Rants


Steve Fambro is the inventor of an electric vehicle which gets something like 33 miles to the dollar. It is one of those prototypes, but has already sold a few thousand cars. In this short video of an interview with Steve he describes an interesting, but not uncommon problem with his suppliers. Regulation of industry is subject to change. Usually changes are attempted annually by some federal or state legislators. Many changes come from the industry itself. Big industry players like regulation because it allows them to eliminate or to greatly reduce their competition. Industries which are dominated by big bureaucratic companies are less likely to be as nimble as companies like Steve Fambro owns. When we use regulation to reduce competition we often clear the path for less nimble companies. That changes the landscape of the playing field for that industry. All the suppliers have to deal with a bureaucracy and they have to adopt priorities which cater to slow moving, slow changing customers. Regulators want a few big players in their industries. They can monitor them easier and there is less to do. Regulators have a better chance to keep control of their industry if they do not have a bunch of small competitors constantly innovating what they are attempting to regulate. That’s one reason why regulators pressure legislators for long laborious processes to get anything accomplished. If they let everything happen quickly they would never be able to keep regulations up to date with practice. Innovation drives progress. We are worse off as a species when we slow innovation. Why would anyone deliberately slow progress? The answer lies in our systems of government. The players in those systems are often rewarded for slowing innovation. Regulation is all about control. Innovation is all about chaos. Control and chaos are not best buds. Thus regulators, seeking to make their lives easier, reduce chaos, thus making everyone’s life worse off. Innovation can be found in controlled environments. It is just slower to happen. Slowing innovation has been the goal of many humans throughout history usually because they do not see where this chaotic future will take us. Invariably it takes us all to a better place.
What is a “But” libertarian? It is a libertarian who uses a phrase like, “I am all for free markets, but … [inset some government planned economy].” “But” libertarians are not real libertarians. John Stossel was (and probably still is a “but” libertarian. He is all for small government except for pollution control. Never mind that the U.S. government is the single largest polluter in the world. They can fix it. They’re the government! If you see a free market economist telling a reporter about his plan to fix the economy and his plan does not include removing the power to regulate from all forms of government then he is not a free market economist after all. His plan controls the economy and he is advocating a controlled economy, not a free one. I am a free market advocate. My advocacy plan is that we should have no plan for the economy. Let the market participants, not government decide if more people should own their own homes or drive new cars or if private banks should be lending money or holding on to every dime. Defend the right of each citizen to trade without government interference or support. Set us free of your plan. Please stop helping us.
Glenn Beck and Judge Carter go over the latest in the saga of House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel’s failure to pay income taxes. I make a monthly payment to the IRS for back taxes. Perhaps I should call them to take advantage of “The Rangel Rule.”
Argh! What moron came up with the Vista file permissions system? I hope their division was part of the recent layoffs. They were not very good at their jobs. I like to keep my download directory as empty as possible. Normally, this means deleting patches and installation files after running them. This morning I decided to catch up on some deleting. I got to one directory of ASP scripts that I wanted to keep, so I decided to move them to my documents folder. Apparently, the morons that coded this file system thought this particular directory should be owned by a program and not by me. I found this article which allows me to take ownership of files that Microsoft decided I should own with a right-click menu option. Windows 7 should come with a button that can be pushed by people who own one computer, that is used by one user who never has anyone looking over his shoulder and does not need all the passwords and permissions and encryption and other crap that gets in the way. Above all, Windows 7 needs a Stop Helping Me button.
An Australian woman is told by government bureaucrats that her twin sister cannot live in the same country she lives in. Why didn’t the reporter ask her whether she supports bureaucrats guarding her national borders? That’s what I want to know. Is she getting what she deserves because she has always supported bureaucrat-supervised border crossings or is she a true victim of a democratic process gone wrong. Australia illustrates the incompetence of bureaucrats at guarding national border. Even done competently, this is not legitimate use of government. Ah, what a tangled web we create when fist we practice to regulate. I think the root of this problem is in publicly owned resources. With the existence of publicly owned resources there is a demand to protect those resources. Since there is no private owner, we are forced to use government bureaucrats to provide that protection. We could contract the protection of our borders to private protectors, but we would still be using bureaucrats to select those private protectors. If all resources were private then each private resource owner would decide how to protect their resource. Some private owners might allow public access to their resource on the condition that they have limited liability protection from users. If I had a twin sister and I wanted her to live in my privately owned home I would need to contract with other private resource owners to allow her to gain access to my private property from her current location. Should I run into a necessary private resource owner who refuses my sister use of their resource than I would need to find some similar private resource owner who is willing to do so. Should all the needed resource owners discover that my twin sister is a suicide bomber then I will probably be blocked in legally getting my sister to my house or I will have to pay a very high premium to use those private resources. Does all this red tape sound the same as publicly owned resources, like roads, borders and passports? It is similar. But I can access private owners with the use of money (or economic power). To reach bureaucrats I need political power. Money is freely available, especially private money. Political power is a much more scarce resource and much more expensive to obtain.
I just wrote an annoying email. I logged on to an account to update some credit card info for a hosting company where I resell hosting services. The bill doesn’t come due until March, but it is safer to make the change now while I’m thinking about it. A business partner originally set up the account and has been footing the bill each year. Circumstances have changed and I ended up with more hosting accounts on those servers than he has, so I decided that I would foot the bill from now on. He has set himself up as the primary contact and I was always fine with that. The host sent a message to a shared email account, which forwards messages to each of us, requesting I visit their New Client Area. I took a look and it is a nicer looking interface. It is easier to navigate and it has nice big letters saying “Welcome Kevin!” right in the middle of the page. I am not Kevin and frankly, I’m annoyed that this company would assume that only one person would run a company. Perhaps it is the drugs (I take a lot of medication), but I am especially annoyed by this today. I tried to keep my disappointment in this minor detail out of the email I sent about a billing problem, but I doubt I was successful. Now I am wondering what I do to my clients which really pisses them off. It may be something minor as well. Perhaps a client is just having a bad day or has increase their medication also. So, I am going to check all my client contact points for little annoying things like calling people by the wrong name and such. Wish me Luck.
I know what safety is, but I’m watching Fringe tonight and they keep speaking of Safety Deposit Boxes. Now. I know that banks often keep deposit boxes in a safe, but those are called Safe Deposit Boxes. They are boxes which are deposited in a safe. While I was writing this, I realized that a Safety is a position on a football team. I just don’t understand why anyone would store a deposit box inside a football player, but this is Fringe after all.
My main business is being a landlord of a small mobile home park. It’s just little too tiny to be my sole source of income. So, I also spend time doing affiliate marketing and the occasional web programming project for others. Currently I am committed to three new web sites. One web them is up and running. The second web site, which was originally the first one, is running but has no content. The third web site is currently a site created by an author with one of those web interface tools (Blech!) where the software programmers seem unaware of how page validation works. Last month I had only the second of these projects, but last month my home was a wreck. I have just gotten over a four month funk with my disease and I hadn’t clean much in all that time. I have corrected that now at the risk of not completing my current projects.
Tiny Biorhythm Example

