Your Lying Eyes

Dedicated to uncovering the truth that stands naked before your lying eyes.

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28 October 2008

The Digital Converter Box Tutorial

It's a snap!

27 October 2008

The Latest Obama Bombshell....fizzle

I was getting all psyched...Drudge reported a major find - someone dug up a 2001 interview with Obama lamenting the Supreme Court's not getting involved in income re-distribution...that the constitution was flawed and too limiting...that it was a tragedy "economic justice" was not on the court's agenda. In my car in the early afternoon, I heard Rush blasting Obama over the same thing, echoed later by Sean Hannity. Surely, I thought, surely this would be the smoking gun to knock Obama down a peg or too (that's all I can hope for these days - his winning is a fait accompli, and I'm not much interested in seeing a President McCain anyway). So I was anxious to get home to play the recordings.

Alas, Obama said nothing of the sort. In typical Obama fashion, he circumnavigates with his arguments rather than just making his point. But what he was actually saying was kind of conservative - that "economic justice" issues should be pursued through the legislative process, not the courts. He argued that the Warren Court wan't that radical - "it didn't break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the constitution." When he spoke of one of the "tragedies of the civil rights movement," he meant that rather than getting things done through the political process, it tried to get everything accomplished through the courts and that this flawed approach continues to this day. While I would disagree that it's a 'tragedy' - 'blessing' would be my judgement - I wholeheartedly agree that political goals should be pursued politically rather than judicially.

He goes on to suggest that you could come up with legal rationales for "redistributive" policies, but says that this would present separation-of-powers concerns as well as administrative pitfalls that the courts are ill equipped to deal with. Again - a basically moderate position toward the role of the courts. The recording does suggest he has some very liberal views and may well believe in redistributing wealth, but in an economy that sinks further by the day, how many people is that going to scare?

UPDATE: Steve Sailer has a much more skeptical and needless-to-say incisive commentary on Obama's musings. I still think this is going nowhere as a campaign issue because a) people aren't really in a particularly anti-redistributive mood at the moment and b) the racial angle to Obama's thoughts (that he's interested in white-to-black redistribution specifically, as evidenced by the civil-rights context of the discussion) will simply not be discussed publicly in this campaign because such discussion is simply off-limits.

18 October 2008

H1-B Visas - Another Perspective?

H1-B visas are, as you know, filled at the request of businesses looking for particular skills they're having trouble finding domestically. Big tech companies, like Microsoft, are constantly haranguing for more of these, but when you look at their actual requests, they seem like fairly run-of-the-mill systems jobs, and maybe these companies are really just looking for cheap - as opposed to unique - talent.

But there might be another angle to it I hadn't thought of or heard before. In the NY Times' latest effort in its indefatigable mission to enlighten the world on the infinite wonderfulness that is Obama, they "contrast" the candidates approaches to spurring technological innovation (and of course you'll never guess which candidate's positions are flawless, supported by all the smartest people, and unfailingly prescient). But what struck me was a discussion of the topic in Obama's book "The Audacity of Hope":
Many of the engineers Mr. Obama met at Google were from Asia or Eastern Europe. “As far as I could tell, not one was black or Latino,” he wrote. His guide told him that finding American-born engineers of any race was getting so hard that American companies were setting up shop abroad, in part for access to talent. [EA]
Let's imagine, for a moment, in place of Obama's observations, there is the EEOC reviewing employment records. Doesn't it sound a lot easier to just throw up your hands and claim "we can't find any qualified Americans" than to explain why you've hired only certain Americans?

15 October 2008

The Social Contract

Since circa 1789 C.E., it is well know that legions of dumb folk (or the 'unempowered' or 'disenfranchised' or whatever your favorite euphemism might be) are capable of storming the gates of power and cutting people's heads off, should they get sufficiently pissed-off. And so the smart (and sometimes not-so-smart, but typically smart) rich folk have developed various strategies to avoid this fate. The most pervasive strategy in the Western world is called "democracy" whereby the dumb masses are led to believe that they are in charge. This has some limited effectiveness, but since this gives the masses theoretical control over the powers of the state, heads could still roll.

Fortunately for all concerned, since about the same time the West has also enjoyed a phenomenon called the "Industrial Revolution" which not only provided really good jobs to all but the absolute dumbest among the masses, it also distributed to them wondrous life-improving machines and luxurious goods. But even the dumb masses understand that automobiles don't arrive in the driveway nor steaks appear on the plate on their own and that full-time jobs don't sprout from acorns - there's a lot of smart people making that happen. It's the understanding that a whole bunch of rich people are smart people who can get things done that keeps the torches off the street.

Lately, while the more dramatic progess has seemed to have slowed somewhat - those flying cars and robotic servants we were promised never seem to have gotten of the drawing board (if they even made it onto the drawing board) - there's still been some really cool stuff coming our way like flat-screen tv's and iPods and infinite credit lines, all courtesy of really smart people, who make tons of money. But the funny part is that no one ever seems to know any of these people anymore. Back in the day you would here about somebody (or at least somebody who knew somebody) who was an engineer at GM or worked at McDonnel Douglas.

