UK Votes To Leave EU 5

picture of Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth

One of the least reported events taking place in the world is the recent referendum in the United Kingdom on whether to stay in the European Union. The referendum is non-binding, meaning that the UK Parliament does not have to actually craft the legislation to leave, but it could be political suicide if the politicos ignore the vote of the people.

David Cameron, the current Labor Prime Minister of the United Kingdom campaigned hard and long to keep Britain in the EU. Political parties were split over leaving, and it boiled down to why people may or may not be discontent at this point in time.

What’s going to happen to Britain’s economy? What happens to the United States economy? In the long term I don’t think there will be much to write home about. The biggest things for Britain to craft in their legislature are new trade agreements with their trade partners, and I seriously doubt that new agreements would be different from the old agreements.

In the short term markets around the world will thrash up and down as investors will consider the UK move to bring major uncertainties to the financial world, but I believe these will be only temporary perturbations to the world markets because of the referendum.

Some countries in the United Kingdom do not want to leave the EU. Scotland is one of those. One of the questions to be answered is if Scotland and other countries leave the UK,  will the UK fall apart?  I don’t think so, but nobody knows what will happen.

The major worry for the European Union is whether other countries will follow the UK in the quest for independence. Many people believe that the EU is not functioning well, at all. The European Union parliament is a non-elected body. I don’t know how this works, but it amounts to the fact that the member countries are not the masters of their own political and economic futures. To me and most Americans that’s a deal breaker.

It will take some time to see if the United Kingdom parliament follows through with the citizens’ wishes. As far as I am concerned, I say hurrah for the Brits.

God save the Queen.

 

 

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The End Is Nigh, Losers! 17

Yesterday, I got this terrible feeling that the end was near. It was like I wanted to get one of those sandwich-board signs and advertise this emotion in downtown Atlanta. Nobody would pay attention, but at the least I would be warning the world of the coming catastrophe.

Leaving the imagined catastrophes to the alarmist climate dupes, I thought about writing a short science fiction story of how things were going wrong, and how we are all hearing voices of doom. Then, reality hit me.

What is coming to an end is the American dream.

I am living the dream, as millions and millions of others. When I was a kid, my American dream was learning enough stuff in school to get a good job. Then, I could leverage the good job to get a good house and a good car. Somehow, the great looking wife and kids would just naturally fall into place.

Be that as it may, it has all worked out. At the basis of my American dream was the idea that I could work hard and achieve my dreams. That’s how I did it. Millions of men and women have made that dream work. So, how is this coming to an end?

My dream is not the dream of millions of others. Their idea of the dream embodies not work, but free government services like health care, generous and unlimited unemployment compensation, free food, etc., etc., etc. Some people want everything without working for it.

In some cases I agree that we need to take care of some people from cradle to grave. My Down syndrome niece is one example. Private charities can only go so far in helping families cope with Down syndrome or other disabled children.

Those with poorly paying jobs at the bottom of the pay scale have a different American dream. They just want stuff. Many are not capable of rising through the ranks to hold good paying jobs. I don’t know what can be done for these people other than keeping the economy vibrant and healthy so that these people can have jobs. Just giving people stuff should not be the goal for any society.

With the advance of technology, things don’t look so good for the welfare child. How can this child, born into a single parent household and supported by welfare even try to compete in the economy?  It is not a problem of race or politics. It is cultural problem. It is a problem of differing values and goals as more people chose welfare as their way of life.

Those with solid values and lofty goals tend to work toward those goals. Those without values and goals tend to not work for anything except survival. Since they can get a welfare check, they depend on everybody else for their survival.

Is the American dream ending, or just changing? I was fortunate to have been born into a stable family, and have a father with a serious work ethic. Our welfare children are cheated out of these basic sociological aids.

The welfare culture is a culture of losers. The larger the welfare rolls get, the harder the American dream becomes for those at the bottom.

We are turning into a nation of losers.

FCC Net Neutrality 15

How does the recent FCC Net Neutrality ruling affect us? It affects our basic internet connectivity, what we pay, and who sets the price. With this ruling the Federal Government is now regulating the largest and most innovative platform in centuries.

It is pretty much guaranteed that the cost of our individual internet will increase because of the ruling.

