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Declining Middle Class Wages and Productivity

by coldwarrior ( 92 Comments › )
Filed under Academia, Economy, Open thread, Regulation, taxation at July 6th, 2015 - 6:00 am

Good Monday Morning. The High Priests of the Dismal Science have attempted to answer a nagging a question that I have had. Why are Middle Class wages wages stagnant or receding since 1995? They get a good portion of the equation that I had not thought of…Productivity. They do miss the gorilla in the room…ever increasing government regulations that stifle innovation and gains in productivity.

Have a read and chew on it for a while.

Whatever Happened To Those Middle Class Income Gains?

By Isabel Sawhill

This year’s Economic Report of the President has an interesting analysis of the sources of the slowdown in income gains among the middle class. Given all the attention given to the issue of growing inequality, especially between those at the top and the other 90 percent you might think that was the major economic problem facing the nation. But no, it turns out that the biggest source of the slowdown is the poor performance of productivity since 1995 compared to the earlier postwar period.

The question the President’s Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) asks is what if productivity growth from 1973 to 2013 had continued at the rate of the previous 25 years from 1948-1973? The answer is that the typical household would have had an additional $30,000 in income. (CEA report, p. 33)

The CEA goes on to ask parallel “what if” questions about income inequality and female labor force participation. How much better off would the typical middle class household be if income gains had been broadly shared after 1973 and female labor force participation had not levelled off after 1995? These changes produce smaller effects on middle class incomes of $9,000 and $3,000 respectively. However, all three factors combined can explain a whopping $50,000 in income foregone by our typical family. In other words, these families would have almost twice as much income if it hadn’t been for the decline in productivity growth, the rise in income inequality, and the levelling off of female participation rates.

The very large role of slower productivity growth is surprising. After all, we have seen an explosion in technology fed by the increasing power of computers. Smart phones, driverless cars, computer-assisted design and manufacturing, robots, drones, and the innovations they have made possible should have boosted productivity smartly. But as Nobel-prize winning economist Robert Solow once quipped, ” You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.” So what’s going on here?

According to the CEA, starting in 1973, labor productivity growth slowed dramatically to only 1.4 percent annually from its earlier pace of 2.8 percent from 1948-1973. (It has recovered somewhat over the last two decades but has not matched its earlier high levels.) They cite the exhaustion of pent-up innovations from World War II, reduced public investment, dislocations associated with a new international monetary system, and the oil shocks of the 1970s.

Other experts might add other factors to the list. Economist Robert Gordon believes that the technological breakthroughs of the late twentieth century cannot match earlier innovations such as those represented by electricity, cars, the telephone, and radio. It’s also possible that we have not yet seen the full effects of the computer revolution. My colleague, Barry Bosworth, has shown that a lot of productivity gains are occurring in the service sector and that it isn’t just capital deepening that is producing these gains. It is everything from better management to human capital investment and organizational innovation – all the things we cannot measure very well but which show up in the data as an unexplained residual.

In the meantime, the new technologies are contributing to growing income inequality. Because these technologies are replacing unskilled and even some medium-skilled jobs, we are left with the worst of both worlds – disappointing increases in productivity and declining opportunities for those without the education and skills to benefit from the new technologies.

The solution cannot be to slow down the pace of technology. It must be to encourage innovation, retrain workers, invest in the next generation, and help those dislocated by the changes. Yet we are not investing in research, in education, and in infrastructure in the same way we did in earlier decades. Taxes need to be reformed to provide greater simplicity, fairness, and growth. Policies such as paid leave, child care, and more flexible work places would encourage more second earners to join the labor force. Most innovation, to be sure, occurs in the private sector, but it has little incentive to invest as long as overall demand is constrained by policies that fail to mitigate financial instability or that are focused on short-term spending cuts in public investments combined with a longer-term explosion of consumption-oriented spending on the big entitlement programs. Until elected officials act to recreate these underpinnings of growth, any permanent improvements in middle class incomes are unlikely to be realized.

Isabel Sawhill is a senior fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution.  She co-directs the Budgeting for National Priorities Project as well as the Center on Children and Families.

Mars Attacks: The Department of Education Must Go

by Mars ( 146 Comments › )
Filed under Academia, Barack Obama, Blogmocracy, Climate, Communism, Democratic Party, Education, Environmentalism, Fascism, Free Speech, Global Warming Hoax, government, Guest Post, Liberal Fascism, Marxism, Political Correctness, Progressives, Regulation, Science, Socialism, Technology at June 16th, 2015 - 7:00 am

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2015/06/09/the-government-is-helping-fund-a-minecraft-style-game-for-teaching-kids-about-the-environment/

The government is helping fund a Minecraft-style game for teaching kids about the environment

Minecraft is a cultural phenomenon. The block-based exploration and crafting game was snapped up by Microsoft for $2.5 billion last year and has helped inspire competitors from giant toy companies like Lego.

Even the government is interested in building on Minecraft’s success: The Department of Education is helping fund a project known as “Eco” that looks a lot like Minecraft, except with a few added twists: There’s a looming ecological disaster and players must band together to make a community — agreeing on laws and living in harmony with the environment.

If they fail, the world dies forever. Strange Loop Games, the company behind the game, describes it a “global survival game” and says failure results in “server-wide perma death.”

Eco is designed to help teach middle school students about environmental science and was awarded a nearly $900,000 grant from the Department of Education last month. It has completed a test phase where 60 students in five classes tried it out, according to the grant contract. The prototype for that test run also received a DOE grant of around $150,000.

Here’s what the game prototype looks like in action:

The latest grant will help build out new features, including a teacher dashboard, and let researchers figure out how effective the game is by collecting data on 150 students in 10 classrooms. Half of the classes will use the normal environmental teaching plan, while the other half will supplement the curriculum with Eco — letting the developers see if the game actually helps boost students’ understanding of ecology.

Minecraft itself is already used by some educators for things like building replicas of ancient Roman apartment buildings and teaching problem-solving.

Understand, Minecraft is a phenomena amongst the younger crowd. It is a huge sprawling creative sandbox that allows the children to experiment with construction and even computer design and programming. This atrocity is something else entirely. It is also designed for programming, programming children to become Eco-nuts. It is developed using a gameplay that the kids are familiar with and enjoy, but adds in all of the Eco nonsense that you could ever hope a future generation of children would need to become good little “citizens of the world”.

Minecraft meets ecology simulation in an open-world educational game

By Charlie Hall on Jun 09, 2015 at 3:30p @Charlie_L_Hall
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Veteran studio Strange Loop Games is embarking on an ambitious project to create a new kind of open world multiplayer game where the survival of every player on the server depends on careful management of in-game resources. With funding from the U.S. Department of Education, Eco hopes to become a platform for teaching middle school students about ecology in a communal, cloud-based game world.

