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Lithium Ion Battery Failures

I’ve had two encounters now with lithium ion batteries that have failed, became thermal runaways, and  ended up venting, exploding and catching fire in the process. Believe me, they can release a crap load of noxious gases and smoke in a short amount of time and start a fire rather easily. It’s not an exceptionally common occurrence but if you don’t play by the rules when dealing with high density batteries it does happen. If any one of the protections used on any level is compromised they can and will go ballistic, and I mean that in the literal sense.

My first encounter with one  of these batteries exploding happened while using a Cree LED flashlight poised over my shoulder and my head stuck in the side of a computer case on the bench. Suddenly there was a loud pop with a flash of light and the next thing I know is that the Cree flashlight was no longer with me and there’s smoke and fumes filling the room. My first thoughts were damn, that thing wasn’t even plugged in, why did that capacitor explode? Of course about that time I was also running for the exit and some fresh air. I grabbed a fresh lung full of air, reentered the room and found one of the 16340 (CR123) batteries venting in the computer case and the other one still on fire behind the bench. I put it out and hit the exhaust fans until things cleared out a bit before returning.

When the batteries exploded it swelled the end cap that holds the LED/heat sink/driver assembly in and blew that and the batteries out the front and the main body of the light ended up on a shelf on the opposite wall. I spent 15 minutes trying to find that part of it. Anyhow, it didn’t damage the threads on the end cap or the case so I put some batteries back in it and it works fine.

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The second time was just the other night and involved a 16340 battery that had been left charging in the shop/boiler room adjacent to the studio and main room in the basement. Suddenly there was a load bang and what sounded and looked like a model rocket engine going off in the other room. This is what I found:

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In the both cases the protection circuits failed resulting in  a thermal runaway condition. The Cree batteries and protection failed under load and a long duty cycle so I’m assuming the sustained current draw had something to do with that failure. As for the second occurrence, that was partly my fault, you should never leave LiOn batteries charging and unattended. Don’t assume the cheap Chinese chargers and the built in battery protection won’t fail because if it does so at the wrong time you can have a big problem on your hands. Also keep in mind that there have been instances where the battery was under neither a load or a charging condition and self destructs, just store your batteries in a safe manner.

The biggest problem I see is the cheap chargers for 18650 and 16340 batteries that are flooding the market. There’s also been instances of knock offs being sold with brand name stickers on them and no protection circuit in them at all. Just buy a good charger and try to watch what you’re buying for batteries.

All the high energy density batteries based on lithium ion are very susceptible to voltage and temperature as well as the curve of the charging cycle. If they don’t operate within a specific window of set conditions you’re going to have problems every time. Here’s a graph that was posted in an article by Electropaedia  showing the acceptable operation limits. You can see the rest of the article HERE or click on the graph for a larger image.

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Keep all this in mind when you’re getting ready to purchase that electric vehicle folks. Do you really one to set on one of these that weighs in at over 3/4 ton?

At any rate just be aware of the inherent dangers involved when using them and try to avoid the cheap Chinese chargers as well as any of the knock off batteries  you might find out there.

Carbon Credits For The Harman SF-160 Wood Stove

Ok, so what is a carbon credit? Al Gore and his ilk seem to think it’s money snatched out of thin air from what I can tell. Haven’t we already taxed and regulated the power generation and industrial base in this country to the point where it’s become ridiculous? Supposedly this is all in response to global warming (now climate change) being caused by the amount of Co2 being released into the atmosphere. Ya, go ahead and pull my other finger folks and let’s see how that effects the weather. Just don’t drive off the edge of your flat earth map while you’re thinking about doing it.

You would think that a carbon credit should be worth something and not just created out of thin air and junk science. As a matter of fact a chunk of firewood would make a nice carbon credit wouldn’t it? I mean after all it’s 50% carbon, 6% Hydrogen and 44%, oxygen so that works in my book. Heh, I’ll even do a little work to get them, that should make everybody happy!

At any rate and silly jokes aside, finding the years wood supply is always a challenge and has been for going on 10 yrs now, but so far doable. It takes in access of 7 cords of wood per year to do it so sourcing the stuff is usually the biggest problem with the operation. On the other end of things the Harman SF-160 has performed flawlessly and was well worth the investment, I haven’t had to light the pilot on the gas boiler for 10 yrs now. Routine maintenance and a new stack liner (27 ft) every few years and it’s good to go.

