Thanks to Euractiv.com

Thanks to Euractiv.com

Brexit – Why did the Brits Vote to Leave?

The answer to that question is not a simple one and must take into account a myriad of different things.  However, we can get a good insight by looking at one simple item of news today.

The European Commission has decided that Apple owes almost $15 Billion in back taxes to Ireland.  You would think that Ireland would love that.  But it’s not the case.  Here’s why:

Corporate taxes in Ireland are about 12.5% vs. the 35% average in the USA.  That, and an educated and less expensive workforce, has led to Apple (and Microsoft and Facebook and Google and about a dozen huge US companies) to establish facilities in Ireland.  These companies employ about 140,000 people in Ireland.

It was the Irish who improved their education system to prepare its people to become a highly valued workforce.  It was the Irish who decided to establish a tax system that would be attractive to foreign investment.  The EU did neither of these things.

Now, the EU thinks it is unfair for Ireland to make itself more attractive to investment than the rest of Europe so they want to punish the Irish while pretending to work for them by winning for Ireland a big tax windfall.

This is all about the EU flexing its muscle and keeping a ‘curve breaker’ in line.  The Irish are too smart to fall for it.  They are fighting the EU ruling.  In short, the Irish are doing a better job than the EU and they want the folks from the EU to butt out – almost in the same way that the Brits wanted the EU out so they could once again determine their own fate.

Of course, Apple is also fighting this and it will be interesting if the Largest US company or the European Union will prevail.  The backlash against central planning and globalism seems to grow daily.

Hillary Clinton currently leads Donald Trump by anywhere from 5 to 15% depending upon which polls you read. The press is falling all over itself demanding that everyone agree with them that Donald Trump will be defeated in an historic Clinton Landslide.

It is interesting to note that in 1988, George H. W. Bush trailed Michael Dukakis by 17% in July and still by 7 to 10% in late August.  Dukakis ended up winning a total of one state – his home state of Massachusetts.

Similarly, in 2000, Al Gore led George Bush by up to 10 points in mid-September.  In September, John McCain led Barack Obama by as much as 5 points.  As late as October, Jimmy Carter led Ronald Reagan by 4-6%.

Obviously, my point is: “Most successful pundits are selected for being opinionated, because it’s interesting, and the penalties for incorrect predictions are negligible. You can make predictions, and a year later people won’t remember them.”   -Daniel Kahneman (emphasis is mine)

Romney landslideBrexit Prediction

hillary-clinton-shocked-600x400“Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.”  – from the statement released by FBI Director James Comey on July 5, 2016

I am amazed at the fact that Mr. Comey has chosen not to file any charges against Hillary Clinton.  I guess I am naive and don’t understand that corruption must be the rule, not the exception in Washington, D.C.  Maybe if I can find the answers to a few questions, that will help me understand.

Here are some questions about Hillary Clinton that I would love to have answered by supporters of Mrs. Clinton:

  1. Would Mrs. Clinton, today, pass a background check to allow her to have access to classified materials given that she has proven to have been careless, at least, and intentionally lawless, at most, in her past handling of secret government communications?
  2. Would any U.S. Citizen, today, pass a background check to allow access to classified materials given that citizen had proven to have been careless, at least, and intentionally lawless, at most, in his or her past handling of secret government communications?
  3. Is it possible that Mrs. Clinton has so little understanding of modern communications that she was totally unaware of the security risks that she was creating by having multiple communications systems outside of the government systems?
  4. Should a person who is so totally unaware of modern communications and who is unwilling to accept the recommendations of experts on how to handle such communications be allowed to hold high public office?
  5. Is it believable to you that Mr. Clinton’s meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch in Phoenix was a chance meeting and that they spoke only of golf, grand children and travel plans?
  6. Shortly after her meeting with Bill Clinton in Phoenix, Attorney General Lynch stated that she would accept the recommendations of career prosecutors and federal agents concerning whether to bring charges against Mrs. Clinton in the email investigation. Do you believe that Attorney General Lynch knew that the FBI would not recommend that charges be filed against Mrs. Clinton?  If so, do you believe that she knew that before the Phoenix meeting with Bill Clinton?
  7. Do you believe that Mrs. Clinton obstructed a federal investigation when she delayed for months in delivering emails to the FBI?  If not, why do you think she was so slow?  Why do you think she had her emails screened by attorneys working for her and withheld many of them saying they were personal?
  8. Do you understand how Mrs. Clinton turned a $1,000 account into $100,000 in the cattle futures market in less than a year?
  9. Do you believe Mrs. Clinton has the moral character to hold the position of trust and power that is the Presidency of the United States?
  10. Can you list Mrs. Clinton’s highly touted “qualifications” to be President?
  11. Do you believe Mrs. Clinton is beholden to more or fewer special interests than Mr. Trump?
  12. Have you read to the end any speech or article given/written by Mr. Trump or is your opinion of him formed exclusively from viewing videos and hearing/reading sound bites about him or his actions?

