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« The 360 degree Asia Pivot | Main | Raising the Bar for Teachers – Really? (updated 11dec12) »

09 December 2012

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Russ Steele

I am reading After America: Get Ready for Armageddon (Sep 2012) by Mark Steyn who among other important issues examines productivity growth while unemployment increases. Noting that those unemployed will never return to their lost jobs, and there are few options for the re-employment, other then increasing government employment. That is exactly what is happening, with the unemployment in that sector at 3.8 percent. By increasing regulations, the goverment will create the need for more inspectors and examiners to monitor the public, creating more government jobs, which is the course we are on in California with 700-1000 new regulations at ever legislative session.

I am only half way through, but think that everyone should be reading After America, there are multiple examples of the challenges we are facing by a insightful observer. I am still waiting for the solutions.

George Rebane

RussS 752am - Maybe Steyn will not include solutions in his book, but they have been stated here on RR multiple times - most recently here -
http://rebaneruminations.typepad.com/rebanes_ruminations/2012/11/cuing-the-luddites-the-october-jobs-report.html

Unfortunately, their likelihood of being implemented in a timely manner, or at all, is vanishingly small.

JesusBetterman

Maybe the Fiskar doesn't cut it, but remember, it is only one of two such cars: http://www.thecarconnection.com/car-compare-results/fisker_karma_2012-vs-tesla_model-s_2012

Not all electric, subs, or engineers are created equal.

George Rebane

JesusB 434pm - Doug, please bring us together on the relevance of the Karma being "only one of two such cars".

Scott Obermuller

Yes Doug, the Tesla is so much better. How many do you own? Oh that's right, you can't afford one now or ever. But the stinking rich folk that you love to hate get to pick your pocket when they buy them. Tesla is only in business because they took nearly 1/2 a billion in your money and mine. Tesla is one big drag on the economy. But it's big and shiny and follows your religion. Meanwhile in China, they are selling affordable electric cars without govt assistance. $5K - and no, you aren't allowed to have one here. The safety NAZIs won't allow it. Henry Ford is alive and well in China, but he's no longer welcome here. Sad.

Scott Obermuller

Well Doug, it's a bit more than 5K, but this Commie Car is legal and you can get a welfare check from the govt when you buy one. Doesn't use any dead dinosaurs and will wow your lefty buddies.
www.codaautomotive.com

Jesus Betterman

"Remember Fisker, the battery-powered sportscar that was supposed to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Well, that is the latest of the California-based, government propped and promoted green manufacturing enterprises to go into its death spiral. Oh, make no mistake that the entire thing can be resurrected as a zombie company with some billions pumped into it, but right now it’s looking for a “partner” while wandering around with a ‘Buy Me, please’ sign pinned to its backside

~Main post above~

Any idea what the first 16kbit computer on the moon shot cost taxpayers? And we never went there again, after Apollo. What a waste!

You were making it sound like it was the only example in the class.

Joe Koyote

I don't get the whole austerity thing. Would it be safe to say that from Rita the meter maid to the county sheriff on up through the Pentagon, that "government" in general is the largest employer in America? It is generally recognized that we have a consumer based economy that is supported by Americans buying goods made in China, most of which used to be made in America until the job creators uncreated jobs here and recreated them overseas to increase profit. So it seems to me that downsizing the country's largest employer, government in general, would only further weaken the economy rather than improve it. Fewer people with jobs means less spending which means less profit.. more layoffs at the mall.. even less spending, more layoffs etc. etc. I think it was during the Reagan Administration that the federal govt. changed how it calculated unemployment by no longer counting those who were only employed part time but wanted full time work and those who had given up on getting a job altogether. The current unemployment rate would be almost double under the old calculations. Is there any historical support for austerity? Has it worked in the past to pull economies out of a rut? I think increasing taxes and government spending has worked in the past like the New Deal.

Scott Obermuller

Wrong again, Joe - the manufacturers moved the jobs out of this country so they could have something called a profit. If they stayed here, it was govt subsidy or fold the deck. The whole problem is that people like Joe think that you can make a good living by running up debt on a bank card and buying stuff. Working and producing is for losers. Of course the govt is a good employer. They can take money at gunpoint and what ever money they can't take, they fabricate or borrow. 42 cents of every dollar is made up from thin air. How long does that go on?
The electric car is 110 years old and it's called 'new technology'. The only thing new about the electric car is the way the American companies that make them operate financially. Long on religion and awfully short on performance.

Scott Obermuller

How about those Commies? They let the American suckers dump $263 mil into A123 and now they buy it for $257 mil. Wow - that's Yankee ingenuity for you! Keep it up, fools!

Joe Koyote

Wrong again Scott. The jobs left because they can pay workers in developing nations pennies on the dollar. The government doe not print money.. the Federal Reserve, a for profit privately owned corporation prints the money and then sells it to the government. The Federal Reserve board and chairman make the decisions not the government. So what really happens is when the banks make bad loans that go bad, the Fed prints up money to replace it, which is in effect a tax on the rest us. It is not the working stiff who lives by running up debt, it's Wall Street. I wonder if our military personnel who are out there getting shot at to protect "America's interests" see themselves as leeches, like you seem to imply about government employees since they don't work and produce. What do insurance companies and banks produce? What about accountants or police? Do teachers produce anything? What about fireman? If I was a fireman, since I don't work or produce anything and work for a governmental agency, I would have let your house burn down. Gov. Christy from New Jersey was asked in an interview the other day if he thought the free market could solve the disaster problems his state faced. His answer was an emphatic No! He said that we needed government to handle the problems that were too big for us to handle on our own.

