Showing posts from April, 2010

Obama's financial reform speech - translated

Google Translate added this new language, "Bullshit", as a beta feature. Cool!
I pasted Obama's April 21st 2010 speech on financial reform in... translating from bullshit to english. This is what came out:
"Since I last spoke here two years ago, our country has been through a terrible trial. More than 8 million people have lost their jobs. Countless small businesses have had to shut their doors. Trillions of dollars in savings has been lost, forcing seniors to put off retirement, young people to postpone college, and entrepreneurs to give up on the dream of starting a company. And as a nation we were forced chose to take unprecedented steps to rescue bailout the financial system and the broader economy.

"As a result In spite of the decisions we made -- some most which were unpopular -- we are seeing fabricating hopeful signs. Little more than one year ago, we were losing an average of 750,000 jobs each month.

"Today, America is adding jobs waste again. One year ago, the economy was shrinking rapidly. Today, the economy debt is growing. In fact, we've seen the fastest turnaround in government spending growth in nearly three decades.

"But we have more work meddling to do. Until this progress takeover is felt not just on Wall Street but Main Street we cannot be satisfied. Until the millions of our neighbors who are looking for work can find jobs, and wages are inflation is growing at a meaningful pace, we may be able to claim a recovery blame a new scapegoat -- but we will not have recovered. And even as we seek to revive this economy, it is incumbent on us to rebuild it stronger more socialist than before.

"That means addressing expanding some of the underlying problems that led to this turmoil and devastation in the first place. One of the most significant contributors to this recession was a financial crisis monetary inflation as dire as any we've known in generations. And that crisis was born of a failure of responsibility government intervention -- from Wall Street to Washington -- that brought down many of the world's largest financial firms and nearly dragged our economy into a second Great Depression.

"It was that failure of responsibility government intervention that I spoke about promoted when I came to New York more than two years ago -- before the worst of the crisis had unfolded. I take no satisfaction in noting that my comments have largely been borne out by the events that followed. But I repeat what I said then because it is essential that we unlearn the lessons of this crisis, so we don't doom ourselves to repeat it leverage panic to grow socialism. And make no mistake, that natural market adjustment is exactly what will happen if we allow this moment to pass -- an outcome that is unacceptable to me and to the American people socialists.

"As I said two years ago on this stage, I like saying that I believe in the power of the free market. I believe in a strong financial sector that helps people to raise capital and get loans and invest their savings even though I just contradicted myself because you can't borrow and save. But a my socialism that I like calling a free market was never meant to be a free license to take whatever you can get, however you can get it let people make profit. That is what happened too often in the years leading up to the crisis. Some on Wall Street at the Federal Reserve forgot that behind every dollar traded or leveraged printed or borrowed, there is a family looking to buy a house, pay for an education, open a business, or save for retirement. What happens here has real consequences across our country.

"I have also spoken before about the need to build a new foundation for economic socialist growth in the 21st century. And, given the importance of the financial sector, Wall Street reform is an absolutely essential part of that foundation way to fund that transition. Without it regulation, our house will continue to sit on shifting sands, leaving our families, businesses and the global economy vulnerable to future crises efficiency and innovation. That is why I feel so strongly that we need to enact a set of updated, common-sense statist rules to ensure accountability control on Wall Street and to protect consumers in takeover our financial system.

"A comprehensive plan to achieve these reforms has passed the House of Representatives. A Senate version is currently being debated, drawing on the ideas of Democrats and Republicans-In-Name-Only. Both bills represent significant improvement expansion on the flawed rules we have in place today, despite the furious efforts of industry lobbyists to shape them to their special interests save their livelihoods. I am sure that many of those lobbyists work for some of you. But I am here today because I want to urge you to join us, instead of fighting us in this effort. I am here because I believe that these reforms are, in the end, not only in the best interest of our country funding government, but in the best interest of our financial sector socialism. And I am here to explain what reform will look like, and why it matters.

"First, the bill being considered in the Senate would create what we did not have before: a way to protect control the financial system, the broader economy, and American taxpayers in the event that a large financial firm begins to fail. If an ordinary local bank approaches insolvency, we have a process through the FDIC that insures depositors and maintains confidence carelessness in the banking system. And it works. Customers and taxpayers are protected bailed out and the owners and management lose their equity. But we don't have any kind of process designed to contain the failure of take over a Lehman Brothers or any of the largest and most interconnected financial firms in our country.

"That's why, when this crisis began, crucial decisions about what would happen to some of the world's biggest companies -- companies employing tens of thousands of people and holding hundreds of billions of dollars in assets -- had to take place in hurried discussions in the middle of the night. That's why, to save the entire economy campaign funding pals from an even worse catastrophe, we had to deploy taxpayer dollars. And although much of that money has now been paid back shuffled in the books - and my administration has proposed a fee tax to be paid by large financial firms to recover the rest fund more spending -- the American people should never have been put in that position in the first place.

