San Juan Mountains

San Juan Mountains
San Juan Mountains: Grenadier Range

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Kudos to the Eight Richest Men on Earth.

Kudos to the eight richest men on earth.  They have amassed enough wealth that their combined net worth exceeds that of the entire lower half of the net worth population of the world.  And a profound thank you to each of them as well.  Without them our lives would be considerably harder and more impoverished.  They have created millions of jobs for people all around the world.  They have produced hundreds of billions of dollars of goods and services and sold them to willing customers for prices the customers were willing to pay.  They have engaged in voluntary and free transactions both on the production and sales sides of their companies.  Everywhere they have gone they have made people better off.  And they accomplished all of these things without any coercion, regulations or laws requiring people to buy their products.  Nobody was imprisoned for not purchasing their goods and every citizen of the world is satisfied with the outcome of their activities.  Well, almost every citizen of the world.  Actually there is quite a large group of people who are dissatisfied with their activities.  They are envy-filled socialists and they are up in arms.  Let me tell you about it.
A group of eggheads and pseudo-intellectuals get together in Davos, Switzerland this time each year to talk about things that rich folks, eggheads and pseudo-intellectuals like to talk about.  I never pay much attention to their activities because I am not an egghead.  And the last time any form of the word 'intellectual' was used in reference to me it in was in a sentence preceded by the prefix "sub."  And the last time anyone described me as being rich it was in this sentence, "You are rich with ignorance."  Nevertheless, and despite my density, an article in the local newspaper caught my eye the other day.  It told me that a group of government worshiping socialists, that go by the trade name of Oxfam International, had descended upon the folks in Davos with the intention of trying to make them feel guilty for being rich.
Apparently the eight richest men (sorry ladies, they are all men, and quite probably sexist to boot) have a combined net worth that is equal to the poorest 3.6 billion people who live on the earth today.  I will not dispute Oxfam's numbers and assume they are correct.  Bill Gates leads the list of evil men with a net worth over $40 billion.  The combined net worth of the top eight men comes to around $300 billion which, interestingly enough, would fund about six months of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika's budget dedicated to waging war and expanding the empire around the world.  When considered in those terms it does not sound like all that much money.  But when socialists are involved they always spin the facts in a way to incite envy in the hearts of sinful men.  According to Winnie, the Executive Director of Oxfam International, "It is obscene for so much wealth to be held in the hands of so few when one in ten people survive on less than $2 per day."
What I find to be obscene in this scenario is Winnie's apparent inability to comprehend free market economics.  For a lady who speaks for the poor and oppressed around the world she sure does not understand much about how the world works.  The eight richest men in the world became the eight richest men in the world because they have served the physical needs of more of their fellow men than anyone else in the world.  These men should be getting awards for what they have done.  Instead, they are being declared evil men and accused of obscene behavior for doing more to help the physical needs of their fellow men than anyone else in the history of the world.
Winnie does not see things the way I do.  Like so many these days she believes profit seeking corporations are evil for the simple fact that they make a profit.  The more profitable a profit seeking corporation becomes the more evil its owners become.  She is blind to the fact that it is the oppressive activity of evil civil governments around the world that keep people in poverty.  She ignores the truth that the perpetual warfare that defines civil government around the world is a leading cause of abject poverty.  Instead, she confidently declared, "Inequality is trapping hundreds of millions in poverty; it is fracturing our societies and undermining democracy."  Let's consider her three assertions for a moment."
How is is that these eight fellows are guilty of the crime of "trapping hundreds of millions in poverty?"  Winnie does not say.  In fact, she makes no attempt to prove her assertion whatsoever.  She just throws it out there and the reporters at Davos dutifully record what she said as if it were one hundred percent true.  I am not satisfied with short quotes.  Winnie needs to give me some examples.  I challenge Winnie to provide just one example of one person living on the face of the earth today that has been trapped in his or her economic situation because of the actions of one of those eight men.  I believe that Winnie would quickly discover that her alleged victims of the obscene wealth of those eight men do not exist.  On the other hand, I could easily come up with a list of hundreds of thousands of people who have been enriched by those eight men as they sold their labor services to their companies via voluntary service contracts.  Winnie's allegation plays well to the envy-filled mind of the socialist but it is based upon nothing but hot air and inflammatory rhetoric.
Winnie also believes that those eight rich guys are somehow guilty of "fracturing our societies."  Once again she makes no attempt to explain how they have done that and she also makes no attempt to give any concrete examples that illustrate her claim.  I would like for Winnie to explain to me how eight guys running around doing nothing but engaging in voluntary and free transactions with millions of people around the world are somehow guilty of fracturing society, whatever that means.  I think I might have some idea about what Winnie means when she says that societies are being fractured but the lone culprit for the fracturing that I witness on a daily basis is civil government.  Syria is a fractured society.  Iraq is a fractured society.  The imperial armies of the SDA did the fracturing in those poor countries.  The SDA itself is terribly fractured these days as competing special interest groups all seek to obtain a larger share of the wealth that is stolen from the top 50% of the income population and distributed to the select few, in exchange for their votes of course.  Yes, I do see a lot of fractured things around me these days, but profit seeking companies are not the ones responsible for the damage.  All the damage is a result of civil government and the people who worship it.
I love Winnie's final accusation that eight rich guys are "undermining democracy."  Does Winnie even know what democracy is?  Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what to eat for lunch.  Democracy is the tyranny of the majority when the majority is always poorer than the minority.  Democracy is theft by majority vote, with no way to protect your assets if you are in the minority.  Democracy is the greatest source of legalized plunder in the civilized world today.  It is immoral through and through.  If these eight rich guys are truly undermining democracy they should receive medals recognizing their service to humanity by seeking to destroy an evil institution.
Sorry Winnie, your envy-filled and sinful tirades against eight true economic heroes does not play well in the land of the free.  Unfortunately it does play well in the Socialist Democracy of Amerika.  What a shame.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

