Saturday, 31 December 2016

If You Want to Believe the Putin Hype

My take on all this talk of Putin and his guys hacking into the election of 2016?

I draw it down to three things:

1.  If you believe this talk of Putin involved in 2016....why would I limit myself to just 2016?  Isn't it possible that he rigged 2012, 2008, 2004, and 2000?  And the mid-year elections?  Could he have gotten involved into that, and arranged for various governors to be elected over other candidates?  Maybe even getting down into city council elections of Atlanta or Tucson?

Once you open this idea that such a thing occurred....where exactly does it end?  Were Bush and Obama helped?  You just don't know.

2.  So, it's bad that Putin and his guys messed with this election, but acceptable that dead people voted....potentially thousands double-voted....and potentially thousands of illegal aliens voted?  Right?

There are hundreds of problems with the way that elections are run in the US and the whole system is rigged with fraud and corruption.  Yet no one got worried about Americans screwing Americans.....just when Putin might have screwed Americans, well, that's different.

3.  So I come to the last item of discussion....why is it limited to only American elections?  Was BREXIT rigged?  Was the 2013 German national election rigged?  Was the World Soccer games rigged?  Are elections rigged in Italy and France?  I could easily go and suggest at least forty different countries that might have a Russian hacker group in the middle and working to ensure the 'other' guy wins.

The one odd thing you tend to notice with the accusation by the CIA?  Well....they are the same club of marginal half-wits who said Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, and cited fifteen-odd statements which all proved to be false.  ALL were proven to be false.  Not one, or five, or eight.....all were proven to be FALSE.  It's the same agency who now says they think that Putin has a weapon of mass destruction....in vote-arranging.

Sorry, my belief and trust is zero with this crowd.

Sunday, 25 December 2016

The 28

I noticed this in the news this morning.....the Canadians are reporting that since the election, they've had twenty-eight Americans who've applied for asylum into Canada because of Trump.

Somewhere in the words, came the real shocker....none of the 28 were from Hollywood.  Yeah, that's a real shocker.

The curious part of this story is that the Canadians wanted to share that of the 170-odd people from the US who applied in 2015.....NONE of them had yet to have a successful claim on asylum. Reason?  Unknown.

My humble guess is that when paperwork showed....the Canadians put some guys onto each one, and came to various conclusions (drug convictions, arrests for crimes, mental instability, dire economic circumstances, etc).

So this leaves you wandering about the 28 from the "Trump-era".  Will any of them make it?

If there is some mental and physical exam....will their Trump-anxiety be a plus or negative on the application?  Will the Canadians worry about their fragile nature?  If the guy or gal eventually asks for anxiety treatment, because of Trump.....three years....five years....down the line, will the Canadians even have a treatment plan or capability for this?

A lot of Americans, my guess at well over 50-percent, think you can just go and apply for Canadian residency or citizenship, and have no problem in getting it.  If you look at their statistics....no, there is a doorway with various requirements that you have to show before you are allowed residency.  Canada just doesn't have an unlimited amount of free social welfare, or law enforcement to handle 'problem-kids'.  You need to be able to quickly assimilate, fit, and start working.  In essence, you need to be selling something or producing something....thus paying taxes.

These 28 folks?  It would be interesting to have them in some chat forum and answering basic questions how they got to this Canada idea.  I doubt if it'd make sense to most of us.

My advice for the 28.....maybe you ought to go and find a second alternate country.  Maybe Panama.  Maybe Honduras.  Maybe Ireland.  Or just accept the fact that Trump is just a four-year or eight-year guy, and some fine Democrat will come to replace him one day.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Trumpocalypse?

This week....a story came out to talk about "Trumpocalypse".

This is a made-up word about a public fear of the great unknown....that maybe civilization is going to come to an end.....like when Clinton left office and Bush arrived.  Well....sort of like that but maybe much worse.

The talk here is that when “Trumpocalypse” arrives....it's going to be a time of chaos.  So liberals in this state of mind....are apparently now stockpiling food, and emergency supplies.  The suggestion is that they are even buying guns.

