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Saturday, September 29, 2012

On Using Facebook, part two

Here's the picture that launched the thread:

6 people 'liked' it.  The thread follows:
Ms. MC: word. this is it.

Mr. M. (me): The minimum wage should be abolished. Let the market decide. I have students who want to work and can't get hired because of this. Then the work they can get is off the books (illegal, no taxes paid) and they get less respect from the employer.

Mr. PC: Which market would you want to decide wages? The consumer market or the job market? In a free market society you're probably right, people could be paid according to market demand. But we are not in a free market. The cost of goods and services in our market is rarely determined solely by demand. And most certainly between government regulation and corporate greed, demand has very little to do with worker's wages. Even companies with high demand for their goods and services are focusing on reaping the highest possible profit for their owners/executives, investors etc. So the consumer market has little effect on how some companies treat their employees. The state of the job market certainly can't assure people a fair wage, as people are desperate for jobs as it is. There are very few if any business out there which are subject to minimum wage laws where you would actually see workers gain any benefit from the death of the minimum wage, even at it's current low rate. As to the respect issue, forget about students... you have adults with families working at minimum wage who don't get any respect from their employers. Minimum wage pay vs. off-the-books pay is not going to be the determining factor in the level of respect one gets from their employer.

Mr. M (me): In a free market society it works just fine. A cursory analysis of post industrial USA until about the end of the 1920's (when Hoover and FDR started intervening even more than the Treasury and the FED intervened during the 20's) bears this out. "We are not in a free market" - you've got that right. Demand plays a role, but yes, in our Corporate / gov't alliance against the middle class and the Regular Joe, demand is a smaller factor than it should. This is a testament to the free market, as consumer demand would determine prices and wages, and the laborer could take his labor somewhere else if he wished, and if Greedy McScrooge Corporation got a bad greedy rep, or sacrificed quality for quantity, the consumer would take his gold and silver somewhere else.... Yes, in this toxic environment there would be few firms to benefit from the abolishment of the minimum wage. The black teenagers I work with would benefit in about 12 hours because it is the only thing keeping them from finding work. Unemployment is rampant in neighborhoods like mine (I'm in Mt. Vernon) as the latest #'s are horrific. I never said off vs. on book pay was the determining factor with regard to respect from the employer.

Tom Woods is my source for most of my information.  The writings of Murray Rothbard work well in these kinds of threads as well.  Tom Sowell and Walter Williams have eviscerated the minimum wage over the years.  Sowell describes it as 'knocking out the lowest rungs of the ladder'.  This was the point I was making to Mr. PC with regard to my students.  

Recommended reading:  Basic Economics, by Thomas Sowell.

Here's Sowell explaining his thoughts, and defending them with history and facts.  It is because of this ability of his that he is summarily ignored by 'mainstream' thinkers and opinion makers, or as Hayek labeled them: "professional secondhand dealers in ideas".

Monday, September 24, 2012

On Using Facebook, part one

Here is a short sample of a short thread on Facebook.
Here's the original post: "
Wishful thinking?

"Some national polls say yes, and a few say no. But more and more, the data at the state level point to some real movement in Democrats’ favor. At least for now.

Here is the comment thread:
Mr. CI have seen a whole lot of optimism from the democrats. To be honest, even given the recent repeated gaffes by Romney's campaign, I still think the optimism is unwarranted. We should not take anything for granted until the polls are closed and counted in my opinion.

Ms. R - I fear many will stay home and not bother. I have no doubt that Mitt's people will crawl to the polls if they have to. Folks have to understand that staying home is the equivalent of voting for Mittens.

Mr. M (me) - Why bother? Unsustainable welfare and endless warfare will be the result. You heard it here first.

Mr. C -  there you go again Mr. M., lol. I know we sort of had this convo before, and I know we actually agree on many of the negative aspects of this country's government, its policies, and influences. But we still disagree on the choice to not choose. I would ask you, what is the alternative? I said it before, the politicians and businesses would love for us to stay home on election day. They won't stay home, and the country will move on despite our inaction. I know you believe that the time will come when we as a populous will stand up and say no more. But I don't see it. Too much division, too much greed, too many who have given up, given in, or fallen by the wayside, and not enough who are fed up. To be honest I think the closest we will come in our lifetime is to break the two-party cycle. I do believe that we will get to a point where some independent will win or make enough of a dent to motivate real change. But there is no revolt coming, and people who just decide to opt out are doing no more than letting others decide for them. Mr. G will tell you as he's said many times... there WILL be other candidates on the ballots. Find out who they are and what they stand for. Vote for one of them instead, but vote. The revolt you're waiting for only begins when politicians see that we are disgusted with the popular choices, and when people see that there are other options to be had. If that revolution is coming man, let me know when you see it and I will be right there with you, but until then, show your disdain through participation, not inaction. I'm going to try and convince you every time you post brother!

