June 30, 2015

Toxic Trade Deal

Do you smell that?
President Obama signed hard-fought trade legislation Monday, thanking Republican leaders who helped get it done and saying the package will “reinforce America’s leadership role in the world.”...

The two major pieces of legislation grant Mr. Obama “fast track” trade-promotion authority, which allows the president to negotiate a deal and submit it to Congress for an up-or-down vote without the chance for amendments, and expand aid for American workers who lose their jobs due to foreign competition. Members of both parties attended the bill-signing ceremony, although Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky did not, with Congress on its Independence Day recess.

The trade-promotion authority measure is arguably the biggest legislative victory of the president’s second term, and will help Mr. Obama conclude negotiations with Japan and 10 other countries on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the centerpiece of his economic agenda.
So this drops off the front page and then it gets past by Obama and GOP leadership? This stinks, plain and simple. Somebody go ask Nancy Pelosi if we can see what's in it now that we've passed it.

Bobby Jindal's not so good reaction to recent SCOTUS rulings

A few days ago Governor Bobby Jindal reacted to SCOTUS rulings on Obamacare and gay marriage. Not well.

When your gut reaction to bad rulings is to scrap the Supreme Court, I'm not sure you still qualify as conservative.  It strikes me as being as bad as progressives saying "...let's scrap the Constitution - it was written hundreds of years ago by old white guys."

I'm not sure how this will play with conservatives. I get the visceral gut reaction of disgust. I empathize - these were bad decisions, from a legal perspective, not just a conservative viewpoint.  I even get to playing to that same reaction in others.  I just don't get this approach as it relates to presidential politics. Sure it will play in Louisiana and a few other states, but beyond that, as a broad based conservative appeal.

What the rulings display is what Jindal says later on - we need a better cohort of Justices.  That's how he should be campaigning. Honestly, his answers to the questions were better than his self-inflicted soundbite.

What Donald Trump should say in response to NBC firing him

Here's what NBC had to say about parting ways with Donald Trump (via USA Today):
"Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBCUniversal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump," the statement said.

"To that end, the annual Miss USA and Miss Universe Pageants, which are part of a joint venture between NBC and Trump, will no longer air on NBC. In addition, as Mr. Trump has already indicated, he will not be participating in The Apprentice on NBC," because he is an announced Republican candidate for president.

"Celebrity Apprentice is licensed from Mark Burnett's United Artists Media Group and that relationship will continue," the network added.

June 29, 2015

Phil Robertson breaks it down for you

A lot of people either forget or do not comprehend this simple wisdom.

GOP Candidate Info - Scott Walker Edition

Scott Walker at CPAC 2015.

Let Greece fail revisited

Don't let the door hit you on the way out.
Almost four years ago, I argued that the E.U., particularly Germany, should let Greece fail. There's not much I can add to that now except to say that the Greeks still seem to not understand that they have promised themselves, and voted themselves so many benefits and freebies that it could never be sustainable.  They still don't get that.  I'm not sure what they are going to do if they decide not to pay their creditors.

I suspect that the E.U. will send over a couple of goons with baseball bats to collect.  Either than or start the collection calls hundreds of times per fay.

For the first time in thousands of years, the world has a chance to ;earn something meaningful from Greece; but unlike ancient Greece, this time we can learn what not to do.

June 28, 2015

Not one incorrect fact in this Mark Steyn rant on racism

Because you may not know any of this, it's worth listening .  You probably weren't taught this in school, but it's true.

Sunday Verse

There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you--who are you to judge your neighbor? 
~James 4:12

June 27, 2015

Government misdirection card trick

The more parts of the economy and society the government controls, the more venues it has to push its own agenda, whatever that might be:
(Daily Caller) Americans trust their doctors, so the White House wants these medical professionals to be a mouthpiece for President Obama’s global warming agenda.

“We also need doctors, nurses and citizens, like all of you”President Obama said in a taped speech presented to medical professionals gathered at the White House, “to get to work to raise awareness and organize folks for real change.”

The Obama administration has been hard at work trying to draw a link between global warming and public health issues. The summit included the U.S. Surgeon General, top administration officials, and public health experts from around the country telling doctors, nurses and other conference goers how to talk about global warming with their patients.

The central message: doctors should warn their patients that global warming could make their health worse.
I assure you, that agenda will be about holding onto power, keeping you dependent and maintaining that agenda at all costs.  Why?  Because they want to retain control of both the power they have to decide their fate, your fate and my fate, and also they want to retain control of the money - making yours and mine theirs. Property protection is part of human nature - ironically even for socialists, who view the power to decide as their property and within their exclusive purview.  They'll use the agenda to blind you to that fact, keeping you busy arguing about global warming or worrying about it.  It doesn't matter.

