Practicing Economics Without a License

Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Posted in category Regulatory State

I just came back from Cleveland where I spent a couple of days loitering around Little Italy and making some new friends over some good wine. I love to engage in conversations with the small entrepreneurs, wherever I travel, because they are always teeming with stories of how they beat the regulatory state, time after time, in order to fulfill a dream and open a peaceful establishment that serves customers with desired goods and services.

This young Sicilian gentleman I talked to on a couple of occasions grew up participating in the family tradition of making wine. As with the Italians and Sicilians here in southeastern Michigan, it is a big family affair to ship grapes in from out of state, crush them by hand, and have the entire family involved in the winemaking process. He said he had always dreamed of owning his own restaurant because all he knew was food, wine, and making people happy.

Upon trying to open his restaurant he discovered he’d have to cough up about $50k to buy the liquor license, or, in the alternative, if he made wine, he could be a “manufacturer” and he could therefore purchase a permit for a few thousand bucks. And so he did, and he crushes the grapes in the basement of the restaurant and makes the most fantastic ‘homegrown’ wine I have ever had the pleasure of drinking. So I bought a few bottles. That young man is making money, keeping his debt low, and expanding his restaurant to a more “upscale” place in downtown Cleveland this August.

A different turn of events took place just a couple of weeks ago, in Pittsfield Township near Ann Arbor, Michigan. A band of authoritarians admittedly practiced bad economics without ever having to apply for, or receive, a license to practice economics. Zingerman’s Creamery, which is a hugely popular gourmet food company, was trying to expand with a new building across from its current location.

Zingerman’s Creamery, which makes the brand’s dairy products, is hatching plans for a new 3,200-square-foot building with a 3,000-square-foot mezzanine across the street from its current location, according to township records.

As part of its expansion plan, Zingerman’s Creamery wants to add a tasting area with about 20 seats where customers could sample beer, wine and mixed drinks.

The business was denied its liquor license because Pittsfield Township only has five liquor licenses left to grant through 2021, and Pittsfield Township Supervisor Mandy Grewal said that “the township must guard its liquor licenses prudently, viewing them as an economic development tool.” Now the states regulate and micromanage political favors and rent-seeking opportunities liquor licenses, and then, when that hurdle is cleared, the local bureaucrats take over the “economic development” aspect of regulation. The article ends with that same Township bureaucrat noting that she and her fellow unlicensed economist colleagues are grateful for Zingerman’s presence in the community and the Township “will continue to work with them to make sure they continue to stay grow and thrive in our community.” I bet most readers of this Detroit Free Press article did not note the irony in this story.

Six Degrees of the Confederacy

Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Posted in category political correctness

Here’s where the nonsense becomes impossible to ignore. I guess I didn’t know that Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis was named after *the* John Calhoun, even though I’ve skirted this lake a zillion times on my bicycle. And now, it shall potentially be renamed upon decree by the masses of knee-jerk asses who hold those superpower political positions at the, ahem, “Park Board.” It is rather amusing that the lake, if renamed, could possibly go back to its Dakota name, “Lake of the Loons.” How fitting. I propose that it be renamed ‘Redskin Lake’ so we can continue the debate and keep the media mobs in full employment.

Kraft Heinz and the Industrial-Agricultural-Criminal Complex

Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Posted in category Food Politics

On the surface, this cartoon below reflects the expectations that health-and-wellness champions hold toward the industrial-agricultural-criminal complex as news of the Buffett-steered Kraft Heinz unification spilled out to the masses. However, I tend toward another view that, I admit, may be slightly over-optimistic, especially considering my acerbic criticism of food politics on the larger whole.

Thanks to the Internet and its by-products such as blogs, self-help guides, recipe sites, food tips, and eBooks/self-publishing, the packaged food industry has become a laughingstock in the era of the holistic approach to one’s optimal health and betterment. Consumers are seeing through the facade of organic gummy bears, low-fat disinformation, GMOs, recommending sugar bomb diets for diabetics, and the government’s recommendations for an abundance of grains and other carbohydrates. Smarter-type folks are now hip to the formerly popular non-foods such as Spam, Cheez Whiz, Cool Whip, and Velveeta, and they judiciously avoid them. Soda sales are tanking steadily, year after year.