Mr. M (me) - there are many alternatives Mr. P. These online dialogues we have are just one of the countless alternatives for us. We are people, fathers, humans, adults - all interested in some basic good things like family and community and non-violence. I don't think any of this has to do with the 'choices' at the ballot box. Look at election 2012. Obama = War, big bank, kill list, Gitmo, NDAA, Patriot Act, anti Muslim hysteria, TSA grope - and that's just what I can think of here at the table while my 3 girls are in the house - the baby sleeping in the next room. This 'choice' you speak of is, to me, not just a Hobson's choice, but an affront to humanity. These are our 'leaders'? Not in my world. I mean that in all seriousness. I don't necessarily see an 'uprising' of the electorate standing up and saying 'no more', I see people quietly breaking away from the force, fraud and coercion foisted upon them. My 'revolt' is working with young folk, getting them to question authority, think independently, and write their own scripts in life. Mr. P., I see some disgust already, as I've told you with many of our young people, so feel free to join in. There is much less pro Obama rhetoric from the teens, and they recognize a rigged game. Romney is a cypher - he barely exists. (if only it were true....) hahaha - and I'll work on you for the next 6 weeks to convince you to not vote!! I'll give you a pass if you write in Ron Paul.....

I have taken a position that echoes Phyllis Schlafly's from the '60's - that we should have a "choice, not an echo".  As a libertarian, the bedrock principle is the non-aggression principle, and neither candidate comes remotely close to such a standard.  Not only that, we touched upon the fallacy of ad Verecundiam, the fallacy of authority.  This was brought to my attention in college while studying the Milgram experiments, and then galvanized by Larken Rose and his calling it "the most dangerous superstition".  I think my views will win the day, as the speed of information continues to increase, and the establishment tightens its grip on power, clinging to the falsehoods and the violence.  Many people are realizing that the emperor has no clothes, and the numbers keep growing.

Here's a sample of Larken Rose's work:

Thursday, September 13, 2012

An Inconvenient Tooth

The city of Portland has just decided to poison their water by adding fluoride to the municipal water supply.  Fluoride is one of the sacred cows of public health, and 'everybody knows' that fluoride is good for the teeth.  The scientific evidence is minimal to nonexistent and the proponents for fluoride rarely show up for a debate against a qualified scientist who understands what fluoride is.

The fluoride in our drinking water is a waste by-product of the fertilizer and the aluminum industries.  It was used in the past as insecticide and rat poison.

This is what you have in your water.

The arguments for fluoride have been woven into the fabric of society, to paraphrase Solzhenitsyn.  The Dental guild and the industrial interests have blocked dissent, and they use the rhetoric of contempt and ridicule to avoid scientifically based debate.  

I think this will end soon.  The world wide web is moving information around too fast.  I think the Portland decision may be a watershed moment.  Portland has the reputation of being a liberal and eclectic place.  The Power Elite can only push this so far, and there are serious cracks in the wall.  One of the things I've noticed is that many of the older government officials and municipal officials especially, speak as if there is no internet.  People can easily find information on topics, so when officials brazenly talk about ingestion of fluoride as good for dental health as if it were fait accompli - they eventually wind up looking ridiculous.  This happened most notably with the Kony2012 farce.  

Here are two of the most effective documentaries detailing the fluoride issue.  When this issue gets widespread, viral internet exposure, the loss of faith in government will continue.  This is good.  This will continue over the next few years.  The Power Brokers and the Good Ole Boys who run governments hate this, but it's inevitable.

Recommended reading:  Murray Rothbard wrote about this in 1993.