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Nice model and the stoves not bad either!

Sourcing the wood and help with the logistics of it all is where it’s nice to have friends in high places so to speak and my old buddy, we’ll call him Stan, saved the day again this year. Earlier in the year he had a tornado skip through some of his timber and make a huge mess of things where it dipped into the woods. It was close enough to watch from the front door so luck was with them that time, the winds literally tied hickory trees into knots and cracked oaks like they were tooth picks. Maybe it was divine intervention on several levels, who knows, but it sure was one tangled up mess.

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In addition to the hickory and oak there was some hack-berry and locust downed and a lot of the smaller ash  up to about 6″ was bent over and never did recover. They suckered out on top (the side) and created a bushy mess so we cut them out also.

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The loggers were brought in first to salvage what could be, and then Stan and I spent the rest of the summer cleaning up the aftermath from both them and the tornado. We left 5 or 6 of the tougher to down hickories standing, we’ll have those and a bunch of tops further back in the timber to work on come spring, but for now most of it’s been processed and in the rack.

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We cleaned up everything as we went including all the dead stuff that had been laying for years and then proceeded to let the Co2 of all that brush in some really nice spot fires hoping to add a little something to “climate change” for that crowd. I know we did our part and that it was more than worth the time and effort we put into it. Stan and I make a good team on any project and this one was no different, we had a blast in the process and just knocked it out like everything else we get our hands on.

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So now the Carbon Credits are stacked and we’re ready for another one of those exceptionally brutal winters like we had last year…

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And these weren’t created out of thin air….

 

 

The Book Shelf

I don’t use advertizing on the website and web authoring in general is just a hobby, and done as a convenience to myself for the most part. I have however made some good friends and other acquaintances over my years on the web due to my status as a military veteran and of my political associations. Although let it be noted that I’ve given up on politics and party affiliations of any sort as of late,  I’m no longer amused by the dog and pony show we’re presented with these days. Get back to me when it starts fixing our fiscal and geopolitical problems and I might reconsider that point of view, but I doubt it’ll ever happen.

Back in 2004 in the days of  the “The Kerry Wars”, as I like to refer to them, I was given the opportunity to work with some very unique people on both the web and the political front. And a lot of those people made a huge contribution to that whole campaign issue. Authors, veteran poets, ex-military, musicians and scholars of all sorts shapes and sizes. They were some really good people to work and associate with.

Actually, it wasn’t politics but rather a personal  problem most of us had with Kerry given our status as military veterans that started it all. We just refused to let that BS artist end up as Commander and  Chief without a fight, and that we did.

To make a long story short, that’s the reason for the book listings in side bar. They’re a good lot, and if I can send them some traffic I’d be more than happy to do so.

   

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Mike Connelly picked up a signed and messaged copy of Unfit For Command for me at a book faire, John E. O’Neil and Jerome R. Corsi were also on the front lines of the Kerry Wars.

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All  involved with our 2004 campaign and the websites are to be commended for their hard work and service through the decades, so hats off to all of you. Anyhow, I’d literally have to write a book to mention all the folks and key players in the alliance that’s been created over the years. Let it suffice to say I probably won’t be publishing anything other than my sloppy attempt at web authoring. But then again if you know me you already knew that.

Actually George  (Rurik) Mellinger might have a couple that would be of interest to Chromedome and I. How about it Chromedome, want to buy a book?

 

 

Portable Battery Charger/Loading System

I’d started building this a couple years ago and hadn’t finished the project until recently. It’s basically a high amperage battery charger with a small foot print, lot’s easier to move around than your run of the mill big box chargers. The primary side of the transformer is tapped for 5 charging rates from around 6v thru 15v + @ up to 30+ amps. I also added a carbon pile that can be used to load test the battery you’re working on if need be. The primary windings are relay switched and can only be energized with load from the carbon pile out of the circuit. In addition reverse polarity diodes are used on the output to prevent damage if the leads are reversed. The output is shunted for a panel mounted ammeter to be added later and it’s all mounted in a 16″x16″x6″ Wiegmann inclosure with 2 side mounted cooling fans.

