Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Townhall Article With Some History For You

It's a pity the things in this article aren't taught in public schools. We'd see a massively reduced number in the black population that voted Democrat I think.

Drones over US Skies

So, continuing on my story below on drones being authorized for use in U.S. skies, and the recent printing/posting of several stories on the subject here and here I thought I'd write another article on the subject. Today I spoke to one of the 12 (yes, that's TWELVE) people responsible for issuing drone licenses for the States. Even with around 300 Certificates of Authorization (COAs) being issued so far (more than half for the west coast and Pacific airspace) there has only be ONE place in the entire country that has been issued authorization to fly over populated areas, and it's for local law enforcement (Mesa County, Colorado). The remainder of authorizations granted have been for non-populated areas, primarily for use in tracking forest fires, finding lost people, surveying endangered species (which occurred just last week in Alaska according to my source).

This story from Apr 23rd that says Seattle cops have gotten permission to use surveillance drones is missing some important facts. They have not, I repeat, not received authorization to fly the drones. They purchased them, a few officers have the pilot's licenses required to fly them (yes, in order to fly a drone in public air space you must have a commercial pilot's license; because you are potentially flying in the same airspace as normal air traffic), but they did not seek authorization from the FAA to fly them, so they were told to stop. Then the police department made a stink to the news about how the FAA denied them authorization. The thing is, they never applied for authorization. This is part of the rather lengthy list of requirements to request authorization (I'm waiting on the full list from my source, but figured I'd get this posted for now). Among them you have the requirement for a commercial pilot's license, and your craft has to be submitted for inspect by the Flight Commission to ensure it meets required safety standards. The authorization only lasts for a year (initial submissions can take as long as 60 working days, or about 4 months), then you need to resubmit every year (resubmission usually takes around 30 days, but recently spiked longer when the rules changed).

To add to the above, there are only going to be about 6 test sites around the country. A good number of universities and private companies are scrambling to put in their packages hoping to get on that short list. Also, something I did not even think about, but actually deals with one of my major worries... even if an agency gets authorization to fly in a certain area, they still need permission from the people who own the ground beneath that flight path in order to use the drone. On top of that, even agencies that receive authorization for drone use still require warrants issued by a judge in order to use them for surveillance. The list that ACLU-WA is seeking already exists for government agencies; under what circumstances they can be used, how long information can be kept, what can be collected, etc. have existed for years regarding intelligence gathering on foreign individuals and U.S. citizens. Even state governments and law enforcement have to abide by those rules, and they are constantly being audited.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

3 1/2 Time-Outs Tuesday

Video Game Edition
So I'm in the middle of writing a novel, and an entire pen & paper gameworld to go with it, but these dang video games keep getting in the way. So many games with excellent storylines/gameplay out right now, some of them are entire series worth; games like the Zelda series, Kingdoms of Amalaur (storyline written by RA Salvatore), Infamous 1/2, Batman, Mass Effect... the list goes on and on. To top it off one of my co-workers recently got me back into Lord of the Rings Online, because I didn't have enough other things getting in the way of my writing...

One of the things I really like about MMOs in general is the fact that people play them all over the world, it lets you run into people of opinions that run the entire spectrum. Not always a good thing, but overall it can give you a pretty good idea of varying viewpoints. Of course, the whole thing with being online is that a good number of those people tend to act like nobody is watching; there are a lot of jerks and selfish people that'd never have the guys to do/say the thing they do if you were standing right in front of them.

There are good parts to MMOs too though. I have friends of mine all over the world, comes from being in the military, a good number of my friends are military. Depending on which game I play it allows us to hang out even though they may quite literally be on the other side of the planet. Just too cool, even after all these years of being involved in MMOs (I've been playing since before Ultima Online even). There are a couple of advantages to playing these games with people you know too. 

First one is that if they act like total jerks, you can drive/fly/walk over to where they live and punch them in the face; if they're on the other side of the world, just keep track and give them all they're owed the next time you see them (that or harrass them incessently about how much they owe you for being such jerks). Second, you know these people. That means you're more likely  to work well together, you already know a bunch of their quirks and how to make up for them; it's also easier to make sure everyone gets what they want, you can more easily arrange forays to go after specific stuff without hours of waiting trying to get a group together. Third thing is great for those of us with families, if you need to stop in the middle of a group for a few minutes because you need to go take care of your kids being stupid, put them bed, patch them up, etc. most of the time your RL friends aren't going to have an issue.

