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Month: June, 2012

Health Care Law and the Supreme Court. Legal as a Tax?

I have to question the decision by our judges on the Supreme Court. I have a lot of questions . . .

I think they forgot something very important.

The word “Mandatory” comes to mind. Passing it along as a tax was a cop out. Was it voted in as a tax? Did Congress understand it as a TAX on the people?

It was also a ruling that will put these judges in history and infamy. Infamy because this ruling effects every person in this country one way or another.

In all fairness, the court was faced with a difficult decision in which they were damned if they do and damned if they don’t uphold the law as written.

President Obama was threatening to put the law in place regardless of how they ruled. At least if we believe some of the reporting done on this historic legislation. That kind of intimidation has to have had some influence here.

Who are these people? Who put them on the Supreme Court of our land? I am no lawyer. I am no judge. My basic law background is I have none. I am ignorant in this case.

I would be looking into the financial connections behind this ruling. Do these judges have a connection that should have ruled them out from making a ruling? It would be interesting to find out if there are enterprising reporters out there willing to do the grudge work of checking that angle out.

If they should have passed on making a ruling, why are they still on the court after this is all over with? Is that an impeachable offense in law?

The favorable ruling to Obama Health Care has another angle.

It has just went to the top of the class. That means it has become the number one issue in the next election. I guess to me, the ruling means out of pocket expenses for a good number of people. I am talking about the negative effect of everyone having to be insured whether they can afford it or not. That could just be the factor to cause the next depression.

I am not an economist. I am not a Doctor of Economics. I have no fancy degrees. I am sure that my ignorance shows here. What I basically look at is what is in my pocket after all the expenses come out of my pension checks. I think others view it in a similar manner whether they are retired or working or unemployed. What is my spendable income after all the different governments reach in and take their share?

I suspect that “Mandatory” means they will take a bigger share out of my pocket. I am in wait and see mode on that. Well, President Obama, Sherrod Brown, and others that voted for this law, guess how I will vote in the coming November election (if you have “stolen” money out of my pocket)? It sure won’t be for a Democrat!

And that is the basic mistake I think the people that voted that law in have made.


Direct Deposit of Social Security Checks . . . the other side of the story

I have maintained that forcing people to go to direct deposit is wrong. I still maintain that forcing people to do things is wrong especially by the government. Executive orders to me are wrong as well. That strikes me as orders from our King. The King changes every 8 years like clockwork. The orders remain.

There is another side to this story. The post office is unfortunately inefficient at handling checks in the mail. Our current postal service is handled by a number of carriers. It is an open route that no one seems to want. So they all take turns doing the mail service. Often this puts us after 5 in the afternoon. That is just plain wrong. For one thing, no one ever gets familiar with the route. So multiple errors are likely to occur.

And they do. The other side of this story is that you cannot depend on public mail anymore! They seem to have no trouble delivering thousands of pieces of junk mail however.

If you want to test them. Subscribe to a magazine. Most times there is no problem. Every once in a while, you won’t receive your magazine.

Social Security is haunted by these failures to deliver mail to the right address. I see their point. The point being that they cannot trust your mail carrier to deliver the mail to the right address.

Then there is the hit. That is where someone deliberately takes your social security check and cashes it at a carryout or retail store. Recovering the money is problematic. Catching the thief is probably impossible. Except every store is now monitored by cameras. The problem is tracking down the video of what happened. The FBI is very good at that. Arresting someone for doing it is probably another story all together. So your lower class criminals usually get away with it. Occasionally, if they have bad record, the FBI puts out a call for their arrest. So far, all you have is a lot of wind and no action.

To the police, it is almost a joke. You see after dodging bullets, dealing with drug people, and other assorted things designed to kill you, a stolen check is nothing by comparison.

So I am changing my tune. I think we should go direct deposit. I think instead a deposit notification should be sent to our mailbox giving the day it is deposited. That day should be identical to the day it would normally have been mailed. To some of us, a computer email would do.

My nightmare is that computers are not infallible. Garbage in, processed garbage out. And correcting that situation is another nightmare for most of us.

Social Security is a huge organization. It has huge computer programs all over the place. They never go WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG . . .

If you believe that I have some things I would like to sell you, like a bridge in Brooklyn.

In a perfect world, credit unions and banks never fail. Getting to your money and changing the address the money goes to might be a problem. Hacking accounts is another serious computer problem.

But for now, I think we need to all go Direct Deposit before something vital to our financial interests are stolen.



The undeclared war on our money . . .

When I was growing up in the United States Air Force I was lucky enough to be assigned to South Korea for 13 months. This was between 1965 and 1966. I say lucky because I was where the guns were not shooting.The sanitation was circa 1620. Everyone shit and pissed in the streets. People took their shoes off in a entrance to a building because the bottom of their shoes was full of it. The floor was normally about 6 inches above the entrance where the shoes were kept on a small straw mat.