           

 

Lindsey Stirling ~ Beyond The Veil

Another class act is this young lass with a violin. Absolutely some of the best string work I’ve  heard in my days anyhow.  The new release is called Shatter Me and features Lzzy Hayle providing the vocal tracks. Good stuff indeed…

 

Joe Satriani – One Robot’s Dream (Live 2006)

One of my all time favorites and posted for my own selfish enjoyment.

ObamaCare Explained: Karl Denninger

Analyst/trader Karl Denninger says Obama Care is doomed to failure because of pre-existing conditions of many signing up for coverage.  Denninger explains, “If you are an insurance company and you only sell insurance to those who have already lit their house on fire, you’re not going to be in business very long.  You have to have people who buy insurance who are not likely to have fires.”  



Well well lookie what the cat dragged in.

That’s a link to the unsubsidized data dump — all 78,437 records — for each county and State under the Obamacare exchange program.  I can verify that for at least my state and county the table is correct, since you can now look it up on Healthcare.gov without creating an account first (which I am not about to do.)

There are several very interesting statistical facts that come from this.

First, if you’re “27”, the average premium is $266.20/month or $3,194.40 per year.  How many 27 year olds have an extra $3,200 to spend on this?  Remember, this is the price that virtually every uninsured 27 year old must be willing — and able — to cough up in order to prevent the model this system is predicated on from collapsing.

If those 27 year olds don’t show up, and they won’t, then the system collapses instantly.  If they do show up because the government threatens them with fines the economy collapses as $3,200 a year exceeds the average 27 year old’s disposable personal income after mandatory expenses (e.g. food, shelter, etc.)  Remember, there are always exceptions but these premiums are averages and over large pools of people the statistical averages are what matters — not the ends of the barbell.

It gets better.  The “average” 50 year old premium, again, for single coverage, is $452.87, or $5,434.44/year.  How many 50 year olds will find that attractive compared against what they’re paying now?  Probably more of them, especially if they’re already sick.  But how about the healthy ones?

Note two things as well on this account — these premiums are for non-smokers (smoker premiums are grossly surcharged with reports being 1.5x the above) and they do not account for anyone other than one person.  If you are a single parent with kids (rather common) the premium on average is $610.23/month or about $7,300, and if you’re a couple it’s $647.86 (again, $7,774 annually.)

Now let’s look at the government’s own claims.  First, the CPI index claims that health insurance is 0.656% of the family budget.  What percentage of couples make $1.185 million a year?  Why do I ask?  Because that’s the alleged median income for a couple if you believe the government’s CPI numbers.

Yeah, right.

Next, while some people will get “tax credits” to offset these costs all that does is lard it up on the federal budget, because someone else has to pay that bill.  In other words this is the true cost that will come out of your hide one way or another — either directly by paying, indirectly by taxation, or indirectly by destruction of your purchasing power.

Next, note that this is the “50 year old” premium but you have to be 65 to qualify for Medicare.  The price will rise each year after 50 that you happen to be and there are already reports that if you’re 59 these premiums are understated by half.  How many couples who are 59 and cannot qualify for Medicare yet have not $7,700 a year of extra money laying around but north of $15,000?

That’s what I thought.

Are there people for whom these are “good deals”?  Oh sure, if you’re fat, sick and nearly dead they’re great deals.  The person with HIV who is guaranteed to suck out $30,000 or more in treatment costs each and every year has to be ecstatic at the premise that they can pay $3,200 and get back 10x what they spend on an indefinite forward basis, forever, or at least as long as the drug cocktails they’re taking let them live.  Likewise someone with other diseases such as diabetes or cancer have to love these plans; they pay an effective nothing compared to what will be spent immediately and permanently (as long as they live) on them.

But for virtually everyone else these “plans” are nothing more than financial rape.  Not only are the premiums outrageous for most but the limits on coverage, including deductibles, co-pays and out-of-pocket maximums means that if you get sick the so-called “price” is half or less of what you will actually spend, and this assumes you can find a doctor.

Oh, yeah, about that — most of these plans absolutely exclude payment of anything to out-of-network physicians and facilities.  “You can keep your doctor” eh?  Uh, no.

