Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Insidious Lies of Feminism

When any goal-oriented organization begins to near achievement of their goal, no matter how loosely organized they are, there is a tendency for that organization to shift the goalposts to keep from ever “achieving” their goal, because in doing so, the organization becomes obsolete. 

This is sort of an offshoot of the “Iron Law of Bureaucracy” where most participants in an organization eventually begin to act in a manner that serves to expand and perpetuate the organization, as opposed to actually meeting the organization’s goal. 

I can think of a couple of examples in modern times.  Some of the labor unions that exist today are good examples – they served a great purpose at first, but as they met their goals, the goals became increasingly trivial and increasingly damaging to the businesses with whom they are affiliated.

The topic of this posting, however, is feminism. 

Flame suit on…

In my opinion, feminism in its current permutation, and given its current goals, is doing massive amounts of harm to society, and to young, impressionable girls who buy into their insidious lies, hook, line, and sinker.  There are several reasons that I believe this to be true:

1.      Feminism’s goals have shifted:

There was a time when women were faced with a distinct lack of choice in their own self-determination.  Their option essentially was: find a husband, get married, have his kids, and rely on him to support you until you die. 

There were a few other options, to be completely honest, but they were fewer and much more far between than most of us would care to admit, and many of them were pretty undesirable.

Enter the feminist movement.  Their goal was to give women choice, and through most of the early to middle 20th century, this is exactly what they did – it became much more common for women to work outside of the home during these times, and as a result, women were given a much broader range of choices in their lives.

Feminism wasn’t satisfied, however, and pushed further, and this is where the feminist movement and I part ways, because they are now causing untold misery and unhappiness with their poison, starting with:

2.      Their goals are Now Contrary to a Woman’s Biological Imperatives:

Feminist’s have moved the goalposts now that the primary objective – more freedom of choice for women – has been met.  They are now pushing for equality between men and women, when no such equality can ever exist, because men and women are not equals. 

If you feel your face reddening and your collar heating up with that last statement, then I urge you to calm down and hear me out, because you actually agree with me here, even if you don’t realize it yet. 

If women and men are equals, why is there a WNBA and an NBA?  Why is there men’s and women’s figure skating?  If they are truly equal, why the separation between them in professional sports?

Can a man give birth to children?  Can a woman sire a baby?  Are men generally larger, stronger, and more aggressive than women?  Are you trying to tell me that before we had conquered speech and reason, and “society” was hardly even a thing, that the reason that women generally did not go mammoth hunting with the men is because the differences between men and women were socialized, and not actual hard, concrete differences? 

Is it so hard to believe that the differences between men and women are more than skin deep?  More than simply physical differences in size and capability?  Is it so hard to believe that men and women are also different from each other on a psychological scale, wired totally differently by biology because each sex has different biological imperatives?  That men and women were made differently by biology, evolution, or God (whichever you prefer) so that they could complement each other, rather than be equals? 

This is where feminism goes off the track, because they want equality when natural law dictates thatno such thing can possibly exist – nor should it!  They say that a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle, all the while ignoring the fact that the path to true happiness for most men and most women is to find a partner to fulfill their biological imperatives through and with.  Feminism has shifted from attempting to create more choice for women, to a new, strange situation where they are actually trying to remove certain, “undesirable” choices. 

A woman’s biological imperative is different than a man’s.  Feminism argues that this is simply socialized in us by society, but they are wrong.  A woman’s biological imperative is to care for, nurture, and raise children.  A man’s biological imperative is to provide for a family, and defend them from the slings and arrows that life throws their way.  If this weren’t the case, as Aretae so aptly points out in the previously linked posting, the human race could not exist.

I’m not saying that we should pigeonhole every woman into child-rearing any more than we need to pigeon-hole every man into fatherhood and corporate slavery.  There needs to be choice to do whatever you want in life.  What I’m suggesting is that there is a hard-wiring in our heads pushing us in the direction of those things, and true fulfillment of our psychologically needed, biological imperatives should not be hand-waived away as being part of some imposed patriarchal societal force. 

Women need choice just as much as men, but feminism has attempted to remove and belittle one of those choices as being invalid, and the choice that they are belittling is the choice that carries the strongest urges towards happiness and fulfillment – to raise a family and be a wife. 

Don’t believe me?  Then why did the staunchest feminists of all spend most of their middle-aged years desperately throwing money at IVF clinics in the hopes of fulfilling their imperative (and mostly, unfortunately for them, in vain?)  Why do older feminists tend to be bitter, writing screeds on the internet about how society won’t let them be happy unless they’ve had children, while completely ignoring the fact that society is not the cause of their unhappiness at all? 

It’s because they haven’t done what they were biologically hard-wired to do, and they are regretting it, even if on a subconscious level.  That was their choice, and while I’m sorry that many of them are unhappy with their choices, where I get crossed up with them is that they are clamoring as loudly as they can to drag as many impressionable, young women along with them on their path to unhappiness and destruction as possible. 

My wife, for instance, has seen the uselessness in the current feminist ideology, and realizes that she only just barely, at my urging, managed to avoid falling into their trap.  She was against having children, because she bought into the feminist line that they would be an anchor around her neck, keeping her from fulfilling her true life and career goals.  Once she gave birth to our daughter, she constantly remarks on how stupid it was for her to put her career over her family, because she realized that:

3.      Feminism Simply Traded Working for your Family and a Man that you love, for Working for “The Man.”:

Any smart person can tell you that if you’re looking for life fulfillment and happiness only through your career, you’re generally headed down the road to unhappiness.  Most happy men have stricken a balance between family life and their career, and do so simply because a career is a heartless, empty thing; full of personal accomplishment, but devoid of any love or care for you, and the person that you are. 

The corporate grind will chew you up and spit you out, and when it does, the only thing you have is your family.  Your job isn’t going to mourn you at your funeral, nor remember you after your death.  Careers are important, but they are a means to an end, and that end is the raising of a family, and the fulfillment of your biological imperative. 

In true “grass is greener on the other side” form, feminism failed to understand this.  They thought that they were freeing a woman from the chains of mother- and wife-hood, so that they could soar into a life of fulfillment through their careers, no longer fettered by their families.

All they succeeded in doing is to shift the obligation from husband and family, to boss and job.  One set of “chains” for another.  They failed to realize that while they saw men as being “free” because they had the option to work outside the home, that men actually weren’t any more free, because they still had to work, often times in soul- and body-crushing, horrible jobs that they hated, simply to make ends meet back home.

Feminists traded “a man” for “the man” and didn’t even see it coming. 

So what difference does it make if a woman labors for the betterment of her family, or if she labors for the betterment of her career (and a paycheck)? 

