President Obama is no Captain James Tiberius Kirk

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 22nd, 2014

Week in Review

Captain James T. Kirk didn’t command the Enterprise because of his political connections.  No.  He commanded the Enterprise because he was the best damn captain in Starfleet history (see Five Leadership Lessons From James T. Kirk by Alex Knapp reposted 2/23/2014 (originally posted 3/5/2012) on Forbes).

In his many years of service to the Federation, James Kirk embodied several leadership lessons that we can use in our own lives. We need to keep exploring and learning. We need to ensure that we encourage creativity and innovation by listening to the advice of people with vastly different opinions. We need to occasionally get down in the trenches with the members of our teams so we understand their needs and earn their trust and loyalty. We need to understand the psychology of our competitors and also learn to radically change course when circumstances dictate. By following these lessons, we can lead our organizations into places where none have gone before.

President Obama is no Captain James Tiberius Kirk.  President Obama is a committed ideologue.  And will not consider exploring and learning other knowledge.  For this committed Keynesian will not even consider learning the classical economics that made the U.S. the number one economy in the world.  He will not work with the Republicans.  When it came to the stimulus he shut them out completely with the statement that he won the election.  And elections have consequences.  After his “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it” lie of the year (2013) he’s not earning much trust and loyalty these days.  His foreign policy has made Iran and Russia stronger.  As well as emboldened militant Islam.  So he doesn’t understand our competitors.  At all.  Finally, the Affordable Care Act (i.e., Obamacare) has been a disaster.  But is he radically changing course?  No.  He’s exceeding his Constitutional authority by rewriting the Affordable Care Act to try and push the more painful parts of Obamacare past the 2014 midterm elections.  To make people less angry at him and the Democrats when they vote this fall.

Captain James T. Kirk never put himself or his agenda ahead of the mission.  Which is why he was a great leader.  Whereas President Obama is beholden to an ideology.  And will sacrifice anything for that ideology.  Our economy.  Our health care system.  Even our leadership position of the free world.  Something Captain Kirk would never do.  Because he was not beholden to an ideology.  Which made him a great leader.  Unlike President Obama.

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Smoking Marijuana may give you Lung Cancer, Heart Disease and Diabetes

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 22nd, 2014

Week in Review

It’s no secret.  You get the munchies after smoking marijuana.  Whether it’s recreational smoking.  Or medical smoking.  Apparently (see Girl Scout sells 117 boxes of cookies outside Green Cross medical marijuana clinic by Heather Saul posted 2/22/2014 on The Independent).

A girl scout has proved it really is “all about location” after selling 117 boxes of cookies from her stand outside The Green Cross medical marijuana dispensary in just two hours.

Thirteen-year-old Danielle Lei set up her cookie stall outside of the clinic in San Francisco and was welcomed by patients and staff.

Danielle sold out of her first batch within 45 minutes, according to the clinic, which is a fully licensed dispensary serving qualified California patients.

The left wants to tax sugary beverages.  They want to take away McDonald’s Happy Meals from our children.  And Michelle Obama wants our kids to eat rabbit food in school because our kids are too fat.  As childhood obesity leads to chronic and costly health problems later in life.  Then there’s the crusade against smoking.  Which they have banned from pretty much everywhere.  As first-hand smoke, second-hand smoke and third-hand smoke will kill you.  For just the whiff of tobacco odor will give you lung cancer.  Yes, the left is very concerned about what we eat, drink and smoke.  Because we apparently don’t know what’s good for us. Or what’s bad.  Thankfully, they do.

Which makes their drive to decriminalize marijuana puzzling to say the least.  They say it’s harmless.  No worse than a cocktail after work each day (though there are some who will say you are an alcoholic if you have a drink every day).  But marijuana causes first-hand smoke, second-hand smoke and third-hand smoke.  Giving marijuana smokers lung cancer.  And if that wasn’t bad enough marijuana also makes people obese.  Because of the munchies.  It’s so bad that people have to buy Girl Scout cookies just after buying their medical marijuana.  Even before they gave themselves a little more lung cancer by smoking it.  And it should be noted that Girl Scout cookies aren’t rabbit food.  No.  They’re the kind of food that tastes good.  And makes our kids obese.

Lung cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc., are bad.  And we need to change people’s eating, drinking and smoking habits so their poor choices don’t become a burden to society.  Unless you get lung cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc., from smoking marijuana.  Because smoking marijuana will give you the less deadly and less costly forms of lung cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc.  Apparently.

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Marine Insurance shows why Obamacare won’t Work

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 22nd, 2014

Week in Review

As ships began to ply the world’s oceans some of them did not make it to their destination.  Instead, they ended up on the ocean floor.  The financial loss for a ship lost at sea was enough to bankrupt a shipper.  Which greatly inhibited early transoceanic trade.  But then the good men at Lloyd’s of London began selling marine insurance out of a London coffee house.  Spreading the risk of a large financial loss across all shippers.  Where each shipper paid a small fee (i.e., an insurance premium) to cover the financial loss for the few ships that sank.  It was an excellent system.  Mitigating the risk of the very risky transoceanic trade.  It worked so well we still use it today (see Ship loses more than 500 containers in heavy seas by Tim Lister posted 2/22/2014 on CNN)

On any day, between 5 million and 6 million containers are on the high seas, carrying everything from potato chips to refrigerators. But not all of them make it to their destination, as the crew of the Svendborg Maersk have just found out.