This “program” is nothing more than the imposition of force to support a medical “system” that has systematically and intentionally destroyed the health of millions with government assistance and prodding.  You think that’s overstating the case?  Well maybe it is and maybe it’s not — but what we are now learning is that the claim that you should not eat saturated fats because they’re bad for you is being proved scientifically false and that one of the drug company’s biggest “blockbuster” categories, statins, worth some $30 billion a year in extraction from you, are thus utterly worthless at best and might be actively harming you.

But before you start screaming about all this let’s back up and look at the figures, because while $30 billion sounds like a lot it’s actually not.  Nor are “medical torts”; by some figures costing $20 billion a year (although dropping.)

Let’s add into this so-called “uncompensated care” — that is, the result of EMTALA and other similar laws that “force” hospitals to “eat” the cost of care for those who have neither insurance or money.  This has been rising very rapidly (by some 400% in the last couple of decades) and currently stands at some $40 billion.

These are big numbers, right?

Well, not really.  Between the statins, torts and formal cost-shifting the total is $100 billion.

The problem is that the cost of “sick care” is in fact more than $2,700 billion a year in the economy as a whole and of that half comes from federal and state budgets and is drowning our nation in debt.

In other words if we reduced to zero all cost shifting, we got rid of all statin drug sales in the entire category (or made them “free” by force) and in addition Obamacare completely eliminated everyone who had neither insurance or money, and thus got rid of the entire uncompensated care problem we’d save a whopping……

wait for it….

3.7% of what we spend on health care annually.

In other words it wouldn’t make any difference at all.

You have been told and sold otherwise by both the left (in the case of Obamacare) and right (in the case of uncompensated care and tort reform) and both sides of the aisle have knowingly lied and committed fraud against you to the tune of nearly $3 trillion dollars, or 17% of every dollar spent in the economy last year.

If you caught someone stealing that sort of money from you in the middle of the night in your house you’d shoot them, and with good cause.  So why haven’t we politically shot these jackasses and then indicted and locked them up on fraud charges?

More to the point, why aren’t there a few million*****ed-off Americans in Washington DC right now who are surrounding the Capitol and refusing to leave until the lies stop and the scam is excised from our economy?

Probably because nobody, other than a few such as myself, have put these numbers before you and I’m willing to bet that not one in 100 of the people who read this were aware that all three of the above factors combined, were they to be completely eliminated from the health system, would shave off less than four percent of the problem.

But now you don’t have that excuse because here it is in black-letter facts and figures.

So where’s all the money going when we used to spend less than 1/3rd of this much in the 1970s (as a percentage of GDP) on health care, and why is it so damned expensive that you need “forced insurance”?

That’s simple: The entire health system is an organized racketeering outfit that has gotten laws passed to make their conduct legal — conduct that in virtually any other field would be an outright criminal felony.

Think I’m kidding?  The Sherman and Clayton Acts, US Code 15 Section 1, say this:

Every contract, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, is declared to be illegal. Every person who shall make any contract or engage in any combination or conspiracy hereby declared to be illegal shall be deemed guilty of a felony, and, on conviction thereof, shall be punished by fine not exceeding $100,000,000 if a corporation, or, if any other person, $1,000,000, or by imprisonment not exceeding 10 years, or by both said punishments, in the discretion of the court.

The industry doesn’t even try to hide their conduct.  Indeed, there are even specific laws in many states, called “Certificate Of Need” (or “CON”) laws, that are formalization of cartel behavior otherwise prohibited by The Sherman Act.  This leads to utterly common situations where the price for a given procedure usually varies by as much as 400% from one hospital in a region to another and in many cases varies by more than 1,000%, and it is virtually impossible for you to determine the price before you are treated.

How else do you get a situation like the Phoenix woman who was billed more than $60,000 for two vials of scorpion antivenom that sell for $100 each in Mexico where they’re made over the counter in a pharmacy, not far from Phoenix.  If you get into your car and fill the trunk with said drug you are breaking the law as soon as you cross back into the United States (and if caught will be jailed.)

You want to fix the problems with Health Care in this country and solve Federal, State and local budget problems all at once?  Break up all the monopolies by declaring unlawful all such conduct that restrains trade or fixes prices and void those laws that have made this behavior legal, mandate public disclosure and level billing of procedures, drugs and devices to all persons and prosecute and imprison violators — all of them, starting with every single one of the health insurance, pharmaceutical and big “managed care” executives.

