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Tuesday, January 6

New Blog Location

I am now hosting my blog at http://molini.us/sunnysays/ . I hope you will enjoy that space as much as this one.

I have really enjoyed using Blogger as the home of my blog, it is a wonderful site and has really helped me learn many of the tools of blogging. The new blog is powered by WordPress, which is a great open source project that provides many tools not readily available in blogger.

Friday, January 2

Moral Clarity in Gaza

Moral Clarity on the Israeli-Gaza conflict

Israel is so scrupulous about civilian life that, risking the element of surprise, it contacts enemy noncombatants in advance to warn them of approaching danger. Hamas, which started this conflict with unrelenting rocket and mortar attacks on unarmed Israelis -- 6,464 launched from Gaza in the past three years -- deliberately places its weapons in and near the homes of its own people.

This has two purposes. First, counting on the moral scrupulousness of Israel, Hamas figures civilian proximity might help protect at least part of its arsenal. Second, knowing that Israelis have new precision weapons that may allow them to attack nonetheless, Hamas hopes that inevitable collateral damage -- or, if it is really fortunate, an errant Israeli bomb -- will kill large numbers of its own people for which, of course, the world will blame Israel.

The amazing thing about this commentary, is that it is often applicable to conflicts between Israel and any of the terrorist organizations over there.

Monday, December 8

Canada Considers Massive 'Internet Tax'

Google actively lobbying against it.
Michael Geist describes the situation in detail.

Basically, a few policy groups are asking the legislature for some laws that have applied to media content before the Internet, to be applied to Internet content. It makes intuitive sense to me until I realize that the government should have no right to regulate media content in the first place.

Wednesday, November 5

Final Victory in the War of Ideas?

A friend of mine believes that this recent election may signal a final defeat for the ideals of conservatism, that no genuine right wing alliance will ever again regain control of the country.
While I fundamentally disagree, I'll grant him certain points.
  • On some social issues (homosexuality, immigration, and other types of xenophobia) the conservatives will moderate significantly over the next 10 years.
  • Conservative aversion to changes to the patent law may reduce as changes in the software industry make those changes more evidently necessary.
  • On environmental issues, the conservatives will drop the issue of whether global warming is an issue, and focus on policies that help the market incorporate environmental cost into their decision making (carbon tax or 'cap-n-trade' vs. arbitrary per-company pollution controls).
There are a few other issues where I wish they would change the party line, but these are the ones I think will actually change. Once these changes are made, the conservative party will have a far more focused platform based on consistent principles. It will still be necessary to find a leader who can articulate those principles well to the masses, but those come in time.
The modern GOP is very different from the 1950's GOP which was far away from the 1900's GOP. Political platforms change to fit the times, but some ideas don't become less correct.

To justify 'spreading the wealth around,' one has to accept that wealth does not belong to the individual who creates it. Is wealth created by the social environment that created the person, or is it the creative and motivated character of the person that creates both the wealth and the social environment? If you claim that the social forces created the person's character, than it becomes one social duty to do everything possible to forcibly improve the social environment. That can and will be used to permit government control of anything that affects the social environment, words, print, businesses that compete with government programs, etc. If you deny the basic premise that a person owns the product of their work, then you deny the basic freedom that a person even owns his/her self.

Long Live the King

Last night, I went with some conservative friends to go bar hopping in DC and enjoy some election night festivities. I should have brought a camera, it went very bad after a while.
Around midnight, when the 'called' Obama states passed the magic number, there was such a roar of exuberance like I've never heard at any sports event. The whole bar, and people outside started singing "Can't stop thinking about tomorrow, yesterday's gone, yesterday's go-o-o-one." I expected excitement and even intense partying, this was not that.
There was a disshevelled lady sitting outside crying her eyes out on the phone with somebody saying things like, "It's actually happened!" The way she would if her child had just survived a near death experience.
I don't think this guy is even a celebrity anymore, he's graduated to 'hero.' To those of you who support his policies, I suggest you should be concerned. Passionate politics makes for passionate opposition, and the only limit on passion is the ability to through one's life away. I would be concerned about support like that from my own party, for the kind of backlash it can create.
He is a fantastic speaker, spectacularly ambitious, diplomatic, and calm. He's 47 years old, and his political carrer only started in 1997. In 11 years, he has risen from state senate, to the Presidency of the most powerful nation on earth. What does an ambitious man with those skills do after that?

