Monday, February 27, 2012

Jobs Americans Won't Do

I was thinking today about how we "need" to import workers to do jobs that "Americans won't do".

Anybody ever ask the question(s) 1) Why won't they do them? Is it because they can count on a bevy of nameless somebodies -- to whom they have approximately zero accountability -- will support them whether they do them or not?

2) And if the answer is, "well nobody can live on those wages", then where's the followup question.... "How come these other people apparently can, and go through a lot of trouble to get here to do them, to boot?" Mmmm?

So are they saying Americans are too good to do "those jobs" and, say, your "undocumented immigrant" isn't?

I mean, isn't that ... I dunno, racist?

Just asking questions here.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Oil and Gas Exploration at 20 Year High

According to a commenter ... probably echoing a DNC talking point ... over at RCP on this Debbie Wasserman-Schultz video where she blames Republican "yes"-men saying yes to oil companies for high gas prices during the Bush administration.

The comment was:
There is no hypocrisy. Bush pursued policies that drove up oil prices and drove up gas prices. Obama has done just the opposite. Employment in oil and gas exploration is at a 20 year high under Obama.
The comment linked the accompanying graph as evidence.

Well of course everybody knows that "employment in oil and gas exploration" means that we're actually finding it and being allowed to drill for it ... right? FAIL #1

And if higher "employment in oil and gas exploration" is an indicator of energy policy that keeps supply high and prices low, then we can only deduce from the chart the commenter linked that horrible policy was pursued under Clinton, as it did all of its actual falling under the Clinton administration, then held steady during GW Bush's first term and began to rise sharply during his second term (you know, when all of the same people who blamed Bush for high gas prices were busy blaming him) -- and "employment in oil and gas exploration" first dropped sharply right after Obama took office, but in the last two years has increased again at about the same trajectory it was on before Obama took office. FAIL #2

FAIL #1 is much bigger, though, because looking for gas and oil is not the same as actually producing it. Remember the instructive joke:
Q: Three guys are sitting on a bridge. Two say they will jump off. How many are left?
A: Three. Because saying and doing are two different things.
Government doesn't do the exploring, and government doesn't do the drilling. They can allow exploring but not drilling - which is what pretty much what the administration has been doing.

A better explanation of what you see on the chart is that falling oil prices made oil less profitable, so less exploration was done over time. When oil prices started going up ... mostly due to increased world demand, companies (not Bush or Obama) started looking for more of it. And they have to look extra hard because of all the places they are not allowed to actually, you know, drill for it.

I mean ... duh, people!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Liberty Constitution Ron Paul

Last meeting we had, there was a "spend 5 minutes defending your candidate" debate.

Only a couple of people really engaged, and both of them were Ron Paul supporters.  I'm pretty sure these were the people who suggested the exercise.  And they came prepared.


not all Ron Paul supporters are like this.  But too many of 
them sound a little too much like this.  And I've actually been
told I sound a little bit like this.  Minus the "Ron Paul" bits.
Ron Paul.  I voted for Ron Paul in 1988.  I voted for Harry Browne in 2000.   Between 1988 and 2000, I voted mostly for Libertarian candidates.

In 2000, we almost got President Al Gore.  President.  Al.  Gore.   Scared the crap out of me.   So next time around I decided it wasn't going to be my vote that gave us President John Kerry.   I voted for George W. Bush,  who I still count as a good and decent man, despite my libertarian undercurrent.   As for "good president" -- he did a lot of things right, and got a lot of things wrong.  But everything is relative.

And the Democrats proved that next time around by tossing up Barack Obama.  A better looking, more charming, better spoken version of Al Gore, but with a shield of ambiguity and misdirection lined in a protective cloak of blackness in case anyone started asking questions that poked at that ambiguity.

And it worked.   That still baffles me.

But back to Ron Paul.

It's not that I don't like Ron Paul.  It's not that that I don't agree with Ron Paul on most important issues.  It's reality.

Ron Paul has been running for president about as long as I can remember.   And I like that he runs for president, and I like that he keeps arguing libertarianism from a principled perspective.  He has slowly made headway getting people to talk about the libertarian perspective -- helped out in part by the strong backlash against big government that flared up with TARP.  I've even come around a long way on The Patriot Act.  Discussion is good.

My problem has been ... he couldn't win.  For years I voted for libertarians anyway, proudly pinning my principle pin to my bare chest and bleeding like the warrior I felt I was -- but the reality of where American voters are right now is -- Ron Paul can't win.  Which is a shame, but that's the way it is.

Right now, looking at the field of candidates, Paul is looking better and better to me.   And it's not that I think he would get in there and set things right.   Presidents can't do that.  They need Congress and they need principled, Constitutionally-Minded Supreme Court justices.   They can make headway.

President Paul would probably do a lot of good.   But only if candidate Paul actually wins the general election.   Ron Paul is scary to a lot of people, right or wrong.  The Democrat PR Machine would pounce on it, and I believe we'd end up with a second serving of Hope and Change.