The much anticipated Brexit Vote in favor of Leaving the EU surprised a lot of people.  Especially the detached, urban-centered, media.   They did not see it coming because they had not taken an hour’s drive out of the city to learn what the “common man” thought about living under EU Rule. The political elites managed no better than the media.  479 Members of Parliament came out in favor of “Remain.”  Only 158 came out in favor of “Leave.”

brexit-800x500

What have we learned?

First, the vote was clear.  Those who took the trouble to vote, by a margin of 52% to 48% wanted out of the EU.  72.2% of those qualified to vote turned up and did their civic duty.  That is a greater turnout than any national poll/election in the past 20+ years.  This was not something to be “corrected” by a recount.

Baby Boomers voted largely to “Leave.”  Was this just looking back at better times, hoping to return to a more orderly, more British society?  Were youth who voted overwhelmingly to “Remain” led to believe (brainwashed, the Boomers might say) in the sanctity of multiculturalism and globalism?

If one thing has been shown in the few days since the people of the U.K. voted to exit the E.U., it is that the elitists, liberals, and the governing class are poor losers.  Everything I have read suggests that the losers are doing all they can to overturn the will of the people.  So convinced were the political class of victory for the “Remain” vote, they are now convinced that the “Leave” campaign must be guilty of the type of misdeeds to which they are often a party.  They are planning everything from a second referendum (re-vote) to bureaucratic maneuvers to delay the actual separation indefinitely.

The losers are resorting to name-calling and personal attacks.  They suggest that only very small minds could be convinced to leave the EU.  Who could believe leaving the EU would be better than staying, being multiculturalists, globalists, etc.?  Many are making it known that they will “punish” the Brits for this action.  Having read many of the scare tactics used in the campaign, I don’t doubt that there will be threats and skulduggery.

The most poignant article I have read to date ties the exit vote to fear of rape and increased crime.   Most people don’t understand international trade.  Probably fewer understand why it is their duty to house and feed able bodied young Muslim men.  But, they fully understand when women they know (including wives and daughters) are being assaulted at rates far greater than ever seen in the U.K. before.  With the majority of this increase in crime and offenses against women coming from immigrants of the Muslim faith, it is easy to see how many blame the EU for this problem.

Time will tell if this turns out to be good for the United Kingdom.  In my view the Brexit victory is a long-term positive for the U.K., the U.S. and, yes, for Europe.  Here’s why:

  1. Central Planning/Collective Action doesn’t work.  Short term, it can show some impressive efficiencies.  Long term it kills initiative and the work ethic and is unsustainable;
  2. Central Planning is dangerous.  It creates, among other things, agricultural monocultures that are susceptible to massive kill-offs from a single vector.  Isn’t it strange that multiculturalism is the holy grail of the Globalists in the EU but they don’t see the downside to agricultural monocultures which they legislate into effect;
  3. The political class was shown, once again, to be totally oblivious of the interests and the will of the people whom they rule.;
  4. Independent thought and action, self sufficiency, and individuality create a stronger culture and one that is resilient and sustainable, if enough people are willing the work for it;

In the meantime, this battle between the Elites and the Populists will get its second hearing in the U.S. Presidential Election in November.  Some say this bodes ill for Hillary, who much like the “Remain” campaign has the support of the majority of youth and the media.  Both groups showed themselves to be out of touch with the majority in the Brexit Vote.  Donald Trump’s presence in Scotland to dedicate a new golf course just as the Brexit votes were counted may show that he is more in tune with the people than either the media or the political class.

