30 April 2012

Liberals, Capitalism, and Taxes

There is a massive disconnect between Liberalism and Capitalism. It can be captured very easily under a single day-to-day activity: taxation.

(Side Note: Liberalism is decidedly different than Obama's Anti-colonialist mentality)

I found an article talking specifically about how Apple is managing to have a global 10% (or so) corporate income tax rate. I'll pull some quotes from this article and try not to be out of context.
As it stands, the company paid cash taxes of $3.3 billion around the world on its reported profits of $34.2 billion last year, a tax rate of 9.8 percent.
The disconnect is most obviously seen with companies such as Apple and other industry giants in that they are large enough organizations that it is advantageous for them to exercise as many options possible to reduce their operating costs. The various executives, CEO's etc have this fiduciary requirement to the share holders and the employees to do everything legally possible in order to maximize the growth of the company. 

Liberals, and many people who consider themselves to be social progressives, feel that a person's (and by extension, a business') responsibility is to their community and government. If a business is benefitting from a local university, then it should provide the funds necessary for the university to operate. 
“I just don’t understand it,” he said in an interview. “I’ll bet every person at Apple has a connection to De Anza. Their kids swim in our pool. Their cousins take classes here. They drive past it every day, for Pete’s sake. 
“But then they do everything they can to pay as few taxes as possible.”

If the government (local, state, fed) is in need of income to make impossible to keep promises to buy votes, I mean in need of income for their programs to help those in need, then it is the responsibility of those earning the income to pay the bill.

This is reminiscent of where unions were with the Big Three very recently. Unions felt they were entitled to a certain dollar amount that was not tied to the well being of the business. Thus, the Big Three have suffered. The US government (and state governments), tax recklessly without realizing that yes, businesses will leave if it becomes advantageous. Now, governments are feeling the pain of their poor tax decisions.

Liberals are disconnected from the business demand to be as profitable as possible. If governments (and schools, programs, etc) were run as a business, then we would all be better off. But, right now they are intent on blaming businesses for demanding lower rates which cuts into state "revenue".
Such lost revenue is one reason California now faces a budget crisis, with a shortfall of more than $9.2 billion in the coming fiscal year alone.
A business has no room for wastefulness. It cuts into profit, employee efficiency, product realization, public opinion. If a company overlooks the slightest of gray spots within its walls, then there is a potential that the area could release a product the leads to poor public reaction which can manifest itself with reduced sales, reduced profit from extra work required to fix a problem area, reduced profit from unsold inventory, reduced profit from expenses which cannot be recouped. 

The US government is the perfect model of wastefulness. 10's of millions get lost in appropriations, campaigning expenses, "deal making" for a bill to pass, random projects receiving funding which have no need, nearly complete projects being cancelled, etc, etc, etc. This extends to state governments to a lesser extent, but it is still the same. But, law makers have resorted to these various projects as their way of winning votes. They call fiscal conservatives criminals, haters of the elderly, people who want to make the poor suffer, racist. And it works. Rant over, sorry.

There are genuine liberals out there who do not see the government as the problem, but the solution. Fine. But, they feel that the way to give the government its funding is through raising revenue through increasing taxes. Corporations, the creators of jobs, have it as their duty to figure out how to avoid as many taxes as possible. So, when the tax rates start rising to fund the programs Liberals are after, businesses start moving the jobs to where taxes are lower.

This includes Nevada, Luxembourg, Singapore, Ireland… They open offices in states and countries with low tax rates. The corporations are going to do their business. They are going to make money. And they are going to do it in a way that is as advantageous as possible. Liberals don't get this idea. 
“Apple, like many other multinationals, is using perfectly legal methods to keep a significant portion of their profits out of the hands of the I.R.S.,” Mr. Sullivan said. “And when America’s most profitable companies pay less, the general public has to pay more.”
Solution: Make government more like business. A simple idea is to just be competitive tax wise! How much more money would California have if it wasn't in Apple's interest to open a business in Nevada for tax reasons? Look at Cupertino - Apple threatened to move away from the city if they didn't allow Apple to build their new campus. It wasn't blackmail, it was a reality of doing business. Cupertino realized this and backed down from demands of Apple. They now get to keep their tax income. And remember, tax income is more than tax from the sale of goods - it includes income tax from the people employed in the state.

If the US government lowered corporate tax rates to be competitive with Ireland or other countries which have become tax havens, how much more money would the government now have in its coffers? Or, how about if the elected officials were less concerned about being re-elected and more concerned with making the government as streamlined and efficient and a positive force in the life of individuals, wouldn't we be better off?

But no. Apple (and others) are dubbed as villains for being wise and shrewd. For not doing their "fair share" in giving the government the un-checked funds that it feels it needs (for election purposes). 

America, we need change.

26 April 2012

The AP's Former Glory

Passing out money just doesn't work. It teaches laziness, squander, and dependence. Even members of the AP used to believe this. Unfortunately, they too have jumped on the bandwagon that groups who encourage independence and self-reliance are people haters. Times have changed since 1949.

How To Make America Fail

Excellent video. I encourage everyone to share and to like the video.