Video games are also great stress relievers. It's nice to be able to come home from a day of dealing with people that annoy you, load up a game (FPS is my stress reliever of choice), and blow the crud out of stuff until you feel better. Of course, I have to generally wait until my daughters are distracted by their mother, each other, their toys, or the TV before I can play some of them, but those are the breaks. My daughter is actually getting pretty good at MarioKart, I may soon have a gaming partner to blast those annoying Bowser and Troopa Karts...

3 1/2
The following says everything that needs to be know about games...

This off-the-wall post type was brought to my attention by Foxfier,
and the individual I saw spreading it is thelarryd over at Acts of the Apostacy

Bill of Rights Comparisons

So I was reading through an article on American Spectator (it's on my list of places for news, and before I get accused of only reading stuff on one side of the spectrum I also read the NY Times, CNN, and MSNBC) and I came across this. The article itself was an interesting read, but one of the commenters decided to point out how the Canadian Charter of Rights has all the same rights as the US Constitution (except the guns, which IMO is a VERY important part), and challenged anyone to argue with them on the merits. So I took the bait, and looked up the Charter, as above, along with the South African one which was also touted by various Liberals as an example of a good constitution.

Reading them I noticed some very important bits. First we'll look at the Canadian Charter (established only in 1982), which I can defeat after just a few lines.

Section 1. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

This bit, "subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law" is the important part. Keep that in mind as we go look at the South African 1996 Constitution (yes, their constitution is only 16 years old, it's obviously a model of what can work for the long-term...).

First, it was modelled on the Canadian Charter, so the wording is somewhat similar.

Section 7, Part 3. The rights in the Bill of Rights are subject to the limitations contained or referred to in section 36, or elsewhere in the Bill.

Anyone seeing the problem yet? Let's continue...

Section 36.
  1. The rights in the Bill of Rights may be limited only in terms of law of general application to the extent that the limitation is reasonable and justifiable in an open and democratic society based on human dignity, equality and freedom, taking into account all relevant factors, including ­
    1. the nature of the right;
    2. the importance of the purpose of the limitation;
    3. the nature and extent of the limitation;
    4. the relation between the limitation and its purpose; and
    5. less restrictive means to achieve the purpose.
  2. Except as provided in subsection (1) or in any other provision of the Constitution, no law may limit any right entrenched in the Bill of Rights.
Most of the world's constitutions have similar wording, granting rights to the people from the government. *Best disclaimer voice imitation* Rights subject to change, offer expires as soon as the government decides. /voice

Meanwhile the US Constitution tells the government to bugger off and lists what the government is allowed to do, while specifically listing what the government cannot ever ever ever do. The language is pretty easy to understand, contrary to what a lot of lawyers and politicians would have people believe, and helped along by our public education system. Here, go read the first 10 Amendments, I'll wait...


Now let's go through them and list where it tells what cannot be done.

Amendment 1. Congress shall make no law
Amendment 2. shall not be infringed.
Amendment 3. No Soldier shall
Amendment 4. shall not be violated
Amendment 5. No person shall be; nor shall any person be; ; nor be deprived of; nor shall private property be
Amendment 6. the accused shall enjoy the right (the only one that doesn't say DON'T GET IN THE WAY)
Amendment 7.  no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined
Amendment 8. Excessive bail shall not be required
Amendment 9. shall not be construed to deny or disparage
Amendment 10. The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Had to list the 10th in its entirety, since the whole thing tells the government what to stay the heck out of; EVERYTHING NOT LISTED IN THE CONSTITUTION AS A POWER OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.

Monday, April 23, 2012

More Conflict On The Horizon

So North Korea is threatening the South again after South Korea's president issued several statements the North's military complex took issue with. Sadly with them having escalated events in the last few years this may turn into more than their usual grandstanding.

Also, in the Middle East a Palestinian has been sentenced to death for committing the most atrocious act possible... he sold property to a Jew. The last has been in place since 1994. These are the people so many others think should be granted their own country, that they would sentence one of their own to death just for selling property to someone else.

Stuff to Read

So, a couple books to read if your interested in a more in-depth look at what is happening in our country as a whole, and not just the government specifically.