It's a classic "look over here" card trick they are playing on the public. By the looks of it, they are getting away with it.  The solution is simple - do not willingly hand over control of anything to the government.  Unlike businesses, they are the rule makers.  If the one making the rules is playing the game as well, it's a certainty that they are going to win, making the rest of us, losers.

Summarizing SCOTUS

Two Must Reads on Legal Insurrection, William A. Jacobsen's legal take on recent SCOTUS actions:

The latter is more of a summary of opinion of the justices (so far) but still worth the read.

Saturday Learning Series - Horrible Geniuses

Something a little lighter for today's Saturday Learning Series: The top 10 geniuses who were shockingly horrible people - in which some liberal icons are included and get the smack down.

It is worth noting however, that it's an American and Eurocentric list, which is probably unfair, since there are probably a lot of horrible geniuses from non-Western culture.  But then you probably wouldn't know them and wouldn't care. 

Maybe this is the sort of thing that contributes to the false notion that the West is bad.  This sort of thing, and president Obama (who by the way, is no genius).

June 26, 2015

GOP Candidate Info - John Kasich Edition

John Kasich on Meet The Press recently.

SCOTUS lets down the Constitution in favor of constituency

There is a problem here BUT...

Let's not have a cow about gay marriage, there is a more important issue at stake in light of the Supreme Court's decision on the subject.  Firstly, no one is forcing you to get married to a gay person.  No one is forcing your church to officiate a gay marriage (yet at least) even if it goes against your church's or temple's or mosque's teachings.  No one is going to make you or your children attend gay weddings.  Is it an ideal ruling?  Far from it, but the real issue, is that this is supposed to be a conservative leaning court by a count of 5-4 justices.  Clearly, it isn't.

At least Chief Justice Roberts did not sell out on this issue by putting opinion before the Constitution:
"This court is not a legislature. Whether same-sex marriage is a good idea should be of no concern to us," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in dissent. Roberts read a summary of his dissent from the bench, the first time he has done so in nearly 10 years as chief justice.

"If you are among the many Americans - of whatever sexual orientation - who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today's decision," Roberts said. "But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it."
With the original decision to allow for Obamacare's constitutionality and the more recent upholding of the constitutionality of the federal tax credits portion of the ACA, the Supreme Court is not a conservative body.  That should frighten conservatives - a lot. It becomes even more imperative to ensure that a Republican wins office in 2016 so the erosion of the tenets of the Constitution is stopped.  Liberals and progressives will continue poke holes in the levy protecting the Constitution until America is no longer what it was, or what it is ultimately capable of being.  You take your eye off that levy and your mind off of its importance and the country is doomed.

Perhaps you believe that outcome is inevitable anyway.  That would make you part of the problem, because America was not founded on defeatism, nor did it grow under that premise as much as it did not grow under the welfare state mentality.  Unless you want to follow in the footsteps of Greece - from enlightened democracy, to entitled socialists on the brink of economic collapse - wake up and take pride (no pun on gay marriage intended) in your country.

NOTE:  As an aside on how I feel about gay marriage, see this post (if you care).

The problem with the court's decision is the 10th amendment and the notion of states' rights.   Every state already had a position and legislation on the matter already (pro or con).  That's good.  By homogenizing the law nationally, you are taking away the idea of multiple laboratories.  I call it the 50 Experiments Theorem.  The more variability among the states in terms of policy, the more like there are outcomes that will thrive.  The less that legislation is nationalized the more chance (in fact 50 times more) there is that a successful legislative formula(s) will be found.

It's on of the greatest unheralded advantages the United States has over other so many other nations who have centralization as their governing philosophy. And the Supreme Court is enabling those who wish to purposefully or inadvertently abolish that competitive advantage. It's quite sad to see.  This is what a liberal court has allowed for decades and its effects, even if reversed will take decades to recede.

Thoughts on gay marriage

What do I think of gay marriage? Tricky question.

Well, I'm not gay, although I do have a few gay friends.  I do not condone their choices.  And while I do not agree with their choices, I do not condemn them either.  If I did they would not be friends after all. But I do not believe it is my place to condemn them.

From a biblical standpoint there are a few differing thoughts.  First and foremost is the idea of love the sinner, hate the sin.  Beyond that, there's Old Testament vs. New Testament views.  Soddom and Gomorrah vs. those in glass houses should not cast stones.  I choose not to cast stones because I am far from perfect myself.  People are engaging in consensual activities, which are not harming others and they are adults.  We have free will and they have made their individual choices.  I say respect that, even if you disagree with their choices. If you believe that God has an issue with their choices, let him deal with them.  I believe in God and I would not presume to speak for Him.

Which brings me to my next perspective - a societal one.  Should homosexual people be allowed to marry? I suppose in some states there is enough support that it is reasonable to legislate it to be legal.  I'm fine with it as a state-level local decision.  If two people want to marry, whom I do not know, what business is it of mine? The answer is none.  Chances are, I'll never see them.