23 April 2012

Medicare Used for Political Advantage

Now this is hardly surprising:
In a statement, Hatch and Camp said they were concerned that the government might be “using taxpayer dollars for political purposes, to mask the impact on beneficiaries of cuts in the Medicare Advantage program.”
Well, there has also been a study that says several of the "clean energy" businesses that received loans were major Obama campaign donors. Need to find a link...

22 April 2012

Austerity and Responsibility

Why is it that the liberals are allowed to continue to push their push for greater government control? Where is it that the liberal agenda has been allowed to have the greatest influence in the past two decades? Europe. And, unless people enjoy the continuation of a life filled with denial, which "developed" countries are already existing under a state of austerity?

- Greece
- Italy
- Portugal
- Ireland
- Spain
- France
- Netherlands
- Germany
- UK
- Did I forget Greece?

Nearly every single major country in the Euro zone is facing a significant budget crisis. Greece has been experiencing riots left, right, and center as its overly coddled populace is having to face reality; Italy's public debt is 120% GDP; Ireland is cutting 6B Euro's (the US congress argues over $1B - pathetic); Portugal has nearly 15% unemployment; Spain's unemployment is nearly 24% and they are cutting 35B Euro's; The UK has gotten rid of the vast majority of their military; France is raising retirement ages (they also only have a 38 hour work week); Germany is cutting 80B Euros by 2014; And the Netherlands are trying to agree on their own budget cuts.

So, why is it that we are struggling in the US to accept conservative values? Progressive liberalism is being proven through all the European countries to simply be the most ineffective form of ruling the populace. Well, Communism actually already took that title, but Progressivism isn't much further behind.

The government is not your salvation. It cannot directly interact with you on a daily basis. It has no clue what you are capable of. All it can do is waste your money as it becomes a larger and larger behemoth. Look at Detroit: They received $11M for a program to help poor people get clothing so they could do job interviews as part of the stimulus... $11M. It was to help 400 people. $11M for 400 people. That is $27,500 per person. Isn't there something fundamentally wrong with signing off on a program this ridiculous? Let's ignore the fact that it only helped 2 people.

Or you could buy a fancy US government sponsored light bulb for $60. It's made by Phillips. A Dutch company. And it cost US tax payers $10M. Another waste of our money.

A federal government is incapable of helping the average, everyday individual. It is too big. Too far removed. Too bureaucratic. Too corrupt. WHY RAISE TAXES to fund an organization that cannot be trusted to spend the funds with discretion?

For that matter, why do we blame the government for our own inability to succeed? Dave Ramsey was talking on Friday about the question, "Are you better off today that you were 2 years ago?" And his statement was simply: You are stupid if you think that your situation today is a result of the government's actions. You are in the position you are because of your own choices. Period. No one forced you to take out a loan you cannot afford. No one forced you to buy a car. No one forced you to marry some crazy person that spends all you money and has ridiculous credit card debt. No one forced kept you at home after you lost your job (move to North Dakota). If you have stopped paying your bills hoping for a government bailout.... If you are in a difficult financial situation, it is your own fault. Do something about it. Don't count on someone to come and wave a magic wand and fix your incompetence.

Conservatism is about taking responsibility for yourself. It is about saying "No" to government intrusion into our lives. It is about being independent and free to succeed or fail based on our own individual choice. The government is here to provide us these freedoms. It is not here to be our sugar daddy. If we keep on believing the liars who say the government will give you all that you need, then we will be where Europe is today. Austerity. Take responsibility for yourself and your world will be a better place.

21 April 2012

Gov't or Private Sector: Space X

Space X is a fantastic example of the capability and prowess of small, entrepreneurial businesses in the US. Within a few short years, the company which was founded in 2002 has developed a system capable of launching a space vehicle into Earth's orbit and have it dock with the space station.  It will do this for the first time next month. This was completely unthinkable 20 years ago.

A lot has changed since NASA first began its mission to explore space. The agency is controlled by a ridiculously whimsical government; a government which cannot decide where to spend all of the massive amounts of printed money next and one where each successive administration feels the need to cancel anything desired by the opposing party. A government which has become risk adverse. A government where decisions are made by opinion polls and committees formed by committees. See despair.com for a laugh.

As has been the story of the ages, what NASA accomplished in the 60's with the Apollo missions is neigh on miraculous. Everything they did was state of the art, do or die, cavalier, never been tried before. I don't think we have enough adjectives for the significance of the lunar landing. For crying out loud, the computers that they used were woven by hand.

The equivalent would today would be if we found a new propulsion system, maybe something like a railgun, developed a craft using entirely new materials and quantum or biological computers, with the goal for it to take a small crew of astronauts to lead a Martian expedition and safely return. With a deadline of 2025.

Companies like Space X are becoming the new NASA is the original spirit of the group. In a period of 10 years, Space X will have developed an entirely new rocket and be able to transport humans to the ISS. While being privately funded.

NASA succeeded in the 60's because it was free of the bureaucratic mess that is rampant today. Space X (and Virgin Galatic, etc) is making such amazing progress because it can focus and get the job done by motivated individuals working towards a common goal without the constant nagging by the Nanny State.