The luck was the cost of retail goods. I estimate they were often 20-30% of what we could get the same stuff for in the States. Like stereo electronics, cameras, and a multitude of other locally produced goods we were living high. We even had our own houseboy that made our beds and cleaned our clothes for us. Our near poverty level salaries were suddenly worth a lot more because we were in Korea.

Why? Because the exchange rate was in our favor. Gold was at $35 an ounce. I think it is around $1700 an ounce now. It fluctuates up and down.

This is because of undeclared wars abroad. These cost billions of dollars. Our currency is on the verge of a major breakdown.

When we went off the gold standard and went to war, our currency took a beating.

Cheap countries like Korea, China, India, Taiwan, and even at one time Japan produce goods from a cheaper currency than our own. This is where the drain comes in. As these countries accumulate dollars, the dollars become worth less money on the international exchanges. As we spend a lot of money on wars, it drains the value of our money even further.

I have been accused of being for tariffs. For being for protectionism. I confess. They are right. I am not for tariffs so much as I am for protection of our money and for protection against unfair competition. We as a country need to make some dramatic changes in the way we do business with the entire world. For one thing, as far as I am concerned, there is no such thing as an equal playing field when dealing with imports and exports. Governments all over the world see to that.

I think the American Abroad is often looked at as a Texan with more money than sense. This was an image from long ago. It is also often too true.

We have been placed in the position of leading the world. Hogwash! We have been suckered into supporting US troops abroad at tremendous personal expense to defend the free world. I think it is time to bring those troops home and let the world take care of itself. These troops are not profitable to the USA. They are and have been a tremendous drain on our national debt. We are basically broke because we have gone to war.

The other reason we are broke is because China has an undeclared war on not just our economy but all the free world economies. They are producing goods cheaper than cost. There is no economic theory broken here. Neither Keynesian nor any other theory takes into account a nation deliberately bankrupting businesses all over the world with government sponsored goods and a currency deliberately kept at an artificially low level of exchange. If it was anything but a major government doing this, the business and the country would go broke in short order. Obviously they are reaping an exchange where they have all the dollars and we have none.

One famous economist has banned me from his site for my views. I am obviously an ignorant person. Free trade is everything. I attempted to tell him that there is nothing free about different playing fields in which one is sponsored by unlimited money to bankrupt someone else. This was done in the oil field companies by Standard Oil. It led to the breaking up of Standard Oil and anti-monopoly laws at the early part of the 1900s.

Well, any views are welcome on this site. I do not believe I know everything. I am indeed ignorant on a lot of subjects. I welcome enlightenment from people that are smarter than me.



If I were a Mayan facing ecological disaster

The question in my mind is this was a technical, engineering wise, society living on a land similar to Florida, that eventually disappeared. So where did they go?

If it were me, I would make my decision based on moving to real estate that would make it militarily impossible for my neighbors to conquer me. The land would have to be surrounded by mountains too high for convenient armies to cross. It would have to be a land with a ready fresh water supply and renewable fertile soil for agriculture. I would be looking for a land with valleys surrounded by mountains. Something similar to Switzerland would work.

I would be looking for solid rock. I would look to go underground. Possibly into water caves, I would build my houses and temples in a manner to anticipate dramatic geological disasters. That means that there would be a surface civilization for conquerors to raid and pillage. But the real civilization would be built into old extinct volcanoes, mountains with very old rock, and the visible entrances would be hidden well against discovery. Northern California, the Rockies, Central America, Peru, Argentina, and even possibly Antarctica in warmer times all suggest themselves. Islands in the mid Atlantic or even areas of the South Pacific are possible. The more remote from civilizations the better.

I suggest an underground civilization partly because of their engineering skills. The idea being to make the Mayan civilization disappear from the outside world. If they  believed at the end of the age the world would encounter a massive destructive event, they might have prepared for it by having their own version of fallout shelters.

The best structure would be one made of stone. It would be built in the form of pyramids. I suggest that they built such pyramids underground. The motive was the massive barbaric peoples surrounding the area. It was impossible to survive these war people. So they did the next best thing. I suggest they built their homes up to 400 feet buried into the sides of mountains.

If it was me, I would have made impassible amazon jungles as part of the defense. But the ultimate defense is still solid rocky mountains with limited access. Even with millions of warriors, if you can only pass one or two people through the caverns at a time, it is impossible to conquer a people buried in rock. At least with primitive technological skills. The other thought is if it is invisible, the warriors do not know it is there.

I would set up gas defenses. As warriors got uncomfortably close, I would eliminate an entire army of them camped in a valley by killing them as they slept. Since the underground caves would be air-proof, the vents would be high in the mountains and air pumped in. Rock doors would seal the caves while this was going on.

