Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Slippery Slope Revealed

Joe Biden reveals the slippery slope effect I noted below while campaigning. Obama has been adamant that if a household makes less than $250,000, taxes will not go up. First, Biden says the limit is $200k, now he says $150k.

Many are calling this a classic Biden gaffe but was it really a mistake or are they just covering?

Campaigns are very careful to review the talking points and keep everyone on the same page. How many times have we heard "if you make less than $250,000..." from the Obama campaign? There's a reason for this--it sells the tax policy to the grassroots who are likely to benefit from this limit. Imagine if the limit were $60k? A lot of voters would start asking questions! Thus the $250k limit is very important and so is consistency in communicating that number when talking about tax policy.

So did Joe Biden just transpose a number here or there, or do his comments give us insight into the "real" and ever-changing policy we can expect?

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Cult of Redistribution

New YouTube video from 2001 has Barack Obama on the record advocating the use of the courts for radical income redistribution. Never addressing that little obstacle called the Fourth Amendment, of course.

I am still beside myself when I see how much support these ideas have gained in America. People advocating their own unemployment and poverty. The only thing I keep going back to is how we have failed to educate for so long that Americans have no analytical skills or basic knowledge of history and economic theory. It was another charismatic man, from the 20th century, who said it best...

"It is fortunate for those in power that people do not think."

People are not thinking about how these redistribution plans will actually hurt their own middle class bottom lines.

When Obama pledges to "spread the wealth," he's talking about taking money out of the private sector. This is money that, no matter how spent/saved in the private sector, creates wealth. Yes, some of the new losers will be rich even "filthy" rich. Those filthy rich people create jobs. They save and invest. They use capital in their businesses to grow the economy. This activity is what gives the American middle class the opportunity to make a decent living. As a middle class American, from a very middle class family, I've always accepted that in order for me to make $xx,xxx that there were plenty of people making $xxx,xxx,xxx.

Money in the public sector doesn't create wealth, it creates entitlements. And thus we have the ultimate risk socialism thrusts upon us; it's inefficiencies break down the private sector's ability to create wealth while growing a welfare state that the private sector can no longer support.

The promise that the IRS will only target those making $250,000 or more is an empty one for this very reason, and as history shows, these types of socialist schemes create a slippery slope effect and leadership abandons all of the promises when the scheme starts to fall apart.

This will quickly snowball into a massive redistribution which will require both absolute moral authority (don't question the dictator) and a living tax code. By "living tax code" I mean a way to rapidly change the tax code to seize as much wealth as possible as we descend into poverty as a nation.

Progressive taxation, for "social and economic justice" will assure us several things in the short term...

- Higher unemployment (less capital)
- Lower wages (fewer raises + inflation = pay cut)
- Higher costs of goods and services (tax is a operating cost passed onto consumers)
- Prolonged Depression as wealthy Americans look for tax shelters instead of investing

In the long term...

- Abandon the dollar after complete debasement (taking wealth from tomorrow's Americans)
- Forfeiture of the "right to work" and the right to exchange labor for pay
- Prisons (gulags) to punish those who are unwilling to work without pay

In this chaos we can expect each of our rights protected in the Bill of Rights to be revoked either through judicial activism or emergency legislation. The country will be falling apart and the handful of architects at the top will be desperate to hold it together.

We've listened to people cry about Bush suspending Habeas Corpus for 200 terrorists. Will there be outcry when First Amendment rights are limited to state run media? How about an elimination of the Fourth Amendment to speed up seizure of private property? And let's not forget about that pesky Second Amendment either.

If only history could provide some insight and direction on any of this?!? Has socialism ever been tried before? Does it work?

People just aren't thinking.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Myth of the "Credit Crunch"

First let me say whoever invented the phrase "Credit Crunch" is a genius! The term implies pain, even to the layman, without requiring any measure of real failure.

I believe the Credit Crunch is a myth designed by a handful of banking/brokerage elites to avoid the consequences of imprudent lending. These consequences have found their way into securities (CDO/CDS) and have had broader impacts on the markets.

In short, the "crunch" is a scam to get Washington to socialize the risks of bad investments while Wall St. continues to make millions. Without the "crunch" (crisis) there would have been no bailout (intervention).

A simple Google search reveals the supporting evidence; deflation, precious metal liquidation, LIBOR rates, etc... But I'm also interested in the anecdotal that seems to go unnoticed.

