Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Bean Burrito Principle

In debating with some of my favorite shallow reasoning conservative minded Internet acquaintances in recent weeks, I realized a common human trait that they held. It is a trait shared by some liberal friends too. Sometimes people arrive at the right conclusion with the wrong data. That isn’t what I noticed Most though. What I noticed most was that some people can’t connect events any further back then one move. No sense of consequences for their actions.

The Basic of the "Bean Burrito Principle":
I have dubbed this the "bean burrito principle". Consider that one night you eat a bean burrito. You know the kind. The frozen ones from the grocery store. On sale, you can get two for a dollar. You heat it up in the microwave in that cardboard cover. It gets so scalding hot on the outside, a solid ball of ice on the inside. So you nuke it for the rest of the 30 seconds of the "2 to 2 ½ minutes" recommended on the package. You grab your favorite frothy beverage and you eat the burrito. (Others just drunkenly swerve into "Mexican Ringer" after bar close and achieve the same nutritious satisfaction.) The digestive process begins in the mouth with the mixing of saliva as your teeth grind the molten hot cheese, stale two year old reject tortilla from toxic hell, and the really cheep beans (oh those dammed beans) into a paste. You esophagus presses that paste down into that chemical chamber called your stomach. It is here that the result of your decision not to eat something more substantive has reached the point of no return. It is here that chemical reactions release methane gas. That gas is mixed with the chemically changed (think rotting) food and pushed along the large intestine. At the end of the line, so to speak, gas is trapped in the in the system by the anal sphincter. Eventually the pressure is too great and the discomfort of the gas bubble convinces that sphincter to open up. Then, "REIIIP", is that familiar sound. That is followed by the odor that we have come to recognize by many a name passed by the pulling of the finger from father to son for over a hundred generations. The fart. Most people blame the smell on the fart. Some even go as deep as to blame it on the ass. None too many blame it on the sphincter. Very few of us know to blame it on our inability to pick something less volatile to eat the night before. And so when we wake up in the morning, head pounding from the nights previous activity, many of us can't understand why out room smells like the outside Porto potty on day 5 of Woodstock.

Applied Politics:
So what does this have to do with politics, let alone Islamic extremist attacks? So many people want to look no further then the fart to blame the smell. They simply want to spray the room with some rosey fragrance and call it a day. In the same respect, so many people want to look no further then the attackers and their organizations to find blame. The problem is that type of quick and shallow resolve doesn’t lend itself to identifying and solving the problem. If you don’t realize that it is the burrito causing the horrible odor, you can not truly stop it from occurring. Sure you can pack your pants with an air freshener, but eventually some of the smell will get through. It only takes one missed attack and the room is in tears. Spray it and in the end what you have is rose scented poo. So it is the case that if we don’t understand (and accept our role in the process) why the Islamic extremist attack western targets, we are doomed to suffer another attack.

Trying to understand:
If you really want to understand where the burrito meets the belly, then you have to understand the choices Western politics make when buying "burritos" from the Middle East. Of course the gas we produce from the Middle East comes not from burritos, but come from oil. Think of what you picture when you think of the Middle East. A guy ridding a camel, wearing some kind of towel over his head, right? Know what you don’t picture, a bustling city with lots of electricity, roads, and automobile burning up oil.
The lands that hold these vast oil resources are not settled lands that follow Western ideologies of equality and free thought. At least they weren't. Many are leaning that way now, and that is the problem. It would be nice if they were, but social evolution has not lead then to drink the cool clean waters of freedom as of yet. (boy could you imagine how much gas would cost if they did though?) They don’t recognize national unity and authority. They (meaning the majority of the ancestral inhabitants)also don’t care about crude oil. They are nomads, goat herders, and loyal to their tribes. Their religion is more influential to them then the attainment of wealth. Yet the oil burning junkies of the "civilized world" (that is us dear reader) want to get access to that oil. We can’t just take it. Not that we wouldn’t take it if we could. It is just that there are way too many of them and oil wells are sitting ducks in a barrel. We can’t blow the place up, it would ruin the oil fields for hundreds of years. So we use the most efficient weapon we have to cure our hunger. Greed and free enterprise. Much like the terrorist only need small numbers to attack soft targets, so it is that we only need a few greedy basturds to hold power over the rest of their community. Give them guns, money, food, and healthcare and they will hold their brother and sisters at bay.