Strange Loop calls their project a “global survival game.” In Eco’s fiction there is an impending disaster looming over humanity — an event like a meteor strike, a drought or a flood. The clock is ticking, and players must work together to prevent the onrushing apocalypse or risk “server-wide perma death.”

The tools at players disposal are familiar to anyone who’s played Minecraft. Eco’s world is a lush paradise, modeled after the Pacific Northwest, filled with plants and animals. But unlike Minecraft, real ecological forces are at play in the background.

“Resources are finite,” states the game’s website. “Chop down every tree and fail to plant more? They won’t be growing back. Hunt every elk for food? They’re now extinct. Pollute a section of land with mining runoffs? Your crops are poisoned. This ecosystem is your only lifeline in a race against time.

“You’re facing two existential crises simultaneously: an external threat that you must avert, and the threat of causing your own destruction. A rock and a hard place.”

But the game doesn’t want to be preachy, it just wants to attempt to simulate the real forces at play on our planet, give players a sense of ownership and empower them with the tools the make change.

“In Eco the goal isn’t to save the environment,” said studio head John Krajewski earlier this year in the YouTube video above. “The goal is to build. The goal is to create a civilization.”

In the background the game is constantly keeping track of real complex data, which allows players to see the changes being felt by in-game populations in near real time. While players on the server will be given free choice, the entire community will also have the opportunity to vote on laws that will change how they’re allowed to interact with the environment.

“Every law in Eco needs to be backed up with scientific documentation,” said Krajewski, “that’s based on the actual data that’s coming from the game.”

The game will run on a server in the cloud, which will allow players to access the game from anywhere — including at home or in the classroom. Teachers will be given a toolset to allow them to tailor individual worlds to meet their educational needs, effectively letting them create specific scenarios and influence the game world in real time.

“The classroom time is the chance to have the council meeting. … That’s where we see the role of the teacher is very important.”

The promise of the game has even captured the interest of the U.S. Department of Education, which has given Strange Loop Games a two year, $900,000 grant to develop the game. There is also a Kickstarter expected later this year.

“Eco is possibly the first video game where your character can actually save the world,” says the website, “because the alternative is for once possible.”
http://www.polygon.com/2015/6/9/8752973/eco-minecraft-ecology-simulation-strange-loop-games

The overarching themes of “save the world” is worrying enough, it’s when you get into what the game is designed for is when things get really terrifying. They have actually set it up where you “design laws” for your enviro friendly civilization.

This is blatant programming of children, you take something kids are already enjoying, you change it around to fit an agenda and then you force feed the kids the final result in the school system. If a company tried something this blatant they would be shut down and the heads would probably be thrown in jail. Your federal government at work. Changing hearts and minds, by mandate.

Mars Attacks: Tell a Big Enough Lie: The U.S. Obesity “Epidemic”

by Mars ( 148 Comments › )
Filed under American Exceptionalism, Barack Obama, Blogmocracy, Communism, Cult of Obama, Democratic Party, Education, Environmentalism, Fascism, Food and Drink, Free Speech, Guest Post, Health Care, Healthcare, Marxism, Media, Political Correctness, Progressives, Regulation at May 18th, 2015 - 8:44 am

You’ve all heard it again and again on the news. The United States is number one in obesity worldwide. Or is it number two, with Mexico now taking the top spot? Would you believe it’s none of the above? The United States is number 18. Not a great number but not worth the outrage and panic the left puts forward. This may surprise everyone with the constant hammering by the Left and the Media about America being the fattest country on earth. This is interesting in the face of these facts. This report was released this month, but I have seen this information as far back as three years ago. Yes, they continued to lie to us even with their own WHO and the CIA Factbook both contradicting their narrative and containing the real data for the entire time that they have promoted the lie.

Why would they do this? Actually it’s pretty obvious in the face of Universal Healthcare, Moochelle Obama, and the school lunch program “reworking”. The left is determined to save your life no matter what you want. It is once again about control. As long as the myth is out there, it gives them reasons to limit what you are allowed to eat. They can place limits on what can be sold, they can place limits on what you buy and eat, they can tell your children they are not allowed to bring lunches from home and must eat their Moochelle mandated Kale and Quinoa salad. They are getting more arrogant about their lies lately, even with the true facts out there in print, they will still throw the lie forward again and again, knowing that the press will follow like obedient lapdogs.

Try finding the true statistics on Obesity online. I’ve been trying to find the reports that I originally found, and the search engines are flooded with nothing but the lie. I was lucky this story came around recently otherwise I wouldn’t have had anything to post. Especially since the WHO reports (yes, there are several going back years) and the CIA Factbook report were behind paywalls. I have no doubts there will be thousands of articles about American Obesity posted in the next few weeks in order to bury this CNN report back to where it won’t be seen.

http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/01/health/pacific-islands-obesity/

How paradise became the fattest place in the world

By Meera Senthilingam, for CNN

Updated 5:44 AM ET, Fri May 1, 2015

“Vital Signs is a monthly program bringing viewers health stories from around the world”

(CNN)They’re remote and beautiful. A place many long to escape to for sun, sea and serenity. But the Pacific islands have another reality for the residents living there — a life based on imported food, little exercise and remote access to healthcare.

The result? The most obese nations in the world.

‘A deadly epidemic’

“One third of the world is either overweight or obese right now,” says Emmanuela Gakidou, professor of Global Health at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. Gakidou’s recent paper used data from countries across the world to identify the global burden of obesity and trends seen in different populations. “The Pacific islands have a lot of countries with very high levels of obesity,” she adds.

Among the top 10 most obese countries or territories globally, nine are Pacific islands, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), making this paradise the fattest region of the world.

“Up to 95% of the adult population are overweight or obese in some countries,” says Temo Waqanivalu, program officer with the WHO’s Prevention of Non-communicable Diseases department. As a Fijian Native, Waqanivalu has worked on the issue for over a decade and seen the epidemic evolve first-hand, aided by the cultural acceptance of bigger bodies as beautiful. “In Polynesia the perception of ‘big is beautiful’ does exist,” he says. “[But] big is beautiful, fat is not. That needs to get through.”

Percentages for obesity range from 35% to 50% throughout the islands, according to the WHO. The Cook Islands top the ranks with just over 50% of its population classified as obese.

“It’s a deadly epidemic,” says Waqanivalu.

Measuring up

Obesity is measured through an individual’s body mass index (BMI) and a measurement above 30kg/m² is defined as clinically obese.