Really?  My guess is that a few dozen liberal guys who really far out on their politics and lives.....might have gone to the extreme.....but the other 98-percent of Democrats are planning summer vacations.....talking over a new car.....and trying hard to get Junior enthusiastic about attending state college instead of running off to join the Navy.

The problem I see is that you might have two or three thousand crazy liberal guys who run off to Idaho, Montana or Alabama....in search of some rural area where they can survive when Trumpocalypse does occur.

I can imagine my brother standing there at the Feed and Grain store...when some new guy is wanting to chat about local conditions and asking for advice.  My brother, naturally friendly, would kindly ask where abouts the new guy came from, and feel a bit shocked that the guy was some urbanized individual who'd given up city living because of a fear of the impending Trumpocalypse.

My brother, naturally curious, would ask what the heck Trumpocalypse was about....thinking it was some winter storm activity or new gang from El Salvador.  About two minutes into the Trumpocalypse, my brother would simply nod, and look to see if he conclude his business quickly and get the heck out of the store.

Moments later, the wife of the liberal guy would come up....she's asking all kinds of questions and wanting to seek advice as well.  My brother, with good intentions, would assure them that the local area was safe, and a few things.

He might mention the issue with ticks, maybe suggest the best time to plant corn, spend a minute on snakes, perhaps bring up bar-b-q techniques, and then slightly suggest that this irrational fear of Trumpocalypse....well....it might be making them into Republicans.

The pair of liberals would gaze at him....as if he'd done something remarkable in his suggestion.

All of this survival stuff....the worries about the future....the move to a rural area.....all of this would be some trend toward becoming a Republican.

The liberal pair would shift around and look at each other.  They'd sold their house....cashed in their stock....and convinced themselves of this great and urgent thing that had to be accomplished.  And now?  They might be Republicans?  Then my brother would point around the Feed and Grain store, and just hint in a low voice....everyone there is probably a Republican.  Then he'd hint that they all felt that Trumpocalypse occurred twenty years ago, and they were all in the right place, at the right time, for what's going to happen now.

Then he'd smile and walk out.

Maybe it's just a fake story.  Maybe it's a hundred-odd idiots.  But you just sense that some folks aren't living in reality.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

A Trend Story

Back in the 1960s in West Germany.....the politicians woke up one day and realized that the birthrate was changing.....going to less than 2 kids per couple.  By the mid-1970s....various incentives were being thrown at Germans in hopes changing the direction.  All of these failed.  Today?  The birthrate in a combined Germany if bouncing between 1.4 and 1.5 kids per couple.  It's not enough to sustain the county.  So....no matter which study you look at....by 2035 (twenty years down the line)....the current 82-million German population will shrink to between 65 and 70 million (depending on which study you read).  That's a minimum of twelve million Germans who won't be there to finance the pension program, help industry produce BMWs, or grow crops.

I sat and looked at in-depth article by the LA Times.  The topic?  California has been noted in 2016....finally having shown a similar trend.....decreasing population via the birth rate.  Oh, they can show people moving there, and Latinos arriving from El Salvador, Honduras, and Mexico.  But in terms of births?  No....there's a statistic there to make you wonder.

Why the drop?  It's basically three reasons (at least the experts say this).

1.  These teen pregnancy efforts?  Finally paying off.....teens are getting birth control and it's effective in lessening this issue.

2.  Kids are going onto community college and university.....delaying relationships, marriage, and thus getting serious about kids at a later age.

3.  Young women opt for careers....over having kids.  Maybe they will have one single kid between 35 and 40.....to fulfill some goal.

What happens right now?  Nothing.  No one is saying its serious.  But you look at West Germany and this decade where they saw things happening and did nothing.  Eventually, they reached the stage of offering tax credits or incentives, and by then.....it didn't matter.

My humble guess is that around 2025....a major study will state the obvious....California has reached maximum population.  By 2030, the downward trend in population will be noted.  Some time after 2035, it'll turn into a problem where certain towns in California can only retain their population if immigrants arrive and stay.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Saddam: Empty Suit?

The NY Post had an interesting story this week.....new book coming out by a former CIA guy.....basically says Saddam Hussein had no idea about what was going on.

Yep....basically a George Bush-like character.