Each year, the Memorial Day Weekend is very important to our wine sales.  We have a big open house, garden, and vineyard and do wine tasting for about 100 people a day for each of the three days.  We sometimes lose the importance of Memorial Day.  To help us remember, below are a couple of things sent to me by a friend with whom I was honored to serve in the Air Force in the late 60s and early 70s.

A five minute tribute.

Memorial Day

I’m not an English Major.  I don’t spell well (but I get better the more that I read).  I don’t even write particularly well.  I’m not a linguist, definitely not a semanticist.

I do, however, observe, and listen better than some.

First a quick story, then on to the pet peeves.

In 1961 when our family moved to Hawaii, I found myself in a High School Hawaiiana course to learn something about the beautiful new state in which I now lived.  I learned a bit of Pidgen English (“Hey bruh, neva spock you long time.  Where you stay be?” which loosely translated means “Hey, man.  I haven’t seen you in a long time.  Where have you been?”).  I also learned some history of the Islands.  But, what stood out was local customs and colloquialisms.  I remember being told that anyone who was born and raised in the Islands invariably said “yousta to” instead of “used to.”  Fast forward to 2004 when we moved from California to Oregon.  We learned that “Spendy” meant expensive, that a “motorsickle” was a motorcycle, and a “rig” was your truck.

So what does all this have to do with Pet Peeves?  I don’t like what I observe to be “lazy English.”  Here’s a  list.  It is only a scratch of the surface of a much deeper and most distressing change in our language.  Please add yours.

  1.  “then” (time or order relationship) and “than” (referring to a comparison) are two different words with different meanings.  I find lazy people only use the word “then” regardless of the meaning.
  2. Similarly, “there (place),” “their (possessive of they),” and “they’re contraction of they are)” are three different words with three very different meanings/uses.I find lazy people only use “there.”
  3. “Irregardless” is the ultimate double negative used by lazy people to mean “regardless.”   It is not a word and it also seems strange that lazy people would add to a word rather than condense or shorten.
  4. “Exspecially”  which is related to “Expresso.”  Like “irregardless” neither is a word.  Now if you “especially” like strong coffee drinks, “espresso” may be for you.
  5. “Affect” is the verb while “Effect” is the noun.
  6. Lots of lazy folk say “I could care less” which means that you do care.  Try “I couldn’t care less” which actually means that you don’t care.
from sacredjourneyoftheheart.com

from sacredjourneyoftheheart.com

I first posted this 5 years ago but with a different video.

Please watch this video.  Then remember that the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have sacrificed have done what was asked of them by their country.  We should honor their service, not give them lip service.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lG8GDYdKsc

Each year at Memorial Day we honor the lives and sacrifices of members of our Military Services who have passed on. On Veteran’s Day, we honor the lives and sacrifices of those who are still with us who have served in our armed forces.  I always wonder why we can get the emotion up to honor an overpaid athlete or entertainer and yet when we see a soldier, sailor, airman or marine in uniform, we often look the other way.

I have always appreciated the slogan depicted below.  This Veteran’s Day, why not make a point to say thank you to a veteran of the Coast Guard or Merchant Marines, or Air Force, Army, Marines or Navy?

To me, two of the most significant words in the language are Responsibility and Respect.  Veteran’s Day is a good time  to show Respect for those who have taken Responsibility for Protecting our Freedoms and have sacrificed on our behalf.

If I were a Democrat, I’d be very embarrassed by the people who represent my party in the Senate, not to mention that I’d be similarly embarrassed by the Democrat occupying the White House.  You ask why.

thanks to Derryckgreen.net

thanks to Derryckgreen.net

Today, the Democrats in the Senate, backed by the President’s threat of a veto, blocked a bill that would   punish cities that failed to follow Federal immigration law or cooperate with Federal Immigration officials.  The purpose of the legislation was to force certain cities to obey Federal law.