George Rebane

Recommend that we are careful not to circle the 'all or nothing form of government' barn again. That's been a waste of time on these and other pages.

Yes, the federal government does print money through the Fed which is the central bank of the US. When govt wants more new dollars, it trades the Fed debt and tells it to buy other govt subsidized securities for brand new bills out of nowhere.

The New Deal was a disaster. It continued and deepened the problem inherited from the Hoover years, FDR's SecTreas even testified to Congress on the utter failure of the New Deal in 1939. WW2 created the market conditions for the US to thrive, and Truman was smart enough to turn off the New Deal after the country plunged into a new recession in 1946. None of this is new and Bernanke is a self-professed student of the era. That's why he's in a squeeze right not trying not to repeat the Fed's depression mistakes.

Even the Europeans now know that federal governments mainly redistribute wealth created by their private sectors while providing extremely inefficient services save in operating their militaries for national security. Every spendthrift country that has attempted to tax itself out of economic problems has embarked on the same road to ruin and/or revolution.

Ryan Mount

Joe-

Read this:

http://www.amazon.com/Historical-Capitalism-Immanuel-Wallerstein/dp/0860917614/

And report back. It's a book written by a an admitted and esteemed leftist about how modern capitalism works. (he's right, BTW) In a nutshell, profits follow labor costs. (any business owner will tell us that). Control labor costs, you control your profits. It's not rocket science. Any Burger King manager will tell us that...keep that damn labor cost down under 15%/hour, regional managers will bark at their restaurants.

The trick is, in a globalist culture, it's easy to move labor to lower cost manufacturing centers. So Scott is right about what he says above: Companies move commodity labor (see Wallerstein book) to periphery countries that can cut costs to increase profits. Chomsky calls is profit over people. And you know what? He's right. But so what? What's the alternative and how do we make it that the American worker gets to keep his job without driving inflation up and creating shortages?

Answer that last question genuinely, and you will be more popular than either John Lennon or Jesus Christ.

Scott Obermuller

Joe - I have always followed the Constitution. You should try reading it sometime. Of course the fed govt has it's role. It's spelled out in the Constitution. Congress is to print and regulate the money. They dumped it on a committee they called the Fed. It's not a private company. It's a political animal from start to finish. Who runs it? How did he get his job? National defence is one of the few activities the US govt is mandated to provide. Your all or nothing is typical of the fools that can't mount a cogent argument. Building ee-lectric cars is too much for private industry? The Chinese are doing it. The auto industry in this country early on thrived despite the govt. Of course the workers over seas will work for pennies. And they will work for whatever company pays them those pennies. How are American companies with factories located in the US supposed to compete against those other companies? On top of that they have the unions heaping more crap on them. Then the govt comes along with even more rules and taxes that put them at a disadvantage. How about we pass laws telling you what store you can go to and what prices you'll pay for what you are told to buy? Are down with that home boy? I didn't think so. We have free markets or we don't.

Ryan Mount

What did Mikey rightly say a day or two ago, paraphrasing someone else. Something like make Detroit a free-tax zone and it will be Hong Kong in 10 years?

What's wrong with that? We Americans are experimenters; crazy-ass cranks who had crazy ideas like going to the moon and building cities in the desert. We'd kick the apple cart over just to see which ways the apples would go. What the hell happened?

With regards to Detroit, why not give that mighty Wurlitzer a drive into the night and see if it's playing in the morning? What do we have to lose?

Where the hell is Jack Kemp when we really need him? Oh, he's dead. Damn it.

Gregory


Free markets handle storms pretty well. Folks who build nice homes on sand bars or next to a lovely river lose their shirt when the inevitable storm wipes it out. Folks who didn't build in flood plains generally do better than those who do.

It takes a government to bail large numbers of people out after the fact. The free market isn't about money for nothing.

Jesus Betterman

Free markets plus corporations as people do NOT help free enterprise innovate at all. In fact, the evidence is to the contrary:

http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/12/how_corruption_is_strangling_us_innovation.html

Jesus Betterman

Scott Obermuller | 09 December 2012 at 09:27 PM

Sez:

"Building ee-lectric cars is too much for private industry? The Chinese are doing it."

Is that so? With no government help? I beg to differ.

"China’s State Council has released plans to introduce subsidies to customers and manufacturers of electric vehicles (EV’s) in an attempt to encourage the numbers produced and sold. Even though only 8,159 EV’s have been sold in China, the government is adamant that it will encourage production and sales to increase, in order to achieve its massive target of 5 million EV’s by 2020. The aim is to reduce the country’s dependence on oil imports, and reduce its carbon emissions.

The government announced a $4.19 billion subsidy program in May which will cover electric cars, plug-in hybrids, normal hybrid cars, and vehicles with energy saving engines.

The Chinese government intends to reduce the average fuel consumption of all vehicles to 6.9 litres per 100km by 2015, and 5 litres per 100km in 2020. The energy efficient, hybrid, and electric vehicles will have an average fuel consumption of 5.9 litres pero 100km in 2015, and then 4.5 litres per 100km in 2020.