First up, Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism and then his upcoming book (comes out May 1st) Tyranny of Cliches. Tyranny goes into the long list of cliches spouted off by the political Left that are meant to back up their opinions. Ones like, "One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter."

Next we have a couple of Mark Levin's books. The man's voice grates on me after awhile, along with the constant shouting, but he is an excellent writer. His most recent book Ameritopia is a follow on to his 2010 book Liberty and Tyranny.

Friday, April 20, 2012

James Madison and Some Thoughts on Taxation

First I thought I'd start with a couple of quotes from James Madison.

"Government is instituted to protect property of every sort; as well that which lies in the various rights of individuals, as that which the term particularly expresses. This being the end of government, that alone is a just government, which impartially secures to every man, whatever is his own.

According to this standard of merit, the praise of affording a just securing to property, should be sparingly bestowed on a government which, however scrupulously guarding the possessions of individuals, does not protect them in the enjoyment and communication of their opinions, in which they have an equal, and in the estimation of some, a more valuable property.

More sparingly should this praise be allowed to a government, where a man's religious rights are violated by penalties, or fettered by tests, or taxed by a hierarchy. Conscience is the most sacred of all property; other property depending in part on positive law, the exercise of that, being a natural and unalienable right. To guard a man's house as his castle, to pay public and enforce private debts with the most exact faith, can give no title to invade a man's conscience which is more sacred than his castle, or to withhold from it that debt of protection, for which the public faith is pledged, by the very nature and original conditions of the social pact.

That is not a just government, nor is property secure under it, where the property which a man has in his personal safety and personal liberty, is violated by arbitrary seizures of one class of citizens for the service of the rest."

"A just security to property is not afforded by that government, under which unequal taxes oppress one species of property and reward another species: where arbitrary taxes invade the domestic sanctuaries of the rich, and excessive taxes grind the faces of the poor."

James Madison, On Property

I'm a particular fan of that last sentence. Even back in the late 18th century they understood that uneven taxing based on how successful one was was completely unjust. Yet today it's seen as just fine, in fact you even have a significant portion of the population that is all for taxing more successful people a greater percentage than they already pay. This problem was created by the creation of a federal income tax to begin with, and then exacerbated by creating a series of tax laws so complex we have an entire industry whose entire purpose is to deal with that law to get their customers the greatest number of cuts and write-offs to allow them to keep more of their own money.

"Their own money," that leads back to the first long quote above, where the money a man earns is his property. It is the government's responsibility to protect that property, and one would certainly expect with that responsibility the government should recieve some kind of recompense for its services. After all, even government employees need to be paid. But is it using that money effectively? That's my biggest argument against increased taxes. Before the government should even begin to talk about increasing taxes it should first be required to prove that it is using that money effectively. That includes massively cutting down wasted spending; overpaying on government contracts is a BIG one, purchasing unnecessary items, wasting money on frivolous GSA conferences...

Instead we have politicians all the way to the top screaming in the town square about fairness. Where does the standard of what is fair begin? Where does it end? If millionaires must "pay their fair share," what exactly is fair? The majority of money used to lower the effective tax rate of the rich is money donated to a cause they believe in, not money hidden away. A good portion of the rest is spent on investment, money earned then applied toward another venture or used to further the goals of a current one. Before you cry that their tax rate is lower than yours, look at all the deductions you get, the money the government pays you back. What is your tax rate really at? My bet is, unless you're making over $200k it's somewhere down around the 5-10% range. That's lower than what Mitt Romney pays, even after his massive charity donations (10% to the Mormon church alone, or ~$3.3 million).

The major adversaries for lowering or keeping the tax rates on the rich where they are are the same people that do not donate at all, or donate very little. Joe Biden and his wife only donated 1.5% of their $387k. Al Gore barely donates 1% of his yearly income from the fraud that is man-made climate change, yet spends hundreads of thousands on spreading his views and then spends millions on his home and transportation around the world (those personal airplane flights aren't cheap).

Also the tax brackets they are seeking to increase include those single people making $200k, or couples making $250k, not just the millionaires and billionaires. That is hardly millions a year, and also affects a good number of small business owners (mom & pop places especially) who file their yearly earnings under personal income taxes to avoid the massive corporation taxes (soon to be the highest in the entire world).

