San Juan Mountains

San Juan Mountains
San Juan Mountains: Grenadier Range

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Schizophrenia Over China

Have you noticed how nuts most people are when it comes to thinking and talking about China?  Career politicians and taxpayer financed economists are downright schizophrenic when it comes to their opinions about China and its place in the world relative to the Socialist Democracy of Amerika.  Let me tell you about a couple of the most glaring examples of mass mental illness I have witnessed in regards to China recently.
Early in 2015 I read numerous stories about how China had overtaken the SDA as the largest economy in the world.  The reports were not true, of course, but they did get a lot of people thinking that it was time for the career politicians who rule over us to "get tough with China," whatever that meant.  China is presently the second largest economy in the world and it will not be long, within a decade in my view, before it will be the largest economy in the world.  That causes problems for many people in this imperialistic land, primarily for two reasons.
First, most people erroneously believe that economic activity is a form of warfare.  When one country grows larger it must necessarily be at the expense of another country.  Since China is getting an increasingly larger share of the total economic pie they believe it must be true that the SDA is getting an increasing smaller share of the world's economic pie.  Calls to the god of this idolatrous country, the federal government, to do something and stop the onslaught of Chinese economic growth fall upon ears willing to do precisely that.  Career politicians and their media lackeys are happy to call for sanctions, tariffs and all sorts of negative economic attacks upon China that will, in the long run, only harm the SDA consumer.  Get it country does not grow larger at the expense of another.  That is the socialist view of the world and it is dreadfully wrong.  When one country grows larger, every other country that trades with that country also benefits.
Second, most people are aware that having a large economy allows the rulers of that particular geo-political zone to build a bigger and badder military complex.  SDA citizens are terrified at the prospect of another country having a bigger and badder military than theirs.  The idea that everyone in the world would not be afraid of us due to our ability to launch an invasion of their homelands at a moment's notice scares many patriotic Amerikans.  What are the facts of the matter?  According to the World Bank, China's total military expenditures are equal to 2.1% of its GDP.  For comparison purposes, the SDA's military expenditures are 3.5% of GDP.  Gross Chinese expenditures on the military are even smaller when compared to what is spent in the SDA since the SDA economy, for the time being, is larger than China's.  Those who fear an imminent attack from the Chinese would be wise to spend their time thinking about something else.
Perhaps it was with a sigh of relief that patriotic citizens of the SDA realized that China was not yet a larger economy than the SDA and was not yet prepared to invade the SDA homeland but then something schizophrenic happened.  Towards the end of last year the stock market experienced a 12% correction.  As I write this blog post the stock market is in another 12% correction.  Do you know why?  According to the talking heads on the financial television shows we have experienced two steep down markets because of concerns about slowing Chinese economic growth.  What was a good thing at the start of 2015 had become a bad thing by the end of 2015 and the start of 2016.  Most recent GDP figures for China indicate that its annualized rate of economic growth is going to slip from 8.0% to 6.9% in the last quarter of 2015.  At 6.9%/year China will double in economic size in 11 years.  That is why I believe China will be the largest economy in the world in a decade.  The SDA is too burdened with oppressive rules, regulations and corporate taxes to allow domestic corporations to grow at the rate the Chinese profit seeking corporations can grow.  It is only a matter of time before China is the world's economic juggernaut.
So China has gone from being an  economic enemy at the start of 2015 to an economic necessity by the end of the year.  The belief today is that Chinese economic growth must remain robust in order to prop up the ailing economy of the SDA.  Making the situation even more bizarre is the fact that total SDA exports to China make up only 1% of total SDA exports.  If China is so important as a trading partner for the SDA, why does the SDA only export 1% of its goods to China?  At the same time, how can an economic slowdown in China have any meaningful or significant impact upon the SDA when the SDA only sends 1% of its total exports to China?  The answer is, it can't!  Why stock market investors have decided to drive the SDA stock markets down by more than 10% in a couple of weeks, all allegedly due to economic events in China, is a mystery to me.  The whole thing is schizophrenic.