Are banks paying double-digit interest rates to raise cash? No.
Are credit card companies soliciting less business? No.
Have the credit card companies arbitrarily lowered credit limits as feared? No.
How about consumer credit elsewhere? Still widely available.

And the there's this little gem I get in the mail a few days ago...

(interesting portions highlighted and no I don't drive a Saturn)

Here's the important text...

Anticipating the current credit crunch our company secured over $80 Million dollars in financing for out car buying customers.

The company is Phil Long and is a local car dealership chain. Interesting that they are able to come up with this kind of financing during this horrible credit crunch. Guess I better buy a new car now before all the credit is gone!

I also find the part about the option to "Walk away" interesting. Did they mean from my current car loan or from the appraisal/deal?

Anyhow, things are not as bad as we are being lead to believe.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Why "Joe the Plumber" Matters

Over the weekend the media has created a shock and awe campaign against "Joe." You'd think that he's running for office as the Baby Killer Party (BKP) candidate. But he's just an average guy who had the opportunity to ask a couple of really good questions of Obama regarding his tax plan.

(Average guy, in average living room, with average looking furniture)

While both candidates have had excellent questions put to them while stumping, no one seems to have garnered as much attention as Joe. Joe has become more than just the two questions he was able to ask but rather a symbol, a symbol many are trying to destroy, to their own detriment--just how can you make this guy look evil and still be respectable?

In short, here's why Joe suddenly matters...

Joe is Grass Roots

The media does a great job sticking to Obama's talking points and isolating the public from the ill effects of the socialism he proposes, but Joe didn't get that memo. His questions illustrate there is a different reality in American that the media has worked hard to ignore. When you have a hard working guy in front of you asking why his success (labor) should be shifted to someone else, socialism gets harder to sell and it's victims have a face.

Class warfare has become popular in America. It's sexy, easy to sell, and aligns well with populist politics. But Joe has illuminated it's darker side and his questions, although very simplistic, show us the consequences of redistribution.

Ethics of income redistribution set aside, explaining how progressive taxation increases the costs of good and lowers wages for middle class workers isn't so easy. While this is something even McCain himself has failed to demonstrate, as a potential small business owner, Joe brings this impact back into the debate.

Many folks are starting to get this.

The Response to Joe

Citizens cannot question a dictator or his policies. A dictator's rule is absolute (absolute moral authority). The fact that the media (aristocracy) is going nuts over Joe gives us a grim glimpse into our future.

If we really believe in Democracy, then we have to be able to ask questions. Even perfect plans/policies should be questioned. Voters should be informed!!! But the questions of a few can lead to the dissent of many.

Until recently, American socialists had to accept debate and public discourse. Democrats used to say "count every vote," now they stifle the will of the people with voter fraud (ACORN) and go after anyone who asks the wrong questions.

This model has been employed many times throughout history and we're by no means ignorant of the consequences. The elimination of dissent (obedience) is a prerequisite for evil.

What does the future hold when one can't ask questions?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

RIP Summer 2008

With great pain and sadness I put the KLR away for the season today.

I had wanted to take more pics and post about rides, but there just weren't many. I started riding the bike again in June to save gas, which also should have a been a post, and found myself mostly commuting and running errands.

For some it might be a little early, but there have already been a few uncomfortable rides and even a little slide on a frosty October morning. On Friday I hit the reserve and knew today was the day.

Next year will require some new tires and more carb tuning. I've been struggling to get the gas mileage a KLR 650 should (55-60 MPG) and need to keep working on it. The bike was originally a Cali bike (lots of additional emissions controls) and has been jetted.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

iTunes 8 Remote Speakers Problem

Yesterday, I decided to upgrade to iTunes 8 to check out the new Genius functionality (which I'll try and review later). After thinking I had a good install and all was good, this morning I tried to play some tunes via my Airport Express and received this error message...

An error occurred while connecting to the remote speaker 'speaker_name'. An unknown error occurred (-3256).

After researching possible solutions for some time; opening up UDP ports, temporarily suspending Windows firewall and thirds party firewalls (anti-virus), nothing worked. There is a lot about this issue on Macs, but not much for Windows.

I finally stumbled on a post, which I've lost, with regards to a Mac, that suggested the Airport firmware be upgraded to the latest version. This resolved the issue!

To check the firmware version, open the Airport Admin Utility and select the base station...

The firmware version will be at the end of the description field, the latest version at this time is v6.3 (download from Apple).