Misrepresenting money?

Checked the e-mail the other day and noticed that I had gotten a notice of another column from Tibor Machan over at the Atlasphere taking exeption to the nominations for the ten best movies concerning money fromForbes.com. His conclusion that money was at best misrepresented in the films left me thinking that Americans (and people in general, including Hollywood directors) need to first understand money before we can represent it properly in film.

I filed the link away on the off-chance I had time to write a blog entry on the subject. Then this column (also at the Atlasphere) showed up in my inbox. Larry Elder is another of the column writers that I usually enjoy reading, but not this time. Here he’s off on a rampage trying to discredit the viewpoint that the economy is in trouble. A misguided effort at best.

Given that the US is an economic powerhouse; given the economy (somehow) continues to grow. But, gasoline is on the rise, and will probably hit record highs before the summer even gets into full swing. Businesses have been able to absorb the higher transportation costs so far, but I doubt they’ll be able to do so through a second summer.

The problem is that a certain amount of growth is required to keep the US economy afloat. We have spent ourselves into a very large hole in the ground; it would be all too easy to get buried if business doesn’t continue in a ‘normal’ growth curve. What backs the dollar is, “The full faith and credit of the US”; which means it is entirely based on the American people’s willingness to absorb the debt, and to go into debt themselves doing it. What happens when the debt becomes too large to bear? Does anyone out there think that this can’t happen?

That Mr. Elder doesn’t point this out while he’s busy defending the economy that we are currently in (which is lackluster compared to growth in previous generations) just goes to show what I mean when I say we have to first understand money. Without a strong dollar, a ‘growing’ economy could well be a meaningless side effect of the plentiful, worthless paper money that keeps floating around.

Coincidence Conspiracy

Checked the (e)mail today (is there any other kind? That counts, anyway) and discovered that the Lincoln-Kennedy mail chain had reached my inbox again. This makes the forth or fifth time I’ve seen this particular bit of fluff since I got on the ‘net back in the 90’s. If you’ve never seen it, wander over to Snopes and check out the layman’s idea of a weighty conspiracy.

We’ll just dispense with the possibilities concerning the more recent events that could be construed as conspiratorial, or the historical evidence that backs up the possibility that these sorts of conspiracies can occur, and just get right down to it, eh?

Lincoln can be said to have been assassinated by Boothe, because eyewitnesses place him in the private booth with Lincoln when the fatal shot was fired. Many people erroneously believe that he acted alone, but the truth is that this was a part of a plot to remove several members of the union gov’t, down to a leader that was deemed to be sympathetic to the Southern cause. None of the others were successful in their attempts, so the wider conspiracy remains unknown to the average American.

After watching “Unsolved History: JFK – Beyond the Magic Bullet” (and reading some of the sites I’ve stumbled across today just trying to track down a link to the show) I might be willing to grudge the observation Kennedy was assassinated by Oswald (He was assassinated by Oswald. The research to find that first link convinced me of this fact. It took awhile to sink in. Editor) but it’s far from being a universally accepted fact.

In both cases it’s quite possible that the assassinations were aided by people high up in the administrations themselves (Robert Kennedy long thought that his brother’s assassin was a shooter trained in a program that he was running in another attempt to get rid of Castro) for reasons that have never been admitted to; reasons that are obvious to anyone who digs into the facts of what the president’s planned before they were killed, and what transpired after they were assassinated.

I’m left wondering whether the last link in the email chain really wanted to start me off on a conspiracy rant, or was it just the Marilyn Monroe bit at the end that motivated yet another person to hit ‘send’? Something else we may just never know…

Limbaugh Lies: Why did Kerry Lose?

Listening to Rush on Thursday (I needed my blood pressure elevated. Nothing is better at that than a few hours of ol’ Joey) he goes on for most of the show in a cheap imitation of the Wendy’s commercial (Where’s the beef?!) wanting to know why “…if so many people are unhappy with Bush and the war, then why didn’t Kerry win?”