King Donnie's Tariff on German Cars

Earlier this week I posted a piece to this blog about King Donnie's terrible idea to impose a 35% tariff on all cars imported into the Socialist Democracy of Amerika.  Donnie believes that only cars that are made in Amerika should be permitted to be sold to Amerikans.  As a part of his grandiose plan to make Amerika great again he believes that everything ever purchased by any Amerikcan must first be produced in the good, old USA.  Anything not produced here will be hit with a tariff so high it essentially guarantees nobody will buy it, thus ensuring that only Amerikan-made products are ever sold in the Amerikan Empire.  Let's think about that plan for a moment today.
After a quick Google search I discovered that, "The average car is made up of about 1,800 separate parts. This includes some large components, such as the engine, which is inserted as a unit during the car-making process but contains thousands of individual pieces itself."  I also discovered that, "A single car has about 30,000 parts, counting every part down to the smallest screws. Some of these parts are made at Toyota, but we also have lots of suppliers that make many of these parts. The 30,000 or so parts use different raw materials and different manufacturing processes."  These two observations give me occasion to consider our beloved King's proclamation in light of economic reality.  In particular:
  1. How is our King going to define a "foreign" car?  Is the definition of a foreign car exclusively related to where final assembly takes place, as the King seemed to be saying?
  2. If the definition of a foreign car is exclusively related to the point of final assembly, will there be any restrictions on how many of the 30,000 parts in that car must be made in Amerika?  If so, what will the percentage be?  In other words, must Amerikan assembled cars consist of 37% Amerikan made parts or some other percentage?  
  3. Once King Donnie determines the percentage of Amerikan made parts required to make a car Amerikan, who is going to do the counting?  What bureau will be created to count car parts and classify them according to their country of origin?  How much will the taxpayers be forced to pay for this new bureau?
  4. Once Donnie has determined whether a car part is actually a foreign or Amerikan car part, how will he determine if the elements that went into the production of that part influence its final classification? For example, if Donnie determines that a screw is Amerikan made but 51% of the metal in the screw was actually mined in Mexico, will that still be an Amerikan part?  If not, why not? What percentage of Amerikan materials in each part are required to make it an Amerikan part? 
  5. What about exceptions to the general rule?  What will Donnie do if a screw was manufactured in El Paso using ore from Mexico but extracted from the earth with equipment made by Deere?  How will he determine what is Amerikan made and what is not?
  6. If the definition of an Amerikan made car is that it is exclusively assembled on SDA soil, without regard to where the 30,000 parts come from, how can Donnie present himself as a champion of Amerika if almost all the parts in the car came from some stinkin' foreign country?  Surely that is hypocrisy of the highest degree.  Donnie must slap punitive tariffs on all car parts that are not manufactured in the SDA.  He must also slap punitive tariffs on all car parts that are not manufactured using materials extracted from SDA soil.  He must also slap punitive tariffs on all parts of the manufacturing process that utilize some foreign made good such as a foreign made tractor-trailers or railroad cars.  Indeed, if Donnie really wants to make Amerika great again he must shut down all international trade, forever and ever, amen.
King Donnie's ridiculous tariff threats are nothing more than a reconstituted version of "Buy Amerika First."  Proponents of that economically devastating doctrine self consciously ignore the fact that restricting trade to a particular geo-political entity inevitably drives up the prices of all final goods produced, thus gouging the consumers and benefiting the career politicians who administer the programs to enforce their immoral laws.  In addition, King Donnie is utterly oblivious to the fact that his jobs creation program will destroy far more jobs than it creates as the countries of the world erect their own barriers to trade, thus bringing international trade to a halt.  The last time a program like the one being proposed by Donnie was enacted was 1930, when Congress passed the economically destructive Smoot-Hawley Act.  Here are some things you should know about that piece of legislation:

What is the Smoot-Hawley Act?
"The Tariff Act of 1930 (codified at 19 U.S.C. ch. 4), otherwise known as the Smoot–Hawley Tariff or Hawley–Smoot Tariff, was an act sponsored by Senator Reed Smoot and Representative Willis C. Hawley and signed into law on June 17, 1930. The act raised U.S. tariffs on over 20,000 imported goods."   (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SmootHawley_Tariff_Act)

What is a direct result of the Smoot Hawley Tariff Act of 1930?
"The Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of June 1930 raised U.S. tariffs to historically high levels. The original intention behind the legislation was to increase the protection afforded domestic farmers against foreign agricultural imports."  (future.state.gov/when/timeline/1921_timeline/smoot_tariff.html)

How did tariffs on world trade lead to the Great Depression?
"Eighty four years ago on this day President Hoover signed the now-infamous Smoot-Hawley tariff bill, which substantially raised U.S. tariffs on some 890 products. Other countries retaliated and world trade shrank enormously; by the end of 1934 world trade had plummeted some 66 percent from the 1929 level."  (americastradepolicy.com/did-the-smoot-hawley-tariff-cause-the-great-depression)

So there you have it.  Do you want economic contraction on a grand scale?  Do you want job losses that will make the Great Recession look like child's play?  Do you want soup lines and government "make work" projects? Do you want a return to the good old days of government control over all aspects of economic production, as this country experienced under FDR?  Do you want rationing and gas stamps? If you do, King Donnie is your man. But that is not all.  King Donnie's highly publicized "job creation" is nothing more than a grain of sand at the beach.  It makes for nice photo-ops but has no impact upon the real economic world.
 According to this website, "There were 145,303,000 jobs in the US in December 2016 according to the CES survey of employers. The CPS survey of households showed 152,111,000 employed persons for the month. The US added 156,000 jobs in December 2016 according to the CES survey while the broader CPS employment measure rose by 63,000."  According to CNN, "At least 34,000 - Donald Trump has created about 34,000 jobs: A CNNMoney analysis calculates at least 34,000 jobs attributable to the Donald."  That seems like an overly generous number to me, based upon news reports I have read, but I will give CNN the benefit of a doubt.  Based upon the figures quoted above King Donnie has already increased the number of jobs in the SDA by .02%!  Certainly that is worthy of bestowing the Congressional Medal of Honor upon him, isn't it?  On the other hand, since nobody ever measures this statistic, there are no reports as to how many jobs King Donnie's bombastic economic policies have already eradicated.  Nor are there any projections as to precisely how devastating his reign will be to the economy of the SDA.  All we know for sure is that the last time this country decided to practice King Donnie's economic vision with a vengeance we were plunged into the Great Depression.  Don't come crying to me if that happens again, I didn't vote for the man.