Pacific islanders tend to have a naturally big build, says Jonathan Shaw, associate director of Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Australia. “With Pacific islanders, their frame is typically bigger,” he explains, “but that still doesn’t account for the obesity we see.”

Poor diets and reduced exercise have become a major public health concern for the region as they are not only a cause of obesity — associated diseases are also rife, such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes, the latter of which has a known genetic basis among locals.

“This is a population with a genetic predisposition and when exposed to Western lifestyles results in high rates of diabetes,” says Shaw. “[This is] undoubtedly caused by high rates of obesity.”

The epidemic began through the tropical region turning its back on traditional diets of fresh fish and vegetables and replacing them with highly processed and energy-dense food such as white rice, flour, canned foods, processed meats and soft drinks imported from other countries. One of the root causes of the change is the price tag.

“All over the world, poor quality and highly energy-dense food is the cheapest,” says Shaw. As demand for healthier alternatives remain low, their market is small.

This is exemplified by fishermen often selling the fish they catch to in turn purchase canned tuna. “[You] can buy a few meals with what you get selling fish,” says Waqanivalu.

The new food environment locals find themselves living in has accelerated the trend towards consuming processed food. “It’s significantly cheaper,” adds Waqanivalu. “It’s cheaper to buy a bottle of coke than a bottle of water.”

As with other regions of the world, increased urbanization and sedentary office cultures have further aided the rise in obesity among Pacific islanders.

“A lot of physical activity was in the domain of work,” says Waqanivalu, referring to fisherman heading out to sea and others working their land on plantations. “The concept of leisure-time activity is new,” he says.

The tropical climate desired by sun seekers is less attractive to those needing to keep fit. “In tropical countries there is a desire to avoid physical work and even walk,” says Shaw. “We’re all driven to conserve energy.”

All in the genes?

Some scientists believe that Pacific island populations have evolved to maintain their larger build — a concept known as the “Thrifty Gene” hypothesis. For this region of the world, the concept is based on the fact Pacific islanders once endured long journeys at sea and those who fared best stored enough energy in the form of fat to survive their journey.

“We have the remnants of those people … and their metabolism as well,” says Waqanivalu. The increased risk of obesity among native Pacific islanders is shown on the islands of Fiji, where the population has a more mixed ethnicity. The country stands at the lower end of the region’s spectrum with 36.4% of the adult population classed as obese. Just more than half of the Fijian population are native iTaukei, with the remainder mostly of Indian origin, according to the CIA World Factbook. “That explains the lower rates,” says Waqanivalu.

The naturally higher BMI of the people in the region has, however, prompted calls to increase the cut-off for the level of BMI denoting obesity in the Pacific region from 30 to 32 kg/m². A lower cut-off has been suggested for Asian populations based on the same premise, as Asian countries — including Korea, Myanmar and Cambodia — make up the majority of the lowest 10 countries globally in terms of obesity..

Childhood consequences

After the global trends in obesity seen in her study, Gakidou’s real concern is the rates her team saw in children in the Pacific. “The rate for children is high … about one in five children [are obese],” she says. “This has repercussions in the long term.”

Repercussions include diabetes, which is already a burden on health services in the region. “The concern in children would be early onset of diabetes,” says Gakidou.

The WHO has made a series of recommendations to improve the situation and is implementing them through policy changes in the countries. “Type II diabetes is emerging in young children 10-11 years old,” says Waqanivalu, who has also heard reports of a child as young as seven years old being affected. “[It’s the] tip of the iceberg in children.”

But Waqanilu is confident his department is making some progress through recommendations such as increased taxation on soft drinks, improving trade in the region, controlled marketing of products targeting children through schools, and policies to promote healthier diets and exercise.

“The whole food environment needs to be changed,” he says. This has been the ambition of the Healthy Islands Vision — initiated by the ministers of health for the Pacific island countries in 1995 — which aims to combat obesity and diabetes among its health priorities.

Health systems also need strengthening to better handle the consequences of obesity. “We have definitely made steps but need to make strides for this to be sorted in our time,” says Waqanivalu.

Is there an obesity epidemic in the US? Yes, definitely. Does it help to lie about the statistics? No, not unless you have an agenda to promote.

Can We Add Agency Law To Our Growing List Of Grievances?

by Flyovercountry ( 94 Comments › )
Filed under Economy, Fascism, Progressives, Regulation, Tranzis at March 5th, 2015 - 8:58 am

Tip of the hat to The Daily Caller whose video I did not embed here due to their insistence upon the usage of autoplay, something I view as evil. Please click here, for their story, complete with a recorded phone conversation in which an apologetic banker gets to tell a business owner who had held an account at said bank for over a decade, that the government had forced his account to be frozen for no other reason than the fact that the government no longer appreciates his industry’s contribution to our economy.

Yes, Operation Choke Point is an evil perpetrated by Barack Obama and Eric Holder. The fault dear Brutus however does not lie in our stars that we are underlings, but in ourselves. There are many who would point to the 60’s as the beginning of the Progressive’s gaining their stranglehold on our nation. Some point to FDR and the, “New Deal,” as that beginning point. I’ve heard that our troubles with the progressive movement date back to Woodrow Wilson and his Presidency. However, I would like to point out that the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Amendments did far greater damage, even before Wilson took his position as our Chief Executive. (I realize that the Seventeenth Amendment became part of our Constitution about a month after Wilson’s Inauguration, but it was ratified before Wilson actually took office.) Many experts in our nation’s history will state that Teddy Roosevelt was the first Progressive to affect our national agenda, and granted he gave us a big push in that disastrous direction, and redefined the Executive Branch, but he was not where it all began. This all started with the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887. This was the first victory of the Progressive Movement, and it has grown into the behemoth that allows Barack Obama to act as a man elected to be our emperor, rather than our President.

For those who are not familiar with it, the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887 established our very first Federal Agency. This agency was vested with the ability to create its own rules, its own authority to enforce those rules, and its own system to adjudicate the process for any who wished to push back against the decisions of the agency. Quite literally, we had managed to create an entity that had contained within its scope of operation, a body that was vested with all of the powers of governance, thus doing away with the separation of powers. Since that date in our history, any and all legislation has been written purposefully vague, only ever including a desired outcome, with the specific rules to be determined later by either an existing federal agency, or through the creation of a new federal agency. It is With this wonderful exercise of genius that the destruction of our Constitutional Protections began. Agency Law was created with the establishment of the ICC in 1887. It should also be noted here, that it took almost exactly five years for the agency purportedly designed to keep the railroad men from becoming too powerful for the liking of those who lobbied for this legislation, to be peopled entirely with those, “robber barons,” so feared and vilified that the agency was thought necessary. Funny how that works out.