Their Danish-flagged ship was in the Bay of Biscay last week as hurricane-force winds battered the Atlantic coast of Europe. Amid waves of 30 feet and winds of 60 knots, the Svendborg began losing containers off northern France. After the ship arrived in the Spanish port of Malaga this week, Maersk discovered that about 520 containers were unaccounted for. Stacks of others had collapsed.

It’s the biggest recorded loss of containers overboard in a single incident…

The Through Transport Club, which insures 15 of the top 20 container lines, has put the loss at fewer than 2,000 containers a year. But other industry sources say the number may be as high as 10,000. That would still represent far less than 1% of the containers traversing the world’s oceans. Maersk, one of the world’s largest lines, says that its highest annual loss in the last decade was 59 containers.

If we crunch some numbers we can see how insurance works.  Let’s make some assumptions.  Conservative ones.  Let’s assume the low end of 5 million containers.  And the high end of lost containers (10,000).  This puts the total loss of containers at 0.20% of the total shipped.  Which means that 99.8% of all containers shipped reach their destination.  So the insurance pays for a very small number of lost containers.  Now let’s assume an average value of $250,000 per container.  That makes the value of all containers shipped $1.25 trillion.  And the value of containers lost $2.5 billion.  Or 0.20% of the value shipped.  Which is a small fraction of the total.  If we spread this amount over each container shipped that comes to an insurance premium of $500 per container.  A small price to pay to avoid a $250,000 loss.

This is why marine insurance works.  Because it’s insurance.  Where shippers pay a small premium to insure against a very large possible financial loss.  Which is why Obamacare won’t work.  Because Obamacare isn’t insurance.  Neither was health insurance before Obamacare.  Because people expect a free ride.  If they have ‘insurance’ they don’t want to pay for anything.  Which isn’t how insurance works.  That would be like shippers having someone else pay for their marine insurance.  And then expect to ship things across the ocean for free because they had insurance.  Marine insurance doesn’t work like that.  And neither should health insurance.

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Wal-Mart is the new General Motors for the Middle Class

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 22nd, 2014

Week in Review

The left hates Wal-Mart.  Because they are nonunion.  And their low prices make it difficult for small mom & pop shops to stay in business charging their customers higher prices.  But being nonunion lets them hire more people.  And their low prices allow people to buy more with their paychecks.  Good things.  Yet the left hates Wal-Mart.  Because they would rather have union jobs even if it means fewer jobs.  And higher prices.  Despite Wal-Mart being the best thing for the middle class since General Motors (see Walmart and the middle class, sinking together by Rick Newman posted 2/21/2014 on Yahoo! Finance).

It was once General Motors (GM) whose fortunes reflected those of the middle-class Americans who bought its products. Now, that bellwether Goliath is Walmart (WMT)…

A chronically weak job market is pinching lower-income consumers — some of whom can’t even afford to shop at Walmart anymore.

The digital revolution has left Walmart at a disadvantage against etailers such as Amazon (AMZN), which has 7 times’ Walmart’s online revenue, and a much smaller physical footprint to manage.

With Walmart tied so closely to the fortunes lower-middle-class Americans, it’s no exaggeration to say that, as goes Walmart, so goes America. And vice versa…

A century ago, Henry Ford famously doubled the pay of his workers — to $5 per day — to reduce turnover and make his production lines more efficient. That move had the added benefit of raising living standards for Ford workers and helping establish the modern middle class.

Even though Walmart is the nation’s largest employer — with 1.3 million U.S. workers — it seems highly unlikely it could achieve anything similar to what Henry Ford did. Global competition gives retailers little room to raise costs without giving away pricing advantages. And fading demand for lesser-skilled workers lacking a college degree leaves few companies with a real incentive to raise wages, aside from earning a bit of public goodwill. Before Henry Ford doubled wages, his workers often left for other blue-collar jobs in a booming industrial economy. Most Walmart workers lack such options.

Amazon is nonunion, too.  But Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, donated $2.5 million to support gay marriage in Washington State.  Donates primarily to Democrat candidates.  And supports an Internet sales tax (see What Are Jeff Bezos’s Political Leanings, and How Might They Shape the Washington Post? by David A. Graham, The Atlantic, posted 8/5/2013 on the National Journal).  So there are things the left likes about Amazon.  But they only have about 100,000 employees to Wal-Mart’s 2.2 million.  Which is why the left has an all out assault on Wal-Mart.  Because they want to unionize those 2.2 million.  For 2.2 million people would provide a lot of union dues.

