It’s A Funny Old World

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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It definitely is a funny old world, especially when it comes to global warming and particularly the reasons for it happening – even though it isn’t.

It has also been funny watching all the pseudo-scientist and political upstarts trying to jump on this bandwagon to try to promote themselves in the public eye. Al Gore managed to bag himself a discredited Nobel Peace Prize and millions of dollars with his well timed trip on this gravy train. Although I still don’t know what global warming had to do with a prize for peace because as far as I know they hold wars in all temperatures!

Al Gore Church

I say “global warming” because that was what they called it. Scientists even falsified data to “prove” that the planet was getting hotter and hotter because of the increased emissions of carbon dioxide generated by us, people. We may well be in the midst of a climate cycle, but the reliable evidence does not show that it’s our fault. Nor is it the fault of too many cows letting too many farts, which was another one of the not so scientific theories that was doing the rounds a few years ago.

cow-farts the dog did it

Then there was the theory that the Polar ice caps were all going to melt, raising the sea level so much most of us would drown. Technically I suppose if you were keen enough you could drown in a couple of inches of water, but I think personally I would just pull on my gumboots and walk casually toward some higher ground.

Unfortunately for it’s supporters, the REAL evidence has been showing little or no change in average temperatures, certainly not the apocalyptic amounts forecast by the flawed models of the global warming scientists.

On that very subject, some of these scientists are currently “baffled” by the fact that, rather than the Polar ice caps melting, there now seems to be an all-time record area of sea covered by ice around the Antarctic’s coasts.

The beautifully named lead scientist at the US National Snow and Ice Data Center, Ted Scambos, admitted “What we’re learning is, we have more to learn,” as he announced the latest annual sea ice maximum for the austral continent.

The sea ice surrounding the Antarctic continent reached its maximum extent on September 22, 2014, at 20.11 million square kilometers (7.76 million square miles). This is 1.54 million square kilometers (595,000 square miles) ABOVE the 1981 to 2010 average extent, which is nearly four standard deviations above average.

This new record follows consecutive record winter maximum extents in 2012 and 2013. The reasons for this recent rapid growth are not clear. Climate scientists have been puzzled by the behavior of the southern ice for many years.

climatologists unite

You have to laugh as you watch the pro-global warming scientists squirm as they try to fight off reality by proclaiming that their forecasts should be correct and what is actually happening should be wrong!

Suck it up guys, whoever created the model to show that the icecaps would melt was wrong, not the ice caps!

In fact, air temperatures have been steady for the last fifteen years and more, and deep ocean temperatures are not increasing either. They call it a mystery. The real mystery is why anyone still takes them seriously!

But, remarkably, a lot of gullible people still do. When it became too obvious that there was no global warming, rather than giving up their lucrative money and publicity maker, it’s proponents simply changed the name from “global warming” to the more generalized “climate change”.

And as recently as the last weekend of September, hundreds of thousands of these idiots turned out in the ‘People’s Climate March’ in New York City calling for governments to address the so-called “crisis” surrounding climate change. The demonstration was timed to coincide with a meeting at the United Nations to discuss how countries can come together to combat temperature fluctuations, hurricanes, tornadoes, drought, blizzards and other forces of nature.

People’s Climate March

So, if the evidence does not back up the theory of global warming (er, I mean… climate change) being the fault of mankind, why do governments persist in wasting time on the subject with wide-ranging plans and conferences in a host of different countries?

There are various reasons.

Politicians like Obama used it to get himself elected and has had to stick with the lie ever since or back down and publicly admit he was a fool. Other politicians in other countries are similarly caught.

Also a false crisis like global warming is a welcome distraction from some of the real crises we are facing due to continued government incompetence.

And the manufacturing of a global warming crisis leaves the way open for the imposition of “carbon taxes” and other spurious ways for governments to try to steal our money. Watch so-called “carbon taxes” being levied on corporations who will no doubt pass on the cost to the people who buy their products.

Yes, that’s you and me, folks. We’re going to have to pay to fix something that isn’t even broken!

Carbon-Tax

It’s painful to have to watch this going on. Even more so when there seems to be nothing that we can do to bring stupid people to their senses. All you can do is have a rant now again.

Oh, look, I just did!

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Obama Says Iraq’s Government Needs Help!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Now there’s a headline. Let’s repeat it…

Obama says Iraq’s government needs help!

Long live hypocrisy!

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Time for a Sunday Sermon I think!

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Iraqi flag

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I say hypocrisy for one simple reason, Obama  –  remember him, the man who was getting all the troops OUT of Iraq  –  wants to send them back in again because of the almighty mess that America, Britain and other western nations made blundering about in a country they didn’t understand.