Next time you go off on how it's not fair that these people make so much, remember the above. Don't be jealous because so many of them work harder for that money, and earned it through that hard work even if you don't know everything they went to to get that cushy CEO job. The only truly undeserving "rich" are the professional sports and movie stars, they get to play a game or play make-believe all day long for their cash, yet they seem to keep trying to identify with the little guy... Which class of person is being fake here again?

R.I.P. Lance Corporal Roman Kaipat

Lance Corporal Roman Kaipat was a 22-year old U.S. Marine recently killed-in-action in Afghanistan. He was the cousin of a co-worker of mine and a resident of Tacoma, WA. His family is originally from Saipan.

Regardless of how one feels about the conflict I feel it is still necessary to thank the selfless dedication of our men and women in the armed forces. Thank you for all you do and the sacrifices you make on a daily basis.

Rest in peace Lance Corporal Kaipat. *SALUTE*

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Democrat-Controlled Senate Breaking the Law... Again

Well, the Senate is on its way to breaking the law yet again, refusing to even discuss a budget for FY13. Coming up on 4 years now that the elected officials in that worthless group will not only be refusing to do the job they were elected for, but they will be breaking the law. The 1974 Budget Act to be precise. Congress is required to pass a budget every year, going through a specific process outlined in the bill. Of course, nobody is going to actually charge them since impeachment has to be tried by their own members... because that's not problem at all.

The writers at the Post may want to check their math though, they labeled the article as 3 years, but FY13 will be the 4th year. They gained complete control in 2008, so the 2009 budget was already done (pushed through by Bush before they actually got total control) but that still leaves FY 10, 11, 12, and upcoming 13 that they are refusing to even talk about. Yes, in review, the Democrats have not passed a budget since they gained complete control in 2008. They had 2 years to do so without Republican opposition and they still couldn't do their job. This is just another example of the complete lack of fiscal responsibility of that party. As much as I hate the numerous Republicans who spent stupid amounts of money, at least they had the balls to put their spending in writing, out in the open, and did one of the few Congressional jobs spelled out in the Constitution.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Tax Season and Obama's Stupidity

So I was stumbling around the internet when I came across this article: 10 Things I Hate About Tax Day

I agree with the majority of things this person hates, but a couple of their arguments struck my "WTH" meter.

8: Taxophobia - Their argument that people need to stop complaining they are getting taxed so much when they pay a lot of money already for various other things is just plain silly. It doesn't matter how much someone spends of their own money in relation to how much they pay in taxes. It's our money.

That said, me personally, I don't pay $10000 a year on our vehicles, I don't pay $2.50 for bottled water (even the few times I purchase the junk at all instead of just drinking tap water it's $1 at most), I refuse to pay $5 for a cup of joe, and I won't pay more than $100 for a pair of shoes, that then on average lasts me 3-4 years before I replace them. My current pair of non-gym shoes are actually 7 yrs old in a few months, I paid $60 for them in a shoe store in Okinawa back in 2005.

I do happen to think 25% is a rather high tax rate for only making $50k/yr, since I get taxed at the single rate throughout the year and don't get the cash back until Tax Day when it gets recalculated at 15% when the wife and I file jointly. Overall we pay a good deal more than the $2700/yr in the example (which would only be 5.4% btw). The rate itself wouldn't even bug me though to be honest, if it wasn't for all the government waste, and regardless of how much we pay in taxes we have every right to be pissed at the government for wasting our tax money. The people who don't get to whine are the ones who receive a larger check back from the government than they actually paid into the system (and they don't for the most part, they love their free money and consistently vote Democrat).

9: It's Regressive - The latter part of the argument is cancelled out by their own example in number 8. Complaining the dishwasher gets taxed at 25% if the makes more than $9k, right after pointing out that someone making $50k pays barely more than 5%.

Also, yes, that plutocrat whose primary source of income is capital gains pays 15% or less. Do you even understand why? It's because the money they make on those capital gains investments was already taxed when it was originally made. Why should it be taxed again when they reinvest it? Also, the 15% tax is applied to all of the money they make, including the initial investment amount. You want screwy, how about this?

