Thursday, February 14, 2019

The People That Would Run The Green New Deal

"Red alert! A cow just farted in Iowa! Dispatch the shock troops!"
If the so-called "Green New Deal" envisioned by dimwit Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ever becomes law, it will need a whole host of disgruntled, surly Federal employees to administer it from on high in the Imperial Capitol. Just imagine entire Federal office buildings staffed with grouchy paper-pushing, over-compensated Federal "non-essential" workers receiving and filing reports on the current level of cow flatulence being emitted nationwide or the number of airliners being dismantled in favor of super affordable high speed rail. Not the planes that the Politburo Congress uses to travel, those airplanes would remain of course because the Congress is all about the people's business. Oh and celebrities could keep their planes so they can travel the world spewing exhaust from their private jets to warn the peasants about global warming. And corporate jets are OK so the CEOs can flit hither and yon. Just the planes that normal people use. Those gotta go.

So I ordered on behalf of an Amish gal three floor rugs. I ordered them at the same time from Amazon, within minutes of each other because she wanted new rugs as they are hosting church on Sunday the 17th of February. I ordered them on February 5th so we had plenty of time for them to arrive. Two of the three rugs came via UPS. I ordered them and they arrived three days later like clockwork. Alas, the third rug was sent via the United States Postal Service, run by the same profit and efficiency motivated folks that would run the New Green Deal. I live in Indiana. This rug was coming from Ohio. See map and also note the location of Detroit.

Looks pretty straightforward. Ohio borders Indiana. Easy, right?

Apparently not. We started off OK...

OK, so far, so good other than the 8th being the same day that the packages sent via UPS arrived. Next step.

OK, Pittsburgh is going the wrong direction but I assume it is a major shipping hub for the postal service. Next step.

Macomb is a suburb of Detroit. So not a direct transit to Indiana but I suppose we are sort of getting closer.

Uh. Now we are on Day 6 in transit and the rug is back in Pittsburgh where it was sent from some time over the weekend. Now granted I didn't major in geography in college but that doesn't seem to make much sense. Tick tock, church is this weekend. Now the update from Wednesday.

Oh, it is back in Detroit. Recall that on Monday it was already in a Detroit suburb before going back to Pittsburgh and now it is back in Detroit.

Fortunately at this point it left Detroit and ended up last night in the Fort Wayne postal distribution center, where it was transferred to our local post officer and delivered today with a few days to spare.

So in summary:

Ordered on the 5th

Shipped on the 7th

Two trips to Pittsburgh

Two trips to Detroit

Delivered on the 14th

Only a week later!

This wasn't sent via Amazon Prime so we needed to pay shipping for this rug. The shipping and handling cost for us was $5.49. I wonder if it cost the USPS only $5.49 to send the same rug back and forth from Ohio to Pittsburgh to Detroit to Pittsburgh to Detroit to Indiana?

Yes, I am sure that turning over all economic activity to the same people that run the Postal Service is a delightful idea.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

They Are Called Entry Level Jobs For A Reason

There is a reason that fast food jobs are at the bottom rung of the vocational ladder. We don't expect much from the employees and fast food joints and even still our already rock-bottom expectations are usually not met. Fast food is a great place for young people to work for their first job. The jobs are designed to be idiot proof, requiring no skills or experience coming in. McDonalds has hired untold millions of teens with no job experience and taught them job basics like showing up to work, getting along with co-workers and dealing with customers. They were a great, entry level job to introduce you to the world of work. These jobs were never considered to be career positions. The vast majority of people moved out of these jobs to higher paying jobs. Some move into management at fast food joints which is a decent stepping stone to better things.

We need these sorts of jobs for people with no experience and skills. My first few jobs were in retail and I learned a ton. Sure I didn't stock dog food in most of my career working in financial services but like most people I learned about taking direction from supervisors, even when I thought they were wrong, and dealing with customers, even unreasonable and rude people.