Back during the election, I went on, for several months, concerning John Kerry and his love affair with ‘W’s stance on just about everything. Went on about how I was hard pressed to tell the difference between the two…

Anthony Gregory’s piece “Socialist Hawk vs. Warmongering Commie” pretty much summed it up for me. I also engaged in a series of bumper sticker ideas at the time “Vote for John Kerry, the guy you can feel lukewarm about!” “Vote for John Kerry, the guy you haven’t learned to hate yet!*”(*current constituents excluded) and to be fair… “Vote for George Bush, John Kerry has shifty Ayes! I didn’t win many friends in either camp with any of those. I thought they were pretty good, though.

…I had Yellow Dogs dropping out of the woodwork all over the place trying to tell me how wrong I was. And yet none of them could cite any significant difference between the stated positions of the major party candidates.

Kerry didn’t win because Kerry was never intended to win. What does that mean? The national Democrats threw themselves on a grenade for ‘W’s war policy, and nominated a candidate that would not make the war a political issue, plain and simple. The leadership went out of their way to discredit Howard Dean (who was at least a Democrat) and threw the primaries to the only candidate sure to loose to the sitting president, John Kerry; thereby giving ‘W’ another four years to clean up his war mess.

So, to answer Mr. Limbaugh; if the war is so unpopular, why isn’t John Kerry president? Because John Kerry was not opposed to the war, as he stated on numerous occasions. No candidate who was covered by the mainstream media (I know, I kept track of news stories at the time) spoke out against the war, thereby making the Iraq war an issue outside of the political process for all intents and purposes. For Limbaugh to just ‘forget’ this fact is absurd. This is just another example of ol’ Joey spinning the propaganda, one more time.

Drug Education

‘Drug education’ doesn’t work because, as Americans, we believe that drugs are the answer to problems.

We give drugs to our children to correct behavioral issues that should be corrected by changing their environment.

We take drugs ourselves for similar reasons, including the illegal ones.

“Man, I need a drink.”
“I could really use a cigarette.”
“I can’t function without my morning coffee.”
“Got an aspirin, this place is giving me a headache.”

Conventions & Primaries

So I’m sitting watching one of my regular shows last Tuesday (Boston Legal) and the local affiliate (that would be KVUE) sees fit to PiP my show so that they can alert me to the all important primary results that are coming in.

I’m sure if I was a member of one of the state supported parties (Republicans and Democrats) then I would be just thrilled to see the names of my FAVORITE candidate plastered on the same screen as a popular television show (the sum total of time on screen constituting their 15 minutes of fame, most likely) but as a 10 year member of the Libertarian Party, all I could do was put up with an interruption of what I feel was most important that evening, my entertainment.

It would have been more that sufficient to report the results during the news; which is probably more notice than was given to the LP today, the day that we hold or precinct conventions. Technically that’s OK, because not much happens on the first day. Saturday will be the County conventions, where the candidates for county office will be selected. Surely there is a news story there?

March the 25th will be the precinct conventions, where we select the candidates that will make or break (and in a few races, possibly even beat) the races that the ‘major party candidates’ already have gotten air time for. Can I count on a story on that date?

If they are going to interrupt my programs to give me breathless blow by blow accounts of the primary races (paid for with my tax dollars, no less. You’d think that was bad enough) could I at least get a news story about those weird Libertarians and their strange fixation for paying for their own party functions?

I support Michael Badnarik

I just wish I could vote for Michael Badnarik. Mr. Badnarik is running for congress this year, in district 10. As far as I know I’ll still be in district 25 come this election, unless the SCOTUS changes everything. Not holding my breath here.

