Vlad The Bad?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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The Sunday Sermon

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“It was the Russians, they’re the ones to blame.”

“It was Putin. He’s the baddie. We can’t let him get way with it!”

 malaysia-airlines-flight-mh17

So go the cries in the US in the aftermath of the shooting down of Air Malaysia Flight MH17 over the Ukraine.

And that was long before any of the facts had been collected and it was known who shot down a plane on a different continent, or why. 

Russia wants (virtual) control of the Ukraine. There isn’t really any doubt about that. For them it is a strategic imperative. Russia’s history has taught it that it needs to be able to control a vast amount of territory, if only to use as a buffer zone against invasion.

The situation is not helped by various US Presidents and Secretaries of State giving Russia assurances that they would not attempt to involve the peripheral former Soviet states in things like NATO – and then trying to do the exact opposite.

It is now widely accepted that the underlying reason for the unrest in the Ukraine and Russia’s reaction is because of US interference in that country, which included helping to overthrow its democratically elected president, Viktor Yanukovych, and replace him with someone who was a virtual puppet of the West.

That was just asking for trouble. And they should have known it.

And they will get trouble, probably much more than they bargained for.

Unfortunately that will impact on ordinary people, like us.

 Major_NATO_affiliations_in_Europe

Just as the US has its beady eyes on bringing the Ukraine and other former Soviet states into pro-Western organizations like NATO, it is equally certain that Putin will have his beady eyes on not only bringing the former Soviet states back firmly under Russian control, but in perhaps expanding his relationships with other parts of Europe.

Putin has the energy reserves to do it. Whilst there is very little in the way of direct trade between the US and Russia, particularly in regard to energy supplies, (Russia is just the United States’ 20th largest trading partner), Europe is largely dependent on Russian gas to keep it going. Over 30 percent of the European Union’s energy supplies come from Russia and the EU is Russia’s largest trading partner.

Russia’s counter strategy, therefore, will obviously be to use its considerable economic influence as leverage to try to break up the NATO alliance and to separate the European power house, Germany, from its Anglo-American alliance.

Putin is being helped by the arrogance of America’s government spooks who thought they could spy on their friends and allies, even going so far as tapping the phone of German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, without there being consequences.  

consequences

Prompted by leaks from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the fallout from America’s spying debacle continues, people have been arrested, and the German government has even ordered the local CIA station chief to pack his bags and leave the country.

Germany may still place some value on its relationship with the US, but not nearly so much as previously, thanks solely to America’s lack of respect for them.

Putin and his advisors know this, even if Obama and Kerry don’t. They see Germany as ready for change. And they may well be right. The German people are angry at the contempt America has shown for them  – just as Americans would rightly have been if the Germans had done the same to them and their President  –  and they are increasingly frustrated at the burden the European Union has become economically.

If the US doesn’t catch itself on and behave differently and with respect towards its foreign friends, it may find that there will be changes it did not expect and certainly did not want.

Kerry Putin Obama

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The Orange Law Of Liberal Economics: Zero Jobs Paying $12.50 An Hour Is Better Than A Thousand Jobs Paying $8.25+ An Hour!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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The Sunday Sermon.

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Yes folks, you read it in the title, I have discovered a new law of economics. More about that in a moment.

I’m sure there is also another mathematical formula that could be devised for the fact that in general terms the closer one gets to Washington D.C. the more stupidity increases. (Okay, Californian bureaucrats are maybe the exception that proves this rule, but overall the theory is sound.)

It’s not just the meddling in national affairs that they are bad at in Washington. They keep hitting the stupid button on local matters too.

In one of the most recent debacles, last week the Washington D.C. city council passed a bill called the ‘Large Retailer Accountability Act (LRAA) of 2013’  that requires retailers with gross annual sales of more than $1 billion to pay workers an hourly wage of $12.50 an hour, instead of the District’s minimum wage of $8.25 (which is already higher than the national minimum wage anyway).

Although it sounds as if it will apply across the board, in practice this new piece of bureaucratic crap is aimed only at one company – Wal-Mart – and it will require Wal-Mart to pay a wage 52% higher than any other retailer in D.C. must pay, including it’s direct big-box competition.

walmart_supercenter

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If you think the people who would pass a new regulation like this are stupid….

Well, you’d be right!

If you think they can’t get any stupider….

Well, you’d be wrong!

And you’d be wrong because the really, really stupid part of all this is the staggering arrogance of the council members who decided to bring in this latest piece of moronic madness. Politicians who are parasites living off the rest of us, who produce nothing of value and whose only aim seems to be their own self-promotion while making life more difficult and expensive.