China is the world’s largest car market, however according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, sales have recently fallen due to increasing oil prices."

http://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/China-Targets-5-Million-Electric-Vehicles-by-2020.html

TheMikeyMcD

MSFT and India education centers....

http://india.nydailynews.com/business/f8ad37f524b0b7a79db05d8fdb874f0c/microsoft-innovation-centers-to-impact-500000-indian-students

Microsoft Corporation (India) Pvt. Ltd. has launched the first of a planned 100 Microsoft Innovation Centers (MICs) that will impact the technology expertise of some 500,000 students.


Bill Tozer

I will jump in here and comment on Dr. Rebane's thoughts rather than slam the Fed and those electric go-carts that will save the economy and save the world and save us from ourselves and save them aliens out in the farthest reaches of our solar system.

Two points: First, you have to have pocket money to buy solar panels or electric go carts. Most people have extra pocket money from having a job or two.

Second point: we should look very closely at our immigration policy as Dr. Rebane has pointed out. It is better to have educated skilled immigrants paying into our Social Security and your Medicare than someone with a 3rd grade education struggling to get by in the Land of Opportunity.
Not to say the uneducated unskilled immigrants are morally deficient or bad folks. Not at all. But money talks and bull pucky walks. Some call that profiling, elitist, and racist. So be it. I would rather have a boat load of high earning immigrants paying for the hayride than those cleaning up the horse stall. Do the math as Clinton/Obama would say.

Jesus Betterman

So import smart, export dumb, you have any idea how easy a sell to the Tea Party faithful this will be, given how many of them fall into the latter category? Some would say this is an Agenda 21 to beat anything the Sierra Club ever dreamed of.

Paul Emery

Gregory

Any speculation on what will happen to property values in coastal areas when insurance companies start adjusting their rates and availability due to climate change and rising sea levels? The acknowledgement is beginning to happen.

"Insurance companies have no doubts about global warming"

http://www.marketplace.org/topics/business/cancun-climate-10/insurance-companies-have-no-doubts-about-global-warming

George Rebane

As pointed out here before, insurance companies have every reason to back any and all kinds of factors pointing to the possibility of increasing future liabilities - real and imagined - that will allow them to make a case for increasing premiums, thereby increasing profits and maintaining reserves. They would not be your best source for corroborating either climate change or AGW.

(Don't know where climate change and insurance considerations entered into this comment stream under a post that covered electric car fiascoes and systemic unemployment. Probably a better place for ongoing climate change related discussions is Russ Steele's 'The Next Grand Minimum'
http://nextgrandminimum.wordpress.com/)

themikeymcd

Paul, with all due respect your citation of insurance companies shows extreme ignorance regarding the over-regulated insurance industry.

At least every year would-be insurance providers must present rate schedules for approval by each state's Department of Insurance.

As George pointed out (9:54am), insurance companies will use every means necessary to increase rates. Even bunk science.

Paul Emery

My question was and remains is what will happen to property values when insurance companies accept global warming as a liability. The connection to this post is in response to Gregory's free market stance.

09 December 2012 at 10:14 PM

Scott Obermuller

Sorry Doug - there ARE Chinese firms building electric cars without govt subsidies. You do not NEED a govt subsidy to build an electric car. Private citizens do it all the time on their own. Of course there are plenty of well-heeled Obama bootlickers that will feed at the public trough. The Santa Rosa Electric Car company was chugging along fine until the nit wits in Sacto decided the state needed to involve itself in the electric car industry. That was the first state mandate for a fixed percentage of cars sold in Kalifornia to be electric. Anyone considering backing for the Santa Rosa company correctly assumed that the big 3 plus the Japanese would sell the stupid things at cost or even a loss and the small independent company would be finished. And that's exactly what happened. Their funds dried up and they went poof. And the electric car mandate was then found to be impossible to meet by even the lightest of thinkers and the whole thing went into the toilet. So, a nice pioneering electric car company was 'thanked' by the govt for their efforts by being put out of business. The govt backed American electric car companies have devoured billions of tax payer dollars and all they have to show for it is bankruptcy or toy cars for the wealthy elite. At least F. Porsche came up with an affordable durable car when pressed by the govt. And Henry gave the world a 'peoples' car and high wages for unskilled labor without the govt. The govt needs to get out of the way and stop skewing the markets and we can prosper. I'm certainly not holding my breath.

Paul Emery

Mikey

If indeed insurance companies are driven by bunk science wouldn't you think that at lease some would recognize that and offer lower rates based on their confidence that climate change, global warming and rising sea levels are false assumptions. Is this not the way the free market adjusts to false information?

Gregory

Paul, life is complicated enough without adding speculative hypotheticals into the mix. Hell, some people think the world will be coming to an end a week from Friday.

http://news.yahoo.com/mayan-apocalypse-2012--how-predictions-came-from-new-age-magic-mushroom-trip-130852054.html

You wrote, "Any speculation on what will happen to property values in coastal areas when insurance companies start adjusting their rates and availability due to climate change and rising sea levels?".

If they start adjusting rates due to any cause, real or imagined, you adapt. If property values plunge and you think the reasons are BS, you buy at bargain prices. If the reasons are good, you sell and snicker at the rube who was buying.

