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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Difference Between Government & the Mafia

Certain irresponsible persons have compared the government to the mafia. This comparison is mistaken and insulting to the honorable, hard-working members of the mafia.

In the first place, unlike the government, the mafia usually makes a profit from its various schemes. This is because the mafia strives to provide goods and services that people actually want. The mafia understands business. They realize that if they take too much from you, they lose in the long run.

The differences don't end there. Unlike the government, when you pay protection money to the mafia, you actually get protection. The mafia will also sell you a gun if you want one, unlike the government which generally strives to disarm people.

The mafia are tolerant. They have no problem with drugs, alcohol, prostitution, or gambling. In fact, they happily provide many of these services. They also give loans to people with bad credit, although their loan default policies can be rather strict.

The mafia has a sense of honor. Mafia men who screw up are punished severely. They keep their promises. The mafia only kill as a last resort and they only kill those who cross them.

The difference is clear- all governments commit violence and theft on a massive scale while restricting freedom. The mafia does not.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Keynesian Klaptrap

John Maynard Keynes was the father of an economic theory which has been dominant in the US for over 70 years. The gist of his idea is that the government can promote prosperity by cutting taxes and increasing spending. He was so certain of this idea that in his book "The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money" he wrote:

"If the Treasury were to fill old bottles with bank-notes, bury them at suitable depths in disused coal-mines which are then filled up to the surface with town rubbish, and leave it to private enterprise on well-tried principles of laissez-faire to dig the notes up again (the right to do so being obtained, of course, by tendering for leases of the note-bearing territory), there need be no more unemployment and, with the help of repercussions, the real income of the community, and its capital wealth, would probably become a good deal greater than it actually is."

This quote goes a long way in explaining the US government's insane spending policies.. American politicians are following the advice of a man who literally said we should throw money in a hole.
Of course, politicians are smart enough not to quote that part, so instead they call for "stimulus", which is the Latin word for a stick used to drive an animal ahead.

Keynes believed the key to prosperity was maintaining consistent demand, but that is false. Prosperity is the result of saving and producing, not borrowing and spending. Improvements come from capital, capital comes from savings, savings come from under-consumption. If no one saves, there is no money to borrow in order to build something new or start a business.

Unfortunately, inflation means you lose money if you save it. The dollar has lost about half its value during my lifetime. The only cure for inflation is money backed by gold or silver. It is not a coincidence that there was very little inflation in the US  until Nixon ended the gold standard in 1971.

I agree with Keynes when he said that in the long run we are all dead. However, I would prefer not to die as a result of economic ruin. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Defunct Atlas Missile Silo near Vernon, Texas

The site is open to the public if you're willing to climb over a fence.

Latitude:    34-21-44
Longitude:    099-19-27

Satellite view:

Quonset hut

Silo doors

Entrance & gate

Friday, September 5, 2014

How to Understand the Middle East

For most Americans, the Middles East is an exotic and mysterious place. Like the Persian carpets made there, it is a complex weave of nations, tribes, languages, and religions. And like a Persian carpet, you can't pull on one thread without pulling on many others.

However, if you study the history of the region, certain patterns emerge. I studied the history and cultures of the region for many years until I had my eureka moment. I had discovered what I call the Grand Unified Theory of the Middle East. It is a unifying principle which explains every event there since the beginning of history. Once you learn this theory, you will instantly understand everything that happens there.

Here is my Grand Unified Theory of the Middle East: Everyone hates everyone.

The Arabs and Persians hate each other. The Turks and the Kurds hate each other.The Sunni and the Shia hat each other. The Bedouins and the Berbers hate each other. The Muslims and Christians hate each other. And all of them hate the Jews. The Jews, not wanting to be outdone in the hating game, boldly up the ante by hating both themselves and other Jews, mostly because they are either too Jewish or not Jewish enough.

Could this geopolitical dumpster fire possibly get any worse? Yes it can! Democracy in the Middle East, where it exists at all, tends to get into rut. Generally, there is a two-party system which is a fierce duel between the Islamic Party of Islam for Muslims against the Very Very Very Islamic Party. In such a situation, it is difficult to find common ground.

So what should the US do? I suggest treating the place like a nest of killer bees. The farther away you are, the less likely you are to get stung. And if you insist on getting close and throwing rocks at the hive, throw really big rocks. In 1982, Reagan withdrew US forces from Lebanon after a truck bomb killed 241 Marines. He said:

“Perhaps we didn’t appreciate fully enough the depth of the hatred and the complexity of the problems that made the Middle East such a jungle. Perhaps the idea of a suicide car bomber committing mass murder to gain instant entry to Paradise was so foreign to our own values and consciousness that it did not create in us the concern for the marines’ safety that it should have."

My Fight Against USDA Intrusiveness

Here is the email I just sent to them:

To whom it may concern:

I am trying to reach whoever is in charge of the Texas USDA Rural Development Program. I suspect it is Theresa Jordison since that is the name given on the website. Please forward this message to her.


My landlord recently gave me an intrusive, 10-page form that should told me I must fill out if I wish to keep living in my apartment. This is how I was introduced to the USDA rural development program.

The alleged purpose of this form is to determine my eligibility for a rent subsidy. To that end, it asks many intrusive questions about me and my income and wealth. I already have been paying  the full rent, I know I am not eligible for the subsidy, and even if I was, I don't want it. I am particularly annoyed by this program's disregard for my privacy and the value of my time. I already filled out these forms once when I moved in. Why the hell should I fill out a 10-page form with hundreds of questions just to make some bureaucrat happy?

I am not submitting this form and if I get evicted because of it, I will hold you personally responsible. So unless you want to be the next Lois Lerner, I suggest you grant me an exemption. I'll give you until 5 PM on September 10th to give me your response.



And here are some pics of the idiotic forms. Click to enlarge. Sorry for the fuzziness. I may scan all the forms and upload them later.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Privacy & The USDA Rural Development Program

When I moved to Texas, I was happy to find an apartment right across the street from where I work. I had to fill out a very long and intrusive application to get the apartment, but I was willing to put up with it once.

It turns out that I must fill out the same forms with same intrusive questions again. Why? Because I had the bad luck to choose an apartment controlled by the USDA Rural Development program. Here is where I would like to point out Plank 9 of the Communist Party Manifesto: "gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equitable distribution of population over the country."

I am told I must fill out this questionnaire to see if I am eligible for a rent subsidy. However, I know I am not eligible for it, I haven't been getting it, and even if I was eligible, I don't want it. You might be asking why I do not just fill out the forms. The minor reasons are: because I've filled them out before; because there are hundreds of questions, and because I will get nothing out of it. The main reason however, is because of all the intrusive questions it asks. The form demands my bank account numbers and balances, my license plate number, my Social Security number, my date of birth, and a list of all the valuables I own. In short, this form makes me vastly more vulnerable to identity theft. Seeing as the website was recently hacked, I do not trust the government to protect my information.

And to top it all off, I am required to fill out the same form every year for as long as I live here.

But I am a reasonable man, so I offer this compromise to Theresa Jordison, who is the director of this program for Texas. If she sends me her bank account, car, and personal identity information, I will offer mine. The Texas USDA Rural Development program may be reached at 254 742 9770 and