Unionization or a higher minimum wage does not build a strong middle class.  A strong economy does.  That’s what helped Henry Ford raise his wages.  To keep his best workers from quitting so they could take higher paying jobs elsewhere.  Which is how people earn more money.  When an economy is so robust that there are more jobs than people to fill them.  Requiring employers to pay more to attract workers.  Not by forcing employers to pay more.  Especially during a weak economy.  When a business’ margins couldn’t be thinner.  Leaving them unable to raise wages without cutting workers.  Which the left will be glad to see.  Lost jobs.  As long as those remaining are union jobs.

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The Beating a Woman takes Playing Football with Men won’t be as Bad as Hand-to-Hand Combat

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 22nd, 2014

Week in Review

The NFL is coming under a lot of pressure because of concussions.  And the brain damage it may lead to later in life.  As players have never been bigger or faster.  And when they hit they hit hard.  The NFL has changed the rules to prevent the most damaging of these collisions.  Head to head contact.  There is even talk of eliminating the kickoff.  To prevent two ‘freight trains’ running into each other at full speed.  And those on the left are calling it a brutal game that we need to get rid of.  For it’s little better than gladiators fighting to the death in the Colosseum.  And we shouldn’t let our children grow up and play football.  Unless they’re gay.  Or women.  Then it’s a beautiful thing.  An openly gay man in the NFL.  Or a woman playing running back in the Indoor Football League (see Running Back Jennifer Welter Makes History By Playing In Pro Football Game by ThePostGame Staff posted 2/17/2014 on Yahoo! Sports).

Welter, who has starred at linebacker for a decade for the Dallas Diamonds of the Women’s Football Alliance, got her first carry midway through the third quarter. She took a handoff from two yards out of the end zone and scampered around the left tackle. But the 5-foot-2, 130 pound Welter was met by 6-4, 245-pound defensive lineman Cedric Hearvey for a one-yard loss.

Somehow, Welter was unfazed by the hit.

“I said, ‘Is that all you got?'” Welter asked Hearvey. “I didn’t want them to think I was intimidated…”

Welter had her number called twice more in goal line situations, but she wasn’t able to score either time.

If you follow the link you can see videos of her plays.  She looked like a child playing with men who towered over her.  And one hit just threw her like a train hitting something.  She got right up.  But with the men having a one foot height advantage and over a 100 pound weight differential these were traumatic hits.  A few more of these and she would be lucky to escape with only a concussion.  And these are the kind of hits the left wants to get out of the NFL.  Though I suppose they’re okay if it’s a woman getting the snot beat out of her.  It kind of reminded me of Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life where the boys played the masters in a rugby match.  As the grown men just beat the snot out of their students.

As tough as she is she is just not as big or strong as the men playing at this level.  And that’s because men and women are different.  Which is why we shouldn’t have women in combat roles.  For the hand-to-hand fighting in combat is worse than any football game.  And just like in football the bigger and stronger combatant usually wins.  But unlike in a football game when you lose your matchup you just don’t score.  Or lose the game.  In combat when you lose you die.  And you weaken your team.  Giving the advantage to the enemy.  Which will probably cause more of your team to die.

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FT210: “Vanity, thy name is liberalism; Liberty, thy name is capitalism.” —Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 21st, 2014

Fundamental Truth

Christians believe in the Reward of Hard Work and Shun Idleness for it tends to Invite Trouble

Liberals are very confident people.  As well as arrogant.  Narcissistic.  And condescending.  Which is why they are so secular.  Wanting to take the separation of church and state argument to the extreme.  Attacking and mocking Christianity every chance they get.  As they don’t like anyone judging them.  Or setting some moral standard.  For liberals are a sinful people.

The Seven Deadly Sins are wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony.  Christians try to avoid these.  They forgive their enemies instead of getting angry at them.  They tithe to their church instead of keeping all of their money greedily for themselves.  They believe in the reward of hard work and shun idleness for it tends to invite trouble.  They are humble and don’t strive for attention.  They have strong self-control and make sacrifices for a better future instead of giving in to current wants and desires.  They tend to be happy with what they have however modest their lives may be.  Instead of being envious of others.  They don’t eat, drink or live to excess, preferring to do everything in moderation.  Things you just don’t associate with liberals.

Now think of some liberals you know of.  Think of the vicious things liberal Democrats say about Republicans (such as a campaign commercial showing a Republican pushing ‘Grandma’ off a cliff).  The vulgar things some liberal commentators say about Republican women.  And the ridicule of conservatives on late-night television.  Rich liberals who want to raise taxes on the rich (which includes the middle class) to pay for a generous welfare state while giving little to charity themselves.  As they are far more generous with other people’s money than with their own.  And never risk their own money in risky investments such as Solyndra.  Preferring to risk the taxpayers’ money.

