Sunday, 25 August 2019

The Problem With a Democratic Candidate Dealing with the Recession

So you write up this scenario.  Trump enters 2020, with a recession.  You need an angle to counter him and to gain your respect for dealing with the recession.  The program?

Cash for clunker program? 

Gutting the budget by ten-percent and promising to cut taxes (while swearing that you are a Democrat)?

Give some tax advantages to US companies?

Telling people you can force the Fed to act?

Swearing to folks that no Green program will occur and inflict massive cost upon Americans?

Convincing the general public that you can get stock prices back up, with your policies?

Which Democrat from 15-odd characters has that capability to convince you?  Warren?  Sanders? 

Yeah, it's a bit crazy to imagine this scenario, and some Democrat from the group who has this ability to act like a Republican for four years. 

The Snack Story

When I bought my Lufthansa tickets (Frankfurt to Dubrovnik) noted that you'd get a 'snack' going and coming.

Generally, this might mean a sandwich or decent item....with a Coke. 

So the Stewardess came along and handed out these....a crispy candy bar, and a Coke. 

That was it.

For rating 'snacks'....on a scale of one to ten....this was probably a '2'.  But that's the thing about airlines today, they've come to realize that folks aren't happy anyway, so why spend any real money on a stupid snack.  I doubt if Lufthansa spent more than 35 cents for the 'snack'.

But this also tells the story of why so many people go and buy things to take along on apples, Pop-Tarts, Milk Duds, etc. 

Friday, 23 August 2019

Fake Pirate Ship

One of the more interesting things while visiting Dubrovnik....was the fake pirate ship down on the dock.

So you go up and look over it....from the water level to 3-foot above's just a regular boat, and the rest of just handy carpenter-like skills at work.

Functional?  Well....the sails are just for looks and there's an outboard motor on the rear to take you out to 'sea'. 

The folks charge you around 30 to 40 bucks to take you out for 90 minutes and give you a feel for old-world charm.  It's all pretty fake and you can laugh over the situation after you come back.  Folks do stuff like this....just to have some good story to tell later after they come back to work. 

Effort to Save the Earth

"It's enough to eat a little less. You talk about environmental pollution. It's enough to poop every other day.  That will be better for the whole world."

-- Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, Friday speech

It's a bit on the comical side, but Bolsonaro is like a Brazilian Trump.  He is correct....if you modified your diet and ate only 1800 calories of food....staying away from beef and pork, then your bowel movements would shift over and you'd only do a 'number two' every other day, and then save-the-Earth.

Giving up the waffles, the bacon, the t-bones, the cut intake....lessen poop, and save the world?

Yeah, it's not going to happen.  But he's got a point here, when people spend a lot of time being hyped-up over climate change, and just refuse to eat less and poop less.

Cross-Blade Encounter

The only place where you will find the Smart in hot climate places, like Dubrovnik.  The hotel I stayed at....had one for daily rental.

It was made for one single year (2002), and only comes in the 599 cc range (71 hp).

It's rare that you come across these now. 

Smart didn't really know how to sell the car, or to market it.  No, there is no top to it, and that might be 50-percent of the problem why it never caught on.  No windshield?  That is correct.  No doors?  Yep.  Top speed?  Around 130 kph (80 mph).  No trunk?  Correct, that space in the back is for the engine.  For beaches or sand?'s a rear wheel drive situation.

Maybe if this had been manufactured in Brazil, and sold for 7k would have been an interesting car to keep in the garage and use on weekends.  The chief problem I saw in 2002 when it came out....they were talking 15,000 dollars (European-made and added cost on labor). 

Thursday, 22 August 2019

The Insignificance of Google and the 2020 Election

Based on commentary, there is a good bit of speculation that Google's intellectual leadership crowd intends to play into the election and help defeat Trump.

I've sat and pondered over this a good bit in the last month, and come to this one really won't matter much.


First, between social media and the news media....they've both reached a point where trust and respect by the average American is that of a used car salesman.  Whatever the nightly 'talker' says on the network news piece from ABC or CBS....really doesn't matter.  Even if Google sensationalizes the piece....who really believes Google? 

Second, after all that chatter of Russian collusion....there's this general belief by the public that it's all one big fake soap opera....which leads back to either Brennan (the former CIA chief) or Hillary's campaign staff.  An attempt by Google traffic or creations to create a new Russian collusion?  No one would believe it.