It’s worse than that, of course, because Obama wants to send the troops back into Iraq to help stave off attacks by radical Islamists who have been making inroads in various parts of Iraq and are now threatening to close in on Baghdad itself.

This what he said, “I don’t rule out anything, because we do have a stake in making sure that these jihadists are not getting a permanent foothold in either Iraq or Syria.”

But hang on a minute.

There’s that stench of hypocrisy again.

Are these not the very same terrorists who Obama is supporting financially and with arms shipments in Syria?

They may have different names in different countries but these terrorists collectively want to establish an Islamic state in the region that surpasses national boundaries and governments. And from there, who knows?

It really is that simple. But it seems American foreign policy is in its usual state – completely confused, completely devoid of logic and good sense.

The mess that has been left behind in Iraq is catastrophic.

The country has more or less disintegrated politically and militarily, with Islamic militants capturing the country’s second-largest city this week after soldiers scattered, leaving their uniforms and weapons behind. So much for the $15 billion Washington (i.e., the American taxpayer) has already provided in training, weapons and equipment to the Iraqi government!

The result of this capitulation is that at least half a million ordinary citizens are understandably fleeing as the terrorists gain ground.

America’s ‘re-intervention’ will start with air strikes, possible using drones. But the chances of that doing anything more than temporarily halting the terrorists are slight. Next will come increased supplies of arms and equipment for the ‘official’ Iraqi forces. And then ‘advisors’ will be sent in  –  they’re probably already there, their presence will just be officially acknowledged.

There was a strong indication of what will come after that, when White House spokesman Jay Carney said. “We are not contemplating ground troops, I want to be clear about that.”

I have seldom seen a clearer admission that the White House is actively considering sending ground troops back into Iraq!

SoS Kerry has been wheeled out again to tell the world that the situation presently is not just a threat to Iraq, but to the United States and the rest of the world. We all know that John. What we also know  –  and what you don’t  –  is that more blundering about in a situation you do not understand, more young American live sacrificed for nothing, and more brave souls maimed for life to satisfy political whims won’t make things any better.

Will common sense ever prevail? Sadly I very much doubt it. The lack of understanding exhibited by the politicians seems to span all parties.

The lunatics are in charge of the asylum.

So there’s more stupidity on the way!

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Ethno-religious map of Iraq
Ethno-religious map of Iraq, courtesy of the Washington Post

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Playing With Statistics

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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It’s Sunday so time for another Sunday Sermon.

There’s a famous quote from US President Abraham Lincoln that goes something like, “you can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time”.

On the face of it Lincoln’s words seem rather clever and profound – and true. And so they are.

Up to a point.

But what Lincoln didn’t say (and he was a politician after all) is that you don’t have to fool ALL of the people ALL of the time.

What you have to do is fool them long enough to do what you need to do – for example, in the case of a politician, to get yourself elected.  

 

graph Miss Universe

Which brings me to statistics.

Because the best people in the world at playing with statistics are politicians and governments.

Some people believe everything they are told. Others call the figures governments produce ‘disingenuous’ which is being very kind. And some don’t believe a word or a number that they produce. (Take a wild guess at which camp I am in.)

Government statistical results are in effect lies. You can’t call them that – although I just did – because they can find figures to back up what they say, it’s just that they choose the figures that tell the story they want to promote and ignore all the rest that tell a different story.

For example, to get on to one of my favorite rant subjects, there is a thing which I am sure most of you have never heard of called the ‘Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program’ or ‘SIGTARP’ for short.

When the government is challenged about what is has been doing to bring to justice the banksters, who stole and recklessly gambled away our money, they can quote you a statistic or two saying that over the last few years, SIGTARP has put over 100 senior bank executives in jail, each of whom was convicted of stealing from taxpayers.

Although that fact is ‘technically’ or ‘statistically’ true, what they don’t tell you is that the people they have gone after and convicted are all small time crooks, guilty of small time frauds that are seldom above $1m or $1.5 million in value.

All the super crooks who embezzled hundreds of $ billions and almost brought down the entire financial system aren’t even being seriously pursued. More than six years into the SIGTARP investigations there are literally still hundreds of billions of outstanding ‘loans’, from banks including Citi, JP Morgan, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America.

They can quote figures all day long to try to mislead the people and make themselves look good, but a few small time crooks thrown in jail for stealing a million or two dollars here and there isn’t ever going to make much of a dent in the $ billions that were stolen. The politicians know that as well as anyone.

Perhaps Mark Twain’s “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics,” might have been a better quote!

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Many Happy Returns Webby!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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World-Wide-Web

The World Wide Web, created by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, turned 25 years old this year, 2014.

There has never been anything like it before, certainly not as regards the impact it has made on society and the way we live our lives. Many of those changes are good, many are not so good and a few are downright annoying.

Here’s my take on some of them.