But who makes LCD tv's or iPods? We don't know them because everyone who assembles them lives in China and anyone who designs them lives in some gated community in some strange valley in California. The smart people are kind of slacking off a bit here - yeah, they're still playing Santa with the toys, but they kind of forgot about creating jobs. Any new jobs - when there were new jobs - were working for restaurants or contruction outfits and while some of these people are rich they sure as hell don't seem too smart - they're more like hustlers keeping one step ahead of the repo man. Except for finance - there were lots of new jobs in the financial industry, and one thing you can sure say about the people running the financial industry is they're smart -- DOH!

Middle class Americans don't really march thru the streets carrying torches - or even placards - too often these days. But they still do every now and then engage in the rather quaint practice called "voting for Democrats*" - remember that 'democracy' bit? - which, when done with enough force, will result in rich people losing the most precious thing next to their heads - their money. Taxes on the wealthy will go up. That's what's happening now - Obama is basically wrapping tar-drenched rags around sticks and handing them out en masse to every pissed-off American when he proposes raising taxes on everyone earning $250k up and lowering them for everyone else. McCain meanwhile is the old guy standing in front of the mansion at the end of the street waving his arms frantically at the approaching mob, about to be stomped to death under their unyielding strides. It's over Johnny.

The rich people's official spokesmen - they're known as Republicans - have been promising us that if we raised their taxes, all the good jobs would dry up and there'd be no more cool toys. Well of course the good jobs went poof along with the money for the cool toys anyway. They didn't keep up their end of the bargain - in fact they fucked up royally - they didn't invest money in the future, they played with money and invested it in grotesque homes and lavish parties. They need to get taxed. I believe we should tax them even more aggressively than Obama has proposed. I propose an additional 1 per cent on each 100k over 200k up to 10%. Payback is a bitch.

Then there's the rest of the bargain - the free-trade bargain. That one went like this - we build as many factories as we can overseas and cut costs, then you all get to reap the bounty with us! What did we get? Impending bankruptcy. And worst of all - the nation-of-immigrants fraud. They'd get cheap labor to work their sweatshops and groom their country clubs and buy their papier mache houses with no money down at inflated prices, while the rest of us see neighborhoods decay, high-school dropouts proliferate and bilingualism overwhelm our culture. And on these items, the Democrats are in cahoots even more than the Repbulicans. Where's my torch!

*The Democratic party is, at its core, a loose coalition of urban protection rackets, designed to offer businesses and the wealthy 'protection' against angry mobs in exchange for patronage (in coin for the party leaders and in civil service and union jobs for the rank-and-file). Similarly, on a national level, people turn to Democrats when they get real pissed off at rich people generally, as during the mid-70's economic doldrums, the early 90's slowdown, and the financial meltdown of today.

03 October 2008

Palin's Biggest Disadvantage

Sarah Palin, let's not forget, not only has to get up to speed on national issues in which she's had heretofore little interest. She also has to defend John McCain's policies. Let's review:

  • Despite widespread incompetence and malfeasance in managing the nation's assets, wealthy Americans are still entitled to lower taxes than they were paying a decade ago.
  • We need to continue to fight in Iraq - a senseless war to begin with - until we "win", a term which can't be defined.
  • The right health care policy is obviously to decimate the current employer-based group healthcare system and let everyone go out and buy individual coverage on their own.

Not to mention Republicans' general anti-regulation approach which in the current crisis does not look so wise, even though "more regulation" would have had any effect - you need smart, limited, and tough regulation. She was fortunate that trade was barely brought up, then she would have had to defend McCain's ostrich-like trade policies, as well.

So in light of her having to defend these politically indefensible positions, her performance last night looks even more impressive.

02 October 2008

My Girl Comes Thru!

I have to admit I watched this debate with enormous trepidation. Actually, I "watched" very little - I mostly paced back and forth between rooms, listening for the most part but not always watching. It reminded me of a Yankees-Boston game this summer when the Yanks had a 2-run lead in the ninth and they brought in Mariano, of course. Before you could say "Enter Sandman", the lead was down to 1 and the bases were loaded with no one out. I could barely watch - I had to peek in every now and then but couldn't just sit and watch it. As it turned out, Mariano came through - he got the last 3 outs without a run-scoring. And that's what Palin pulled off tonite - she was facing bases loaded with none out, and she got out of the inning. It was a really clutch performance, though she basically extracted herself from a problem of her own making. And of course the Yanks as it turned out eventually lost to Boston in the wildcard race.

But her performance will surely stanch the bleeding, put her back on a solid footing, and enable her to get out there and save votes, particularly in places like North Carolina, where Obama has pulled ahead. Just a couple well-timed hunting trips thru the hill country should pull that one back. There was very little 'conservative' in what she said, except for one bright moment when she talked about "personal responsibility" in the financial crisis. It boggles my mind why the McCain camp doesn't play this up more - make their campaign the one that represents the vast majority of Americans who are responsible with their money, who don't get mortgages they can't afford and save rather than spend. Even if only a minority of Americans actually behave this way, surely a majority think they do. But otherwise there seems very little in either Sarah Palin or of course McCain that appeals to conservatives on substance.

What's important, from a conservative's viewpoint, is that the election be as close as possible. Obama is going to win - with the financial crisis and two aimless wars, there's no way a well-run campaign like Obama's can't win. But the last thing we need is for Obama to go into office with a lost of confidence, particularly thinking he's got middle-class voters in his back pocket and thinking he can with impunity wage a race/class war. True, barely winning the election didn't keep George Bush very humble, but Obama is much more cautious than Bush and unlikely to take decisive actions that will alienate large numbers of voters.