The US Government is too big to be success at enterprise. It needs to get out of the way and let individuals invest and create and take risks. America was founded by people willing to risk everything - and much of this mentality can still be found today. Unfortunately, the welfare state government that leftists are trying to impose on us is sucking the life out of our great culture! We need to fight back to get government down to size so that the spirit of America can be unbridled again. It is still here. We still have it. Space X is the proof.

19 April 2012

Nuclear Power: Fukushima

Right off the bat: I love nuclear power. I'm a geek. A nerd. Nukes, whether as a bomb or as a power source, are just amazingly interesting. So, it saddens me to see all the anti-nuke attitudes in the world.

Let's get some things straight: Fukushima was a horrible accident. But, in the grand scheme of nuclear incidents, my opinion is that it actually proved how safe nuclear power can be if properly handled. The radiation in the area simply doesn't compare to in scale to what has happened in other parts of the world. There was a great chart made up by Randall over at xkcd.com (April, 2011) which really puts it into perspective. I've got it below for you to see.


  • Chernobyl would have exposed someone to 50 Sv (sieverts) of radiation. 
  • Severe radiation poisoning requires an exposure of about 2 Sv.
  • The EPA limit for emergency workers is 250 mSv.
  • The two Fukushima plant workers were exposed to >200 mSv.
  • The approximate dose received at the Fukushima Town Hall over a 2-week period 100 uSv
  • On a flight from NY to LA you are exposed to 40 uSv

The greatest tragedy is the loss of life due to the tsunami. Not the nuclear reactor. People were able to safely reside in the area around Fukushima for weeks afterward without significant injury. If there is the time available to properly react, Nuclear reactors simply don't pose a threat to life. But, people around the world have got it in their craw that nuclear power plants are deadly time bombs waiting to destroy all life.

I have to admit there are other concerns surrounding Fukushima: Denial, over confidence and poor damage control. There is evidence that the situation isn't being handled properly. Water levels are not at the expected level within the containment buildings thus causing radiation levels to be higher than expected. Did this happen because people thought the initial solution would work and didn't follow up? I would have to say, yes. You don't just let a situation intentionally get worse. There had to have been a degree of confidence that the fix in place was adequate without daily monitoring verifying this one way or another. However, it isn't an insurpountable problem.

So, while there is certainly a degree of risk associated with nukes, they are a lot safer than many other options in the world (such as continuing to fund radical Islamic states through purchasing their oil which could land us with more terrorism and dirty bomb threats). And nuclear power is simply getting safer as we are able to invest in concepts and ideas to ensure the safe management of the power source. The latest nuclear plant design by Westinghouse proves that we have the ability to safely live with nuclear reactors.

I hope it is not too late. 70% of respondents to a poll in Japan favor ending reliance on nuclear power. Another poll has the number at 59% against.

Japan has in total 54 nuclear reactors. As of May 5th, they should all be shut down for maintenance. The supplemental power is being provided by "old fossil fuel" plants (Oil? Coal? NG?), but I'd be immensely surprised if they have the necessary capacity for the country to operate without any Nukes running.

xkcd info link
radiation info link

18 April 2012

Ted Nugent meets the Secret Service

Seriously guys? Here's the article. Mr. Nugent had some very satirical comments and it seems to have caused some people to hyperventilate. Why are we becoming a society that just over-reacts to everything? Are metaphors and similes too complex of a gramatical statement to be understood by people of certain view points? Evidently, yes. Unless Bill Maher says it. Or Chris Matthews.

I wonder if Obama's Secret Service will have prostitutes waiting in the room next door? Or Cocaine? Ah, that was below the belt. So sorry.

Liberals Loving the Constitution

Liberals love the 5th Amendment. I think it is the only aspect of the constitution they love. They plead it every time they are being held responsible for their irresponsibility. They also love their ability to use freedom of speech (when it benefits them) and the right to privacy (when they are caught helping organize underage brothels). Linked is a great clip showing Neely of the GSA pleading the 5th. Over and Over and Over.

It reminds me of people who live by religiosity and pick and choose which parts of their religion they feel is important. Or conservatives who are only conservative when they don't like how money is being spent (a liberal loves it when the government spends on everything but the military). Or how liberals love their freedoms gained by conservative values, but hate conservatives. Frustration abounds in my head.

Eric Bolling on Oil Speculation

I heard about this while listening to Mark Levin. Eric Bolling is a former commodities trader on the New York Mercantile Exchange and in the video here he rationally explains what the daily trading is like in the oil markets on the NYME. The premise is that on a given day, the amount of oil consumed is magnitudes of order smaller the the quantities of oil traded on the same day. In my mind, the greatest issue raised isn't the quantity of oil that is traded. Instead, it is that the banks and other major players in the market are able to make significant quantities of transactions without having to outlay any significant amount of capital (and if the trade is completed on the same day, no capital at all). This, by virtue of the rules enacted and the amount of volatility surrounding the product, effectively creates a massively desirable environment to these large banks as they can play the markets and make significant amounts of money. And since the banks are simply using this as an avenue to generate revenue, they greatly benefit from the rules while the individual consumers (you and I) are seriously affected.

In Indianapolis, we have weekly - daily - swings in the price of gas by 20-40 cents a gallon. If you time it wrong, it is ridiculously easy to go to work with a quarter tank of gas and see the price at $3.49 per gallon. On the way home, and needing to fill up, the price will be $3.89.  It happens every week. It has to do with some strange law that was enacted several years ago about how tightly connected to the closing price of oil or gas is required vs the price at the pump. Basically, I live the volatility.