"If indeed insurance companies are driven by bunk science wouldn't you think that at lease some would recognize that and offer lower rates based on their confidence that climate change, global warming and rising sea levels are false assumptions". I doubt any actually care what the reasons for the losses are; they're always adjusting premiums and terms up and down with losses (no one wants to lose money on the deals) and profits (profits are good but if you're making too much money you can lose share to competitors).


Really, Paul. There is no significant ocean rise due to CO2 to date. Period.

Russ Steele

Paul,

I have posted the latest information on sea level rise at 'The Next Grand Minimum' http://nextgrandminimum.wordpress.com/

The sea level rise that started after the last ice age is slowing down, and the ice fields in Greenland and Antarctica have started to build up.

Look forward to discussing the issue with you and other at the Next Grand Minimum.

Todd Juvinall

I find Pau;E's concerns for the 1% owning houses on the oceans very confusing. If the insurance companies raise rates on the 1% folks at the beach house, who gives a rat's ass? They can afford the premiums right PaulE? So, if the world buys in to the hoax of global warming who will it really affect? The little people and the middle class. So I guess from now on we should be asking the question of the PaulE's (and eco nut libs) of the world, :why do you want to punish the poor"? What did they do to deserve your wrath?

Jesus Betterman

Tesla alone has produced one quarter of the total Chinese output, except Tesla vehicles are strictly a luxury item.

"Last week Tesla Motors released their third quarter earnings. While the quarter didn’t live up to initial expectations. It did show that Tesla is moving in the right direction. The most important numbers of the quarter is how many Model S sedans Tesla has shipped to customers, and how many Model S reservations were gained in the quarter. The graph above shows there were 68 roadsters shipped in Q3 with leaves roughly 82 of the 2500 produced left to be sold. Model S shipments are at 253 for the quarter. Tesla originally planned to produce 500 sedans but had supplier issues which delayed production growth. They have stated all of these issues have been worked out and they should be able to deliver 2500-3000 Model S vehicles in Q4, and over 20,000 in 2013."

So Santa Rosa's funding dried up? On maybes, and what ifs? When the gov is pushing electrics and charging stations? Sounds like the product didn't have much to go on in the first place.

Paul Emery

Todd

You greatly underestimate property that may be affected by rising rates due to insurance companies recognizing perceived impacts of global warming. Catch up Todd. It's 2012

"The worldwide insurance industry is huge, three-times bigger than the oil industry. And right now these companies are running scared. Some are threatening to cancel coverage for homeowners within 200 miles of the coast, where destructive hurricanes are on the increase, and in drying areas of the West, where wildfires have wreaked havoc in recent years.

Marsh & McLennan (MMC), one of the world’s largest insurance brokers, called climate change “one of the most significant emerging risks facing the world today,” while the insurance giant AIG has established an Office of Environment and Climate Change to review and assess the risks to insurers in the years ahead."

Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/what-insurance-companies-already-know-about-climate-change.html#ixzz2Egfmt3GW

George Rebane

PaulE 135pm - I think here you have answered your own 1213pm question. The insurance market is not a free market, but very much government controlled. The only reason that any insurance company would consider cancelling policies in a high liability area is if it could not charge the appropriate probabilistically determined rates to assure them a profit. If the danger were as claimed and the market were free, then rates would instantly go up as required. There would never be any of this posturing and threats to withdraw coverage which any grown-up knows is being put on for the state agencies that regulate the insurance companies. 'We're from the government, and we're here to help.'

Jesus Betterman

If the government is not really regulating anything, and is merely a pawn of the insurance companies, we have one more example of corporate personhood at its worst. If the government does own and control the insurance companies, why does it do this? Why would anyone bother to be in the business of insurance, if the government ran everything?

Gregory

Paul, if you actually click through to the original sources it's a lot less than "the sky is falling! the sky is falling!". Instead we have ""Businesses - if they haven't already - must begin to account for it in their strategic and operation planning.". In short, between yawns, think about what you might do in the future if anything real happens on the warming front.

The problem you have is you think you've identified all these sources that all point to the same problem independently, but in fact they're all just saluting the same flag after it's been run up the IPCC flagpole. Maybe 20 or 30 activist scientists, tops, who have been driving the IPCC process, excluding viewpoints that were, umm... inconvenient.

Now, had they been correct, and over the last two decades the science had actually begun to converge on real evidence of warming, we'd be thanking the IPCC process for saving humanity while running roughshod over the scientific method. That isn't the case. We're still left with the 2 -5 degree C estimates for temp increases for a doubling of CO2 by the IPCCish computer modelers, as opposed to numbers derived from Earth measurements that have it as low as a half degree for a doubling.

George Rebane

JesusB 237pm - Why indeed Doug? For those who haven't heard about Obamacare, there is a little eye-opener for why and what government wants to do with insurance companies.

The 'whys' for all these government insurgencies, insertions, and transgressions is still the simple answer of creeping socialism advancing to a more visible and quicker pace in our land. And this is all to the ever growing throngs of naifs and the simple minded who have been carefully taught in our public schools. (Also see my 10nov12 post.)

Paul Emery

George

This is a pretty bizarre response that to be believable must be worldwide since the trends from the insurance agencies are pretty universal.

" threats to withdraw coverage which any grown-up knows is being put on for the state agencies that regulate the insurance companies."