Third, there's this strong possibility that Google will be thrust into a utility status, and that the various mechanisms of the organization will have to go in front of either a federal utility group or fifty state utility commissions.  It'd basically create a bigger mess for Google to handle.

So all this effort and chatter?  Worthless?  Yes.  That's the amusing part of the story.  Instead of working on their product and profits.....they've wasted all this on a political agenda. 

The 'Used Car Salesman' Chatter

I was watching a YouTube piece today and someone got around to talking over previous presidents, and they came to President Obama.  Their identifier for him?  He seemed to them (in 2008's election period) be like a used car salesman.

I sat there for a while and thought about the comment, and the 2008 period.  That was the weirdest election period that I've seen in fifty-odd years.

I identified Obama more as a insurance salesman, than a used car salesman (maybe because I've rarely dealt with used car salesmen.  It always seemed like you got a whole bunch of talk, which led to more talk and promises, and whatever was the end-product.....just never seemed to amount to much. 

But then you gaze at the competition for the primary....wife of some former President who was a Senator with no real accomplishments over eight years. 

Then you gaze over a the Republican side.  You had some former naval officer who bluffed his way through into politics.  There was the 'Mitt'.....who never seemed to be doing anything other than speeches.  You had the 'Huck' who was more suited to be a radio talk show host, than President.  And then you had Ron Paul.....who was a 180-degree flip-over from Bernie Sanders. 

But back to the identifier of a used car salesman.  It's a negative term.  People hate dealing with this crowd, and the older you are.....the worse it gets.  There are certain professions like this now.  Televangelist....for example....represent another identifier that folks can't stand.  School principals are getting up to the point of being continually disliked.  TV news journalists or 'anchors' are another group who are reaching the point of being joked about continually.  CEOs for technology companies are getting a reputation similar to used car dealers. 

The amusing thing is that identifiers are becoming common now, and we all seem to relate to it. 

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

A New Matrix Movie?

So I read with mild interest today that some folks are working up a script for a new Matrix movie today. 

It's been twenty years since the first movie, and around sixteen years since the last one was released.

To be kinda honest, I've attempted to watch all three.....maybe on three separate occasions each, and simply haven't gotten into the movie, or the dialog. 

I worked with a computer engineer who could get worked up over the movies, and describe in detail this sequence, or this reference, or that character.  He had various ways to explain the meaning of Matrix.  For me, nothing worked.

So, will I watch the new Matrix?  I doubt it.  If I haven't gotten around to understanding number one, two or'd just be a waste of time on number four.  And I have to wonder.....will they go and make a number five and six.

Monday, 19 August 2019

The Trip to Hell

I like to travel, and on this trip to Dubrovnik.....I had a full day with nothing scheduled.  So I signed up for a tour (the wife had other things scheduled).  The trip was over to Bosnia, and spoke of a waterfalls stop, and an afternoon in Mostar (known mostly for a stone bridge and war site in the 1990s).

So the bus pulls up at 7:30 AM.....a mini-mini Opel bus, which I would refer to as a 'Dwarf-mobile'.  It had 15 guest-seats, which were big enough for dwarf, or in my brothers farmer-terminology....big enough to haul 8 head of cattle.  It's not a bus that you'd want to ride for 12 hours.

I'm in the next-to-last row, and the last folks to climb on....a couple with some 3-year old brat who seemed to either cry or scream for the entire trip.

We take off and about 40 minutes into the trip....we stop at this cafe for a bathroom break.  The tourist guide (a lady) says 25 minutes is it.  Be on the bus, in 25 minutes.  So 14 of us are there at the time, and we are missing one guy.  We wait five minutes.....then the guide fumes.....going on to search for the guy.  He's got some kind of sandwich cooking up, and it's at the 17-minute point (being late) that he climbs on the bus.  So at this point, we are behind schedule.

Now we haul off to this waterfall area.  There's not much to it, but she's allotted 40 minutes.  I stand around at the parking lot, sipping off a coffee.  At the 40-minute point.....11 of us are there....four are missing.  The guide fumes again.  She hauls off to search for them.  It takes 25 minutes to find and bring them over.  At this point, we are near 42 minutes behind schedule.