Why do I say ‘arrogance’?

Well, for one thing because they are, but for another because council member and bill supporter Vincent Orange admitted it himself when he declared:  

“We’re at a point where we don’t need retailers.  Retailers need us.”

What a dipstick!

vincent orange

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Of course liberal elements of the media will predictably rush to Vincent Orange’s defense, saying things like Wal-Mart can well afford to pay more to its staff.

That may well be so, but the real question is why should it? Why should it have to pay more than its competitors? Why should success now be penalized in a country that was built on companies that made vast fortunes for their owners and in so doing created the most powerful and richest nation in the world?

It is a very stupid, short-sighted and ultimately self-defeating strategy.

Yes, you can squeeze a few more dollars out of Wal-Mart….

Except you can’t, because the company will just go elsewhere. In fact Wal-Mart has already confirmed it will cancel the build-out of three new stores in the D.C. area if the bill becomes law.

Put another way, Orange’s law of liberal economics states that it is better to have zero jobs paying $12.50 an hour than over a thousand jobs paying at least @8.25 an hour. That it doesn’t make any sense is possibly not the point, it does get him a headline or two!

D.C.’s unemployment rate is already around 8.6%, one of the highest in the nation, and 20% of the population in the D.C. area lives below the poverty line. So the prospect of Wal-Mart bringing an additional 1,800 jobs to the city is something that the local politicians should be trying to encourage. Not only that, but new investment in the area will bring millions of extra tax dollars and lead to additional spin off investment. And through its charitable foundation, Wal-Mart gifted almost $4 million last year to city organizations including D.C. Central Kitchen and the Capitol Area Food Bank.

Contrary to Vincent Orange’s arrogant assertion, it is in fact D.C. that needs Wal-Mart far more than Wal-Mart needs to build more stores in Washington. A company that already has more than ten thousand outlets can live without another half dozen.

Let’s see, shall we chose location ‘A’ where we are going to be regulated out of existence and possibly lose money, or will we chose location ‘B’ where we are going to be allowed to make money?

You only have to be a tiny little bit smarter than Vincent Orange to work that one out!

Now the ball is firmly in the court of another Vincent. This time Mayor Vincent C. Gray, who has the power to veto idiots like his Orange namesake. If he has any sense, he will.

Idiot politicians trying to stick their noses into things they cannot, and do not, understand never works. Idiot politicians trying to screw every last penny out of successful businesses also never works. And idiot politicians who think that they can over regulate and ultimately destroy wealth creating businesses and still be able to afford to create a ‘nanny’ state only end up leaving everyone much worse off.

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Can Heads That Have No Brains Handle A No-Brainer?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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origin of banksters

Time for another rant about the slime of creation, also known as the banksters.

This blog is about highlighting and fighting against stupidity and bureaucracy and there is no better example of this than the banking industry.

Their stupidity is only matched by their arrogance and their greed.

More than five years on from plunging the world into a financial catastrophe, and all of us into debt that will take generations to sort out, they are still at it!

And the governments are still faffing about, afraid to take on those who bribe them with “contributions” to their election campaigns.

banksters table

For example, the European parliament only reached a “tentative deal” last Wednesday evening to limit bankers’ bonuses at twice the value of their fixed pay. They call it “imposing the toughest limits on pay since the financial crisis”. Gimme strength!!! Of course, the deal, still has to be endorsed formally by governments and lawmakers (i.e., the bureaucrats), and is the result of 18 months of farting around (they call it negotiating).

It’s a start, but a poor and a slow one.

It shows how long it takes for a no-brainer to happen in heads that have no brains!

In timely manner, latest results last week came from Europe, namely the grandly named basket-case Royal Bank of Scotland Group, Lloyds Group, and Spain’s lesser sounding Bankia.

Already more than 80% owned by the British Government (i.e., taxpayers) who stupidly bailed out these idiots to the tune of almost $70 billion, RBoS have announced further losses of around $9 billion!

To make matters worse, $1.6 billion of that was to compensate clients wrongly sold insurance and interest-rate hedging products – which is a nice way of saying they have been caught fleecing their customers and now have to pay back money they cheated their clients out of in the first place.

They called it a “chastening year”.  

Meatime Lloyds chalked up further losses to the tune of more than $2 billion!

And the banksters aren’t any smarter in Spain either. Bankia also this week reported a net loss of €19.06 billion ($25.04 billion) for 2012, by far the largest in Spanish corporate history.