Once that happened, what we see today, even though it has taken 128 years to get here, became inevitable. Give Barack Obama credit for this at least. He saw the potential to simply ignore the U.S. Constitution afforded to him by this set of circumstances, and has taken full advantage of it. All he needs to do is suggest or ask that one of the agencies situated under the federal umbrella, write some additional rules to add to the scope under which they operate, and he pretty much can enact unilaterally anything he wishes to codify as law. Yes, technically such efforts can be overturned by our Judicial Branch, and indeed many of these actions have been thus far. However, our Judicial Branch moves too slowly to monitor or even address every such indiscretion. Even if it were capable of keeping up, Agency Law itself has become so ingrained in our society, such Judicial oversight and pushback has itself become all too rare.

In our history, there have been two Presidents who’ve tried earnestly to do something to put an end to, or at least reign in this system run amok. The first was Richard Nixon, and I’m sure you all remember what happened to him for his efforts. The second was Ronald Reagan, who also failed, and in fact discussed that failure as being his lasting regret.

So far, 26 states throughout the fruited plains have formally adopted ballot initiatives in favor of an Article V Convention for the purpose of proposing and debating Constitutional Amendments. I am most definitely in favor of this. By the way, many of the Liberals in our nation are as well, since they’re convinced that they would be able to alter the First Amendment to, “correct,” the Citizens United Decision.

One amendment that I’d like to see come to fruition would be something to put an end to Agency Law. Consider for one moment what this system has allowed for a President with dictatorial ambitions to do in only the short amount of time from early November until now. Barack Obama has rewritten our Immigration law, repealed the Second Amendment, pledged to unilaterally raise our taxes, promised to confiscate our 401k’s, threatened to fire the entirety of the retail financial services industry, instituted cap and trade, inflicted net neutrality, signed some very questionable treaties without the requisite Senatorial Consent, changed existing law, and all of this done with the statement that he gave Congress the chance to do what he wanted before he did it alone.

Don’t blame the Bamster however. While his actions are bad enough, it was we the people who didn’t realize that gridlock was itself a perk, gifted to us by the founding fathers, rather than a problem as proclaimed by the low information voting crowd. Barack Obama is merely the messenger, who has alerted us to a huge problem, and one that hopefully we can figure out how to correct.

Ronald Reagan campaigned on a platform that included ending the Department of Education and the Department of Energy. If the single most popular President in the modern era could not rid us of the two most unpopular facets of the federal behemoth, as he’d promised to do while campaigning, then what chance would anyone have to actually do something about reducing the size and scope of government? We keep talking about the symptoms, meanwhile, the cancer grows free. Something must be done to reign this monster in, and unless Agency Law itself is addressed, nothing will be successful.

Cross Posted from Musings of a Mad Conservative.

Mars Attacks: Net Neutrality and a Very Dark Puzzle

by Mars ( 157 Comments › )
Filed under American Exceptionalism, Barack Obama, Blogmocracy, Business, Censorship, Communism, Cult of Obama, Economy, Education, Fascism, Free Speech, government, Guest Post, History, Liberal Fascism, Marxism, Political Correctness, Politics, Progressives, Regulation, Socialism, taxation, Technology at February 27th, 2015 - 1:40 pm

I have been noticing for a very long time now that there seems to be a cohesive puzzle being assembled by the left in regards to the internet. Through time I’ve been able to pick up the pieces of this puzzle, but today with the imposition of new regulations under the guise of Net Neutrality the puzzle becomes much clearer. I believe that the Net Neutrality regulations are the “frame” of this puzzle. Here are some of the pieces of collected through the years, see if you can see the same picture I do.

2011
http://www.wired.com/2011/06/internet-a-human-right/

http://www.dailytech.com/Obama+Reveals+National+WiFi+Plans+Claims+it+Will+Cut+Deficit+by+10B+USD/article20887.htm

2015
http://www.wctv.tv/home/headlines/Obama-Pitching-More-Access-to-Fast-Internet-288518261.html

http://gizmodo.com/fcc-redefines-broadband-to-bring-you-faster-internet-1682516928

And now the new Net Neutrality regulations.

Through speeches since his election Obama has referred to a Free and Open Internet constantly, with stress on the word free. Many time there have been references to poor people who can’t afford internet. This coupled with everything else I posted above paints a dark picture for the future. One of the stumbling blocks for the people who want everyone to have access to the internet has been the fact that the average paying customer has been offended at the idea of people getting “broadband” speeds for free while everyone else has to pay for them. By changing the definition of broadband, the FCC has just managed to open up a huge amount of speed variations that they can now force companies to give away while not calling them broadband.

Second, by reclassifying broadband the FCC can force companies to meet a minimum standard for broadband service, which will require a complete reworking of the internet infrastructure. Where will this money come from ? Well, I figure the government will suddenly appear to save the day the way they did with the banks. There will be massive strings attached. The worst part is this money they will be handing out will already have come from the companies themselves in the form of the new utility taxes and regulatory fees that come with Title II reclassification of a utility. (The speech writes itself, I can already see Obama pontificating on this very subject. “90% of this country are getting below broadband speeds,………. this is a problem,………… a problem that can only be fixed…. by investing in the American Infrastructure”. /insert applause from mindless drones./ “The people of this country…….. deserve better……….and I intend to see that that happens.” As we all know “investing in the American infrastructure is left speak for massive tax hikes.)

There is even more to this than my little conspiracy theory.

Net Neutrality is a horror story in it’s own right. Who here is old enough to remember the Ma Bell monopoly that the government created out of the depression and allowed to run wild until the late 70’s? Well here is someone who does. He’s a member of the FCC’s own commision, Commissioner Ajit Pai.

http://www.fcc.gov/article/doc-332260a5

h/t Calo

In his oral dissent Commissioner Pai lays out exactly why this is such a dangerous set of regulations, and exactly what this means for the future of internet service. It’s not pretty, higher prices, slower speeds, less competition. It’s all there. And the best part? The regulations weren’t even written by the commission. The White House itself created a shadow FCC to write the rules they were going to impose. Here’s some of the people invited in to the White House to regulate the rest of us.

What the press has called the “parallel FCC” at the White House opened its doors to a plethora of

special-interest activists: Daily Kos, Demand Progress, Fight for the Future, Free Press, and Public

Knowledge, just to name a few. Indeed, even before activists were blocking Chairman Wheeler’s

driveway late last year, some of them had met with executive branch officials. But what about the rest of

the American people? They certainly couldn’t get White House meetings. They were shut out of the

process. They were being played for fools.