Helping oneself via the process of self-education no longer requires long drives to the nearest mega-bookstore to spend oodles of hours perusing the shelves for topics of interest to find an occasional useful book. The Internet has revolutionized the way educated consumers think about what they put in their mouths. Real food diets – of all types and versions – are being embraced. Artisanal producers are popping up out of home kitchens and selling their wares online and in farmers markets, where there are fewer barriers to entry. Farmers markets have become exponentially popular, even post-bust when the recession was wiping out employment, savings, and individual wealth. Even pet food has seen an explosion of pricey foods wherein manufacturers very visibly exclaim their products are free from soy, wheat, gluten, and other ingredients being shunned by health-savvy consumers.

I think this merger is not so much about leveraging market share to sell more of their antiquated products as it is about getting into a more favorable position to be able respond to market pressures to begin selling more healthful, real foods while also allowing for greater transparency at a time when food shoppers are beginning to shop for food based on ingredients and understanding the labeling. My hope is that a merger such as this directs its synergies toward repurposing a massive-but-prehistoric resource (Kraft) to take note of consumer-marketplace demands.

heinzKraft

Asshat Village

Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Posted in category Free-Range Life

The article begins:

Recently, in Silver Spring, Maryland, drivers at a busy intersection witnessed a spectacle you don’t see much these days, outside of the “Hunger Games” franchise: two children, aged ten and six, walking alone. An onlooker alerted the police. The cops scooped up the kids, drove them home in a patrol car, and reprimanded their father, Alexander Meitiv, a physicist at the National Institutes of Health. Within an hour, five squad cars had arrived.

Meitiv insisted that he was not guilty of negligence. He’d dropped off the children at a nearby park, with the idea that they would walk home. He and his wife are devotees of Free-Range Kids, a movement committed to rolling back the excesses of the helicopter-parent era.

The Meitiv family is guilty as charged. They are guilty of raising their children the old-fashioned way, without bureaucratic meddling and asking permission from the collective community gossipmongers. Montgomery County Child Protective Services (CPS) made the “decision” to find the parents “responsible for UNSUBSTANTIATED child neglect.” “Unsubstantiated,” meaning no definitive conclusion. These parents have adopted the “free-range parenting” philosophy, or what most folks my age – and I’m not exactly a dinosaur – would deem to be the raising of a normal child not bound by the modern boundaries of ‘helicopter/it-takes-a-village’ parenting.

Seriously, there is such a thing as a “Maryland Unattended Children Law” that sets arbitrary “guidance” for parental care and supervision. This is a cancer upon all of our houses when traditional parenting has come to be defined as “free-range” because of the wretched, bored, bastard busybodies among us who bully their way into our private existence. I say drag these village-mongering, scissorbill twits behind the barn by their scraggly nape and bludgeon them out of their misery with a rusted lamppost.

Visit Lenore Skenazy and thank her for being an advocate for common sense and rational child-rearing.

The “Real” Nutrition Pros

Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Posted in category Health Tyranny

This yahoo (no pun intended) claims to be a “real nutrition pro,” meaning that in order to be “real” you had to have followed the tediously conventional path as determined by the government and assorted special interests that profit handsomely from (1) their monopoly on information and certification (2) interminable sickness/disease, and (2) medical-pharmaceutical dependency in general. Here’s a dumb-ass quote from the article if there ever was one:

3. You can’t trust the medical “establishment.” When someone uses charged statements such as “If you want the real truth…” or “The FDA is using us as guinea pigs,” it’s most likely not credible. Trusted health organizations such as the American Heart Association, Food and Drug Administration and National Institutes of Health develop nutrition recommendations based on overwhelming peer-reviewed evidence and can, in fact, be trusted. While it’s true that as the science evolves, recommendations may be updated, reputable health organizations make evidence-based recommendations.

Due to the prodigious influence of Big Food and its cornucopia of marketing lies, the entire Registered Dietician profession is made up of legions of hypnotized automatons who have been reciting the standard, politicized text for decades, while their helpless victims – uneducated, sick people – have paid the price in terms of their lives, whether it be quality or quantity.

