Monday, September 26, 2011

NEW WEBSITE: Sacracyliac

Sacracyliac - Music, Art, TV, Movie and Product Reviews

I'm launching a new blogspot website today. The site will be a repository for reviews that I do on occasion. The intention is to convey my impressions and information about all sorts of things that I experience while it's on my mind.

Most reviews will be short and sweet, but some will be longer since some subjects can't be handled with a thumbs up or thumbs down. I don't promise there won't be spoilers but I'll try not to ruin "The Sixth Sense" for you. Ultimately I'll use a 5 star rating scale with 1 being don't bother, really, and 5 being a must...

Bookmark the URL and pass it on!!!

What's with the name? Absolutely nothing, I just made it up. I just like the way it rolls off the tongue.

Friday, September 23, 2011

No need for green

The decades long obsession hard core leftists and everyday liberals have had with alternative energy culminating in President Obama's energy starvation policies in favor of "green energy" is based on false premises all around.

Just taking for a moment the whole Global Warming debate and boiling it all down it becomes a matter of burning fossil fuels. The dubious inference that C02 as a byproduct of burning oil and coal is the main cause of Global Warming is the only arrow in their quiver. Almost daily a new story emerges that casts even more doubt on the C02 based computer models that have promised the end of the world. It seems Global Warming, or rather, climate change is a natural, cyclical process.

Without Global Warming the Greens would have to rely on pollution and tragic accidents to make a case against fossil fuels. This may not be enough. Accidents are just that. Accidents are understandable. Pollution is probably not enough to turn the public against fossil fuels since people can see with their own eyes that the environment (yes, with controls, regulations and government rules) is getting better all the time. In my state they discontinued vehicle emissions inspections a decade ago. Air quality doesn't fall below thresholds that dictate such a requirement.

The reason CAGW and pollution are so important to the Greens is because the depletion angle of peak oil has been smashed. In a recent story at "Everything you've heard about fossil fuels may be wrong" by Michael Lind dispels the notion that the U.S. is hopelessly dependent on foreign sources of oil and that we must move toward alternative energy. Yeah, this was at I know, who would have guessed...

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, these advances mean there is at least six times as much recoverable natural gas today as there was a decade ago.

Natural gas, which emits less carbon dioxide than coal, can be used in both electricity generation and as a fuel for automobiles.

The implications for energy security are startling. Natural gas may be only the beginning. Fracking also permits the extraction of previously-unrecoverable “tight oil,” thereby postponing the day when the world runs out of petroleum. There is enough coal to produce energy for centuries. And governments, universities and corporations in the U.S., Canada, Japan and other countries are studying ways to obtain energy from gas hydrates, which mix methane with ice in high-density formations under the seafloor. The potential energy in gas hydrates may equal that of all other fossils, including other forms of natural gas, combined.

If gas hydrates as well as shale gas, tight oil, oil sands and other unconventional sources can be tapped at reasonable cost, then the global energy picture looks radically different than it did only a few years ago. Suddenly it appears that there may be enough accessible hydrocarbons to power industrial civilization for centuries, if not millennia, to come.

The realization that we as a society need not rush to the green side needs to have an advocacy and a bullhorn. The green "save the environment" mantra has permeated everything. Every corporation, even the energy companies - the enemy - pay lip service to the greens. There's nothing wrong with being an advocate for clean air and water, but that doesn't mean we should be made to feel guilty about the lifestyle we've created with the viable energy options we enjoy now.

The costs of propping up green energy while at the same time stifling domestic fossil fuel production always falls on the poorest among us. The average person will not be able to afford to fly, or even take a long vacation by car. Major industries will wither (and millions will lose their jobs) during a forced transition. This isn't even taking into account the unreliability of so called green energy. Simply put the technology is just not ready for the utopian dreams of the greens - the reality of a green revolution will be a nightmare for millions.