Bolling argues that by changing the trading rules such that only a certain percentage of the commodity in the market is allowed to be gambled that we could see a drop in price by nearly $1/gal overnight. Alternatively, it could be required that the players involved have to put up more capital to participate. The idea is simply to discourage purely speculative players from entering the trading. To cut out the completely random spikes in price that are solely related to groups jumping in and buying up product to make a quick buck.

I don't really see anything wrong with the idea. Regulation is indeed something that is the role of the federal government and regulating such a necessary commodity more tightly seems very appropriate.

17 April 2012

CEO Pay vs Superstars

I'll never get this, and it really bothers me that this is the state of play in our country. CEO's have been made to be horrible, evil people for making a lot of money. Superstars, on the other hand, are left alone. Their large, unfairly large pay checks are completely ignored by the media. If a CEO makes millions, whoa, this is just evidence of the injustice that pervades the system.

Why is one okay, but the other is not? Granted, Leo Apotheker had no business at HP. He still received his golden parachute. It is outrageous. But, doesn't it seem outrageous that some thug athlete (the ones who are out there saying "I'm not a role model" and getting arrested all the time) is able to get paid millions to catch a ball? If there is to be outrage over how much an individual gets paid, the same outrage should be applied across the board.

This is the same sort of disparity we see towards women. It is okay to insult Sarah Palin - don't deny that you have seen and heard and maybe laughed at the jokes towards her. But, don't you dare say anything against the ridiculousness of the Sandra Fluke incident (Yes, it was outrageous, and Rush likely over did it. And I did laugh. But, I also laughed at the SNL skits for Palin). The same disparity we have with religion (insult Christians all day, but don't say a thing about a Muslim). The same disparity we have towards race (joke about Asians and Indians (from India), but be careful with what you say about African Americans).

If we are going to have standards, they need to be applied towards all groups. Else, we should not have any standards and let anything and everything be allowed. But where do you stand? Are you an equal offender of all people? Or do you pick and chose when to show indignation?

For reference of CEO vs Superstar pay, take a look at the list I pilfed from Red State.

For comparison, here are the latest available annual compensation numbers for the CEOs of XOM’s competition: 
Jim Mulva,                 ConocoPhillips,         $27,713,594
John Watson,             Chevron,                    $25,000,000
Peter Voser,               Royal Dutch/Shell,    €5,208,000 = $6,800,000
Robert W. Dudley,      BP,                             $3,404,300
Actors                     Earnings (Millions) 
Leonardo DiCaprio     $77
Johnny Depp             $50
Adam Sandler             $40
Angelina Jolie             $30
Sarah Jessica Parker    $30
Jennifer Aniston          $28

American Athletes     Earnings ($Millions) 
Tiger Woods               $62.3
Phil Mickelson             $61.2
LeBron James             $44.5 
International Athletes Earnings ($Millions) 
Roger Federer                 $52.8
Manny Pacquiao             $52.5
Fernando Alonso            $45.0

Reality “Stars"          Earnings ($Millions) 
Kim Kardashian         $6
Lauren Conrad           $5

16 April 2012

Fox Trot to iPad

I love Fox Trot. Bill Amend has been keeping a very tight hold of his IP - which I must applaud. He's now releasing his work on the iPad. This is a must buy.

Now, for Calvin and Hobbes.

GM didn't learn to fish

There has been some hoopla about how much better off the US economy is in part because GM and Chrysler were bailed out. What happens, however, as time goes on. What have these companies learned through their bail out? Anything? I wonder.

The old saying, teach a man to fish so he can feed himself into the future is appropriate. Ford, who did not take any Government money (and look at the new Escape! Nice!), is on quite the roll. The Focus, Fusion, Escape, etc are all doing very good sales wise.

GM, though, has had some struggles. At the end of 2011, the Chevy Cruze was experiencing a very large inventory surplus. The bigger issue, other than the fickleness of car buyers, is some of the decision making coming out GM.

All manufacturers are able to improve profits through accurately predicting sales and supplying just enough of a certain type of product to meet the demand. In doing this, excess inventory is not being produced and the need for large discounts is generally mitigated. But, GM isn't following the Japanese example. At the end of February 2012, GM's dealers had around 667,000 vehicles (vs 420,000 in Feb 2010) in stock.

Other signs that GM hasn't learned anything (and the investors in GM are stuck getting screwed twice over - once from their investments that were wiped out, twice through their tax dollars) comes from GM making their own little sub-prime loan situation. GM is gambling through increasing its lending to people who are at a high risk of default.

I leave with one other comment. GM just invested $400 Million of tax payer money into Peugeot. A French car manufacturer. GM already ownes Opel (and it is struggling). They claim that Peugeot has technology GM needs to help it be competitive. What is this, two wrongs some how make a right? If you want to gain access to technology, buy someone GOOD. Or is this a hidden agenda by the Obama Administration (I love to go all conspiracist)? Have a government take over of various manufacturers in the US so that the government can indirectly send US tax dollars to foreign countries in order to "thank" them for their support? Well, Mr. Sarkozy did help Obama with Libya.

