Low Wage Workers Should Think Twice About a $15 Minimum Wage


– 10 November 2015 –


Clusivius-sqLow-paid workers across the U.S. are demanding a $15 minimum wage, up from existing rates that vary among states and localities but meet, at the very least, the $7.25 federal limit.

Low-wage workers across the country joined fast-food employees in the largest-ever strike to hit the industry in the fight for higher pay. They hope to capture the attention of 2016 candidates by striking one year from Election Day.

Hundreds of protesters marched in downtown Brooklyn early on Tuesday, blocking traffic and carrying banners that demand that elected leaders implement a $15 an hour minimum wage and union rights.

In addition to New York City, workers began a walkout of their jobs starting at 6 a.m. in cities Chicago, Atlanta and Kansas City, among others.

New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio joined the protesters later on Tuesday morning to show his support.
“In New York City, we have well over a million people who don’t make 15 dollars an hour – a million people trying to struggle to get by.

And this movement shined a light on that reality and said: ‘we’re not going to go on like that,’” the mayor said to a group of demonstrators.

I sympathize with these workers, if not their manipulators. Plenty of poor people are working three or more part-time, low-paying service jobs, or menial factory jobs, whose families depend on this meager income.

The situation came about—in part—because many employers have cut the hours of full-time workers to part-time to avoid the insurance requirements of ObamaCare for those who work 30 hours or more. Also, modern business models all but require the tightest profit margins possible, using economies of scale, getting the most out of fewer workers. Add large-scale immigration, legal and illegal, to the mix, and suicidal trade pacts, and we have a large supply of very cheap labor.

And now many people can’t get full time employment while others have to work 60+ hours on the road because it costs too much to hire more.

Unfortunately, raising the minimum wage will only help a small number of these part-time low-wage, low-skilled workers.

As the cost of labor increases, employers who are already running under tight margins will have to reduce their labor pool to compete, or else go out of business. Consumers will see more automated check-outs at retail stores, and automation will replace other services, such as fast food work.


The restaurant industry is on the verge of an automated revolution. Do these protesters want to speed these changes into being?

Doubling the minimum wage would give the robotics industry a major boost. And once the industry reaches a critical mass, the prices for robots or other automatons will drop. Once automation becomes cheap enough, whole swathes of workers in the service sector, as well as what remains of our manufacturing sector, will find themselves unemployed.

What will societies do with all of these unemployable poor? The government can’t pay them all to do nothing, and even if the nanny state could somehow support these people they would still demand more benefits, like spoiled children.  It is a recipe for senseless revolution.

C. F. van Niekerk:

150708-van-NiekirkFrankly, I welcome automation.

The services that so many of these low-wage workers provide are often sub-par, even revolting. How many times must I deal with rude incompetent snots who obviously find my presence a terrible inconvenience to them? And what has happened to standards of appearance?

In recent years I have quit going to several businesses because I don’t want to see the freaks who work there.

I recently was served at a local credit union by a very polite but ghastly fat black(?) woman(?) with a fuzzy growth of black beard wrapped around its chin(?) like a wreath. It was too much uncertainty! Too much ambiguity and ugliness! I won’t ever go back. It took me days to recover!

We need more automation!


“Welcome to Taco Bell! Uh-hee-hee-hee! Uh-hee-hee-hoo-hoo!”

Ugly, Barney-Rubble-looking dykes took over the Taco Bell/Long John Silver’s near my workplace.  First it was the manager, then one of the cooks, and then the whole place fell to the onslaught. It reached a point where I couldn’t even consider the possibility of eating there without my mind forming a vision of three smelly tortilla-wrapped clam meals, all orbiting through the air around Barney Rubble’s chuckling face, clad in her(?) purple uniform. I won’t go back there either.

More automation, please!


Asian Carp: Why is Mass Immigration Wonderful for Society but Catastrophic for the Natural World?



Patulcius-sqThe US government proposes to protect the Great Lakes from the invasive Asian carp.  From Fox News:

After two years of research, the Army Corps of Engineers earlier this year presented lawmakers with eight potential plans for protecting the Lakes. The proposal that’s received the most attention would physically cut-off Lake Michigan from Chicago’s waterways with a series of permanent barriers. Heartwell and others say that $18 billion plan, which is expected to take 25 years to complete, has the best shot at protecting the Lakes. [Emphasis added.]