You can always find hungry people at bar close:
There are a few facts in life that are useful. In a group of 1000 people, there are at least 10 who are hypocrites and would trade their tradition and spiritualism for wealth and power in a moments notice. Also, 10 well armed, trained, and resources people can control the will of the other 990. If 12000 miles away we display the 10 people celebrating with western technology and ideals on TV, the majority of the country will think they are all like that. Last, no matter how bad they taste and make you feel, you can always sell bean burritos at bar close because they are cheap and quick to make.
We need people in these lands to let us build oil wells, protect our assets, and "sell" us our burritos. So our governments find militia men willing to honor our trades. We prop them up as kings and rulers. We arm them and train them to the teeth. We make them wealthy. The people of the lands see these repressive militias holding Western weapons, support, and status. (This is not new. We did this with the native Americans. We found some one, anyone to sign a piece of paper and say the land is ours.) Their ancestral lands are occupied by oil wells. They see the cash and power granted to the people who hold them down and commit human rights violations against them. Many see the westernization of their lands and consider it a "sin" and an invasion of their culture. Most of us can't understand why they wouldn't want money and physical rewards. Those silly people want 70 virgins in the afterlife instead of temporary jolts of pleasure in this world.

From your stomachs perspective:
If we continue to the gaseous consequence as an attack on our nose, the nothing our nose can tell us will stop that from ever happening again. Our nose (the American people) only knows the place smells and we should spray the place with good smelling stuff. But our stomach, the more informed on the matter business end of the problem, knows that better consideration of the diet would stop this whole thing. Just as our politicians know that their greed and desires have changed a culture and caused this.
The Islamic extremists see the burrito as the cause. If they can stop us from propping up oppressive dictators to in order to get oil, then they can have their sacred lands back to themselves. Some of them want the power and status to spread their ideologies instead of the one we are currently backing. Saddam, the Taliban, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Israel are all products of our thirst for oil and power. Not one of us are innocent of this crime against their land. The Amish may be forgiven. But the rest of us, bloody our hands weekly at the pump. Our soldiers are not boots and uniforms, but cash and power.

Deserving results has nothing to do with expecting them.
No one deserves to wake up with a stinking room and poo in their pants. But considering our actions prior to bar close and the resulting consumption of bad food really only could have lead to one outcome.
We didn’t deserve the attacks of 9/11. Violence is never the answer. But it can be the expected result when measured against past history. We Americans are naive to the consequences of our actions. Our reasoning would be as followed. "Every time I eat one of those cheap burritos, my ass stinks so bad that it forces the paint to peel on my house. Must be cheap paint." Just as we think, "All these holes in the desert where we set up puppet governments and oil wells keep hating and attacking us. Must be the people in those areas are evil."

The difference between a "Bean Burrito" and a "Hummus Wrap".
They don’t understand the individualization of our culture anymore then we understand the unity of theirs. We live in single family housing where we often don't know the name of our neighbor. They live in a more tribal environment where everybody is concerned with everybody’s honor. But the reasons for their hatred of us is far more complex then they are Muslims, they hate freedom, and they think we all should die. Again, the answer to any problems is never violence. As an agnostic Christian I have many times over reasoned that violence in the system doesn't work. But we are currently in a the grips of a cultural catch 22. We now need their resource to support our way of life. However, they want us to stop so they can go back to their way of life. That is why "they hate us". Not our freedom, but the taking of their freedom from them. We can insist that they are free only if they practice it the way we say they should. When we prop up puppets to buy oil on their land, we have released the gas into the equation to the point of no return.
When picking a candidate, pick one that seems to understand the "bean burrito principle" the best. Nobody knows what trouble the future will bring. Having a leader that can understand the full impact and source of the problem is key. A little hint, if you think keeping military presence in their home land for a "hundred years" is even a mentionable option, then you don't understand the principle.

