Thursday, September 17, 2015

An economic case against the Bermuda Triangle

Had the TV on the other night (just to have it on), tuned to one of those secondary cable channels. They were running those "Ancient Aliens" shows. One of the episodes had to do with the Dragon's Triangle (Devil's Sea) which is the Pacific Ocean's equivalent of our Bermuda Triangle. One of the "experts" the show referenced was the author of a book about both places and the show repeatedly talked about all of the unexplained ship and plane disappearances that have occurred in both of those areas. That hundreds of ships and planes have been lost under "unexplainable" circumstances. About how compasses go "crazy" in these areas, and how they are the locations of numerous unexplainable phenomenon.

The case against these two areas being anything other than standard, normal patches of ocean can be made with two simple words: insurance premiums.

If either of these areas really was a location where there was a statistically significant greater loss of ships (with cargo) and airplanes, the bean counters that work for the insurance companies that insure cargo ships and planes (and their cargo) against loss would surely be aware of it. If there was a statistically significant greater risk of a vessel or plane (with cargo and crew) that transverse these areas "disappearing", the insurance premiums for vessels that travel those areas would be significantly higher than for those that avoid these areas. Cargo ships are quite expensive, the cargo they carry can be worth millions and millions of dollars. The shipping companies value their ships, their crews, their cargo, their reputations, and their profits enough that they would surely avoid these areas in an effort to save all of these things that they value. Reacting to these adverse incentives, the number of vessels traveling through these areas would greatly diminish in a rather short amount of time, reducing the "reported" losses until those losses returned to a more normal level and traffic would likely not return to these areas until the costs of using those routes (to include insurance premiums) returned to a more normal level.

What about the military? The military values their equipment and personnel at least as much as commercial businesses do and their equipment can not only be more expensive than commercial vessels they also contain more of and more valuable (as in expensive to train and maintain) crew members. If the military were to suffer increased losses of equipment and personnel in these waters, you can rest assured that either a) they would issue warnings, restricting traffic and travel in these areas and/or b) undertake extensive investigations to determine the cause of these increases in losses. Neither of these two events have taken place. There are no restrictions in traffic through these areas and there are not "endless" stories in the paper about lost military vessels and crews that defy explanation. With the adversarial press we have in the US (as well as England), if there was malfeasance of this sort going on, we would hear about it.

We don't even need to get into commercial air traffic (i.e. passenger airplanes / jet planes). Delta, USAir, Spirit, Jet Blue, etc. don't avoid these areas and overfly them daily. If there were an increased possibility of plane and passenger loss with the accompanying replacement costs and lawsuits, these would most definitely be "no fly" zones.

Economics doesn't lie...

Monday, September 7, 2015

The speech I wish the next Republican President would give...

Good evening citizen of the United States. Let me first say thank you for allowing me into your homes tonight. I truly believe that what I am about to share with you will benefit all Americans and the country and will be an important step in getting our country back on the right coarse for all citizens of this great land.

As citizens of these United States, we all have suffered under the burden of a farce, a fallacy, a Ponzi scheme of enormous size that has negatively impacted our economy for generations. This crime that has been perpetuated against us is known as the Social Security System. I am here to tell you that this crime will end. You will no longer be forced to contribute to a bankrupt and corrupt system that promises too much and delivers too little. If today's social security system were run by private businesses, the executives of those companies would be in jail! Why should this be permitted to continue simply because it is done to you by your Government instead of by a private company?

Despite what you may have heard and will likely hear starting tomorrow, the Social Security fund is broken and broke! There is NO money in it. It is true that at least for today and the near future, contributions to the Social Security fund exceed the monies paid out to recipients but and this is a big but, there is no money in the fund because your Government has been spending it for years to fund other programs. As dollars go into the fund, the Government takes them out and puts in I.O.U.s instead. Now if you trust your Government to be there tomorrow [and the day after] those I.O.U.s are nearly as good a cash BUT it is not cash and it is money that the Government will have to pay back, not at our leisure but when the demand for payments exceeds the amount coming in. This will likely mean deep cuts to other programs and / or tax increases and / or means testing to those that are and will collect Social Security. Again, over promised and under delivered. In addition, with the Government controlling this program, we tell you how much you have to put in, how long you have to wait to start receiving payments, and how those funds are managed. You are not children, you are adults. This is your money and you should own and control it.

My plan for the shuttering of the Social Security System is as follows:

First off, if you work and contribute to Social Security, December 31st of this year will be the last day that any FICA taxes are removed from your paycheck. Come January 1st of next year, those payroll funds are yours to keep. Your employer will also no longer have to match your FICA taxes after December 31st as well.