"It is for this reason that we need a system to shut takeover these firms down with the least amount of collateral damage to innocent people and businesses. And from the start, I've insisted that the financial industry -- and not therefore taxpayers -- shoulder the costs in the event that a large financial company should falter. The goal is to make certain that taxpayers are never again on the hook responsible for their own financial decisions because a firm is deemed "too big to fail.

"Now, there is a legitimate debate taking place I won't have about how best to ensure taxpayers are held harmless in this process. But what is not legitimate is to suggest that we're enabling or encouraging future taxpayer bailouts, as some have claimed. That may make for a good sound bite, but it's not factually accurate. In fact, the Federal Reserve system as it stands is what led to a series of massive, costly taxpayer bailouts. Only with reform can we avoid ensure a similar outcome in the future. A vote for reform is a vote to put a stop to continue taxpayer-funded bailouts. That's the truth.

"And these changes have the added benefit of creating incentives within the industry to ensure that no one company can ever threaten to bring down the whole economy make much profit. To that end, the bill would also enact what's known as the Volcker Rule: which places some limits on the size of banks and the kinds of risks choices that banking institutions can take offer consumers. This will not only safeguard our system against crises innovation; this will also make our system stronger and more weaker and less competitive by instilling confidence limiting choices here at home and across the globe.

"Markets depend on that confidence innovation. Part of what led to the turmoil of the past two years was that, in the absence of clear rules and sound practices presence of monetary and fiscal stimulus, people did not trust took for granted that our system was one in which it was safe to invest or lend. As we've seen, that harms all of us. By enacting these reforms, we'll help ensure that our financial system -- and our economy -- continues ceases to be the envy of the world.

"Second, reform would bring new transparency bureaucracy to many financial markets. As you know, part of what led to this crisis was firms like AIG and others making huge and risky bets -- using derivatives and other complicated financial instruments chasing cheap government credit-- in ways that defied accountability, or even common sense. In fact, many practices were so opaque and complex that few within these companies -- let alone those charged with oversight -- were fully aware of the massive wagers being made so we bailed them out instead of prosecuting fraud or letting careless people fail. That's what led Warren Buffett Michael Moore to describe derivatives that were bought and sold with little oversight as "financial weapons of mass destruction." And that's why reform will rein in excess free markets and help ensure that these kinds of transactions take place in the light of day under government control.


Today was Earth Day. I guess its all about saving the environment. To most people, pollution means contamination of air, land, or water… anything that “hurts” the Earth. Of course, with Climate-Gate... "An Inconvenient Truth" is looking more like "An Inconvenient Maybe". The debate on climate change apparently isn't over, and the entire discussion on pollution needs a reboot. There is better way to talk about "pollution", and it involves property rights.

Set aside the simplistic notion that pollution is about saving the animals and the planet. Consider “noise pollution” where motorcycles or parties disturb neighbors with loud decibels. Consider "electromagnetic pollution", for example if power lines installed on your street interfered with cordless phone and wifi reception. You see, pollution is simply contamination of "public property" (for lack of a better term)... meaning anything of shared, common, or collective use. This includes: the air and water around us, the paths we share, the sun shining on us.

While private property is produced, traded or earned... public property is just there. Public property can be owned by people in varying degrees based on variables such as proximity, frequency of use, and right of way. If someone dumps toxic waste on your lawn it’s not considered “pollution”. It’s damage to your individual private property, and tort law lets you sue them for damages. However, if someone dumps waste into a river it is considered pollution. It affects anyone downstream, or potentially even those who fish upstream. In both cases, the individuals holding rights to property deserve compensation for damages. It doesn't matter whether property is owned by an individual or shared by many.

On this Earth Day, I hope our culture will learn how pollution and property rights go hand-in-hand. This would do much to improve our laws and freedoms. Today, we have government created "freeways", which are polluted and congested messes because they are provided for free. Every car on the freeway near my home spews fumes into my neighborhood without compensating me. If highways were privately run toll roads, at least communities could seek compensation from the business for polluting the air in the same way they would sue a factory with a smoke stack. However, such pollution lawsuits are not even permitted. Instead, we have bureaucracies which attempt to regulate and fine pollution away. Government takes the money instead of the polluted individuals who deserve compensation. Everybody loses.

Happy Earth Day.
Now I will shed a tear with my native american friend, for pollution caused by failed enforcement of property rights.