And the situation didn’t improve once the White House announced President Obama’s plan and

“ask[ed]” the FCC to “implement” it. The document in front of us today differs dramatically from the

proposal that the FCC put out for comment last May. It differs so dramatically that even zealous net

neutrality advocates frantically rushed in recent days to make last-minute filings registering their concerns

that the FCC might be going too far. Yet the American people to this day have not been allowed to see

President Obama’s plan. It has remained hidden.

This brave commissioner and the other republican on the commission attempted to get this regulation put out in the public eye where everyone could see it and review what it actually entailed. They were rejected by the 3 socialists on the commission. Make no mistake this set of regulations came DIRECTLY from the White House. Once again the President is making rules where he does not have the authority to do so. As an interesting aside to this, within Commissioner Pai’s dissent he shows a whole bunch of evidence and statements detailing how this is going to destroy small ISP companies. Some of the ISP’s that are about to be destroyed…the very Municipal (ie government) ISP’s he was lavishing praise on not long ago.

http://ctmirror.org/2015/01/14/white-house-pushes-fast-affordable-internet-praises-manchester-bristol-in-p/

To really see what is happening take a look at this thank you letter from the Electronic Frontiers Foundation, one of the groups at the forefront of trying to impose Net Neutrality.

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2015/02/fcc-votes-net-neutrality-big-win

What makes this letter interesting is not it’s general obsequiousness but the fact that they acknowledge that there is a vague statement in the regulations that would allow the FCC to pretty much do anything it damn well pleased, up to and including censoring content. (This is the same statement the the EFF has been trying to get them to drop since the regulations were first discussed.) It should also be noted that a year ago when the Chair of the FCC was trying to put into place much more limited rules over Net Neutrality, the EFF itself stated that the FCC had NO AUTHORITY TO DO SO.

The fact remains that the Net Neutrality regulations were a great bait and switch perpetrated on those that pay little attention to what is actually going on. I hope the gamers and video streamers that have been worshiping this disaster enjoy their new slower, much more expensive internet plan. Our only hope at this point is that the courts act on this takeover. (I nearly said unprecedented but I would have been wrong. This is exactly the same as FDR’s takeover of the telecom industry in 1934.)

Strangely enough, probably the best statement on Net Neutrality comes from the Secretary General of the European People’s Party.

EUROPE GETS IN ON THE ACTION: The secretary general of the largest party in the European Parliament is adding to the chorus around net neutrality. Antonio López Istúriz-White of the center-right European People’s Party over the weekend chided President Obama for lambasting European regulations while at the same time calling for tough net neutrality rules from the FCC.

“The president’s position is riven with contradictions,” Istúriz-White wrote in a Financial Times op-ed. “He promotes burdensome regulations at home that could put the development of the Internet on ice in an attempt to protect one set of actors in the ecosystem. In another breath he calls on Europe to follow the very same successful U.S. model he wants to jettison to make life in Europe easier for that very same group of Over The Top players!”

http://thehill.com/policy/technology/overnights/233548-overnight-tech-pressure-building-ahead-of-net-neutrality-vote

Why indeed, does the President want to stifle progress and development at home, while promoting the opposite abroad?

Belief In Global Warming Is A Threat To Our National Security

by Flyovercountry ( 105 Comments › )
Filed under Economy, Progressives, Regulation at February 13th, 2015 - 7:00 am

Political Cartoons by Glenn Foden

A couple of days ago, I wrote a post which highlighted the dangers of forcing law enforcement authorities to misappropriate resources by investigating fallacious reports alleging criminal activity. Unfortunately, the Liberal practice of deflecting attention from real problems and towards make believe problems does not end at the borders of law enforcement. It continues into just about every other aspect of our societal existence. The most dangerous of those places of course, at least from an existential point of view, is our National Security.

While we all thought this scene from the movie, “Up,” was cute,

I think we can all agree that it’s no way to run a railroad.

The day before Barack Obama’s most recent bit of Kabuki Theater, AKA this year’s State of The Union Address, NASA and the NOAA trumpeted their, “finding,” that 2014 was the warmest year, ever! You remember 2014 don’t you. Some of us recognize it as the year that ended a month and a half ago. It’s also the year when we first heard the phrase, “Polar Vortex.” That was the Environmentalist’s way of explaining to those of us who make up the sloped forehead, knuckle dragging, anti-science crowd, why it was so freaking cold from mid December through mid April. I also, possessing an adult memory and all, remember bitching about how there was a palpable lack of good swimming days over the summer, seeing as how that season was also freakishly cool as well. So, and I’m only asking the question here, when exactly was it the warmest year ever?

As it turns out, I wasn’t the only one who found the claim to be suspicious. About ten minutes after the politicos at NASA and the NOAA made the claim, real scientists began refuting it. The purpose of the lie however achieved its objective, which was to bolster Barack Obama’s poll numbers for his theatrical performance, and convince Americans, if only for a day or two, that our big problem is with Global Warming, and not with those Islamic Thugs hell bent on waging a war against us.

Of course, lost in all of those refutations linked to above is the small fact that both NASA and the NOAA have been caught recently actually fudging the very data that they’d used to confirm those computer models that predict the demise of all life on our Planet to begin with. The official purpose for fudging the data? Glad you’ve asked. It of course, and you really can’t make this stuff up, was so that the confirmation bias used in the predictive models created to make the case that we’re doomed would actually reflect that doom, rather than the reality that the whole thing is a con game with us, meaning you and me, cast in the role of the mark.

Get that? They created a theory based solely on a computer model, then fudged data to confirm the computer model, and told us to be scared because the real data was somehow flawed when it didn’t confirm the computer’s predictions, which just has to be right, because science.

As important as the whole scam is however, is the reason behind the scam, as well as what other nefarious purposes it has become useful for. Yesterday, I was literally inundated with snippets of President Zero’s Vox interview. Apparently, The Bamster sat down with the folks at hard core lefty talking points dissemination central, and managed somehow, to cause them to scratch their heads with his refusal to accept reality. According to the Obama Administration, Global Warming is having a greater effect upon the daily lives of Americans than any other threat faced by our nation today. So, let ISIS alone you riders of the proverbial, “High Horse,” because not only was Islamic Aggression defeated by those evil Crusades 1000 years ago, (which by the way was the actual reason why those wars were waged,) but whether we know it or not, Capitalism threatens our very existence today, or something.

Never mind the fact that every other period of warming throughout world history had heralded wild expansions in economic activity, improvements in living standards for all of man kind, and unprecedented wealth creation. It is a make believe danger which necessitates our very real misappropriation of considerable resources, so that we may pretend to thwart for the good of the Unicorn infested Universe inhabited by our man child President, said make believe danger. What should worry you is that our Chief Executive has made it an absolute point, and he’s not even bothering with any pretense any longer, to deflect our national attention away from real danger in order to scare us with something completely fabricated. Each drone used by the EPA to fly over a farmer’s private property in search of some new puddle to protect after a rain storm is one less drone available to fly over territory controlled by ISIS to protect Americans against maniacs who’ve made human sacrifice a part of their Friday religious ritual.