But there are limits to that.

I do not want my church, or any church or temple or mosque, to be forced to conduct marriage ceremonies outside of their belief system.  There are plenty of churches that will perform the ceremony, go to one of them.  That's a Bill of Rights issue as much as forcing people to buy healthcare is. But it can happen.  The more you federalize everything, the more likely it is that it will happen.

If some states are not comfortable with it, do not force them to legalize it.  Homosexuals are not rooted to a location. People can move to or from states with which they agree or disagree.  It happens all the time.  Most states already allow gay marriage.

I do not want a liberal legislature to enforce a curriculum on children (it can and will happen);
...The Liberals’ only official response has been to launch a $1.8 million summer ad campaign that pro-family groups say deceptively whitewashes the controversial aspects of the curriculum, which introduces homosexuality in Grade 3, masturbation in Grade 6, oral and anal sex in Grade 7, and teaches that there are six genders rather than two sexes.
If I am expected to keep my nose out of homosexuals' affairs (pardon the pun) then they should respect my decision to keep their affairs out of my children's classrooms just as my church's decision to not perform gay wedding ceremonies.  

Most homosexual people (that I know at least) have a sense of decorum and an understanding of the idea that coming out of the closet does not mean invading everyone else's closets.  They are not inclined to push their lifestyle onto others or into our faces, to say it more clearly.  But it is always the brazen few who will push for the sake of pushing that end up being the cause-celeb and get their way by pushing the envelop too far.

So, do I condone gay marriage? No.  But do I think it should be legal?  In some places, sure. But not everywhere.  In the end, it's really not my business if people want to marry, and to be honest I think its misguided to consider it one of the most pressing issues facing America today.  It doesn't belong in the Top 10 even. Even the recent Supreme Court ruling has wider ramifications than the gay marriage issue of its ruling.

Friday Musical Interlude - Gold Dust Woman, live

Fleetwood Mac's Gold Dust Woman should have been a single.  In fact every song from Rumours should have been, along with the haunting Silver Springs which was the B-side of Go Your Own Way, and belonged on that album,possibly as it's best song.  In any case, here are a couple of live versions performed by Stevie Nicks.  One as a guest performer with bob Welsh who had left Fleetwood Mac to pursue a solo career before Stevie Nicks joined.  The second is of Stevie performing the song with Fleetwood Mac. The first is rare because of Stevie's mini-skirt. Not her trademark. The second is mystical, and trademark Fleetwood Mac in Japan in 1977.

June 25, 2015

June 23, 2015

GOP Candidate Info - Jeb Bush Edition

Jeb Bush's announcement for his 2016 presidential bid.

June 22, 2015

GOP Candidate Info - Donald Trump Edition

Hey, it's not Donald Sterling. Donald Trump may not be electable, but he has said some truly red meat conservative things.

June 21, 2015

Sunday Links

Happy Father's Day.  And for all the tree huggers out there, happy Summer Solstice.  I'm kidding.  Happy Summer everyone.

Since it's Sunday and I'm otherwise occupied, here are some good posts about the web,  covering topics that I'd like to comment on but don't have time to do right now.  I would like to say that my prayers are with the families of those lost in the church attack in South Carolina. The loss of faithful Christians in a positive community is indeed terrible, as is any unnecessary loss.  But this is simply sad.

  • Apparently, according to a bunch of left wing hype,  we're currently causing a mass extinction (forget global warming, this is big).  Jazz Shaw says "Not so fast"
  • Via RWN, the religion of peace strikes again. 
  • Fellow LCR poster Proof, continues his Exotic Animals of the 2016 campaign series with the Martin O'Mallard edition
  • Via Gateway Pundit, Hillary Clinton supported Confederate Flag Day in Arkansas - after she opposed it.  I think that's a little more controversial than Marco Rubio's fishing boat.
  • Greece's self-induced collapse for which they demand someone else pay the bill, is due.  Via Legal Insurrection
  • More Hillary Clinton: Let's collect all of those guns, mmm'kay?
  • The Pope Francis bubble.
  • Dems veer (further) left.  Because that makes perfect sense.  Bernie Sanders anybody?
That's enough for now. Enjoy the rest of your Father's Day.

Sunday Verse

Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good?
~1 Peter 3:13

June 20, 2015

Saturday Learning Series - Correcting Revisionist History

PJ Media's Bittle Whittle hosts a treatise on America's pillaging of the Native Americans.

Saturday Learning Series - China's Housing Recovery

A brief analysis by Stratfor on China's housing market.  Is it in recovery?  Maybe.

