Category Archives: Society

Big Gov’t or Big Pharma…

The FDA regulatory environment essentially creates monopolies… and the patent lifetime laws on new pharmaceuticals gives companies only a tiny amount of time to recoup the losses of developing a new drug and then make enough profit to remain in business… add the two together and you get the expensive epipen and massive cost for the medicines we take. Sure the companies that have the quasi-monopolies love it, but these costs are mostly not due to evil big pharma corporations, it is due to the unintended (Charitable interpretation) effect of government regulations. Blaming the company is falling for the red herring… and also, having more government (such as proposed in the quote here by Hillary) will guarantee that new drugs will not be developed.
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A Theory on American Voters

At this point, despite the fact that he is clearly not a Republican, Trump appears to be set to win the nomination for the Republican party.  So I’d like to propose a theory, sort of a unified theory of American voting. That is, that American voters belong to three parties… but we only have two parties to choose from. (Perhaps due to the constant, and idiotic, political binary of right-left-center.) The three actual parties are socialist, populist and small-r republican. But what we have are the Democratic and the Republican parties.

I suspect that roughly 1/4 -1/3 of both the Republicans and the Democrats are actually populists. And Trump is the ‘Populist party’ nominee. This would explain how he manages to get roughly a third of the primary vote every single time.

To push this further, I think that the populists in the country, not having any party apparatus through which to express their political desires, generally gravitate to belonging to whatever party, Democrat or Republican, that runs a given state if that party is dominant enough. So, for example, in Alabama, where the Democrats are becoming an endangered species, the populists (roughly 33% of the electorate) vote something like 80/20 republican/democrat. But in New York state, the populists vote roughly 80/20 democrat/republican. This isn’t just a cynical ploy on their part. Anyone who would be a ‘Populist party’ politician at the state level would have to run and get elected in the dominant party.

If we did actually have a populist party, we might have states that are ~40% republican, and about 25-30% each democrat and populist (like maybe Texas) and some other states with ~40% democrat and the other split (like maybe Pennsylvania) and some that are run by the populist party… Not sure if this would disproportionally harm either the Republican party or the Democrat party since I suspect that every state has at least 20% populists…

Anyway, the main problem (other than the 20-?% of the country that are socialists) is that while our country has voters for a Leftist party, a populist party and a republican (small r again) party, we are governed by a small cadre of senators and representatives and bureaucrats who are in their own little, powerful and power-hungry ‘globalist party’…

Anyway, its a theory and it isn’t a conspiracy, which already puts it far above the general fever-swamps of Internet theories…

 

 

 

Coffee

A thought occurred to me. We only have K-cup coffee because of social security…

The thought process goes like this (thanks to Dr. Wolfram for they thought style).

It used to be that someone sitting in an office with a Ph.D. and busy being all professor-y would have had a secretary…  That secretary would have brought coffee… good coffee. (probably would have filed papers too I think…)

But now, no one can afford to hire a secretary to do such work because of how much it costs (outside of salary) to hire an employee. This is due to social security and suchlike. So we lost secretaries.

And lastly, you cannot convince me that a bunch of people in offices would spring for K-Cup coffee when they were already getting brought secretary coffee. On a tray, in a civilized cup, with actual cream and sugar… Alas for our society!

What a terrible trade, we got a debt monster Ponzi scheme in social security and we are also stuck with K-Cup coffee in our offices…

 

Trump is…. Batman?

Every conservative wants a hero, a Reagan reincarnated, a principled, constitutional president who can usher in a new era of limited federal government. Apparently they ran out of unicorn farts at the wish store. I’ve long thought that the true focus for conservative reform must be state and local first: because what we really need is a re-engagement of normal people into the world of politics. We have too many Law students, too many natural born politicians working in think tanks and running newspapers… even on the conservative side. We need more regular random people on school boards, in village government and in the statehouse. It is as if, when conservatives think about reclaiming our limited government heritage, they forget that America is in reality 50 semi-sovereign entities… I personally expect that the best we can do with the federal government and bureaucracies is to hold the line while we get our states in order. Wisconsin is becoming saner and saner by the week. That’s what really needs to happen.

And so, I present to you our much maligned hero, Trump. The rap on Trump is that he is not a conservative. National Review unloaded all the cannons at him. The entire conservative elite (and there is one, no mistake) is more intent on beating Trump than on winning in 2016. Because he is not conservative. And the general reply of Trump supporters is, I suspect… ‘Duh.’

So, Trump is not the hero we want… what if he is perhaps the hero we deserve? The hero we need?