Saddam has been dead for ten years now.  I know....it doesn't seem like it's been that long.

This was the guy who spent a number of hours with Saddam and in the end....after a lengthy discussion, the CIA is convinced that Saddam was just another guy who seemed to fit into the role of a national leader but was more or less a empty-suit.

I often refer to this term "empty-suit" as a guy who has virtually no real skills and seems to just be lucky to make one or two good judgement calls to get himself into a great position, and then reverts back to marginal decisions for the rest of his life.

So you have to wonder....did the CIA guy tell the CIA this?  My guess is that he wrote literally dozens of reports to outline what he gained from Saddam, and the CIA sat there in shock because nothing that they'd reported in public agreed with this interview situation. So, they just kept their mouth shut.

In a world of 1,000 big-wig guys who seem to run all the various mechanisms.....how many are empty-suits?  A hundred?  Five-hundred?  You really don't know.

Out of 100 senators....could forty of them be empty-suits with no idea of what's going on?

Out of 40-odd big-name journalists for CNN, Time, the NY Times, WaPo.....could half of them be empty suits?

Out of 300-odd generals employed by the US goverment....could half of them be empty suits?

So, an empty-suit guy ordered the invasion of Kuwait....tripped up on US relations....ended up with two major wars with the US? Yeah.  Just something to sit and think about.


Saturday, 17 December 2016

The Matter of Friends

There's a piece in the NY Post about a new trend with Facebook and social media.

You see....the level of frustration with the election has reached a point, where people don't just unfriend Trump-supporters....they also unfriend who aren't hyped up as anti-Trumpers.  In effect, you are marginally interested in politics or just do mostly funny clips....your best friend from college, or your 2nd neighbor over from the house....might unfriend you because you just weren't focused on hating Trump.

I sat and paused over this.

In Alabama, for years, there's been this uneasy situation where Auburn and University of Alabama football supporters hated each other.  There was just enough tolerance that you could go to a family gathering or a church social....greet....shake hands....maybe share a short beer.  But the minute that football came up, there was this dividing line.  You might share several years of 'peace' and then one day....with some 42-to-14 win by Auburn over Alabama....you'd find that there's more than a bit of hostility brewing.

Some people with fragile feelings would need to find a safe space or a kind soul to hear their woeful telling of being unfriended, and how it's not fair.

You start to ponder over this.  What exactly have we wandered into with this social media "friend" business?

Maybe you work at some technology business and your boss wants you to help Wang Lu....from a Chinese company.  So Wang comes over for three weeks, and you help with a project.  You and Wang go for a couple of beers....talk Americana....discuss American trailer-park women....and then Wang wants to be a 'friend' off Facebook.  Two weeks pass after Wang leaves and he introduces you (via an email) to some Chinese gal named Biyu. She wants to 'friend' you too.  And within a month, you have a dozen Chinese folks who you've never met....as friends.  You can only connect them via Wang.  Are they really friends?  No.

Maybe you left home at eighteen and over thirty years haven't been back to see much of anyone.  One day, someone from class that you barely knew....hits you via Facebook and wants to friend you.  Within a month, a dozen other former school associates have you on Facebook.  To be honest, you haven't seen a single one since 1980, so you ask yourself....are they really friends?  No.

Maybe you went off on a two-week camping trip to the Grand Canyon back in 2008 and met five folks from Houston....all associated with some weird mega-church operation and awful conservative in nature.  It was a wonderful two week period that you will remember for the rest of your life.  The five folks....nice enough....you ate supper with them every night...talked over Fleetwood Mac tunes...discussed the failures of Bush....and noted great western movies.  Oh, and they prayed for you almost nightly, even though you asked to not to....citing that McCain needed more of a blessing. So you wake up six years later and the five found you on Facebook and want to be friend you.  Are they really friends?  No.

We come to this awful dilemma in life.  You can't have 488 friends via Facebook.  You can't have even forty friends.  At best, around you....you might have 20 folks who you could pick up the phone and say you got some major problem, and those 20 folks would come to help you out.  These aren't the types to unfriend you because Hillary lost, or you didn't pretend to be anti-Trump enough, or that Auburn did slaughter Alabama by 28-to-7. These are actual real friends.