10 December 2012 at 02:01 PM

Can you show me any evidence of this or is this one of your theories ?

Gregory, I can provide more linkage if you like. The 20 or 30 scientists bit is pretty silly.

George Rebane

PaulE 308pm - I think the name of the theory is 'capitalism gaming the system' - widely practiced for centuries, but not always successfully. I wish it were mine.

The real question is the obverse, can you show any evidence or even make a reasonable case for this not happening, especially in regulated industries?

Gregory

"The 20 or 30 scientists bit is pretty silly."

That was from an IPCC official when asked how many of the IPCC scientists were actually doing the hard science.

Paul Emery

Gregory

Who? When?

Todd Juvinall

PaulE is not keeping up with the science. Come on PaulE, start thinking for yourself.

Scott Obermuller

Doug - you've got to be kidding. Tesla is a money hole. It hasn't turned a profit yet and won't ever at the rate it's going. They plan to sell 20K units in 2013. That hasn't happened yet, so really they have hardly sold anything. The Santa Rosa Car Company sent folks to Sac to complain about what would happen to them if the govt mandated the big car companies sell electric cars in Kalifornia. Not a matter of what ifs. They correctly pointed out what would happen to their funding if the mandate was pushed through without giving some tax dollars to the SRCC. Their prospective backers all told them it was over and the Cal govt killed the SRCC. It's not a matter of speculation. Just another small enterprising business done in by the govt. Let us know when you get your own Tesla Doug.

Paul Emery

Todd

Are you saying that only 1% of properties will be effected by insurance costs attributed to global warming? Where did you get that information or did yu make it up?

Russ Steele

Paul@01:35PM you wrote “ where destructive hurricanes are on the increase, and in drying areas of the West, where wildfires have wreaked havoc in recent years.”

Where did you get your data? It is crap! Here are some facts:

• Global Tropical Cyclone Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) – 1971 to Present is declining.
• Global Tropical Cyclone Frequency- 1971 to Present is declining.
• US Strong to Violent Tornadoes (EF3-EF5*) – 1950 to Present declining.
• Contiguous US – Extreme One-Day Precipitation Events 1901 – 2009 is increasing.
• According to the fire statistics, the number of fires and the acres burned has declining since 2006, that is for the last six years for the math challenged.

Use your Internet? http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/12/08/introducing-the-new-wuwt-extreme-weather-reference-page/

Gregory

"Are you saying that only 1% of properties will be effected by insurance costs attributed to global warming?"

I don't speak for Todd, but I'm saying no properties will be affected by insurance costs attributable to anthropomorphic global warming. A simple fact as even the tiny bit of warming that is currently attributed to us is very small compared to yearly natural variations and if you don't buy into the *theorized* very large positive feedbacks, there's just no path to dangerous, destructive warming.

BTW Paul, I'll keep my eye out for that citation, but before I give it to you I'll want you to go out on a limb and say how many scientists you expect are doing the basic science in the IPCC process. Do you think I am off by a factor of 2? 5? 10? 100?

JesusBetterman

If that SRCC was being run by Doug Keachie, you be sniggering at what a poor business person he was, couldn't get and keep his cash flow going quickly enough. Wassa matter, were you an investor?

Paul Emery

It's a summary from Marsh & McLennan (MMC), one of the world’s largest insurance brokers.

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0315-04.htm

Paul Emery

Gregory

I am not engaging in a discussion on the issue of global warming yes or no. What's relevant to my discussion is the economic and political reactions to the issue. Actions from the insurance companies is just beginning. Popular opinion is shifting rapidly to accept it as fact and political decisions will reflect popular opinion.

George Rebane

PaulE 731pm - Do you argue the case that the scientific (or factual?) bases of issues should go by the board once a strong emotional flow of public and political reactions to those issues begin?

Scott Obermuller

No Doug, but we are unwilling investors of electric cars and solar via Tesla, A123, Fisker, Solyndra, Govt Motors and on and on. What do we have to show for it? Money down the drain for the most part. Crony capitalist jobs propped up with tax dollars. Our tax dollars subsidizing the wealthy when they buy cars we can't afford to buy. Oh - and don't forget the wealthy cronies after they get the fed money. They go to Obama fundraisers to give a good chunk back. And you lefties are down with this BS.

Ben Emery

Why wasn't I surprised there is no mention of international human rights day on the so called liberty and freedom blog.

Just a thought for all you free marketeers who want to let corporations set the rules of the market. Especially for Mickey M. who has taken the side of box stores and WalMart with me over the Hills Flat and Four Gardens. When any institution becomes to large the mission of the institution evolves into securing and expanding power and influence, period. This story mirrors Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911 and exposes where the modern day free marketeer wants to take US market once again.

100 Bangladeshi Garment Workers Died In Factory Fire After Walmart Refused To Finance Fire Safety Improvements

By Amanda Peterson Beadle
Dec 5, 2012

More than 100 workers died in a garment factory fire on November 24 in Bangladesh. The Dhaka plant, which was making products for Walmart and Sears, had no emergency exits or emergency evacuation procedures.
But in a meeting last year, Walmart officials decided against agreeing to pay suppliers more so that they could upgrade their manufacturing facilities and pay for the costs of safety improvements. “Specifically to the issue of any corrections on electrical and fire safety, we are talking about 4,500 factories, and in most cases very extensive and costly modifications would need to be undertaken to some factories,” Walmart officials said in documents obtained by Bloomberg News. “It is not financially feasible for the brands to make such investments.”
More than 300 Bangladeshi garment factory workers have died since 2006. Walmart reported a 9 percent increase in third-quarter net income, earning $3.63 billion.