“It’s not inexpensive but it’s a solution,” Heartwell said. “The risk of course of not doing it is that we have a multi-billion dollar sports fishing and tourism industry that would be devastated here in the Great Lakes.”

Critics of the plan though say it’s too expensive, too slow, and isn’t guaranteed to keep Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes.

“The permanent barrier, depending on how simple it is or how massive it is, may not take into account some of the other waterways boats can get in,” Germann said. “It may not take into account a hundred-year flood that happens. So, I’m not sure that that’s ultimately even at the end of the day, the permanent solution.”

Chicago’s waterways are also key shipping routes for businesses to easily ship goods from the Great Lakes, down the Mississippi River, and into the Gulf of Mexico. Permanent barriers would cost commercial shippers more than $200 million per year, according to the report.

Shipping lanes closed, monumental barriers erected over the course of at least twenty-five years at the cost of billions of dollars. It has the sound of a typical government boondoggle.

But if it will really isolate the Great Lakes from the Mississippi River, I support this project, even if it can’t stop the invasion of the Asian carp (which has probably already breached Chicago’s electric defenses).  Incidentally I wouldn’t mind seeing the St. Lawrence Seaway scrapped either.

For tens of thousands of years aquatic life lived in isolation within the Great Lakes, but the opening of the lakes to international commerce exposed them to one invader after another, numbering more than 180 species in all.  This invasion has accelerated since the completion of the Saint Lawrence Seaway in 1959.

While most of these invaders have made little impact on the native fauna, a few of them have wreaked havoc on the native species. Most famous of these invaders are the sea lamprey invasion of the 1930’s and 40’s and the zebra mussel invasion of the 1990’s.

An unrestricted flow of aquatic life from the St. Lawrence Seaway through the Great Lakes and through the Illinois Waterway into the Mississippi watershed only continues this vector of disruption.  How can native species be protected when the figurative doors to the rest of the world are held wide open, electric gate or no?

It is interesting that the progressive proponents of unlimited immigration so often are the greatest advocates for the preservation of even the most insignificant of local subspecies.  They see great value in natural diversity but find little value in preserving local culture, language, or religion from foreign displacement or absorption.  How can they see mass immigration as a wonderful gift to society while they recognize the harm of invasive species to the natural world?

On the other side of the political spectrum, we have free traders and libertarians who demand the unrestricted flow of cheap goods and labor to the market, and everything else will have to adapt or die.  The system of Darwinian selection will prove which natural species, or which human culture or people, is the most fit to survive.  If native species, cultures, or nations can’t cut it, then the free traders will assume that something more fit to survive has replaced them.

While I am no socialist or environmentalist zealot, I am a protectionist and conservationist.  I care about my native land and its wildlife, its distinct people (accepting that most of us are in turn an invasive species to North America) and local cultures, and the traditional civilization and religion that has built the Western World into the greatest civilization the earth has ever known.

We can take a small hit on the efficiency of commerce in order to protect our local wildlife, our local economies, and the religion, language, and culture of our local populations.

CVS to Become First Major US Drugstore to Drop Cigarettes

CVS pharmacy istock


Clusivius-sqCVS to become first major US drugstore to drop cigarettes

On Wednesday, CVS Caremark Corp announced that its 7,600 stores would stop selling all tobacco products by October — making the company the first U.S. drugstore chain to remove cigarettes from its shelves.

Public health experts called the decision by the No. 2 U.S. drugstore chain a precedent-setting step that could pressure other stores to follow suit.

They’ve got to make room for the medical marijuana.

Tonsillectomy Death at the Oakland Children’s Hospital and Why Americans Shouldn’t Trust their Doctors



Clusivius-sqA 13-year-old girl named Jahi McMath went to the Oakland Children’s Hospital on December 9 for a tonsillectomy to treat her sleep apnea. Hours later she died at the same hospital from profuse bleeding and cardiac arrest caused by the procedure. The hospital managed to keep her on life support, but their tests showed no brain activity, and they declared her legally dead.

