February 28, 2013

Bad Days in Nonsensible-ville

This past November I got laid off.  It's the second time in two years that it's happened.  Last time I was pretty confident I'd find work without a problem.  This time too I felt pretty good about my chances to find employment.  Canada has a lower unemployment rate than the U.S., and we've got a conservative government and are on the right track nationally (albeit slowly).  More importantly, I've got a quality skillset in a specialized field.  But things haven't gone as well nationally or personally, as I'd expected and I'm running out of time to find new employment.  It's the main reason I haven't been posting as often as normal. So I'm a little worried.

In addition there's been some speed bumps in my new marriage.  Not fun, but we are working through it well and hopefully things will work out well for our marriage.

And this week, I attended the funeral of my young cousin who apparently committed suicide last week.  It was a shock to the whole family.  She was a terrific girl and not someone you'd expect that from.  She'll be missed.

In the meantime, the blog will plod along and with any luck will be back in full swing soon.  If the posts here are less detailed and interesting than normal at least you'll know why.

February 27, 2013

Process versus principle revisited

You can call me lazy for re-posting this. Unfortunately I've got too much going on right now to be able to post the way I'd like to post. But that's not the reason I'm reposting this. I posted this in November 2008, shortly after John McCain got clobbered by 'hope and change'. The core point still holds true. Despite a massive Tea Party driven win in 2010, and a lackluster defense and improvement on that performance in 2012, the same problems still exist. The Republican party remains feckless and adrift. The points I made back then in this post and others still remain true.

I'm reposting the entire post, because the issues it discusses, sadly, still need to be addressed.  At least from the perspective of the GOP.

February 26, 2013

Speaker Boehner Is Miffed

GOP House Speaker Boehner is getting terse and frankly, it's about time.  Here are two videos in the last two days with him showing a shorter fuse on the sequester.  The thing is, these make great soundbites and it's perhaps an approach that might get those points unfiltered through the partisan liberal press and let them actually sink in with the typically oblivious voters.  In an age of finger-pointing that is embraced whole-heartedly by the other side, this is a necessary tactic.

February 25, 2013

The China Syndrome

China recently was caught red-handed in a major hacking/cyber-spying effort.  Everyone already knew or suspected China has habitually been involved in nefarious cyber-activity.  And now the truth is out and something clearly needs to be done about it.  

Details of the attack were recently released to the public.
A Feb. 19 report from computer security firm Mandiant Corp. asserts that the Chinese government is involved in a major cyber-espionage campaign to steal sensitive data from organizations in the United States and other countries.

The report from Alexandria, Va.-based Mandiant said that since at least 2006 a hacking group in China has stolen hundreds of terabytes of data from as many as 141 organizations. According to the report, the hacking group used internet protocol addresses registered in Shanghai and appears to be linked to a Chinese military unit.
Firstly, let's dismiss the conspiracy theory that the Obama administration is following the Bill Clinton Yugoslavia start-a-war trick to divert attention from other serious issues playbook. Yes, casting China as a villain right now certainly would help the president domestically.  It would distract people from the deficit and sequester issues, which the president is clearly worried about.  And the common enemy could rope in some Republicans to help the president out domestically because, after all, we have a bigger threat that we are all seemingly on the same page regarding.

But China is a problem and it's one that needs to be met face on from a free-trade stand point.  I've always been an advocate of free trade.  The very first lesson in basic economics talks about opportunity cost, and it leads to the obvious conclusion that nations should specialize in production where they have a competitive advantage.  That is helped when there is free trade - it is not a zero-sum game.  Producers and consumers in two nations who engage in free trade with specialization all benefit.  Society itself operates at its most efficient   in that situation.

But free trade assumes a number of things that aren't present with China.  China engages in a modern-day effort of industrial espionage.  China manipulates it's currency to take advantage of America's tendency to promote free trade. China doesn't allow free and open access to its marketplace.  China, a communist worker's paradise, pays it's workers what we'd consider slave wages.  China sells cheap knock-off products around the world that violate copyright and patent laws. China doesn't require worker safety rules that America does.  China bends or changes the rules as required to suit its own interests.  In other words, the playing field is not level.

Nevertheless, China is granted most favored nation status (which imparts on them trade benefits).  It was granted by Bill Clinton and made permanent in 2001.