There are basically 4 groups of people in regard to Social Security; these groups are a) those already receiving payments (or will receive payments by January 1st of next year), b) those that are fully vested in Social Security but do not yet receive payments, c) those that are not yet fully vested but have made contributions, and d) those that have made no contributions yet (and won't have by December 31st of this year).

Let me allay any fears group (a) might have, if you currently receive Social Security payments, those payments will continue! Your payments will NOT stop. We made a commitment to you and the Government will keep that commitment. For you, nothing will change. Your schedule of benefits and payments will continue uninterrupted.

For those in group (d), those that have never been assessed any FICA taxes, if you still have not made any FICA contributions as of December 31st, nothing will change. You will not ever be forced to pay anything into the Social Security System. You will never be forced to contribute money into an underfunded, under performing system. I strongly encourage you to open an IRA account, if you don't already have one and start contributing money to it today. We will be making adjustments to the IRA rules to make it easier to contribute and to allow you to contribute much more. More details on these enhanced IRA rules will be coming in the weeks ahead.

To those in group (c), those that have paid FICA taxes but are not yet vested. You will not ever receive any Social Security payments. You are not vested in the system and will not ever be. It is strongly recommended that you start an IRA account as soon as possible if you don't already have one and start contributing to that account. As I stated earlier the rules for IRA accounts will be expanded giving you more freedom and options. If you already have an IRA, you are already setup for what I am about to tell you. If you do not have one, it is strongly recommended that you open one before the end of this year. Shortly after the new year, the Government will credit your IRA account with the sum of all of your FICA tax payments as well as those made on your behalf by your employer(s). Next year all FICA tax payments made by you or for you will be yours, in your IRA to own and manage. The Government should never have been taxing your wages at the point of a gun and making poor investment choices with your money. I apologize.

To those in group (b), those that are fully vested but have not yet started receiving payments (come January 1st), you have a choice to make. You can elect to be treated as part of group (c) or group (a). You can elect to have all of your [up to December 31st] FICA taxes as well as those of your employer(s) deposited in an IRA account of your choosing or you can elect to receive Social Security payments based on your December 31st (of this year) payment schedule. We will honor either decision you make.

We understand that there are some individuals that do not fall into any of these groups, we will be making a phone number and web site link available for you and anyone else that has questions about these changes, where you can get more information. In addition we will be posting the text of this speech, the details of the plan, and any additional updates or releases to a web site where everyone can access this for your self.

As soon as I am finish [if not already] you will hear from people that will tell you this is a bad plan and a bad idea. That I am wrong about the system being insolvent and that shutting it down is too hard, too complicate, and there is not enough time to make this all happen by year end.

To them I say no. You are the one that is wrong. You are the one that is insisting that we continue with a program that was designed and implemented wrong from the very start and that this very program when managed by individuals and companies, those people are arrested and charged with crimes. It ends now. We will honor our commitments to those that are already in the system and we have a plan for the orderly shutting down of this system and we will do it.

Others will say that we can not afford to do this. That we can not afford to pay back all of the FICA taxes collected to all those currently involved in the system. That the system will collapse under the weight of no new funds coming in. To them I say, you are partially correct. That is exactly why the Social Security system is also called a Ponzi scheme and that it is illegal when not done by the Government. We are already carrying the liabilities for repayment. The fund is already full of I.O.U.s. We will just be more honest in how that liability is carried on the Government ledger.

A partial privatization (15% of contributions) was suggested by a prior administration. It was misconscrewed and lied about in the press and by ideologs. We are now that much farther down the road to a Social Security collapse. Continuing down that road will only lead to harsh, rushed changes. This solution ends the problem once and for all and puts control of retirement back where is belongs, with individuals and with families. You are adults and the Government is not and should not be acting as your parent forcing you into an immoral system. Again, this ends now.

Thank you and good night.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Simplified version of Hillary email apology

"Sorry you are too stupid to understand that what I did was not wrong."

This is basically what she said. She did not admit that what she did was wrong [and it was SO wrong], she apologized that it was so "confusing" for us mere rubes to understand.

She mishandled classified information. She mixed personal correspondence and government correspondence on an unsecure, privately controlled server. Someone within her circle removed classified designations from emails that were on her server. Someone within her circle moved emails from the Government's classified network to her server. She had correspondence between herself and the dignitaries of other governments which would generally make these exchanges classified.

Her excuses? Didn't know, didn't realize, didn't understand, couldn't work more than one device so this had to be done to help her do her job, etc. If she is this intimidated by common technology and this uninformed of basic security policies, what in the world makes anyone think she is competent to be president?