You go invest money in a company. When that company makes its profits for the year it is taxed on those profits after their various deductions for business expenses (but not their required share of the SS and Medicare payments for their employees). Then the employees get paid, and they are taxed on their income. Then the investors receive their share of the profits. The entire amount they receive back is taxed at the 15% rate, then they apply their deductions, but only up to a certain amount (I don't remember the max off the top of my head). This amount does not cover the entire initial investment in most cases, so they essentially just got taxed on wealth they already had before it was invested! On top of that, most of those investments are made into... wait for it... just a moment longer... That small business owner you are complaining is getting hit with the 35% tax on personal income.

So the investor whose money helps make that business possible is getting massively taxed when you look at the overall picture.

That's not to say the small business owner isn't getting screwed too, they most definitely are, and it'll only get worse if Obama manages to get his way to increase the taxes paid on those evil "millionaires and billionaires" making more than $250k/yr as a couple. Most people don't realize that the majority of small business owners (all the mom & pop places) file their taxes under personal income tax in order to avoid the massively overblown corporate income taxes, the same taxes that Obama is ALSO trying to get increased, rather than decreased.

Anyone with half a brain realizes that large corporations themselves don't actually pay taxes. Any increase in production costs, taxes, regulations, etc are pushed onto the customer. As regulations increase requiring cars have more and more safety equipment the various companies just increase the prices to compensate so their profit margin isn't affected. That's called good business. Lower profit margins deter investors, it makes the CEOs look bad, so they find ways to cut costs (usually by downsizing) or they increase the cost of their end product. Who do you think ends up getting shafted from this? Middle and low income Americans that then have a harder and harder time being able to afford the products necessary to get by.

Why does the government not do anything about it? Because it effectively turns the corporations into tax collectors for the government. Those corporations rake in millions/billions a year, which are then taxed as income. Then the government turns back around and taxes the people that work for them. One or the other needs to go, at the very least they both need to be seriously reduced. That's why I support Paul Ryan's budget plan, for the most part. I think their higher tax bracket needs to take effect with a bit higher income range, the $1mil or so range would be best IMO if we really have to have more than one tax bracket.

Best way to even it out as far as I'm concerned is to make the higher tax bracket 15-20% instead of 25%, and then limit deductions on personal income to 5% of your total income, then adjust corporation taxes down to 20% or less while putting a section of the new tax law that says companies have to lower the cost of their products in the state by a corresponding drop in price when the law goes into effect.

Then you have the President trying to explain how federal spending works, and doing a miserable job at it. First of all, he made the promise that he would cut federal spending by half before the end of his first term, and instead increased it by nearly 50% in less than 4 years. Hint for you Mr President, you went the wrong way. "So I believe deeply that the free market is the greatest force for economic progress in human history." Well, he got the words right, but then he goes and makes statements refusing to lower the corporate income tax rate, and if the SCOTUS doesn't overturn Obamacare we'll have the highest corporate income tax rate in the entire world by a good bit by 2014.

"But I also share the belief of our first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln -- a belief that, through government, we should do together what we cannot do as well for ourselves." Followed by, "That belief is why we’ve been able to lay down railroads and highways to facilitate travel and commerce." Someone on his staff should have mentioned to him the fact that the transcontinental railroad project resulted in the companies going bankrupt and requiring government bailouts on multiple occasions. History's a b$%^&.

"Show me a business leader who wouldn’t profit if more Americans could afford to get the skills and education that today’s jobs require." People might not realize this (though I'm pretty sure most of them do) but the cost of a college education has steadily gone up the more available various government subsidies have become. Get rid of the subsidies and costs will go down because people won't be able to afford them. At the same time we'll get rid of a bunch of worthless Liberal Arts professors and students because the colleges won't be able to support them or their programs (the program itself isn't a bad basic program, but so many students expecting to get a job with a BA in Liberal Arts is freaking stupid).

"They keep telling us that if we’d convert more of our investments in education and research and health care into tax cuts -- especially for the wealthy -- our economy will grow stronger." Hey dummy, the Paul Ryan plan you hate so much? It decreases the tax rate for nearly the entire middle class too, not just people who make a ton of cash. You know how much those millionaires and billionaires will get for a tax cut? 3%, that's it. They'll go from a 28% base rate to 25%, before deductions of course. But guess what, his plan also calls for closing a bunch of those deductions and loopholes. On top of that, people like me who pay 25% through the year on a $50k salary will instead only be paying 10%. That is a HUGE tax cut for the middle and lower class American. But just keep ignoring that fact, the MSM sure as heck won't call you on it.