One day the age of oil and the age of coal will end, but it will be when the magic of solar energy is actually realized (or some other such magic). We need to fight vigorously the forces that would diminish our quality of life with lies about man-caused global warming or the preposterousness that C02 is a dangerous pollutant.

Read the whole story - it's eye opening


Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Transfer Payment Casino Society

Occasionally my wife and I go to one of the many casinos in our area. Myself, I'm not much of a gambler but my wife genuinely enjoys it so I go along for the ride and of course the wonderful buffet. I'll pluck $20 or $40 in a few slot machines and play until it's gone. I told my wife once that I might as well just visit the cashier on my way in and give him the money outright. The rest of the time I spend people watching while my wife plays her favorite slots with her own money (we keep separate finances).

What amazes me is that during this so-called Great Recession the casinos are brimming with customers - regular customers. I'm sure the casino operators we tell us that business is down, but if things are that bad shouldn't the casinos be nearly empty? Of course things are bad in general and yet the casinos are bustling with young and old alike with their money presumably experiencing the same fate as mine.

I would bet - pun intended - that a huge percentage of the money filling the casino's coffers are a direct result of government transfers. Social Security and various government employee pension money in the case of the older set. Not to mention the money the senior crowd is NOT spending on prescription drugs. There would also be unemployment benefits and SSI and other direct government payment money, not to mention food money made possible by food stamps, WIC and other benefits the younger set is not spending at the grocery store.

Tim Worstall's interesting article at made me think of my casino experiences of the last few years. How can there be so many people throwing their money away at the casinos when so many people are presumably so poor? Maybe it's not really their money.

In the article "The New US Poverty Numbers: Everyone, Just Everyone, Gets This Wrong" Worstall tells us that poverty numbers as reported in recent years are calculated before said poor people receive government benefits. It used to be that government benefits were calculated into the poverty figures.

We used to measure those who were poor after we’d helped them. Now, by and large, we’re measuring who would be poor if we didn’t help them. These just aren’t the same thing and so the numbers are not directly comparable.

This explanation will also aid you in understanding one of the great conundrums of modern America. How on earth can the US be spending hundreds of billions of dollars a year on beating poverty without actually beating poverty? Simple, we spend the money but don’t measure how much poverty we’ve beaten by spending it.

This is just one more way the government and mass media deceive us with calculated dishonesty. We as a society have spent trillions on "fighting poverty" and trillions more on corporate welfare (which is even more obscene) and yet poverty rates are unchanged if not higher. No one is advocating a society without a social safety net, but when will we have an honest policy direction that addresses the reason we are dumping good money after bad on transfer payments that literally do nothing to reduce poverty - except that is for the casino operators.

More power to the casinos, they obviously offer something beyond my comprehension, but it concerns me that people getting direct benefits from the government just take the money they don't spend on their own needs and give it to the casinos. Obviously this paints casino denizens with a broad brush, but do not deceive yourself into thinking that this is not happening.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Go east young man

Need a new job? Go east.

If you think California's economic woes are bad now just wait until 2016. Once the Panama Canal upgrade is finished so too will be tens of thousands of jobs on the western seaboard from San Diego to Seattle.

The canal will be able to support gigantic modern container ships that today are serviced in California where the goods from Asia are then trucked across the country for distribution to eastern cities. Port cities all along the east coast and the Gulf of Mexico are completing upgrades of their own to handle the large ships. The opportunities for trucking and railroad companies to expand employment in the east look promising.

The benefits for the distribution system in a vast consumer market like the eastern United States is only part of the story. The entire Eastern seaboard of South America will benefit as well. Ships that used to take the long and dangerous trip around the southern tip of Chile will be able to reach Brazil and Venezuela via the relatively calm waters of the gulf.

While the exact impact is still hard to quantify one thing is certain California will suffer. The Golden State is already on the brink of total financial collapse due in large part to political idiocy and a fatal devotion to public unions and "green" policies. Despite some of the best weather and natural abundance the state government has made California number 50 on the list of "Best States to Do Business In". The Panama Canal upgrade will devastate two of the states thriving occupations - longshoreman and truckers.