What if Trump is Batman? (He’s a billionaire… so step one is complete)

Consider this: America is no longer lying to itself about Bill Clinton. And, as John Nolte put it at Brietbart:

…(W)hat did the serial losers in the GOP Establishment do when the media declared Bill’s past off-limits?  Even though Hillary and the DC Media were already laying the groundwork to War on Women them to death, these spineless cowards couldn’t wait to surrender. In other words, they agreed to play by the DC Media’s rules — rules specifically designed to destroy Republican candidates.

And then along came The Donald.

In less than a week, Trump performed a bona fide miracle. In less than a week, Trump did what no other Republican has been able to do in 25 years. In less than a week, Trump lifted his middle finger to the corrupt media and went on a truth-telling terror about an alleged serial-abuser and his enabler wife.

The clouds parted.

The sun rose.

A rainbow formed.

And after 25 long years, the truth finally stuck to Slick Willy.

America is currently choked, the very air that America breathes has been sucked out of the country by the political and educational elites. Where are our 1st amendment crusaders? The NRA and others do a fine job advancing the 2nd, but the 1st embodies the right to think and say and act on what you believe. The right to say what you think is the air that freedom breathes. And currently Donald J. Trump is doing CPR. He is breaking down the system that limits what you can say, what you can think. And at the same time he is taking not insignificant personal damage.

If Trump continues to smash the ‘Overton Windows‘ he will be (though largely derided and unacknowledged) a great American hero. A hero for leading a revolution against the tyrants of the mind. We can only hope that irrespective of the results of the 2016 campaigns, that this revolution is successful.

(I say all this as a Walker supporter :(, who now is generally agnostic about the race since the WI primary will be irrelevant.)

ISIS and the Caliphate

Warning: a non-expert, speculative discussion follows… although given the given the nature of prognostication, I have as good of a chance predicting the future as anyone.

The current turmoil in the middle-east, essentially a region wide war of different Muslim countries, entities and groups against each other, was, I suspect, inevitable. I think this would have been the case even if America had not invaded Iraq. While discussing that ISIS wants to build a caliphate, no one seems to be interested in the fact that the conquest of richer and weaker and non-Muslim neighbors is how the first caliphate was built. The problem now for ISIS is that if you look at the edges of the Islamic world, all of its neighbors are either dirt poor or much more powerful than an organization like ISIS.

From Wikipedia

There is pretty much nothing to loot in the Congo, and who in their right mind would invade China? Sure Europe is getting weaker and weaker, but it still wouldn’t be very easy to wreak up the place and steal millions of dollars of cash like ISIS just did in Mosul. But there is this convenient catch for barbarians like ISIS. All they need is an ‘apostate’ Muslim (the definition of which is fungible) to attack and they can claim legitimacy to their members. And, behold, there are numerous weak, fractured and unspeakably oil rich areas that ISIS can attack. Places so fractured that the army just leaves when ISIS attacks its second largest city. And conveniently, Iraq is run by ‘apostates’ and can therefore be pillaged. Iraq has oil, which is a tyrant’s dream. Every kingdom and petty tyrant in that region is fabulously wealthy based on a resource that they did not invent how to refine or use, did not mine, and do not have to exert any effort or risk to gain. They have this money because they were ruling their areas at the right moment. Now, ISIS simply wants in on the money and the power.

I will venture to predict events based on how I would write a novel from this point. I think that Europe and the US (though certainly hated and on their hit list) are back-burner hatreds. I suspect very much that ISIS has its eyes on the Saudis. I suspect that what ISIS wants is not really to conquer the Shi’a areas of Iraq, but rather to light the fuse to the Sunni-Shi’a bomb, and taking advantage of the chaos eat up Medina and Mecca. The Saudi’s main source of Islamic clout comes from controlling who gets to go to Mecca on the Hajj, and their main source of international clout is their oil. Without those, no one would care about them. If ISIS really wants a caliphate, they need Mecca. If the Shi’a in Saudi Arabia and the Shia’ in Iraq and Iran help explode the Sunni-Shi’a bomb, the Saudi’s would probably half-fall like Assad, and now Maliki, clinging to power in regions of their territory. They would be fighting Shi’a separatists and ISIS on opposite sides of their country. Now, if and when ISIS takes Mecca and Medina, while controlling some of the oil in Iraq, they will only be short a Caliph and in all other respects they could count as a Caliphate.