"Now, the problem for advocates of this [trickle down] theory is that we’ve tried their approach -- on a massive scale.  The results of their experiment are there for all to see.  At the beginning of the last decade, the wealthiest Americans received a huge tax cut in 2001 and another huge tax cut in 2003.  We were promised that these tax cuts would lead to faster job growth.  They did not.  The wealthy got wealthier -- we would expect that.  The income of the top 1 percent has grown by more than 275 percent over the last few decades, to an average of $1.3 million a year.  But prosperity sure didn't trickle down."

Newsflash: The economy bombed because of the housing market. The housing market bombed because the government (idiot Republicans and Democrats alike) got involved through Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae guarenteeing bank loans for highly risky investments. Highly risky investments required by law because of quotas instituted by the FDIC forcing banks to give loans to lower income people that couldn't afford to pay them back and threatening (in the case of many smaller local banks following through) with shutdown or refusal to allow expansion if the quotas aren't met. Yes, that's right, the federal government was refusing to allow a business to expand on their own choice, effectively deciding who wins and who loses in our banking industry. Guess who benefitted the most? A bunch of those large banking corporations like Bank of America, Chase, and Citigroup that received government bailouts to keep from going under who then purchased the smaller local banks that were forced to also take toxic loans but weren't large enough (or giving enough to the right group of people) to get any of that bailout money.

I could go on, but those are the reasons I get mad about the amount of taxes I am forced to pay to the federal government. Because of bull$%^& programs and bailouts run by the government, wasting our money, and contributing to massive overspending that has to be curtailed before the whole country collapses and devolves to the level of Greece with their street riots and molatov cocktails, or worse.

Romney Gets the Nomination

Not really any point in denying it anymore. With Rick Santorum dropping out, and Newt Gingrich's campaign way in debt (his $500 check to pay for being added to the Utah ballot bouncing) along with one of his companies filing for bankruptcy the nomination process is over in everything but the official crown. The Ron Paul supporters will continue to deny it until Dr. Paul drops out, but he isn't going to be the nominee either. Even if he won every state from here to the convention he wouldn't have enough delegates to challenge Romney.

So that leaves us with Mitt Romney. He's better than McCain, though not by much, especially if he continues to try the same line of civil discourse and not attacking Obama. These two stories give some hope that he isn't as bad as his time in a Democrat Super Majority state like Massachusetts makes him appear.

Romney at Harvard
Romney and Netanyahu

Granted they are at the New York Times, but sadly there are still a bunch of people that get their news from that rag, so maybe it'll make those folks realize he's not as bad personally as the Left keeps trying to make him. Personally I don't care much about a politicians personality so long as they can do a good job in the position. Before the fiasco that became RomneyCare, Romney did at least manage to lower spending in the state and improve business there. It just all got reversed with passage of that one law that he naively thought wouldn't be co-opted by the Democrat legislature. Also, as much as I disagree with the law itself, Romney is correct in stating that it's completely constitutional in regards to the individual states; assuming that it doesn't disagree with that state's Constitution anyway, it does disagree with the US Constitution as a power of the federal government though.

What he needs to do is get out on as many networks as will actually have him (which will be harder now that it's him vs Obama) and explain his various plans in full detail with some actual feeling, and using the same methods he used for his Harvard presentation. Don't assume people get it, that's a mistake the Republican party has been making forever, and too many people still believe all the rhetoric passed out by the MSM regardless of how false it is.

You won't see me turn into a diehard Mitt Romney supporter, but I will support him against Barack Obama because 1) it's nigh impossible for him to be any worse, and 2) at least he understands how the economy actually works. As often as I give the various finance folks a hard time for being bean counters, with the state of the federal governments spending right now having a bean counter in charge that is willing to make cuts where necessary in order to get it under control may be exactly what we need. Also, if we all work to get an actual conservative majority in the Senate perhaps we can use that to keep Romney's more liberal tendencies under control.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Cyber-Security Legislature

So the government is throwing out another deluge of Cyber-Security legislation.

Prison Planet

I'm well aware of how slowly the government institutes changes, and massively overspends to deal with issues that don't exist. Even if you ignore the fact that it's the government demanding companies share information with them (I wouldn't ignore them if I were you), they are ill-equipped to be the ones deciding on what needs to be the standard for cyber-security. The new bills (yes, there is more than one) also remove any legal ramifications against the companies if they willingly share the information which will allow those companies to completely ignore all privacy lawsuits.

