold are some images from the Tea Party yesterday in Reston Virginia.

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Posted in Fall of Western Civilization | 1 Comment

The Obama Economy

What happens when the President endlessly talks down the economy in order to pass his socialist agenda?

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The DJIA is down nearly 3000 points since Obama was elected.

November 4, 2008 Close: $9,625.28
March 2, 2009 Close: $6,763.29

Looking at the graph above, you can clearly see when Obama hit us with his “October Surprise”.

Posted in Fall of Western Civilization | Comments Off on The Obama Economy

Why not just write a $300,000 check to 3 million people?

Are new jobs worth $333,333.33 per job? Obama thinks so.

Reporting from Washington — President-elect Barack Obama, pledging to “set a new course” for an ailing economy, will deliver a public appeal for his nearly $1-trillion recovery plan today — the start of a campaign asking Americans to accept the massive spending as a “reinvestment” in the nation.

With the stimulus plan, he believes, the nation should be able to generate 3 million jobs over the next few years.

A trillion is a million million. That’s 1 million dollars to create only 3 jobs.

Posted in Fall of Western Civilization | 5 Comments

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