District 10 used to be ‘my’ district, before Tom Delay and his Republican buddies gerrymandered Austin into three different districts in an attempt to get rid of the Democrat congressional representative Lloyd Doggett, who inherited the seat from JJ ‘Jake’ Pickle when he retired and appointed Doggett to replace him (and here I thought we had some choice in this…) after all the dust had settled, I ended up with Doggett again anyway, just a different district number. Which is too bad. I’ve never voted for him, and when I’ve had the misfortune to communicate with him, I get one of those replies that completely misses my concerns that I mentioned previously.

As I said, despite Delay’s best efforts (and possibly at the cost of his own seat in congress) Doggett got re-elected the last go round, and Texas wound up with one of the worst excuses for a district map that I can ever remember seeing. I’d love to hear how the Republicans spin the defense of this. As if Austin has any similarities with the areas around the Mexican border that are currently part of district 25. What I’d really like is for the SCOTUS to get a shakabuku, then they might actually go for the computer redistricting that a fellow libertarian and constitutionalist proposed several years back when this whole mess started. Not holding my breath on that either.

Back to Mike. I like Mike (I wanted a button that said that when he ran for President. Too cool) He introduced me to ALD. I wish I knew him better, but I know him well enough that I would trust him with the job of representing Austin (and a good portion of the rest of the state) in Washington. If you want to know Mike (or Mr. Badnarik for the more formally minded) better, just pick up a copy of his book Good to be King and give it a read. If you are at all like me you’ll probably agree that he would be a step in the right direction representationally for Austin. (Round Rock Georgetown, Jollyville, Brenham, etc. as well. Don’t get me started on districts again) Come on by the precinct and county conventions next week, and confirm him as a nominee.

Myself, I need to drop by his offices, which are right down the street. Somebody from his staff has been calling and e-mailing every week. Seems they need some volunteers. They always do. Plenty of people willing to spout off verbally on political issues, not so many willing to get down in the trenches and do the work…

The Social Security “Trust Fund”

Another thread deleted by the fine folks moderating the local AM station’s forums. Sometimes I wonder what the point of maintaining a forum there is.

Luckily I archive the major posts that I contribute. Like this one:

There is no ‘investment’ when it comes to government trust funds. T-bills or other gov’t instruments amount to taking the money out of one pocket and putting it in another. It still gets spent like any other money. There is no interest earned on money kept in SS accounts, anyway. Study your annual report from SS if you don’t believe me.

[That trust fund for the Iraqi oil is no different, BTW. Just money in the government coffers. Iraq will always have to come begging to the US gov’t from this point onward. That’ll make ’em happy, right? Don’t ya’ll listen to Timpone?]

The promise to pay is irrelevant, because the gov’t can just:

  1. Print more money. They do it all the time. Create more debt, generate the t-bills that represent the debt, multiply the dollar figures on the T-bills x9 and viola, more money to dilute the money already in circulation.
    This is a simplified version of how inflation occurs, and why a dollar is in fact ‘worthless’ (it represents no real value) The problem is, the Fed has already diluted the purchasing power of the dollar to such an extent that further dilution of the scale required to keep SS afloat might destabilise the dollar. therefore:
  2. Write new laws that change the SS’ ‘contract’; arranging it so that you never were entitled to the money in the first place, so you aren’t being denied anything you are due. They have done this several times already, and I daresay we haven’t seen the last of it yet. Look to see the drug benefits altered in the near future.

The only solution is to remove responsibility for retirement welfare from the gov’t altogether. I’m not certain what shape the ‘new’ retirement system should take. It’ll have to include those who are currently drawing on the system as well as those who have paid in and expect to draw in the future, or it won’t be acceptable to enough people that it stands a chance of passage. Individual contributions should be kept in accounts accessible and controlled by the individual himself. There should be an additional ‘insurance’ feature that would cover expenses beyond the contributions of the individual.

Perhaps a ‘general welfare’ type health/retirement/disability all in one account is what is needed.

All I know is that it’s past time to fix the problem. The complete crash of the American financial system (what they really mean when they talk about SS ‘failing’) isn’t far off. 30 years at most.