Free trade only works when both parties act in good faith.  China does not - economically, or in other ways either.  China needs to be dealt with according to their actions.  They should no longer qualify for most favored nation status.  They are stealing intellectual capital from the United States, on a massive scale.  Yes, changes to the relationship with China could create a trade war.  Trade wars are bad.  But it would be worse for China than for the United States.  China could lose access to what it is stealing as well as the market for products from its ill-gotten intellectual gains.  China is enriching itself and empowering itself to the level of superpower in large part on the backs of American intellectual property.

The United States cannot afford to stand by and let that happen, particularly when there are other countries who are willing to play fairly and do not enjoy that same status.  Yes producers in America will be hurt.  Some of them.  But many American companies have benefited by China's status for their production.  They can always move labor to other nations with cheap labor or maybe even onshore those jobs.

There are a lot of possible consequences to work through, but the consequences of inaction, long term, will be far worse.

February 24, 2013

Dear Employees

This may be faked, or it may be real, in either case it's a red meat read for conservatives.  Would it be legal? Probably not.  Still, it's well conceived.

February 23, 2013

Saturday Learning Series - Lewis and Clark

A documentary on the 1804-06 Lewis and Clark expedition.

February 22, 2013

Southern Defense in the age of Obama

Given the push to restrict gun rights, this might be the best way to protect yourself in the age of Obama and the restrictions on gun rights.  Yeah, it's just comedy, but so is the administration.

Dr. Benjamin Carson's speech in full

Really, I'm just posting this as a reminder to myself.  Dr. Benjamin Carson got up at the National Prayer Breakfast, in front of president Obama, and spoke about political correctness, education very well and then the healthcare bill known as Obamacare.  He was not afraid of his audience, of political correctness, or of offending anyone.  That's brave, but it's also required in our time.  In addition to making good points about healthcare, he reminds us, that the bravery he displays is required from each of us in these times of peril for the nation.

Speak up.

February 21, 2013

Conservative Comedy - Part 1

Jim Norton is a stand up comedian who probably appeals more to libertarian sensibilities than pure conservatism - in fact he has some liberal views at times.  He can be also quite vulgar but he's uniquely funny in a sarcastic sort of way.  Here though in less than 1 minute, he has some red meat conservative humor that's clean, and simply adorable for those of us on the right.

More conservative comedy to come.

February 19, 2013

Reason: 3 reasons to build the Keystone pipeline

Reason TV, on why the pipeline makes sense for America.

February 18, 2013

A Conservative In Chicago

A documentary from 2010.
In response to an unprecedented smear campaign, the campaign of conservative Republican William J. Kelly is launching this web documentary called, "A Conservative in Chicago, parts 1 and 2. In this documentary, hear William J. Kelly speak in his own words, see Rush Limbaugh himself defend Kelly, and, be inspired to act and never back down from your beliefs. Around the country, everyday people and conservatives like Kelly have been standing up and speaking out on behalf of America. It is about time we stand up with them too.

For a more recent update, there's a story here.

February 17, 2013

The Obamaville Song

Wasting away again in Obamaville (via debbycrouchwhite ):

February 16, 2013

Saturday Learning Series - Must See Obama Documentary

I'm not sure how Dinesh D'Souza's Obama documentary, "Obama's America 2016", made it to youtube, and whether it will stay there, but I urge you to watch it while you can.  It's a brilliant documentary that should send shivers down your spine.

Yes, it's post-election but it is still important for your less informed friends to see this film.

February 14, 2013

58 trillion dimes

From the GOP catching Obama in a falsehood or two:

February 13, 2013

Press going after Rubio like he was Jindal or something

The good news:  The GOP does have a good class of rising stars.  They have a lot of energy, and a lot of ideas and even charisma.  The bad news: the left wants to destroy them all before they have a chance to find their legs and they aren't shy about throwing anything and everything at the person they are attacking.

They'll go so far as to attack someone for reaching for a drink of water during a speech.

That's juvenile, pedantic and beneath real journalism.  That CBS needs it pointed out, sadly comes as no surprise.  They are too busy following in the footsteps of Dan Rather with the gotcha journalism when it comes to conservatves and Republicans and anyone Tea Party related.

Obama's Stealthy Mundane SOTU speech

Was there anything striking in the State of the Union speech last night? Not really.  It was ponderous to sit through and there wasn't a single thing that came in that speech that couldn't have been predicted.  The State of the Union shouldn't come as a surprise in large part.  After all, the president is supposed to be reporting to the Congress on the state of the nation.  But this was simply a re-hash of the president's own ideas and perspectives on things rolled up into a political commercial.