If I were an Intelligence official (or even someone who had/wanted the credentials of an expert on the region) I’d be looking out for which person(s) the leaders of ISIS could install as Caliph and control as a puppet. (Perhaps their current leaders (strange that in the news stories there never seems to be a named leader) could choose among themselves, but that would most likely lead to ISIS factions fighting each other.) I think what they need is someone who’s lineage would give them broader Sunni credibility. I havn’t the faintest idea of who that might be, but there must be some candidates out there. Once they have oil money, Mecca and a Caliph: that is when the Western world is in trouble.

There, that’s my fanciful prediction, now back to the salt mines of my dissertation.

UN vs. Catholic Church

Here is a very brief list in response to this Drudge headline:

UN tells Catholic church to change teachings on abortion...

  • Roman Empire
  • Byzantine Empire
  • The Caliphate
  • The Ottoman Empire
  • The First, Second, and Third Reichs
  • The Mongolian Empire
  • The Holy Roman Empire
  • The Tang Dynasty
  • The Ming Dynasty
  • The Qing Dynasty
  • The British Empire
  • The Abbasid Caliphate (750-1258)
  • The Sharif of Mecca (967-1925)
  • The U.S.S.R

Et cetera….

What is that a list of? Five minutes of double checking dates of empires of institutions that the Catholic Church has outlived…. Rome is sort of cheating since it pre-dates the Pope, but still…

Anyway, I don’t think anyone (I suspect this includes the current Pope) believes that the Catholic Church doesn’t need cleaning up; however, the hubris of the UN is almost hilarious.

Minimum Wage: Part IV

Here is the last installment of the Minimum Wage saga. Please do note that some of the citations are unavailable without the proper subscriptions. So I left the original citations, and have added to the end the bibliography of the whole essay.  For those who just joined the reading, Part I, II, and III are linked there.

Another way minimum wage laws harm the poor who they are supposed to help is that costs are passed onto consumers.  In America we have long been accustomed to relatively inexpensive and abundant food. However, there is no reason to expect that the experiences of other countries that raise minimum wage will not occur here. Zambia is still experiencing the ill effects of raising the minimum wage law there. “The minimum wage increases have backfired on the poor because the prices of food and other essential commodities have escalated” (African News Service 2012).

Minimum wage visionaries assert that business can afford to just eat the costs of the higher wages forgetting that most of American businesses are small businesses which employ the people of their own community and provide basic services for that community. It hurts the poor when these basic services are no longer available. A virtuous sense of compassion and fairness ought to be outraged at the plight of Zambian business owner Kankhara “who owns 200 passenger minibuses.  He says, ‘If I pay the new minimum wage to all my drivers at the moment I would be bankrupt within one month and there would be no more Flash Buses on the roads anymore'” (African News Service, 2012). When that service is gone, it is the poor who walk along with the rich.

This is happening in American inner cities which have become economic dead zones. Many goods and services are no longer available to the poor people who live there. It is an economic burden that the poor bear disproportionately since they are the ones who are least able to afford the transportation costs to procure goods and services. Minimum wage laws contribute to the economic conditions which making doing business unsupportable.

These are just some of the ways in which minimum wage laws harm rather than help the poor and vulnerable of our society. The consequences of our so-called compassion turn out to be anything but actually compassionate and fair. When the consequences are so opposite to the claim, perhaps the intent never was what we have been taught.

The Progressive movement in the United States is “usually thought of in glowing terms of social reform and the advance of fairness for all. Yet it has a more sinister side which we cannot afford to allow the mists of time to erase” (Leonard, 2005, abstract). Part of the Progressive agenda was the “process of weeding out the unfit, of preventing the birth of defectives or of those who will become defective” as Margaret Sanger, Progressive and Founder of Planned Parenthood said as quoted by Angela Franks (2012 para.6).

This attitude was shared by Progressivists who shaped America’s early labor reform laws including minimum wage. They thought that unemployment was an actual benefit to society as it would tend to operate eugenically, that is to remove from the human gene pool certain undesirable elements, among which poor blacks topped the list. During the 1930’s these ideas were openly discussed and written into textbooks which were used throughout the United States. Progressives believed that science proved the inferiority of certain races. This inferiority if left to propagate would dilute the human gene pool. They believed and taught that experts should be the ones to direct evolution (Horvath, 2012).  Many of the compassionate sounding reforms that were instituted during the Progressive era, had this underlying motive, now long hidden.

For Progressives the only race that showed any promise for improving the race was of white European stock. ” African Americans were indolent and fickle, which explained why… slavery was required: The negro could not possibly have found a place in American industry had he come as a free man . . . [I]f such races are to adopt that industrious life which is second nature to races of the temperate zones, it is only through some form of compulsion. (Leonard, quoting John Commons, 2013, pg. 215).  Minimum wage laws make it so that a black worker with low skills, who shows up for a job that he does not have the skills for, can be turned away legitimately. Then society has a reason to isolate the undesirable and perhaps persuade him to kill the offspring he cannot support or prevent their conception. (Leonard, 2005, pg. 213-216).