The thing about these jobs is that in order for it to make sense to hire young people with no experience, you can't pay them much. And you shouldn't. Your pay should be commensurate with the requirements of the job and your experience. In my last corporate job my position had a salary range that was $20,000 different from top to bottom. I made the very top of the scale. Many of my co-workers made closer to the bottom. But I also had a ton of experience in the industry so I could command a higher wage (plus I came from outside the company instead of moving up which tends to get you paid better). That isn't good enough for a lot of people who think that fast food and other very low/no skill jobs should pay enough for a family to live on. Thus the ridiculous "Fight for 15" movement to demand an arbitrary raise for millions of no/low skill workers just because they thought someone should pay them more. I get wanting to make more but the way you make more is to excel in your current job, gain skills and experience and then leverage that into a better position. Such ideas seem quiant in a world where we are giving serious credence to the unicorns-and-rainbows level fantasy proposal, the so-called "New Green Deal", of jumped-up tavern wench Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Now comes a new push in Sodom New York City. This brilliant idea makes it extrememly difficult to fire fast food workers: After Winning a $15 Minimum Wage, Fast Food Workers Now Battle Unfair Firings. As is typical with the Slimes Times, the headline is designed to influence the opinion before you even start reading. Notice "Unfair Firings". What makes them unfair? Well a survey of fast food workers say it is unfair. That is a scientific process!

New York City’s fast-food industry has served as a laboratory for the nation’s labor movement for the last several years.

Its workers were the first to stage rallies demanding a minimum wage of $15 an hour. Then, they pressed for changes in the way national restaurant chains set their work schedules.

Now, they are asking the City Council to shield them from being fired without a valid reason. That protection, the sort of job security that unions usually bargain for, would be a first for a city to provide to workers in a specific industry, labor law experts said.

City Councilman Brad Lander said he planned to introduce a bill on Wednesday that would require fast-food businesses to show “just cause” for firing workers and give them a chance to appeal dismissals through arbitration.

Mr. Lander, a Democrat from Brooklyn, said he was responding to surveys of fast-food workers indicating that “there’s a substantial percentage of employees that have been fired unfairly.” One woman said she was fired from a Chipotle restaurant for not smiling enough.

In a customer service industry where you are "customer facing", in other words the customer can see you (as opposed to a call center for example), smiling and being pleasant is not incidental to the job. It IS the job. In retail we were always taught that while that customer might be the 200th you saw that day, you were the first person in your job they saw. Smiling and being pleasant is the bare minimum expectation for a customer facing employee. Here are some other examples:

Princess Wright, 22, said she had worked at a McDonald’s in Downtown Brooklyn since 2014 before she was suddenly fired in November for missing a shift. Ms. Wright, who expects to graduate from Mercy College in the spring, said she had called several hours in advance of a scheduled shift to tell her boss that she was staying home to help her landlord out of a jam by babysitting.

Why that cold hearted bastard! Only in the next paragraph you read:

She argued that she had been diligent and reliable, but he cited some tardiness that she said resulted from conflicts with her classes at Mercy College.

So it sounds like she had attendance problems and then decided to skip a shift, not to care for her own child, but to babysit someone else's child. In fast food you need a certain number of people to prepare the food, take orders, clean up, etc. so when someone doesn't show up on a regular basis it screws everyone else. Read her excuse again. She was babysitting for someone else. When you don't show up so you can babysit for your landlord to help them out of a jam, it puts your boss and your co-workers in a jam instead. No wonder she was fired. Then there is this one from the photo at the top of the article, showing a melancholy Hispanic woman staring out of a window.

Francis Gomez, 26, said she was fired without warning from a Taco Bell in Queens after she swore at a delivery driver who was harassing her.

Swearing at a delivery driver seems like a no-no. Was she really being "harassed" or was she just being rude? Had she reported the harassment to her boss or HR? Or did she just fly off the handle and start cursing at a vendor? Was this a first time offense? We don't know. Since employers are very unlikely to comment specifically about employee records for liability reasons, especially to a newspaper, we just have her story and her sad face picture. Again, pretty typical storytelling from the major media, decide on your conclusion first and then fish around for examples to support your agenda.