She announces now (even though we are behind schedule.....she's adding this apparition site to the tour.  Getting there, takes 45 extra minutes.  To me, this was an unwise move. 

We arrive and she says.....30 minutes is the stop.  I'm not into Catholic stuff or I find a bench and settle back for a 25 minute rest.

It's time to enter the bus.  13 of us are older Irish couple (in their 60s) are missing.  Tour-guide waits ONE minute....slams the door, and off we go.  Yes, leaving the old couple there.  I just shook my head.....this was a five-star bad decision to make. 

So we then cross over some serious mountains, and eventually enter about 45 minutes later....the valley of Mostar.  What you can generally describe here.....evidence of bullets fired into concrete walls....everywhere. 

Now in the midst of the city, the tour-guide wants us to know about crime there, and there's this 3-minute lecture of stuff you need to watch out for. 

We stop in the middle of town, and the guide says.....well....we are a bit behind and instead of a whole afternoon....we have 140 minutes.   Yes, that's it.  I'm a bit worried about being left I kinda limit my walking and end up at the bus about 20 minutes before the deadline.

So we get on the bus, and here's the shocker....the tour-guide's boss called her. gotta go back and pick up the Irish couple.  That's 45 minutes to back-track, and it's about 25 extra minutes on the drive home. 

I started to add up the time.....upon picking up the Irish couple....we are 140 minutes behind schedule.  So instead of being back in Dubrovnik at 5:30 to 6:00's about 8:30 PM.  Naturally, my wife has gotten worried and thinking we might have run off the cliff or wrecked. 

Here's the thing.....that kid behind me?  All that final two hours....screaming and nutcase, in my judgement. 

The odds of me ever signing up for another bus journey?  ZERO.  Either I drive in a car, or ride a train over to the site.   But I will never ride on a bus tour ever again. 

Sunday, 18 August 2019

Explaining Greta Thunberg to an American

Prior to the fall of 2018, no one had really ever heard of Greta.  Then, the 15-year old Swedish teenager came out with this 'strike' idea in Swedish schools over climate change, global warming, and global warming.  Using social media, she advanced the idea of Friday at getting up and striking, for the remainder of the day (Swedish schools typically run to 1:30 PM.  Signs were made up....slogans devised.....with Swedish schools acting in a paralyzed state.  Yes, adults basically couldn't establish authority.

So it spread.

By January, via social arrived in Germany and various European countries.  Same deal.....leave classes at noon and strike.

The Germans loved this sort of thing, and journalists flocked to it.  School authorities?  Powerless.

So Greta sailed out this week of Europe and is heading to the east coast of the US.....mostly because flying would have used more carbon (she actually said this.....but engineers have proven that the sailboat will use more carbon for her, than flying in a regular plane.

She believes that her presence will flip US students over to her message......striking on Fridays.

The fact that she has Aspergers? one in the German journalist group will mention this, but yes.....she has Aspergers.

A problem?  Well....if you were an innovation or technology company, it might be positive to have a boss or leader like that.  In a religion or political group?  No.  You don't want a one-sided person running a political group.  As for someone trying to run some kid's group on climate change?  No, it's probably not going to be some super-positive idea.

But here's the curious thing.....when you approach some American kids and suggest a strike at noon on Fridays.....most school boards will step in and send a letter to the parents that either the kid attends or a officer will come to the house and take actions.  Failing a kid in various classes if he were to miss dozen Friday afternoons?  Some schools would take this action and send a signal.

The other possible action is that some kids....especially university students.....will begin to question Greta on her facts, and challenge her.  I have my doubts that she'll be in the US for more than ten days, and quietly be sailed back to Sweden.

So I'm reminded of the child crusades of 1212.  There are two legendary figures (Nicholas of Germany, and Stephen of Cloyes, France) who led Greta-like antics in 1212.  Neither are exactly proven as fact, or non-fact.

In the case of Stephen (the French kid).....he claimed that he had a letter written and signed by Jesus, and addressed to the King (Phillip II).  For some reason, the King just didn't believe the Jesus letter was authentic.   Stephen kinda claimed that he was going to lead a crowd to Holy Land and be crusaders....saving Europe, the King, France, and Christianity.  At some point, he had 30,000 idiots lined up and following him south through France.  By winter, the group thinned out, and the whole crusade business and Stephen.....just disappeared.