Monday, June 23, 2008

143 Days and Obama vs. McCain's Experience

One of my email contacts recently sent me a piece that questioned Obama’s experience and compared it to John McCain’s. It was titled "143 days.". here it is.

Just how much Senate experience does Barack Obama have in terms of actual work days? Not much.From the time Barack Obama was sworn in as a United States Senator, to the time he announced he was forming a Presidential exploratory committee, he logged 143 days of experience in the Senate. That's how many days the Senate was actually in session and working.

After 143 days of work experience, Obama believed he was ready to be Commander In Chief, Leader of the Free World, and fill the shoes of Abraham Lincoln, FDR, JFK and Ronald Reagan.143 days -- I keep leftovers in my refrigerator longer than that!!In contrast, John McCain's 26 years in Congress, 22 years of military service (including 1,966 days in captivity as a POW in Hanoi ), now seem more impressive than ever. At 71, John

McCain may just be hitting his stride.
Think about it!!!

Well I thought about it. This was my response.

So senator McCain has a 26 year record of leaching off the American People and
screwing the public? He sat in the Republican held Congress that had an
agreeable executive branch for 6 years that would allow them to pass anything
they felt was beneficial to the country. Yet here we are in the economic,
security, and ornamental situation we are in? He never thought to question the
motives of these individuals as the lied to the American public, sent us
needlessly into war, and consorted with the big oil companies to rape the
driving public?
The whole time he did this Obama had the earnest to get his
family by on a budget that he got from being on unemployment? (Your are implying
that he would out in the world doing nothing while not in politics.) I think if
a guy can scrape by on such a narrow income, he can help tighten the belt of the
American cash flow hemorrhage.
Or are you saying he was out getting
experience in other things besides leaching and screwing the American people? As
a lawyer he was debating, and convincing people to believe his position. Kind of
what a president might do don’t you think?

Dick Cheney And Our Energy Policy

This is going to be a very short post by my standards.

Does anybody ever wonder what the 2001 Dick Cheney energy task force talked about? The American people couldn’t even get an accurate list of names of the attendees. The Republican held congress actually petitioned the supreme court to get the information. Cheney was out hunting the week before the case with Justice Scalia who refused to recuse himself. Ultimately they sided with the White House, surprise, surprise.

Now Cut to the present and the most recent story.

"The no-bid contracts are unusual for the industry, and the offers prevailed over others by more than 40 companies, including companies in Russia, China and India."

Exactly what do you think the people of Iraq are going to think when they see a repressive militia of the holding US weapons and wearing western style uniforms protecting the oil wells with English names on land they consider stolen. Repressed people who don’t even own a car. Who are you going to hire to work these wells and refineries? Iraqis? Do people actually think they are going to hire people who only the month before were shooting at each other to work side by side in these facilities run by western profiteers? Even if the people they hire are not directly involved in the ongoing civil war, they have friends and families that are. People who will consider them traitors and kill them and their families for accepting work in that environment. So, who are they going to hire?

The boldness in which the criminals that have run the country for the past 8 years has operated is unbelievable. The willingness of the American people to forget the news story of yesterday is perplexing to say the least.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

High Gas Prices and Saudi Math

The reason why I keep bringing up the Saudis and their production is that they hold the firmest hands on the reigns of the oil supply. First one must understand that the Saudis are not producing oil at capacity.

Have you ever wondered why 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudi Arabian national, were commanded by another Saudi national, and the Bush administration leads a charge against a battle torn goat haven and a weak cobbled together country like Iraq with not ties to the event? Or have you ever wonder why the leader of the free world travels to the Saudi Arabia and wallows at the feet of the oppressive Muslim King that stands for everything that Americans are against? Oil, bloody oil. So how did the Saudis come by so much respect? A little situation we all Call OPEC.