These were mainstream ideas promoted by American Universities, not just a few kook thinkers. It was not uncommon for academics and politicians to agree with A.B. Wolfe as quoted by Thomas Leonard (2005, pg. 214), “Better that the state should support the inefficient wholly and prevent the multiplication of the breed than subsidize incompetence and unthrift, enabling them to bring forth more of their kind.”  Mainstream Progressive economists from the American Economic Association believed that, “establishing a minimum wage above the value of the unemployables worth would lock them out of the market accelerating their elimination as a class (Goldberg, 2009, pg. 269).”  We are very close to this situation today in our inner cities.

In conclusion, minimum wage locks America’s most vulnerable populations out of their chances to better their lives as they age. It robs them of hope for a better future.  The evidence shows that raising the minimum wage lacks any ethical ground, either in its results or in its original and perhaps not lost intent. Not only should it not be raised, for the good of poor people, teens and especially black teens, it should be abolished. However, there is no political will to do so, nor any political benefit, the best we can do for now is to stop raising it.

Postmodern American visionaries are more about how a thing sounds and feels than what it actually produces. If a thing sounds good and feels good then it is assumed that the intent is good, and since Kant, intent is all that matters in ethical considerations. This is to the shame of our educators, our colleges and universities who promote utopian visions using philosophy for their own ends instead of to uncover timeless truth.  It is time we reclaim our skepticism of power and authority so that ideas can once again be freely challenged among free citizens. In order to actually do something to help poor people especially black teens, we need to stop seeing them as parasites and a social disease which needs curing and start seeing them as humans who share the potential to grow and learn and work and become prosperous. While we are fighting about a policy with a track record proven throughout the world and across time to be disastrous for poor people, we cannot focus our attention on creatively devising new policies that would be of service to people. And most of all we need to return to ethical thinking that is built on more than the ideal, the virtuous, the dutiful, the utilitarian or the emotive. Ethics needs to return to a foundation that “integrates human reason and transcendent realities” (Eyer, 2010, pg.37). In other words, we need to return to being able to say that something is not true. And if it is not true it is not ethical, no matter how good it makes us feel about our pure intent. In continuing to raise the minimum wage, America forestalls the best hopes of the poor. In limiting or removing it, hope for a better tomorrow is restored.

Bibliography:

African News Service. (2012) Minimum Wage Leads to Steep Food Price Rises.

BalancedPolitics.org. (n.d.) Should the minimum wage be abolished? (i.e. Reduced to $0.00)?       Retrieved from: http://www.balancedpolitics.org/minimum_wage.htm

Eyer, R. (2010), Holy People Holy Lives. St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House

Franks, A. (2012) A life of passion: Progressive eugenics and Planned Parenthood. Retrieved       from: http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2012/01/4445/

Goldberg, J. (2009) Liberal Fascism: The secret history of the American left form Mussolini to      the politics of change. New York, NY: Random House.

Goree, K., &Manias, N., & Till, J. (2013) Ethics Applied (6.5 ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson     Learning Solutions.

Hannity, Sean. (December 2, 2013). The Sean Hannity Show. WSAU

Horvath, Anthony. (2012). Roots and Fruits: The conquest of America by the culture of death.       Athantos Christian Ministries.org

Leonard, T. (2005) Retrospectives eugenics and economics in the Progressive era. Journal of         Economic Perspectives—Volume 19, Number 4. Retrieved from:             http://www.princeton.edu/~tleonard/papers/retrospectives.pdf

Schiller, R. & Mukhopadhyay, S. Trends in relative earnings mobility. University of Nevada,        Reno. Retrieved from: business.unr.edu/Faculty/SankarM/mobility.pdf

Sowell, T. (2013) Minimum wage madness. Retrieved from:             http://townhall.com/columnists/thomassowell/2013/09/17/minimum-wage-madness-           n1701840

The Washington Times (2008) The abortion industry. Retrieved from:             http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/mar/26/the-abortion-industry/

Williams, W. (1999) Minimum wage, maximum folly. Retrieved from:             http://econfaculty.gmu.edu/wew/articles/99/folly.html

Williams, W (2013) Williams column: Minimum wage killing jobs for black youth   Retrieved from:       http://www.jacksonsun.com/article/20131016/OPINION/310160003/Williams-column-            Minimum-wage-killing-jobs-black-youth