illustration: connected buckets

When America began to connect to third world nations for the purpose of trade, our $18/hour society was no match for China’s $.25/hour society, and our money began to drain outwards toward China.



Is Big-Box Retail bad for the economy and free-market capitalism?

Over the past 25 years America has seen a transformation of our retail infrastructure go from mom-and-pop stores to big box stores.

Speaking for myself, I love the convenience of big box. And certainly the retail evolution that has led us to the big box model is understandable.

But that may not be the point, but instead, possibly, that the big box retail infrastructure represents:

  • a condensation of wealth that is prohibitive of a healthy economy where wealth is distributed to millions of moms and pops,
  • a destruction of a competitive labor pool, where good workers can bargain with their employers for better wages, or else go work for their employer’s competitor,
  • a destruction of a competitive goods and services environment where vendors and manufacturers are plentiful, each competing to access retailers supply chains.

To illustrate these problems, imagine a small town with hardware stores. Back in the old days, there were probably 10 hardware stores, each with a different owner.

EXAMPLE 1 – imagine one of these hardware stores, such as Mayberry Hardware. The owner wants to sell wrenches. If there are thousands of different hardware stores around the country, then each owner will probably have slightly different wishes for what kind of wrenches they want to sell, and thus there will inevitably be dozens and dozens of wrench manufacturers around the country developing slight variations of the common wrench.

But if there is only one hardware company in the country (with thousands of stores), and that one hardware company chooses AmeriWrenches as its brand to sell at all of its stores, then the dozens and dozens of other wrench manufacturers will be unable to survive, and will go out of business. And all of its employees will have no choice but to go work at AmeriWrenches.

EXAMPLE 2 – imagine a worker, Little Joe, working at Bubba’s Hardware Store. Imagine that Little Joe is an amazing worker: he knows all the tools, all the construction projects around town, all the customers, all the vendors in the industry, all the tool manufacturers in the industry. But Bubba hasn’t given him a raise in 2 years. Little Joe requests a raise. Bubba refuses. But if there are lots of other hardware stores, Little Joe can go to one of them, such as Steve’s Hardware, and say, “Listen, Mr. Steve, I am great; if it weren’t for me, Bubba would go out of business; but he doesn’t pay me enough … hire me and I can bring my expertise to benefit your store.” In this scenario, we see that employees are in a natural, free market environment, using the principles of ‘competition’ to improve their own value.

However, if there is only one hardware store company in town that owns 10 individual stores around town, then Little Joe is not able to bargain on his own for better wages.

It should be noted that these same problems occur when one national bank swallows up thousands of local banks, or when one large insurance company swallows up thousands of local insurance companies.


Your 2nd Amendment Rights?! … what about donald trump’s??

I have a couple of enemies: the guy whose parking space I snaked this morning at the grocery store, and the occasional random mugger that tries to get my credit cards. But these enemies are simple and I can take care of them with a few pistol bullets into their guts. Easy.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, has complex enemies due to his fame and fortune. Anyone in his family would be a valuable ransom for well organized kidnappers, such as those damn mexican cartels who have demonstrated time and time again that they can organize and penetrate an enemy encampment, pulling off any number of different types of insurgency’s.

And because of this, Donald Trump cannot resolve to a simple pistol for his protection, or even a single assault rifle (which does no good when 20 armed mexicans come jumping over your fence). Fortunately, he has the 2nd amendment (recently re-interpreted by the SCOTUS (at the behest of the NRA)) giving him the right to arm himself accordingly: with rocket launchers, probably, and he may need Black Hawks too.

Wait … he can’t have these?! His rights are being infringed. We need to stop all this simple talk about assault rifles, and start focusing on the bigger picture. Donald I am with you: build your personal IED’s, and defend what is yours.

this guy needs more than a simple pistol to protect what’s his

Are you a responsible gun owner, or reckless … try this simple test

What’s your GORF score? Use this simple equation to find out …

x … the amount of Time that you talk about responsible gun ownership by
Y … the amount of Time that you talk about the 2nd Amendment.

If you get a number greater than 3.5, then you are a responsible gun owner.

Why is this equation important in today’s gun conversation in America? Because over the last few years, apparently some shifts have occurred in our population demographics, and now it is difficult to distinguish between responsible gun owners and reckless gun owners.

Being able to distinguish between these two groups has important implications in our society. Hence my simple equation to help you figure out who is who … the GORF equation.

GORF is an acronym for “Gun-Owner Responsibility Factor”. I am leaving the equation in a simple form, though I should really re-work it to normalize its output, maybe using 0 or 1 as the benchmark value. But as it stands, the benchmark value is 3.5 (I’ll explain in a moment).

In slightly more algebraic notation, my GORF equation looks like this:
GORF = Trgh ÷ Tsar
Trgh is the amount of time u discuss Responsible Gun Handling,
Tsar is the amount of time u discuss Second Amendment Rights.

A good GORF value is 3.5 … If a person’s GORF value is less than 3.5 then that means that that person is reckless, and a danger to civil society; but above 3.5 means that that person is responsible and safe.

Are Weapon-Certification programs the solution

Are Weapon-Certification programs the solution that should make both sides happy:

  • they would enable weapon ownership for the respectful and law-abiding people … republicans smile
  • they would prevent weapon ownership for the reckless and unqualified people … democrats smile.

How would a Weapon Certification Program work?

Suppose you want a pistol for home protection, a Level 1 Certification would probably be the appropriate certificate. It might require A) 10hours of classroom training, B) 10 hours of supervised firing range training, and C) bi-annual renewals.

Suppose you want a pistol for CWP, a higher level of certification would surely be required, such as, say, Level 4. And this certification would probably require a higher level of maturity, a higher level of skill, and a higher level of in-action experience.

And in theory, there can even be a Certification Program for military-grade weapons, say, maybe, Level 7 Certification.

Anyone caught without the appropriate Certification for their particular weapon will at least temporarily lose their weapon, and have up to 6 months, say, to complete an appropriate Certification Program to get their weapon back.

What is interesting about Certification, is you can be certified without being “registered” … which a lot of the Tyranny-paranoids are concerned about.

Here is a funny, but poignant, example of how you could be certified for something, but NOT registered: I can very easily train you for 2 weeks on Vulgar-Burping, then give you the Certification to prove you are qualified, but never submit it to any national database of burpers; I, the Certifier, only keep a record in my file cabinet. Now, at some time later in the future, when you are in a McDonalds burping vulgarly, and then you get accosted, you can show the cops your Vulgar-Burping Certificate, and they will say ‘ok’ to you … your Certification is all you need.

Here’s a little bit more about the Weapon’s Certification idea:

  • the Certification programs could be run by the NRA,
  • but the NRA would be liable to the people through our judicial system (civil and maybe even criminal).

So, suppose the NRA is the Certifying agency, and suppose that over the years they slowly relax their Certification Programs standards, certifying basically anyone and everyone. Then Bad Guys start exploiting the lax certification programs and begin mass murdering, the NRA would be liable in the courts to lawsuits from victim’s families. We all tout our judicial system as being the greatest in the world, so can’t we trust it to handle this particular aspect?

This judicial liability would keep the NRA in balance between:

  • their desire to sell guns at k-mart, and
  • civil people’s desire to have a sane experiences when they venture outside.

Share with your friends if you feel these ideas have merit.