Most employment in America is "at-will". That means I can quit at any time and for any reason and I can be dismissed at any time and for any reason. In general if you are a decent employee, you won't be arbitrarily fired because it is a pain in the butt to recruit and hire a new person. A current employee is a known quantity, hiring someone new is a gamble. Anyone that has hired has examples of people that had great resumes and interviewed well that sucked as employees. The idea that employers are firing people for no reason at all is silly. Just yesterday my Congressman tweeted out this story: US job openings jump to record high of 7.3 million. From the story:

U.S. employers posted the most open jobs in December in the nearly two decades that records have been kept, evidence that the job market is strong despite several challenges facing the economy.

The Labor Department said Tuesday that job openings jumped 2.4 percent in December to 7.3 million. That is the most since records began in December 2000. It is also far greater than the number of unemployed, which stood at 6.3 million that month.

The number of job openings is the greatest since records were kept and is more than all of the unemployed people in America. Around here every place is desperate to hire people that will actually show up, do their jobs and not be stoned.

If you just read the New York times article, you might think there are lots of great employees that maybe swear at vendors or don't show up to work for things like missing scheduled shifts because of scheduled classes and babysitting for other people but are otherwise superstar employees being fired willy-nilly. However anyone who has ever hired people knows this is complete garbage. I am not saying it never happens but I am saying it rarely happens because the hassle and cost of hiring a replacement isn't worth it. If anything, mediocre and crappy employees keep their jobs longer than they should because it isn't worth it to replace them. Businesses exist to make money and hiring people is a giant cost that saps profits. Companies that stay in business don't do that.

This is another brilliant idea proposed by people that have no clue how the world works. It is similar to AOC and her genius plan to provide free money and "economic security" to people that are unwilling to work. How could that backfire? No one owes you a job and no one owes you more pay just because you want it and no one ought to be required to keep employing you if you suck as an employee. You work at a specific job in exchange for an agreed upon salary. If you think you ought to make more, great! I often did as well and I did what everyone should do: I took my resume to the job market and saw what happened. Many times I got a new job and made a lot more money. Often I found that I had overestimated my credentials and waited until a different job came open or I had more experience. I have never been dismissed from a job for poor performance but if I did it would have been my fault.

No one can afford to pay no skill workers the same as a skilled tradesman. Demanding that you do so by regulation is simply going to accelerate the move toward automation. You can already order fast food via touch-screen kiosks, smart phone apps and centralized call centers taking drive-thru orders. Keep making no/low skill unexperienced workers more expensive and you will continue to force companies to stop hiring them and use automation in their place. Then instead of no/low skill employees making commensurately low wages while gaining valuable experience, you will have no/low skill unemployed people not making anything and not gaining any experience. That sounds like a winning strategy for the economy.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Definitions Matter

Somali refugee turned U.S. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar is in deep doodoo. She has made some remarks that struck some as a little too close to oft repeated claims of Jewish/Israeli influence over the U.S. government and the sky has been raining fire and brimstone in her world ever since. Here are the offending tweets, I took screenshots as I expect she might eventually be forced to delete them:

This kerfuffle has also seen a resurgence of the use of the words "tropes" and "canards" on social media. Now Ms. Omar didn't link to The Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion nor did she tweet out the "Happy Merchant" meme. But she did suggest that Republican support of Israel is because Jews are buying that support, which is part of the belief that Jews are more or less secretly running our government (and media and financial systems, etc.). The backlash has been swift and the condemnation near universal, which ironically would seem to reinforce some of the stereotypes.

Far be it from me to makes excuses for Ilhan Omar. I find her to be repulsive in no small measure because of the sheer ingratitude she shows toward the nation that took her in and the people that welcomed her when her family fled from her fellow Somalians. It should rightly concern all of us that people who hate this country are now elected officials making laws for the nation and people they hate and that they seem hell-bent on turning this nation into the very sort of country that they were forced to flee from in the first place. She is a hard-core lunatic Leftist and couples that will being an Islamist. Sure she has been married several times and gotten knocked-up out of wedlock but she also wears that hijab. The argument that she is a sort of Islamist trojan horse has some merit. In a way I kind of find this whole thing funny because it couldn't happen to a nicer gal and might wake some people up to the danger of an Islamist fifth column.