The leaders of such a civilization would anticipate treachery from within. This would mean a priesthood devoted to keeping the people safe. I suggest the entire civilization would religiously keep their existence hidden. Thus when the Spanish people invaded they would be the only ones prepared. The Spanish could go throughout the entire land mass and never see them.

Quietly, the Mayans would let them take over the surface. Meanwhile, they would continue to exist in a civilization buried deep underground without much fear of discovery from the surface dwellers.

All that would be left on the surface would be the abandoned structures of an earlier age.

The other advantage of an underground civilization, possibly 400 feet below the surface would be retarded aging. The surface radiation of our planet ages us prematurely. The atmosphere no longer protects us completely. Such a civilization might live an average of 100-150 years of age. Especially if they added diet to their science in such a way that people slowed the aging process. The very rock around them would shield them better than we are shielded on the surface. Next time you check your body out. The cloth-covered areas do not wrinkle like the areas exposed to the air and the radiation from the Sun.

The other advantage is temperature control. At the surface the temperature of the soil is 52 degrees fahrenheit. Deeper it gets hotter. So at some point you would be at a comfortable 68 to 75 degrees. This is year-round temperatures. The main problem of course is food production. An engineering solution is biospheres under the ground where light is guided to farms. The more likely solution is surface produced crops in the mountain valleys stored in ice caves high in the mountains.

Well, so much for my imagination today. But that is how I would have solved the Mayan problem with hostile neighbors.


Gary North Article

Your thoughts are valid. They do not explain the entire problem.
But you are dealing with a playing field with different rules of commerce.
Let us say a widget costs $20 here. The same widget costs $2 in Taiwan. 
It costs $5 in Korea. $10 in Japan. $25 dollars in Germany. No one here can
compete with anyone but Germany.
Now a country decides its main export is labor. It keeps its currency
artificially below everyone else so the widget now costs $1. Even with
transportation costs, the widget is under $5 here. This country can do this
because they are dealing with slave labor which is basically wrong. 
The playing field there is not the playing field here. They do not deal with
the same commerce rules we deal with here.
Using the world's largest slave labor population they are out to bankrupt
every nation that trades with them. It is open warfare against economies.
Tariffs were the solution in the 1800s to the 1950s. You simply keep the
trade out. I don't know what the solution to this problem is. We are now
hooked on slave labor goods from India and China. This has caused a national
economic problem of huge proportions. When the ax falls it will bankrupt
this country.
That was the solution China sought as far back as 50 years ago. It works.
The one thing that local industry did well back in the 1950s was to insulate
us from currency fluctuations. If products are produced locally in this
country, the entire economic picture is more like what you describe. When
currencies are equal in value and product prices are fairly equal in value
then competition is the way to go and the loser is the one that does not
compete. I trust the baker, farmer, and other industries locally produced.
They are on an equal playing field. The only thing I trust about slave labor
warfare is that it is not there for my good. Yet most of the goods moving
through places like WalMart are "Made in China."
The fallacy is the entire economy will go south and bankrupt when the
currency fluctuates.

The old dishwasher died . . .

Recently I loaded our Tappan Dishwasher and started to turn it on. Spark, fizz, burn and the switch was dead. Nothing would work to turn it on.

A burnt smell was in the house.

So I had some decisions to make. Repair it? Replace it? If so, how to get it out from under the counter without problems?

The current racket is to rip you off with the install of a new appliance like a dishwasher. I have seen estimated prices of $179 to install a dishwasher.

The problem is convenience. Having moved the unit out a valve broke loose and started spraying water everywhere. This was on the dishwasher. I naturally turned off the water at the main. Put a tray under the pipe. Then I noticed the dishwasher was hard wired into the house wiring. The circuit breaker named dishwasher did not turn off the power to the unit which did have a light on it to show it was powered. Technically I should have turned off power to the house. I didn’t. The dishwasher was still hooked up to the wires and it was under the unit.

I did locate the valve that sprung and was lucky to fix it temporarily.

At that point I decided replacement was the only option of common sense.

Best Buy has an excellent deal going on dishwashers. $19.95 installation plus a home kit of parts for $30. This brought the install down to $50. For $50 I’ll let them deal with it.

So now we have to pickup the house so it is fit for company. With a 7 year old running around creating messes that is a few hours work.

My point is that dishwashers under the counter are engineered wrong. They are designed to employ people to install them. I am sure it will take this person less than an hour to hard wire the new one, plug in the plumbing and make sure it doesn’t leak and push it into place under the counter. To my way of thinking the unit should plug in somewhere fairly far from the water supply. The unit itself should be prewired so it is an easy plug in. The plumbing should go to a levered valve inlet that is easy to shut off in case of disasters.

Portables do all of that. Why not under the counter units?