Advertising, and Propagating Freedom

Strangely, or maybe not really, advertising agencies occasionally manage to make an ad that speaks to the old American ethics and even the dream. This time it was Cadillac. Here, enjoy:

It’s a great ad, until you get to the end. And the problem there is simply that an electric car is not practical in the United States, except perhaps in niche markets.

  1. It’s faster, but it has the daily range of, at best, a horse. And if the weather is not good it goes down rapidly
  2. The infrastructure isn’t there, if it was practical, and the economy was better, that wouldn’t matter, but the way things are, it does.
  3. At some point, in not all that long a time period, you’re going to have to replace all those batteries, which will cost you more than the car is worth.

So, I guess we could say if that ad featured a Ford Super-Duty, it would be the ad of the year, but, it has a flaw.

In other news, it’s CPAC weekend, when we get to see all the real (and supposed) conservatives gather together to rally the base. It’s always a good time, and I may well feature some more from it. My favorite so far is Texas Governor Perry, who speaks for so many of us buried under regulation while wondering where our country went. Being a good Husker though, I do have to note that we here in Nebraska, on a per capita basis have created even more jobs than Texas, but that figures, we’re just about as red as Texas anyway, and someday our state government will figure that out (or we’ll make the point rather decisively). Here’s Gov. Perry:

In case you haven’t noticed, the issues we are debating today in America, go straight back to our founding, and how we designed a free country, and how we have kept it, and more to the point, how we are going to keep it today. Nobody I’ve heard speaks to this better than Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.

And of course, our place in the world is slipping, to the detriment of the free peoples of the world. How do we fix that? The Honorable John Bolton has some ideas on that. And they’re pretty good ones, even if I don’t agree with all of them. But that’s true of all these gentlemen, and that’s the wonder of conservatism, we all, each individual one of us, have slightly different ideas of what must be done. But there are wide avenues of bold colors where we agree, and are willing to fulfil that long ago pledge, of Life, of Liberty, and above all of Sacred Honor.

But you know, that’s all very well for those of us in my generation or the next one. How do we communicate this to the young’uns that don’t remember Reagan, nor have they been taught our history properly, because, if we don’t, the dream is going to die, maybe not in our lifetimes, but die it will. And so we will have violated the trust placed in us by the founders to propagate this remarkable and above all free land.

 

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Economic Development: Roadblocks

Taxes (wheel of Fortune) aren't the answerPlatte Chat that came to me courtesy of the Objective Conservative, which outlines many of the tax problems which are holding Nebraska business back.

As Nebraska state senators continue to figure out whether to reform the state’s tax system and while Nebraska’s lame duck governor fights to eliminate the income tax we get a favorable view of doing so from our friends at the Platte Institute.   

Whether it is practical for the state to entirely eliminate the income tax, reform reducing its high tax rates is imperative if the state is to continue to compete fore new business.   The Platte Chat article below well supports the need to do something.

The Key to Attracting Businesses

“Earlier this year, Texas Gov. Rick Perry made headlines for a bold advertising strategy aimed at four states with notoriously bad business climates: California, Illinois, New York, and Connecticut. Perry invited businesses there “to hit the emergency exit” and make a break for Texas.[1] While officials in these states dismissed Perry’s audacious campaign as little more than a stunt, Texas’ incredible success at creating new jobs demonstrates that it is more than just talk.  More people and businesses are voting with their feet to go where taxes and regulations are lower.
The success of Texas-which has no income tax-is clearly evident. In 2012 CNBC ranked Texas as the best state for business in the nation-overcome in 2013 by another no income tax state, South Dakota-and in 2013 Forbes placed seven Texas cities in its list of “Best Cities For Future Job Growth” with the top four all being from Texas.[2] In contrast, California, which has the highest income tax in the nation at 13.3 percent, was ranked 47th in CNBC’s 2013 poll and only saw one city-Santa Cruz-in the Forbes “Best Cities” list.[3]
Aside from rankings, Texas’ success in creating jobs is in the numbers. Despite accounting for only 8.4 percent of the United States’ population, Texas accounted for 43 percent of the jobs created between February 2009 and May 2013.[4] Over the past five years, Texas has added 889,685 jobs, including 303,000 in the past year alone, much more than any other state. Compare that to the high tax states of California, New York, and Illinois, as the Golden State-despite a larger population-added only 119,659 in the past five years, and New York and Illinois together lost 568,195 jobs over the same time period.[5] A 2010 article in The Economist even noted that the average New Yorker or Californian could take home between 9 and 11 percent more of their income by relocating to Texas.[6]

Continue reading Objective Conservative – The Voice of Conservative Thought in Nebraska: Nebraska Needs Tax and Regulation Reform.