A few years ago I had an economics teacher. He was an awful teacher. But he did give me one nugget of enlightenment. He explained how OPEC operates. The jest of it goes like this. Originally OPEC was created as a kind of oil conglomerate. The members were all going to combine their resources and corner the oil market. They were going to do it by setting the production levels and control the supply and demand ratio. The problem is that they would set a production level for the year, but then many of them would "cheat" and over produce by several hundred thousand barrels. So, the Saudis having a better grasp on economics then their partners decided to get control of the ramped "cheating". They figured out the amount barrels each member could produce, and then the Saudis set a market supply level by only producing the amount they needed to make up the difference between the rest of the OPEC members production and the level they set.

To understand how this works, you have to understand a few economics concepts. More precisely the pricing curve. You have to understand Saudi Math. Here is an example.

Story problem: Lets say that at $2 a gallon a gas station has a 100 consumers willing and able to buy a gallon of gas. (we will make it "a gallon" for ease of math.) But let us say that at $4 a gallon only 50 of the consumers are willing and able to pay for a gallon of gas. Guess what! The gas station is making $200 either way!! Now if you are talking about an industrial venture such as oil drilling, selling less product means less overhead cost, which mean you are actually pocketing more money. There is not shortage of people willing and able to pay the price
If the US produces more, the Saudis will just decrease production, prices at best will slow their increase, and in the end The Saudi oil industry will make more money. They didn’t even need Sally Struthers to show them how to do it.

The aforementioned explanation is why drilling in ANWR won't do any good. There are many other subsidiary reason I will put in a different post. However just know this much. All oil is deposited in a giant global kitty. There are no "strictly American" supply chains. The U.S contributes only 2% of the world's oil production. The raw data can be found here in the International Energy Agencies "Annual Statistical Report". You will have to do a little averaging math. It takes one who doesn't sleep to go further and find out that if ANWAR produced 100% of its speculations, it would only increase oil output to 6%. (The record high has been less then 50% accuracy. ) The U.S. consumes 25% of the worlds oil production. If we increase, the Saudis just decrease and then bring home the same payday. People who think drilling is the answer are either ignorant, stupid, or on the payroll of one of the companies. They still have a 100 million acres they have access to that they are not drilling on.

The only thing we can do I cut our use.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Opening Drilling In ANWAR, Taxing Our Way Out, And the Reality Of The Gas Price Crisis

The reality of drilling our way out of the gasoline price crisis is a farce. Drilling for more oil is like saying the problem with crack addicts is that there is not enough crack supply. If there was more crack it would drive the price down and they wouldn't have to beg, steal, and hook to get their fix.

Here is something that the greedy conservatives and the economically ignorant politicians that support them don’t seem to understand. Prices in a free market are set by the maximum amount buyers are willing to pay. The "demand curve" is set by this factor. The US consumer has proven they are willing and able to pay $4 plus for gas. So what makes these morons think that even if they get an increase in supply and demand stays constant, that it will cause a reduction in gas prices?
Alright, before we get started let us ask ourselves some pertinent questions?

Q: Will drilling in ANWAR take money and put it directly in your pocket. If the government gives these companies that are making huge profits with no regard for the destruction it is doing to the economy the rights to drill for more of our countries greatest drug, will a check show up in your mailbox?
A: No. They will not be sending you a check.

Q: If there is an increase in supply, does that guarantee a decrease in the price to the consumer.
A: No, prices are set by consumer’s willingness and ability to pay for the product. The guy who runs the gas station on the corner knows that we are willing to pay $4 for it. As well as the distributor, the refinery, and the oil producers know this too. They will all want their piece of the pie.

Q: Is the level of demand on the world supply stalled and not growing?
A: No, in fact with India and China’s economies in a boom, we can expect that countries with the two largest populations will be buying a lot of fuel over the next few years. So while company executives site a potential of 60 years of supply in ANWAR, they are basing it on liberal estimates using current numbers.