Friday, October 17

Capitalism 2.0?

I've heard a great deal of talk about this in the wake of this 'crisis,' and it troubles me. I commented on the linked article, my thoughts also available here.

One of the basic tenents of philosophy is that while one cannot prove the existence of others, the act of proof is sufficient evidence to assume one’s own existence (I think, therefore I am). The only person, object or force in all of reality that must exist is you yourself.
Given that, freedom is not a luxury, or a benefit we receive from benevolent governments. Freedom is a fact of nature. 
Capitalism recognizes that nature and attempts to harness it for the best possible outcome. To deny freedom is to reverse the basics of philosophy, holding each person more accountable for the well being of others than that of those they directly care about.
Please don’t misunderstand me. There must be discussion about the proper law society uses to hold people accountable. Peaceful coexistence requires standards of behavior. If those standards are called ‘regulation,’ then fine. But if you deny the basic reality that Freedom is natural and required for life, then expect disaster.

Tuesday, October 7

Craiglist Crime Syndicate

http://news.cnet.com/bank-robber-hires-decoys-on-craigslist-fools-cops/?tag=rtcol;pop

The crook hired people on Craigslist to show up near the scene in a particular outfit while he robbed an armored car and made a getaway using an innertube. Police are still looking for him.

Wednesday, October 1

Competitive Alternatives

I'm really bothered that in all debate around the topic centers on the concept that if one is against this bailout, then one is in favor of 'doing nothing.' I have not heard a single serious alternative even floated about how to fix this problem.
I want to hear more about capital requirements. The Chinese have lowered theirs while theEuropeans have raised theirs. Here is my proposition.

Complicated Proposition
The fed should decrease the reserve ratio from 10% to 8%.  That would change the liquidity multiplier from 10 to 12.5. There are 6.3 trillion in time deposits, which probably means there's 630 Billion in base deposits. Reducing the reserve ratio by 2 points would instantly create 1.58 Trillion in liquidity. The danger here is that doing this could inflate the dollar by a lot. To limit that, announce that the reserve ratio will rise by 1 tenth of a percent each quarter until the ratio is back at 10%.

Simple Proposition
The same thing just explained in more detail for the many who  don't follow all the terms  in the complicated version. Follow the link.

Tuesday, September 30

Bankruptcy, Not Bailout

http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/09/29/miron.bailout/index.html?iref=mpstoryview

I have been sent this link by 2 friends that do not know each other, but know me very well. Jeffrey Miron makes some amazing points.

  • The implicit backing of the federal government for Freddie and Fannie encouraged them to take on far more risk than a free market would have allowed.
  • "Worse, beginning in 1977 and even more in the 1990s and the early part of this century, Congress pushed mortgage lenders and Fannie/Freddie to expand subprime lending."
  • "The fact that government bears such a huge responsibility for the current mess means any response should eliminate the conditions that created this situation in the first place, not attempt to fix bad government with more government."
  • "If financial institutions cannot make productive loans, a profit opportunity exists for someone else. This might not happen instantly, but it will happen."
  • "Further, the current credit freeze is likely due to Wall Street's hope of a bailout; bankers will not sell their lousy assets for 20 cents on the dollar if the government might pay 30, 50, or 80 cents."
Read the article. He makes many more points that fill in the blanks, but I figured 5 was a good synopsis.

Wednesday, September 24

Bring On the Shorts

Bloomberg is reporting that 2 companies, Diamond Hill Investment Group and JMP Group Inc. have opted to let their shares be short sold. I know very little about these companies, but I do know that what they've done takes guts and is the truly moral thing for any company in their position to do.
The regulators are giving the financial companies unfair exemptions instead of letting the market run its course and are protecting the weak at the expense of the good. 
Congratulations to the leadership of these 2 firms in standing up for what capitalism is all about, free and fair competition with transparency and justice for all.