Liberals attack the Rich because they are Envious of their Hard Work and Success

Liberals always want a bigger federal government with an ever-growing bureaucracy.  So they can be career politicians without ever getting a real job where they have to work hard to earn a living.  Liberals like to brag about how smart they are and how brilliant their legislation is.  Taking credit for things they didn’t even do.  Such as President Obama taking credit for the surge in natural gas production done on private land by private companies.  Or boasting how their economic policies are working even though the real unemployment rate is in excess of 13% (when you count those who have left the labor force and those who can only find a part-time job).  And their refusal to admit they wrote a terrible law.  Such as Obamacare.

Liberals never want to wait for anything.  They don’t believe in hard work.  They believe in early retirement and generous pensions.  For their friends in the union.  Like the UAW.  In the public sector unions.  And those in government jobs.  They attack the rich because they resent their hard work and success.  Are envious of them.  And want to punish them because they were never as good as they are.  With higher tax rates.  And punishing regulations.  Hollywood celebrities and the Washington elite live the most extravagant lives.  In some of the most expensive homes which are filled with the finest food, drink and toys.  And when that’s not enough some further their excess with drugs.

These are things you just don’t associate with Christians.  In fact, these are things Christians frown upon.  Even telling their congregation not to live lives like these in their church services.  For these are not Christian lives.  Some people could have everything they could possibly want or desire but are still not happy.  Or are bored because it came too easily.  Or too soon.  Turning to other outlets to excite them.  Alcohol and drugs.  Drag-racing in expensive sports cars on neighborhood streets.  Partying all night in the hottest clubs.  Or blowing a lot of money gambling.  Anything to escape the boredom of an idle life.

For a Better Life we should Shun Liberalism and Embrace Free Market Capitalism

This is why liberals attack Christianity so much.  As well as one other reason.  Because they don’t like believing in a higher being.  For they are so arrogant and narcissistic that they can’t stand the thought of some being that is greater than themselves.  For they hold liberalism sacred.  And if anyone worships anything they want the people to worship them.  Because they believe they are the smartest and the most insightful people in the universe.  Yes, vanity, thy name is liberalism.  Which is why they believe they should control government.  And our lives.  Because they’re smarter and wiser than business owners.  Bankers.  Entrepreneurs.  And market forces.  For they are the higher being.  Not what those silly Christians worship.

A lot of people have felt like this throughout history.  Adolf Hitler.  Mao Zedong.  Saddam Hussein.  Benito Mussolini.  Muammar Gaddafi.  Kim Il-sung.  Kim Jong-il.  Kim Jong-un.  Fidel Castro.  Supreme leaders and ruthless dictators who preferred their people to worship them like a god.  And imposed socialism, fascism or communism on their people.  Using their supreme intelligence and insight to make the state a better place for the people.  Making the state supreme.  While subordinating the individual.  And elevating the supreme leader above everyone.  Something liberals have been trying to do all their lives.  Only without the torture and genocide.

But their efforts share a similar trend with these ruthless dictators.  The quality of life declines under their rule.  Some of the worst places to live when it comes to human rights have been in Nazi Germany, the People’s Republic of China, Iraq, Fascist Italy, Libya, North Korea and Cuba.  While some of the best countries to live in are the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and Hong Kong.  All once part of the Christian British Empire.  An empire that embraced free market capitalism.  And when people practice self-control and make sacrifices for the future engage in free market capitalism they make a better place to live.  At least this is what history has shown us.  So if we want a better life we should shun liberalism.  And embrace free market capitalism.  For liberty, thy name is capitalism.

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Cult of Personality

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 20th, 2014

Politics 101

Hitler received the Iron Cross for Bravery which carried a lot of Currency in a Militaristic Germany

Adolf Hitler could give a speech that fired up the masses.  People loved him.  The Nazis rose to power by winning elections.  People elected them because they liked what the Nazis were saying.  Things were not that good in Germany.  The victorious Allies blamed World War I on them even though all nations jumped in enthusiastically.  And then to add insult to injury the Allies made Germany pay reparations.  Burdening Germany with the cost of World War I.

This was especially galling as Germany didn’t lose the war.  The war ended in an armistice.  Which is a mutual cessation of warfare.  Not unconditional surrender.  And yet here was Germany.  Being treated as if they surrendered unconditionally.  It made a lot of people feel angry.  And betrayed.  Enter Adolf Hitler.  Who could tap into that anger and feelings of betrayal.

Hitler was a war veteran.  He served as a dispatch runner in World War I.  Wounded by artillery.  And blinded temporarily by mustard gas.  He even received the Iron Cross for bravery.  Although it may have had more to do with spending so much time with senior officers at headquarters that issued those dispatches.  But for a militaristic Germany an Iron Cross carried a lot of currency.

When the Reichstag burned down Hitler blamed the Marxists and turned Germany into a Police State

So Hitler was a brave war hero.  Even though he didn’t actually use a weapon.  Which was a good foundation to build on.  For war heroes don’t stab people in the back after fighting bravely for them in war.  Which is how many Germans felt about the politicians.  Betrayed.  Victims of the evil, conniving politicians.  So the people felt victimized.  And they were looking for someone to stand up for them.  To right these wrongs.