So the reality is, she hopes we are [or at least enough of us are] too stupid or to partisan to care that what she did was incredibly stupid, exposed the Government to enormous data risks, and violated her oath, the rules of her job, and the directives from her President.

And of course, the MSM has not bothered to push back on that non-apology but why should they? They are nothing more than Democrat operatives with bylines...

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The incredible case of Bruce Jenner

The case of Bruce Jenner is indeed incredible and I believe deserves some discussion. Bruce has opined in public that though he was born a male, he "feels" that he is really a female trapped in a male body. To address this disconnect between his feelings and his reality, Bruce has decided that despite all appearances to the contrary and despite what genetics might say, Bruce "knows" he is female and from now on, will be female. To this end, Bruce will take on all physical trappings of being female (or at least his vision of what a true female is - because as we all have been repeatedly told [and for which there is much truth] there is no true female standard, that women come in all shapes, sizes, and behaviors and the one and only metric that you can (could have) use to categorize someone as male or female is genetics - until now that is).

So what we really have here is a person that though they have male genes and plumbing, has decided to appear as female. If this was the extent of it, OK, fine. As an adult in America, you [at least as far as I am concerned and as far as I believe] should be free to do as you please as long as it does not infringe upon my rights to do the same. If you want to dress as a woman and act as a woman, have at it. Where this migrates from simple tolerance and possibly indulgence into infringement is when Bruce and many in society say that it is not enough that I accept that Bruce wants to be treated as a woman and that Bruce wants to appear as a woman. I must now accept a lie, i.e. that Bruce IS a woman. I must now incorporate this new truth into my being and treat this falseness as actual reality. If I chose instead of acceptance, to point out that a) Bruce was born a man, b) Bruce married a woman, c) Bruce procreated (the guy way), and d) Bruce has indicated (subject to change) that even though he is going to dress as women generally dresses and act as women generally acts, he will NOT exchange his natural, original male plumbing for a surgical construction of female plumbing. It is not as if Bruce lacks the resources to take this step of physical alteration, it is instead that he lacks the desire. That final point should be enough to lay waste to his claims.

To take this in another but related direction, let us say instead of Bruce announcing that he is now a woman, let us pose a hypothetical and Bruce announces that he has always been a Pitbull. Bruce FEELS that he has been a Pitbull for his entire life and will now live as a Pitbull. Bruce will stop wearing cloth and will be naked all the time. Bruce will get around on all fours. Bruce will eat and drink out of bowls on the floor. Bruce will relieve himself on the front lawn as a Pitbull does and will urinate on fire hydrants. Bruce will wear a collar, get walked, and demands to be issues a valid dog license from the city. As a dog, Bruce will mostly stop communicating in human speech and will mostly bark and growl. From now on Bruce will be known as Fido.

If this were to come to pass, would the media and society be lining up to celebrate the wonder that is Bruce [now Fido]? Or instead would there be a call for society to get this individual the help he is "owed"? Would we be admonished to play into his fantasy or to rally to his aid? Why is the response to this situation not appropriate to the reality that is Bruce?

Again, the issue is not that Bruce is now a transvestite. There are many, many people that like to dress and act as the opposite sex. As adults, they are free to indulge themselves in any way that they wish as long is it does not impact me and my rights. The issue here is that what we are being told to do is way beyond mere live and let live. This is into the realm of "all must accept my personal worldview as FACT and any dissension is heresy!" territory.

A somewhat similar case was in the news just this week. A boy that is now a high school senior has been dressing and acting as a girl for some time. The school (for the most part) has been accepting of this situation and the staff even arranged for this student to use their [faculty] unisex facilities in order to accommodate the student's situation. This year, this same student announced that this is no longer enough! This boy now demands that he be able to use the girl's locker room in order to get ready for and clean up after gym class. Everyone else be damned and any girls that find this situation concerning and objectionable are just bigots and should shut up and suck it up. The fact that many of these 16 and 17 year old girls are uncomfortable with a boy changing and showering in their locker room is of no consequence in this "brave new world". All must accept this boy's personal truth [that he is a she] as a natural fact and must act accordingly despite the penis between his legs.

Should this sort of situation simply be accepted as a new truth, a new fact or are we still grounded enough in actual reality to say no. No, your personal world view is NOT my fact. No, calling yourself a woman, or a dog, or a chair does not make it so. Not all reality is subjective and we will continue to indulge you but ONLY so far as indulging your whim doesn't impact my rights, my reality, and my safety.