In the case of Nicholas, it ran the same way.....but without the letter from Jesus.  This child group was going off to fight the crusades and thousands of kids flocked to the group.  By winter, their whole mission had dissolved up.

It's argued over the two kids, and if either is true, or maybe just one single story in itself.  But the more you look at it.....if true, both kids were likely Aspergers or with paranoid schizophrenia.   

So prepare for the Greta show, and the news folks to hype it up.

A Stop at Medjugorje

While on this week-long trip to Croatia, I spent part of one morning at Medjugorje, Bosnia.  It wasn't on the tour, and the tour-guide added it at the suggestion of one of the folks on the bus. 

So, here's the jest of Medjugorje.  It's a town of maybe two-thousand residents.  It would mostly known for nothing except back in the summer of 1981....six teenagers came to view this apparition (a ghostly-like 'thing')....which they felt was Mary of 'Mary and Joseph' fame.  They ran down the hill, and reported this......a number of the townsfolk came up and felt they saw the apparition as well.  But to be honest, a significant number didn't really see anything.

A legend starts up.  The Catholic Church gets involved, and there's tons of money poured into a church, and outdoor ceremony set-up (room for 5,000 folks to sit).

Today, it's figured that around a million people (from across Europe) come and pray for sick relatives, or drag bad-off friends over to the site.

Down the main drag of town, there's probably twenty-five gift shops set up, with Jesus shirts, Moses statues, crosses, and various memorabilia.  I would take a guess that the shops in town rake in at least quarter-million dollars a week in 'gifts'.

So back to the apparition.  The odds that at least one (maybe several of the six) have a bit of paranoid schizophrenia?  I would suggest that at least one is a 99-percent chance.  If you have a convincing level of it.....then you can probably talk the rest into believing some fantasy with minimum ease. 

But here's the interesting thing.  This one act, has led onto the Catholic Church being involved....pumping money into ceremony area, and having various Bishops supporting the whole story.  The town today?  It makes tons of money off the apparition and the story of the teenagers.

Why is it always Mary or Jesus that is seen, for apparitions?  As you look around at the theme in Europe (mostly Italy, France, and Bosnia), you never have a Elisha figure to appear, or Noah, or Jeremiah, or Balaam.  On some rare occasions.....someone will say they had an apparition of the angel Gabriel, but that's rare.  The angel Raguel?  Yeah.....he's a big zero on the apparition scale.

So I kinda looked at this stop (a mere 30 minutes) and I just shook my head.  It's a tourist magnet, and a bit amusing.  But it's part of the problem in getting onto tour bus operations, and having to stop where they desire. 

This Greenland Purchase 'Thing'

So, when you stand back to look at the idea of Trump thinking about buying Greenland, there's two basic things falling into play.

First, Trump often tests the junior people around him....challenging them with projects which lead nowhere.  I think this was a research project like that.  He probably sent five guys off with this idea, and four of them mostly laughed and did nothing....with one guy coming back and laying out the cost and benefits.  That 'winner' will move on....the others will just stay as junior-players.

Second, Trump might have this idea of offering 150-billion which the Chinese would wake up and decide to offer $300-billion.  Trump would then return to the table and offer $450 billion, and the Chinese would finally go and offer 900-billion dollars (to close the deal).

Denmark would have said 'no', period.

But here's the thing.....50,000 folks live on Greenland, and at 900-billion dollars.....I think they would have stood up and told Denmark.....the 'HELL' with you, we will sell it ourselves, and split the loot among the 50,000 residents, and each take a million or walk away. 

Minerals?  Well, here's the jest of can only get to them.....if climate change continues and Greenland melts off the majority of the ice.  If it doesn't occur, the offer is worthless. 

So I think the offer was mostly a joke, or an enticement to get China to throw money at something. 

Now, the odds that Greece or some economically suffering country might approach Trump and offer to sell something in the range of $150-billion?  It wouldn't surprise me if Kim approached Trump and offered up North Korea.....for $300-billion in cash.  That would be a shocker. 

The Xanax/Cocaine Shooter

So around two weeks ago, this Dayton shooting occurred.  One of the odd things is that cops reported now....that the dead shooter had cocaine and Xanax on him.  So he was actively taking both.  What happens when you mix the two?

Well, this gets interesting. 