June 19, 2015

Friday Musical Interlude - White Rabbit at Woodstock

Jefferson Airplane live in 1969 at Woodstock with Grace Slick singing their signature song. Good music but the sheer hippie-ness of it makes me shudder that there was an entire generation of this. Yikes. I'm glad some people didn't succumb to the drugs, free love and what have you, and that others finally came to their senses. Sheesh.

GOP Candidate Info - Lindsey Graham Edition

Lindsey Graham interviewed by George Stephanopolous who is far less impartial than Bill Maher was with Mike Huckabee (after all, he's a Clintonite through and through, just check his once-undisclosed donations).

June 18, 2015

Thursday Hillary Bash - Bonus Item #2

Can't get enough Thursday Hillary Bash? Here's another bonus item, courtesy of Bluegrass Pundit.

Thursday Hillary Bash - Bonus Item #1

Welcome to the Hillary Bash Bandwagon...John Hawkins?  To be fair, he's pointing out issues with Hillary that he's previously pointed out, or in addition to things about her he's previously pointed out.  He's not bandwagon hopping.  But this is a good synopsis of Hillary quotes 2 or 3 of which should be enough to dissuade any voter from taking her seriously.  But he's included, count 'em, 20.

GOP Candidate Info - Mike Huckabee Edition

Mike Huckabee on Bill Maher. Not a terrible interview, Bill Maher does a pretty good job just conversing with Huckabee.

Thursday Hillary Bash - Tangled Web

From Fox News in April 2015.

June 17, 2015

Canada hacked by Anonymous

So this happened. Today Government of Canada websites and even emails were hacked in a denial of service attack in protest of Bill C-51 - Canada's recent anti-terrorism law.

Anonymous left a message.claiming responsibility.

So, yeah. Via Globe and Mail;
A cyberattack crashed federal government websites and e-mail on Wednesday afternoon, Treasury Board President Tony Clement said.

He said it was a denial-of-service attack on the gc.ca domain server, which rendered many federal government websites inaccessible and left many government e-mail accounts unusable.

GOP Candidate Info - Rick Santorum Edition

Rick Santorum introductory interview for his 2016 run:

June 16, 2015

Thanks Carly

Carly Fiorina has a great ad about Hillary Clinton.  It's so good, it doesn't even matter if she wins.  Carly, just keep doing THIS (hat tip to Steven Crowder):

The fruits of soft power

President Obama, as well as Hillary Clinton are neither the authors of soft power, or smart power. But as it's principle proponents throughout the Obama presidency, they bear the blame for its abject failure during the president's tenure.  Make no mistake, this applies to both of them. Back in 2009, the New York Times was quite eager to point out that smart power is different than soft power. In doing so, they managed to tag Hillary Clinton with both those (what were seen at the time as) kudos:
...there was some excitement over Clinton’s rhetoric and argument, which Steven Benen at the WashingtonMonthly.com saw as improvement over “soft power”:
Soft power is, of course, the phrase Joseph Nye coined to describe foreign policy tools that nations can use to “achieve desired outcomes through attraction rather than coercion.” Most progressives approve of the concept, but hate the name — “soft power” just sounds so … weak.
As Benen points out, Harvard intellectual Joseph Nye Jr. is the creator and a proponent of the idea of “soft power,” a now well-established concept in the discourse (it has its own Wikipedia page), which he has described as “the ability to get what you want through attraction rather than coercion and payment.” What Benen didn’t point out is that Nye is also the prime mover behind the idea of “smart power,” a concept has been pushing for several years.

In 2006 Nye wrote in an an (sic) op-ed for the Boston Globe: The ability to combine hard and soft power into a winning strategy is smart power . . .
Alright, so we know what the two things are, and how they are different and that progressives love them.

First of all, smart power makes sense. It's a fancy way of saying that you need to use both a carrot and a stick. Everybody gets that. What's missing in the formula as far as the application of it by Hillary Clinton, president Obama, and current Secretary of State John Kerry, is the 'smart' piece.

The results of the past 7 years have come about not because of smart power, but because of an over-reliance on soft power, starting with his bowing apology tour to the Middle East.

Despite the Arab Spring, the region is no closer to stability than pre-Obama. In fact it's worse. ISIS continues to march forward in the vacuum created by the president's overly hasty retreat from Iraq. Israel is less inclined to trust America. Syria is a shambles. Iran has seen Obama cave on their nuclear ambitions. Libya had a Benghazi debacle (which they blamed on a stupid, insignificant American movie). Egypt briefly succumbed to the Muslim Brotherhood ruler-ship as a waypoint on what seems to be the slow way back to an authoritarian regime eventually. Afghanistan is no better off than before. Al Qaida has not gone quietly into the darkness, despite all of the soft power drone strikes on leaders. Terrorism attempts continue unabated. Granted they are not on the grand scale of a 9/11 but we have the previous administration to thank for that, as well as tireless work by various agencies. Oh, and a disturbing level of NSA snooping on American citizens.