14 April 2012

Climate Change: Dr. Tim Ball Skeptic

I just heard about Dr. Tim Ball on Thursday. He is evidently a fairly well known climate scientist who, from his credentials, is quite authoritative on the subject. I was able to listen to a radio interview he did on the local WIBC radio station with Denny Smith (I don't know how to link directly to the podcast, but his interview was on April 12th, 2012).

The subject of the evening revolved around truth in the scientific community. About how everything is becoming more and more politicized. This is exactly what is happening with the outrageous global warming claims coming from the likes of Al Gore.

Why, do we as individuals, allow politicians to politicize everything? Why don't we call them out? Who is Al Gore in the scientific community (a propagandist)? How can someone with an agenda specifically targeted at increasing government control in you life be trusted as having a voice of truth in something as complex as the global climate? It's beyond me. Then again, in high school, I mocked the concept of being class president based on how impotence of the position.
"You don't accept anything at face value as a scientist" - Tim Ball
Back to Dr. Ball. He's a skeptic. As all good scientists should be. What is the scientific method if not a continual process to disprove the common beliefs until you are left with nothing but facts? And by following the scientific method, why is there such outrage towards the lone voices in the world who are saying that we should not fall into the topics which are really meant to be political traps? Tim Ball is skeptical of man created climate change. He doesn't doubt that there is definitely global climate change, or that we can have some impact, but the fundamental truth is that there has always been climate change and there always will be and we measly, weak, limited humans don't have the power to control this powerful force of nature (italics are my thoughts).

Why do we ignore the mechanisms of the sun? Why do we ignore interstellar effects? Why do we ignore changes to the Earth's orbit? Because CO2 was chosen specifically because it could be used as a tool to attack industrialized nations. It was chosen partly due to the work of socialist Maurice Strong.
Strong is considered to be the person behind the globalization of the foundation-funded environmental movement, and was the Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment held in 1972, in Stockholm, Sweden.

“Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsiblity to bring that about?”
- Maurice Strong, founder of the UN Environment Programme
Opening speech, Rio Earth Summit. 1992

The evidence that Tim Ball presents goes into great detail as to how much manipulation has gone into twisting the public perception regarding climate change. They have the bureaucrats on their side who have the power to shut down the voices of skepticism and the power to push their agenda to the governments around the world. This is more fuel to the fire that we need to get out of the UN.

Listen to this interview with Tim Ball. It is excellent. Be informed.

Buffett Tax Idiocy

Update: Obama is now advocating how much the economy well benefit (and help reduce the deficit) from the Buffett Tax. That's a direct contradiction to what his office was saying earlier. How it is really about fairness and not so much about lowering the deficit. He is also touting how "We've tried trickle down experiment before. It doesn't work." Right. Let's look the employment rate, Mr. President. And while you're at it, get your story straight.


I've talked previously about the Buffett Tax being a stunt move. That there is just a lot of maneuvering and marketing happening to raise taxes, increase government power, and create class warfare. Well, we now have more details on the Buffett Tax.

The premise that we are told is Buffett and Romney and other people of wealth enjoy a lower tax rate because they receive income not from a salary or earned income. All of their money is received through dividends and other stock market transactions. So, if a tax is to be called the Buffett Tax, it would be expected to tax stock dividends and capital gains, right? Unfortunately, I can't find a clear statement as to what exactly is proposed under this Buffett tax.

On Rush, it was proposed that it is only on earned income. But I can't find support. The WSJ says it is for any income (capital gains, etc) that is over $1M. And Obama keeps on saying he just wants everything to be fair. But, the common consensus is that this silly tax we are all spending time debating (instead of being productive and cutting government spending!) only generates $5B a year. Where is the pragmatism is making such an issue over $5B... the US government had a budget deficit of over $1500B in 2011. $5 Billion is just 0.3% of the deficit. This really has to be something else. It sounds like the usual Obama rhetoric and divisive politics he has chosen to embrace for his 2012 re-election campaign.
Is Obama’s class warfare rhetoric working?  There’s a recent study which shows that in 2009, when Obama took office, Americans thought that there was little or no class conflict between the rich and the poor. Now, in 2012, the polls show “strong to very strong” conflict between these two groups.  So ...the answer is a resounding YES.  Three years of Obama class warfare rhetoric is having its desired effect.
As a side note, what is the real Buffett Rule?
Pass a law that says that any time there's a deficit of more than three percent of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election.

BTW, Berkshire Hathaway owes $1B in back taxes.

13 April 2012

N. Korea: Foreign Policy Failure

Excellent reporting coming out of the UK (again) in regard to the recent failed missile launch by North Korea. Obama keeps on trying to say that if just talk to people, they'll see reason and we will all just get along. And more evidence that US mainstream media is inept; it is hard to find criticism of Obama's foreign policy from NBC, CBS, CNN, etc.
"Instead of approaching Pyongyang from a position of strength, President Obama sought to appease the regime with a food-aid deal that proved to be as naive as it was short-lived," said Romney. "This incompetence from the Obama administration has emboldened the North Korean regime and undermined the security of the United States and our allies."