Normally, if you use a good bit of got through a extreme happiness period, with hyped-up energy, increased alertness, and could possibly display paranoia. 

Normally, if you use a good bit of Xanax?  Drowsiness (to the level that you might be sleep-walking and not realize it), irritability feelings, depression, and sleepiness. 

The odds that a guy would be in some hyped-up dream-state, with paranoia going on.....disillusions perhaps?  This guy shoot folks, while in some dream stage? 

This guy not have even realized the stage that he was in or that this was rationally planned out?  You might go and suggest this.  Did he even know the consequences of mixing the two drugs?  I doubt it.  How did he get the prescription drug Xanax?  That hasn't been told yet, and they might go and avoid that discussion entirely. 

But this opens up a whole discussion....other past mass shootings....what's the odds that Xanax figured into two or three of those episodes over the past twenty years? 

Observations Over Dubrovnik

I spent the last week in Dubrovnik, Croatia, and will write a couple of essays over various things, but this is the travel and advice essay.  My 10 thoughts:

1.  Maybe it was cheap in Dubrovnik back in the 1980s or maybe the five years after the war.....but there's nothing really 'cheap' over the 'walled-city' today.  Part of this is related to the cruise-ships docking there (they actually limited it to around four per day now) and the Game of Thrones folks. 

2.  Russians.  There's simply a lot of Russians that mingle in the crowds.  I would take a guess on any summer day, there has to be at least 2,000 Russians in the town.

3.  Over-tourism problem?  Well....yeah.  Once you enter the boundary of the old's a mess from 9 AM to around 10 PM at night.  Maybe it's less in October.....but it's madness in June, July and August. 

4.  Crime and homelessness?  Mostly non-existent.  One could actively see the cops on patrol.  In the tourist season, there are tons of jobs.....of which I'd guess the unemployment rate in the region is less than 2-percent. 

5.  Just about every Croat I encountered in town....spoke English.  I would suggest that they are exceptionally friendly, and helpful.

6.  The heat?  A typical summer day will run in the 90 to 95 degree level.  With humidity added in, you will sweat through two to three t-shirts per-day.  Oddly, if you travel inland 50 miles, it's not that hot. 

7.  Slut-level.  I stayed at one of the top five hotels in Dubrovnik (5-star status).  Morning breakfast would come each day, and in a normal hotel....there's attire rules.  Well, at this place....with 350 rooms.....there was no attire rule for breakfast.  So you had an awful lot of skin on display at 9 AM.  I wouldn't mind if this were mostly all 18-to-30 year old women.  But when you got some 50-year old gal displaying 92-percent of her body, and there's forty extra pounds somewhere in the's a bit much for morning breakfast.   Oddly enough, this is a hotel that is frequented by Muslim guys from Iran, Kuwait, etc......with their traditional wives. 

8.  Game of Thrones.  It's safe to say that most Americans who tour Dubrovnik.....are there to see scenes from the show.  So you will be sitting at a cafe, and four young ladies are across from you and in deep conversation about such-and-such character, and this scene from this square.  It's pretty weird that people are consumed this much by a tv series.

9.  Hilly.  Well, virtually every single inch of Dubrovnik is built on hills and you find yourself climbing up and down.  So just walking one single block, you might encounter 100 stone steps up, and then walk another hundred down. 

10.  The max you should spend in Dubrovnik?  You can see the 'old-city' in eight hours flat.  The tours in the local area are mostly worthless.  And if you were there for sun and beach could do it far cheaper 50 miles northwest of Dubrovnik.  Locals will even tell you that better beaches exist, and cheaper rates can readily be found in NW Croatia. 

Friday, 16 August 2019

My Theory on Epstein

To make the 'murder' idea work, you would need at least three prison managers or guards lined up to each one small act, to lead to some 4th person to murder the guy. Each would require a pay-off....a year after the event and trust people to deliver.

That's an awful lot of trusting. And how much to do small act?  I would speculate $10 million....each.

So I  doubt this story.

Why suicide?  Even if he'd worked a deal, he'd still pull five years, I don't believe he could handle it.  His whole involved total and absolute  freedom, and jail was destroying him.

The end? No, his assistant seems to know things. I think she will hand over the whole story, then leave for quiet Greek isle.