And you know what? Let’s add insult to injury.

These dumb-asses are looking for bonuses for their efforts.

Can you believe it?

banksters bonuses

If someone starts a business and it fails, no one gives them a bonus – they lose their business (usually because the banksters force them to close down).

Just how on earth have we allowed the banking industry to create a culture of stupidity to take hold and remain in place after such clear evidence that it is not working. It is completely absurd.

Hit your sales targets, make money for the company and yes sir you can have a bonus and well deserved. Cost the company $ billions and drive it to bankruptcy because of your incompetence and the only bonus you should get is early parole for good behavior.

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That’s Europe taken care of, can’t go without a word about the American banksters too.

Latest news is that they “have discovered” that they wrongfully foreclosed on more than 700 members of the military during the housing crisis and seized homes from about two dozen other borrowers who were current on their mortgage payments,

The banks, namely Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, only found the foreclosures after regulators ordered them to examine mortgages as part of a multibillion-dollar federal settlement. Each bank “discovered” around 200 members of the military whose homes were wrongly foreclosed in 2009 and 2010.

So while military personnel are putting themselves in harm’s way to protect and defend the country, the slime in the banks are busy trying to illegally foreclose on their homes.

Incredible!

Not only do these foreclosures violate the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, a federal law requiring banks to obtain court orders before foreclosing on active-duty members, but they violate every common law of decency.

The sooner governments come to their senses and put these banksters out of business the better and cleaner the country will be.

banksters wrecked the economy

***end rant***

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A Little Knowledge IS A Dangerous Thing, When It’s In The Mind Of The Moron

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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I mentioned a while ago in a post about Prof Cipolla’s “Basic Laws Of Human Stupidity” that two psychologists at Cornell University had written a study with the fabulous title, “Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Leads to Inflated Self-Assessments”.

Their names were Dunning and Kruger and their work developed into what is now known as the “Dunning-Kruger Effect”. They were awarded a Nobel Prize for their paper on the subject in 2000.

 

Graphical representation of the Dunning-Kruger Effect
Graphical representation of the Dunning-Kruger Effect

 

Stated scientifically, the “Dunning–Kruger Effect” is a cognitive bias in which unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than average.

This bias is attributed to a metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their mistakes.

It further states that actual competence may weaken self-confidence, as competent individuals may falsely assume that others have an equivalent understanding.

Kruger and Dunning conclude, “the miscalibration of the incompetent stems from an error about the self, whereas the miscalibration of the highly competent stems from an error about others……..this overestimation occurs, in part, because people who are unskilled in these domains suffer a dual burden: Not only do these people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it.”

The effect has been shown by experiment in several ways. Dunning and Kruger tested students on a series of criteria such as humour, grammar, and logic and compared the actual test results with each student’s estimations of their performance.

Those who scored lowest on the test, in the bottom quartile, were found to have “grossly overestimated” their scores. Conversely, those with the highest scores underestimated their performance in comparison to others.

The tendency for those who scored well to underestimate their performance was explained as a form of psychological projection: those who found the tasks easy (and thus scored highly) mistakenly thought that they would also be easy for others.

This is similar to the “impostor syndrome” — found notably in graduate students and high achieving women — whereby high achievers fail to recognize their talents as they think that others must be equally good.

The Imposter Syndrome
The Imposter Syndrome

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Put in layman’s terms, people who suffer from the “Dunning Kruger Effect” are so dumb not only do they fail to realize that they themselves are dumb, they actually believe themselves to be much more competent than everyone else.

It is a very dangerous phenomenon.

 

The idea isn’t a new one. Many people have come to the same conclusion independently, many of them a lot more famous than these two scientists.

For example, in 1871, Charles Darwin, in “The Descent of Man”, stated that “ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge”.

In the 1930s Bertrand Russell, in “The Triumph of Stupidity”, said that “The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.”

And in his 1996 book “Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot”, Al Franken described the phenomenon of “pseudo-certainty” which was rampantly being displayed by pundits and politicians such as Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich, who would use “common sense” as the basis for their confidently-made assertions, which were made without actually backing them up with time-consuming research or actual facts. In his own way Franken associates all this quite candidly with the term “being a fucking moron”.

The Dunning-Kruger Effect in action
The Dunning-Kruger Effect in action

 

So there you have it. It really isn’t just me sounding off or having a bit of a rant now and again. There is hard scientific evidence to show not only that stupidity exists big time, but that many of those possessing this infirmity are blissfully unaware of their problem.

Remember folks, please “Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”