We also have "big threats" from Secretary of State Clinton about what North Korea faces because of their defiance. And the deference the US is showing for the UN is embarrassing. Talk about emasculation of a country's sovereignty.
Clinton and other U.S. officials have said they would cancel plans to send food aid to North Korea and will discuss next steps in the U.N. Security Council if the launch went ahead. 
Plans should have already been in place and reaction should have been immediate. The same way you should punish your child for an act of defiance. But, this is what happens when you start using Dr. Spock psychology with insane dictators on a power grab. The dictator takes the slap on the wrist and goes off to scheme again. Except, each scheme has a better and better chance of succeeding.

11 April 2012

Kuwaiti Freedom

We keep on hearing in the United States that Islam is a tolerant, peaceful, loving religion. Kuwait is generally consider one of the more "peaceful" Muslim countries in the Middle East. Just be careful about who you criticize.

The Kuwait Times said, "Al-Mulaifi was accused of broadcasting untrue news on his Twitter blog about the existence of racial and sectarian division within the Kuwaiti community, and of accusing some citizens of affiliations to foreign countries. Al-Mulaifi was found guilty of undermining the Shiite doctrine and insulting Shiite scholars."

Actually, here in the States, it is our leaders who do the exact same things! I'm going to go off and cling to my guns some more.

09 April 2012

06 April 2012

Obama's Oil Gambit

Oil is definitely the Obama Administration's trump card. The price of gasoline and oil affects every single American to a greater or lesser effect. The most obvious time that this has happened in the past was right after the tragedy in the Gulf with BP's Deepwater Horizon. Because of this, we had a 6 month moratorium on drilling off the US coasts. This was evidently supported by a group of scientists as cited in a White House report. This "report" twisted the recommendations of the group of scientists and it caused a bit of controversy.

Another fun one is Keystone - and this is one that has been going on for much longer than it should have been... because it is being politicized. A majority of Americans believe that the pipeline is a great idea and should be executed as soon asa possible. But, Obama's administration is talking on and on about how risky it is for the environment; that we can't afford to put nature in jeopardy. Right.

The first big reason Obama has declined to get Keystone on the move is he needed Warren Buffett. Mr. Buffett is quite an influential character in the world. During the end of 2011 and generally most of Obama's reign, there has been a war on the wealthy. To get them to pay their fair share. Who best to support Obama in this and call for higher taxes than Buffet? Right, so, what does Buffett have to gain from supporting Obama (there is always a payment)? Keystone. A delay in Keystone is worth billions to Buffett as he controls the major mode of transportation from the Canadian oil sands to the Gulf with his rail road network. Love it.

So, gas prices are sky rocketing. In a sense. And, Obama is going around preaching how we can't just pump more oil. We're doing all that we can! America it is time to grow up, he claims. Duplicity again. How... normal.

“And, yes, that means we make investments in stuff that is new and we stop subsidizing stuff that’s old... The current members of the flat earth society in Congress, they would rather see us continue to provide $4 billion — $4 billion — in tax subsidies, tax giveaways, to the oil companies,” Mr. Obama said. “Every time you fill up at the pump, they’re making money,” he added. [comment:  I love how Obama and his lawyer education is such a rudimentary speaker. Always saying "stuff" and "new" or "old". BTW, I do despise all subsidies. They should not be legal.]

We're doing all we can to lower fuel prices, he claims. Then he goes off and says no drilling in the Gulf and no Keystone. (now, many rigs have left the Gulf and are elsewhere in the world. Making money for OTHER countries... definitely Brazil, but Chinese or Middle Eastern companies also drill around the world. Nice way to hide the redistribution of US dollars to the world, yes?)

So, what will happen in the coming months. Let's see... Obama will hold off on Keystone until he gets all his environmentalists to contribute to his campaign. Then, as we get close to the election, but far enough away so that oil speculation can have an affect on oil prices, he's going to approve Keystone.  Watch and see.

The Oil Gambit.

AT&T to Unlock iPhones Off Contract

This is nice bonus for those of use who like to travel around the world and need access to foreign SIM cards! Hopefully, this will be extended to all devices and not just the iPhone.

I do wonder if Apple's decision to include world enabled GSM in all phones plays a role here. Verizon is more than happy to unlock the SIM card in your Verizon iPhone for travel abroad. There had to have been pressure, or some observed decrease in sales/ increased turnover that prompted this.


Beating Cancer: Nano Technology

Modern medicine is a truly amazing advancement in human society. We've come so far that normal disease is not our greatest threat, but instead the random mutations within our body that turn our own cells against us. Cancer. Yes, sometimes it is not random. Cigarrettes, alcohol, or any other environmental condition may be the trigger. But, many times cancer is horribly unprejudiced and random.

The treatments always have been horrendous. Is it worse to live for 2, 3, or 4 years, but have no quality of life versus letting the cancer run its course? I've not had to deal with this too personally (family members have had bouts with cancer, but not necessarily life or death at a "young" age), but I can imagine.

Whenever a new treatment comes available, I get hopeful. The most recent development comes from nano technology. The concept is to take extremely small particles that can be targeted to a specific type of chemical in the body (protein) and when it makes contact with cells that match this chemical make up, it latches on and releases a powerful dose of a cancer killing drug.