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

My Idea of a 'Red-Flag' Program

With all this chatter on gun control, red-flags, and fixing 'things'.....this is my concept of a true 'red-flag' program:

1.  One single national database, which three groups of people could input information: (a) Judges, (b) the police or law enforcement, and (c) medical doctors.

2.  You get arrested or detained for meth, you automatically go on the 'Red Flag' for 30 days.  You get rescued by hospital folks for heroin, you go on the 'Red Flag' deal for 30 days.   You get a prescription for Oxycontin for 30 days, you get the 'Red Flag' deal for the same time period.  You get behavioral drugs for bi-polar or paranoid do the 'Red Flag' deal until you are taken off the drugs (if it means the rest of your life, then so be it).  You do mental facility rehab, you do a minimum of 90 days after release on the 'Red Flag' program, and only come off the 'Red Flag' if the doctor certifies you as 'safe'.

3.  ONLY county sheriffs can confiscate guns, and they must hold the weapon in a secure facility for a minimum of the 'Red Flag' period.  Any loss of a weapon while under their protection....means the Sheriff and his budget are the ones to suffer.  NO national database of weapons will be required.  The Sheriff and his deputies will provide a receipt to the guy, with the type of gun, and markings.  At the conclusion of the holding period, they will hand the weapon back to the guy, unless a judge says otherwise.  If the weapon can never be returned, then it'll be sold and the income provided to the owner.

4.  Any illegal alien who is detained by ICE or any US law enforcement agency (state or federal), goes onto the 'Red Flag' program.  They will only be removed from the 'Flag' if they leave the US.  Anyone who votes in multiple elections or does fraudulent voting, goes onto the 'Red Flag' program. A judge will determine the amount of time to be on the program in their case.  Why placing them on the Red Flag?  The chances simply exist that via some stupid driver's license or clerk mistake....that they'd end up with a gun purchase.  And as an illegal.....they don't have that right. 

5.  Anyone who threatens anyone....including at schools or universities, or even at work or church....with actual physical threats.....automatically go on the 'Red Flag' program for up to one year.  Anyone who goes to jail for threats, only comes off the 'Red Flag' one year after their release.

6.  During your 'Red Flag' status, you don't control guns or have them in your possession.  You can't buy or sell weapons while on the 'Red Flag'.  You can't hunt, or do target practice.

7. If you demonstrate any act with the weapon to threaten innocent go on the 'Red Flag' for up to one year.

8.  'Red Flags' will have nothing to do with licenses.

9.  Threatening someone with a machete, switchblade, etc?  You go on the 'Red Flag' program for a max of one year.

10.  'Red Flag' will come to mean that you obviously aren't safe or capable of protecting yourself, your family or your neighbors.  It doesn't obviously mean a just means you did some stupid crap, and can't handle reality or weapons. 

The problem with this Red Flag idea?  There would probably be over twenty-five million Americans who'd eventually fall on Red Flags.  And that's why it'd never be pursued. 

Friday, 9 August 2019

A Discussion Over the Spanish Civil War

Through twelve years of high school....I doubt if the Spanish Civil War came up more than twice, and it was mostly about you knowing the dates to this.  In college, there might have been a ten-minute piece where some professor discussed the matter.....but it was marginally explained.  So this essay is to lay out the landscape over what happened, and why it might matter today.

Spain is one of those countries that really shook the world and mattered.....up until the end of the Anglo-Spanish War (1585-1604).  It's safe to say from 1604 on....they weren't on the same playing field as France, Prussia, Russia, or the UK.

From the 1860s on.....urban movements/socialistic movements.....were part of the Spanish landscape.  You basically had a conservative movement aligned with the monarchy, and a liberal leftist group opposing them.  Up until the 1930s.....this relationship marginally worked.

The Depression of 1929?  In some ways, it accelerated the decline of the relationship.  Farm-land re-distribution and a mandate for a 8-hour day were some of the deals made to bring the bulk of voters to accept things continuing along this path.

By 1936, you had two groups trying to exist.  The first group would be identified as anarchists and socialists/communists.  The second group (often called the Nationalists) were a group 'umbrella' with the Falangists (a distant 'cousin' of the Nazis), monarchists (still supporting the royal-system), the Carlists (a fringe group who wanted 1800's style leadership), conservatives and Catholics.  This second group was led by General Franco.