A big difference, but one opposite of the difference that feminists would see, for the reasons listed above.  A career is an empty, uncaring thing.  A family is not.  A career fulfills no biological imperative.  A family does.  Women looked at a man’s career and envied his ability to have one, without realizing that most happy men don’t gather their happiness from their career, but through their family, for which their career is merely a means to an end.  Those that only find happiness through their careers are generally not nearly as happy as those who have stricken a balance in life, and their families suffer, too.  Cave men weren’t only happy that they killed a mammoth, they were also (and perhaps mostly) happy that they were able to feed their family with the meat from that mammoth.

The problem with feminism is that they look to the mammoth kill in their quest for equality, but fail to consider the fact that there needs to be a reason for the kill, in order for it to be satisfying on a biological level.  Feminism has become a selfish, “me first” way of looking at life, that leaves women’s every superficial desire met, while completely ignoring that there is more to life than superficial desires, and that the most fulfilling life that any of us can lead is one in service to our loved ones, as opposed to one lived in service to ourselves. 

4.      The ideal feminist lifestyle will almost inevitably lead to unhappiness:

Maybe not right away.  Maybe right now, it feels good to be in service to yourself, and to fulfill your own superficial desires.  I’ll concede that it may even be a good thing for everyone to live like this for a while (both women and men), if for no other reason than to get it out of their system, and to realize that while a life lived this way can be fun, and less stressful, and temporarily more rewarding than a life lived in service to your loved ones, that fun and reward dries up eventually because you are hard wired not to live this way. 

Our species would never have made it if we were all so selfish and self-centered as to live our lives in service to ourselves and no other.  We are hard wired to devote ourselves to a family.  Even if you don’t feel it now, you eventually will, and hopefully it happens to you long before it happened to the likes of Gloria Steinem and her ilk, who spent massive amounts of money desperately trying to fulfill their biological imperatives through IVF cinics and finally find happiness, far after it was too late for them to do so. 

My wife is a perfect example.  She fell for the feminist line early in life, and truly believed that a family, and specifically children, would ruin her life.  We spent all of our twenties playing and traveling and enjoying ourselves, and we had a blast; but we were living selfishly, and eventually that started to wear on me, and I wanted more.  I didn’t force anything on my wife, but I did state my case, trying to convince her that it was time to devote our lives to our family instead of to ourselves.  I think she knew that I was right, because it didn’t take much suggestion from my part before we had our daughter.  My wife looks back at how she used to look at motherhood and having a family, and realizes now what a fool we both were.  We still travel.  We still run all over the place having fun, but now we do it both for ourselves and for our daughter.  She hasn’t slowed us down, she has just given all of the fun things we do more meaning, because now we are doing it for her as well as for ourselves.  I am so much more happy, and so is my wife, now that we have our family. 

Do not fall into the feminist trap, ladies, because the feminist ideal, as it currently sits, is a recipe for misery and unhappiness.

One more thing, and this is important, so don’t forget that:

5.      You can have both a family and a career if you’re willing to sacrifice a little on both fronts:

Life is about sacrifice.  Men have known that all along, but it seems that the feminist movement has forgotten about that.  They want a life without sacrifice, and don’t seem to understand that no such thing can possibly exist.  There seems to be a popular belief by the feminist movement that if a woman has to sacrifice anything in getting whatever she wants out of life, that it is unfair and a result of the patriarchy influencing their decisions.  They don’t get that every choice in life leads to sacrifice.  If you have the hamburger for dinner, you sacrifice your chances at having the steak.  Men have been sacrificing for years, and it never  even occurs to us to whine about that.

I sacrificed my desire to be a forestry major, and became a Construction Management major because I decided that it was more important to have a paycheck than it was to be searching for a job that I love to do, but doesn’t exist.  We all sacrifice every single day, and another thing feminism seems to be missing is that very few sacrifices are the “either/or” choice that they seem to be foisting on young women.  There are varying levels to every choice.  You don’t have to choose between being a stay at home Mom, or having a career.  You just have to sacrifice one for the other in varying degrees.

I have two strong women in my life, both of whom flipped the bird to feminism and proved that you can have it all, and career vs. motherhood and marriage is not an “either/or” choice. 

The first woman is my mother, who had my older brother when she was 21 years old, fresh out of college, and who was a stay-at-home mother until he was 13 and I was 11.  Her dream was to be a teacher.  She fulfilled her dream to become a teacher, once she had fulfilled her dream of being a mother and raising a family.  She just put off her career for 13 years.  She is now ready to retire this year, after 26 years of teaching.  This was a long and satisfying career for her, and yet she still got to stay at home and raise her family.  She didn’t sacrifice one for the other, she just balanced them so that she could have it all.  She did a wonderful job at both, and I can’t even begin to explain to you how much her being home with us in our formative years meant to my brother and I. 

The second woman is my wife.  She works at her career, full-time, while we work together to raise our child, with the help of her mother.  Our daughter spends maybe 10 hours a week in daycare, and the rest of the time she’s either with her mother, her father, or her grandma.  Mrs. Goober hasn’t given up anything, and is still working to provide for her daughter in the way that she knows best.   

The insidious lies that feminism tells you is that you should deny your path to happiness, in fulfilling your biological imperatives, in exchange for a selfish life lived in service to your superficial desires, and this will lead to destruction and unhappiness in the end.  Just ask Gloria Steinem.  

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

XKCD What if?

By now I’ll assume that most (if not all) of you are familiar with the webcomic xkcd.  It is a comic about all sorts of things, and it is pretty funny and enjoyable, and I highly recommend it. 

But this posting isn’t about the comic, itself.  It is about the “what if” section of the xkcd website.  You see, Randall, the guy who writes the comic, is a person of certified galactic intellect and knows a thing or two about physics (you’ll understand why that is a massive understatement if you ever get hooked on “what if?” like I have).

Every Tuesday, he takes a question from the internet and answers it to best of his ability, and then “Mythbusters” it in awesome form, by taking the question and ramping it up to theoretical levels. 

For instance, when asked “what is the worst thing that can happen when using a pressure cooker?”Randall gives the standard answer:

Pressure cookers are dangerous.They can explode, in a sense, but not as violently as you might fear (or hope). The pressure inside a consumer cooker doesn’t go above about two atmospheres—about the pressure inside a can of soda. Those levels can be dangerous, but they’re generally not high enough to cause the metal to violently rupture.
So what makes a pressure cooker dangerous?Imagine a world where Pepsi is scalding hot. Now imagine that someone shakes up a can of Pepsi and sets it in front of you. That’s the real threat from a pressure cooker: If the seal fails (or the lid is opened too early), it can spray scalding stew in all directions.
But it’s not really an explosion

Then he gives the “Randall” version:

Of course, the question wasn’t about whether a pressure cooker is likely to explode. It was about what the worst thing that could happen was… for my money, one of the most horrifying things you could do is this:
(Note: Never try this, for reasons which will become obvious in a moment.)Fill the cooker with oxygen up to 5 PSI, then pump in fluorine until it starts escaping through the safety valve. Put the vessel over an open flame until it reaches 700°C (That’s °C, not °F. Yes, this will probably set off the smoke alarm.) Now, pump the hot gas over a liquid-oxygen-cooled stainless steel surface.The procedure here is a little tricky, but if you do things right, the gas will condense into dioxygen difluoride (O2F2).And that stuff is awful.
Ray Bradbury taught us that paper burns when exposed to oxygen at temperatures above 451°F. Dioxygen difluoride is so volatile that it makes almost any organic substance ignite and explode at any temperature hotter than 300°F below zero. It can literally make ice catch fire.
In an article about O2F2, Chemistry blogger Derek Lowe (of the excellent In The Pipeline
) used phrases like “violently hideous”, “deeply alarming”, and “chemicals that I never hope to encounter”.