Think of it like the children's cardboard shape game. Except each missing shape - the circle, triangle, star - is a different cell in the human body. Pretend the cancer is a stain in the star shape hole. Typical Chemo is akin to taking this cardboard game and spraying the hole of it with cleaner, then shaking it vigorously to get the stain to fall off. You hope that the board holds together long enough to clean up the stain.

The nano particle treatment is more like using a star shaped cleaning pad to clean the stain in the correct hole. The rest of the game board does not suffer from the cleaning.

Until recently, researchers have struggled to find a good "shape" (protein) to use to latch onto the cancer... But they are starting to have some promising results. If the clinical trials continue to be as positive as the initial tests have been, we may be on the verge of a new medical break through.

Read the articles at The Telegraph and Scientific American for more details.

04 April 2012

ObamaCare vs Supreme Court: Obama Duplicity

The courts have officially cast semi-official votes regarding the Affordable Care Act, or ObamaCare. Rumor has it that Elena Kagan has passed the results of the vote to Obama. It was this news which has presumably prompted Obama to hold a(nother) press conference and to argue that it would be unprecedented for the Court to overturn his precious. 

As per the norm, anything that contradicts Obama's way of thinking is liable to be brought to everyone's attention through the ever-so-repetitive press conference. He then speaks and speaks about how what he is trying to do is so good for the American people. How only he understands what needs to be done. That when we try to stop his ideas, we're really destroying America. And, in a famous line: "If you love me..." we should tell [insert group] to just listen to him.

Ultimately I am confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress  
...an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law 
I'm confident that this will be upheld because it should be upheld

We later learn that at the same time Obama was giving his campaign speech (because what kind of President would really try to deny the authority of the Supreme Court to overturn an act of Congress? He want publicity; He wants fodder so his commercials can say how he stood up for the little guy come November), the Justice department was off in New York arguing that Congress should strike down the Defense of Marriage Act.

It is this kind of duplicity that is rampant throughout the Obama administration that I find despicable. Be honest, for just 10 minutes, please? Obama has an agenda, but so few groups are willing to call him out on it. So few are willing to stop and say... wait a minute... did you just contradict yourself again?

But, the 5th Circuit at least has taken a step forward. Republicans in the House have passed time and time again. But the 5th... I guess they have had enough of Obama insulting the court system! The 5th Circuit has politely asked for the Justice Department if it would be willing to explain the full implications of the President's press conference. To come out and say if they really do believe that the Court has the right to decide on the constitutionality of a given Act of Congress. To be honest with the American public and say, "Yup, it was a campaign speech." The funniest part are the requirements:

     - 3 pages

     - Single spaced

     - Due Thursday at noon

Reminds me of grade school. Fitting.

Anyway! Links. I like them all.

How Star Trek explains Obamacare.

Obama's reaction to the Court is concerns Liberals

The ignorance contained in Obama's speech. (although he was aware of the contradictions)

03 April 2012

Of Babies and Sharia Law

Here's a conspiracy theory: the same person (Margaret Sanger) who founded Planned Parenthood is actually part of the Nazi movement to cleanse society through Eugenics. Wait. That's reality (see above link and scroll to Eugenics). If we said she was linked to Islam and had a goal to reduce the birth rate of non-islamic families so that Western society would see a slow decline, now that's conspiracy.

So, sadly we don't have a conspiracy here, but there is an interesting pattern going on. If you look at the birthrates around Western cultures, we have been experiencing a major decline for some time. Japan is even starting to pay young people to have kids.

Companies have been urged to give their employees more time off to procreate; shops have offered discounts for larger families; and the government has introduced child allowances to lift the birthrate.

In Europe, the average birth rate is about 1.6 kids per woman. Please remember, that the birthrate is highest among the low income and immigrants. And which immigrants happen to be experiencing the greatest growth... Indians are definitely one... but so are Islamic Muslims.

The numbers are startling. Only 3.2 per cent of Spain's population was foreign-born in 1998. In 2007 it was 13.4 per cent. Europe's Muslim population has more than doubled in the past 30 years and will have doubled again by 2015. In Brussels, the top seven baby boys' names recently were Mohamed, Adam, Rayan, Ayoub, Mehdi, Amine and Hamza.

The most interesting part comes with this: democracy. The typical Western European - not the immigrants in W.E. - doesn't vote with a plan. They are fickle, like most Americans. They vote with their pocket-book and not by their values. And they don't plan... very much the same way we managed to vote in Obama with open arms (well, I didn't, I voted for a libertarian - McCain and Obama were both horrible). Most migrant groups tend to be fairly well united, and none are as united as Muslims.  Think about all the outrage that happens in Islamic and Muslim communities where there is even the slightest hint of an insult to their beliefs. They go crazy and tend to get their way. I bet Obama wouldn't apologize when groups burn Bibles - he helps.

In a statement, the Pentagon said military officers considered sending the Bibles back to the church, but they worried the church would turn around and send them to another organization in Afghanistan — giving the impression that they had been distributed by the U.S. government.
There is reportedly a tiny Christian minority in Afghanistan, however especially former converts can [face] death because of their faith, several rights investigators have confirmed.  
The row over the Bible burning comes shortly after the Pentagon announced this week that it no longer includes a Bible quote on the cover page of daily intelligence briefings it sends to the White House as was practice during the George W. Bush administration. 