My guess, from how the Democrats framed the debate, is that they had two main objectives both of which were intended for political gain for their party and neither of which was for the good of the people they purport to represent.

First, they labeled it the “Donald Trump anti-immigrant bill.”  They did that because they are scared to death by the popularity of Mr. Trump and how his message is resonating with many “rank and file” Democrats.  Second, they think that immigration law enforcement loses votes in Hispanic precincts.  Oh, yes, there is the fact that almost all of the cities which claim to be ‘sanctuaries’ are controlled by Democrats.  At last count, 31 major U.S. cities call themselves sanctuaries and, at most, four are not solidly in control of Democrats.

If you are a member of the Democrat Party, please tell me why this doesn’t embarrass you.  I would love to understand or at least know one good reason to oppose such legislation.

Memorial Day is a time to remember the sacrifices made by those who have helped preserve our freedoms and our way of life.  The video below is of a 91 year old Veteran of World War II remembering and being thankful for his friends, lost in the war.  We should all be so lucid at whatever age, let alone at 91 years of age.

Thank you Jerry and a hat tip to Jim who sent me this video.

Happy Memorial Day.

I wrote the following as a draft post on February 20th of this year.  Since writing it, the sick pay bill was passed and signed into law.  The minimum wage issue did not make it to a vote because of disagreement among the Democrats as to the actual amont of a minimum wage, $12/hour, $15/hour or more.  Here was what I wrote then (the last paragraph was just finished today when I decided to publish this):

$15:hour

I am a member of the Oregon Winegrowers Association.  It is a group that lobbies on behalf of the wine grape growers, winery owners and related business people in Oregon’s wine industry.  With the exception of a few government sponsored schools and research facilities, the members of the OWA are independent business people.  In fact, most own or operate (very) small businesses.

Yesterday, I received an email from the OWA with an included poll.  The subject of the email was to notify members of some key issues on the docket for consideration in the current session of the Oregon State Legislature.  The included poll was intended to collect member opinion on some of the proposed legislation.  Since 57 of the 90 legislators are Democrats, the agenda of the Democrats as a party becomes the de facto agenda of the state legislature.

Two of the Democrat’s key issues are Minimum Wage and Sick Pay.  These are key union issues and it is no surprise that they are key to the Democrats as well.  Oregon Unions (mostly teachers and government workers unions) give almost exclusively to Democrat causes and candidates.  The Democrats want to increase the minimum wage from the current $9.25 per hour to $15.00 per hour by 2018.  They would also like to require all employers of any size to have a sick pay policy that includes a minimum or 56 hours per year of paid sick leave.  Only if an employee has missed 3 consecutive days would the proposed policy require the employee to show the reason for the “sick time.”

In the late 70s, our company was unionized.  After almost five years of working for two bosses (us and the union) and paying dues to the Union for almost nothing in return, the Union was tossed by the employees (all but three voted to decertify the union).  One thing they did get that was forced by the Union contract was 5 days of paid sick leave each year.  When we studied the sick leave usage, it will not surprise you to learn that right at about 90% of all sick days were taken on Fridays and Mondays.  Almost all were taken one day at a time.  Our analysis showed that “sick leave” was nothing but an additional 5 days of paid vacation.  This was a big addition to our overhead and made us less competitive with similar non-union companies.

Our company, both before and after the Union period had a policy that had zero days of paid sick leave.  We did, however, make some policies to soften the blow when employees were sick or needed to see a doctor during the work day.  One policy was that an employee could make up lost hours by arrangement with his or her supervisor to replace the lost income when attending a doctor’s appointment, etc.  Another policy was that employees could take vacation pay to make up for lost work time due to illness.  These policies were not perfect, but they provided some relieve without punishing everyone by increasing company overhead.

I’d be curious to hear how your company deals with sick time missed by employees.

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