So, the AHA, FDA, and NIH are “trusted” organizations? And that’s that? The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that humans eat a high-carb, high-grain, low-fat diet, while the AHA’s sponsors (as found on its website) are culled from the arena of Big Food-Big Agra and Big Pharma. The FDA is a criminal and incompetent government framework for eliminating competition and furthering government-big business alliances. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) funds its own slanted studies from taxpayer booty and uses political policy to intentionally distort science and promote coercive public health policy that stamps out individual liberties and personal choice.

But amongst the ruins there exists a thriving profession of indoctrinated fools called “registered dietitians” who destroy individual lives so they can pay off their student loans and peddle their garbage wisdom long enough to make it to retirement.

Congress: Mummies R Us

Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Posted in category CongressCritters

As if this is a bad thing: this despicable, mummified, failure-of-a-human-being is finally going to terminate her reign of legalized gangstering and turn over her fiefdom to some other up-and-coming, glory-seeking congressional felon. Senator Barbara Mikulski is perhaps most known for her almost-legendary 1990 declaration during a Senate debate citing the need to use tax policy to redistribute from the ‘will-dos’ to the ‘will-nots’: “So, let’s go and get it from those who’ve got it.” This courageous proclamation earned her a chorus of cheers from the left-wing brigade in attendance. Her retirement has the media collectively sobbing, while the Washington Post referred to her as a “role model for women in politics” and the National Journal marked this as “the end of an era.”

On the congressional end of the old hag spectrum is Pasteface Pelosi, one of my favorite targets for ridicule and abomination. Apropos the Homeland InSecurity shutdown fiasco, Pelosi recently dared to suggest that most folks can’t go a week or more without their paychecks, and that included members of Congress.

The most recent Roll Call annual financial disclosure review, for the calendar year 2013, revealed a combined minimum net worth of Congress of $2.1 billion, with one-third of all members of congress (188) landing in the millionaire category. The Center for Responsive Politics measured the median wealth factor on congressional members to be north of $1M. One caveat with the numbers, however:

The actual reported wealth of Congress would be significantly higher if Congress required members to disclose all of their assets and to disclose them with precision.

…Disclosure rules also require lawmakers to list mortgages, which count against net worth, but not home values, which would be one of the biggest assets of many members.

Non-interest-bearing bank accounts also do not have to be disclosed, no matter the value, nor do personal assets such as cars or home furnishings.

As a stickler sort of CPA, I can personally attest to the fact that determining a personal net worth that does not include all assets and all liabilities is about as effective as measuring rainwater with a spaghetti colander. Accordingly, the wealth of these rapscallions is vastly understated.

The multi-millionaires in congress are destroying life and freedom through a governing body that lords it over all of us. Politics, by definition, is coercion, and still, no matter how much people – voters – learn about the establishment and its reason for existence, they sanction it. They sanction it each time they concede to the government’s arbitrary decrees and go along with its mandates. And especially, the masses consent to total control and tyranny each time they vote for any one of these swines. These monsters, who have been given extraordinary powers to rule, have become so accustomed to ramping up their powers and stomping their legislative jack boots down on our heads that they are not the slightest bit tolerant of resistance. They loathe your disobedience, your verbal challenges, your hostility to their supremacy.

Nancy Pelosi, the repulsive, arrogant she-devil that she is, once likened the middle class resistance to her socialist-fascist agenda as an “astroturf” movement. That happened when she didn’t like the swastikas stuck in her face as she tried to ram her perverted health care plan down our collective throats. In fact, the Dems are certain that there is no real resistance at all. They believe it’s just a big setup, with the Republican Party hiring stand-ins to show up and to protest. The term used to describe the resistance is “manufactured outrage.”

Meanwhile, the overlords who rule our lives tell us – and want to force us – to drive little (“fuel-efficient”) crap cars, use filthy mass transportation, turn down our thermostats, and turn off our lights, while they thrust their arrogance in our faces by ordering up $200 million worth of Gulfstream jets to cart their pompous asses all over the world to lofty gatherings, spending our money so they can trip the lights fantastic with powerful and wealthy special interests, grabbing more and more power, while making us all poorer.