To concentrate on the good parts first, the one thing the www has done, for those who can use it effectively, is to give access to information that was previously only available to the elite few who managed to claw their way into the lofty heights of academia, or who worked in places where information was readily available. Now the same information is accessible at the touch of a button to anyone and everyone with a smart phone, tablet or computer.

Another benefit, in my view anyway, is that is has sent a massive wake-up call to telephone providers world wide, many of whom were fast asleep, content to rake in healthy profits from antiquated systems. No longer do we have to settle for slow and temperamental data transfer lines. Nowadays, particularly in the last few years, people are demanding systems that can cope with download streams in the gigabyte range. If you are old enough to remember the first modems you will know you wasted too much of your life trying to download at 12Kb/sec., sometimes less.

Freedom is also a welcome by-product of the World Wide Web.

The freedom to work in any country in the world, from virtually any country in the world is one big plus – it is for me anyhow. Another one I particularly like is the freedom to watch TV programs that I like, when I like, no longer tied to the schedules of some brainless bean-counter working for a broadcasting company. And the freedom to have your say on things as and when the mood takes you – they call that blogging don’t you know! – is also a great advantage to the ordinary person.

www words

As is the freedom to disseminate information across the globe instantly, as Mr Snowden ably demonstrated, although I would hazard a guess that the powers that be would not agree with me on that one.

Indeed, this is the one aspect of the www that really bothers big brother.

China for example is one country where access is controlled by the state. Coincidentally this year also marks the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, you’ll find articles about that if you do a search, but probably not in China. They get away with it because they are not a democracy and do not pretend to be one.

In other countries, like the good old Land Of The (Not So) Free (Anymore)), the powers still like to con their people into believing that they are living in a democratic nation and that the people have the power to vote for this or that. But think for a moment, when was the last time you got to vote on whether to start a war, or whether to give $billions of your money to the greedy banksters to pay themselves huge bonuses and gamble away the rest?

It is because they need to keep the pretence of democracy going, that they do not yet have the confidence to start overtly censoring the internet. But they do all they can to snoop on what people are reading, or writing, or looking at.

This is where the freedom the www and associated technology provides can also be a negative, when it is used by governments to surveil us and record every piece of data they can. If they were doing this selectively and targeting terrorists and criminals no one would be too worried. But they are doing it to all of us, guilty and innocent alike.

big brother is watching

They are also doing everything they can think of to impose taxes on internet commerce – of course they have to coz they’re stoney broke.

The www has revolutionized business practices and created all sorts of new commerce opportunities, Amazon perhaps being the best example of a company that has gone from nothing to a multi-billion dollar business in just a few years.

Communication and social interaction are also areas where the www has liberated the ordinary person – first with email and more recently with social media. In the near future expect to see social media expanding to become much more than individual platforms such as Facebook or Twitter. We are already seeing many new applications that are allowing people to communicate more widely, more easily and more often.

social media

Another negative is that the World Wide Web has unwittingly facilitated the proliferation of pornography and violence, and is teaching a generation of morons all the wrong things. Things that will ensure they become a burden on society, not an asset.

And it has also opened a whole new environment in which criminals can operate. Millions of dollars are being stolen every day through scams, confidence tricks and outright theft.

You could say (and I frequently do) that people dumb enough to fall for these scams deserve all they get, or all they lose, is perhaps a better way of putting it. You know, the idiots who believe they really have won a lottery they didn’t buy a ticket for, or who think that Dr Umbungo Watanga from Nigeria is being truthful when he tells them that someone they never heard of has left them $25 million and all they need to do is send all their personal details and a few thousand dollars to unlock the fortune that awaits them. There really is one born every minute it seems!

All that said, and twenty-five years on, the www is still in its infancy. We have come a long way in the past 25 years, but we have really only scratched the surface as regards what the web has the potential to do to further improve our daily lives.

Where the vision to develop the www will come from in anyone’s guess. The only thing we know for sure is that the initiative won’t come from governments or their bureaucratic servants, simply because the people we elect to those positions do not have the required intelligence.

So its up to you. If you have any great ideas you want to share, send me an email.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee
Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the man who created the World Wide Web.

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A Taxing Problem And A Simple Solution.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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The Sunday Sermon

sermon

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Taxation is a perfect example of how the politicians and the bureaucrats have made things go haywire.

Such a monstrous collection of tax regulations has been accumulated over the years that even qualified accountants cannot properly decipher them.

There are allowances for this…. but not that…. except you can have it for that too…. but only if you do this first……

There are ‘eliminated items’ which may not be the same as ‘excluded items’, which is different from ‘excluded income’, not to be confused with ‘exempt income’, all of which you can have as deductions as long as everything has been ‘apportioned’ and/or ‘allocated’ according to the precise rules………  and on and on and on and on it goes.  