Russia has returned to their bullying ways, flexing it's muscle by annexing parts of the Ukraine. Hillary Clinton's reset button was a debacle. Russia has reset relations to the Cold War era of years past. No one at the White House bothered to take note of it.

China continues it's communist expansionist mindset, flexing it's economic muscle globally while rapidly building up its military capabilities. All this while committing piracy of intellectual and trademark property on a historic scale. And then there's the hacking - both the industrial espionage and the military espionage and the hacking of government employee information. China is not an above board player on the international stage.

While Obama has struggled to stamp his authority on the globe, his Asia policy had until now been seen as a bright spot given the fracturing of nations in the Middle East, the rise of extremist groups such as ISIS and the return of Cold War-style hostilities with Russia.

If soft power also means offending your allies - Israel (see above), Britain (both the queen and prime minister have been slighted) and Canada (the endless Keystone pipeline dithering) are some examples - then soft power has been boldly on display by this administration.

To be fair, there have been some successes. Remember when the newly inaugurated president brought the Olympic Games to Chicago? Or how he won a Nobel Peace Prize based solely on his potential? I wish I had been graded that way in grade school, I'll tell you that.

And now, the TPP mess that the president's own party voted down, stamping the president a domestic lame duck, the same way his policies have rendered America an international lame duck (CNN):
"It would reinforce global concerns that the vicissitudes of domestic politics are increasingly rendering the United States a less reliable ally ... it would signal a lack of U.S. commitment to Asia at a time when China is flexing its muscles."
The fruits of soft power smart power are clear - the United States has been diminished by them, in a substantial way. It will take a decade to recover. And that is only if the application of smart power, in its present form is not quelled completely. That means no Hillary Clinton presidency. Thanks guys for everything from ruining America's reputation abroad and setting up a gauntlet of pitfalls for the nation for years to come. That's just swell.

In closing I should point out, smart power is not a bad thing. I'm sure a Ron Paul presidency would lean heavily on the notion of soft power abroad. And any president worth his or her salt, would know that both the carrot and the stick are necessary tools of leadership. I do not wish to diminish the notion of smart power. It is precisely what has been lacking since 2009. What we have seen instead is soft power and aloof disinterest in America's position in the world. We'll need smart power adeptly applied to get back to where America once stood.

GOP Candidate Info - Ben Carson Edition

Ben Carson background interview.

June 15, 2015

Insert your own "Is the Pope socialist?" joke here.

The Pope socialist? No way I hear you saying.  But now that he's on board with climate change and he's about to tell us what the impact on the poor has been, is, and will be, ought to convince you.
The 192-page document is Pope Francis’ first major teaching letter on climate change and its effects on the planet’s poor. Hailed by some as the “pope of the poor,” Francis’ linkage of environmental and economic issues puts the Vatican out front on a closely watched topic.
Ugh. I remember when the church was all about saving souls. Climate change is part of a socialist agenda. I'm also old enough to remember going out of my house in the 1970s and smelling the pollution, or swimming in lakes covered in places with a film of gasoline.  That hell-in-a-hand-basket trip got detoured. Things are better. Not perfect, but better.

But the Pope is about to tell us why climate change, man-made mind you, is the scourge of the planet. And it all is going to boil down to irresponsible, evil corporations no doubt.  Oh, I don't expect him to say it.  I expect him to lead his flock far enough down the path for them to infer it themselves.

Socialism and God don't mix:
“The whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.”
Getting the church mixed up in that seems contra-indicated.

GOP Candidate Info - Ted Cruz Edition

Ted Cruz, on Ted Cruz and other things:

Rethinking Free Trade

Let me start with where I started on this. I've always be a supporter of free trade. Here's why. The concept of free trade is one that benefits both consumers and producers, across borders.  The idea is rooted in the fundamental economic concept of specialization. If America makes tractors better (more efficiently) than South Korea and the latter nation makes smart phones better than America, there is a benefit to America making tractors, South Korea making mobile phones and the two nations trading to obtain the commodities they need from each other.

Why does that benefit consumers? Americans have access to better phones or the same quality of phones at cheaper prices by having access to those from South Korea.  If a new manufacturer wants to sell phones they will have to compete with the best available or they simply won't succeed.  Consumers' benefits are extended because new entrants, and existing entities are forced to improve upon the status quo or they will not succeed. The same is true in South Korea for tractors.

Why do producers benefit? It combats complacency. Companies fall into the success trap. Polaroid nearly died as  a business because they did not change to accommodate the digital age. Polaroid isn't actually the perfect example because it is a re-success story now.  Being forced to compete, invigorates companies and keeps them moving forward - innovating and improving productivity. The alternative is to wither and die.