This civil war was a fairly nasty event....lasting 2 years and 8 months.  Total killed?  Just in military deaths.....285,000 is considered the legit number today.  In civilian deaths?  This is often argued, and the number goes from 150,000 to 180,000.  At that point in time, Spain's population was 26-million.

What happened after Franco and his party won in the spring of 1939?  A fair number of the socialists left Spain, for France.  The number is often disputed (it might be 100, might be 500,000). 

It is curious that you look over the various reforms that were attempted in the 1920s and 1930s.....the active newspapers and their positions.....and the decline of public agreement to any subject by 1936.  It compare a great deal to 2019 in the United States.  Did the various groups manipulate and use the public with various agendas?  No doubt.  Both groups built a propaganda device and brought people into their political system. 

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Sensory Overload?

This past week, I sat and watched about 20 minutes of video-clips over the Democratic Socialist Convention held recently.  In the midst of this....some guy got around to letting folks know that he was 'prone to sensory overload'. 

I sat and stopped the clip and thought about what he was attempting to say, or maybe what he meant to say.  It's bothered me a good bit over the week, and I come back to that topic for this essay.

There a fair number of folks who think they are exceptionally bright, but when a 1962 repair manual is given to them for some broken farm implement....this super intellectual  guy falls apart. In simple terms, handling the knowledge and using common sense strategies wasn't something  brought up in college.

So are we producing intellectual PhD idiots with value?  Yes.

Go take a 1968 gumball machine and ask this sensory overload character to examine it for an hour and explain how it works.  He'd have a problem.

But here's the positive....this guy will at least admit overload.

Should this guy even be attending a convention like this?  Well, that has bothered me as well. Normally, hookers and booze matter more at political conventions. That would have taken your mind off stupid political talks.

Another Example of a Mass Shooting

Around 20 June 1994, on Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington-state....a mass shooting took place, involving Dean Mellberg (age 20). 

Dean had shown at the base clinic, armed with a MK-90 (basically a AK-47).....around 3 pm in the afternoon.  When the smoke had cleared, he'd killed five individuals, and wounded 22 others.

Dean's basic story?  This is rather interesting.  Around age 18, he'd enlisted in the Air Force and gone to basic training.  Dean had trouble with virtually everyone that he came in contact with, and at some point.....they sent Dean for a mental eval, and the doctor wrote in strong language that Dean needed to be removed from the service.  In simple words, a personality disorder existed. 

Maybe if they'd held the guy for a week or two.....they might even have reached the point where he'd be noted as paranoid schizophrenic or bi-polar.  But no....the paperwork got shuffled around, and they kept Dean in basic training.  He would actually graduate and be sent off to aircraft mechanic's school.

When he graduated from mechanic's school....he was sent to Fairchild AFB, Washington.  There....he moved into the barracks.  Now the second episode comes up....the room-mate sends a note to the commander and strongly suggests that Dean is not sane. The commander actually does send Dean over to the clinic for a mandatory eval.   Remember, this isn't the first's really the second.

So here in clinic....two doctors exam Dean and come to this remarkable conclusion.....Dean is not just a little bit crazy.....he is dangerous-crazy.  They write the recommendation to get Dean out.  But here's the funny thing.....somehow, the hospital is convinced to send Dean for another eval (down to Texas, to the main Air Force hospital).  They host Dean there for roughly sixteen weeks (yes, an incredible four months of time), and they reach this conclusion....Dean is unfit for service and mentally unstable.  In simple terms....he's a threat to just about anyone who knows him.

Whathen it's apparent that Dean will be thrown out....his parents get involved.  So they use their Congressman to push the Air Force along with this diagnosis that they'd had for a number of years....that Dean was suffering from some minor form of autism.  So a Air Force board met, and the three folks decided that autism was good enough for them, and dumped the recommendations from Fairchild, and the Texas hospital.

But rather than part with Dean there at the Texas Air Force hospital....they make the decision to send Dean back onto duty (just not at Fairchild) he's ordered to Mountain Home AFB, Idaho.  But here is this twist to the story.....they've heard about Dean, and conversed with folks who know the background on the guy.  They refuse to accept him.  Yes, this is the part of the story.....they weren't going to allow him on Mountain Home.

So Dean gets Canon AFB, NM.  Dean arrives there and lasts around five weeks.  Then....shockingly enough, the new commander asks for another mental eval (number four).