So settle back, and think over the silly nature of Facebook.  It's a fad...nothing more.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Russian Meddling

For a number of days, you get a dose of "Russian meddling".  CNN, NPR, New York Times, etc.

After a while, you start to ask more intriguing questions.

If the Russians were all involved in this 2016 election.....who says they weren't meddling in 2012's national election?

Could the Russians have been involved in the 2000 election with Bush and Gore?

Could the Russians have been involved in the 2008 economic meltdown?

Could the Russians have been meddling in the script writing of the final season of "Lost".....making it a crappy ending?

Could the Russians be involved in the last ten NCAA football bowl determinations....ensuring Alabama always ended up in the final three picks?

Could the Russians have arranged the Kardashian marriage with Kanye West?

Could the Russians have arranged the downfall of the New York Times....making it a worthless newspaper?

Could the Russians have arranged for Chancellor Merkel to be moved up to the inner circles of the CDU back in the 1990s, and to have helped her become Chancellor?

Could the Russians have arranged the brief Falklands War between Argentina and Britain?

Could the Russians arranged for initial fake enthusiasm over Lady Gaga.....to help her achieve success with marginally decent songs?

Could the Russians have arranged for Hillary to get idea for the email server?

Could the Russians have been behind the whole Black Lives Matter episode?

Could the Russians be behind the spiraling numbers of viewers watching NFL football?

Could the Russians have arranged the massive amount of incompetence at the IRS?

The problem is....once you start this fake agenda topic....where exactly does it end?

Monday, 12 December 2016

Our Addiction to Fakes

About five years into my Air Force career, I came to realize that the yearly evaluation was mostly just a piece of fake accomplishments tied together....to satisfy some Air Force regulation that you had to show something on paper.

Over the next five years....I came to note about one or two fake things ever month.  I didn't let it bother me, but I'd sit there in amazement.

By age forty, I'd come across some fake moment every single day....sometimes it'd be in the national news....sometimes it'd be some episode on base.....sometimes it'd be some guy I worked with who woke up and grasped he was in some fake relationship.

Today?  I'll sit and read through forty different news sites per day and spot all kinds of fake stuff reported.

CNN does fake news.

NPR does fake news.

The Washington Post and NY Times do fake news.

Fake stuff gets reported in Germany, France and Italy on a hour by hour basis.

In some ways, I think society has adapted itself....via the internet, and it's part of our way of life.  You can't survive without this fake element.  You need fake reality....to survive.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

The Tweet Story

At some point about a month ago....I sat and watched some forum about a day after the election, and this odd thing got brought up on Hillary Clinton and the use of the social media devices.  It's been on my mind for the past month.

For a comment to appear on Hillary's Tweet area....it was brought up that it was a committee of fifteen individuals within the campaign who would sit.....analyze the suggested Tweet....and vote on whether the Tweet would be allowed.   At some point, about two minutes later in the conversation, they then shifted to Trump.  A Tweet by Trump required basically Trump and Bannon to agree on it.  That's it.  They didn't say how long this discussion would be.....but I'm guessing less than two minutes.

You can imagine the Hillary meeting....occurring once a day when all fifteen people can be in a room and they discuss the 140-character length of the comment that Hillary's handlers want to say.  There might be six different variations put up on this one topic.  So these guys would sit there and discuss option one, option two, option three, etc.  You could waste an entire hour on just two simple Tweets.

Trump?  He probably had two variations of the Tweet suggested by his PR guys, and he had his favorite in his mind.  Bannon might say or suggest something, and that would lead to the conclusion.

The thing about this.....the more people you involve in a process....the more angles that develop and the more divisions that start to exist.  You simply are begging for a team that is arguing more than uniting.

The "Safe" Empire

This week, it kinda came out that some University of Michigan students are requesting a "safe-space".

I've kinda got used to the term but I will admit....I think it's awful foolish and just a hint of some kid who wasn't ready to leave home.

The odd part to this story?  Well....they want this "safe-space" at the University of Michigan because they voted for Trump.  You see....there are some other students on campus who voted for Clinton, and they've said some very hurtful comments (or so various pieces from the campus suggest).