God in Government

Examining history, one sees that mixing religion with government has often led to nasty outcomes. You've had pharaohs declaring themselves descendant of Ra and demanding worship. You've had the Spanish Inquisition. You've had human sacrifices to the Sun God. You've had the Crusades. You've had persecution of (fill-in-blank). You've had the Dark Ages. Even recently in the U.S., Sarah Palin divines that Iraq is a holy war and G.W. Bush's "war on terror" resembles an anti-islam zionist crusade. I assume this is why founders like Jefferson argued for 'separation of church and state' and wrote the First Amendment, which clearly states:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

Yet, every time I pull a dollar out of my wallet... there it is: "In God We Trust". Meanwhile, public school students are led reciting " nation, under God..." in the Pledge of Allegiance every day. Regardless of the Supreme Court's mixed bag of rulings on this, it is completely hypocritical to say one supports individual rights while at the same time advocating institutionalized monotheism on the dollar and pledge. To put this in perspective, you have to remember that there are people who believe in no god (atheists, buddhists, agnostics) and even multiple gods (shinto, pagans, etc). Why should government use the word "God" at all? Why should it institutionalize a monotheistic spirituality? I've discussed this with "christian conservatives" enough to summarize their arguments. I will do so below, and explain why they are wrong:
  • Most Americans believe in God.
    So, there should be tyranny of the majority? The founders thought democracy is mob rule, which is why we have a Constitution to protect individuals. This is the lamest argument that could be made by a so-called 'conservative'.

  • "Under God" and "In God We Trust" are time-honored traditions of our nation.
    Check your facts. So-called "conservatives" who praise the founders conveniently ignore that "God" was not once mentioned in the Constitution. It was not institutionalized onto the dollar and pledge until 1950's McCarthy anti-communist paranoia.

  • Rights derive from God. The Declaration of Independence says "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights".
    This was a eloquent letter of grievances written by Thomas Jefferson to King George. It was historical document, not a legally binding one. If you want to quote Jefferson, he also said: "Question with boldness even the existence of a god" and "it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God". Jefferson admired John Locke and "natural law". He coined the term 'separation of church and state'. The founders view on rights derived from the reason and logic of enlightenment philosophy, not spirituality. It was based on equality, individualism, and anti-statism. If individual rights require God, then how did atheist Ayn Rand become one of the greatest advocates of individualism?

  • The founders were christian.
    Even if this were so, what does it matter? They were also white. They wore powdered wigs. Should we institutionalize these characteristics as well? The truth is, many of the founders were simply "deists" (i.e. God of Nature), which would today be closer to agnostic than it would christian church-goer. Jefferson even went so far as to write his own bible, leaving out the hocus-pocus. They were thinkers who valued reason, not writing the Constitution under trance of prayer or by divine prophecy.

  • So what, "God" is just a word. It doesn't hurt anybody.
    If you make this argument, you should be okay with having "There is no god" on the dollar, or " nation, under the Flying Spaghetti Monster..." in the Pledge of Allegiance. It doesn't hurt you. However, many christians would scoff at this suggestion. Hypocrites.

  • Our laws and morality come from judeo-christian values, like the Ten Commandments.
    Sorry, but it's the other way around. Those values happen to overlap nicely with "natural law" in the areas of justice - like protecting property rights ('Thou shalt not steal') or preventing aggressive threats ('Thous shalt not kill'). The other rules like "no god before me", "no eating pork", etc. have no place in a courthouse... even for display purposes. As for taking oath on bibles? No thanks, I'll swear on a plate of spaghetti & meatballs.

Religious folks get riled up when anyone argues to take "God" from their dollar or pledge. They shouldn't... it's simply a stance for freedom and proper limits on government, not an anti-religious or atheist one. The religious right does more damage to the conservative base with their fear-based "Gasp, what if society loses God!" mentality. There are plenty of free-thinking independents and libertarians like myself who value rationality, agnosticism, and empiricism over spirituality and mysticism (especially in civics and politics). We are those voters who cringe at the thought of a politician using a Bible to legislate. You can pretty much find a quote from the Bible to justify anything. Keep government neutral and out of it. Let a christmas tree be put up in a public square, just not on taxpayer dime or time. While you're at it... let the Kwanzaa/Festivus/FSM display go up alongside if someone desires. Let parents make the choices for their children's education, instead of school boards. Let spirituality be a personal, private, and family matter. Let the word "marriage" be used by religious ceremonies, instead of being a word licensed by government. Keep government and God separate... period.

P.S. God is a libertarian.

Inventor's Kit

Well, it is kind of awesome that they sell "inventors kits". I laughed so hard when I saw that all you need is a kit to bust out your inner inventor. Ha!

I had some ideas recently of things I wish someone would invent.
Here they are... with extremely terrible visuals. (Yeah, it ain't easy to draw on a computer. I put Pictionary effort into these.)

Don't you hate when you are eating a tasty snack and that last bite comes?? Why do last bites taste so good & why does it have to end. Now it doesn't have to!
With Last-Bites Spoons... you always have another bite waiting for you.
With Last-Bites cups... there is a secret compartment holding a last tasty bite!

