the end of the road

So, as the days get longer, and the sun comes out of it’s winter hibernation, take a ride down a country road and see the vacant houses, the barns falling down, the rows upon rows of corn and soy.

But, when you see that veggie stand on the side of the road, stop and buy something. Buy everything you can afford to locally.

Your dollar will have a greater impact when you buy anything directly from a local producer than switching to an organic item at a chain supermarket. Truly.

More and more farmers are finally starting to see the writing on the wall, and they’re trying to save themselves. They are returning to growing food instead of commodities, and more importantly they are marketing that food directly to customers, instead of selling it for pennies on the dollar to multinational packing and processing corporations.

Farmers are fiercely independent, and they are indoctrinated with the “pull-yourself-up by your bootstraps” mentality, but they can only partially save themselves. The consumer has to help save them.

Instead of Costco, spend your money at the farmer’s market. Or a buying club, or a co-op, or any farm. Buy your food direct from the farm as often as possible.

Source: the end of the road

Chinese Investors Bought These Iconic American Companies | Investing Magazine

While it’s common knowledge that many of our favorite American products are actually made in China, many don’t know that several popular American companies are actually owned by Chinese investors. It’s not always obvious until you see it for yourself – even some sports clubs have interesting foreign stakeholders.

Source: Chinese Investors Bought These Iconic American Companies | Investing Magazine

Cost of Lockdowns: A Preliminary Report

In the debate over coronavirus policy, there has been far too little focus on the costs of lockdowns. It’s very common for the proponents of these interventions to write articles and large studies without even mentioning the downsides.

Here is a brief look at the cost of stringencies in the United States, and around the world, including stay-at-home orders, closings of business and schools, restrictions on gatherings, shutting of arts and sports, restrictions on medical services, and interventions in the freedom of movement.

All of this is good news to the Communist Democrat Party.

Source: Cost of Lockdowns: A Preliminary Report

Bracken: When The Music Stops – How America’s Cities May Explode In Violence

Dark Ages can last for centuries, after sinking civilizations in a vicious, downward vortex. “When the music’s over, turn out the lights,” to quote Jim Morrison of The Doors. Sometimes the lights stay out for a long time. Sometimes civilization itself is lost. Millions of EBT cards flashing zeroes might be the signal event of a terrible transformation.

Source: Bracken: When The Music Stops – How America’s Cities May Explode In Violence

SCOTUS allows Miami to sue BANKS for its economic and social woes

But it gets worse. How is there standing in this case? Did individual borrowers who were black or Latino sue the banks and demonstrate evidence of discriminatory practices in violation of the FHA? Not a chance. It was the city government of Miami that sued the banks under dubious accusations of discrimination. Where is the injury-in-fact? How is the city a party to a “dispute” over private mortgages?

Are you ready? The argument is essentially as follows: Racist banks offered mortgages to too many black and Hispanic borrows who couldn’t afford them, which led to default, which led to foreclosures, which led to vacant houses, which brought down the values of the adjacent homes, which led to reduced property taxes, which led to more criminal and social problems, which strained the local services (fire, police, inspectors, debris collectors, etc.).

You see, had the evil banks not insidiously lent to black and Hispanic borrowers who couldn’t pay (at the coercion of government), Miami would not have gangs, drugs, poverty, and urban blight. It would be a utopia.

Another abominable, idiotic decision by John Roberts.

Source: SCOTUS allows Miami to sue BANKS for its economic and social woes

I, Pencil

An essay from 1964 that I just became aware of. This shows how inferior a command and control socialist/communist economy is to freedom and free markets. All illustrated by a simple pencil… which isn’t really as simple a product as you might think.

The above is what I meant when writing, “If you can become aware of the miraculousness that I symbolize, you can help save the freedom mankind is so unhappily losing.” For, if one is aware that these know-hows will naturally, yes, automatically, arrange themselves into creative and productive patterns in response to human necessity and demand — that is, in the absence of governmental or any other coercive masterminding — then one will possess an absolutely essential ingredient for freedom: a faith in free people. Freedom is impossible without this faith.

Source: I, Pencil

Bank of America CEO: ‘We want a cashless society’

Bank of America (BAC) CEO Brian Moynihan embraced the digital money movement on Wednesday, saying his firm has “more to gain than anybody” from the booming trend of non-cash transactions.