Imagine: a colorless, odorless gas that will make any organic substance spontaneously combust and explode.  Is it necessary to point out, dear reader, that we are all made up of 100% certifiable, bonafide organic substances?  Shall I further elaborate on the horrors of such a compound? 

There is another article in there about ending the world via an 1.8terawatt hairdryer enclosed in a metal box.  I shit you not.

The stuff he comes up with is both fascinating and funny as hell all in one, and I highly recommend that you pop over and check it out.  Xkcd “what if?” FTW!  

Friday, April 19, 2013

Gun Control Legislation Fails...

...and we are treated to yet another example of Barack Obama going before a nation that told him “no,” and having him explain to us why we really wanted what he was proposing, and how it was just because we couldn’t understand him that we didn’t line up to punch the card for his idea. 

I’m getting so sick of being preached to by this pseudo-intellectual lightweight about how I’m so stupid and he’s so smart, and the only reason that I disagree with him is because he is too smart to be able to speak in terms stupid enough for me to understand him. 

This wasn’t a failure of communication, Barack – I read you just fine. It’s just that – and I know that this is going to come as a shock to you, so stick with me here – I think what you were pushing for was stupid, poorly-thought-out, rights stripping, reactionary nonsense. Amazingly enough, so did the Senate.

Sickening Blood Dancing, Proven Wrong Once Again

I can’t help but be sickened at how absolutely gleeful so many people were at the prospect that the Boston Bombers would be tea-party “extremists.”  I won’t link to them, because Borepatch took care of it already, and I’m lazy as fuck.  So go over there, click through some of the links he offers up.  It will piss you off.  Here’s a snippet:

- Just hours after the bombing, Michael Moore blamed the Tea Party for the tragedy, tweeting “2+2 =” followed by “Tax Day. Patriots Day.”
 - A Salon.com opinion piece published last night entitled, “Let’s hope the Boston Marathon bomber is a white American,” expressed the desire that the “bomber ends up being a white anti-government extremist.”
 - Former Bill Clinton advisor David Axelrod also hinted yesterday on MSNBC that the attack could have been a form of tax protest.
 - A US Forest Service PR rep also took to Twitter to blame the bombing on the Tea Party, writing, “I fear nutty logic goes like this … Patriots Day. April 15. Tax Day. Bad government. Boston. Tea Party. Let’s show ‘em.”
 - Actor and comedian Jay Mohr blamed the bombings on the Second Amendment, tweeting, “What bothers me most about today is that we’re getting used 2 it. ENOUGH. 2nd amendment must go. Violence has 2 stop. Culture MUST change.”
And these people are once again, like Contessa Brewer the last time, going to be absolutely despondent that the offenders once again turned out to be Islamist extremists.  Not upset that people were killed and injured, but that reality once again proved their political worldview to be wrong.

How fucking sickening are these people?  They remind me of the blood-dancers after Newtown, waving the bloody t-shirts of those dead kids to forward their political views before they had even removed the bodies from them. 

Fuck you, people.  If your political worldview is so important to you that you immediately start spinning tragedy for political gain before they’ve even finished cleaning up the scene of the crime, then you seriously need to look at yourself in the mirror and try to figure out what the hell went wrong – because something is wrong with you…

Seriously, profoundly wrong.  

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Censorious Thuggery in Ohio - Popehat...

The Popehat Signal is UP!!!

This time it’s about a lady who posted a negative review of a company that she did business with on Ebay, who is getting run through the wringer by that company’s lawyer for her negative feedback. 

On February 12, lOB, Nicholls paid for the item and shipping via Pay Pal. Promptly after receiving Nicholls' payment, Med Express took the equipment to the Valley City post office. where it was weighed and shipped to Nicholls. Med Express paid the full amount of the shipping cost, but for some reason unknown to Med Express, the equipment was received by Nichols with $1.44 postage due.
7. When notified of the problem, Med Express immediately offered to reimburse Nicholls for the postage due amount. Despite this offer, and before giving Med Express a chance to reimburse her, Nicholls on February 26, 2013, apparently as a result of the $1.44 postage due, posted negative feedback and comments for the transaction on Ebay's website and gave Med Express low ratings in the Detailed Seller Ratings section of Ebay's Feedback Forum, resulting in an unfavorable feedback profile for Med Express. In so doing, Nicholls falsely and deliberately slandered the good name and reputation of Med Express

I would like to point out that regardless of whether she was reimbursed for the postage due, she was still inconvenienced by that, and had every right to post about that on Ebay.  The lawyer for this company admits that she didn’t do anything illegal, and even goes so far as to hint that she will win if the thing goes to court.  However, he snidely reminds the woman that the lawsuit is filed in Ohio – far from her home – and that the lawyer fees and cost of travel will be far more of a burden to her than to just remove her negative feedback from Ebay.

I contacted James Amodio, Med Express’s lawyer, to explain to him the many ways in which his lawsuit is untenable. He readily admitted that, as the complaint admits, everything that the customer had posted in her feedback was true; he did not deny that a statement has to be false to be actionable as defamation; but he just plain didn’t care. To the contrary, he told me that I could come up to Medina, Ohio, and argue whatever I might like, but that the case was going to continue unless the feedback was taken down or changed to positive. And he explained why his client was insisting on this change — he said that it sells exclusively over eBay, where a sufficient level of negative feedback can increase the cost of such sales as well as possibly driving away customers

This is absolutely unforgivable, and I think that this company, Med Express Sales, needs to be introduced to the Streisand Effect, post haste.  You want to talk about driving away customers, pal?  How about filing bumptious lawsuits against your dissatisfied customers?  If you do business with them, the decision is yours whether you choose to continue to do so now that you know the way that they will comport themselves if you ever find yourself dissatisfied with their services.  The decision is yours, but I know what I would do. 

Go to the Popehat link.  Retweet, repost, and link to it in any way you can.  Let’s make sure that Med Express Sales is made to realize that we won’t tolerate censorious thuggery.  

Stop Hurting Innocent People!