Note:
After writing this post I found an article by Walter Williams in which he made an excellent point.  He wrote, "Life Savers, a candy manufacturing company, was based in Holland, Michigan, for decades. In 2002, it moved to Montreal. It didn’t move because Canada had lower wages. Canadian wages are similar to ours. The mayor of Holland offered Kraft, the parent company of Life Savers, a 15-year tax break worth $25 million to stay. But Kraft’s CEO said it would save $90 million over the same period because sugar was less expensive in Canada."  The reason sugar is much less expensive in Canada is directly due to tariffs on sugar imported to the SDA.  Those tariffs were enacted to prop up inefficient and bloated SDA sugar producers at the expense of the Amerikan consumer.  This is a fine example illustrating how tariffs end up destroying Amerikan jobs.   Well written Mr. Williams. 

Christians Aren't Killing Themselves In Droves

There is a show on television called "This is Life," starring Lisa Ling and airing on CNN.  Over the past couple of weeks, and along with what seems to be half of the citizens of Denver, I have been suffering with a cold/cough combination that has seemingly gone on forever.  Being unable to sleep at night due to coughing fits I have spent time propped up in bed watching late night television.  During one of my coughing fits I tuned into Lisa's show.  It caught my eye because she was hanging out with a bunch of Satan worshipers who were dedicating a new statue of Satan at their house of worship.  What followed in the show neither shocked nor amazed me.  Let me tell you a bit about it today.
I don't know if it was Lisa's goal to present this particular church of Satan as consisting mostly of homosexual members, or if this particular church of Satan is mostly made up of homosexuals, or if I got a completely wrong idea about the relationship of some homosexuals to Satan but I finished watching the show with the powerful impression that at least this one group of homosexuals was dedicated to worshiping Satan because they thought it was consistent with their lifestyle choice. I found that most interesting.  I also found it quite consistent with their hatred of the God of the Bible.  Good for them.
Most of the part of the show that I watched consisted of an interview of a lesbian who was really angry with Christians.  Apparently, if I remember her story correctly, her brother had been a homosexual who was raised in a Christian home.  After he announced to the world that he was a homosexual his parents and fellow church members properly obeyed God's will and shunned him.  Not happy with that state of affairs he made the irrational decision to kill himself, which he promptly did.  His sister, the lesbian being interviewed, held the Christians in his life responsible for his suicide.  She believed they were guilty of murder.  
After observing what her brother had voluntarily decided to do with his life she quite irrationally and sinfully became angry with the entire Christian Church.  She decided that any God that would forbid homosexual behavior and chastise homosexuals for being homosexuals was a tyrant and not worthy of worship.  So this particular lesbian left the Christian Church in search of a god that would tell her she is just dandy.  She found that god when she discovered Satan.  Good for her.  A good portion of the show was dedicated to how happy she was now that she had found Satan and turned her life over to him.  He is everything she ever wanted in a god and life is good.  He has a wonderful plan for her life and all she has to do is worship him, which she now happily does.
Lisa was invited to attend the grand unveiling of the new statue of Satan.  She was the only non-member permitted into the building.  She described the service as mostly consisting of people who got drunk and had sex with each other, some heterosexual and some homosexual, until it was time to unveil the statue.  Then the curtain was lifted and everyone cheered their god, quickly returning to their drunken debauchery.  It sounded like a right edifying worship service and the lesbian pronounced herself to be quite satisfied with the way it was conducted.  That was the end of the show but it got me to thinking...
One of constant refrains of limp-wristed homosexual sissies is that they are viciously persecuted.  Another constant refrain of that politically protected group is that Christians are the primary culprits when it comes down to who is doing the persecuting.  I have a hard time seeing how they are persecuted when they appear to me to be one of the most celebrated, if not the most celebrated, special interest group in the Socialist Democracy of Amerika in our time.  Nevertheless, because not every single person in the universe runs up to them to affirm their lifestyle choices they consider themselves to be a terribly persecuted class.  Anytime some horrible Christians refuse to endorse their lifestyle choice they kill themselves, since that is the only reasonable thing to do in the face of such horrific persecution.  Why they care what a bunch of stupid Christians believe about them is never expressed.  Why killing themselves simply because somebody disagrees with their lifestyle choices is never explained.  Why suicide is the only way to deal with a legitimate disagreement about how to live life is never elucidated. 
Let's gain a bit of perspective about persecution, shall we?  According to the website dailywire.com , "Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world, according to a new study from The Center for Studies on New Religions. The study found that over 90,000 Christians were murdered in 2016, 30 percent of whom at the hands of Islamic terrorists. The findings are unsurprising, as there has been a devastating upward trend in such persecution. According to the Christian advocacy group Open Doors, there has been a rise in the global prosecution of Christians for the last four years.  'Religious nationalism is sweeping the globe according to figures released today as part of the Open Doors 2017 World Watch List,' said Open Doors UK & Ireland CEO Lisa Pearce.  'Persecution levels have been rising rapidly across Asia and the Indian subcontinent, driven by extreme religious nationalism which is often tacitly condoned, and sometimes actively encouraged, by local and national governments,' she added."
I wonder why Christians are not killing themselves in droves?