Nothing in this article strikes me as wrong, in fact much of it is completely correct, and might well do a lot of good, in Omaha and Lincoln, and maybe marginally in Grand Island as well. While it won’t hurt the rest of us, I think, it’s not going to help much either. Why? Because taxes aren’t our major problem. We have other, structural problems, let’s talk about them a bit.

The big one is this: Corruption, It comes in two flavors, state and local. Let’s start with state.

Most of you know I’m an electrician, so that what we’ll talk about. Between Grand Island and Ogallala there are maybe 6 electricians that can efficiently troubleshoot industrial controls. I know 4 of them, 2 well. Good men that I would recommend to anybody. The only problem is that you’ll wait 3-9 months for them to get to you, if they’re even accepting new clients, that’s how busy they are.

Actually I know one more, me. I don’t practice though. Even though I have 40+ years of experience.Why? it’s very simple. Nebraska requires four years of experience to take the Journeyman test, the law provides for an apprentice card but, many of us out here worked on agricultural machinery (center pivots and grain handling systems) exclusively, which didn’t require licensing. Parenthetically, I’ve been here about 25 years, before that I lived in Indiana which has no state license. So, I never had an apprentice card, never needed one.

I called down to the state when I decided I wanted to branch out into general electrical work, they told me they wouldn’t accept my entire experience, at the time about five and a half years. That’s fine, it made sense, I hadn’t done residential in years. We settled that they would count two and a half years. So I hooked up with a Journeyman friend of mine who was on track to get his contractor license in about one-two years. Because I’m dumb and wasn’t doing much field work, I still didn’t bother with the stupid card.

Anyway what with one thing and another, by the time we got around to building in a job that would require us both, I was up to about six years including the agreed upon 2.5 from before. Since I do all the planning and such, it made more sense for me to take the contractor’s test, which would let me pull our permits. That requirement is five years. So, since an EC has to sign for you to take the exam, my EC buddy called down to make sure we were all on the same page. He was sitting in my office when he did and I could see the shock on his face.

The NSEB decided it wasn’t going to accept any of my experience, and they further threatened to lift his Contractor license just for asking. Luckily he was (and is) working for one of the ten largest electrical electrical contractors in the country so they didn’t quite dare try that. And that’s the story about why I have time to talk with you most days. I’m one of probably the 24 best electricians in the state, but because of *whatever* I’m not allowed to practice. And yes I’m too old, and crotchety to do another 4 years with some stupid 24 year old. I’d rather go on welfare than work for peanuts again.

Meantime there’s a factory less than a mile away from me, designed for medium manufacturing, I’d guess a few hundred thousand square feet, it’s been empty since the company moved it to Mexico, and then on to China. Very nice physical plant, I doubt it will ever be used again, even though the work force is still here, to set it up you’d need industrial mechanics, electricians (like me), pipefitters, and other industrial trades. Don’t forget to bring them with you. In any meaningful sense, they no longer exist here.

That’s part of the problems with the state, let’s talk about local for a bit, and then we’ll quit for today.

The Journeyman I spoke of earlier when he was planning to start this business before I was involved, figured he needed a shop and some storage, and maybe an office. He found a light manufacturing lot in another town, with a couple of quonset buildings and a small frame office, a bit run down but fixable. At the time he was living in a mobile home, and figured it reasonable to put that on the lot as well (it’s plenty big). So before he even bought it, he applied for a special use permit that would allow him to place his mobile home on the lot (it’s adjacent to a residential, although not fancy, area). He did the whole nine yards, talking to the neighbors, posting signs, whatever. So he was pretty confident when he went to the planning committee meeting, especially when no one complained, or even showed up.