I don’t care what “noble” cause you think you’re fighting for; when you take your fight to innocent 78 year old men and 8 year old boys out trying to enjoy a civic event, you are doing it wrong.  There isn't a hell hot enough for people like whomever set off those bombs, and I don’t care what his cause is.

I could speculate that since it was tax day and Patriot’s Day, that it was some domestic terrorist in a “patriot” movement.  If that is the case, you don’t forward your cause of freedom and a return to a Constitutionalist government by killing an 8 year old boy.  In fact, all you do is give the government another reason to tighten the screws every time you do these things, and in the process, you killed an 8 year old boy, you scum.

I could speculate that it was Islamic terrorism.  If that is the case, you don’t glorify your god by killing 8 year old boys.  You merely taint him with your actions, and if he is truly good and just, he despises you for what you did yesterday. 

You see, it doesn't matter what the cause is.  Your beef is with someone other than the people that you killed, and that means that you are doing it wrong.  

Friday, April 12, 2013

Fishing for Landlocked Chinook Salmon on Lake Coeur d'Alene

Outdoor update flash!  Went fishing on Lake Coeur d’Alene yesterday for landlocked Chinook Salmon.  There is an interesting back-story behind this fish population.  I thought I’d share.

Historically, it is believed that Lake Coeur d’Alene would not have had salmon runs in it (but no one knows for sure).  The salmon would have run from the Pacific Ocean into the Columbia River, then up the Spokane River to spawn, but they were blocked from entering Lake Coeur d’Alene by Post Falls, about 6 miles below the lake on the lake’s outlet: the Spokane River.  The construction of Grand Coulee dam on the Columbia River in the 1930s blocked passage to all salmon upstream, and so the salmon runs in the Spokane River near Lake Coeur d’Alene were extirpated. 

Some salmon, however, lived on. 

Life…  finds a… way…

There were sockeye salmon that made the long runs from the lake to the ocean and back prior to the dam being constructed.  Sockeye salmon are different from other salmon, in that they spawn in lakes, and spend a good portion of their juvenile lives in the lakes before they run downstream into rivers and head for the ocean.  Most salmon spawn in rivers, and more or less start their trek to the ocean on day one of their lives, as the river washes them downstream. 

The thing about sockeye is that some of them never leave the lake, even back in the days when they still could head for the ocean.  No one really knows why they adapted to do this, but they’ve been doing it for millennia, and it gave them a unique advantage over the other salmon species when we humans came along and built the dams. 

The sockeye that hang back and never go anadramous are called “kokanee” and the lakes around here, including Coeur d’Alene, are all full of them.  They don’t typically get as big as the ocean-run sockeye did.  The average ocean run sockeye in this system would be in the 3 to 5 pound range.  The average kokanee is less than a pound. 

The thing is that like their ocean-run brethren, the kokanee are delicious.  Anglers highly prize kokanee, not for their size or their fight, but because they are excellent table fare.  But their size is a concern, because, hell, if you’re going to go catch them, why not try to make them bigger and better fighters? 

Some lakes, like Lake Roosevelt (a lake actually created by Grand Coulee dam, and isolated from the ocean-run salmon at the same time as its creation) boast very large kokanee; they approach their size of the ocean run brethren in that lake.  The speculation for this is that there are also landlocked Chinook (also known as King) Salmon in Roosevelt.  The landlocked Chinook in Lake Roosevelt are 100% natural – no one put them there.  Lake Roosevelt is a reservoir created by Grand Coulee Dam, and is part of the Columbia River, meaning that the river that used to run through where the lake is now used to have some of the most epic salmon runs the world had ever seen, prior to the construction of Grand Coulee Dam.  In the Lake Coeur d’Alene and Spokane River system, none of the Chinook survived the damming.  In the Lake Roosevelt system, some did; and those that did adapted to life in a huge freshwater lake, as opposed to a huge saltwater ocean.

Dude, seriously.  I’m telling you that life… finds… a way…

The presence of the land-locked Chinook Salmon in Lake Roosevelt had a curious effect on the land-locked Sockeye Salmon (kokanee) in Lake Roosevelt: they got BIG.  The theory is that the Chinook, being very voracious, predatory fish, fed on the smaller, plankton-feeding kokanee (that’s another interesting thing about the Sockeye – they are the only salmon species that isn’t primarily a predator, and instead eat zooplankton).  The kokanee that survived were typically the ones that had grown large enough to avoid being eaten, meaning the genetic strain in the lake was modified to favor larger fish.  Also, the culling resulted in there being more food for the larger kokanee that were left, meaning that they grew larger. 

Idaho Department of Fish and Game did not miss this observation, and so decided that if it worked in Lake Roosevelt, it would surely work in Lake Coeur d’Alene, which had a population of kokanee in it, also (presumably a remnant from a time before Post Falls blocked the salmon from getting into Lake Coeur d’Alene – or maybe they were introduced.  I’m not sure).  So, back in the 70s, they decided to release Chinook Salmon into Lake Coeur d’Alene to see if they could help make the kokanee fishery better, like they did in Lake Roosevelt. 

When they released them, the IDFG made two assumptions:

1.      That the existence of Chinook Salmon in Lake Coeur d’Alene would only be temporary, since it was assumed that they would be unable to reproduce and create a self-sustaining population. 
2.      That the Chinook population would necessarily result in larger kokanee. 

They were wrong on both counts, at least so far. 

The kokanee population crashed.  There was some speculation as to why this might have been, but many people thought that this was actually part of the process of culling the kokanee and allowing them to grow larger.  No one knew what had happened to the kokanee in Roosevelt after the dam was built – maybe their population crashed, too? 

Also, the Chinook started swimming up the Coeur d’Alene and St. Joe rivers and spawning.  Coeur d’Alene lake became their new ocean, and they became a self-sustaining, viable population. 

I’m not going to say it again…

IDFG panicked.  They started flying helicopter sorties up the rivers to spot Chinook spawning reds and destroy them, to no avail.  Throughout most of the 1980’s, the IDFG was on a mission to try and get the Chinook out off the lake and save the kokanee.  In the 90’s however, they had a realization:

The kokanee were coming back.  They weren’t any bigger, but they were coming back in good enough numbers to say that they had returned, and their populations are still in good enough numbers that IDFG isn’t worried about them anymore. 

They also realized one other thing:

Anglers absolutely loved the Chinook Salmon fishery, and the presence of Chinook in that lake was bringing in lots and lots of money to the local economy. 

So they built a hatchery and started putting Chinook in the lake again.  Everything seems to have found a nice balance, and it appears as though maybe the kokanee are getting bigger, slowly. 

But the Chinook…  oh, man, the Chinook.  They are getting BIG.  There is a reason that they call them King Salmon, and it’s because on a size basis, none of the other salmon species even get close.  Last year during the Chinook derby on the lake, a lady caught a 27.7 pound Chinook Salmon out of Lake Coeur d’Alene.  That is the size of a three year old child.  That is a big fish, ladies and gentlemen. 