Anyone that doesn't see how bad that can be might want to go get their head checked. If companies can no longer be held accountable for sharing your personal information with the government, what is to stop them from freely doing so with everybody's information just to avoid a huge host of legal issues that may crop up against them in the future. It also has the side "benefit" of getting them on the government's good side for later on down the road.

Also, the private sector is MUCH better at innovation, especially when it comes to security because it is their paycheck being affected. It's their products being stolen.

Not to mention the number of arbitrary reasons these laws give the government to confiscate or forceably shutdown various company's (and individual's) internet access. Allowing the President to determine what companies and industries are national security related without specifically naming them? Because that won't be abused or anything...

I suggest you call and/or email your Congressmen and Senators and tell them not to vote for these bills. Threaten them with a straight vote for their opponent next election, regardless of who they are, if they vote Yes on these.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Mac Users, Eat Your Hearts Out!

Anyone that knows me personally knows I make no secret of my bias against Apple. One of the most annoying, and false, arguments by Mac users is how they never have to worry about viruses. Well guess what, a Russian anti-virus firm just released a report showing that 600,000 Macs were infected with a trojan discovered back in September of last year.

To quote the article, "Dr Web also notes that 274 of the infected computers it detected appeared to be located in Cupertino, California - home to Apple's headquarters." Someone at home isn't updating their own software.

This may come as a surprise to some Mac users, but the only reason you haven't had a huge virus problem like standard desktop users (they're IBM-clones, not PCs! PC = Personal Computer, which also covers Macs) is that they were not worth the effort! Not enough people used them. But with all the iPhones, iPads, and more standard Mac users out there they are becoming worth the effort. Get ready for the flood folks.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

HHS Mandate to Employers: Update

Given that the news has pretty much stopped covering the recent controversial HHS mandate I thought I'd bring it up again, along with some silly statements by federal officials, named Joe Biden and Kathleen Sebelius.

To quote Vice President Biden, “I think it’s totally out of touch with reality and totally out of touch with what the Independent” voters of America think. He said such opposition violates “the right of women to decide for themselves, whether or not they want to use contraception.” Out of touch with reality? Thank you Joe for calling 50% of the country "totally out of touch with reality."

Then of course you have the not-so-Catholic Kathleen Sebelius saying, “The reduction in the number of pregnancies compensates for the cost of contraception.” Yes, great idea, let's reduce the number of births in the country. Even with out-of-wedlock births in this country we are still below replacement for our current population. This is one of the reasons for the massive price increase from the incoming retiring Baby Boomer group, not enough people to cover the increasing costs.

Don't give me the whole speech on how the earth is overpopulated either, we have plenty of room. Heck, the U.S. still has limits on how much of each crop farmers are allowed to grow, and the government still buys what they consider excess, leaving a good portion to rot rather than allowing it on the world market for fear of decreasing the cost by what some arbitrary individual has decided would be catastrophic to the industry. Lots of places we could build cities, if there weren't so many lazy people unwilling to do jobs that are "beneath" them.

Romney Gets His Own Hat Trick

With his Tuesday wins of DC, Maryland, and Wisconsin Romney manages to pull even further ahead of the other candidates in the Republican primary.

While I'm not a fan of Romney, I have to admit his on-stage speech with Paul Ryan actually showed a bit of character that he has been severely lacking. If he'd actually get on stage with that kind of emotion to explain his ideas the way Ryan explains his budget proposals I'd probably feel a lot more comfortable with the idea of him as the Republican candidate.

I'm still a Santorum supporter, but as long as Newt remains in the race I don't see many more chances for Rick to win the delegates necessary to be a contender at a brokered convention, let alone prevent Romney from getting the 1,144 votes necessary to be named the candidate outright.

If Romney is picked for the Republican nomination I hope he is smart enough to select a good VP running mate. Paul Ryan, followed closely by Allen West and Marco Rubio would be my choice. Make the Ron Paul followers happy and make a statement that he'll be put in charge of the Treasury or the Fed, so he can audit the Fed like he wants to do anyway. Stick Newt as the Press Secretary just for the amusement of having him beat the MSM into submission at the various press conferences, and would keep him around for additional advice in reducing the budget (which he has a record of doing, regardless how much/little people like him).