But hey, why worry so much about what reality holds? All we really need to do to confront our problems in the Unicorn infested Universe is tweet out some cleverly worded hashtag. This is of course preferable to those violent solutions which as any fool will tell you, only begets violence in return. Just ask anyone who’s met a member of the Religion of Peace lately how true that particular bit of sophistry happens to be. Will the last free American please turn out the lights?

Cross Posted from Musings of a Mad Conservative.

Mars Presents: From The New American: Obama Hides Executive Abuses by Calling Decrees “Memoranda”

by Mars ( 170 Comments › )
Filed under Barack Obama, Blogmocracy, Communism, Corruption, Cult of Obama, Debt, Democratic Party, Energy, Fascism, government, Guest Post, Immigration, Liberal Fascism, Marxism, Politics, Progressives, Regulation at January 7th, 2015 - 8:00 am

While everyone is watching and tracking his executive orders Obama is throwing out decrees left and right through Presidential Memorandas.

Despite promising repeatedly on the campaign trail to rein in George W. Bush’s executive-branch usurpations of power, Obama has been spewing a particular type of unconstitutional decree at a rate unprecedented in U.S. history. While the Obama administration has indeed unleashed a full-throated attack on the Constitution using “executive orders,” even more of his decrees have come in the form of so-called “presidential memoranda” — an almost identical type of executive action that he has used more than any previous U.S. president, according to a review published this week by USA Today.

Since taking office, Obama has issues 198 decrees via memoranda — that is 33 percent more than Bush, the runner up for the record, issued in eight years — along with 195 executive orders. Among other policy areas, Obama’s memoranda edicts have been used to set policy on gun control, immigration, labor, and much more. Just this week, Obama issued another memoranda decree purporting to declare Bristol Bay in Alaska off limits to oil and gas exploration — locking up vast quantities of American wealth and resources using his now-infamous and brazenly unconstitutional “pen and phone.”

“Like executive orders, presidential memoranda don’t require action by Congress,” reported USA Today as part of its investigation into Obama’s decrees. “They have the same force of law as executive orders and often have consequences just as far-reaching. And some of the most significant actions of the Obama presidency have come not by executive order but by presidential memoranda.” However, despite the newspaper’s obvious confusion on constitutional matters — only Congress can make law, not the White House — the review raises a number of important issues.

For instance, as the paper implies, Obama has been using deception to conceal his radical — imperial or dictatorial, according to many lawmakers — machinations purporting to change policy and law by fiat. “The truth is, even with all the actions I’ve taken this year, I’m issuing executive orders at the lowest rate in more than 100 years,” Obama claimed in a speech last July, without mentioning that he has issued more “memoranda” than any American president in history. “So it’s not clear how it is that Republicans didn’t seem to mind when President Bush took more executive actions than I did.”

Other leading Democrats have made similarly deceptive arguments to dupe “stupid” voters, as ObamaCare’s Gruber put it. Aside from the fact that previous abuses by Republicans do not legitimize or excuse current abuses, the oft-heard claim that Obama has issued fewer “executive order” decrees than other presidents is more a matter of semantics than substance. “There’s been a lot of discussion about executive orders in his presidency, and of course by sheer numbers he’s had fewer than other presidents,” Andrew Rudalevige, a presidency scholar at Bowdoin College, told USA Today.

“So the White House and its defenders can say, ‘He can’t be abusing his executive authority; he’s hardly using any orders,” Rudalevige continued. “But if you look at these other vehicles, he has been aggressive in his use of executive power.” Indeed, as The New American has documented extensively, Obama has been purporting to rule by executive fiat on everything from gun rights and the “climate” to immigration, education, national security, foreign relations, and health.

However, according to constitutional experts and even the president himself (before he took office), none of the “law”-making by presidential decree is actually legitimate. According to the U.S. Constitution, which created the federal government and granted it a few limited powers, only Congress has the power to make laws — assuming they are constitutional. The president’s job, by contrast, involves merely enforcing the laws passed by Congress and signed by the president, not making them up while hiding behind patently bogus claims of imagined “executive authority.”

Obama, of course, understands that well — or at least he claimed to less than seven years ago. “I taught constitutional law for ten years,” then-Senator Obama told gullible voters in 2008 amid his first run for the presidency. “I take the Constitution very seriously. The biggest problems that were facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all, and that’s what I intend to reverse when I’m President of the United States of America.”

Except rather than reversing the illegitimate usurpation of unconstitutional power, Obama expanded it by leaps and bounds — to the point where his administration openly creates pseudo-“law” and pseudo-“treaties,” and then mocks Congress about it. Among the “memoranda” used by Obama thus far was the purported creation of the MyRA “savings” scheme, a widely ridiculed and criticized unconstitutional plot that analysts said would be used to extract more wealth from Americans under the guise of “helping” them. Even Congress does not have the authority to create such a program — much less the administration.

Obama, though, regularly brags about his lawless pseudo-lawmaking. “One of the things that I’ll be emphasizing in this meeting is the fact that we are not just going to be waiting for a legislation [sic] in order to make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help that they need,” Obama announced at the beginning of the year, right before his first cabinet meeting. “I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone — and I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball forward.”

Shortly after that, in his State of the Union speech to Congress, he brazenly told the American people’s elected representatives that he would ignore them if they did not promptly submit to his demands. “America does not stand still — and neither will I,” Obama threatened before lawmakers stood up and applauded the outlandish behavior. “So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do.” Many lawmakers were furious, blasting Obama as a “socialistic dictator,” calling for his impeachment, and more, and the public was horrified, but the rule-by-decree continued.

Indeed, unlike his false campaign promises, Obama did indeed make good on his threats to continue ignoring Congress and the Constitution to rule by unconstitutional decree. Behaving more like a Third World dictatorship than a U.S. presidential administration, the White House even trotted out senior officials to tell the press that even the American people’s elected representatives would be unable to stop the usurpations and abuses. In addition to the “executive orders” and “presidential memoranda,” which the administration itself considers to be essentially the same, Obama has also unleashed dozens of so-called “presidential policy directives.”

Of course, there can be some legitimate functions for executive orders — outlining the manner in which the administration plans to faithfully execute the constitutional laws passed by Congress, for example. However, purporting to make and change law — or even contradict existing federal law, such as Obama’s radical amnesty-by-decree scheme supposedly preventing the enforcement of immigration law — are certainly not among those legitimate functions.