So he was rather surprised when the mayor spearheaded a vigorous argument against allowing the permit, which was denied. That’s one thing, although nobody has ever offered a rational reason. The one that should have been a warning (he’s a bit bull-headed) was when the mayor asked the city attorney in open meeting if they could stop him from buying the property, including snide comments about raising goats which bewildered him no end. The answer was no.

So he bought it anyway, he’s had it now for better than ten years. In that time we have been cited for everything you can think of, including leaving material on trailers in our lot, which is zoned for outside storage. It has become completely impossible to function in that town, and so it’s sitting dormant, costing us money (although less than renting storage space for our stuff).

A good part of where we get whipsawed is that the city has it zoning code, which is reasonable, actually (or would be if properly enforced) it also has the International Property Maintenance Code which it enforces when it feels like it. By the way, you should read that code, it exists in most states and basically what it amounts to is that you will use your property exactly as the state and/or city says you will, not to mention that you will let their official into any or all of your property at any time, and yes it applies to your house as well.

Next time:

Solutions

 

A Milestone

English: Map of the world showing the location...

English: Map of the world showing the location of the United Kingdom and the United States of America. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been a bit busy with one thing and another and not paying too much attention to my stats lately. Apparently, I’m doing OK, though with the blog, because I just noticed that sometime in the last few days, I passed 25,000 views. I have no idea (and care little) if that is above, below, or about average. I’m happy with it.

I suppose I could say it’s all because of me but, I try not to lie to you, it’s not. It’s because of you. You who inspire me, challenge me, read what I write, good and bad. It’s especially because of you who care about the path of Christianity and America, this time. I’ve been pretty focused on those two subjects lately and hope I’ll be able to deemphasize politics some in the coming months. We’ll see.

Along that line, I want to make a special note of my dearest friend, Jess, who has inspired so many of the posts I written lately that I have taken to calling her my muse.

I also want to take note of those who have been here almost from the beginning, a year ago last July, who have helped me so much, and most especially those, old and new you have given me such eloquent, and intelligent comments.

If you’re curious views here come overwhelmingly from the United States, followed by the UK, Canada, Switzerland, and Spain, and the most popular subjects are the United States, Politics, History, Conservatism, and Corruption. I suspect that tells you something both about what I write about and what you want to know about.

Thanks to you all! 🙂

Obama=Mittens, Perry and Romney, Oh My

Actually my title is somewhat unfair, to Obama who has never made any real secret of his beliefs and has acted in accordance with them, however misguided they are.

I’ve been saying (with a lot of company) that Romney is Obama’s second term. From the Wall St. donors list, to the rest of the crony capitalism crap, Romney’s not conservative, he’s not liberal, he’s not even a moderate. What he is, is a whore, for sale to the highest bidder.

A note, I’ve been out pretty much all day and haven’t done much research (no, really, it’s not because Wikipedia is still down, it really is a time thing). I do plead guilty, though, to using Wikipedia a lot for minor noncontroversial things, and I respect them for their stand on SOPA. Anyway, I’m going to combine a couple of things from friends of mine tonight, I think they’ll each like the others work.

First off via Mark America (follow the link for his article) comes one of the most incredible videos I’ve seen. You remember that Ann Barnhardt video that Mark and I both ran last week? Somebody has taken that and done a remarkable job of editing that reinforces her points beyond doubt. It is long and there is some strong (NSFW) but nothing I don’t hear on a job site everyday.

If you’re voting in the Republican primary to re-elect Obama it is very easy: Vote Romney.

I think we all know that Texas has a fair amount of ‘Pay to Play’ (actually most states do) but Perry may have taken this a bit far. BlogsensebyBarb has found a piece originated at salon.com detailing some background on ‘Pay-to-Play’ in Governor Perry’s Texas (guess what, Mitt Perry makes a cameo appearance here too). Given Salon’s politics, I’m not giving this full value at first look. I’m going to look into it more, but you know what they say about smoke and fire.

A new lawsuit reveals contradictory stories about an illicit $1 million campaign contribution from “Swift Boat” funder.