Hitler wanted to be an artist.  But when that didn’t work he turned to politics.  And learned what a good speaker he was.  He even studied how to become a better speaker.  How to look.  How to use his hands.  How to inflect his voice.  His speeches became very moving.  Very dramatic.  He made the defeated Germans feel better.  For he told them that it wasn’t their fault.  It was the politicians, and the Marxists, that stabbed Germany in the back.  And he was the one man that could do something about it.

When the Reichstag burned down he blamed the Marxists.  Who the Nazis shared power with in the Reichstag.  But didn’t want to.  It’s still debated who started the fire (the communists, the Nazis, others) but what it did was allow the newly appointed chancellor, Adolf Hitler, to urge President Hindenburg to suspend all civil liberties so they could hunt these communists down like the dogs they were.  President Hindenburg did.  And the government rounded up the communists.  With them out of the government the Nazis no longer had to share power.  And turned Germany into a police state.  To keep that power.

The Equation Brutal Dictators use to stay in Power is Victimization + Demonization + Emotion = Power

Hitler was charismatic.  He could give a powerful speech.  And after the Reichstag fire he controlled the people.  Using censorship and propaganda he made himself god-like.  The war hero.  The savior of the German people.  To undo all the injustice of the Versailles Treaty.  Standing up to the Allies.  Punishing those who stabbed Germany in the back (first the Marxists and then the Jews).  And restoring German pride.  Because he got even with those who wronged the German people.  The people loved him.  He could do no wrong in their eyes. No matter how much wrong he did.  Which he could hide from the people.  Thanks to his censoring of the free press.  And his state propaganda machine.  Which is why people packed stadiums and the sides of roads.  Showering him with their adoration.

Adolf Hitler was Germany.  Germany was Adolf Hitler.  His national socialism provided for the people.  In return the people were subservient to the state.  Germany was more important than the individual.  And Adolf Hitler was more important than Germany.  So anything he did was okay.  For he could do no wrong.  As there was nothing more important than Adolf Hitler.  For Hitler was a cult of personality.  Above the law.  And god-like.  Where people believed he was the only one that could save the nation.  And would do anything for him.  With the most devout joining the SS.  Fighting with unbounded fanaticism in combat.  And carrying out the Holocaust with ruthless efficiency.  They pledged their loyalty to Adolf Hitler.  Not Germany.  And would do anything for him.  Anything at all.  Even torture and kill their fellow Germans.  If that was what their Führer wanted.

This is how dictators were able to do some of the things they did. Because they were a cult of personality.  Mao Zedong.  Saddam Hussein.  Benito Mussolini.  Muammar Gaddafi.  Kim Il-sung.  Kim Jong-il.  Kim Jong-un.  These brutal dictators were/are all worshipped by their people.  At least the people they weren’t/aren’t torturing or killing.  For they had an equation they used to remain in power.  Victimization + Demonization + Emotion = Power.  Similar to the equation the Democrats use to win elections.  Victimization + Demonization + Emotion = Democrat Votes.  Where they victimize the people.  Find someone to demonize for this victimization.  Such as Marxists and Jews in Nazi Germany.  Or Republicans in the United States.  Then use state propaganda to disseminate their lies.  Like Joseph Goebbels did in Nazi Germany.  And like the mainstream media in the United States disseminates Democrat talking points.  And then use fiery rhetoric to incite the people’s emotions.  Like Hitler, Hussein, Mussolini, Gaddafi, Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il, Kim Jong-un and every other cult of personality did.  Like these ‘god-like’ people still do today.

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Engine Block Heaters and Battery Heaters

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 19th, 2014

Technology 101

As Matter loses Heat it shrinks from a Gas to a Liquid to a Solid

There is no such thing as cold.  Cold is simply the absence of heat.  Which is a real thing.  Heat.  It’s a form of energy.  Warm things have a lot of energy.  Cold things have less energy.  The Kelvin scale is a measurement of temperature.  Like degrees used when measuring temperature in Celsius or Fahrenheit.  Where 32 degrees Fahrenheit equals 0 degrees Celsius.  And 0 degrees Celsius equals 273.15 kelvin.  Not ‘degrees’ kelvin.  Just kelvin.

When something cools it loses heat energy.  The molecular activity slows down.  Steam has a lot of molecular activity.  At 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celsius or 373.15 kelvin) the molecular activity decreases enough (i.e., loses energy) that steam changes to water.  At 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius or 273.15 kelvin) the molecular activity decreases enough (i.e., loses energy) that water turns into ice.

The more heat matter loses the less molecules move around.  At absolute zero (0 kelvin) there is no heat at all.  And no molecular movement.  Making 0 kelvin the ‘coldest’ anything can be.  For 0 kelvin represents the absence of all heat.  As matter loses heat it shrinks.  Gases become liquid.  And liquids becomes solid.  (Water, however, is an exception to that rule.  When water turns into ice it expands.  And cracks our roadways.)  They become less fluid.  Or more viscous.  Cold butter is harder to spread on a roll than warm butter.  Because warm butter has more heat energy than cold butter.  So warm butter is less viscous than cold butter.