The career politicians campaigning for the office of SDA King and, in one case, Queen, all universally agree that the Chinese are evil and need to be controlled.  They all agree that the SDA needs to put tariffs on imported Chinese goods because the Chinese are stealing "our jobs."  How the SDA could proclaim ownership over a job is never explained by the economic luminaries running for King.  They also agree that China needs to be forced to "play on a level field" with us and stop devaluing their currency to make their exports cheaper.  The totally predictable response of SDA career politicians and bureaucrats to want to enforce a tax on Chinese imports is schizophrenic.  Why should SDA consumers be forced to pay more for Chinese goods that the Chinese are willing to sell to us at a loss, or at least for a lower profit?  Why should the SDA government raise the price of those goods with an import tax and keep the extra money for itself?  If the SDA wants SDA companies to be able to compete on a level playing field it should cancel all tariffs immediately, eliminate the corporate income tax immediately and abolish all bureaucratic rules and regulations that tell businesses, in minute detail, what they may or may not do each day.  It is not a question of regulation vs no regulation.  The question is shall we be regulated by career bureaucrats or the free market?  I choose the free market.  The best way to keep "our jobs" and "level the playing field" is for the SDA to embrace free market capitalism and leave the rest of the world alone.
Apparently none of our rulers knows how or what to think about China.  I have a simple suggestion for all of them.....mind your own business.  Tend to our business and leave the Chinese alone.  Free trade with all and entangling alliances with none.  That should be our mantra.

Attention:  To regular readers of this blog....I am taking a couple of days off and will return late next week.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Orthorexia...The Latest Yuppie Disease

There is a new mental illness on the block and it is desperately seeking inclusion on the list of officially approved mental illnesses.  The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM-5 as it is shortened, is the government approved list of mental illnesses we can all potentially contract.  Being listed on the DSM-5 is very important because apart from that listing a person suffering from a mental illness is forced to pay the bills for his talk therapy out of his own pocket.  Once a mental illness is put on the list that same mentally ill person, thanks to Obamacare, can force the taxpayers (the top 49% of the income population) to pay the costs associated with sitting in a room and talking to a government approved "therapist", whatever that is.  If only I could be cured of the cold bug I just contracted by sitting down and talking to a government agent.  Of course I realize that the process of being cured would take a very long time and I must really want to be healed or I will never get better.  
Mental illnesses have always fascinated me.  I don't know how and where am I going to contract my next one.  I have had so many over the years that I can't even recall what they all were.  That is probably a mental illness itself.  What I do know is that nobody has ever contracted a mental illness after contact with a pathogen like a virus, a bacterium, a fungus or a parasite.  Nobody has ever caught a mental illness from someone else who was mentally ill.  Nobody has ever recovered from a mental illness by taking an antibiotic or an antiviral medication.  As far as I am aware, nobody has ever undergone surgery to correct a mental illness. Yet despite all of this I heard on NPR the other day that in any given year one out of every five citizens in the Socialist Democracy of Amerika will contract a mental illness.  I would sure like to know where all that illness is coming from.  I could make a billion dollars finding out where it is coming from and putting a stop to it at the source.  The Nobel Peace Prize in Medicine will certainly be awarded to the first person who can discover where mental illnesses come from.
I had just sat down at the breakfast table last Saturday when I opened my newspaper and nearly gagged on my Sausage McMuffin.  There, on the front page of the "Lifestyle" section, was the headline, "Orthorexia:  What this eating disorder is and why its easily misunderstood."  Well that got my attention.  Given the fact that I was gagging on my McMuffin I immediately wondered if I had contracted this new eating disorder.  Once my panic attack subsided I came to realize that it disturbs me greatly anytime anything or anybody is misunderstood.  Bernie Sanders and I both agree that every person and every mental illness has a civil right to be understood.  So I settled down, took a sip of coffee and proceeded to inform myself about this terrible new illness that is sweeping the country.
The newspaper story went on for quite a while, covering two pages of the paper, and never defined what orthorexia is.  I was looking for a  nice quotation to put into this blog that would define the new mental illness for you but nobody took the time to actually define what orthorexia is.  That could certainly be a substantial hurdle to overcome if sufferers want to be listed on the DSM-5, don't you think?  Even though the disease is never defined, I was able to get the general idea of what it is by reading about a "life coach" named Maddy Moon, who lives in the People's Republic of Boulder, and who is an advocate for getting orthorexia included on the DSM-5. 