And so, whenever the remaining anadramous rivers around here aren’t currently experiencing a run of salmon or steelhead, I augment my fishing habit by heading for Lake Coeur d’Alene and fishing for land-locked Chinook Salmon.  Yesterday, after work, I did just that.  I fished from 5 pm until after dark.  We hooked 4, and boated two.  They weren’t very big, but the big ones are out there, and the intoxicating possibility that I might catch one of them draws me back, day after day, to face the often rough and white-capped waters of this amazing, beautiful lake. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Discrimination in Employment

I read a posting by Ken over at Popehat earlier today dealing with some of the supposed pitfalls being brought up by detractors of same-sex marriage.  The post is great, so I suggest that you go over and read it, but the post, itself, isn’t the topic of what I am writing about here.

Incidentally, within that post, there was a discussion about a photographer who was sued for discrimination by a gay couple because he refused to photograph their wedding.  The gay couple prevailed.

A comment was posted by a commenter in response to this.  Here is the entire text of the comment:
  While there has been much decrying of the problems of photographer refusing to shoot a gay wedding losing a New Mexico equal rights case, after thinking about it, I've concluded that the correct outcome occurred.
Consider the situation had the photographer refused to shoot a inter-racial wedding _because they were inter-racial_. Or a black wedding _because they were black_. Or a Jewish wedding _because they were Jewish_How about if fired someone _because they were Jewish_ (or black, or gay)?
I couldn’t disagree more with him, and said so:
 I don't want to live in a country where we force people to do things against their will, even if they are refusing to do these things because they are bigoted assholes.  In a free country, a photographer necessarily has the right to refuse to photograph any wedding for any reason whatsoever, including those reasons listed above in your comment. 
This is actually the better result in this situation, because the photographer isn't forced to do something he doesn't want to do ( which is wrong, no matter how you parse it) and the rest of us get to see the bigoted asshat's true colors.  We shouldn't restrict bigoted asshats from showing their true colors, otherwise we'll continue accidentally doing business with them.
 Additionally, I posted about his comment regarding his statements about employment:

If a person owns a business, it is his business, not yours, not mine, and not the government's.  If he doesn't want to hire someone for being black, or wants to fire them for the same, then in my opinion, he has every right to do that and no law should stop him from doing so.  Simply because there are currently laws on the books that do make this illegal doesn't make it right.
 I say this for the same reasons I stated above.  Personal freedom trumps all, and that business belongs to the businesses owner, not anyone else.  In this day and age, such a business wouldn't last for very long, anyway, so even without that law, I suspect that this would never, ever be a problem, because any shrewd asshat will keep his opinions to himself in order to protect his business, and any asshat that doesn’t will soon fade away into obscurity because no one will do business with him.
 Besides, what person in the above listed groups would want to work for a person, whom the only reason that they don't fire them is because it is illegal?
 And why would you want to create a law that would essentially cover for these buttholes, when without the law they will gladly show us their true colors and ensure that we all know who they are and can then not do business with them anymore?

I’ll make one final point, which is to counter a common counter-argument to the above opinion, which is to say that when the asshats go stealth and hide their true colors, that minorities suffer because they can’t get jobs at these organizations, so a law must exist to fight that tendency. 

In addition to the “why would they want to?” question above, my response is pretty simple – the laws that exist now to prevent this are totally toothless, and there is no foreseeable way that you could give them teeth other than to enforce quotas on private businesses, and there is no way that America would, or even should, stand for such nonsense. 

The current laws on the books are easily countered by a myriad of different tactics – all you have to do is make a convincing argument as to why the applicant was not qualified if the issue ever comes up.  This can be done with any applicant, anytime, anywhere, regardless of race.  So if a business owner doesn’t want to hire a minority now, he can do so.  All he has to do is be a decent liar, and he’s in business. 

And so those laws are stupid.  

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Wilderness is not ADA Accessible

Every year I read about stuff like this, and every year I feel myself compelled to throttle someone silly over the ignorant ways in which people approach the wilderness.

The linked article is about a full-scale, multi-hundred thousand dollar, thousand-man-hour search and rescue operation for two youngsters who got lost in the woods in southern California. 

The male in the party was found separated from the female.  He was found disoriented, dehydrated, shoeless, and in a pair of board shorts about 500 feet from a well-traveled road.  She was found on a rocky ledge nearby.  Getting her off the ledge was difficult, to say the least, to the point that two rescuers were injured in the process of bringing her in safely.  She was less than one mile from the car.

Look, I’m not trying to be mean to these kids.  I try to live my life giving people the benefit of the doubt as much as possible, and I don’t know the whole story here.  I mean no disrespect whatsoever in what I’m about to say, because I’m sure that these are perfectly normal, well-adjusted kids who just screwed up because they underestimated the mudhole that the wilderness can stomp in your ass if you go in unprepared.  If either of them ever read this, I hope that they can understand that I’m not being mean when I say that they were really, really stupid to do what they did. 

That being said, these kids had absolutely no business whatsoever being out in those woods, because they had no idea what they were doing there.  Here is a very quick, unabridged list of the things that prove this to me:

1.      What he was wearing – board shorts, a cotton t-shirt, and no shoes.  The remainder of his attire leads me to believe that he was probably wearing sandals at one point in time.  This is not wilderness attire, even in southern California.  If what you’re wearing isn’t sufficient to spend an unplanned night out there without freezing your ass off, then you’d better be carrying the rest with you. 

2.      They were both dehydrated to the point of delirium, despite the fact that they’ve only been in the woods for 3 or 4 days.  The male was 500 feet from a traveled road and could not walk to the road due to his disorientation and so forth from dehydration.  Now, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I have 5 days of water on me whenever I go into the wilderness.  However, I typically run a quick calculation on how much I schlep in based on:

a.      Opportunities to collect water along the way.  I’ll take more when I go into the Snake River canyons in October, because there is zero water there then, than when I go in for turkey during the spring.  Note, I said collect, and not necessarily “disinfect.”  A good outdoorsman will carry a disinfection method along with him, but even in a pinch, the symptoms of giardia and other waterborne pathogens usually take several days to set in.  There is no excuse to die of thirst next to a stream simply because you’re afraid of giardia – this is a little piece of info that a lot of people don’t understand.  Every year you hear about people that were dying of dehydration despite having plenty of water available, because they were afraid of water born pathogens.  My guess is that since it is spring, there were water sources available to these kids that they didn’t use because they didn’t know any better.

b.      Amount I’ll need.  How long am I planning to be in the wild?  How much water will I need per hour (based on weather conditions)?  How long can I expect rescue to take if I get lost or injured?

c.      The final result is that I will have enough water to get me to my “expected rescue point” as I describe below.