The solution to the imperial decrees and pretended acts of legislation from the White House is simple: Congress must refuse to fund it. However, despite being elected on a wave of popular outrage against the Obama administration’s usurpations of power, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle recently voted to fund virtually all of the White House’s illegal decrees through next September. The only way to put a stop to the scheming will be for an educated American electorate to hold their elected representatives accountable to the oath they swore, with a hand on the Bible, to uphold the U.S. Constitution.

Alex Newman is a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, education, politics, and more. Follow him on Twitter @ALEXNEWMAN_JOU. He can be reached at

http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/constitution/item/19739-obama-hides-executive-abuses-by-calling-decrees-memoranda

Welcome to New York, Fun Not Allowed

by Mars ( 79 Comments › )
Filed under America, Blogmocracy, Democratic Party, Guest Post, Regulation at December 15th, 2014 - 6:00 pm

http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20141205/park-slope/parks-dept-puts-stop-spinning-playground-equipment-after-injuries

Parks Dept. Puts a Stop to Spinning Playground Equipment After Injuries

PARK SLOPE — The city is putting the brakes on spinning playground equipment following reports of injuries, a Parks Department spokeswoman said.

Rotating metal saucers that kids ride at two Park Slope playgrounds were recently welded into place so they can’t move, and the city has made similar modifications or removed a total of seven disks citywide “in the interest of public safety,” the spokeswoman said.

The spokeswoman declined to discuss how many injuries had been reported or other specifics.

Turning the spinning disks into statues angered Park Slope parents, who said the city was going too far to protect kids.

“I think it sucks,” said dad David Friedlander, whose 2-year-old was disappointed to find the the spinning disk at Vanderbilt Playground in Prospect Park suddenly stuck in place in late November. “I think it’s a sad commentary on how litigious and afraid we’ve become of having our children get a few boo-boos.”

Friedlander said his son had tumbled off the disk — which is about 4 feet wide and stands about 2 feet off the ground — onto the rubberized ground below, but he doesn’t consider the equipment a safety hazard. Friedlander said it should be up to parents to decide if their children can handle playing on the saucer, not the city.

“This makes me completely insane. What’s the point of even going to the playground? Better lock up the swings, too,” wrote one frustrated mom of a 3-year-old on a South Slope email list.

Parents in that neighborhood said they’re bummed a similar rotating saucer at Slope Park on Sixth Avenue and 18th Street was also recently welded so that it can’t move.

The city removed a swing at Slope Park last year after several kids broke their legs while playing on it, but parents said the spinning metal disk didn’t seem to present nearly the same risk. Parents who visit Slope Park frequently said they’ve never seen kids injured while playing at the saucer.

Though several families filed claims against the city regarding the Slope Park swing, no claims have been filed regarding the spinning disks there, according to the City Comptroller’s Office.

The Parks Department altered the following spinning disks:

► Union Square Park, Manhattan — welded stationary

► McNair Park, Manhattan — welded stationary

► Central Park, Manhattan — removed

► Utopia Park, Queens — removed

► Mullaly Park, The Bronx — removed

► Slope Park, Brooklyn — welded stationary

► Prospect Park, Brooklyn — welded stationary

A spokesman for City Councilman Carlos Menchaca, who represents the South Slope, said his office hadn’t received any complaints about the rotating saucer at Slope Park, and a spokesman for City Councilman Brad Lander said no one complained about the metal disk at Vanderbilt Playground until after it was welded into a stationary position.

Mom Rebecca Stein said both her daughters, who are 5 and nearly 2, love to play on the rotating saucers at Vanderbilt Playground and Slope Park. The equipment lets her kids test boundaries and get a feel for how their little bodies balance and move, Stein said.

“They think it’s fantastic,” Stein said. “They love the thrill of balancing and sort of playing risky. It’s being close to danger, but without any real danger.”

Stein said both her children had slipped off the saucers, but the worst that ever befell them was an extreme case of dizziness. She lamented the loss of the disks as part of a larger trend away from letting children play freely.

“Playgrounds are so sanitized now,” Stein said. “There’s no thrill. In the playgrounds of our youth you could climb and feel like you were above things and use more of your imagination. I don’t think that happens anymore.”

To be fair, this time it isn’t the government that’s out of control, this was the determination made by the judge in a law suit. Remember, the libs say we have no need for tort reform.

If anyone has noticed, this isn’t just a New York problem though. All over the country places like malls have either eliminated their playgrounds or made them into new “safe, soft” playplaces that kids just frankly don’t find fun in the least. Play areas that used to be packed by kids are now largely ignored due to the utter lack of enjoyable activities. Fortunately places like McDonalds have managed to find a middle ground with enjoyable “soft” activities that have electronic elements involved giving the kids added enjoyment.

I will, however, miss playgrounds.

How the US government trashed the diesel fuel cost advantage

by 1389AD ( 105 Comments › )
Filed under Cars & Trucks, EPA, Food and Drink, Regulation at September 30th, 2014 - 8:00 am
Pain at the pump
Diesel or petrol, pain at the pump

I’m no Jay Leno but I do know a thing or two about motor vehicles, and a thing or three about tyranny, of which I have made a lifelong object of study. You shouldn’t need me to tell you that anything that raises the costs of road transportation also hamstrings the US economy, makes ordinary Americans poorer, strangles our liberty, and helps our enemies who are burdened by no such constraints.

I’ve owned both diesel and gasoline vehicles. Diesel was once the way to go when it came to saving money at the fuel pump. Diesel engines still outlast the gasoline variety and can deliver impressive power, but the US grabbermint deliberately wiped out the diesel fuel dollars-per-mile advantage.

Here’s how they did it:

Eric Peters: The Diesel Dilemma

The last time people began to sweat the cost of gas, they were able to turn to diesels. The cars delivered tremendous mileage (e.g., a VW Rabbit diesel was capable of 50-plus MPG, as good or better than a new Prius hybrid) and – perhaps as important – the fuel itself was cheaper than gasoline.

You may recall.

What happened?

Government.

Diesel fuel became more expensive than gasoline – because of government edicts that made it more rather than less expensive to refine. Today’s “ultra-low sulfur” diesel runs close to $4 a gallon in my neck of the Woods vs. just over $3 for a gallon of regular unleaded.