Specialization is good for all and Free Trade supports that by delivering the greatest good to the greatest number of people, globally thanks to the concept of comparative advantage. Based on that, anyone who is against Free Trade is acting against their own best interest as well as the greater good.

But in the real world, Free Trade has garnered mixed results and rethinking free trade is not only a good idea, it's a necessity.  The reason is that Free Trade, in practice is not so simple. It's not entirely free.

Firstly free trade is distorted by government in a number of ways. Governments often protect their own markets, tacitly or overtly.  In 2003 Japan banned U.S. beef imports as a result of a single case of Mad Cow Disease out of millions of heads of U.S. cattle.  The ban lasted until December 2005. It was followed by another ban in January 2006 on a spurious, unrelated issue. Taking advantage of safety concerns, Japan was able to protect its domestic beef producers unfairly, for a very long time. Japan had been the largest export market for U.S. beef. With the duplicitous trade barrier, Japan managed to hurt both American producers and Japanese consumers at the same time.  No doubt the domestic farm lobby in Japan was pleased by the reduction in competition but in the long run, they would have been hurt as well.  American consumers also were prevented from reaping the benefits of comparative advantage as some Japanese labor was being kept in less efficient occupations than where they had comparative advantage. Barriers, duties/tariffs, product bans, all impede free trade. By not retaliating in kind the U.S. could avoid a trade war, but free trade then is just mostly-Free-Trade.  The Japanese example is not an isolated example, it's pretty common in fact.

Free trade of course should prohibit subsidies but the current current trade environment is rife with not only subsidies disguised as something else, but also trade with nations whose production is nominally or perhaps subtly operationalized by government entities, child or slave labor (prison-based production for example). Even the most ardent free trade proponent cannot condone either case, which ensures labor costs are unnaturally low and produces the opposite of free trade's intent - to produce the greatest good for the greatest number of people.  Those laboring under those conditions are not enjoying their greatest good.  They are often in fact, suffering.

Then of course there are national security concerns.  Does America want sensitive materials produced offshore? Oil, aircraft engine parts for jet fighters for example really make sense to produce at home wherever possible.  In the event of a shooting war, if those things can be cut off, is national security compromised? Yes. In addition when you have nations hacking the U.S. for both military and industrial espionage, they are subverting not only national security but they are compromising comparative advantage.  Unless you want to outsource your espionage because China seems to have a comparative advantage in that, spying does not make things fairer.

It often seems like Free Trade agreements have become an excuse for a race to the bottom. Job offshoring is a byproduct of free trade.  Ostensibly, the cheapest producer wins. But as they offshore jobs, the domestic market, cannot immediately replace those jobs if there is no obvious comparative advantage opportunities or those options already have a relative market equilibrium and cannot absorb more labor. This is complicated by tacit protectionism abroad. Displaced workers become a drain on the economy and hamper domestic comparative advantage as social support structures feel additional strain, increasing inefficiency as demands are placed on on producers and other consumers to provide additional support for social safety nets.  That further drives the need to offshore production.

Over time, as wealth rises, domestic consumption in India and China (for example), should pressure wage inflation and drive down their comparative advantage. Production would then likely move on to other places like Bangladesh, Vietnam, or Nigeria perhaps.  Over a longer period, perhaps centuries, a level labor playing field might emerge.  Labor costs the same across all nations for similar roles is a good thing.  But that won't happen in our lifetime unless science conquers the aging process.

Henry Ford realized that the producers are also the consumers and paid his workers enough that they could afford his products.  Perhaps he overpaid them.  I'm not suggesting we need to go that far, only that if there are no domestic consumers, there is no domestic market, and that should factor in the calculus of a corporation.  Additionally, in the headlong rush to China corporations who adhere to the solitary notion of a bottom line, myopically ignore the fact that they have the freedom to operate as they do  because of the national security of that domestic market.  If they seek the same fair deal from China's current regime in 20 years because that's where they are and all the business is, they are going to be disappointed. In fact, they might find their businesses being nationalized. 

It might sound like I have abandon the idea of free trade and lost faith in America's ability to compete.  Neither is true.  What I have abandon the notion of free trade at all costs.  America operates in the real world and there is no level playing field.  America is competing with an arm tied behind it's back while countries like China have brought a baseball bat to the table.  Ronald Reagan said with regard to the Soviets trust but verify.  Free Trade Agreements are no different.The view America must take on free trade is that it only must be pursued when it is in America's best interest. That means for all Americans - producers, consumers and laborers alike.  It means that deals must be looked at not only in terms of foreign markets but what it means for domestic markets.  It means looking at both short term and long term impacts.  It means that national security must be a consideration.  Not all free trade deals are equal, and leadership must not be beholden to a particular lobby.

That common sense seems to be lacking in general and to the recent dismay of many, the Republican Party. My advice to them is simple: support free trade, but not with blinders to reality.