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

An Amazing Survival Story

Did you hear the story about "The Northampton Community College professor who survived more than a day exposed to Grand Canyon snow and freezing temperatures?"  If not, you can read it here.  Karen Klein, her husband, and their 10 year old son were driving along the north rim of the Grand Canyon in a snowstorm.  Despite the fact that the snowstorm was well publicized in advance, they decided to head out onto the roads anyway.  Karen is described as "an experienced outdoors woman" who had taken survival classes.  Her husband and son are not described, I can only suspect to protect the innocent.  Here is what happened.
These lunatics are driving on a highway that is rapidly filling with snow.  Somewhere along the way their GPS stops working.  Shortly thereafter they come to a "road closed" sign on the major highway.  What would you do at that point?  I suspect most experienced outdoors people would turn around and go back to where they came from.  Not so for Karen.  Being as experienced as she is at survivalist techniques she decided to turn off the major highway and follow an unplowed north rim secondary road instead.  It didn't take long for the inevitable to happen.  The car slid off the road and got stuck in the snow, a long way away from anyone.  Where the car ended up sliding off the road was also out of cell phone service so a decision had to be made.  What do you think the experienced survivalist would do next?
Karen decided to be the heroine.  She left her family in the car and headed out, without boots, in a raging snowstorm planning to go back the way they had driven in.  She walked several miles back to the "road closed" sign and then proceeded to walk over twenty miles along the closed road.  This is where it gets interesting.  Despite the fact that Karen, the experienced outdoors woman, had been hiking for less than a day, she started eating twigs and branches to satiate her hunger.  Not only that, fearing that eating some new fallen snow would give her hypothermia, she proceeded to drink her own urine to slack her thirst. After hiking through the night Karen eventually came to a north rim cabin.  She broke into the cabin and was  found asleep under a pile of blankets the next day.
After the theoretically inexperienced husband had waited in the car for a while, he decided to hike the other direction in search of a cell phone signal.  He found one soon enough and called for help, which arrived shortly thereafter.  He and his son were quickly rescued and the searchers followed Karen's tracks to the cabin where she was found, surprisingly well fed and not dehydrated.
Shortly after the rescue this story was reported on national news.  Karen was painted as a heroic figure who survived only because of her quick wits, amazing stamina and survival training.  Maybe it is just my jaded view of reality but I have a hard time seeing crazy old Karen as a heroic figure who cheated death under extreme circumstances because of her amazing survival skills.  Consider the following:
  1. I am not a trained survivalist but I think a reasonable course of action would have been to stay in the car, where there was shelter from the storm, and await rescue once loved ones notified the police they had not returned.  Isn't staying where you are usually the first course of action in these situations?  
  2. I am a somewhat experienced outdoors man and I know that I can survive well over a week without food.  Why Karen was compelled to eat branches and twigs is a mystery to me.  It does make for a dramatic tale though.
  3. I am somewhat experienced in winter conditions in the high mountains and I have never come down with hypothermia after eating some new fallen snow.  In fact, I find it quite delicious.  Furthermore, even if I do not want to eat the snow to avoid the possibility of hypothermia, I know that I can easily go for a solid day without any water at all.  I see no need to drink my own urine in situations like the one Karen created for herself but it sure made for a dramatic tale.
  4. I know nothing about GPS devices except for the fact that the people I know who use them become utterly dependent upon them.  When they fail those people are truly lost.  They have no idea where they are or how they got there, much less how to get out of where they are.  I have a simple suggestion from a person who does not use technology in the outdoors.....put your computer away and look around.  You will be amazed at how improved your orienting skills will become if you stop looking at the screen and start looking at the countryside.
  5. Although the husband and son are barely mentioned in the story it seems to me as if they were the ones with the most sense.  They waited out the storm in the car.  The husband walked in what he considered to be the right direction to get a cell signal, which he did, and he made the phone call that brought about the rescue.  How about some praise for his level-headed thoughts and actions? 
Sorry, Karen of Pennsylvania, I do not see your tale of survival the same way experienced outdoors people and survivalists see it.  I think you were just plain dumb.  But the reporters are right about one thing.  You were lucky to survive.  It just had nothing to do with your outdoors experience or survivalist training.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Donnie's Brainless Tariff Threat