A "life coach," in case you are not aware, is someone who takes money from Yuppies in exchange for affirming their lifestyles.  I had never heard of the profession prior to a couple of years ago when a person who used to be my friend decided to take up the career.  I looked into it only to discover that another good name for those who enter the profession of life coach is charlatan or crack-pot.  Yuppies are intensely insecure people who need others around them to tell them they are pretty, strong, healthy and extreme-to-the-max dude.  They need people they can send their Go-Pro videos to who will actually watch them and reinforce their opinions of themselves that they are extreme athletes, and downright handsome to boot.  Yuppies are also rich and have money to burn.  A small group of people jumped into the Yuppie culture to exploit the situation, calling themselves "life coaches" and charging fees to give the Yuppies precisely what they wanted.  Hey, it is a free market.  As stupid as I believe it all is they are free to do what they want.
Maddy Moon is a life coach who helps Yuppies drink Michelob Ultra and be all they can be.  A huge part of being a Yuppie these days is healthy eating and that brings me back to orthorexia.  Orthorexia, if I might provide a definition for this new disease, is that condition Yuppies find themselves in as they obsess over the food they are eating in order to guarantee they never eat anything their peers have labeled to be unhealthy.  That means they will only eat organic, non genetically modified, non gluten containing, non harmful to butterflies and the Amazonian rain forest foods.  It takes a lot of energy to eat only the right foods all the time.  Those who go overboard in the effort to do so are, according to Moon, mentally ill.
Mood is producing a series of videos to promote her idea that orthorexia should be a government approved disease.  She says, "You would not roll your eyes at someone that said that they have anorexia or bulimia, so why roll your eyes at someone who says they have orthorexia?  For those of you who say orthorexia's not real, that it is not a real thing, get over it.  It is real."  Well there it is.  A life coach from Boulder has pronounced the behavior of Yuppies as they obsess over the healthy foods that they eat to be a mental illness. What more evidence do you need?  Incidentally, I roll my eyes when someone tells me they have anorexia and bulimia.  Those are behavioral choices, not illnesses.  In the same way, orthorexia is a behavioral choice, not an illness.
I have two verses from the Bible for you today.  The first one is Romans 1: 18-19 which says, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them."  This verse tells us that all men, including those who suffer from orthorexia, use their minds to actively suppress their innate knowledge of God's existence and His moral claim upon their lives.  Throughout most of human history most people were too busy scrounging for their next meal to have time to contemplate the fact that they are suppressing what they know about God.  These days, in the first world in which we live where Yuppies have abundant supplies of both time and money, people have to come up with new and creative ways to suppress their innate knowledge of God and His claim upon their lives.  Orthorexia is a classic example of how to suppress the knowledge of God by obsessing on food.  Never again does a Yuppie have to be alone with his own thoughts.  Obsessing on eating all the right foods quite effectively pushes all self-awareness of suppression of the truth right out the proverbial window. 
The second verse comes from I Corinthians 6: 12-13.  It says, "All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable.  All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.  Food is for the stomach, and the stomach is for food'; but God will do away with both of them."  Yuppies and their ilk who obsess on food (including anorexics, compulsive over eaters, bulimics, and orthorexics) all suffer from the same condition.  They have all been mastered by food in one way or another.  Why have they been mastered by food?  Because they made the voluntary decision to obsess on food in order to avoid having to think about the spiritual truths that surround them.  Only a nation filled with a super abundance of food and free time could come up with this list of food related mental illnesses.  Only a nation that hates the God of the Bible with a passion would take these sinners and label them as mentally ill and, thus, not responsible for their actions.  Only a nation that worships the therapeutic state would create an entire pantheon of phantom mental illnesses which must be treated by government approved talk therapists.  Only an envy-filled population of socialists who believe in the religion of democracy would demand that those therapists be paid for their bogus services by the taxpayers.  And only a first world nation with way too much time on its hands could cook up so many fake illnesses to allow it to be diverted from the things that really matter in life.  Orthorexia is just the latest example of the demented state of being that characterizes so many sheeple in this sad and immoral land. 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Littleton Bans Smoking In Public

In a continuation of the ongoing war against evil smokers, the town of Littleton, Colorado recently enacted a smoking ban upon those poor smokers who decide to visit the downtown area.  No person may smoke within an arbitrary perimeter established around the central business district of the town.  Littleton joins the People's Republic of Boulder and Golden as the third city to enact a complete smoking ban.  Insofar as it is up to me, I will never visit downtown Littleton again.  I really get angry with people who suppress my freedom in the name of junk science and in support of politically correct causes.  Let's talk about this for a moment, shall we?