“We want a cashless society,” Moynihan, who heads up the second largest U.S. bank, told attendees at Fortune’s Brainstorm Finance conference.

Because then we can really start banning conservatives from life. Imagine your credit/debit card declined because you own a gun. Or voted Republican. Or go to a church that still believes in the Bible.

Source: Bank of America CEO: ‘We want a cashless society’

What Does Your Toilet Paper Have To Do With Inflation?

Dworksy cannot state categorically that the practice is occurring more frequently than it did in the past. However, “you can go up and down the aisles” in a supermarket and see it, he said. Indeed. Based on numerous sources, I was able to develop a partial list of products that seem to have shrunk, or whose packages offer less items than they once did. The list includes: cookies (package sizes and in the case of at least one popular brand, the cookies themselves), toilet paper, candy bars, chewing gum and other confectionary products (like Cadbury Eggs), ground pepper, tuna, yogurt, ice cream, orange juice, coffee, bags of tea, sugar, potato chips, toothpaste, deodorant, cake mix, cereal, blocks of cheese, paper towels, napkins, paper plates, crackers, hot dogs, bacon, frozen dinners, heads of lettuce, canned vegetables, frozen vegetables, spaghetti sauce, canned tomatoes, mixed nuts, shaving cream, hair spray, bars of soap, tubs of margarine, detergent, bleach, shampoo, pet food, (some brands of) beer, (some brands of) hard liquor, diet shakes, diet bars, frozen pizza, peanut butter, mayonnaise, Gatorade (in some stores), vitamins, over-the-counter medicines, and even newspapers (page widths have shrunk from 16 inches in the early 1950s to 11 inches in most papers today).

This is inarguable. The ‘official’ inflation rate is far higher than reported. I first recognized this during the Clinton Administration. Clinton changed the ‘basket of goods’ whose prices comprise the Consumer Price Index. He removed staples like food and energy, and added non-essential items like computers. We all know that computer prices are constantly falling.

H/T: Bayou Renaissance Man

Source: What Does Your Toilet Paper Have To Do With Inflation?

Montana’s Solution

Sharyl: When we talk about what’s the issue with healthcare today, a lot of people say the issue is getting everybody insured. This was not really the approach that you took.

Bartlett: You’re right. I don’t agree with that. I think the solution is getting the cost affordable and I did not take the approach of “insurance for everyone.” I found a lot of waste just with the insurance part.

She began by comparing charges from two different hospitals for similar knee replacements.

Bartlett: And one came in around $30,000 in the other at $105,000. Huge difference. I just kept asking why, why? Well, the implant was much more expensive. Well, can I see the invoice? Can I see what you paid? No, that’s private. You can’t see that. So I couldn’t get to the information. It was frustrating and I couldn’t get to the answers. And one hospital said, well, we don’t really know our costs.

How do you stay in business if you don’t know your costs? You rely on government mandating everyone have insurance. Note that having health insurance does NOT equal having health care.

The health care system was screwed up during WWII when health insurance became a benefit due to wartime wage and price controls. It was further screwed up by Medicare and Medicaid. These are unconstitutional transfer payments that further inflated health care costs. Health insurance should be treated like any other insurance—automobile, homeowner’s, or life. You purchase what you think you need and can afford from private companies. You do not have a right to health insurance, or even health care.

Source: Montana’s Solution

Reparations: The Holy Grail of Identity Politics (Part III) – Bookworm Room

If we are to look to history for the wrong, let us look to history for the culprits as well.  As Deroy Murdock writes in the National Review today, slavery and its associated ills are identifiable with a particular group — Democrats:

. . .  As Black History Month draws to a close, it is vital to remember that slavery spread agony across the South under the watchful eyes of Democrats, such as President Andrew Jackson, from the party’s 1828 launch. It was not until 1860’s election of Republican Abraham Lincoln that the final, decisive push toward abolition began. The GOP-led Union Army crushed the Democrat-led Confederacy in 1865. That’s when Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation came into full force, as Republicans freed the slaves.

The Republicans’ Radical Reconstruction empowered newly liberated blacks. Overriding the presidential vetoes of Democrat Andrew Johnson, congressional Republicans pressured southern states to ratify the 14th Amendment, guaranteeing blacks equal protection under law. . . .