There's not much California can do about this. Will this be the final nail in the coffin? It appears the folks up in Sacramento don't care anyway.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

The dictator of New York

On the tenth anniversary of 9/11, Bloomberg has decreed that clergy will be excluded from the 9/11 memorial ceremony. He says the memorial schedule is too busy to allow prayer. What is wrong with this guy? Is he a petty tyrant or just an asshat?

I hope New Yorkers like Mayor Bloomberg. I certainly don't. He seems like a typical dictator to me. His decisions are final and no one is going to change his "open" mind. It's not even his ridiculous decisions to keep firefighters and clergy from the remembrance ceremonies of 9/11 that frost me, but also his numerous bans on foodstuffs, perp walks, indefensible defenses of government funded abortions and mosques in the shadow of ground zero.

On the mosque flap, as many have said, and I agree - they should and do have the right to build their mosque anywhere, but having the right and being a good idea are two different things. My problem with Bloomberg on this issue was his lashing out at those who see it differently than him. It makes him look like a petulant child.

If Bloomberg's open mind is so consistent on the ground zero mosque issue as well as his push back against the atheists protesting the inclusion into the 9/11 museum a Christian cross made from steel beams from the WTC wreckage, then why the attitude toward religion during the remembrance ceremonies?

What about the FDNY firefighters? Why exclude them? 


Friday, September 09, 2011

Are you still talking?

Second verse same as the first...

President Obama's jobs speech as it's being reported was simply more of the same. Maybe a little less blaming Bush, but all and all just another hodge podge of targeted this and one-time that, essentially nothing that would really change the game.

When it comes America's economic woes it's really a matter of global competitiveness. China has the cheap labor and open doors. Oh yeah, and a dictatorial central government. China's economy is what American, Japanese and European business has made it with encouragement from their respective governments. Isn't it time for America to put our spirit, innovation, work ethic and dynamism to work for us instead of for China?

Did the President even hint at this fundamental issue in his jobs speech? Not really.

What we got from the President was a cobbled together rehash of tiny, targeted tax cuts, some that made no sense (a silly tax credit for hiring someone who's been out of work more than six months? Does any business choose or vet a new employee like this?)

He calls for more "infrastructure spending", and more straw men arguments with millionaire and billionaire "fair share" rhetoric. None of it was serious and wasn't meant to be, because it was simply campaign politics. Not that anyone was really expecting different, but why such a build-up, why such expectations only to deliver such a turd? Simple, he and his ideological brethren are incapable of any admission that their philosophy is defective(absent Utopia).

One thing that the President says - repeatedly - is absolutely true. We didn't get into this mess overnight and we won't get out of it overnight. Then why the short term gimmicks and targeted stimulus when fundamental changes are called for? Simple, he and his ideological brethren are incapable of  any admission that their philosophy is defective.

So imagine my surprise to find The New York Times (aforementioned ideological brethren) had published an opinion piece that echoed my previous post The message, not the messenger. The message that Washington DC is broken and both parties are corrupt is so patently obvious to any conscious human being that it seems odd a major newspaper needs to even highlight the subject. In a rare commentary in said newspaper Sarah Palin's substantive words are examined - fairly...

She made three interlocking points. First, that the United States is now governed by a “permanent political class,” drawn from both parties, that is increasingly cut off from the concerns of regular people. Second, that these Republicans and Democrats have allied with big business to mutual advantage to create what she called “corporate crony capitalism.” Third, that the real political divide in the United States may no longer be between friends and foes of Big Government, but between friends and foes of vast, remote, unaccountable institutions (both public and private).

In supporting her first point, about the permanent political class, she attacked both parties’ tendency to talk of spending cuts while spending more and more; to stoke public anxiety about a credit downgrade, but take a vacation anyway; to arrive in Washington of modest means and then somehow ride the gravy train to fabulous wealth. She observed that 7 of the 10 wealthiest counties in the United States happen to be suburbs of the nation’s capital.