3.      No one was expecting them.  The only reason that anyone knew to go look is because of the 911 call that they made to authorities.  It sounds like they only got through, but weren’t able to communicate any information, because the authorities were basing their search off of the cell tower the call came in from.  This could also mean that the kids had no idea where they were and therefore couldn’t tell the authorities where to start looking, which is really unforgivably stupid if that is the case.  That being said, you absolutely must have someone expecting you whenever you go out.  Tell them where you’ll be, how long you plan to go out, and the drop-deadline for calling the authorities if you aren’t back by that date.  That way, you don’t have to rely on cell service, phone batteries, and the ability to communicate to save your life if you get in trouble.  Using this information, you can mentally put together your “expected rescue point” if you get in trouble, because you’ll know when to expect them to come looking, and can plan to get yourself through to that point.

4.      They separated.  I hate rigid rules in anything because they remove individual initiative and can’t consider the conditions on the ground the way a well-educated individual can, but there are so few reasons to separate from your partner in a survival situation that I’m having trouble thinking of any good ones.  Never (okay, rarely if ever) leave your wingman.  Even if one of you is able and the other is non-ambulatory due to injury, I would advise very, very careful planning, preparation, and thinking it through before one person leaves the other to go get help.  Also, just as a chauvinist aside: what kind of a man leaves his girl behind? 

5.      They were obviously unaware of where they were, and incautious about traveling.  He was found 500 feet from a well-traveled road that he presumably didn’t know was there.  She was found less than a mile from the car.  She was found on a rock ledge on a steep slope, so steep that rescuers had trouble getting her out of there.  She had no business being on that ledge.  In 33 years of running around in the woods, I’ve never once found myself accidentally on a rock ledge that I couldn’t get myself off of.  She probably fell in order to get there.  In 33 years of walking off-trail in the steepest country in North America, I’ve never once fallen off a cliff onto a rock ledge.  The fact that she did means to me that she didn’t have a clue what she was doing and took risks that she ought not to have taken. 

6.      They took no reasonable steps to save themselves.  Okay, folks, here it is in a nutshell – if you’re lost in the woods, don’t know where you are, and aren’t sure how to get back out, wandering around aimlessly is possibly the worst goddamned thing that you can do.  If you truly have no idea of your situation, then here are my suggestions:

a.      Look around and decide if the area you’re in is a tenable hunker spot.  Does it have shelter and water?  If so, plunk your ass down and move on to step b.  If not, then walk DOWNHILL.  Down leads to water.  Water leads to streams.  Streams lead to rivers.  Rivers always lead to civilization.  The water gives you something to follow, so that you don’t end up walking in circles; the water also gives you a destination, as well as a source of, well, waterIf you’re pretty much anywhere in North America, down is always your best bet.  I’m sure that there are places on Earth where down is a bad idea, but for these kids, down would have worked fine if they found that they had to move.  
b.      Once you’ve found a likely place to hold up and stick it out, do so.  The place you’re looking for will have water, and it will have an open area of some sort, and it will have shelter.
c.      Build a shelter.  It doesn’t have to be fancy, just get yourself out of the wind and rain.
d.      If you’re smart, you can start a fire.  If you can’t build a fire, then you have no business being in the wilderness in the first place, and should never have left your car.  Build a fire.
e.      Get water and disinfect it.  If you’re smart, you have a filter, or iodine, or a container that will allow using the fire to disinfect it.  If you’re dumb, you shouldn’t be out there in the first place, but since you’re there, prepare to get sick, stick it out for a bit, then when you get good and thirsty, drink up.  You’ll probably get sick, but it won’t be until after you’re rescued if you’re lucky, and dehydration will kill you long before water borne pathogens do, anyway. 
f.       Go into the open area and make a big X or three lines (three of anything, evenly spaced, is the international symbol for “HELP ME I’M A DUMBASS AND GOT MYSELF LOST!!!” That includes three sounds, like gunshots or whistle blasts, or three fires, or three X’s, etc). 
g.      Wait to get found.  Make any expeditions away from camp short and to the point, and never, ever get lost again so that you can’t find your way back to camp
h.      Forget about holing up ONLY if you know where you are and think you can walk out; remember that you need to follow landmarks and keep track of where you’re going, so you don’t just end up walking in circles.  This is more advanced woodcraft than most folks have, so I don’t usually suggest it unless you’re SURE about your plan and stick to it.  Also, don’t hunker down until you have water.  Find water or die. 

The problem is that too many people have lived in their concrete jungles for too long, and they don’t understand that the wilderness isn’t ADA accessible.  There isn’t anything there to save you from yourself.  There are no warning labels, and if you don’t know where to look, danger will spring up from the most unlikely places. 

Start down a hill, it gets too steep, but the soil is too loose to go back up?  Bam, you’re in trouble. 

The sun goes down quickly in the forest.  Bam, you’re in trouble. 

Take the wrong fork in the trail on your way back?  Bam, you’re in trouble. 

Most people in our modern society live in oblivious little envelopes, because they can.  Very few people who have grown up in the city understand the amount of self-awareness and attention that it takes to stay alive outside of the paved areas.  If you are scoffing at what I’m saying here as being alarmist and overstated, then I suggest that you try to be humble enough to understand that you have no idea what you’re talking about.  I know one man who froze to death 150 yards from a paved road in Colton, Washington while bird hunting, another who fell to his death off of a cliff outside of Index, Washington because he wanted to look over the edge and lost his footing, and another who drowned outside of Starbuck, Washington because he got too cold to swim any further after he fell into a river with steep sides and couldn’t get out.  There are hundreds of these cases every year, and every one of those people would look you in the eye, if they could, and ask you to understand; beg you to.

I was at Glacier National Park two years ago and watched a man take his 5 year old grandson to within 5 or 6 feet of a mountain goat and its kid to get a photo taken.  It never even occurred to him that he was walking up to a WILD ANIMAL with its baby at its side – he had spent too many days in Disneyland and not enough days in the woods to gain an understanding that that goat wasn’t an attraction at a petting zoo – it was a wild animal, with its offspring at its side, that will react violently if it thinks you’re a threat. 

I hollered at him that what he was doing was  ill-advised, and he looked at me, back turned to the animal, with the most confused look on his face that I’ve ever seen.  It never even occurred to him that the wild animal that he was walking up to with his grandson would protect itself against him.  It was so far beyond his capability of understanding that when the goat rammed him in the back and knocked him down, that he still didn’t even seem to comprehend what had happened.  It was almost like he was trying to work out how the National Park Service had allowed this tourist attraction to become so dangerous.  I don’t think it ever really occurred to him that he was lucky that goat stopped with one little love nudge and didn’t proceed to continue kicking his ass after he went down.   

These aren’t forest-themed theme parks, ladies and gentlemen.  They are nasty, brutish ecosystems filled with animals that live nasty, brutish, and short lives, and when you enter these places, you’re no longer protected by things like crosswalks, bridges, and sidewalks.  The forest is not ADA accessible.   

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Socialization of Risk, and the Privatization of Reward.