After you've sat there for a while and reviewed this....you come to one conclusion.  There's probably already a "safe-space" created on the campus of the University of Michigan, but you can't send this group into that particular "safe-space".  You would have to create another "safe-space".

All of this, if you follow the trend....means that within a decade....the campus at the Univsersity of Michigan....loaded with 43,000 students (part-time and full-time)....would have to have at least three hundred "safe-spaces".

There would be "safe-spaces" for jazz freaks, far-leftists, Communists, pro-Trump folks, Bible-carriers, Catholics, pro-Hitler, anti-Hitler, and gays.

It would create a massive business-like structure where hundreds of support personnel would be hired to help run each "safe-space" and provide comfort to the poor kid.....who really ought to be back home in Soos Junction, Cooks, or Reed City.

Eventually, I think even members of the football team....would be asking for some "safe-space" to handle their stress and panic attacks.  Even professors might reach a point of asking for a "safe-space" for them....perhaps one that would allow an occasional joint, stein of beer, or brief moment with a couple of sips of Jacky D's.

Then as these people go off into the world....they will go to the boss or CEO, and ask for "safe-space" at the company.  This might be the moment of reality.....where the boss says you might want to look for such a place....elsewhere.

Then you might need some rehab at a "safe-space"-anonymous facility.  Four weeks of rehab....some confrontations....a flask of whiskey on occasion....a fist-fight....some reality put back into your life, and then some recovery phase.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

The Uninformed - Misinformed Statement

“If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you do read it, you’re misinformed."

--  Denzel Washington

It was a blunt simple statement by Denzel Washington which I came to appreciate in some ways.  He is correct.  You could just avoid newspapers, and be blind or in the dark about the world.  Or you could read the newspapers, and eventually realize that you were strung along or dragged through this big half-true-half-false epic story.

It's reality in 2016.  You can't be sure about much, and lots of people want to assure you that they know the whole story.....when they only know about half of it.  Yet, you can't be sure.

I used to like Paul Harvey News and Commentary.  Somewhere around 1978, I started to listen to it daily.  By the late 1980s....I came to realize that some of Paul's good intentions and story-telling....did lack some complete story.  It was rare.....but it was something that you just came to realize that even he couldn't be a hundred-percent right.

The Washington Post "Woe" Moment

It was one of those stories that I should have skipped.

The Washington Post ran this piece that one of it's readers sent in.  It was more or less.....a confession.

This gal....divorced....had this crazy idea for part of the summer, and into the fall....of getting back into dating.  She has two kids, and a dog.

For weeks, she talked about this and she was almost (by the way she wrote the piece) at this great moment in her life....resuming a relationship.

Well....then a few weeks ago....Trump won the election.  Yeah, a shocker.

In her mind now....life is a question mark.  Things aren't certain. With a question mark.....you can't be sure....so why date?

In her piece, this moment in history was written and it was supposed to be a woman President.  Naturally, she didn't note her political affiliation, but I kinda guess that it had to be a Democratic woman President, and not a Republican woman President.

The thing about this personal piece written and taking up space in the WaPo.....it's fairly weak and marginal stuff.  No news value.....just human interest.  Some woman.....on a downward spiral....won't be dating as long as Trump is President.  End of the story.

Probably 500,000 people will read the piece.  Half of them will go and talk with others.....telling how they feel the same way, or that their life is in limbo now.  The other half will ask if these people maybe need some rehab or month-long trip to Idaho to clear their thoughts.  Some people will suggest going out and hauling three-hundred bales of hay on a hot July afternoon, or filling sandbags by some flood-prone river.

I sat for a while and pondered over this WaPo public interest story.  To be honest, everyone should go and confess something like this and send it into Wapo.

My confession?

In 1993, Crystal Pepsi ended.  I admit....this was a fairly decent soda.  Over the brief year that they produced it.....it kinda replaced my regular Pepsi and Mountain Dew.  Then, a year passed, and it was gone.  Pepsi decided it couldn't break out or become a winner.