Maybe Romney or Gingrich or Santorum would be Hope and Change Lite™.   But Hope and Change Lite™ is better than Hope and Change™, and it buys time for what really needs to happen.  The reality is, right now we're forced to figure out what is the litest plausibly electable version of Hope And Change™ out there, and vote for it.

What really needs to happen is for Ron Paul supporters to make Ron Paul's arguments to their families and friends without repeating Ron Paul's name.   Because we don't need Ron Paul supporters.  We need liberty supporters.  We need limited government supporters.   When and only when that happens will we become a nation in which someone like Ron Paul can win.  Make the case for the principles, and the rest will follow.   Eventually.  Ron Paul would agree.  It's the principles, not the man.

Unless we end up with a government that no longer even pretends to nod to the Constitution before that happens.  Which ... with 4 more years of Hope and Change™ ... more likely to happen, IMHO.


Hey, if Ron wins the primary, I'll vote for him.  If Rick wins, I'll vote for him.

The sad state of affairs is that if only "Obama" and "No" show up on the ballot ... I'm gonna vote for "No".

But that's not the end of it.  Liberty Constitution. Liberty Constitution.  Until I win the debate.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Tommy Puts the Cart Before the Horse

Thomas Friedman thinks America needs a "second" party.   He's half right.   America does need a second party.  But not for the reason he seems to think it does.
That’s what Republican primary voters seem to be doing. They just keep going back to the pile but still coming up with only vowels that spell nothing.

There’s a reason for that: Their pile is out of date. The party has let itself become the captive of conflicting ideological bases: anti-abortion advocates, anti-immigration activists, social conservatives worried about the sanctity of marriage, libertarians who want to shrink government, and anti-tax advocates who want to drown government in a bathtub.

Sorry, but you can’t address the great challenges America faces today with that incoherent mix of hardened positions.
Tommy, those are some of the great challenges America faces today, and those ideological bases are called "constituents" in our representative government.  I am a little confused how pro-life advocates and advocates of rule of law, and opponents of government re-definition of marriage would be in conflict with each other, or in conflict with the ideals of limited government.   Our government was instituted, if I remember correctly, primarily to protect life, liberty, and property.   Pro-life advocates want the government to protect life, people who are against the government re-defining marriage for everyone want it to protect liberty, and people who are against the government confiscating money from them to do things outside of its charter are all united (and very often one and the same people) in those original founding principles.  There is no inconsistency.

This is putting the cart before the horse.  The Constitution does not say that political parties will dictate "up-to-date" policy.    It is up to We the People.  But the arguments made by the left are all a matter of choosing the semantics.  Since the media has an immense influence on the semantics that get used, it is up to us to counter with the proper semantics.  It's another way ...  an important way ... to stop echoes.

I saw a headline today -- a Rachel Maddow column entitled "War on Birth Control" is a good illustration of what's going on here.   There's no "war on birth control".  That is, nobody is using force, outside of an infinitesimally small number of extremists ... and by extremists I mean people who actually do use force - to make their argument against birth control.  And even that tiny, tiny, fraction of individuals who do aren't doing it over condoms.  The Church does not condone it.  No remotely mainstream Pro-Life organization condones it.  The war is largely a war of verbal persuasion.

Where there is much more like a war being waged is a war to force people who believe it is wrong ... to pay for it.   Because when the government forces you to pay into an insurance plan that provides coverage for it -- whether it directly requires the employer to buy insurance that covers it or if it requires insurance companies to provide the coverage so that the employer has no choice ...  the sanctioned, coercive force of government is indeed behind it whether or not anybody actually gets shot over it.  People will comply because the implied force is there, and that implied force will send people to jail if they refuse to comply (or shoot them if they resist going to jail).

Libertarians don't want government to overstep its bounds.  "Anti-Tax" people don't want government to overstep its bounds.  And Pro Life people ... don't want Government to overstep its bounds... in fact, one of their arguments is that government isn't doing enough to protect the first of those inalienable rights.

And even if you disagree on their entirely defensible definition of "life", there's that whole first amendment to deal with.  This is not trivial stuff.
The second of our great long-term challenges are our huge debt and entitlement obligations. They can’t be fixed without raising and reforming taxes and trimming entitlements and defense. We absolutely cannot just cut entitlements and defense. That would imperil the personal security and national security of every American. We must also reform taxes to raise more revenues.

But when all the Republican candidates last year said they would not accept a deal with Democrats that involved even $1 in tax increases in return for $10 in spending cuts, the G.O.P. cut itself off from reality.
So one of our, as Tommy says, three great challenges are huge debt and entitlement obligations, but the GOP balking on increasing the size of government ... and that is what raising taxes effectively does ... cuts the GOP off from reality?  Reality is, that for every dollar government decides to spend, we are spending, what, $1.40?   Pardon me, but anything to nip that bullshit in the bud sounds like sense to me!  Rather than take more property from people to fund things the government was not instituted to do, I think a big slap in the face and a "STOP IT" is entirely appropriate.
Our third great challenge is how we power our future — without dangerously polluting and warming the earth.
Stop right there, Tommy.  You've entered the realm of religious belief, and if you don't want people refusing to pay for things that go against their religious beliefs, then please don't insist that they pay for the implementation of yours.