The public controversy of this case arises from the hospital’s desire to cut off the life support on this “dead body” and the family’s attempts to keep her body alive in their hope for a miracle. So far a judge has twice intervened to extend her life support, now to January 7. But complicating the case is the potential complicity of the hospital in her death and the cold-hearted eagerness of the hospital to pull the plug.

Children’s Hospital Oakland has a very good reputation where I live in the Bay Area. But its public communication around the tragedy of Jahi McMath’s ”brain death” has been astoundingly insensitive, bordering on arrogant.

The hospital’s statements quoted in today’s San Francisco Chronicle continues the maladroit insensitivity. The hospital states it will remove the ventilator the moment that can be done legally. From the story:

Children’s Hospital Oakland officials confirmed Sunday they will turn off the machines sustaining Jahi McMath’s body as soon as a legal injunction expires at 5 p.m. Monday unless otherwise ordered by a court. “Barring any other court-order legal action by the family, the ventilator will be shut off at 5 p.m. tomorrow,” said hospital spokesman Sam Singer. “It’s tremendously sad, but that’s what’s going to occur.”

Not five minutes after five. Not sometime after five. Not one second after five. At five! I can picture a doctor looking at his watch counting down the seconds, “three, two, one…”.

Then there’s this:

“Children’s Hospital Oakland continues to support the family of Jahi McMath in this time of grief and loss over her death,” the hospital said in a statement Sunday. “We continue to do so despite their lawyer’s criticizing the very hospital that all along has been working hard to be accommodating to this grieving family.

Gee, that’s big of you. Why have hospital spokespersons acted throughout this sad saga as if the institution is the victim?

Much of the nastiness comes from the hospital’s PR consultant Sam Singer, who seems ill suited for his job of sugar-coating the hospital’s eagerness to not only pull the plug on this girl but to prevent any other facility from taking her in her present condition.  The coldness of the hospital’s lawyer, Douglas Straus, only adds to this nasty impression.


The insensitivity and arrogance of Oakland Children’s Hospital spokesman Sam Singer and the hospital’s attorney Douglas Straus has created a PR disaster for the California hospital.

Meanwhile, the fact that Jahi McMath died because of a failed surgery performed at this same Oakland Children’s Hospital seems to have little bearing on anyone’s behavior in this case and isn’t widely highlighted in the news. One gets the impression that this sort of death just happens sometimes, like hail storms, and there is nothing that anyone can or should do about it.

While hospitals are quick to say that any surgery is risky, death from tonsillectomy is rare, occurring in 1 case for about every 15,000 performed.[1] [2] Each tonsillectomy death that happens ought to be carefully scrutinized, and maybe this one was. But that doesn’t excuse the callous treatment by the hospital.

According to reports, this family’s insurance is willing to pay to keep her on life support for some time, so it doesn’t appear that the hospital will lose money. (And would these sprawling medical palaces with their indoor waterfalls and botanical gardens ever allow themselves to lose money?) So why is the hospital placing so many roadblocks for other facilities to accept her? The hospital’s lawyer, Douglas Straus, issued a statement that rather coldly outlines all of the conditions that they require for another facility to accept the girl. Callous experts seem to think that the hospital is fighting against the possibility that brain deaths will be harder to declare in the future.

The moral of the story: we should not trust our doctors. Doctors, for all of their fancy and rigorous qualifications, aren’t much better at diagnosis and repair than the local grease monkey at the auto shop.

Like any businessmen, doctors have an incentive to make money with the minimal effort possible. If that means rushing a patient through a five minute interview and telling the nurse to prescribe some pills to shut him up, then so be it.

Doctors often inflate the value of their own knowledge and abilities, achieved through their qualifications and experience, a knowledge that they believe trumps any doubts or complaints (or even questions) that their patient may have. They hear all sorts of babble from hypochondriacs, and this can make them cynical. But they haven’t lived with their patient’s body for decades, either.

And doctors, especially in hospitals, also tend to take a possessive attitude towards their patients, considering them to be wards in their custody. Doctors know what’s best, and they aren’t inclined to allow a patient to leave their care once that patient is admitted. Just try to leave a hospital without their proper discharge. This conceit especially applies to children, as the recent example of the Amish girl with cancer highlights.


Would these sprawling medical palaces with their indoor waterfalls and botanical gardens ever allow themselves to lose money?