June 14, 2015

Sunday Verse

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.
~2 Corinthians 9:8

June 13, 2015

Saturday Learning Series - Sink the Bismark

Sinking the Bismark, a World War 2 reminder.

Hillary Clinton Schadenfreude

More trouble for Hillary Clinton.  Just poll numbers at this point, but perhaps a portent of things to come.

June 12, 2015

Friday Musical Interlude - Radioactive (Jazzy version)

Imagine Dragons' song Radioactive in a smoother style with a little bit of beatbox thrown in among the jazz of PostModern Jukebox.  Personally I prefer the earlier half before it goes uptempo.  The latter half is more of a cover version than a re-imagining of the melody, something at which PostModern Jukebox typically excels, and did in the first half of the song.  Nevertheless, a good re-working and I think an improvement on the original - a rare feat.

GOP Candidate Info - George Pataki Edition

George Pataki on the future of the United States:

June 11, 2015

Thursday Hillary Bash - Sink the Bismark

According to the Weekly Standard, Hillary Clinton is in danger of not winning the presidency in 2016.
When a CNN poll last week showed Hillary Clinton leading Rand Paul by a single percentage point (48-47) and only three points ahead of Marco Rubio (49-46) and Scott Walker (49-46), it was mildly shocking. In April, her lead over the three Republican presidential candidates had been in double digits: Paul (58-39), Rubio (55-41), and Walker (59-37).

That Clinton’s candidacy is in trouble is indisputable. She’s not threatened with losing the Democratic nomination—at least not yet. She has the well-financed Clinton machine and a national network of supporters on which she can rely. The campaigns of her Democratic opponents are small and weak in comparison.

But the rationale for her bid for the presidency, the strategy of her campaign, and the tactics she’s adopted—all have failed to stop her steady decline. The expectation of Clinton’s glide into the White House in 2016 is gone....

That’s the least of her worries at the moment. Her bigger problem is trust. The CNN poll asked if Clinton is “honest and trustworthy,” and 57 percent said no. A Washington Post-ABC News poll asked the same question, and 52 percent said no.
So here's my question as far as GOP strategy goes. Is now the time to fire salvos at Clinton in a hope to sink the Bismark so to speak? Or is that bad timing for move?

Clinton is entirely beatable, and could absolutely implode versus a solid Republican opponent. But we said that about Obama, as well as Bill Clinton. The latter might help her a few points because of his charisma with many voters. She has little of her own. Torpedoing Hillary now, might get other Democrats to run against her. That could divert her spending and perhaps even derail her air of inevitability. Conversely, the cost of doing so might prove prohibitive and also end up wasted if she's not the eventual nominee. GOP involvement at this stage could interrupt Democrat in-fighting and cause Democrats to rally around her. Then again, attacking her probably energizes the Republican base.

There's no simple answer to this. My gut feeling is that it's too early to go above and beyond anything happening now. That's because I believe she is not inevitable. But that's just a hunch.

GOP Candidate Info - Carly Fiorina Edition

Carly Fiorina on many different issues.

June 10, 2015

In case you missed it, Jerry Seinfeld gets real

Jerry Seinfeld recently lamented political correctness on college campuses, and by extension, society as a whole (warning - language):
Asked why he avoids performing on college campuses, Seinfeld...said, "I hear that all the time. I don’t play colleges, but I hear a lot of people tell me, ‘Don’t go near colleges. They’re so PC.’"...

He did so in the form of an anecdote about his 14-year-old daughter:
My wife says to her, ‘Well, you know, in the next couple years, I think maybe you’re going to want to be hanging around the city more on the weekends, so you can see boys.’ You know what my daughter says? She says, ‘That’s sexist.’ They just want to use these words. ‘That’s racist.’ ‘That’s sexist.’ ‘That’s prejudiced.’ They don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about.
Seinfeld went on to describe this sort of political climate as a detriment to comedy and praise Louis CK for “not worry[ing]” about political correctness.”
Seinfeld followed it up on Late Night with Seth Meyers, about half way through the clip, after the self-important New Yorker magazine guy gets his say.

Way to go Jerry.  Seriously, good job.

UPDATED - Historical Auction

So, I got contacted to do some free advertising for an Auction House on my blog.  I get stuff like that all of the time, and I usually ignore it because implicit in the request is the notion that my blog has little monetary value - zero to be exact.  Now I know that might be the case, but it's kind of insulting to have it put to you that way.  Nevertheless, this particular request intrigued me because of the nature of the auction, so I'm actually going to share it.  The auction consists of some impressive historical items.