Q: Do Americans really want democracy and prosperity to spread throughout the Middle East?
A: No, that would mean more competition for the Oil we are addicted to.

Q: How much oil does the US contribute to the world production status?
A: 2% of the total Oil contribution is made by the United States. We consume 25%. While there are many figures thrown about, conservative numbers say that we use 45% of our own oil and 55% we get from imports. Once those supplies start flowing it, our contribution will rise only to the level of about 3.5% at best. The Saudis main occupation is controlling market levels. They could easily compensate by reducing their production.

Q: Say that the congress gives the “go ahead” to drilling in these currently off limit sites, how long will it take to actually get that oil into the production.
A: the best estimates say it will take at least 5 years. However, many experts claim that they will take closer to 8 to 10 years.

So How well does this plan rate on the logic scale. Using past performance to predict future behaviors. That being the case, it scores somewhere around fantasy land where everybody wins the lottery.

The Major Oil Companies combined made $70 billion. That is enough to send every man, woman, and child in the US about $250. Now that would fill up your tank of gas now wouldn’t it. They often prop up incidents that are going to raise the price in crude oil such as war in the Middle East, weather events in crucial regions, increase in driving habits, or a goat pissing on the electric fence outside the refinery. You never hear them boast about improvements in extraction technology, transport, or supply capabilities. They never say, “Good news we can drastically lower the price of gas. Are you telling me with the kind of money this brings they have never done that?

There is not a single economic theory, principle, or crazy guess in the dark that guarantees a reduction in gasoline prices at the pump or to the airlines. The only thing that will drive down prices is a reduction in the need for the product. As a mater of fact, here is a crazy idea. Increase taxes on gasoline right now. Do it while there is still room. Find the breaking point of the American people. Only then will the forces of ingenuity that drives the American free markets will kick in. In the mean time at least it will be our government that is putting the screws to us instead of the Middle Eastern demigods. They can use the tax revenues to apply towards research into alternate energy ideas.

A bit extreme I know but not any more extreme that asking the oil companies what we should do about their huge profit margins and our inability to stop from buying their product.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

You Will Vote For Who? Why?

I did this recently at a family function। My brother who is gay and my aunt who is not explainable were both staunch Hillary supporters. They both spouted out rhetoric like, "I’m voting for McCain" or "I’m writing Hillary in". I asked why would you want to deliver the election to McCain? Sounding more like children that didn’t get their way then rational adults the answers were rapid but illogical.

Hillary Supporters (HS): "Because she won the popular vote."
Me: If you count the two states that Barrack’s name wasn’t on the ballot.
HS: He was on in Michigan.
Me: But he didn’t, in accordance to the rules, campaign in those states. In November of 2007 the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party was Billary Clinton. State by state, as Obama went to each one he won those states, or close enough to make it a virtual tie. He played by the rules, something the Clinton’s have always had trouble doing.
(that got interrupted by)
HS: I don’t care, they changed the rules and if they hadn’t…

Me: Why don’t you like Barrack?
HS: He lies to the public and misrepresents himself. He makes everybody think he came from this poor background, when he didn’t he was raised in an upper middle class that saw him go to the finest schools that no poor person could afford?
Me: How does he make everybody think he was poor? The same way Hillary speaks with an awful southern twang or claims she was shot at in Bosnia? In reality he went to those schools on scholarships।

HS: Well it’s not him it’s his wife। She hates white people. She continued to take her kids to that church and she said that she never felt American until her husband started looking like a real possibility for the nominee.

Me: Can you blame her for saying that। She was a young professional trying t make her way in the US during the 50’s and 60’s. I don’t know if you are aware of what Americans thought of "colored people" back then. It didn’t matter what kind of degree you had. If you lived in the white affluent world you saw the prejudice attitude even worse then if you were with "your own kind" in the ghetto. You have to wonder how many times she has encountered that glass ceiling. She would have a way better grasp of what "the American dream" then Hillary ever had.