George Rebane

BenE 812pm - It appears that your concern for humanity knows neither bounds nor reason. The seller and his customer (Walmart) made a deal on product delivered for agreed price. The governments of the manufacturers allowed their businesses to operate, apparently agreeing that the jobs these exports provided were a sufficient compensation for however the manufacturers ran their facilities. None of these agents were responsible in your eyes. But Walmart, the foreign buyer, that runs a business providing low cost products for our country's poor, in your eyes, turns out to be the guilty party in this entire affair. My, my.

JesusBetterman

Scott, think of the electric car investments as a hedge against CO2 or other pollution agents actually provably causing global warming and therefore leading to the banning of burning fossil fuels. As insurance, improving and expanding the technology of electric cars is valuable.

Paul Emery

George, they are two distinctly different subjects. Opposition to global warming is well expressed on this venue. It seems that the vested interests of both sides are well fortified and at this time support for AGW is soundly winning the argument so those opposing have their work cut out for them. As for me is say Earth Abides.

JesusBetterman

Get real, George, our country's poor buy in thrift stores, or depend on free boxes. So you are fine with Walmart burning foreign workers to get cheap goods, and simultaneously deny USA workers jobs, because by law they can't do it in the good old union protected USA? The art of Snark, at the Petabyte level.

L

Somebody, Anybody? Please tell me how producing any number of coal-powered automobiles is going to reduce mankind's "carbon footprint."

Get real. Any high school physics student can tell you that converting fossil fuel directly into mechanical energy is more efficient than converting it into electricity, delivering it over great distances, and then using it to power electric motors.

If elecricity grew on trees, this would be great. But when 90+% of our power comes from fossil fuels (and will for the foreseeable future- at least 50 years), electric cars only make sense where there there is no alternative. L

Bill Tozer

L, I was wondering if the tires the electric cars scoot about on are made of wood or rubber? Are the roads they scoot about on made of dirt or asphalt? Perhaps they scoot about on cement freeways(gasp!) Good thing them green house gas causing cement manufactures got closed down by the Great State of California How about the plastic in the car one touches or the make up one puts on before slipping into nylons before getting into the car. Too much fossil fuels about, even in our clothing. Now, the steam engine trains did not burn fossil fuels and the passengers all ate organic food back in the day. As a bonus, the steam engines did not have to get charged up at night from a coal fired generating plant nor did they use electricity from gas fired plants like our solar panel manufactures do. Yep, The West was Won without fossil fuels.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-10/california-democrats-covet-carbon-market-funds.html

Gregory

Bizzare, Paul. Is your reality really just a figment of public opinion?

If I do nothing, it will be figured out eventually. If I do something, I'll be able to point out that the people weren't failed by science or scientists, they were failed by the government they trusted to fund science equitably, and not fall into the trap of a technological elite that Eisenhower warned of in the same farewell speech in which he warned of a military-industrial complex.

This is about truth. The IPCC was formed 20+ years ago to determine how bad CO2 was and to shake down the 1st world for reparations. That's not the way to make scientific progress. They got it wrong.

George Rebane

JesusB 956pm - Doug Keachie meet Ben Emery. "... Walmart burning foreign workers to get cheap goods, and simultaneously deny USA workers jobs ..." What different worlds we all live in!

For those who care, Walmart is the country's largest employer - especially those with limited abilities - and it increases net employment when it comes into a community. This has been known for years by non-progressives, low-end workers, and frustrated union bosses.

http://rebaneruminations.typepad.com/rebanes_ruminations/2011/05/true-value-of-work-and-caring-economics.html

Scott Obermuller

Doug - first of all, CO2 is not 'pollution'. And if the 'investments' you love to go on about are so valuable and so many lefties like them, then why does the govt need to step in? All the great ideas and high tech developments are worthless if it doesn't translate into an inexpensive mass produced product that will replace the current fleet. Money has a carbon footprint and the vast sums needed to buy these Obama-mobiles raises that footprint to a higher amount than gasoline powered ones. Get the govt out of the market and get rid of a lot of the onerous safety standards that inhibit small creative companies and you will have lots of affordable electric cars in just a few years.

Jesus Betterman

George, how much of your California taxes went to subsidize the wealth of Walmart billionaires back before it was discovered that Walmart was issuing a handbook to employees about how to suck the California welfare teats? Largest employer at the expense of closed family businesses everywhere, thanksalot! Employees handicapped, as efficiencies of scale allow them to exploit every law in favor of employers doing so (tax breaks, etc., (handicapped bathrooms charged as employee expense, etc.), just as McDonalds scrapes every chicken carcass absolutely into the bone and then some.

Jesus Betterman

correction: "Employs handicapped"

Jesus Betterman

No spinnoffs of any value came from the Apollo Moon Program, or so Scott insinuates. SRCC died a logical capitalistic death. The government is but one aspect of the economic environment we all have to live in, unless of course we are big enough to buy enough Congressfolks and Prexies, and that is merely "evolved unbridled capitalism of the classic Libertarian sort."