This cost-to-feed disparity takes a lot away from the economic argument in favor of buying a diesel-powered car. Especially given that modern diesel-powered cars – though excellent in many ways – are also a great deal less fuel-efficient than the diesel powered cars of the ’70s and ’80s (the era before government got around to hassling diesels to the extent that it had been hassling gas-powered cars). Engine design had to be altered; exhaust systems changed up. Almost all current-year diesel-powered passenger cars have particulate traps and “regeneration” (diesel fuel is injected into the exhaust to after-burn it for emissions control reasons; of course, fuel used to burn off soot is fuel not used to propel the car – and your mileage goes down).

Most (virtually all) current-year diesel-powered passenger cars also require something called Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) to achieve compliance with emissions regs. That is, to placate the government (at your expense). The DEF – basically, urea (that is, piss) – is contained in a separate tank that must be regularly topped off. The DEF works kind of like a gas engine’s catalytic converter, chemically altering the composition of the exhaust stream.

Whether this is good or bad is ultimately neither here nor there as far as the consumer appeal of diesel-powered cars.

Historically, the primary reason for going with a diesel rather than a gas-engined car (all else being equal) was the prospect that the diesel would – hopefully – save you money.

Unfortunately, that’s less likely today than it was yesterday. Because of the higher cost of the fuel – and the lower fuel-efficiency of modern diesels.

Here’s an example:

I recently reviewed the 2014 VW Jetta TDI (see here). For a modern car – relative to other modern cars – it delivers excellent fuel economy: 30 MPG in city driving and 42 MPG on the highway. But back in 1979, a VW Rabbit diesel delivered 45 MPG … in citydriving.

And 57 on the highway.

See here, if you don’t believe me.

Now, granted, the ’79 Rabbit is (was) a smaller car than the ’14 Jetta. But the difference is startling nonetheless – because the Jetta has all the putative advantages of the intervening 40 years (almost) of technological advances.

Shouldn’t it deliver better economy than a Carter-era car?

Well, it could.

If VW were not forced to festoon its brilliant TDI (turbo direct injection) diesel with all the foregoing folderol. If the federal obsession with soot – aka “particulate” emissions – were not so fervid. And here it is important to point out that diesel emissions aredifferent. Particulates may be obnoxious to some, but they are not a factor in the formation of smog – the main justification for swaddling gas engines with a Hannibal Lecter-esque suit of “controls” to tamp them down.

Everything – like it or not – is ultimately a cost-benefit analysis. And frequently there is a conflict between one desired thing and another desired thing. In this case, the desire of the government to effectively curb tailpipe emissions of cars (both diesel and gas) to nil conflicts with the consumer’s desire for a fuel-efficient (to say nothing of affordable) vehicle.

And this is why – for the most part (the Jetta I reviewed being one of literally two exceptions) the diesel-powered cars available today are almost all high-end/expensive cars. The diesel engines available in vehicles like the Mercedes E-Class and the BMW 3 and 5 are touted as much for their performance as their economy – and of course, the cars they’re installed in are sold on the basis of luxury and status. These are the sweeteners that make so-so-efficient modern diesels more palatable to buyers.

But on the economy end of the scale, it is harder to make a sound case for a modern diesel-powered car. Even the thoroughly excellent Jetta TDI. It costs about $5k more than the base trim gas-engined Jetta. And then there’s the 50-75 cents more per gallon you pay at the pump. Sure, the TDI’s mileage is 10-plus MPG better than the gas-engined models. But $5k buys oceans of gas … and don’t forget the extra $8-10 or so more you’ll be paying at each fill-up, diesel vs. regular unleaded.

To sum up:

The proverbial low-hanging fruit was plucked decades ago. That is, on the order of 90 percent of the harmful (e.g., smog forming, respiratory distress-inducing) byproducts of internal combustion were “controlled” by the first simple – but very effective – emissions technologies, such as catalytic converters (for gas-engined vehicles). Since the ’90s, the government’s increasingly demented crusade has been to “control” the remaining fractional part of a vehicle’s exhaust output that is less-than-pure.

I italicize this for emphasis because it is not a literary or editorial flourish. It is the literal truth.  The government will push for – and impose – a new round of emissions rigmarole in order to “cut” what they will invariably describe as “harmful emissions” by half a percent. But they will tout this as a 50 percent reduction – which it technically is. Because if you reduce 1 percent by half you have reduced it by 50 percent. But “50 percent” sounds a helluva lot better, PR-wise, than “half of one percent.”

So, we end with pretty pricey diesels that are only so-so efficient – relative to what they should and easily could be.

Continue reading…

Mixing alcohol with gasoline

Governmental bodies and various private organizations harp endlessly on the dangers of, and legal penalties against, driving under the influence of ethyl alcohol. At the same time, the US government is doing all it can to force you to feed ethyl alcohol into your gasoline-powered engine! Problem is, ethyl alcohol damages equipment that is not purpose-built to use it as fuel. Gasoline adulterated with alcohol can destroy your car, your motorcycle, your aircraft, your boat, your power tools, your generator…you name it. Seems to me that this is a stealth method to force older vehicles and equipment into the junkyard.

Arguably, “gasohol” harms the environment, in that the energy cost of producing the corn (maize), distilling ethyl alcohol from it, and transporting it to the pump, exceeds its yield as a vehicular energy source.

Corn is food. It is especially suited as fuel for people and animals, not machines. It makes economic sense to use corn as animal feed and to consume corn directly as sweet corn, hominy grits, cornbread, tortillas, popcorn, you name it. Burning corn, or for that matter, any food, as substandard vehicle fuel raises food prices worldwide, making people go hungry who otherwise would not.

If you own an older car or motorcycle, or would like to buy one, you owe it to yourself to read this:

Eric Peters: Making Your Car (and Bike) Ethanol-Safe

The LEGO Movie: Emergent order wins, centralized planning fails

by 1389AD ( 121 Comments › )
Filed under Communism, Economy, Fascism, Hipsters, Movies, Regulation, taxation at September 9th, 2014 - 5:00 pm

EconPop – The Economics of The LEGO Movie

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0-oVMAhq6s

Published on Jul 29, 2014 by Econ Stories
All new episode! Click to share: http://ctt.ec/myUJ0

In this episode of EconPop, Andrew discusses the animated hit comedy The LEGO Movie. Subjects include emergent order, creative destruction, and central planning.

EconPop is the YouTube series that sifts through the haystack of popular culture to find the needle of economics within… and then stabs you with it!

Starring comedian Andrew Heaton, EconPop takes a surprisingly deep look at the economic themes running through classic films, new releases, tv shows and more from the best of pop culture and entertainment. Heaton brings a unique mix of dry wit and whimsy to bear on the dismal science of economics and the result is always entertaining, educational and irreverent. It’s Econ 101 meets At The Movies, with a dash of Monty Python.

A Production of http://emergentorder.com

Produced in Association with The Moving Picture Institute. http://thempi.org