HS: But they hate they spewed in that church show how much they hate white people.
Me: I have seen the whole clip I didn’t see anything that was directed towards all "white people". The main thing he was saying is that the US got attacked because of it meddling in parts of the world where people are poor and repressed. You don’t think the fact that we propped up oppressive regimes and put up oil fields where the poor goat herders used to run their livestock had something to do with the reason they hate us?
HS: Yes bet there was a direct hatred of white people in that speech.
Me: I saw the whole thing and didn’t see it। Can you tell me what he said? (no answer)

HS: She has experience that Barack doesn’t
Me : Experience screwing the American people over? That is something I am tired of.
HS: All politicians are corrupt.
Me: So you admit she is corrupt. Can you tell me what scandals Barack has been involved in?
Me: Look, Hillary has had so many people that she worked with on real estate deals that have been convicted of fraud and have had to go to jail। Many were pardoned by Bill.

To my brother I said, do you know what McCain stands for?
Bro: Yah he wants to make it so me and Drew are considered second class citizens.
Me: so why would you vote for him?
Bro: I won’t I am going to write Hillary’s name in.
Me: really the same thing।

To my Aunt: I understand as a catholic this will not break your heart, but most of Hillary’s support comes from a base of people who are very "Pro-choice". With the next two Supreme Court picks coming from the next president and the bench already teetering to the right, do you think they are going to let the Roe v. Wade issue fall in the hands of a conservative?
Aunt: Well I don’t think abortion is right, in fact I think it is murder, but that should be between the woman and God.
Me: What? So should all murder be between that person and God?
Aunt: Look abortion is wrong and the woman will have to pay for it later, I just don’t think the president should be making laws to tell the woman what she should do.
Me: (I couldn’t find any logic in that and she refused to answer that point presented।)

So that was pretty much it. It is really the same conversation I have been having with Hillary supporters for the last 6 weeks. The reason why this country is so screwed up is egos get in the way of what is good for the country.

Obama Nomination: Profound But Not Why You Think

Well we went and got it done। We have a black man with a Muslim name who has shunned of money from lobbyist elected to one of the two only parties in the United States. Go figure, only a half of a century after the end of the "Jim Crow" he eked by with only about 52% support. Somehow he managed to get just enough of the biggest voting demographic, the baby boomers, to vote for him. These are people of whom many of them grew up in the Jim Crow era and see nothing wrong with those laws. But it isn’t because he is black. Or at least not just because.

So why is this so profound? Or the most common asked question, "Is it wrong to support Obama because he is black?" assumes that there is a thought invoked choice। Every politician is narcissistic। But hold on, I will go further and say that every human is narcissistic. Even more so, every living thing on this planet is narcissistic. We all have "admiration and love of ourselves." That is how the "system" works. Every living thing believes its genes should be, deserves to be, passed on to the next generation.

What does that have to do with voting, Black or female candidates, and profound nominees? The reason is because we have always seen old, white, Christian, military, men in the office of the presidency is because most of the people who vote are nearly identical demographics। We want to vote ourselves or somebody who looks like us into a position of power। It further supports the notion that somebody who will make it easier to spread their genes. The fact that you are reading a political blog means some of us might even have spent more time looking up the biography, voting record, and policies of the candidates then we did looking up the same info on the next American Idol. But go find somebody who is an average voter. Ask them, "who they are voting for?" Then ask them "why?" After they spit out the same regurgitated negative marketing topic of the day. Ask them if they can name just one policy their candidate supports and how they plan to get it through the legislation, implement, and then pay for it. Every time that is answered by a blank stare and usually a subject change.

What makes Barrack Obama’s presidency unique is that this will be the first time that so many demographic differences were transgressed to elect him। It won’t be because people did their research. That is asking too much. It will be because the environment is ripe for enough people who are members of the normal voting demographics are tired of seeing the same results. So they have voted against their instincts. This is the same environment that will get people who starred in the movie "Predator" elected.

That is why this is profound.

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