Provisions in ObamaCare to gather a variety of impertinent information on medical patients, such as sexual relations and history of psychological issues, could impact our lives in unknown ways. Surely the government will use this information for its own purposes, which may be simple data analysis or the typical social engineering, but certainly could be used for outright gun confiscation or political blackmail.

As the government intrudes ever more deeply into the medical industry, Americans can expect a shift from a system whose primary customers are insurance companies to one where doctors show the most concern for satisfying the government. And while insurance companies must at least somewhat consider the wishes of their paying customers, government bureaucracy has little incentive to do so. Unfortunately, it’s easier—a little—to change our insurance companies than to change our government. The end result is a medical system that cares less about the well-being of its patients and more about staying out of trouble with the government. In that case, we can expect more cases like that of Jahi McMath.

One way or another, we mustn’t blindly trust our doctors. Especially now.


Patulcius-sqThe Oakland Children’s Hospital is definitely showing a lack of sensitivity to the family of a child who died because of their own failed procedure, and as Wesley J. Smith said in the above-quoted article, it is a PR disaster for them. But the hospital is correct to try to move this case along, even if they aren’t doing it with the greatest finesse.

The grieving mother will never willingly pull the plug on her daughter’s body. She sees a child who appears to respond to her voice and touch and doesn’t care what anyone says about it. Who could blame her? Most mothers would behave the same way in this situation.

But the child is showing no brain activity at all. She’s not in a coma and she’s not in a vegetative state, she’s dead. According to some of these news stories, the state of California requires two doctors to confirm brain death with two separate tests three hours apart from one another. Additionally, the family (rightly) brought in three additional doctors to confirm the condition, and all five doctors found the child to be brain dead. While a miracle from God could certainly save her, we can’t expect the hospital to keep her on life support on the basis of a miracle when she is already clinically dead.

Bluntly said, hospitals are intended to save lives, not cater to corpses. It’s an unpleasant truth, but those who deal with death so frequently must address this unpleasant subject.

This is one of those cases where technology has muddied what once was a clear-cut matter.

As far as trusting doctors, a second opinion can be a good idea, but we should weigh a doctor’s opinion pretty heavily. They have experience and knowledge that we typically don’t. But maybe we don’t have to run to a doctor for every sneeze or runny nose, or to request the latest prescription for restless leg syndrome that we saw on a one-minute commercial.

Considering ObamaCare, we should resist sharing information to doctors or to the government that has nothing to do with our particular cases. It isn’t necessary to openly defy them (this can cause even more unnecessary troubles). If it’s possible to say nothing, we should say nothing; if an answer is required, a quiet “N/A” should suffice.


ConcorditasAs terrible as many of California’s ideas about laws and rights may be these days, it seems like matters are proceeding as they should in the case of Jahi McMath.

The mother is rightly fighting for her child’s life. She sees her child responding to her touch and her voice, and she’s right to challenge the hospital in every way she can.

The hospital is justifiably, if heartlessly, trying to pull the plug on the girl. They see a brain-dead corpse, and they want to avoid a precedent that will make it harder to declare a person dead. They might have chosen a callous way to push their case, but they are justified in doing so.

And the legal system is allowing time for this case to get settled in a just way by extending her life support until January 7. McMath’s mother has more time to either find a facility that can comply with the hospital’s conditions for removal and/or for doctors to observe her case over a period of time. Or for her lawyer to determine if the hospital is trying to hide its complicity in McMath’s death.

The system seems to be working in this case. Meanwhile, my prayers and best wishes go out to McMath and her family.

[Update: On January 5, Jahi McMath was moved from the Oakland Children’s Hospital to an undisclosed facility where she will remain on life support.  Medical “ethicists” howl and scream in indignation.]

[1] Windfuhr, Schloendorff, Sesterhenn, Prescher, and Kremer. “A Devastating Outcome after Adenoidectomy and Tonsillectomy: Ideas for Improved Prevention and Management.” Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery (2009). Metro Atlanta Educational Society for Otolaryngology, Apr. 2009. Web. 1 Jan. 2014. http://www.metroatlantaotolaryngology.org/journal/apr09/Devastating%20T%20%26%20A.pdf>

[2] Encyclopedia of Surgery. “Surgery.” Tonsillectomy. Advameg, Inc., n.d. Web. 01 Jan. 2014. <http://www.surgeryencyclopedia.com/St-Wr/Tonsillectomy.html

Black Thursday: Couldn’t the Bastards Just Wait One More Day?