I and most conservatives are all for keeping our water and air clean and preserving some wilderness for posterity.  But the Reverend Al Gore has failed to provide any scientific basis for the Chicken Little cry of Anthropogenic Glowobal Warmaning and it's claimed devastating effects, so pardon me if I don't worship at the altar.  It is clear that Al's "scientists" will willingly circumvent science to keep its government funding spigot wide open and feed their self-important egos.  If your prerequisite for another party is another one that follows the Democratic party line .... then you're just blowing CO2 up all of our collective arses.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Let me get this straight....

Democrats are up in arms because Republicans want to deny ... tax credits ... to people who are here illegally.   Yup.  Those pesky, evil, heartless Republicans actually want you to have a ... get this ... social security number ... to qualify for a tax credit.

Why is this even an issue?

First of all, if the worker doesn't have a social security number, under what federal id is his/her income taxes being withheld?  In other words, how do we even know money is being withheld for a person with no federal ID?  How do we know for sure who that person is?   Does this actually mean I can fill out an income tax return under a bogus name, make up some numbers, and get a check from the government?

But ...  you gotta remember...

These are the same people who want you to be able to register to vote without an address and argue that it's unfair to some people to require an address or an id or anything to verify that they aren't just someone who put down a name or seventeen in districts in which they do not live, and just show up and vote in any or all of them -- thus illegally magnifying their vote -- or to send in mail-in ballots to multiple districts.  How you gonna trace them?

It is shocking how easy voter fraud is once you understand how "the system" works and what the gaping holes are.   I believe progressive community organizers (which until the Tea Party was pretty much reflexive) -- ACORN, et al have elevated it to an art.  This has benefited Democrats, and Democrats are the first to cry foul if you try to do anything to make it harder to do.   You might "disenfranchise" some little old homeless lady who never drove in her life.

When you leave a gaping hole in your elective process that allows for such relatively easy fraud ... all who take advantage of it  disenfranchise  the rest of us.

Seriously, try to pass a law to require some sort of voter id to vote, and who are the first people to cry "Nazi!"? (hint:  it's the same people who are always first to cry "Nazi!")  Which party tries to get such laws passed?  Which party does everything in its power to block them?

The party which has elevated it to an art wants to keep the gaping holes, naturally.   If an election is close at all, they'll litigate and count and re-count and suddenly "find" boxes of ballots they "missed" and voila!

Senator Saturday Night Live.

Fortunately, my state does require some form of ID to vote in person, at least.  Still at least one of them can  easily be forged by anyone with a computer and the right paper.

It's madness.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Grumble, Grumble

Nothing.  I think I just saw one too many "COEXIST" bumperstickers on the way in this morning.  It seemed like every other car.

The smug was thick.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

"Scientifically Proven"

While it is heartening to see more and more AGW skeptics crop up, we really need to make sure we understand the issues and where the Chicken Littles have it wrong.  

Saw a post on facebook on a conservative page saying:  "it has been scientifically proven that we are not suffering from global warming".

Well, no, it hasn't.  And except for the word "suffering", that statement is just flat out incorrect.   Nothing of the sort has been "scientifically proven", just as it hasn't been "scientifically proven" that there has been global warming, or especially that we've had anything to do with it if it has.

The data says that we've warmed slightly in the last 150 years.   Of course, even much of the data is speculative and/or not "scientifically" controlled measurement.   The "warming" has been so little it could be a figment of our data.  As a matter of fact, what climategate has shown us, there is a bias in the AGW community toward warmer data, and "corrections" that make the data "warmer" -- on top of the fact that  much of the data is speculative and/or not "scientifically" controlled measurement.

It's no secret that I am a strong skeptic of Global Warming, but people on our side make the same mistake they do when we say "it has been scientifically proven that we are not suffering from global warming". The statement is easily attacked and debunked and it has little to do with the issue. There is general agreement that the Earth did warm some over the last 150 or so years, although it cooled a bit in the middle of that ... but over all, yeah. Looks like we're half a degree warmer.  And that means ...????

"Suffering"? That's a loaded word. Are we really "suffering"? What negative effects have we seen? What positive effects have we seen? Most of the negative "effectcs" are, in fact, speculation and predicition, and most of those are highly subjective as to whether or not they are good or bad.

The real issue is did we have anything significant to do with it, and is there anything we can do about it? The actual data seems to say "no", and "no". (And the third issue would be should we do anything about it if we could?) The computer models which are built with assumptions that CO2 causes global warming and will induce a positive enhancement and feedback loop with water vapor are of course going to show that the earth will heat up, because the assumptions are built into the models. The data does not back the models -- and the Chicken Little's know it, as evidenced by the Climategate Communiques.

The earth's climate changes. It always has. It always will. It's not some delicate system set on a thermostat where it's "supposed" to be. It does what it does. Sometimes that's good. Sometimes that's bad. And we get to judge "good" or "bad" from our own perspective.