There's even more cogent analysis of what Palin said in her Indianola, Iowa speech in the NYT article. Perhaps the President should co-opt some of these sentiments as his own. No doubt the adoring media would run with it and it might just be a difference maker in his reelection bid. He won't of course, but why not?  Simple, he and his ideological brethren are incapable of any admission that their philosophy is defective.


Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Crony, or not to crony

Ben Shapiro a columnist for declares that Sarah Palin was wrong to use the term crony capitalism in her speech last week . He says the term disparages capitalism and that correct term is corporatism. I think it's a distinction without a difference, a 'to-mai-toe' 'to-mah-toe' thing. I knew what she meant and any thinking person knew it too. Whether the rigged game the giant corporations engage in with the government elites (in D.C. or the local statehouse) is technically crony capitalism or corporatism is beside the point.

As Shapiro correctly points out it's nothing new, it's been going on since the so-called robber baron days of the late 19th century. It's always been championed by the Democratic party. The problem is that now it's being used to make American cronies/corporatists (and their government operatives) very wealthy at the expense of American middle class economic power. By exporting the work to Asia along with the technology the corporate/government cabal is in direct conflict with everyday working Americans.

This is one of the reasons I can't understand why the so-called working class in America is so enthralled with the Democrats who support and foster the corporate/government cabal at every level. Oh yeah, the alternative is the corporate jelly party called the Republicans. Now that the Democrat boosters in the Main Stream Media have painted the Tea Party Movement as insanity personified the working class has no real voice. The Tea Party is as opposed to the corporate/government cabal as it is to the Federal overreach into extra-constitutional powers.

No matter, I still think Palin is the only one with the courage to say these things with real conviction, the party and the people dismiss the message at their own peril.


Tuesday, September 06, 2011

The message, not the messenger

Sarah Palin may be the only one in American politics who has the guts to point out what's right in front of us - the ugly truth amid the obvious dishonesty of the ruling class. Unfortunately while the message is strong and demands a respectable hearing the messenger is weak and does not get the respect she deserves.

As I've said before I don't believe any public figure in politics has ever been treated the way Palin has, but lately she has become her own worst enemy. She has every right to be disgusted and even angry at the major media in this country, still she often acts like the kid banging a stick against the fence just to keep the big dog all riled up - all it does is annoy everyone within earshot.

However she does have something powerful to say...

Some have said if we were to give the transcript of her Indianola Iowa speech cleared of self referential passages to people on the left and the right not knowing who spoke the words they would nod and cheer their approval. She clearly spells out the problems Washington has created for us all. She makes a point that ruling is class is doing just fine by cleverly saying: Seven of the ten wealthiest counties (in the U.S.) are suburbs of Washington, D.C. Interesting isn't it?

From the transcript
Yeah, the permanent political class – they’re doing just fine. Ever notice how so many of them arrive in Washington, D.C. of modest means and then miraculously throughout the years they end up becoming very, very wealthy? Well, it’s because they derive power and their wealth from their access to our money – to taxpayer dollars.  They use it to bail out their friends on Wall Street and their corporate cronies, and to reward campaign contributors, and to buy votes via earmarks. There is so much waste. And there is a name for this: It’s called corporate crony capitalism.

When the names on the wall of the Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs and the U.S. Treasury Dept  are interchangeable I defy anyone to say we aren't being ruled under a system of crony capitalism. I urge everyone to take the time to read the transcript, suspend your preconceived prejudices and be honest with yourself. The bottom line is it's as much crony capitalism as pure socialist policies that are ruining this country. People are sick of it on both sides of the aisle.

Palin goes on to give a prescriptive outline for what needs to done, some of it arguable, most of it dead on, but the notion she sells in this statement should be the rallying cry for all Americans pining for our economy back...