On Monday, January 16th, King-elect Donnie Trump continued his bombastic ways by threatening to engage in a trade war with Germany.  Donnie believes, quite stupidly, that international trade is an act of war.  Donnie believes, quite arrogantly, that he needs to "win" anytime a trade takes place across international borders.  Donnie believes, quite imperialistically, that the Socialist Democracy of Amerika should always get the better end of any deal that involves a profit seeking company domiciled in some stinkin' foreign country.  Simply put, Donnie is a raving lunatic and exceedingly stupid when it comes to economics and the nature of foreign trade.
Here is the report, taken from CNBC, of Donnie's latest tirade, "U.S President-elect Donald Trump warned German car companies he would impose a border tax of 35 percent on vehicles imported to the U.S. market, a plan that drew sharp rebukes from Berlin and hit the automakers' shares. In an interview with German newspaper Bild, published on Monday, Trump criticized German car makers such as BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen for failing to produce more cars on U.S. soil. 'If you want to build cars in the world, then I wish you all the best. You can build cars for the United States, but for every car that comes to the USA, you will pay 35 percent tax,' Trump said in remarks translated into German. 'I would tell BMW that if you are building a factory in Mexico and plan to sell cars to the USA, without a 35 percent tax, then you can forget that,' Trump said."  Did you catch all of that?  If you did you will notice that King Donnie is also a magnificent hypocrite.
Since Donnie sees economic production as an act of war, he also believes that all SDA companies must produce all their goods exclusively on SDA soil.  Being an emissary of the imperial SDA empire, he demands that all profit seeking companies around the world that intend to sell goods to SDA citizens also produce those goods exclusively on SDA soil.  In other words, if some career politician or King from a foreign land wanted to force his profit seeking companies to produce goods in his country, Donnie would engage in war against that King in an attempt to force him and his company to produce those goods in the SDA.  All goods sold to SDA citizens must be produced in the SDA, according to King Donnie.  When the Kings of stinkin' foreign countries take the same stance as Donnie he declares economic war against them.  That is called hypocrisy, unless you happen to be the King of the biggest and baddest empire the world has ever known. 
Donnie also hates the citizens of Mexico.  He wants to make sure that their superior labor services are never utilized by any profit seeking company that desires to sell goods to SDA citizens.  Why he hates the Mexicans so much is hard to say.  Some believe he is a racist.  I do not think that is true.  I think he is simply an idiot with way too much power.  His hatred of Mexico stems from his belief that he is waging economic war against the citizens of Mexico because they are able to provide labor services for a cheaper price than SDA citizens.  Why providing labor services for a cheaper price is a justifiable reason to engage in economic warfare is something Donnie never explains. I sincerely doubt that he could explain the moral basis for his view.  The world is black and white for Donnie, just like it is for all worshipers of the Empire of the SDA.  You either serve the SDA and its interests or you are evil and worthy of death. Sometimes the death will be the result of bombs raining down from the sky and other times it will be the slow death of economic privation and starvation as King Donnie wages his economic wars around the world. 
Donnie claims to be a Christian yet he is engaging in an illegal and immoral war.  Donnie needs to live consistently with Christian principles and cease his wars of economic aggression against people he does not like simply because they live on the wrong side of a geo-political boundary.  Unless Donnie repents he will be facing the Lake of Fire in his future.  Hummm......I wonder.....do you think Donnie believes he can wage economic war against the Lake of Fire and cause it to cease to exist?  That wouldn't surprise me.