The ruling puts ISP’s (Internet Service Providers) into the same regulatory framework as telephone companies, which laws have root in the Communications Act of 1934. Yes, we now have our grandfather’s rules to stifle the internet just like they did telephone innovation for over fifty years.

The internet infrastructure is financed by large companies who invest hundreds of millions of dollars in building and upgrading the system. ISP’s like ATT, Earthlink, Sprint, Verizon, etc. make these huge investments, and get a return by selling connectivity to consumers, businesses, and content providers. Some of these content providers use large amounts of bandwidth by streaming movies and program content to individual consumers, and right now, these customers are not really paying for the bandwidth they receive.

Companies like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu are the ones streaming high bandwidth video over the internet, posing a problem for the internet suppliers. ISP’s have to invest additional millions of dollars in upgrading the system, and would like to charge the Netflix’s of the world for that bandwidth.

Some ISP’s have penalized Netflix and other video streamers by slowing the data streams to their customers. This has raised a howl from Netflix, etc. To pay for the increased demand for their services, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, etc., do not want want to raise their price to consumers because they, too, are in a competitive market.

That’s where the government comes in to “take the part of the consumer”. Now, the ISP’s are not allowed to treat any one customer differently from any other. Every customer on the internet is entitled to the same bandwidth as any other customer for the same price. This means that the ISP’s will raise their prices on everybody to pay for the increased investment, and we all will pay for the bandwidth for people addicted to Netflix and Amazon streaming services.

There is a danger the ISP’s will dig-in and not fund the massive investments necessary to upgrade the internet to handle all that streaming traffic. Innovation can plummet just like when the US  Government backed the AT&T telephone monopoly for over fifty years.

Do you think there will be additional “fees” on your internet statement, now that the Federal Government has decided to regulate what we read, think, say, and pay?

Left alone, the market would solve the problem. People would pay for their movie watching thrills, and others would pay for the bandwidth they use and generate. For some reason the government does not like that.

Net Neutrality is not neutral. It is an attack on the freedom of the internet to give away services to those who do not want to pay. Does this sound familiar?

Something Is Going On Out There 11

picture of Barack Obama playing pool

President Obama at Work

You can call it destiny. You can call it magic. You can call it prophecy. Whatever you call it, there’s some real stuff going on.

The President of The United States is talking about being impeached. Since he is the only one talking impeachment, does that mean that he has secret guilt?

The Congressional House of Representatives is threatening to sue the President. The Senate is not doing a damned thing.

The Russians are messing with the Ukrainians. The President of The United States refuses to give aid to the Ukrainians. They are not afraid to fight the Russians, and with a little help in arms and intelligence, they can beat the Russians. Where is Barack Obama? Wazzup with this?

Islamic terrorists are still murdering people. Muslims around the world don’t care.

The ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and The Levant) terrorist group, a derivative of Al Qaeda, has managed to take over most of Iraq since the United States military left that country. ISIS is funded from a number of sources and is ideologically much more extreme than Al Qaeda. They have announced that Christians are targets, and either must leave the country, convert to Islam, or die. Who is there to prevent this from happening?

The US economy is not improving. The employment rate has increased, but the number of full-time jobs has decreased. More people are employed part-time than ever before. We know Obama likes to mess with the economy, so, why is everything he does wrong?

Central American illegal immigrant children are welcomed with free food stamps, free schools, free medical care, free transportation to relatives homes, and free legal support. Africans, Europeans, Asians, and South Americans have to spend thousands of dollars over many years to gain legal entry into the United States. Why do you suppose this is?

US citizens are the most spied-upon populace in the world with the NSA, IRS, SEC, FCC, and FEC monitoring private email, private telephone conversations, political contributions, and shopping habits. If you sponsor a non-profit, conservative educational group, the President of The United States has approved your financial and regulatory harassment.

Just ask Lois Lerner.

Yes. There’s something going on out there. Or, not.

Something is missing in this world, allowing chaos to dominate where once there was leadership within and from the United States of America.

There is not a leader in the White House, and this a major domestic and world-wide problem.