Vehicles in Sub-Freezing Temperatures can Start Easily if Equipped with an Engine Block Heater

In a car’s internal combustion engine an air-fuel mixture enters the cylinder.  As the piston comes up it compresses this mixture.  And raises its temperature.  When the piston reaches the top the air-fuel mixture is at its maximum pressure and temperature.  The spark plug then provides an ignition source to cause combustion.  (A diesel engine operates at such a high compression that the temperature rise is so great the air-fuel mixture will combust without an ignition source).  Driving the piston down and creating rotational energy via the crank shaft.

For this to happen a lot of things have to work together.  You need energy to spin the engine before the combustion process.  You need lubrication to allow the engine components to move without causing wear and tear.  And you need the air-fuel mixture to reach a temperature to burn cleanly and to extract as much energy from combustion as possible.  None of which works well in very cold temperatures.

Vehicles operating in sub-freezing temperatures need a little help.  Manufacturers equip many vehicles sold for these regions with engine block heaters.  These are heating elements in the engine core.  You’ll know a vehicle has one when you see an electrical cord coming out of the engine compartment.  When these engines aren’t running they ‘plug in’ to an electrical outlet.  A timer will cycle these heaters on and off.  Keeping the engine block warmer than the subfreezing temperatures.

The Internal Combustion Engine is Ideal for use in Cold Temperatures

At subfreezing temperatures engine oil because more viscous.  And more like tar.  This does not flow well through the engine.  So until it warms up the engine operates basically without any lubrication.  In ‘normal’ temperatures the oil heats up quickly and flows through the engine before there’s any damage.  At subfreezing temperatures oil needs a little help when starting.  So the oil sump is heated.  Like an engine block heater.  So when someone tries to start the engine the oil is more like oil and less like tar.

Of course, for any of this to help start an engine you have to be able to turn the engine over first.  And to do that you need a charged battery.  But even a charged battery needs help in sub-freezing temperatures.  For in these temperatures there is little molecular action in the battery.  And without molecular activity there will be little current available to power the engine’s starter.  So there are heaters for batteries, too.  Electric blankets or pads that sit under or wrap around a battery.  To warm the battery to let the chemicals inside move around more freely.  So they can produce the electric power it needs to turn an engine over on a cold day.

Once an engine block, the engine oil and battery are sufficiently warmed by external electric power the engine can start.  Once it warms up it can operate like it can at less frigid temperatures.  The engine alternator powers the electrical systems on the vehicle.  And recharges the battery.  The engine coolant heats up and provides heat for the passenger compartment.  And defrosts the windows.  Once the engine is warm it can shut down and start again an hour or so later with ease.  Making it ideal for use in cold temperatures.  Unlike an electric car.  For the colder it gets the less energy its batteries will have.  Making it a risky endeavor to drive to the store in the Midwest or the Northeast during a winter such as this.  Something people should think about before buying an all-electric car.

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Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin and the Soviet Union

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 18th, 2014

History 101

Marx called for a Dictatorship of the Proletariat where the Workers controlled the Means of Production

Karl Marx did not like capitalism.  Or middle class people that used money to make money.  The bourgeoisie.  Who exploit the working man.  The proletariat.  The bourgeoisie used their capital to exploit the labor of the working man (i.e., taking a risk and investing in land, factories, machinery, labor, etc.) to make money.  While the working man slaved away at slave wages creating all the great things we have in the world.  Of course, the proletariat could not do any of this unless others took risks and invested in land, factories, machinery, labor, etc.

This was just not fair to Karl Marx.  Because the industrial bourgeoisie had all the power.  And their exploitation of the proletariat was nothing more than a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie.  So Marx created a socio-economic philosophy to address this dictatorship.  Marxism.  And called for a social transformation.  For working men everywhere to unite.  And break the chains that bound them in the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie.  Calling for a dictatorship of the proletariat.  For the workers to control the means of production.  In a new system that replaced capitalism.  Socialism.  Until they could usher in the true ideal.  Communism.

In capitalism the bourgeoisie get rich creating neat things people discover and want to buy.  In communism there would be no bourgeoisie using the means of production to make a buck.  Instead, wise and selfless people would determine what was best for the people.  Instead of free markets allocating scarce resources economic planners would.  And they’d do it better.  Because they are selfless.  Creating large surpluses that would go not into some rich capitalist’s bank account.  But they would fairly distribute this surplus among the working class.  So society as a whole would be better off.  Sounds great.  But if the market didn’t make the decisions of what to produce who did?  As it turned out for Marxism that was a very difficult question to answer.