Scott Obermuller

Ben E. has a laughable line - "Just a thought for all you free marketeers who want to let corporations set the rules of the market." Please name these folks Ben, and provide some documentation. A free market is free for everyone Ben. And companies in a free market go bust with no handout from the tax payers. In a free market, how does a corporation set the rules? They can try, but if the public disagrees, then goodbye corporation. In a free market, we will still have all sorts of laws and regulations regarding honest marketing, contract law, standards of weights/measures and so forth. Free marketeers want those rules. We don't want govt picking winners and losers and we don't want the govt butting into agreements between consenting adults as to our employment.

Jesus Betterman

CO2 is not pollution but its production is associated with many other compounds which are, and scrubber on centralized coal plants burning at top efficiency are again like McDonalds' chicken scrubbers, making electricity far cleaner than in a hybrid car using the dink gas engine.

You like living in a country with 40,000 plus deaths per year via our insane transportation system, and want to see the numbers go up? As for me, let daily transportation be handled by robots, while I attend to more important matters.

Is your IQ such that you feel doing what truck drivers do with 80,000 lbs rigs gives you a sense of accomplishment in your Camry? It's a long way up to the future for you, Scott. This generation would rather text than drive, and that will have consequences once we get past the bad part of today's system and those attitudes. Driving on a race course, yes that's cool, and you can pay extra for that experience, and the insurance required. You to can be a Galloping Ghost.

Jesus Betterman

"and it increases net employment when it comes into a community."

~George~

It being Walmart here. And of course the economic river Walmart steps in never changes? Try this. Those numbers were derived during the high times of the uSA economy, which according to George we will never see again. Now that the wealthy have sucks every penny they can out of the poor middle class, the Walmarts will become the only vendors around, Soviet style, and serve slop to the remains of the poor and middle classes. In time the business will run online only, with monthly dropoff points, every square mile or more (in populated areas, in the deserted mall parking lots), where you will wait in line for hours to get your stuff.

Or...Well...

Jesus Betterman

"and we don't want the govt butting into agreements between consenting adults as to our employment. "

~Scott~

So that persons who have banded together to pool capital and equipment can gangbang individual employees one by one, right? While the capitalist can band together to form corporations and thus exert power, you sure as heck don't want employees to have the same such rights, do you, Scott? The Internet is your worst nightmare, because it makes it so much easier for folks to band together for union activities. Viva la OWS!

Ben Emery

George,
The largest employer in the US that pays poverty wages and encourages its employees to go to the government for food stamps and healthcare, while its executives receive astronomical compensation packages.
Jonathan Turley might be another guy who knows nothing in the eyes of hard right wing world but I take his positions and writings to be very solid and competent.
http://jonathanturley.org/2010/07/03/walmart-ceo-makes-average-workers-annual-salary-every-hour/

I want to point out that the Walton heirs (6 human beings) have more wealth than the bottom 140 million Americans, they were lucky enough to be born or marry into the family and then they use slave wage labor in horrible work conditions to expand their wealth. Nice family values and business model.

Scott,
Have you ever heard of monopolies?

Gregory

The Walton heirs will manage to mostly piss the money away in the next couple of generations; this has been the way of wealth in the US for a century or two.

Ben, good luck getting Walmart employees to quit their horrible jobs. The bad news for low wage employees everywhere in the US is that, thanks to Obamacare coverage rules, most can look forward to getting no more than 30 hours a week from any one employer.


Jesus Betterman

Too bad the Waltons won't be pissing it away on better math teachers...

Todd Juvinall

Funny how a American citizen (BenE) trashes everything successful (capitalism etc.) and honors everything unsuccessful (spread the wealth). Walnart has over a million employees and they, the employees, have defeated every attempt to unionize. Why is that BenE? They are free to vote a Australian ballot (overseen by numerous federal departments). Why would these people working in such deplorable conditions and treated like slaves keep out the unions?

Regarding the Bangladesh fire. You once again try to pin the tragedy on Walmart. I thought the rules for Bangladesh were theirs? Aren't you the fellow who whines and accuses the USA of hegemony and colonialism? Why then do you want to force American values, laws and regulations on Bangladesh? Once again you have proved the size of the space between your ears is occupied by ....space.

Jesus Betterman

Why does Todd want to force cheap shoddy goods made under nasty conditions on the American public, which is given the choice of choosing them or going without? Todd is part of the army of unaware, self destructive folks, attempting to turn this country into a 3rd world colony of the super corporations. Thanks a lot, Todd!

Paul Emery

Todd

What is your best idea on how a full time low income single parent can have access to health care for his or her family?

Let's make it simple, a single mom with two children earning minimum wage.

Michael Anderson

George wrote: "For those who care, Walmart is the country's largest employer - especially those with limited abilities - and it increases net employment when it comes into a community. This has been known for years by non-progressives, low-end workers, and frustrated union bosses."

Sorry George, this is complete and utter nonsense. Your ridiculous claim does not take into account unique markets, nor does it address the failures in the supply chain.

Ryan explained pretty well why he does not shop there. I share his values.

Unions were created to smash monopolies created by immoral & deeply evil (perhaps psychopathic) human beings. We apparently are going to have to re-learn this lesson all over again. I will enjoy it, no skin off my nose. But I will certainly enjoy even more the toppling of cretinous robber barons, and their retarded offspring who make welfare queens look like Richard Branson.