Tiny Biorhythm Example

Do you remember biorhythms? You do? Man, you’re old. I think the theory behind biorhythm was that your emotional and other rhythms were not always up or always down at the same time. That’s how I feel now. My financial life is in the toilet while my health and quality of life seem are on the rise.

I received a bill today for a fine from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). The fines total more than $5,000 and it may as well be $5 million. I can’t pay these fines and my creditors. I should be beside myself in stress, but I’m not.

As a small business owner I have learned some pretty important lessons. I have learned to keep a enough food in the pantry to last a month or two without trips to the grocery. I have learned to keep an alternate form of heat and light for the winter if the power goes out. I have learned to survive when the light at the end of the tunnel looks like a memory.

The TCEQ sent a nice big package. It must be 30 or 40 pages of crap telling me about how they are fining me to protect the drinking water supply that I and my customers already drank over 18 months ago. It is upsetting, but it is not an all-consuming financial crisis.

Experience has taught me that there is always some new major financial problem looming just over the horizon. None times out of ten that crisis was created by some well-meaning asshole who thought he was so right that everyone who disagreed with him should be thrown in jail.

As soon as I clear this financial hurdle another will pop up. It’s not the end of the world and I will survive. I know that in some future time I will look back and tell the tale of my heroic struggle against Leviathan. I know it because it has happened before and I am confident it will happen again.

So, if you find yourself in a similar situation where the wolves are barking at the door and all hope seems lost. Cheer up! Every silver lining has a dark cloud. Living through the darkest clouds gives you great stories and prepares you for the next great crisis.

In a previous life I played the part of an employee. I was safe ensconced in my little employed world with its safety nets and its security. When I came to the New World (the business owner world) I had to learn a whole new set of financial tools. Thinking about it now, I think it’s those skills which comfort me most at these dismal times. I have faced the fire in the past and I am confident that I can face the future fires as well.

I have no idea where I am going to come up with the resources Leviathan wants to justify their ill-gotten unethical jobs, but I know I will prevail and succeed where they fail and crumble. I’ll be here tomorrow. My existence is not contingent on the whims of political power. I can survive any where. It’s just who I am.

Given Alan Greenspan’s recent Congressional testimony, The Big Picture recently asked the following. Greenspan: Bad FOMC Chair, or the Worst FOMC chair? A better question would be: Why do we need a Fed Chairman in the first place? People on the news keep pointing at free market policies in a market of money which is extremely far from free. How it is that we have a free market when money is sold by a government cartel? The answer is that we don’t have a free market. In the U.S., free markets are unconstitutional. Alan Greenspan did not have free market policies. He had less regulated market policies which he named as free market policies. Less regulation in a mixed market is still not a free market. When we give government the power to regulate we wipe out any chance for free markets. I recall reading a story a few years ago which illustrated this. It was a story about a piece of regulation called the American Disabilities Act (ADA). Before the ADA there were several competing standards for accommodating disabled customers and employees. If you needed to build or refit facilities to accommodate the disabled you had to decide which standard you would follow. The problem was that government had the power to regulate. At any time the government could step in and pass regulation which forced everyone onto the same standard. If your company chose the wrong standard, you might stand to lose a lot of money in compliance costs. So, you had two choices. Wait for government to create standard or influence government to use the standard you want to implement (or you could do both). Just giving the government the power to regulate affects the market in ways we may not expect. It delays the actions of market place participants and may hurt the people needing the most help. It penalizes early adopters of standards. Small business has to sit on the sidelines while big business battles it out with government. With unlimited government the incentive for market participants is to wait for government to act. With the free market the incentive for market participants is to act sooner than competitors. No one is waiting for government to act. Customer demand rules the day. Some participants will adopt poor standards and some no standard at all, but no one will be waiting for government to step in.

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