US Tax Code size

Just to give you an idea of the scale of the problem and to prove that I am not exaggerating in the slightest, the current US Tax Code is now well over 70,000 pages long. That’s about 185 times longer than it was in 1913, when the code was 400 pages and still far too long and complicated at that!

If you are an Apple or a Google or an Exxon and have a multi-billion dollar war chest you can buy the best professional experts and end up paying little or no tax at all. On the other hand if you are Joe Average you’ve got no chance!

irs-taxes-cartoon

Is there a better way?

I think so. For sure there isn’t a worse way!

It’s not a new idea, but as the system gets more and more complicated, it makes more and more sense to change it.

So why don’t we have a certain tax free allowance of $30,000 or $50,000 or whatever for annual exempt income, and pay 10 cents on every dollar we earn above that (or 10p a pound or 10 cents per euro) and leave it at that?

If that was the rule, and the only rule, everyone could do their tax returns easily, everything would be transparent, there wouldn’t be any complicated loopholes and no one would feel aggrieved because we are all being treated equally. And I think the governments would actually net a lot more revenue at a much reduced collection cost.

Too easy? Can’t be done like that?

That’s what the bureaucrats say, but as usual they are lying. They just don’t want their little empires reduced.

Of course it can be done the simple way. If fact although we don’t notice it, we see it done every day like that with sales tax. You buy something for a dollar and you pay your percentage of sales tax. (VAT they call it in Europe).

Easy. Simple. Everyone knows what they have to pay and why they have to pay it.

Sales-tax-calculator

It will never happen of course. Not while the bureaucrats remain in charge and the politicians are bought and paid for.

Not until the revolution – if there ever is another one.

American Revolution

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No Mo Town?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Here comes the Sunday Sermon folks!

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Before his first election victory the platform was one of “change” and “yes we can”, not very specific policies but the implication was that everything would get better under his administration, and people went for it.

Guess what?

“No he couldn’t” and “nothing changed”, not for the better anyhow.

Then last year during the re-election campaign he said, “We refuse to let Detroit go bankrupt”, and people went for it again.

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Guess what?

Detroit is bankrupt! Yes, last Thursday, Detroit became the largest U.S. city to declare bankruptcy, filing for Chapter 9 protection.

Are you seeing a trend here?

You should.

But it’s not all Obama’s fault. By no means. He’s just the latest in a long line of clueless politicians who made big promises and had no idea how to pay for them.

So how did it get this bad?

How did the city of Detroit that was once the powerhouse of America, and from whose industry came wealth creation that stimulated the entire economy, get to the stage of being bankrupt?

Sadly, what has happened to Detroit is the culmination of decades of political incompetence and graft and corruption.

For example, the most recent mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, is currently facing charges of racketeering conspiracy, extortion, bribery, mail and wire fraud, filing false tax returns and income tax evasion, Quite a guy!

Kwame-Kilpatrick-Gangsta-HD-Wallpaper

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It is also the culmination of years of union’s self-serving greed that meant, for example, that every car Detroit manufactured had to be sold at a loss – if it were to sell any at all.

But the problem goes even deeper than that.

Detroit is just the latest example of political and economic stupidity that has been allowed to fester within many western nations. It is not just an American malaise. The very same thing has happened in other countries, like Britain.

And it has happened because American and British politicians got the idea that their countries were a bit better than everyone else’s.

That they could leave the blue collar stuff like steel-making, ship building, car assembly and everything else that created true wealth for a nation, to be done by other ‘inferior’ places such as Japan, Korea, Taiwan and more lately China.

They actively helped to destroy their own manufacturing base through lack of investment, over taxation, needless government interference and over-regulation, etc.

Worse than this, they thought they could replace real industries making real money, with ‘service’ industries.

They never figured out that the former is the foundation that means you can afford the luxury of the latter!

And guess what? They still haven’t!

So instead of making real money, greedy banksters were allowed to conjure imaginary money out of nowhere. Then they were allowed (and encouraged) to invest money that didn’t exist in products that weren’t real either! And of course they lost the money. 

And the governments were willing accomplices to this fraud. When they could’t balance their books they simply printed more money and used this imaginary wealth in their economic statistics reports to show everyone how well they were doing.

Detroit is just the latest and biggest example of what the policy of living well beyond your means….. means!

So is this the end for this once great city?

Absolutely not. In fact it might be the making of it. There are going to be tough times ahead, but getting rid of a crippling $20 billion debt, which their bankruptcy will do, at the very least makes a recovery a possibility.

The halcyon days may be gone and never to return because of the damage the politicians have done. But there will be better days ahead.

When you reach the bottom you may bounce around there for a while but eventually the only way is back up.

If the politicians let you, that is.

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