  • Where is our leadership we need in tackling economic problems?
  • Where is our leadership when it comes to bringing a decent resolution to immigration and border problems?
  • Where is our leadership when it comes to working with a fractured Congress?
  • Where is our leadership when it comes to challenging the hegemonic designs of totalitarian leaders like Vladimir Putin?
  • Where is our leadership when it comes to fighting international Islamic terrorism?

Indeed, where is the President of The United States when so many problems bedevil the nation and the world?

Say no more. Just look at the pictures in the news. Campaigns and parties are on the President’s agenda. Work? Not so much.

Ukraine Weekend 10

There is nothing new to report. Obama is stymied as to what to do. The Russians have pretty much consolidated their hold on the Crimea. The Ukrainian government is still without any options other than suicide, or holding their breath to make the Soviets Russians leave their country alone.

The West has threatened monetary and trade sanctions against the Russians, and the Russians reply forcefully, “Don’t do that!”

We all know that Russia depends financially on energy exports in natural gas and oil. It would seem that we could interrupt that flow of exports, thereby interrupting the flow of funds to their treasury. Whatever sounds good is not always good.

First of all, if we cut the natural gas pipelines from Russia to Eastern Europe, we not only mess with the Russians, but we also mess with the natural gas supplies of the European nations. Secondly, the Russians might decide to do that themselves in an exercise of hegemonic muscle.

So, what should we do? I don’t know. I do know the reason we elect leaders is to handle difficult situations to the advantage of the United States and its allies. The best long-term solution is to get new leadership. The best short-term solution is to play whatever cards we have, but that requires some courage of which our current leadership has none.

What do you think?

The Goldilocks Generation Reply

That’s us!

We have always heard about our Goldilocks world. Goldilicks was the little girl in the story of The Three Bears. There were always three levels of things, and the middle one was “just right”. Our earth is positioned in the solar system at a point that is not too close to the sun, nor too far away from the sun. The earth’s position is “just right” for life. We live on a Goldilocks planet.

The baby boom generation is easily a Goldilocks generation. We were born right after a great World War in an America destined to become the world’s richest country, and a nation that whose populace were the most free in the history of man of any major nation.

Our parents doted on us, and encouraged us to learn a trade, get an education, worship our Lord and Savior, and show compassion to those who were not as gifted as the rest of us. We were  taught to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Some of us were luckier than others in that some parents could afford first class private schools and universities for their kids. The rest of us had to go to public schools and universities. Some of us were lucky enough to work our way through school in spite of our parents not being able to afford us that education.

Things are different, now. Thanks to the current administration our nation is declining in international standing, and we have a moribund economy because of government taxes, regulations, and social programs. Even though our generation has spent trillions of dollars to educate our children, it is all going for naught.

Our government is destroying the middle class with disincentives to entrepreneurs. High taxes and state, local, and federal laws work against someone who wants to start a business, or who already has a business. The government’s anti-business policies are anti-people policies. The most obvious of which is the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

Obamacare is a real drag on the economy, and a big disincentive for people to start businesses. There are other ways to improve access to healthcare, but Obamacare makes sure that everybody pays more, gets less, and the resulting healthcare is of lower quality. More people are hurt than are helped.

So, baby boomers have lived their lives in relative freedom and prosperity compared to what our children are facing. Our kids have less, have lower paying jobs, and have to pay higher taxes with the cost of living rising everyday due to the actions of the federal government.

Yes, indeed! Us baby boomers had it lucky. We were the Goldilocks generation. It was all just right.

Boehner To Reid, “Back Atcha'” 2

Mister “I No Negotiate” Harry Reid has a decision to make today.  House Majority Leader John Boehner will have the House vote this afternoon to add amendments to the Senate bill, or Continuing Resolution, to keep the government funded.

Boehner will add an amendment to defer Obama Care launch for an extra year, while eliminating the egregious medical device tax Obama care imposes on a relatively new industry. This is a wise move on Boehner’s  because pretty much all medical device start-up companies have to leave the United States because Obama care taxes the Gross Revenue of such companies.

The device tax doesn’t affect large companies in the business because they are already established and their their survival is not threatened.  A tax on gross revenues is tough on a start-up, and venture capitalists refuse to fund start-ups when the regulatory deck is stacked against them.