Me?  I lost my drive to excel, and my dreams of becoming a Yankee Third Baseman went away as well.  I was disenchanted....disheartened....thrown ten different ways to Hades....crushing me badly, and so it goes.  It just never was the same after that.

Well....that's what I say.  I do admit....I drifted back to Mountain Dew and regular Pepsi (at least to 2010).

We all ought to settle back and go to WaPo and make some confessions.  The day that Gore lost still bothers some folks.  The day that Gunsmoke ended bothers others.  The day that Larry Bird retired from basketball bothers others.  The day that the TV series Lost ended with such a lousy one-star script affects some people.  The day that Elvis died is a conflicting moment for some folks.  Even the day that that the Japanese hit Pearl Harbor brings tears to some folks.

So if you need to get this out....just send the twenty-line piece to WaPo and let them know of your feelings.  Maybe....eventually....they can hustle up two or three pages a day with people telling their story of woe or such.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Recounts of Little Value

I sat this morning reading over all this recount news.  When this first got brought up as an idea....to force three states to do a recount....I had this thought of a Pandora's Box, and how it was probably something you really didn't want to occur.

So this morning....out of the Detroit Free Press....they noted this new problem. In the Rochester Hills area (Prec 11)....they can't do the recount.

Reason?  Well....the poll book says that 848 voters did vote in the precinct.  No one argues about that part of the facts.  But when they opened up the ballot box....there's only 847 ballots there.  It's missing one.

State law has a funny notation on recounts in a precinct where the poll book and ballot box doesn't equal.  You can't count the votes. Whatever was listed on the day after the election is the end of the discussion.  A recount is not possible.

This precinct?  It'd typically vote more Democrat than Republican.  Some say....a lot more.

Because of the way that recounts have to work.....they are now removing the 848 votes from the precinct.  They won't be a part of this forced recount.  So if there were 548 votes for Hillary and 300 votes for Trump.....well....they don't exist now.

Here's the thing....which the Detroit Free Press points out.....roughly one-third of the precincts in the Detroit region (392) report this number discrepancy.  Total number of votes in this 'free-fall'?  740,000 people voted in the Detroit area....almost two to one on votes for Hillary versus Trump.  Yet because of the recount.....if they decide to honor the recount numbers and the law.....instead of 517,000 votes for Hillary....this could go way down to like 150,000.....with Trump's 228,000 likely shrinking to 75,000.

Instead of helping the Hillary campaign, it simply lessens the numbers or votes.

Why this screw-up with the names on the polling sheets and the discrepancy of ballots?  No one seems to be able to explain this.  If this were just five or six precincts.....it might be easily explained.  Some folks are suggesting 300-plus precincts with issues.  Mass incompetence?  Or just some silly game being played out by party over another?  You just don't know.

So, when they come and lessen the vote because of the recount.....you might anticipate news journalists finally asking stupid questions....like how 300-plus precincts could screw up like this.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Fake News: CNN

At some point this past week, CNN did up a story on the new incoming chief prosecutor of the US.....Jeff Sessions.  He's an Alabama senator (if you didn't know).

So, they laid out the basic summary....and led with the fact that Sessions is from Heflin, Alabama.

Well....no.

To be honest, he was not born in Heflin.....nor has he ever lived in Heflin.  It's a town of 3,480 folks, and they don't know any Jeff Sessions having come from their town.

Jeff?  He grow up in the Selma region....roughly 140 miles away.  For a number of years as a kid, he lived in Hybart (just south of Selma), which is 190 miles away from Heflin.  And today....he resides mostly in Mobile when he is in the state.....279 miles away from Heflin.

CNN?  Based on folks talking this up....they've said nothing.  Did they even research the guy?  I doubt it.  Some kid probably pulled up Wiki and then asked some other journalists, then they whipped up this piece on Jeff Sessions.

Part of the problem these days with the news media is that you have people who do a half-ass job.  Twenty years ago....they wouldn't have been caught or noticed.  Today?  Folks look at a story and ask questions.

As for Jeff?  I'm guessing he is amused by this Heflin connection, and is waiting for some CNN interview to occur, and he'll have some enriching comment to make about Heflin but admit he's never been there.