Risk begets reward.  It is the inherent truth to all economy from the dawn of man.  Cave men risked their very lives to hunt beasts hundreds of times bigger than they were, in search of the reward of a massive harvest of high-protein sustenance for their families.  Often times, however, their reward was their own demise.  Sailors of the tall-ship era risked their lives and fortunes in search of trade routes where they could be made wealthy, but often times lost everything, including their lives, to an ill-timed gale.  Businessmen invest their wealth in this venture or that in search of reward in the form of profit, and often lose their wealth as a result.  Even a worker who seems to risk nothing for his wage gives up his time and labor in return for that reward, and to further prove my point, high-risk jobs always pay more money.   
This risk vs. reward analysis is what has worked to constrain men into making rational decisions throughout history; if the reward is not great enough to offset the risk, then a rational man would not take that risk.  If a wooly mammoth did not yield a bountiful harvest of protein for the cave man’s family, he most certainly would never have risked so much to harvest it.  If the trade routes of the 16thcentury were not so lucrative, the risk of outfitting expensive ships and risking the lives of so many men would never have been taken, and those trade routes would have never existed.  If the cost of King Crab was not so high, no rational man would even consider risking so much to fish the Bering Sea.  If the job tying rebar while hanging from the side of a 150 foot bridge abutment didn’t pay better than the safe job of flipping burgers at McDonalds, few would consider doing it.   
It is the risk that constrains: if risk is removed from the equation, then bad things always happen.  Take, for instance, the recent sub-prime mortgage debacle, where the government encouraged banks to take massive risks in the sub-prime market, while guaranteeing them, sub-rosa, that any losses would be covered in exchange for participation in this scheme, thus eliminating the risk, and maximizing the reward. 
Many blame the greed of the bankers.  I do not doubt that many businessmen are greedy bastards who would sell their Grandma’s house out from under her for a nickel in profit.  However, all this does is reinforce the fact that natural market risk vs. reward pressures must remain in place in order to check the avarice of the greedy among us.  Once the risk is removed from the equation by government guarantee, all that is left is reward, and the avarice of these men can run unchecked – and so it did exactly that when our government made them that promise.  These men made the riskiest choices possible, because risk begets reward; and why wouldn’t they?  The government is actively encouraging them to do so!  They have been promised by the government that if things go awry and the risk wins out over the reward, that they will be bailed out!  There is no chance of anything other than a win for these guys doing things that they would never even consider risking if it weren’t for the government exerting pressure to perform in the way they desire, and guaranteeing against the risk of these horribly risky behaviors.  
This boils down to the socialization of risk and the privatization of reward, which puts the taxpayers, not the banker, at risk for the decisions that the banker makes.  If his decisions pay off, the banker keeps the reward, and the taxpayer gets nothing in return for accepting the risk (against his will, by the way).  If his decisions result in disaster, the taxpayer picks up the burden, again against his will, and the banker continues to operate as if nothing happened.  That being said, one wonders what the unforeseen consequences of taking the government’s dane-geld will end up being for these organizations – a smart CEO would not have been so quick to allow that rough beast’s nose under tent flaps, but that’s another story for another day.     
All this has lead me to make a point that many people are surprised to hear me make, which is to say that this market meltdown was not a failure of the free-markets, as so many people were so quick to claim.  This is a failure, yet again, of centralized government control by legislative fiat.  It has happened so many times now: the Soviet Union; Cuba; Venezuela.  You’d think that we would have learned by now, but we apparently did not.  
Every time that the market “fails” to provide something that we think should be provided, such as home ownership for all, we chock it up to a failure of the market and push for government intervention to get us that which the market will not provide, and every time – EVERY. TIME. – it backfires.   That which we desired to have, we discover, was never meant to be, and the unintended consequences of forcing the markets are far more terrible than we ever imagined.  The markets weren’t failing to provide, they were simply choosing, through the invisible hand of a trillion transactions a day, to not provide these things because they weren’t meant to be because the risk vs. reward was out of balance. 
In the case of the most recent blunder, it was the desire of many in government for every American to own a home – even those who could not afford one.  The problem with this is that the folks tweaking the knobs and dials did not approach this “problem” with reality-based thought processes.  Rather, they were blinded by how good it felt to forward these ideas, and proceeded blindly out of altruism.  After all, what kind of a monster could possibly stand in opposition to universal home ownership? Yet again, the one-size-fits-all nature of government prevailed in a vain attempt by those in control to provide something for people that had no business having that thing.  They also proceeded stupidly with the idea, and messed up huge with the following:
  1.   Their goal was that everyone should own a home.  What they did, instead, was gave everyone a mortgage.         Often times, these were mortgages that could not be paid back under the terms in which they were written.  So instead of universal home-ownership, the government was promoting universal crushing debt loads. 
  2. They assumed that every person in America would benefit from owning a home, and that home ownership was good for all.  As pointed out in #1 above, however, all they succeeded in doing was giving them a crushing debt load.  It essentially “helped” these poor people by bankrupting them in droves.  But beyond that was the assumption by these folks in DC that owning a home is necessarily a good thing for every person, when some people are far better off renting.  I do not understand how the idea that home ownership should be universal became so mainstream.  There are upsides and downsides to home ownership, not the least of which is the financial risk that your asset will lose value, and the not-unsubstantial costs of maintaining said home, both of which are eliminated in a rental.  Home ownership is a matter of personal preference, but the government treated it like it was a prerequisite.   
  3. That home values would inevitably continue to rise.  As pointed out in #1, often times it was established and accepted at the time of signing that the home owner could not pay back to the terms of the sub-prime loan.  These loans generally have a period of time, typically the first 5 years, where the loan payments don’t even cover the interest, so the actual amount owing goes up, not down, for the first 5 years.  Then, on year 5, there is a huge balloon payment due to cover the interest owed, but not paid, to that date, and then the payment amounts reset to actually start paying down the loan.  This could increase payments by a factor of ten, overnight. 