“Your Child Belongs To Us”

Monday, March 2, 2015
Posted in category Tyranny of the Masses

Look out for the “patriotic” foot soldiers who advocate coercion under the guise of some larger, greater (undefined) purpose such as “public health.” And then, they use and exploit a child with cancer to tug at the heartstrings and urge for the masses of unthinking asses to support and advocate for mandatory – forced – vaccinations. The child even comes complete with a single swear word. These people are, eerily, role models for unyielding loyalty to the state, as noted in William L. Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.

Vaccine advocates, however emphasize that the new bills are vital to public health. “This is not a matter of private health, like home birth or vitamin choices a family makes in their own home,” MoveOn member Hannah Henry, a mother of four, wrote in a statement included with the California petition. “It is not about politics; it is about children’s lives.”

Finally, A Use for “You Go Girl!”

Thursday, February 26, 2015
Posted in category guns

I don’t like overused clichés, but for this I am making an exception. Detroit News headline today: “Women With CPLs Surge in Michigan.”

The number of women statewide who received or renewed concealed pistol licenses rose from 10,862 in 2010 to 25,418, a gain of 134 percent.

And while women still made up less than a quarter of the state’s new CPL holders last year, their numbers are growing faster than the number of Michigan men getting licenses. The number of newly issued or renewed CPL licenses for men surged 103 percent from 2010 to 2014.

…Gratiot County, in mid-central lower Michigan, had the state’s biggest jump in women with new CPLs, surging 489 percent.

So … You go girl(s)! The proprietor of Detroit Arms, LLC, a place where I have taken training, notes that one-third of her classes are now women whereas, formerly, women had to be dragged along to gun training, kicking and screaming, by their husbands/boyfriends. Hence the new female conundrum:

'Does this outfit make my concealed weapon look big?'

 

Shocker: Eat Fat, Avoid Food Pyramid, Lose Weight

Sunday, February 22, 2015
Posted in category Food Politics

This headline is deemed “jolting”: A change in heart, cholesterol may not be as bad as once thought. This headline, in my mind, is couched in a way that insulates the guilty. It should say, “The government and its minions in Big Food-Big Ag and the medical-governmental-pharmaceutical-nutritional complex have been lying to you to further their political and special interest agendas.

The “change of heart” from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is getting a whole lot of attention from the media. The web of medical-nutritional authoritarians can only fight so many battles at once, and hence, they are finally (partially) backing off in their long-time war on cholesterol.

At a December meeting, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee discussed its decision to no longer deem cholesterol a “nutrient of concern,” according to the Washington Post.

Don’t celebrate just yet, as the warmakers are not completely backing off on the lies and politicized junk science about “bad cholesterol” and the link between cholesterol and heart disease. They are retrenching and trying to come up with a better story that’s more palatable to the legions of believers amongst the masses who have gotten fatter and sicker – or dead – on 4+ decades of catastrophic political decrees disguised as science and “good medicine.” The government and its nutritional dictators are in a reaction mode in an era where people have fingertip access to a world of self-education and dissenting opinion and facts.

I promise that the 2015 dietary guidelines, which will come out at the end of this year, will reflect the Led Zepplin song, “The Song Remains the Same.” In fact, with the new guidelines decrees you can expect an uptick in the war(s) on salt and meat, more falsehoods regarding saturated fat, and further recommendations for Big Agra’s subsidized (“whole“) grains. For a primer on the wizards behind the curtain, I recommend you read Denise Minger’s Death By Food Pyramid: How Shoddy Science, Sketchy Politics, and Shady Special Interests Have Ruined Our Health.

 

Start Cooking Again

Sunday, February 22, 2015
Posted in category Food Politics

Here is a high-level sketch of Michael Pollan’s take on supermarkets, and how and why they become a very important conduit from Big Food-Big Agra to your mouths, especially as it concerns marketing to children. This short video includes a very informative discussion, set in a supermarket, between New York Times food writer Michael Moss, author of Salt Sugar Fat, and Michael Pollan, author of one of the most important books of our generation, The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

Especially see their take on a hyper-processed food such as Lunchables, a non-food that carries the motto, “never be bored again.” These types of hyper-marketed non-foods offer children a seeming “empowerment” while selling ultimate convenience for their parents. As Michael Pollan likes to note, and note often, our generation of Americans continues to “outsource food preparation to corporations.”