But as mundane as it was this is no time for conservatives to be ho-hum about the contents of that speech or the politics surrounding it because, as you'll see in my next post - the left marches on.

The speech itself started with a re-hash of the "war is over" talking points and it was quickly followed with a re-hash of "the economy is recovering" meme.  The president talked about clearing away the rubble of crisis and that the state of the Union was now stronger.  That's a pretty low bar.  Early on it was apparent there would be no substantive new ideas.  Many expected the president to go hard left towards his base and follow in the progressive liberal mold of his inauguration speech.  It was to be an effort to gin up the base to put pressure on Congress to move the country in his direction.  That, along with a few phony outreach to the right and center moments made this a purely political-goaled speech.

There was class warfare predicated on the middle class suffering - he mentioned corporate profits being at an all time high but that wages haven't budged.  That's not new. He's angling to be on the side of the vast middle class.

There was the veiled political jabs designed to fire up the liberal base.  The president mentioned that the country expects politicians to put the nation's interest before their party. What he means is the GOP.  It was clear he viewed, or wants the public to view, gridlock as solely a result of Republican foot-dragging and obstructionism.  Newt Gingrich on CNN before the speech called it exactly right - why is it obstructionist to try to stop a policy that you not only disagree with but regard as "stupid"? The GOP is in large part putting country before politics.  It'd be a lot smoother and perhaps more voter-attractive to just go along with more spending.  But  while it may not be good for getting votes to obstruct stupid ideas, it's genuinely bad for the country to go along with them.

The president threw out a lot of claims that will go largely unchallenged in order to make himself look both great and reasonable.  He claimed that they (collectively) reduced the deficit by more than $2.5 trillion.  REALLY???????? This while the national debt went up by trillions of dollars in his first four years.  The lie is so vast, it's shocking that the Congress didn't erupt in laughter at that comment.  But the president went on that it was done mostly through spending cuts.  Again, really? What counts as a spending cut in his mind outside of money he won't be spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? Not spending money that hasn't been appropriated yet doesn't count as a cut.  He doubled down on the notion as well. He said that there was some revenue included as a result of raising tax rates on the wealthiest Americans. Presumably he's talking about the expiring of the Bush Tax cuts.  But didn't that just happen? P-A-N-D-E-R.

The president admitted that the sequester - the automatic cuts that kick in, in lieu of a budget deal - was a bad option.  But again, in order to make his opposition bear an inequitable share of the blame, he threw out a straw man that "some" (again, the GOP) wanted the sequester to avoid the Department of Defense and only apply to domestic spending.  That is not only a misrepresentation, it assumes no one would think that maybe he'd be happier if it applied only to defense spending and left domestic spending intact.  That's something elsewhere in the SOTU speech he frequently opines is a good idea, euphemistically referred to as investments.

The president also used pseudo-economic concepts in his speech, mixing the idea of long term debt with deficits.  He further argued that America can't cut its way to prosperity.  Of course he completely ignores the fact that you can't spend your way to prosperity.  He has already tried that.  Furthermore, controlling spending has nothing to do with prosperity directly, it has to do with imposing fiscal sanity and thereby allowing the country the opportunity to grow and prosper outside of government.  The president still comes from the deep liberal mindset that government is the creator of prosperity.  That has never been government's role.

After that the president headed into a laundry list of re-hashed and half-baked ideas.  He touched on the Simpson-Bowles recommendations on debt reduction after years of ignoring them.  That's known as lip service. He pontificated that Obamacare is helping to slow the growth of health care costs.  A little research should prove that incorrect.  But it is eerily familiar to his unemployment arguments in 2009-2010 about jobs created or fictitiously 'saved'. 

The president argued that the country should change the way govt pays for health care.  He said that it should not be based on the number tests done or days in the hospital but on the quality of care.  Is he talking pay for performance for medical industry? It's certainly half-baked or not substantive.  It was merely pablum for voters.  On a scarier note, it seems to fit well with an amorphous blob of Obamacare that, intended or not, will result in bureaucratic over-reach.