A precinct chair without a polling place

Actually I have one, but it’s over a mile away now. It was across the street. I could walk there with my coffee mug, vote and be back home inside of 10 minutes, generally. The longest I ever had to wait was less than ten minutes.

In the most recent elections (not the primaries; Libertarians don’t have primaries, we vote in conventions on our own nickel instead of spending taxpayer money with a primary) I walked over to the usual polling place only to discover that the county had changed it without bothering to tell me. Now I have to get in my car and drive (it’s farther than I can comfortably walk) find an effing parking place (Not easy. The schools also serve as polls, and as government agencies are exempted from meeting parking requirements imposed by the city; so they generally don’t provide any. Don’t get me started) and then wait in line (last time for more than an hour) in order to cast a vote.

I’m left wondering if this is acceptable to the Travis county clerk’s office because my neighborhood is predominantly populated with ‘minorities’, or because as a Libertarian I have posted signs in my yard several months in advance, anticipating an election.

So I called the Secretary of State’s office today to ask. They directed me to the County Clerk’s office (which is how I know who is responsible here) I called the county clerk’s office. I was transferred 4 times before they were certain I was speaking to the right person. I voiced my complaints (see above. Most egregious is the need to get in my car and lack of my own coffee at the new precinct) I was assured that someone will get back to me and address my complaints. That would be a first. Everytime I write a letter to my congressman I get a letter in return that completely misses my complaints. Addressing them would be nice.

9-11; Who were the terrorists again?

Right after the attacks on the world trade center we started to here rumors that perhaps Bush knew of the attacks in advance, or that he orchestrated the attacks. I posted something to the effect that

“if the powers that be are capable of orchestrating an attack of this size against their own people, then we might as well concede defeat in the battle for liberty; people who are capable of that won’t stop at anything to achieve complete domination”

I ran across a link to a film in the comments over at Hammer of Truth that makes me wonder if perhaps it’s time to give up political efforts and focus on entertainment for my pastimes. At least I won’t get ‘disappeared’ that way.

The film is Loose Change which is available for viewing right on the web here. I have questioned the logistics of the attack on the Pentagon for some time. But I’ve never heard a logical argument that disproved the official version of events for the world trade center attacks. Until now. Still would like to know “where are the people from the planes?” It’s too bad they’ve destroyed all the evidence for the 9-11 sites. We might be able to prove the hypothesis one way or the other if they hadn’t.

Editor’s note 2016. I have eaten a Big Bowl of Crow since publishing this and other thoughts on many subjects. ┬áIf you didn’t come here from this post, you probably should go check that one out before drawing any conclusions. The dude that wrote this was pretty crazy.

The socialist left in disguise

That’s what Zfacts is. Luckily it’s a pretty thin disguise. If you wander through the pages you’ll discover, quite quickly, that they don’t seem to have any facts concerning Democrat funding or left thought. Reams of information on Republicans and that most elusive of creatures, the ‘Neocon’.

Most damning is the views on Social Security. I’m no fan of Bush’s plan to ‘privatize’ Social Security; but that doesn’t mean that SS doesn’t need fixing, or isn’t a ponzi scheme in it’s last phase before collapse (and it will, as soon as the baby boomers start collecting their checks) If you read the pages on SS at Zfacts, everything is fine and Bush is trying to rob the trust fund. Glad to hear it. I’ll be making withdrawals from that ‘trust fund’ in the near future, I wouldn’t want to think that there’s going to be any problems getting ‘my money’ (and it is mine, at least until we get to the other end of the 40 thousand they’ve withheld over the years) from the lovable cuddly federal gov’t and it’s ‘oh so friendly’ bureaucrats.

Doesn’t change the fact that Social Security is a socialist program; the definition of which is a ‘gov’t managed business’. Or the fact that 40 thousand set aside by me personally would have grown to about half a million in the time the gov’t has held it.

So much for Stoft’s claim to not have a ‘bias’.