Here are the two best documentaries I've seen on this issue:

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Strasburg - shut down

The Washington Nationals have shut down Stephen Strasburg for the season.  Strasburg is one of the rare talents in Major League baseball - being able to make the best hitters look foolish with regularity.   When Strasburg reached the majors, he was unique in being able to throw in the high '90's as well has have preternatural control.  The 'book' on Strasburg was that his control was too good - he'd be around the strike zone too much and actually had to concentrate on being more wild.  This runs counter to every other rocket armed young pitcher.

Strasburg, in his first season, had to have Tommy John surgery on his elbow.  The Nationals franchise has kept him on an innings limit for his entire career.  This is done to protect his health and the franchise's investment in him.  This is common practice nowadays - as seen with Joba Chamberlain of the Yankees.  As of yesterday, after 159 innings, Strasburg's regular season is over.  The rationale is to protect his health for the long term.

The question I have regards this strategy's effectiveness.  In trying to protect the longevity of a young pitcher's arm, are they becoming too fragile?  Is the coddling of the arm limiting arm strength?  As a 19 year old, Bob Feller threw 271 innings.  That was his third season in the majors.  Catfish Hunter threw 176 innings as a 20 year old - his 2nd season in the majors.  Bert Blyleven threw 278 innings as a 20 year old - his second season in the majors.  Jim Palmer tossed 208 innings as a 20 year old.  Dwight Gooden - 218 innings as a 19 year old.  Tom Seaver threw 210 innings in the minors, as a 21 year old and after a storied career at USC.

All of the above pitchers were at worst, all stars.  I don't think this is an unfair comparison.  Strasburg has hall of fame stuff.  He was the first pick over all.  He was drafted to lead the franchise to the promised land, not to be a journeyman 15 game winner, like this guy, who threw 162 innings, as a 19 year old, in the minors.  I can understand, to a point, the argument that no one wants to repeat the careers of Rex Barney, Joba Chamberlain, Kerry Wood, Karl SpoonerBrandon Webb or Mark Prior.  However, with the exception of Barney, who had severe control problems, the aforementioned pitchers blew up as soon as they were given a standard MLB starting pitcher's innings load.  I think it is the lack of arm strength throughout a young pitcher's career that causes issues like these.  What are the Nationals supposed to do?  Give Strasburg 33 starts next year and have him pitch 225 innings?  Why will be be magically ready next season?  Perhaps the current strategy does more harm than good.  I remember reading in the Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract that a reporter saw Sandy Koufax's arm wrapped in ice, his elbow the size of a grapefruit.  The Dodgers didn't need him for 155 innings - they wanted to see if he could go 9 innings and strike out 12 - as he'd always done.   In the end, it cost Koufax his career, but not after 6 seasons of what constitutes some of the best pitching ever seen.  Even Koufax, with his sore arm, pitched over 300 innings when he was healthy.  This was not abnormal - it was routine for pitchers up until the early 1980's.

Maybe it's time to stop coddling pitchers.  Build up arm strength at an early age.  We should look at the treatment of pitchers in little league and see if they're throwing enough.  The current trend seems to be hurting young pitchers, not helping them.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor Day 2012

The propaganda is strong today, Labor Day. You can decide of you'd wish to follow the shibboleths of the past, the massive public relations campaign of the violence happy Left, or actual history. Tom Woods, in 55 minutes, will help you free your mind and expunge the nonsense we were taught in 'school' about the "Labor Movement".  These are the things that are changing in education.  There are teachers who still propagate the same myths that they were taught.  

The 'story' is one of evil moneyed big shots crushing the good, peaceful workers.  Your trivium trained mind should immediately jump on this generalized fallacy and realize that there is no way that things were so laughingly simplistic and polarized.  Those 'moneyed big shots' were in collusion with Government - a fact that your teacher either doesn't admit, or doesn't know.  This collusion was afraid of actual free market Capitalism and the threat of what they called 'overproduction'.  This would have lowered prices and put power into the hands of the people and 'workers'.  Workers, who are not powerless, are always able to take their labor and move it to where they are treated fairly.  A useful fairytale to get young minds addled early is the idea that the Labor Movement fought for and achieved all that is good for workers.  

This tale doesn't fit the paradigm, and the Powers That Be have a decades long head start.  Unfortunately for them, the spread of information via the www has become so quick and prevalent that this false paradigm is crumbling quickly.  Young people are catching on to the truth, and this scares the Establishment to no end.

Recommended reading:  Marx's Religion of Revolution, by Gary North