More pablum came from the president and you could see it was all designed for 2014 and 2016 elections to help Democrats. From lectures on brinksmanship and manufactured crises (really Mr. President, you want to lecture on that?) to the the notion of full faith and credit of the American government (from the man singly most  responsible for the nation's lowered credit rating) the president was in pure political mode. He argued deficit reduction is not an economic plan [no, its an economic necessity] but rather growing the economy is what's necessary.  No one argues that point.  He implied that the GOP doesn't see it that way.  The real argument is about how to do it.

Laughably, the president said he wanted smarter government, not bigger, government.  The president cited companies like FordCaterpillar, and Apple on-shoring jobs.  None of those relate to anything Obama or Congress have done.

The president pushed for investment in research and development.  No one argues against innovation and discovery (well, almost no one).  But again the real question is should the government run that research or modify the tax code to encourage companies to do it themselves.  Conservatives believe the latter approach is more fruitful.  That does not make us evil, or anti-progress.  It makes us more aware of the economics.

Finally, the president went into full pandering mode.  He touched on the environmentalists' cause.  He stated that over the last 4 years carbon emissions have gone down.  That's probably just the recession, but hey, he'll take credit.  He touched on the fact that he will use executive actions to drive further environmental protection if Congress doesn't do anything (i.e Cap and Trade, and they won't).  Talking out of both sides of his mouth on energy he gloated about oil and gas production on his watch as being the at highest level in American history.  Again, you can thank Bush and Clinton for the approvals that led to that result, but hey, he'll take credit.  He did mention that he'd keep cutting red tape and speeding up oil and gas exploration. That really needs to be taken with a full mine full of salt.

Back to the pandering he next touched on how early childhood education improves graduation rates, and reduces violent crime? He failed to prove that connection, but even assuming he is correct, he is pandering to those whom he believes want paid early childhood education.

He offered platitudes and executive demand for immigration reform in the next few months.  He played up women's issues.  He demanded changes to minimum wage laws based on cost of living increases. Minimum wage laws are counter-productive.  That's a discussion for another day.  The president noted that Mitt Romney agreed with him on this one, proving conclusively, Romney was NOT our guy.  A commission that involves someone from Romney's team helping to establish that, is wrong for another reason.  The cost of living is just another value that can be manipulated by those who control  the statistics (that would be the government in case you missed it). He talked to the anti-war crowd about ending Afghanistan.  He talked to the national defense crowd about a strong military and being tough on North Korea and Iran on nuclear weapons.  Again, no specifics for them, just platitudes.  He did get a bit specific on cyber-security.  That's a good thing and of national importance but I'm not sure it merited time in the SOTU speech.  But I can give him credit for touching on it.

For the faux 99% crowd he talked about voting reform.  If ever there was a fox in the hen house it is allowing Democrats to oversee voting reform.  

In the final gauche pander of the night, he spoke on gun violence and the need for stricter gun controls.  There were victims' families present.  There were tears and even the rising crescendo of applause as he continued to offer platitudes ("they deserve a vote").  It was hardly eloquent but it didn't need to be.  He was looking for a hammer to use to smash second amendment advocates with.  He likely succeeded and the press will certainly be onside.

In the end the speech was dull.  It was not fun to watch, and it didn't even fill me with the anger previous speech of his have.  The fact is the liberal onslaught has numbed many of us to how shockingly bad these ideas are because we've seen them for so long.  The argument against them is to us clear and simple and logical. It's also become routine.  But just as the left never stops it's march towards socialism, neither can we rest - even if we need it.

February 12, 2013

How To Create A Shortage - 101

In my last post I mentioned that I was looking for some guest bloggers, including my wife, who has more talent than she gives herself credit for having.  In the comments section, Grant Davies, a terrific blogger and cyber buddy, offered to share some of his postings to help fill the gap until I can find the time to get back to regular posting.  Upon getting back to my blog, I immediately decided to take Grant up on his offer since I know he has some truly great quality posts.

Well, I'm sort of taking him up on his offer.  He deserves whatever modest traffic boost I can provide in exchange for sharing, so I'm going to post a portion of one of his recent posts.  To finish it, you'll need to follow the link back to his blog, "What We Think And Why".  The post, explaining shortages is fundamental economics stuff, and really, common sense, but Grant does a terrific job explaining it.  It's something Americans should understand better than they do, so it's another good reason to share this particular post.  It's also a good reason to read it.

How to Create a Shortage - 101

By Grant Davies

If you want to create a shortage in a hurry, just pass a law to "freeze" the price of the target commodity. In this case, the commodity is food and the place is Argentina. The news came out yesterday in this story.