The cost of health care in this country would crash by 80% overnight and with a price 1/5th of what is paid now nobody would need health “insurance”, save for catastrophic coverage that would cost less than you currently pay for insurance on your home or apartment contents and which you could choose to either buy or take the risk that such a catastrophe would strike and you would either have to cough up the money or die.

In addition putting a stop to this scam would immediately and permanently fix the Federal Budget without cutting one nickel of discretionary spending and it would not require gutting Medicare either.  Only very minor changes to Social Security (indexing full retirement to longevity) would be required to bring permanent budget stability and in fact we would run, right here, now and today, a budget surplus.

Wake up America before you’re strangled and expire economically as a direct consequence of this three-decades-long scam.

Haha – Another Truth Accident

 From Karl Denninger:

Oh look what the cat dragged in….

“This population doesn’t understand why insurance is necessary,” Cheryl Smith, a health-exchange specialist at Deloitte Consulting LLP in New York, said in an interview. “It really is to protect your assets. When you’re young, you don’t have assets. You don’t worry about it.”

That’s right.

When you’re young and don’t have assets you don’t need much if any insurance.  If something really awful happens you file bankruptcy instead, as you have nothing to lose.

This is why you carry minimum liability coverage on your car, and nothing else.  You have nothing to lose.  In a serious accident where you get tagged for $1m you file bankruptcy.  It makes much more sense to cover only routine things (which you can afford) instead of the six sigma events that are extremely unlikely.

The latter, if it happens, has an “out” — you have no assets, so you head to the courthouse and file bankruptcy.  This is not not only legal it’s entirely logical.

Note that if you’re a bit older and also have no assets the same calculation attaches.  You have nothing, therefore you need little protection of assets because you don’t have any.

There is this insane proposition among those in Washington that is the same as the insane proposition among so-called “investment professionals” that I see on display all the time.  I witnessed some of it recently among a group that were nearly-all in the “1%” (if not all) when one of the presenters asked “who in the room hasn’t refinanced their house twice during the interest rate drop.

One hand went up.

Why?

Because most of the rest of us either had no mortgage at all or a very small one compared to equity and the cost of refinancing would not be recovered by the lower payments.  In other words we didn’t turn the crank in that fashion because it made no economic sense.

The problem of course is that for the common man — the “99%” — the premise that the “health insurers” are trying to sell the population on is false.

As insurance costs rise the six-sigma event that puts you in the poor house becomes less economically interesting in insuring against.

At its core the “health insurance” mess is function of market manipulation through price-fixing and other forms of cartel behavior that are supposed to be illegal in the United States.  But neither the left or right will take this on and the American Sheeple have been cowed into the corner and are unwilling to force a resolution through the political process.

The truth of the matter is that the entire medical establishment has become a cancer on the American economy and is consuming its host, resulting in an economic wasting disease that is emaciating everyone — and everything — in the American economy.

This cancer must be excised and destroyed or our economy will die.  Attempting to find ways to build more arteries to carry yet more blood and nourishment to it is an idiotic response to discovering cancer.  You don’t encourage the body to build circulatory resources to feed a cancer, you kill it, either by cutting it out and tossing it in the trash or bombarding it with high levels of energy and various poisons (e.g. radiation and chemo.)

That is the choice that was facing our nation two decades ago, a decade ago, in 2009 and now.  But as with cancer there is a window during which you can excise that growth or it’s too late and you die.

We are rapidly reaching that economic point.

The EPA Takes an Ax to Self-Sufficiency: Most Woodburning Stoves Will Soon Be Illegal

Off Grid Survival reports:

Shortly after the re-election of President Obama, the agency announced new radical environmental regulations that threaten to effect people who live off the grid. The EPA’s new environmental regulations reduce the amount of airborne fine-particle matter from 15 micrograms to 12 micrograms per cubic meter of air.

This means that most wood burning stoves would now fall into a class that would deemed unacceptable under these new draconian measures. The EPA has even launched a nifty new website called Burn Wise to try to sway public opinion.

On their site, while trying to convince people to get rid of their old stoves and buy the new EPA-certified stoves, they state that these older stove must be scrapped and cannot be resold.

From the EPA Site:

The local air pollution agency says I can’t sell my old wood stove to help pay for an EPA-certified wood stove. Why is that?