October 3, 2011 |

This story originally appeared at Salon.

“Follow the money” is an elementary rule for understanding American politics, and in the case of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the money trail leads to a case of apparent money laundering that involves his Republican presidential rival Mitt Romney and a $1 million contribution from the same Texas tycoon who bankrolled the “Swift Boat” attacks against the 2004 Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. John Kerry.

Bobby Jack “Bob” Perry, a residential construction magnate in Houston, is not related to Rick Perry by blood, only money. But there has been lots of that. As with the Swift Boaters to whom he donated $4.45 million, Bob Perry ranks as the single largest donor to Rick Perry during the latter’s 10 years as governor of Texas, according to official figures tabulated and analyzed by Texans for Public Justice, a nonprofit watchdog group in the state capital of Austin.

Bob Perry contributed $2,531,799 directly to Rick Perry from January 2001 to July 2011, TPJ reports in “Crony Capitalism: The Republican Governors Association in the Perry Years.” That puts him well ahead of such other notable donors as Koch Industries, the energy conglomerate owned by David and Charles Koch, the chief funders of the Tea Party, and Contran Corp., whose efforts to establish a nuclear waste dump in Texas have succeeded thanks to regulators appointed by Perry. (As Justin Elliott reported this week, Perry is also a leading funder of Karl Rove’s American Crossroads political action committee.)

Read Barb’s article here.

What should have been a triumphal conservative follow-up to the TEA Party led victory in 2010 has degenerated to this? How shameful.

I am quickly coming to the dismal conviction that Rick Santorum, for all his numerous flaws, some of which I consider serious, is best least bad we’re going to get. I cannot stomach Obama, but I’m not sure that Romney is anything but his second term. Actually he is because Romney will guarantee Obama’s second term and probably a democratic Senate (at least) as well.

Short Note:

With reference to the SOPA/PIPA protest today it worked pretty well for pressuring Congress apparently but, Silicon Valley had best be thinking about how to stop the piracy of copyrighted materials instead of just screaming censorship. Google for one, has a serious almost-plan for disrupting offenders cash flow. Something targeted is a good idea, it’s also why I was so late on climbing on this bandwagon.

Update:

Following a tweet from Ann Barnhardt this morning, I now know who produced the video above, in all its hilariousness, and I am pleased to say it appears to be one of my fellow Nebraskans, and you thought we didn’t do anything but grow corn.

Anyway, she posted this, this morning:

I started making this video the night of Thursday, January 12, 2012. I uploaded it to YouTube, after pulling an all-nighter to get it finished, around 6:00AM on Tuesday, January 17, 2012. I made the video. Me. No one helped me. No one paid me…although, if anyone would like to, the “tip jar” is right over there —>

I made the video because I really don’t want to see Mitt Romney as the President of the United States because I’ve never believed that he is ANYTHING that he has said that he is. I’ve always felt that Mitt Romney says whatever he feels will be the best thing he can say to whatever audience he is speaking to.

Read the rest of her post, and check out her videos.

Great Job, Shelly.

Those Whom the Gods Would Destroy:

They First Make Proud.

I’ve been churning over the debates some this weekend and I’ve come to some conclusions; obviously this is what I think, not driven by anything else, your mileage may vary.

Romney.

I don’t completely trust him, the things he did as Massachusetts Governor, i.e, Romneycare, court nominations et. al., they all bug me. Then again, he was Governor of Massachusetts, would it have been better to be totally ineffective, so I don’t know. Personally, he seems a bit cold and standoffish but again he comes from the Northeast and I’ve never heard of Massachusetts friendly.

His record at Bain Capital is outstanding. Yes, people were let go in the target companies, so what. How does that compare with Staples for instance going from one store that was probably going to fail to over 2000 stores. That’s creating jobs. That’s also capitalism and the concomitant creative destruction in action.

Overall, I’m reasonably comfortable with Romney, he doesn’t wildly excite me but he doesn’t repel me either. Like them all, we need to keep an eye on him.