Obama is OK when it comes to destroying jobs and entire industries, and the refusal to even recognize these problems ensures his eventual  negligible presence in American history.

Little Things Mean A Lot 6

This essay was inspired by a man named Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of a very famous book, “The Black Swan”.  This is not about the Natalie Portman movie, it is a very interesting book on where our financial experts went wrong leading up to the economic disasters in the last few decades. It is a bit mathematical, and certainly covers some philosophical points. It may be boring for some people, but for those who want to know how some things work, it is well worth the effort.

The term Black Swan  comes from the fact that for centuries, nobody knew there was such a thing as a black swan. All swans in the known world were white. One day, people went to Australia and lo-and-behold, what did they find but black swans. No longer were all swans assumed to be white.  The discovery of black swans was a totally unexpected event.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb took that idea, and describes the 9/11 terrorist attacks, hurricane Katrina, the US financial system disasters in the 1980’s, 1990’s, and the 2000’s as black swans. They were all big, life changing events, not predicted, and most people believe they should have been predictable if only we had connected the dots. That’s a black swan.

How do you make yourself ready for an unpredicted, really big, life-changing event? Think like a boxer. These guys work out extensively every day by doing calisthenics, getting punched on the body and the face, and by keeping to a training diet. When the big fight comes, their body is in condition, and they are ready for the big punches their opponent is certain to deal them.

Being able to handle all the little punches, adversities, and problems in everyday life is one way to be ready for the “Big One”. There are obviously many dimensions to this idea, and many are sound. Allergy shots are given everyday to inoculate the body from the really big shock of a heavy, Atlanta Georgia allergy season. Infants and toddlers should be allowed to crawl on floors, go to those pre-schools which are germ incubators, and to generally let their little bodies learn to cope with the little attacks of daily life so they can grow up prepared to handle the tough, and germ infested world.

Is there any connection with the economic world, i.e., government and other institutions?

Socialism, communism, and fascism try to insulate people from the economic travails of life, i.e., joblessness, bankruptcies, natural calamities, fraud, and greed. Instead of letting people learn to deal with joblessness and their own economic problems, the state tries to protect them. Inevitably, the government is going to screw up big time (lowering credit standards for home buyers), and a VERY BIG catastrophe will ensue. It is the big government-caused disaster that hurts people, not the little ones they have accustomed themselves to handle.

It is endemic to big government and big corporations that are “too big to fail” that really bad things will happen, on huge scales. If the government is limiting depositor risk in the banking system by bailing out big banks, all they are doing is transferring the bank’s risk of doing business to taxpayers. This should be considered criminal, it is certainly illogical, and in many cases, stupid.

We have heard all our lives, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” I have extended it to, “Don’t let the little people get you down”. Now, the watchword is changing to, “Watch out for Big Brother”. He is here, he is malicious, and he is unrelenting. Look for more big problems, bank failures. crony-capitalism, and downright corruption in our government.

Corruption goes hand-in-hand with big government.

Shoes Are Important 5

When I was growing up in the poverty ridden southern United States, I only had one pair of shoes at a time. My dad had sired a relatively large family, and he couldn’t afford much. Mom did not work, but kept house, cooked and washed for the rest of us. She was also the spiritual leader in the family.

In my early teen years, I got jobs delivering newspapers and working at grocery stores, making money enough to buy my own clothes and shoes.  It was some time before I could afford more than one pair of shoes at a time, and then it was one pair for everyday, and one pair of dress shoes for church on Sundays. As I grew older, I worked full-time as a broadcast engineer at a local AM/FM/TV station while going to engineering school. By that time I was rich enough to have several pair of decent shoes.

Once a lady told me that you can tell a lot about a man just from his shoes and watch. I think she was right. The problem is that even this indicator of personal worth is going by the wayside. You see, it is getting harder and harder to tell much about a person in the last several years because of a decrease in personal dress standards. It’s a tough sell today to convince young people it is not appropriate to wear jeans and tee-shirts on every occasion. There are lots of young people who do not have a decent suit or dress to wear to weddings and funerals. Maybe these occasions are not important, anymore.