Pre-congress Ilhan Omar
But on the other hand, she grew up in and remains steeped in a culture where Muslims hate Jews with a loathing that most of us can't even comprehend. From a young age I assume Ms. Omar has been taught to blame the Jews for all of her woes, along with America and of course white people in general. In a manner similar to how American blacks are taught to focus more on wrongs committed 150 years ago and to blame any and every problem on "white supremacy" and "white privilege", Ms. Omar seems to be the product of a culture that loathes Jews and blames them for every problem in the Islamic world, even though most of the problems in the Islamic world are self-inflicted. The Muslim hatred of Jews is deeply religious as well as ingrained in their culture, and that is a lethal combination. That is why it seems so odd that so many Jews clamor the loudest for mass migration when so many of those migrating are Muslim, and then in Europe and America they are baffled as to the rise of antisemitism. There should be a warning here for our society: when you steep young people, generation after generation, with a hatred for other races and blame them for all of your problems, it creates a dangerous environment.

But is it "anti-semitic"? I am not asking if Ms. Omar is antisemitic, just asking if what she tweeted and suggested is inherently antisemitic.

Let me lay it out. One can question the role of AIPAC, a lobbying organization that advocates for a foreign nation and dispenses money to American politicians, a group that is given an enormous amount of deference for a group that lobbies on behalf of Israel, without being anti-semitic. I have frequently questioned our relationship with Israel and have unapologetically asked why a nation that is as advanced and wealthy as Israel is getting billions upon billions in "foreign aid" from a nation that is $21 trillion in debt (see my post Foreign Aid Foolishness). I have some concerns about what I see as a one way "alliance" where America pays billions a year in aid and pledges to protect a nation while getting nothing in return. Pledging to protect Israel is one thing, pretending it is an "alliance" is another. I am likewise concerned that our unquestioning support for Israel is based in bad theology and is one of the factors working in tandem to constantly get America involved in Middle Eastern wars where we have no national security interest. That is not "antisemitic", it is simply an America First nationalist foreign policy that I support returning to.

I want to be clear here. I absolutely support the right of the Jewish people to have their own homeland and to have self-determination, a right I support for all people of every ethnicity, race and religion. I just question whether we should be giving Israel $3 billion a year in perpetuity or whether we should be sending "foreign aid" money to any nation as our own nation has crumbling infrastructure, desperately needs a wall on our southern border and oh yeah is headed over the fiscal cliff like Thelma and Louise. I have come concerns over the amount of access and influence AIPAC wields, not because they are Jewish but because they lobby on behalf of a foreign nation. I also am deeply concerned about the Chinese buying influence in Washington and groups like CAIR that come barking like a junkyard dog whenever anyone Muslim is accused of a crime. Having said that, I am an NRA member and absolutely expect them to lobby Congress on my behalf in defense of my 2nd Amendment rights. So we all have our special interest groups but only some of them are off-limits for scrutiny.

Unfortunately, having someone clearly as hostile to Jews because they are Jewish like Ilhan Omar makes it nearly impossible to have a rational conversation about these issues. When you add in advocacy groups that conflate any questioning of American policy toward Israel as "anti-semitic", it makes it worse. Furthermore, it also tends to reinforce the views of those who see a Jewish conspiracy when you see the hysteria over two tweets.

Do you truly think Nancy Pelosi and the Democrat leadership cares about antisemitism or what this crackpot representing Little Mogadishu tweeted? Of course not. Protestations against antisemitic language are just a way to keep the peace between the different identity groups that make up the Democrat coalition and Jews are fairly inexplicably one of the most reliable Democrat voting blocs. What the Left cares about is power. That is why Ralph Northam, the blackface and/or KKK hood wearing Governor of Virginia and Justin Fairfax, the rapist back-stabbing Lieutenant Governor of the same, are still in office and look like they will stay there. Right now they are hunkered down hoping something draws attention away from them. The reason they are staying in office is that if they step down over these allegations, then so should next in line for the Governorship, Virginia Attorney General (and fellow Democrat) Mark Herring who has also admitted to wearing blackface. That would lead to House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox becoming governor and Cox is a Republican and holding a Governorship trumps hurt feelings. So at a minimum one of these three Democrats will stay in office because again what Democrats care about is not #MeToo or racism. It is only power.