So, we have a group of people that most Westerners are afraid to insult. We have groups in the US who are actively encouraging "planned parenting" through abortions. Birth rates in the west are at their lowest in decades. And we vote without any direction. Well, I have a sneaking suspicion that Islamist's have a very good chance of pushing their own agenda. It's happening in Belgistan. I mean Brussels.

Brussels is the capital of Europe. But some are now calling it the Muslim capital of Europe.
The graffiti on a building in Belgium says it all: "Welcome to 'Belgistan." 
Muslims are still a minority in Belgium, but in the capital of Brussels, they're already the largest religious group, comprising one-quarter of the city's population. 
In less than 20 years they're expected to be the majority. 

Watch this video. All of it. Sharia4Belgium is being effective in their methods and with their willingness to stand united together. They represent a rapidly growing block of voters. And they have lots of babies. What will happen to our culture if we ignore this? The Sharia4Belgium representative says our only chance to resist Sharia Law and Islam is to start procreating, maybe by having four wives. He also doubts we'll be successful. I believe he may be right - although I don't think my wife would approve of the task demanded!

False Reporting: Zimmerman

What happens when the media falsely reports an incident which could lead to an innocent being falsely accused? Or for inciting violence? Apparently not much.

You have to dig to find this stuff. The headlines on Google news are completely free of any mention about how bad the media is portraying Zimmerman. The worst thing comes down to how the mainstream media is trying to turn this into a white vs black, racial issue.

They keep on calling Zimmerman a white Hispanic male. Does his last name make him white?

NBC has manipulated the 911 phone call to change the flow of the conversation between Zimmerman and the operator.

The there are the pictures. Most images posted are showing Zimmerman as a convicted felon next a picture of Treyvon that five years old. Have you seen this image? Its a slightly different portrayal.

And news outlets got a hold of the videos, ABC edited and REPORTED that there does not appear to be any evidence of the injuries that Zimmerman claimed he received... But then read this. I would consider this highly unethical and libelous.

Should we add in the tweeting of the Zimmerman family address?

The worst part in this whole story comes down to it being a conduit to try and create division in our country. And the division is simply to promote Obama. A young teenager and what appears to be an upright citizen are being used for some other devious agenda.

Get this: Treyvon died 5 weeks ago. Why is this news being treated as if it just happened? Well, 5 weeks ago the media was busy telling the public that Republicans hate women. And, 5 weeks later, how can they be so wrong with their reporting when there has been plenty of time to vet the info?

They (mainstream media) are trying to manipulate the public. But where is the outrage? Why aren't you mad? Why are you still watching "Dancing with the Stars" and "Biggest Loser"?

02 April 2012

Photo Editing: Adobe Lightroom 4

I am wanting to get a DSLR at some point, so knowing which software to use as a primary image editor is important. Arstechnica provides a full review of the new software by Adobe and concludes it to be a worthy upgrade from Lightroom3 and are especially happy with the new price of $149. At half the price, I'll be looking for a comparison against Aperture before making a decision.

Lightroom 4 doesn't make big strides on the quality front, but the new features are significant and well executed. Lightroom 3 users have little reason not to upgrade—the Maps, Books, and rejigged tonal adjustments should appeal to both professionals and hobbyists. If you're looking for the best option for video handling in a photo management app, this is definitely it. The evaluative chromatic aberration sounded promising but Lightroom's results aren't as good as the other RAW apps that have this feature. This is the only underwhelming part of version 4. Overall, this is a great update to a great application.

WSJ: No-So-Smooth Obama

I found this on the Wall Street Journal. A fantastic insight into the growing chasm between Obama and his administration to the people his is "trying" to work with, such as the Repulicans, and the American people.

What is happening is that the president is coming across more and more as a trimmer, as an operator who's not operating in good faith. This is hardening positions and leading to increased political bitterness. And it's his fault, too. As an increase in polarization is a bad thing, it's a big fault.

01 April 2012

April Fools Links

April Fools is always a riot with the advent of the internet. Some companies have some very comical ideas that I just have to save. Here we go!

First up is Assassin's Creed for Kinect... I can see the rampage now =)


Everyone is talking about Google's 8-bit Google Maps for NES. It is very good.

Gmail Tap takes advantage of the power of Morse Code. I do wish they would have made better use of touch screens and made it a single button. So short sighted.

Off-line YouTube is possibly one of my favorites... Either this one or Assassin's Creed.

 Here are most of Google's 2012 April Fool's pranks.

ThinkGeek has several good ones including the Minecraft Creeps.

Admiral Ackbar "It's a Trap!"

IGN also has quite a list of pranks from around the net.

US Government Reverts to Articles of Confederation

In a surprise coup, the libertarian movement in the US managed to sneak a bill through congress reverting the US Government to being dictated by the Articles of Confederation!

Suddenly, the 50 states will have to ratify whether they wish to remain in the union. It is widely expected that the 26 states currently challenging ObamaCare will quickly push this through. California seen becoming it's own nation.


Seriously, I do wonder where the United States would be had this remained the defining governance model for the country...