From the transcript
So, to make America the most attractive and competitive place to do business, to set up shop here and hire people here, to attract capital from all over the globe that will lead to an explosion of growth, instead of chasing industry offshore, I propose to eliminate all federal corporate income tax. And hear me out on this. This is how we create millions of high-paying jobs. This is how we increase opportunity and prosperity for all.

But here’s the best part: To balance out any loss of federal revenue from this tax cut, we eliminate corporate welfare and all the loopholes and we eliminate bailouts. This is how we break the back of crony capitalism because it feeds off corporate welfare, which is just socialism for the very rich. We can change all of that. The message then to job-creating corporations is: We’ll unshackle you from the world’s highest federal corporate income tax rate, but you will stand or fall on your own, just like all the rest of us out on main street.

The ruling class is the elites in both parties. It's the cozy deals they strike with corporations, farmers and special interest groups while the major media glosses it over that skews everything, skews hell, ruins everything. The lefty's will hate this plan because corporations are evil, of course, but the current tax laws hamper expansion and job creation in this country while simultaneously encouraging outsourcing overseas. This is killing the working class the left claims to care so much about. While I don't see the elimination of all corporate income tax being politically possible, I do see a huge reduction as being imperative. Palin's right about this.


Saturday, September 03, 2011

Exporting Exceptionalism

 Shelby Steele, author and thinker, wrote an excellent column for the Wall Street Journal published Sept 1 2011. It's hard to argue with anything Steele posits in this piece. The premise that the President's anti-exceptionalist demeanor summed up in this paragraph is that America comes about it's status illegitimately:

there is something more than inexperience or lack of character that defines this presidency: Mr. Obama came of age in a bubble of post-'60s liberalism that conditioned him to be an adversary of American exceptionalism. In this liberalism America's exceptional status in the world follows from a bargain with the devil—an indulgence in militarism, racism, sexism, corporate greed, and environmental disregard as the means to a broad economic, military, and even cultural supremacy in the world. And therefore America's greatness is as much the fruit of evil as of a devotion to freedom.

This passage as well as many others in Steele's article is dead on. But I think ultimately pinning the decline of the U.S. power and exceptionalism on this brand of liberalism is not the whole story. Capitalists and capitalism live by the tenet - grow or die. It was inevitable that the world so devastated by war and poverty would not remain so. Capitalists made sure of it

Expanding beyond our borders the market based system was instrumental in the demise of creeping communism. Specific laws helped American brands expand overseas because it was good for capitalism and for the West's battle against Soviet expansionism. Once the Cold War was over and bans on exporting American technology were lifted the race was on.

Some would say, and even I feel it sometimes that American based multi-nationals are disloyal and even treasonous in the way they export American jobs that literally shutter up entire towns across the country. Is it really their duty to maintain expensive operations just because they are American based? Not necessarily. What we find is that the very same laws (tax laws especially) used to great extent to promote market systems during the Cold War now stymie expansion and growth in America by our own companies. It makes it difficult for profits made overseas to be repatriated into the domestic economy. As well, free trade agreements pushed by the capitalists when coupled with intransigent labor unions also contribute to the outflow of jobs and wealth.

We can say that liberal legislatures create legislation that disfavors business domestically, true enough, but, Republicans have not once championed turning this around when they held the power. Can you say campaign contributions? In many respects multi-nationals like the rules the way they are. With business expanding in other countries they have yet to really feel the pinch of the loss of America's middle class. Until now that is.

I think it's imperative Obama be a one termer. His brand of Americanism is dangerous to the world, but Republicans and American mega corporations have failed in every way imaginable as well. It takes two to tango. It's time one party does what needs to be done to expand our own economy again. The debt and deficit at all levels of government will take care of itself when American economic power is asserted once again. We need leaders and statesmen who, one, believe in American exceptionalism (not today's Democrats, unfortunately) and two, will do what's best for America and not their own campaign war chests. Fat chance...