The item depicted here, and here, for example, requires a starting bid of $30,000. It's described in part as follows:
Historic autograph letter signed (“A. Lincoln”), 2 pages on two sheets of blue-lined paper (7.75 x 9.75 in.; 197 x 248 mm.), [Washington, D.C., ca. 2 May 1864], “To the Honorable the House of Representatives,” being a transcript penned in Lincoln’s hand of his 2 November 1863 letter to “Hon. Montgomery Blair”. First page slightly toned with some ink smudges; both pages have two filing holes in the upper left margins with minor adhesive residue stains at the lower verso.
Other items include a rare signed document from Sir Isaac Newton, and a Francis Scott Key printing. Check it out for yourself. I haven't got a lot of information on the auction house (Invaluable), but I personally am keenly interested in the auction given the item list. The auction is scheduled for June 13th. If anyone has any additional details to share, please feel free to add info in the commentary. And if you end up buying something, let me know - it'd be cool if someone who reads my blog ends up with an item from the auction.

UPDATE: Here's the link to the auction site.

Also, I wanted to point out that this request to promote their auction did not offend me, as I may have given the impression in the first paragraph.  Unlike prior emails of this nature, the request was polite, and informative as well as being related to my content.  My ire was directed at the barrage in general, as well as other emails that did not share the tone of this request.

GOP Candidate Info - Rick Perry Edition

Governor Rick Perry on race relations, and military exercises.

June 9, 2015

June 8, 2015

Obama's economy? Drab.

Via Trifecta:

GOP Candidate Info - Rand Paul Edition

Rand Paul on the Patriot Act, NSA and National Security.

June 7, 2015

GOP Candidate Info starting tomorrow

Starting tomorrow, Nonsensible Shoes is beginning a look into the GOP candidates, starting with a daily look at the declared candidates in some relatively softball interviews where they outline their basic positions on a few issues.

Sunday verse

Their feet run to evil, And they hasten to shed innocent blood; Their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity, devastation and destruction are in their highways. They do not know the way of peace, And there is no justice in their tracks; They have made their paths crooked, Whoever treads on them does not know peace.
~Isaiah 59:7-8

June 6, 2015

Minimum Wage is a self-defeating notion

This is only part of the reason why:

Here's another thought - you think companies that want to raise the minimum wage that they pay are doing it out of magnanimity? C'mon liberals think about it - these are the same companies you hate and believe are evil. If they want it, it's for the purpose of competitive advantage, or it's because they're going to offshore staff, and it won't really impact those jobs they deign to keep here. Suckers.

Saturday Learning Series - Obamacare Deductibles Exploding

Saturday Learning Series - Socialists Know Better? They think so.

Let's start with Bill Whittle's pithy and insightful analysis of the socialist Tomorrowland as a lead in :

Next, a lengthy discourse from a couple of years ago on communism, socialism and the lies they promote to decay America (and other capitalist nations as well):

June 5, 2015

Friday Musical Interlude - Talk Dirty To Me

I'm having an 80's flashback today.  Poison's Talk Dirty To Me.  I'm only here because of Guitar Hero.  In the 80's I wasn't a Poison fan, with the possible exception of Every Rose Has It's Thorn.  But in retrospect, it wasn't so terrible.

June 4, 2015

Thursday Hillary Bash - Desperation

With headlines like these via Daily Mail, it's sounding like Hillary Clinton's getting desperate for primary votes already:
Hillary Clinton plays to raucous but HALF-EMPTY arena at black university as she claims opponents want to 'disempower and disenfranchise people of color'
-Democratic front-runner wants universal, automatic voter registration for every 18-year-old instead of the 'opt-in' system the US has today
-Texas Southern University basketball arena was divided by a giant blue curtain, leaving three-quarters of the seats unavailable
-Hillary demands felons have their voting rights restored after they serve their sentences
-Slams the Supreme Court for 2013 decision that let southern states change their own election laws after 40 years of federal supervision
So we have fear-mongering, automatic youth voting registration, empty seats and more fear-mongering.  Sounds like desperation to me.  

Remember I said it might be okay to eat our own?

It might be okay to eat our own, I said it.  Twice.  I did not say it lightly. Did I mean it?  Yes.  Because of things like this:
Two members of House GOP leadership—Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) and Rules Committee chairman Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) —refused to admit through spokespersons to Breitbart News whether they have read the text of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Pacific Rim trade deal, but they still support granting President Barack Obama the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) to fast track it. What’s more, Scalise and Sessions—and others GOP conference-wide, including even perhaps Boehner—could be vulnerable to serious primary challenges if they continue forward with Obamatrade.

June 2, 2015

Good quote from Vince Vaughn

Via Grand View Outdoors:
 “We have the right to bear arms to resist the supreme power of a corrupt and abusive government,” Vaughn told British GQ. “It’s not about duck hunting; it’s about the ability of the individual. It’s the same reason we have freedom of speech. It’s well known that the greatest defense against an intruder is the sound of a gun hammer being pulled back.” 
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