Paul

If he could be elected Home Secretary to reform the domestic government, he’d be the best thing since canned beer. Unfortunately, we only have one president. Until he realizes we can’t depend on the Royal Navy for protection anymore and learns that talking to dictators (especially ones with a messiah complex) doesn’t work, only intimidation and respect works. No, No, and No, did I mention No. It’s that “provide for the common defence” thing.

Gringrich

Here’s where the title come from, that one goes back to the ancient Greeks, if you don’t like that try “pride goeth before the fall”. We might also want to remember that pride is senior on the list of the seven deadly sins. This is what I see, in Gringrich. I want to like him, really I do. What I see is a man with some conservative tendencies who has been perverted by spending too long in Washington and coming to believe that the cure for big government is His big government. The latest and strongest indicator for me was his defense of GSE’s the other night. He and Paul might make good co-presidents, Paul handling domestic and Gingrich foreign affairs. Neither has enough of the whole package. For me, he ranks right above Paul, he’ll take us off the cliff, all right, slower than Obama, though.

Bachman

I like her, I think she might make a good president. I nearly always agree with her. I do have some problems with her though. The first is that running a tax law practice is not like being the CEO of the United States, she’s very limited on relevant experience, nor is legislative experience transferable to the executive. My second problem is that I think she’s a bit too quick on the attack, in a representative it’s fine but, it going to make it difficult to drive a balky team as president. I think someplace in House leadership for now, or maybe the Vice Presidency, maybe later.

Santorum

I have no problem with him although he is a bit aggressive. He really needs tire chains for his campaign though. Is he electable? That’s the real question here.

Perry

For now, and subject to change, this is my guy. Perfect, no. Do not let the perfect get in the way of good enough. I understand why so many have problems with his immigration policies but, I think I understand his reasoning.

A fence, while sounding good, isn’t that effective, if we are going to control the border we do it with troops (or police). That works. As long as opportunities in the US are much greater than in Mexico, illegals will be a problem. If you had a family to feed and the situation were reversed, you’d consider it too, or at least, I would. As to the tuition thing, for at least ten years we’ve made very little effort to control the border, if one is going to have illegals in your state, isn’t it better to educate them and let them earn a living than end up with them on everlasting welfare? At least that how I read what he’s saying.

Immigration policies need major reform, anyway, we make it very difficult for the productive people, that we need, to immigrate. These people will create jobs and make us more productive, instead they are going to China and India.

The Gardisil thing looked troubling on first glance, so I looked into it a bit. The vaccination cost about $1-200 dollars, as I recall, by making it mandatory, and giving a (very) easy opt-out the cost was reduced significantly and insurance was obliged to cover it. Not a perfect solution but, a practical one.

Job growth and the economy in Texas pretty much speaks for itself, if this keeps up, it’s going to be like the early 1800’s in Tennessee, when GTT (gone to Texas) was a cliché.

That’s what I see in him, an easy-going, practical man, grounded in (conservative) principles. One thing I really like is that he doesn’t appear to be so full of himself as the others, witness his jokes about his debate performance. Being an Air Force pilot doesn’t hurt with me either, only veteran this time out, other than Paul. He doesn’t remind me of Bush, although I do detect a faint whiff of Reagan around him.

There you go, that’s my current snapshot, again your mileage may vary, if so, I’d be interested in your reasoning. It’s early yet, at least for me, Nebraska’s primary is fairly late, so we rarely get a voice, not that we don’t have opinions.

Perry’s Plan

Governor Perry; Courtesy of Perry for President

While I’m not Governor Perry’s greatest fan, some of his plans take your breath away.

Mostly, like most conservatives, I have trouble with his immigration policies, and yet, as we should have learned from the McNamara Line, an American Soldier (or cop) is far more effective than a fence (with or without Alligators), and if you’ve got all these illegals, maybe it’s better to educate them than support them forever, so there you go.

But his plan for reforming Washington, that I can unreservedly support.

Fundamental Reform of the Legislative Branch

Fundamental Reform of the Judiciary

Fundamental Reform of the Executive Branch
Regulatory Reform and Reining in the Federal Bureaucracy
Regulatory Reform

Read the rest here.

Unless we make a lot of changes in Congress, it will never happen but, it’s a good start on what we need to do.

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