Of course, shopping for clothes and shoes is not the experience it was. In particular shopping for shoes is a disappointing affair, especially if you are looking for quality merchandise. You see, there are virtually no shoes made in the United States, anymore. Most seem to be made in China, or in South America and Eastern Europe.

I went shopping for shoes this afternoon at a local “shoe warehouse”. The mom and pop shoe store is a thing of the past. Everything is now sold in a warehouse, and the prices aren’t necessarily discounted, either. I had a twenty percent off coupon that applied to everything, and bought two pair totaling over $220, paying around $180 after discount. It sounds like a pretty good deal, and it may have been.

However, one pair was made in Brazil, and one in China. You cannot get away from brands made in China. Most of the Ecco and Sketchers brand shoes are made there, and my new pair of Johnston Murphy shoes was made in Brazil. The shoes are casual in style, and are of the slip-on variety. I don’t know how long they will last, but I keep several pair in rotation to keep them in good shape.

If you want to know what brands are made in the USA, this link is a good place to start: http://www.americansworking.com/shoes.html. I have had a pair of Allen Edmonds dress shoes for almost ten years, and they still fit and look great. Since I paid almost $300 for them then, the annual cost of ownership is pretty low. Of course, I would rotate wearing them with other dress shoes.

Shoes are important for several reasons. First of all, we need decent shoes to keep our feet warm, safe, and properly supported. Then we need to consider the fit and style. Do they look good? Looks are important for people in most professions. No matter what your profession, people will look at how you are dressed and make certain judgements. That’s just the way the world works.

American manufacturers in the shoe business cannot compete in the everyday shoe market. Their markets are more higher-end. I was willing to pay $135 for a pair of Brazilian casual shoes today. Maybe I could have paid a little more for some Allen Edmonds  shoes at $175 for a similar style. The difference is significant in light of the discounts available at the shoe warehouses. For those on tighter budgets, American shoes seem to be out of reach.

Shoe manufacturing having moved overseas is not something we can reverse. Basic economics force that situation, and any labor intensive business will tend to drift to areas where labor is cheap. However, when processes are automated, we can compete. You see, there’s not much difference in price between a machine in China or the United States. The more automated manufacturing becomes, the more manufacturing will be done in the United States.

Given greater investments in automation, US manufacturing will increase, and the more manufacturing will return to this country. Don’t hold you breath. Remember, US companies have to make the investment, first, and the brain-dead current Administration doesn’t get it. Tax incentives to automate should be an absolute priority.

When the manufacturing of clothes and shoes moved from the United State to countries overseas, it was an indication that other industries would follow. By the same token, when you see clothes and shoe manufacturing moving back to the USA, you can believe that things are turning around. It will be because of automation.

It will be a long process. At any rate you can see that shoes are pretty important things from comfort to style, to economic indicator.

Time To Pay The Parasites 10

The unthinkable has happened. We are now, officially, a nation of parasites, takers, sponges, and welfare cheats.

The task now is to pay the parasites that have won the election. It is not pleasant, nor is it cheap. The greediest people in the country now run it. Forget freedoms and forget expecting the United States of America to be a strong country. The cowards and slackers are in control.

Starting in January, 2013, income taxes for most people will go up. The Bush tax cuts that saved the economy will be taken away. The economic damage to the economy will be incalculable.

Get ready for the nation to go off the financial cliff. Don’t expect a budget out of the White House, either. There is no plan to reduce the spending or the national debt. Correcting the financial shape of the nation is not in Barack Obama’s plans. He plans on more of the same tax and spend agenda.

Why does he do this? He is a big thinker pushing a small-minded agenda. The guy is a Marxist. Period. Socialism is the cornerstone of his vision for our nation. We may never dig our way out of this hole.

The stock market crashed, today, down a full two percent. Investors do not respect Obama’s ideas or policies. The stock market’s outlook for the nation’s economy is heralding a disaster.

Higher gasoline prices.

Higher food prices.

Higher taxes.

Higher health care prices.

Fewer jobs for qualified people.

Fewer companies being formed.

Buy stock in health insurance companies, food companies, and oil companies. All the rising prices mean higher profits for the sectors Obama was supposed to heal.

By all means, go on a diet. Get used to eating less. You won’t be able to afford much food, anymore.

Welcome to Obama’s World.