Replacing an older stove with a cleaner-burning stove will not improve air quality if the older stove is reused somewhere else. For this reason, wood stove change out programs usually require older stoves to be destroyed and recycled as scrap metal, or rendered inoperable. (source)

And here is the information right from the EPA:

Enclosed is the list of wood stoves certified by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA Certified Wood Stoveslist contains information about wood stoves or wood heating appliances that have been certified by the EPA along with its manufacturer name, model name, emission rate (g/hr), heat output (btu/hr), efficiency (actual measured and estimated), and type of appliance. It also indicates whether the appliance is still being manufactured. An EPA certified wood stove or wood heating appliance has been independently tested by an accredited laboratory to determine whether it meets the particulate emissions limit of 7.5* grams per hour for noncatalytic wood stoves and 4.1* grams per hour for catalytic wood stoves. All wood heating appliances that are offered for sale in the United States are subject to the New Source Performance Standard for New Residential Wood Heaters under the Clean Air Act and are required to meet these emission limits. An EPA certified wood stove can be identified by a temporary paper label attached to the front of the wood stove and a permanent metal label affixed to the back or side of the wood stove.

See the EPA’s list of acceptable woodstoves HERE.

One of the easiest ways for the government to force this issue is through homeowner’s insurance policies. If you have a mortgage, you have absolutely no option but to carry homeowner’s insurance. Even if you own you homestead outright, most people consider insuring their homes and property to be a vital safety net. When your policy comes up for annual renewal, the insurance company can require an inspection of your home. At that time, compliance can easily be forced by either charging insanely high rates or through the cancellation of the policies of those who have “outdated” woodstoves.

An Attack on Self-Sufficient Living

The ability to heat your home off-grid is a major part of most preparedness plans. Heating with wood is the number one way to do this. Much like our food supplies, the ability to keep ourselves warm and healthy and the ability to cook without being connected to the grid are vital to our freedom.

Those of us who live this lifestyle are constantly targeted. In many places it’s illegal to collect rainwater. Growing food in your front yard instead of flowers is all but outlawed. Sellers of raw milk have their farms raided by SWAT teams as though they’re running a meth lab instead of a dairy. We are being Codex Alimentarius-ed and Agenda 21-ed right into slavery and the government and it’s agencies try to make it appear that they are “saving” us.

We, the self-sufficient, by our very nature, are a threat to this insidiously spreading control. Our self-sufficiency means that we won’t be forced to be subjugated, tagged, chipped, and inventoried like our less prepared friends and neighbors. We won’t have to cave in order to survive. We can eat, stay warm, and stay off the radar. And this is a threat because we can withstand the assaults on our freedom. We don’t need the government’s benevolence to survive. Those of us who don’t need the government are the last hold-outs of liberty in a country that has strayed far from it’s freedom-loving origins.

– See more at: The Daily Sheeple

Detroit: A Canary in the Coalmine….

Karl Denninger is very good at laying things out in way that most can understand, even if they don’t truly understand economics. Mathematics and those nasty little things called  exponents  have a way of creating rather huge problems if not kept in check and we’re starting to see it across the board both as a nation and on a global scale. Ignore it if you choose but it doesn’t change the eventual outcome.

Detroit: Nice Try Lefties

Detroit’s labor unions managed to pull a so-called “Judge” (state) who essentially issued a ruling that the State Government had “dissed” The President in running into Federal Bankruptcy Court while she was intending to issue a ruling on one of a host of lawsuits brought by said unions.

The problem?  Judges are not supposed to care who one “disses” — they’re supposed to rule on facts.

But the left never bothers with facts, just as it doesn’t bother with arithmetic.  This works great (guns to the head are great motivators) right up until the checking account is empty and the overdraft line declined.

Then you have a problem — one that the left usually tries to solve by attempting to find someone else with an open credit line (such as the Federal Government.)

It didn’t work this time.

Nor should it have.  Federal Bankruptcy law is not a “convenience.”  It’s actually written in the Constitution as one of the explicitly delegated Federal Powers (Article 1, Section 8, if you failed your US Government class.)

Bankruptcy was left at the Federal level for the explicit purpose of preventing what the unions — and hacks sometimes found on State benches — tried to do here.