The economically ignorant people in Argentina are about to get a lesson in "How to create shortages 101." I suggest they get in line at the grocery store now while they can because it will be a while before the alternate retailers of food and other grocery items - also known as the black market - are set up to deliver the needed commodities to the Argentinian populace.

In case anyone needs a refresher course in "unintended (and bad) consequences", I refer them to the long lines at the gas stations that people my age had to endure just a few decades back, 1979 to be exact.

The price of gas was frozen by the economic literates back then and the lines became blocks, sometimes miles, long. Soon there was rationing schemes of every type being tried, and corruption and favoritism became rampant. The same thing happened with the supply of impossible to find "rent controlled" apartments in NY and other goofy places that tried the same nonsense with the housing commodity.

Read the rest here.

February 10, 2013

Guest post coming? Maybe.

Last night I was talking to my wife.  Last year I asked her to do a guest post on my blog.  She shares most of my political views and certainly my political leanings. She hasn't ever posted on a blog and was nervous about doing so.  She's still nervous but didn't say no right out.  So maybe there's a guest post from her coming in the future.  That would be cool.  She's far more capable than she gives herself credit to be, and her post would certainly be a good read.

In the meantime, I'm open to other guest posts if anyone is interested.  Being busy has kept me from posting as often as I'd like and some guest posts could help the blog from getting a few days stale from time to time (a bigger problem of late).  If you have a blog, I'm more than happy to allow you to reference it in your post.

If you are interested in guest posting, send me an email with GUEST POST in the subject line and I will get back to you quickly.

February 6, 2013

Two Word Opinions - 2013 first edition

No, two REAL words.
I've been busy in my personal life to an extent that it has unfortunately disrupted regular blogging for the time being.  It doesn't mean I'm not following the news and politics or that Nonsensible Shoes is going to fade away.  But lacking time, for now I'm going to revert to some more two word opinions as a means of catching up a bit.

Ron Paul made some pretty damn insensitive remarks about the death of a Navy Seal sniper - Really dumb.

Iran might just be aligning with the newly 'democratic', Islamic Brotherhood controlled Egypt - Conservatives knew.

Post Office is shutting down Saturdays - More please.

Immigration reform on the table again with the secret ingredient being amnesty sauce - Not robust.

The GOP is getting the idea that outreach to minority voting blocks is important - not...really.

CBO claims the US will add $7 trillion in national debt over the next decade - THAT'S conservative.

That's about it for now.  Back soon.

February 3, 2013

Superbowl Sunday Prediction

Liberal Baltimore Maryland versus more liberal San Francisco.  I guess I'll have to put politics aside and predict based on football itself.  Offense versus defense. I think the 49ers will win it. That's about as deep as I'm willing to go without spoiling my pool chances. It should be a good game, especially the Volkswagon commercial...

Waterboarding helped get Bin Laden but...

Okay, Panetta admits that waterboarding helped get Bin Laden but then immediately spins how little it helped.  

Via Gateway Pundit: (my emphasis added)
“The real story was that in order to put the puzzle of intelligence together that led us to Bin Laden, there were a lot of pieces out there that were a part of that puzzle. Yes, some of it came from some of the tactics that were used at that time, interrogation tactics that were used. But the fact is we put together most of that intelligence without having to resort to that.
Of course waterboarding wasn't [UPDATE: I had originally written 'was', I intended it as now corrected] required for most of the intelligence - it wasn't pervasively used, it was rarely used at all.  That's the point.  Enhanced interrogation is one means of intelligence gathering that is selective applied after other options have been futile.  Enhanced interrogation also requires a target that has the requisite knowledge to share.  Most enemy combatants or terror cell members would not.  So yeah, it's rare and therefore a small part of intelligence gathering.

Either waterboarding helped get Bin Laden, in which case it was necessary, or it did not, in which case this administration would be all over the fact that it did nothing to support the Bin Laden intelligence.

Spin all you want Panetta, but after admitting some of the required intelligence in getting Bin Laden came from waterboarding, everything else you said was pure spin.

February 2, 2013

Saturday Learning Series - Feynman Part II

Richard Feynman gave some lectures on physics and the character of physical law.  This is part 2 of that Cornell presentation.  Part 1 is here.

Next up - the double slit paradox.
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