The idea was that if home values continued to rise, that these folks would be able to refinance their homes under favorable conditions after 5 years, allowing them to avoid the “reset” and balloon payment.  
What they failed to consider was the fact that when you flood a market with demand, as this sub-prime policy did to the real estate market, that prices will continue to go up for only as long as the demand remains.  That is, in my opinion, what was causing home values to rise – not any actual real growth in the market, but a “bubble” created by external centralized command and control that had no understanding of the market that it was tweaking.  However, the number of people desiring to buy homes eventually subsided as the demand was satisfied (ie, everyone that wanted a home had gotten one), and home values stabilized.  Then, suddenly, all of these new homeowners found that their rates were resetting, and had to get out from under the massive burden that these homes were fixing to dump on them.  Their credit-worthiness hadn’t gotten better – in fact, it had gotten worse in the aggregate because they were struggling to make mortgage payments now, and so they couldn’t refinance.  Their only option was to sell…
 …which they all did…
 …at the same time.
Basic economic theory states that when you flood a market with supply, and there is no increase in demand (in fact, there was a net decrease in demand at the same time as supply skyrocketed), the prices of goods within that market fall.  Real estate values plummeted from this massive increase in supply, and the rest is history. 
The people whom the government was trying to help were bankrupted by governmental altruism incompetence, and even innocent bystanders, with no involvement in this scheme at all, were stripped of trillions of dollars in equity and asset value.  
The most important point in all of this is that it was 100% foreseeable to anyone with even a middle-school level understanding of economics.  The people in government are not smarter than you or me.  They are normal, everyday people, who make normal, everyday mistakes.  The problem with government is that when they make small mistakes, it becomes a nationwide catastrophe because they have the ability and power to force their mistakes on us all.  When individuals make the same mistake, the market doesn’t even notice, and people all over the country aren’t dragged into poverty, or stripped of their hard-earned wealth as a result.  Again, this is proof that markets should be left alone to be driven by individuals within them, if for no other reason than to hedge against mass-catastrophes like this one, which are caused when you put one fallible individual or organization in control at the top.   
Thus, we get to the meat of the matter, and the explanation as to why I filed this essay under “Unintended Consequences.”  The intended result of this push for universal home ownership was to help the less fortunate by providing them with a method by which they could own a home.   
The actual result, however, was a massive transfer of wealth from those same poor people, and also the middle class, to the wealthiest 5% of people in our nation in the form of TARP, bailouts, and stimulus spending to the banks.  So, in an attempt to help the little guy get something that he didn’t need, couldn’t afford, and should never have had in the first place, the government ended up bankrupting that little guy, transferring his wealth and a massive portion of the wealth of the middle class to the wealthiest businessmen in the country, and stagnating the US economy for what I think will be more than a decade.  Millionaires were made even wealthier, and the poor and middle class just got hosed, like always. 
Furthering this to its logical outcome, there is now an entire cohort of businesses and businessmen in America who know that they are now “too big to fail” and will be bailed out if the risks that they have taken come home to roost.  What effect will this have on their future business decisions?  I suspect that I know, how about you?  We’ve socialized risk, while keeping reward private, meaning that any organization that can reliably call themselves “too big to fail” no longer carries any risk, and therefore we all run the risk of this new corporatist policy causing big business to run amok – something they’d never be able to do if the government had just minded their own business and left the housing market alone. 
To you socialists and communists out there, if this isn’t a clear, concise explanation of why your desire for central economic command and control will result in epic failure, I do not know what is.  The people elected to government positions are not economists, bankers, or even all that smart, and yet you want them to be in control of everything.  If you are so blind that you cannot see what an absolute disaster the socialization of any country will inevitably be, much less one so diverse as America, then I cannot help you any further.  I suggest that you seek help for whatever mental problems you are currently experiencing, because I can find no other explanation for your zealous overconfidence in all things government. 
And finally, if any of you think that the nationalization/socialization of the entire healthcare industry via Obamacare will result in any less of a debacle than the nationalization/socialization of only a small portion of the mortgage industry (risk on sub-prime mortgage loans), then I have some ocean-front property in Arizona that I’d like to sell you – you interested?  The centralized command and control structure has failed every time it’s been rolled out.  Are you ready for the healthcare bubble and collapse?  Because it’s coming.  Mark my words. 
PS – Any time I bring up this conversation, the first counters to my statements of fact usually go something like: “it all started way before Obama, and that it was all Bush’s fault.”  I’ve usually been flabbergasted by this statement, because I am not sure how it is even relevant to the conversation; at what point did I mention Obama in anything that I said above, other than by mentioning the Stimulus bill, which Obama signed (right next to my mention of TARP, which had Bush’s signature on it)?  It is a scary exposition of the ability of people to comprehend an argument and develop a counter-argument of their own when they respond with a non-sequitor like that one.  Who cares which President led us down this path to destruction?  I could argue, and back it up with fact, that it was actually the actions of Clinton and a Republican congress during the Clinton administration that set this ball to rolling, with Bush and a Democratic majority congress doubling down on it, and Obama and a democratic super-majority congress enlarging it by a factor of ten.  You can’t defend the actions of one President by saying that another President did it, too, especially when the guy you’re defending did it ten times more than the guy you are blaming for the problem.  
But that isn’t even the point!  It doesn’t matter who was President, or who was running congress, and any argument to the contrary is just silly tribalist nonsense, because both Republican and Democratic congresses and presidencies pushed this thing as if it was a good idea.  The point that I am trying to make is bi-partisan –that NO GOVERNMENT, no matter which party is running it, can competently interfere in the workings of the free-market and expect to see the results that they’d intended when they made their interference.  In fact, they would be better off expecting JUST THE OPPOSITE* to happen, as has been the case throughout the history of these interventions.  In case you hadn’t figured it out yet, I am no fan of the Republicans.  I see them as basically the same as the Democrats, wanting exactly the same thing – more power and control.  They just want to do it more slowly and in slightly different ways, so you see me railing against the Democrats more on this blog because they are more aggressive about doing the things that I am against.  Do not make the mistake of assuming that I support any person at all who desires more power over me and my personal, individual decisions, regardless of whether they have an R or a D behind their name.  
 *PPS – Here is what I mean, for example.  The idea behind this push for universal home ownership was an attempt to better the lot of the poor man.  They succeeded in making his plight much worse, to the betterment of the richest among us.  This is the exact opposite of what they expected.  Another good example is societal equality in Soviet Russia: that society was created under the idea that all men would be treated equally; that the state would ensure equality for all, and that no man would want while his neighbor had all he needed, ever again.  The government there, however, managed to accomplish just exactly the opposite.
They created a de-facto ruling class that lived in luxury, had special lanes on the highway that the “little people” could not use (not that it mattered, very few of them had cars, anyway), and had their every desire met, while pretty much everyone else lived in poverty and feared the ruling class mightily.  They failed to achieve equality – in fact, they only made the class separations even worse.  They failed to eliminate need, want, or poverty – in fact, they made it much worse.  They caused millions to live in fear and poverty for nearly 60 years before they figured out that their ideology – and thus, their ability to control everything that they thought they could control – was a complete failure.  
Throughout history, governments have been responsible for indescribable amounts of suffering and death, and a good portion of it sprang from the unintended consequences of the actions of the well-meaning.  The only hedge against this terrible fact is to realize that government needs to be constrained in what it does as strictly as possible, and that individuals, not government, should be responsible for their own success, and by proxy, the success of the nation.  I know that this isn’t perfect, and that it will result in inequality, but it will result in far less inequality than any governmental attempt to fix this problem ever will.  
 ”The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings.  The inherent vice of socialism is the equal sharing of misery” - Winston Churchill
 ”Capitalism is the worst economic system ever tried, with the exception of everything else” - Mark Twain