Leon Trotsky was a Like-Minded Marxist and the number two Communist behind Lenin

The Russian people were growing tired of World War I.  And Tsar Nicholas.  In fact they had it with the Russian Empire.  Even before World War I.  Although serfdom was abolished in 1861 the lives of peasants didn’t improve much.  There was still famine.  And the serfs had to pay a lot to their former landlords for their freedom.  So there was revolutionary fervor in the air.  And a few peasant uprisings.  As well as a few revolutionaries.  Such as Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.  Who was a Marxist.  His anti-Tsarist political activity got him arrested and exiled a few times.  In fact, during World War I he was living in exile in Switzerland.  Hoping that the Germans would weaken Tsarist Russia enough to kick off a socialist revolution in Russia.

When revolution did break out Lenin was anxious to return to Russia.  But being in Switzerland posed a problem.  It was surrounded by warring countries.  Lucky for him, though, the Germans were anxious to close the eastern front of the war.  And a little revolution in Russia could do just that.  So they transported Lenin through Germany and helped him return to Russia.  They travelled north.  Took a ferry to Sweden.  Then by train to Petrograd.  Formally Saint Petersburg (Peter the Great’s new capital on the Baltic Sea).  Which was later renamed Leningrad.  And then later renamed Saint Petersburg.  Where he would lead the Bolshevik Party.  And the world-wide socialist revolution against capitalism.

Leon Trotsky was a like-minded Marxist.  And an anti-militarist.  He had a falling out with Lenin but eventually reunited.  With Trotsky becoming the number two communist behind Lenin.  Trotsky addressed a problem with Marxism for Russia.  Socialism was to be the final step AFTER capitalism.  Once there was a strong industrial proletariat.  Russia didn’t have that.  For it was one of the least advanced countries in the world.  An agrarian nation barely out of the Middle Ages.  So Russia had to industrialize WHILE the proletariat took over the means of production.  Which brought up a big problem.  How could a backward nation industrialize while having a revolution?  How could they do this without other advanced capitalistic countries coming to the aid of the bourgeoisie?  Which Trotsky answered with his Permanent Revolution.  For the Russian socialist revolution to be successful there had to be socialist revolutions in other countries, too.  Thinking more in terms of a worldwide revolution of industrialized states.  And not just in Russia.  Something another Marxist disagreed with.  Joseph Stalin

Communist States have Guards on their Borders to prevent People from Escaping their Socialist Utopia

During these revolutionary times workers’ councils were appearing throughout the country.  Soviets.  Which helped stir up the revolutionary fervor.  In 1917 the imperial government fell.  The Bolsheviks killed the Tsar and his family.  And Russia fell into civil war.  Which the Bolsheviks won in 1922.  And formed the Soviet Union.  Or the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).  That stretched from Eastern Europe to the Pacific Ocean.  Under the rule of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.  Until he died in 1924.  Then Joseph Stalin took over after a brutal power struggle.  Even exiled Leon Trotsky.  And established totalitarian rule.  Stalin created a planned economy.  Rapid industrialization.  And collectivization.  As well as famines, forced labor, deportation and great purges of his political enemies.  To strengthen his one-party rule.  To protect the socialist revolution from a return of capitalism.

The Russian Revolution was the only successful socialist revolution in Europe.  The dictatorship of the proletariat did not happen as Lenin and Trotsky had envisioned.  So Stalin abandoned the idea of Permanent Revolution.  And adopted Socialism in One Country instead.  To strengthen the Soviet Union.  And not support a world-wide socialist revolution against capitalism.  In direct opposition of Trotsky.  To aid in the USSR’s industrialization Stalin made a pact with the devil.  Adolf Hitler.  And entered an economic agreement that would allow Hitler to build and test his war machine on Soviet soil that he would use in World War II.  Then came the Treaty of Non-aggression between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.  And the secret protocol.  Where Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union agreed to conquer and divvy up the countries located between them.

Trotsky did not like what the Soviet Union became under Stalin.  An oppressive dictatorship of Joseph Stalin.  Not the dictatorship of the proletariat envisioned by Karl Marx.  And he didn’t like that pact with a militarist Nazi Germany.  He predicted that Stalin’s USSR would not last.  Either suffering a political revolution like Tsar Nicholas suffered.  Or it would collapse into a capitalist state.  Stalin disagreed.  And killed him and his family.  Getting rid of the last of the old Bolsheviks.  Leaving him to rule uncontested until his death in 1953.  Exporting communism wherever he could.  Where it killed more people than any other ideology.  Until the great and brutal socialism experiment collapsed in 1991.  For Trotsky was right.  It could not survive when a better life was just across a border.  Which is why all of the communist states have guards on their borders.  To keep their people from escaping their socialist utopia.

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The BLS Employment Situation Summary for January 2014

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 17th, 2014

Economics 101

The Unemployment Rate is 13.6% when you count all Unemployed Workers

The economy is getting better and better.  There are more new jobs.  And the unemployment rate continues to fall.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).  But this is little succor for the 10,948,000 who have lost their job since President Obama began trying to make the economy better.  No matter what the BLS says (see the Employment Situation Summary posted 2/7/2014 on the Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 113,000 in January, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 6.6 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.  Employment grew in construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, and mining…

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (6.2 percent), adult women (5.9 percent), teenagers (20.7 percent), whites (5.7 percent), blacks (12.1 percent),and Hispanics (8.4 percent) showed little change in January. The jobless rate for Asians was 4.8 percent (not seasonally adjusted), down by 1.7 percentage points over the year. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.).