The ban, just like in the other two towns, also includes fake cigarettes, or vapes, as I believe they are called.  Vaping is the process of drawing on a device that looks like a cigarette but that only delivers a stream of water vapor laced with nicotine to the user.  Many people have used vaping as a means of giving up smoking altogether and many others rightly consider it to be a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes.  Although the vapor that comes out of these mechanical devices is void of any of the known carcinogens found in cigarette smoke, the city council of Littleton deemed them a public health risk and banned them as well.  The only argument advanced by the council in support of the fascist-like ban on smoking was that second hand smoke is dangerous to all people at all times and in any concentration.  That argument is ridiculous and the city council members surely know that.
Many years ago the Surgeon General of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika issued a absurd and patently unscientific opinion that "there is no safe level of second hand smoke."  That statement has been seized upon by the smoke Nazis and used to justify all sorts of unjust campaigns against smokers.  Certainly there is some level of smoke concentration that is safe.  The mere fact that the SG felt the need to issue such a stupid statement clearly proves that the debate about cigarette smoke is not based upon science or scientific evidence.  Rather, it is based exclusively upon emotion and political correctness.  Asserting that there is no safe level of second hand smoke is one of the dumbest statements ever to come forth from a government bureau but it has become the mantra of the anti-smoking crowd.  When I hear an assertion like "there is no safe level of second hand smoke" I know I am dealing with a faith proposition based upon religious beliefs and not a scientific statement based upon scientific evidence. 
A reader of this blog sent me a link to a story that perfectly illustrates the idiocy associated with the second hand smoke argument.  The complete story can be found here.  Here is the gist of the argument made in the article: "Even though fewer U.S. teens are smoking, secondhand smoke remains a big problem for them, a government study found.  Nearly half of nonsmoking kids in middle school and high school encountered secondhand tobacco smoke in 2013, and rates were even higher among smokers. Earlier studies on teens and secondhand smoke in specific places, such as in cars and indoors, indicate that the problem has declined in recent years, but the new research suggests it's still affecting millions of kids. 'These findings are concerning because the U.S. surgeon general has concluded that there is no safe level of secondhand smoke exposure' said lead author Israel Agaku, a researcher at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."
It isn't difficult to see where this argument is heading.  Although not specifically mentioned in the article, it is the parents of these poor, abused teenagers who are committed the sin of smoking and endangering the lives of their children.  The meaningless and inaccurate repetition of the SG statement that there is no safe level of second hand smoke exposure can, and probably will, be used by the smoke Nazis to go after the parents of those teenagers.  It is not too much of a stretch to prognosticate that some do-good career politicians will write a law, to protect "our" children, prohibiting smoking in the home when children are present.  The way the report is written I suspect personal automobiles will be subject to the ban as well. 
Let's cut to the chase.  I have cited these studies previously but they are the most scientific and controlled studies on smoking that I have been able to find.  The first is found at the Cato Institute and can be found here.   The Cato Institute story is dealing with the EPA's phony study declaring second hand smoke to be associated with lung cancer in non-smokers.  The EPA jumped upon the statement issued by the SG and conducted a "study" in which it determined that people who live with smokers die of lung cancer much more often than the general population.   Here, in part, is what was written about a crucial critical analysis of that study: "Judge Osteen determined that the EPA had 'cherry picked' its data and had grossly manipulated 'scientific procedure and scientific norms' in order to rationalize the agency’s own preconceived conclusion that passive smoking caused 3,000 lung cancer deaths a year. In addition, Osteen ruled that the EPA had violated the Radon Act, which was the agency’s authority for disseminating its 'de facto regulatory scheme' that intended to prohibit passive smoking. The agency responded, embarrassingly, with an ad hominem attack on the judge, not on the cold logic of his arguments.  As a result of the EPA report, many bans on smoking in public places have been introduced. One would think that any such ban would be based solidly on scientific studies of ETS exposure in public places. In fact, the EPA did not even evaluate the studies on smoking in public places. Instead, the EPA’s analysis was based on 11 U.S. studies that examined the risks of contracting lung cancer to nonsmoking spouses married to smokers, a different matter altogether. Yet none of the studies in the original sample reported a strong relative cancer risk associated with ETS."