It puts the jurisdiction and determination as to whether someone is in fact bankrupt and what to do when they are in exactly one place.  It takes the essential function of determining what assets and liabilities are and vests it in one place, cutting off all the BS and games of running to this place or that in attempting to gain an advantage.

In reality the unions and their pension plans forced this filing by refusing to negotiate against the realities of their own actions and demands for that which was impossible to provide.  This is entirely understandable given that they would have had to admit they were complicit in order to fix the problem and that was unacceptable to them.  So instead they tried to sue to get what was “promised” but which they knew damn well couldn’t have been provided at the time it was negotiated!

I started writing on this pretty-much when I started writing the Ticker — my articles on unions, pensions and related matters date to 2008.  I’ve talked about with various people since long before that — the trend was obvious in the 1980s and by the time I was running MCSNet in the 1990s the outcome was not in doubt — only the timing was open to debate.

The essence of a ponzi scheme is that it always looks great when you begin, and in fact it looks ok right up until you stop adding people at a rate sufficient to pay those who are demanding their money back out.  These schemes go broke slowly, then all at once as the rush for the door occurs when recognition happens that there is no money.

The numbers being thrown around for losses across-the-board in these funds — 50%, 70%, 80% — belie the outright lies that have been told to people in all areas related to these pensions — and bondholders.  Nobody loses 50%, 60% or 80% overnight — it happens because the truth has been constructively or intentionally concealed for months, years or decades.

“General Obligation” debt is an opportunity for fraud in the municipal and state space.  Remember that most State Constitutions forbid deficit spending.  That is, the use of debt to fund general operations of the government is per-se unlawful.

So who’s going to jail for this serial abuse — both in not funding pensions at an actuarially-sound level (which would have exposed the problem and forced it to be cut off decades ago) and using general obligation funds to evade a Constitutional prohibition on deficit spending?

Nobody.

That’s the problem in a nutshell.

This crap infests governments all over the nation.  Whether it is “borrowing” funds from one department to fund another (and then accounting for it as a “loan” — that is, deficit spending later on) or floating GO bonds that are allegedly only supposed to fund durable improvements such as roads but then shuffling the money around so the funds effectively wind up funding daily operations the fact of the matter is that this sort of hinky accounting is part and parcel of State, County and Municipal finance.

When that’s not enough then these government organs turn to even-more exotic crap such as interest rate swaps that are open-ended instruments of financial destruction and thus are effectively deficit spending in disguise as well.

Yet not only does nobody go to jail for this crap nobody is removed from office for doing it either.  Amazing, really.  Or is it?

Well, not really.

It’s the same sort of thing that infests politicians when they try to force above-market wages.

That went down in Chicago but in Washington DC it’s “on” again.  Go ahead and do it politicians.  It’s much “easier” than addressing why the cost of living is rising faster than wages are.

That’s simple — politicians are increasing the denominator in circulating money and credit.  They are doing it with deficit spending.  This is the same thing economically as a tax increase but it’s temporarily hidden from the public, which is why it’s one of the favored ways to lie, cheat and steal.

Then when the cost of living rises but wages do not the lawmakers try for force wages upward.

But even if they do pass such a law they can’t force people to pay above the market value of a given hour of work.  If the value is “$X” and the cost of providing that good or service including the imputed tax costs which includes the monetary dilution is greater than “$X” that job disappears.

The only actual solution to this problem is stop doing that.

But that means that the government agencies and organs must admit what they’ve done.

It means they must stop doing it.

It means they must cut off the ability of banksters to do the same thing by inflating the supply of money and credit, skimming off the “first cut” and leaving the scraps to the rest of people — scraps that are insufficient to balance the increase in the circulating money and credit and thus the inevitable destruction of purchasing power.

It means removing those distortions and allowing prices to contract and the economy to re-balance so that supply and demand come into balance — even though in the short term this will be very disruptive.

And it means that those who have extracted “promises” based on that lie must face the beneficiaries of those promises and tell them the truth: You’re not going to get what you were promised, you can’t because there’s no money, and here we stand before you hoping your sentence upon us will not be too harsh (a decent burial would be nice, in other words.)

And finally, if this path is not taken then the inevitable outcome is the collapse of the entities involved, whether they be businesses, cities, states or even nations.