Baby Carry Tray
When you have a new baby... you realize that things like dinner can be difficult, when baby sometimes wakes up & needs to be held. Now you can hold baby and don't have to worry about eating with one hand, or spilling on the baby! It's a tray & baby carrier, all-in-one!

Radio Helper / TV Helper
These are both based on the concept that DJs and ads are really noisy and annoying. Software is easily capable of analyzing sound. For radio, software would track low frequency bass for repeating patterns (like drums in a song). When a rhythm is interrupted for long enough (such as someone talking)... the finger-like attachment will push the button to change the radio station.
Same concept for TV Helper, but the software will listen for rapid rise or drop in volume... which will trigger the volume button to be pushed.

Daddy Nursing
It seems babies love mama since they get to nurse, which builds quite an attachment. This can make it challenging if papa has to take over for a while. This will make baby feel right at home, and help bonding with daddy! Just insert the bottle to the gelatin filled latex pseudo-breasts, and baby won't know the difference!

drugs, whores, slaves, organs, and suicide

It's my body, not yours.

While the GOP may be an ally fighting ObamaCare for fiscal and economic reasons, they include the religious-right. So they have a poor record defending freedom with one's body. The 'social conservatives' tell you "No drugs", "No abortion", "No prostitution". The pièce de résistance was in Footloose, where they told Kevin Bacon "No dancing". This is one concept that classical liberals could relate better with the left on: telling government to butt-out of our life choices, whether it be doctor-patient relationships or bong rips. Of course, the dilemma arises when one supports socialist health care... because then our poor health choices become a burden on the state, justifying state control of our bodies (yet another reason to oppose communist health care). This leads to recent legislation like banning trans-fats, tanning beds, fish pedicures, and salt. Every activity that is made illegal presents greater tax burden for enforcement. Many of the social-conservative topics are controversial, because they touch some very grey moral topics. Let's examine:

Drugs - "Drugs lead to crime." "It's 'bad for society'."
Any 'black market' activity brings crime with it, since all participants avoid the justice system. If all drugs were legalized, would drug use increase? Experience elsewhere says no. Even if usage increased, crime associated with it would decrease since users could rely on police protection. Criminalizing things that correlate with violence is a concept contradictory with free choice and personal responsibility for one's actions. Time to outlaw rap music! Barry Manilow, here we come.
Even legal drugs are stymied by regulation. The FDA is completely unnecessary, considering that people are fully capable to weigh the risks-benefits of putting substances into their own body. Without the FDA, pharmaceutical costs would drop tremendously and there would be far more treatments available on the market. Those who were dying and desperate would have more options and be willing to take more risks. Pharma companies that lie about their products or testing would be sued out of existence.

Prostitution - "It's an abuse of women" "It spreads disease."
The abuse of women comes from the inability of prostitutes to seek police protection. Those who don't wear rubbers are dumb, whether they sleep with a hooker or a slut at a bar... and those who sleep with people who sleep with people without rubbers are just as dumb. For married folk, that's a different story. If a husband/wife cheats and gives their spouse an STD, they are more strictly accountable for violating their contract. However, the prudish laws against "the world's oldest profession" pose the greatest danger to women who participate.

Slavery - "Gasp! Racist!" "How could you support freedom and advocate slavery?"
Before you gasp, understand that I'm not talking ethnic-based slavery, or kidnapping and slave trading. Those are acts of force, violating individual rights. However, if a person is over their head in debt or has no means to provide for their family they should be able to enter a contract of indentured servitude of their own free will. They could include clauses in such a contract to prohibit abuse, set terms of expiration, or conditions for release. Such transactions were known of in the Roman Republic, a civilization of greater longevity than our short-lived USA.

Selling Organs - "It's exploitation."
It works for sperm. If markets were allowed to work for things like bone marrow, and rare blood-types... there would never be a shortage. Just imagine what it would do for kidneys. Or eyeballs. Or anything. If a man would be willing to give an arm and a leg (literally) to ensure his child is provided for, why should he be denied that choice? So long as it is voluntary, there would not be a flood of harvesting poor people's organs. Most people like their bodies intact.

Suicide or assisted-suicide - "Suicide is wrong." "Ending life is murder."
Dr. Kervorkian. I think a lot of us supported him, because we understand not wanting to be a burden on family. We understand not wanting to live a slow painful death. This is one area where religious magical, mystical mythology of purgatory causes unnecessary suffering for sick dying people, and it's a shame. If someone is depressed, hopefully they will find help... but ultimately, no one should be locked up for attempted suicide so long as they don't try to destroy other life or property while doing the deed.

It's my body, not yours... so butt the hell out.