Ilhan Omar will survive this kerfuffle. The point has been made. Ironically in doing so it actually reinforces the notion that Jews are an untouchable group. How dare you say that Jews control the government and media! Now to prove you are wrong we will see the entire government apparatus jump on you with both feet and coerce a lackluster apology from you while the media covers this 24-7 and publishes endless quotes from people in power denouncing you.

In a free society no one and no group is off-limits for criticism. Once you start to partition some political speech off into a forbidden category, you open up all political speech for censorship and that is something a free society cannot survive.

Monday, February 11, 2019

There Is Only One Way Out Of This

This sums it up.

HT: John Wilder with several further HTs. Also a very interesting look at the history of Chile and some interesting prophetic views of our possible future.

How Did Parents Raise Children Before Professional Daycare?

Look at this tweet from Commissar Senator Bernie Sanders and see if you can pick out what is missing:

Hmmm. If the ages from 0 to 4 are the most important years of human development, shouldn't that be the time when those children are being given the very best care? I learned to read at 4 and was an accomplished reader before I started kindergarten, giving me a huge head start. So who provides the very best care to children from ages 0-4....

Hey I know, maybe the people who care the most about those children. Like, for example, their own parents! What a crazy, novel idea!

But that isn't what Comrade Bernie wants. He wants parents to trot their babies off as early as possible to some government funded baby feed lot where the kids are warehoused until they are old enough to move onto the human veal calf factories we call public schools. So what we really need are more and more mothers in the workforce so they can pay more in taxes to subsidize child-care centers for those mothers to leave their kids at so....they can go to work. It is circular reasoning. You need to work because it is so expensive to pay for daycare but you only need daycare because you have to go to work because you have to pay for daycare....

Maybe policies that encouraged parents, hopefully mothers, to stay home and raise their own kids instead of dumping them off in an institutional feed lot with dozens of other kids, might be better? But we don't want that because people like Bernie think the very worst people to raise children are the parents of that child. I happen to think the best place for a child to be raised is by their mother in their own home but that means that kids might not get the proper indoctrination.

The Left and the globalist corporate world only see people as economic units, units of production and units of consumption. A parent that is home with their child is not producing anything and therefore is not consuming as much. We didn't spend as frivolously during the decades my wife was home with the kids as we probably would have if she worked a job. We scrimped and scraped by. We didn't buy the latest electronic gadgets or new outfits and we never went to Disney world. We took vacations to my parent's place on the lake. We were not very useful to the globalist economy.

The vision of progressives is of parents working at meaningless jobs so they can pay taxes and buy cheap crap made overseas while overwhelmed day-care workers ride herd on hordes of toddlers that really, really want to be home with mom but instead are thrown into chaotic holding pens. The American people only exist to fund the government and buy the crap they are told to buy so it doesn't matter who those Americans are, just so long as they are compliant. My vision and the vision of many others is the exact opposite. For me, a culture where parents cannot afford or at least are convinced they cannot afford, to have and raise their own children is a sick and degenerate culture that needs to be burned down, no matter how many Chinese-made baubles you can buy from Wal-Mart. The marks of a healthy society are not workforce participation, subsidized daycare and quarterly profits hitting their targets. The marks are a moral people that prioritizes having and raising the next generation with an economy that works for the people instead of the other way around.

The clash between those worldviews is going to dominate the next decade.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Indiana, We Can And Must Do Better

I happened across the Giffords Law Center To Prevent Gun Violence state rankings and my adopted home state of Indiana received an unacceptable score:

Come on Indiana! A D- for crying out loud? Getting a D- means there is still room for improvement. According to their scorecard rankings a whopping 22 states get a coveted "F" rating. We need to do better as a state to improve our grade, if gun-grabbers like the Giffords Law Center think we are doing anything right, we need to correct that immediately.

I am pretty embarrassed to be a Hoosier right now. We can do better. I won't rest until we receive an "F" rating.


Another solid quote from Ol' Remus:

A well fed man has many problems, a hungry man has one.

Without food and water, all of your plans and tactical cargo pants aren't going to count for much.