After detailing the many sins of Democrats as regards blacks, Murdock concludes:

. . . if Democrats want reparations to atone for their nearly 200 years of anti-black sins, they should finance them. From Barbra Streisand to George Clooney to Tom Steyer to George Soros, the Democratic 1 percenters should shove their billions into a huge pile and then show us the money.

Source: Reparations: The Holy Grail of Identity Politics (Part III) – Bookworm Room

How Dumb Is Ocasio-Cortez?

“You know, I think it’s really important that we understand that we need to invest in our economy, but we need to invest in our people, and to give away $3 billion to a company that has a history of worker exploitation that’s paying below what the cost of New York City is not acceptable for us.”

Of course, New York wasn’t going to “give” Amazon anything, let alone $3 billion. The $3 billion is an estimate of foregone tax revenues. In other words, money that Amazon won’t pay New York, not money that New York will pay Amazon. This is childishly simple, but apparently too much for AOC:

My guess is that she is a beneficiary of ‘affirmative action’. That’s the only explanation why somebody this ignorant can claim a degree in ECONOMICS!

Source: How Dumb Is Ocasio-Cortez?

Gramscian damage

In a previous post on Suicidalism, I identified some of the most important of the Soviet Union’s memetic weapons. Here is that list again:

  • There is no truth, only competing agendas.

  • All Western (and especially American) claims to moral superiority over Communism/Fascism/Islam are vitiated by the West’s history of racism and colonialism.

  • There are no objective standards by which we may judge one culture to be better than another. Anyone who claims that there are such standards is an evil oppressor.

  • The prosperity of the West is built on ruthless exploitation of the Third World; therefore Westerners actually deserve to be impoverished and miserable.

  • Crime is the fault of society, not the individual criminal. Poor criminals are entitled to what they take. Submitting to criminal predation is more virtuous than resisting it.

  • The poor are victims. Criminals are victims. And only victims are virtuous. Therefore only the poor and criminals are virtuous. (Rich people can borrow some virtue by identifying with poor people and criminals.)

  • For a virtuous person, violence and war are never justified. It is always better to be a victim than to fight, or even to defend oneself. But ‘oppressed’ people are allowed to use violence anyway; they are merely reflecting the evil of their oppressors.

  • When confronted with terror, the only moral course for a Westerner is to apologize for past sins, understand the terrorist’s point of view, and make concessions.

This sounds like today’s Democrats.

Source: Gramscian damage

A Short History of American Medical Insurance – Imprimis

The second dislocation was that hospital insurance did not provide indemnity coverage, which is when the insurance company pays for a loss and the customer decides how best to deal with it. Rather than indemnification, the insurance company provided service benefits. In other words, it paid the bill for services covered by the policy, whatever the bill was. As a result, there was little incentive for the consumer of medical services to shop around. With someone else paying, patients quickly became relatively indifferent to the cost of medical care.

Source: A Short History of American Medical Insurance – Imprimis

Public school teachers are not underpaid; they earn more than the taxpayers who have to pay their salaries!

Mrs Brown teaches at Woodford County High School in Versailles, Kentucky. The average income for a resident of Versailles is $24,652, and the median family income is $41,915. Mrs Brown earns, just from her salary at Woodford County, 2¼ times as much as the average worker in her community, and 31% more than the median family income there. How, I have to ask, is Mrs Brown forced into ‘financial juggling,’ unless she has been living well beyond her husband’s and her means?

I have been saying for decades that teachers are OVERPAID. In my community they are making over $50k/yr when the average annual family income in my community is $19k/yr. Their pay needs to be cut.

This is true of all public employees.

 

What ails Main Street

A very interesting article analyzes some of the factors dragging down traditional retail businesses, and the cities and parts of cities that depend on them.

The assistants at many retailers are abysmally ill-informed, often slovenly in their habits (i.e. needing a shower or shave or haircut, or to change their clothes), and frequently not motivated to sell.  They appear to be there simply as warm bodies going through the motions.  I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve asked a salesperson about a feature of a product I’m interested in buying, only to find that they know nothing about it, and must consult the manual – something I could easily have done for myself.  I’ve even looked up information about it on my smartphone, while they were looking for a supervisor who proved to know as little as they did!  If I’m expected to pay a premium for the “benefit” of having trained salespeople to assist me, I want them to be trained, and have the expertise I expect.  If they aren’t and/or don’t, why should I waste my time there?

Source: What Ails Main Street