In the past few years, the hedonistic shopping binge of Black Friday has drifted into the formerly sacred realm of Thanksgiving Day.

While most in the United States spent the day bonding with friends and family over turkey dinners and football games, some were enticed by big discounts and open stores to begin their holiday bargain-hunting a day earlier than the traditional “Black Friday” sprees that follow Thanksgiving.

With six fewer shopping days this year than in 2012, Macy’s and a slew of other stores opened on Thanksgiving for the first time in a bare-knuckle brawl for a bigger slice of holiday sales.

Macy’s was packed, and overall online sales for the day were up an estimated 11.5 percent over last year, according to a report at IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark.

And what is the deal with people going out to eat on Thanksgiving instead of sharing a home-cooked feast at home with their families?

Forget all that work in the kitchen! More people are taking their families out to eat for Thanksgiving. ABC Action News found more than 40 open restaurants in the Bay Area this year.

Sharon Orellana said going to The Columbia in Ybor City is a Thanksgiving tradition for her family.

“You don’t have to be all nerve racking trying to get everything ready and then you have to pick it all up and clean up your house. This just makes it so much more relaxing,” said Orellana.

One of the few days in a year where people took the time to prepare a large, traditional meal gives way to people chowing down at a restaurant like they do for a growing percentage of their everyday meals. Or a casino, of all places! A nation of producers continues to decline into a nation of useless consumers.

Nevermind the shameless consumerism of people who, instead of thanking God on Thanksgiving, are going into debt to celebrate presents instead of the birth of Christ. What about all those part-time workers who could previously count on having at least Thanksgiving and Christmas off from work? Now they get to tend to the endless consumption of others.

But hey, it’s a free market, right?

Life was better when blue laws were the norm. If blue laws did nothing for the heathens who would spend their holy days shopping, they at least protected believers who had to work.


A nation dominated by people who eat out and shop on Thanksgiving Day wouldn’t allow, or benefit from, blue laws.  The people have grown too corrupt.

We should be careful, in this stage of our civilization, about running to the government to correct a cultural problem.  All too often the government presence amounts to more than we bargained for.

The best thing is to let the hordes enjoy their consumption while they still can.

Because people who live for today and produce nothing for tomorrow will ultimately be left with nothing.  Then those among them who did prepare and who can defend their stores may ultimately find themselves in a position to call the shots.

Tree Farms in Detroit; What is the Point?



News articles of late, such as this one, suggest that the urban blight of Detroit will be replaced by acres of new productive farmland.

A private company is snapping up 150 acres [actually about 140 acres] on the Motor City’s East End — property where more than 1,000 homes once formed a gritty neighborhood — and turning it into what is being billed as the world’s largest urban farm. Hantz Woodlands plans to start by planting trees, but hopes to raise crops and even livestock in the future, right in the midst of the once-proud city.

A less sensational article from the Detroit News says:

The agreement allows the company [Hantz Woodlands] to buy 1,500 lots for $520,000, demolish at least 50 dangerous structures and plant 15,000 hardwood trees during the first two years. Representatives of the project have said the company would cover costs for title work, demolition of structures and removal of trash at a cost of an additional $3.2 million.

Something seems odd about this purchase.  The total cost per acre, according to the second article, is about $3,700, which is not a  bargain at all when one considers the cost to clear and clean up the land, which the company estimates at about $3.2 million.  According to the USDA, Michigan farmland costs “an average price of $4,090 per acre for calendar year 2011”.

Why not buy regular farmland that doesn’t require clearing, cleaning, and maintenance?  Perhaps it’s difficult to purchase farmland in Michigan.

According to another article, these parcels of land aren’t even contiguous, which makes sense since the city didn’t expel existing residents (which is a good thing).