George Rebane

MichaelA 832pm - "Sorry George, this is complete and utter nonsense. Your ridiculous claim does not take into account unique markets, nor does it address the failures in the supply chain." Could you please explain how this contradicts my statement?

For reference see my 29oct11 212pm comment to BenE and the link.

"Walmart is making a high quality of life possible for millions of poorer Americans. It is applying and passing on the savings available from large scale retailing. And its net effect on jobs is neutral to beneficial, please see
http://rebaneruminations.typepad.com/rebanes_ruminations/2008/07/big-box-buy-loc.html
The company is clearly running away with profits since it's stock has appreciated less than 4% per annum over the last 5 years - whoopeee!"

Going to my linked post will also allow you to download a report that contains reams of data supporting the contention that you term "complete and utter nonsense". Your move Michael.

Michael Anderson

GR 854pm:

"high quality of life"

Huh?


"savings available from large scale retailing"

A race to the bottom.


"it's stock has appreciated less than 4% per annum over the last 5 years"

Which could be due to anything, like having a cynical view of its customers, as well as the communities they live in (though I will give them some recent kudos for reworking their inherent cynicism, which has possibly been motivated by recent union activism inside the Malmart castle walls)

M.

George Rebane

MichaelA 935pm - thanks for that devastating response Michael, I am put in my place.

Michael Anderson

Oh come on George, don't give up so easy (-:

Michael Anderson

George, we've talked about this. As you know, I was once a proud member of the AFL-CIO, IATSE Local 363 out of Reno, Nevada. I became less proud when I found myself to be an inadvertent party to the gold-bricking of IATSE Local 44 in L.A. Pretty gross stuff, but this was back in the early 1980s so hopefully they have cleaned up their act. But I doubt it.

When I was a union member, this was in Nevada which at the time was one of the much-fewer-than-today Right To Work states. I saw first-hand how those who didn't pay union dues were the wankers, the spendthrift blow-your-paycheck on slots/blow/beer who we all had to carry. It was boring.

I disagree that union reform comes from "right to work" legislation; the corrupt bosses will continue to exist in Michigan. They'll just have a smaller bailiwick which won't really bother them all that much.

Right to work laws might feel good, but they only increase the divide and cause unnecessary social consternation and anxiety. They don't solve any problems. In fact, they create more problems.

Todd Juvinall

I hope this "right to work" sweeps America and we get back to being America. Unions had their day and they now need to evaporate into true capitalism.

Ben Emery

Todd,

" I thought the rules for Bangladesh were theirs? Aren't you the fellow who whines and accuses the USA of hegemony and colonialism? Why then do you want to force American values, laws and regulations on Bangladesh?"

You really are stupid. Its about human rights and worker rights not American values. Walmart is a US company and uses wage slave labor in sweat shop conditions, it is deplorable.

Todd Juvinall

BenE, au contraire, American values and Bangladeshi values are different. Your view of "human rights" is yours not the rest of the planet's. If you think your views on how the Bangladesh lack of regulations (in your opinion) needs to be modified, then have at it. My guess is you are just full of hot air.

George Rebane

BenE 548am - I do believe you are doing your best to figure out a complex world with a deficient toolset. People like you use words which you never define, and their illusive meanings are multiple and appear to fit any occasion as you wish them to fit. When you use notions like rights in a trans-national sense, it really is difficult for reason to follow you. Can you define your use of a 'right'?

(Mine is given in the RR Glossary, to give you a hint at what a definition might look like.)

With such a definition firm in hand, and allowing the reader to understand your 'this is not that' discriminant(s), maybe you can then make sense of how you can indict Walmart for the customs and practices of labor in a foreign land.

Ben Emery

Well George,
My tool set is well stocked and where we might be parting is your favorite subject of Great Divide. If we are talking about human rights there is a accepted world definition found here- http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml

As for worker rights. Worker rights are the same as human rights on many levels. Employers do not have the authority to put the lives of their workers at stake with unsafe conditions. Paying what is equivalent to slave wages, wages that don't meet the monetary levels of the cost of basic necessities for full time work. I guarantee the Bangladesh example they were working well into the 60-90 hours per week.

So go ahead and add a different tool to your own box by reading the declaration provided above.

George Rebane

BenE 1022am - thank you for corroborating the philosophy espoused on RR about definitions and semantics. Your "accepted world definition" link is an example prime UN crappola that defines NOTHING, and illustrates why confusion reigns when people use terms the meaning of which they are ignorant. (It also corroborates the cited academic studies of the intellectual wasteland that is the progressive dialectic.)

On the worker rights topic, apparently the Bangladeshi workers have a saner view of work conditions in their country that does not involve holding foreign clients responsible for the workplace tragedies that are more common in their country.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324296604578176983283834310.html?KEYWORDS=Bangladeshi+workers

Todd Juvinall

George, your smackdown of BenE is complete. He is shivering in shame in the bathroom of the UN. BenE should travel over to Bangladesh and interview some of those people before he embarrasses himself any further with his blather.

Michael Anderson

Todd splorted: "He is shivering in shame in the bathroom of the UN."

The only shivering that is going on today is you in the TSA "special events" line, where the nice Filipino woman is giving you a prostrate check for the ages.

Enjoy!

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