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more), at 3.6 million, declined by 232,000 in January. These individuals accounted for 35.8 percent of the unemployed. The number of long-term unemployed has declined by 1.1 million over the year.  (See table A-12.)

Once again there are more new jobs and the unemployment rate fell.  Further proof the Obama administration says that their policies are working.  But the low unemployment rate is misleading.  As there are 91,455,000 people who are no longer in the labor force (see Table A-1. Employment status of the civilian population by sex and age).  An increase of 10,948,000 since President Obama entered office.  The BLS doesn’t count these unemployed people as unemployed in their calculation of the official unemployment rate.  If you did that would raise the unemployment rate to 13.6%.  Which is a lot higher than the official 6.6%.  And better reflects public sentiment on the economy.

Ironically, the people hurt most by the Obama economic policies—teenagers, blacks and Hispanics—are also the biggest supporters of the president.  Which tells us they obviously support him for reasons other than the economy.  And apparently put those reasons above having a job.  At least based their respective unemployment rates.

If we count all Unemployed and Underemployed the Current Economic Recovery would take more than 20 Years

Of the people they actually count as unemployed about a third of them have been unemployed for 27 weeks or more.  So a large percentage of the unemployed are not suffering from frictional unemployment.  That brief period of unemployment between jobs.  No.  These people have lost their jobs.  And can’t find new ones.  While others can find only part-time jobs.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) fell by 514,000 to 7.3 million in January. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find full-time work. (See table A-8.)

In January, 2.6 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, little changed from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. (See table A-16.)

If you add the people up who want a full-time job but can’t get one that’s 9,900,000 who can’t find a full-time job.  If we only add 113,000 jobs a month it will take over 87 months to get these people the full-time jobs they want.  Or more than 7 years.  If we count the last 5 years of the Obama presidency it will take the economic recovery out to 12 years.  If we add the people who have left the labor force to the underemployed (the part-time workers looking for a full-time job) that would extend the economic recovery to 244 months.  Or more than 20 years.  Which is longer than the length of the economic recovery following the Great Depression.

The Obama administration still blames George W. Bush for causing the Great Recession.  But one thing they do say over and over is that it was the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression.  So they are saying that the Great Depression was worse than the Great Recession.  Yet the current economic recovery is on track to last longer than the economic recovery following the Great Depression.

President Obama’s Economic Recovery is on Course to be the Worst Economic Recovery in U.S. History

The Great Depression and the Great Recession share something in common.  In both the government used Keynesian economics to try and pull the nation out of the economic crisis.  With huge government stimulus spending.  You can see evidence of the FDR spending today.  Such as the Hoover Dam.  But you can see little evidence from President Obama’s stimulus spending.  For there are no Hoover Dams anywhere.  Just a lot of empty buildings that housed failed green energy industries.  With no new jobs to show for it.  Such as those good-paying jobs in the green energy industry that President Obama promised his stimulus spending would produce.  But, alas, it did not.  In fact, that’s just one thing this administration is not good at.  Creating jobs.  Even the jobs they created appear suspect.

Employment in manufacturing increased in January (+21,000). Over the month, job gains occurred in machinery (+7,000), wood products (+5,000), and motor vehicles and parts (+5,000). Manufacturing added an average of 7,000 jobs per month in 2013.

In January, wholesale trade added 14,000 jobs, with most of the increase occurring in nondurable goods (+10,000).

Mining added 7,000 jobs in January, compared with an average monthly gain of 2,000 jobs in 2013…

Employment in other major industries, including transportation and warehousing, information, and financial activities, showed little or no change over the month.

These numbers don’t make sense.  Much like Keynesian economics.  The economy created jobs in manufacturing (machinery, wood products, motor vehicles and parts).  Wholesale trade added jobs.  Mining added jobs.  But this new economic activity required no new financing.  Which is odd.  For it takes money to make money.  Also, there were no new jobs in transportation and warehousing.  Which begs the question.  What did they do with all the stuff they made from all those new manufacturing jobs?  Did it ever leave these factories?  Or is there another explanation?  Did the people who entered the labor force just replace people who left it?  For no net change?  Perhaps.

The manufacturing workweek declined by 0.2 hour to 40.7 hours, and factory overtime edged down by 0.1 hour to 3.4 hours.

Or perhaps this explains how they could add jobs in an industry that required no additional financing, transportation or warehousing.  Hiring new workers while shortening the workweek and cutting back on overtime.  Or a combination of this and people leaving the labor force to net out any economic gain from these new jobs.  Whatever the explanation is one thing is certain.  The economy is not improving.  And President Obama’s economic recovery is on track to be the worst economic recovery in U.S. history.  Despite the glowing jobs reports showing new job creation month after month.  And a continuing falling unemployment.  Things they can only show by not counting the 10 million or so who are no longer employed.

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