As for the mischaracterization of this new urban jungle: Yes, Hantz intends to plant 15,000 mixed hardwood trees. Yes, the woodlands project will have a roughly 150-acre footprint. But all the trees will be confined to a 15-acre plot. The land consists of non-contiguous parcels, which means there won’t be some new forest “materializing” in the middle of the city. Residents aren’t moving, unless they want to. Sidewalks aren’t going anywhere. Nothing will be fenced in. Those 15,000 trees? You can walk under them on a sunny day, if you so please. The east side isn’t turning into the lush set of Jurassic Park. All Hantz will do is clean the trash and mow the lawns, which could help improve public safety.

So what good is the remaining 125 acres of unused and disconnected farmland?

Maintaining farms, even tree farms, in Detroit might prove difficult.  Some of the locals are hostile to Hantz’s “land-grab” and it isn’t difficult to imagine that his properties might suffer from vandalism or the effects of trespassing.  Is Detroit a secure enough place to store farm equipment?  What about the safety of workers?  Perhaps these concerns are not as dire as one might think from looking at the crime statistics, with Detroit’s population so reduced in these areas.

Is this John Hantz fellow a fool?  Probably not.  He would appear to be a very successful financial advisor.  Or does he expect that this land will be worth something in the future?  This seems doubtful.  The city would have to undergo a major demographic shift for it to transform from a crime-infested rat-hole into a growing city once again.   Possibly Hantz could be working on a means to eventually buy up land through eminent domain in order to expel the current residents and eventually replace them with wealthier ones, but this is also doubtful.

More likely Hantz will get tax breaks and other write-offs for this 140 acres of land, and Detroit won’t see much of a boon from this at all.  All of Hantz’s talk of working his farms with “ex-convicts and recovering addicts” is silliness.

This tree farm business in Detroit will not save the luckless city.

Sneaking the United States into the Trans-Pacific Partnership



WikiLeaks on Wednesday released a draft of the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership, an agreement that would establish free trade rules among its twelve nations (the United States, Canada, Mexico, Chile, Peru, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, Vietnam, Brunei, and Australia).

Admittedly this is the first that I’ve heard of this “partnership”.  Apparently this news has buzzed around left-wing anti-globalist circles for the past few years, groups which are often at odds with right-wing anti-globalist groups, so this could also explain why I’ve embarrassingly missed this information.   (I really must expand my news sources.)  Divide and conquer, I suppose.

Judson Philips of the Washington Times offers some insights:

One of the most disturbing parts of this proposed Trans Pacific treaty is the secrecy in which it is being negotiated. The only real news Americans or for that matter Members of Congress can get, is from leaks.

Barack Obama is asking for fast track authority for the Trans Pacific Partnership. Consider that to be another version of “you have to pass this to see what is in it.”  With fast track authority, there will be no hearings on this treaty. It will be negotiated then sent to the Senate for a simple up or down vote. The Senate will not be able to provide advice and consent because they cannot offer amendments under fast track.

Less than one fifth of the Trans Pacific Partnership deals with trade. The remainder of the treaty governs a myriad of things, including regulating the price of medicines. A few months ago, a mix of conservative and liberal groups stopped the “Stop Online Piracy Act” or SOPA. Most of the provisions of SOPA are included in the Trans Pacific Partnership.

Under the proposals of the TPP, American sovereignty would be eroded. American courts would be inferior to foreign trade courts and disputes between American citizens and foreign corporations would not be litigated in American courts but in these trade tribunals.

From a left-wing and Canadian perspective, Sunny Freeman and Daniel Tesser also bring insights at the Canadian version of the Huffington Post:

Internet freedom organizations, including Canada’s Openmedia.ca, have criticized the TPP’s intellectual property provisions, saying proposals in the agreement would restrict innovation and force internet service providers to police copyright.

WikiLeaks says provisions in the deal would create “supranational” courts that could override member nations’ judicial systems. The courts “have no human rights safeguards,” WikiLeaks stated.

This agreement would further empower globalist elites in government and business at the expense of individuals, families, religions, local government, and nations.  Supra-national governments merely add another smothering layer of rule on top of the multiple layers that already exist, and this one, being further removed from the people, is correspondingly less accountable to our interests and wishes.

The fact that this “partnership” treaty is negotiated in secret demonstrates by itself that it presents a real threat to the common people.

I predict that the treaty will pass in the United States with little attention or fanfare, just as the Free Trade Agreement between South Korea and the US passed in 2011.  But let us loudly oppose this nasty business anyhow.

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