The most thorough and rigorous study ever conducted on the direct impact of second hand smoke was conducted by the good folks at the SDA National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.   That study is referred to in this article, which is also well worth reading.  Writing about the study in Oak Ridge, the author asserts: "In a study spanning 16 U.S. cities, the U.S. Department of Energy researchers placed monitors on nonsmoking bartenders and waiters who worked in smoke-filled bars and restaurants to measure the amount of environmental tobacco. The conclusion was that the monitors detected minuscule amounts of tobacco products. (Jenkins, et al, 1999) The harm that might come from such minuscule amounts of exposure was calculated as 'none' to 'improbable harm'. The anti-tobacco forces have condemned this study because it was partly funded by the R.J. Reynolds Company. Later, a group of individuals visited the establishments and concluded that since they saw few individuals smoking, the study was flawed. In spite of this study being done by Oak Ridge National Laboratories, it was painted with a broad brush because of the funding from the tobacco industry."
The author also references the second hand smoke kills innocent spouses argument with this assertion: "Perhaps one of the better studies was published in the British Medical Journal by epidemiologist James Enstrom and Geoffrey Kabat (2003). Their study of 35,000 Californians showed that lifelong exposure to a husband or wife’s smoke produced no increased risk of coronary heart disease or lung cancer among the non-smoking spouses. As with most who oppose the anti-tobacco lobby, Enstrom was forced to defend his study on the basis that it had received funding from a tobacco company. The study was condemned as biased, even though it was published in a peer-reviewed journal, the statistics were not flawed, and the conclusions were sound."
Am I seeing a pattern here?  When the government commissions a study the results always uphold the company line that there is no safe level of smoke anywhere, any time and under any circumstances.  It is a wonder we are not all dead of lung cancer before the age of 20.  On the other hand, when tobacco companies foot the bill for studies conducted independently of the government anti-smoking bureaucracy the results demand the opposite conclusion. Who should be given the benefit of the doubt?
One thing I know for sure, "scientists" who draw their paycheck from the taxpayers are highly incentivized to come to conclusions the bureaucrats want to see.  That is the way they keep their jobs.  On the other hand, scientists paid by a tobacco company to do a one time study will get paid whether their results satisfy the tobacco company or not.  You make the call, who is likely to be less biased?
As the war on smokers continues I really have only one question about the ridiculous notion of deadly second hand smoke.  Please explain to me how cigarette smoke in the density of one part per trillion, or, alternatively,  in the density of .001 micrograms per cubic meter, can have a deleterious impact upon a person's health?  Even a child could tell you that there must be a level of second hand smoke that is not hazardous to a person's health.  Most people walking along the city streets of downtown Littleton will inhale far more particulates, of less than 2.5 micron in size, than they will inhale molecules of cigarette smoke.  During the winter, when the roads are covered with sand, the particulate inhalation will be even higher.  During the summer, when outdoor barbecues are pouring out tons of fat-fueled smoke, the total amount of smoke inhaled will vastly exceed that from people who might be smoking a cigarette while walking down the street.  Smoke from animal fat is known to contain countless dangerous carcinogens.  But logical consistency is the first thing to go out the window when a crusade is being launched.  Smokers are pariahs and non-smokers are free to abuse them to their heart's content.  Every society needs a class of people that everyone else is free to abuse.  In the SDA that class of people is smokers. Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to grab a cigar and my lawn chair and set up one foot outside the boundary of the City of Littleton for a little smoke.