This time, the eval sticks, and Dean is removed from duty....with just a plain discharge.  What happens over the next month?  Dean travels around the west, and even gets up into Alaska.  Then he decides to come back to Fairchild....for revenge. 

Dean would die that afternoon....shot by a Senior Airman on duty. 

A nutcase from day one?  Just based on the comments at basic training....he wasn't sane enough to be in the general public.  As far as I can one has gone back to his years in high school or talked with people who knew him in that period.  That might reveal more of the story.

What the Air Force did after this?  They changed forms for psychological review, and you had to check certain boxes.....which would indicate treatment only, or dismissal only.  That was it. 

Dean being unbalanced?  I would go and suggest after reading two differing accounts of the story....that Dean was prone to violent encounters, and probably lived in some type of imaginary world. 

Here's the thing though.....four different groups of doctors came to the same position....Dean wasn't safe or balanced. 

When Social Media Becomes a Public Utility

I'm one of those people who think eventually (probably before the November 2020 election) that all social media 'giants' will be put into a public utility situation, with oversight by Trump-appointed audit people.

It'll be argued by the Democrats and fought, but I think most Americans has reached the point of a utility operation.

So here's the curious you know of any utility that runs freely or untaxed?  There are none.  So somewhere in the midst of this transformation, either by government directive (to pay for the oversight) or by the media companies themselves....there's going to be some fee situation. 

The odds that a Facebook account or Twitter account will cost you $4.99 per month?  You might be lucky in the beginning, and this only amounts to a yearly cost of $15.   Even government taxation might amount to $1 a month from each user.  And if the federal guys could get that.....state folks ought to be able to drag 25-cents into their revenue pot as well. 

But this brings up this curious idea....would a cost situation start to eliminate or limit users?  What's the point where you say....'enough' and quit?  $4.99 a month, $7.99 a month, or $9.99 a month? 

Would you have juvenile ratings where kids under the age of sixteen can't see or hear anything unless it's stamped approved-for-juveniles?  That's very possible. 

Regulation that would eventually kill the industry?  I could see over the next ten years....tons of regulation occurring, with fines being dumped on Facebook and Twitter....and eventually making the monthly fee upwards to $30. 

So settle back and wait for this landscape to really morph overnight. 

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Two Examples of Mass Shootings

So today, I've picked two examples of mass  shootings, and lay out the basic landscape over each:

1.  The Webster Shooting (24 December 2012)....yeah, the day prior to Christmas.

In this case, firemen got a call around 5:30 AM to a house fire in West Webster, NY (way up in the north part of the state).  As they pull up and get out, there's gunfire on them (the firemen).  Two of the firemen end up dead.

Cop now arrive and take on the single gunman.....Bill Spengler, age 62.  Bill is armed with a shotgun, a pistol (38) and a Bushmaster semiautomatic.   When everything is done, the cops have killed Bill.  Total wounded: 3.  Total dead: Bill, and three others.  It should be worth noting....the fourth person.....that was his older sister that he'd killed (several hours prior to the fire). 

The fire?  It was planned the firemen and cops arrived....he simply was going to kill more.  He even wrote the letter and detailed his plan. 

So here's this story on Bill.  Back around 1980, Bill killed his 92-year old Grandmother, with a hammer.  No one talks much over what got him hyped up and able to kill her, but the best that the DA could do....was 17 years in prison.  Was Bill already a nutcase in 1980?  Probably, but rather than mess around with that was simpler to send to a state prison for seventeen years.

To fix this (at least by NY standards), they made up this new law that invoked 'first responder' provisions.  So if you attacked any first responder at a fire or situation, that got you life in prison, and zero chance for parole.  It didn't really fix much of anything when dealing with unhinged people or nutcases, but at least the politicians could say that they did their best.

Should they have dealt the guy just 17 years for the grandma killing?  Probably not....but no one seems to think over that issue.

2.  The Wedgewood Baptist Church shooting (Texas, 15 Sep 1999)  occurred on a Wednesday with lessen prayer services going on.

Larry Gene Ashbrook walked into the church with a pipe-bomb, and two pistols (AMT Backup and a 9mm).  When his encounter was done, he'd killed seven folks and himself....injuring seven others.

Roughly a decade prior to this (around age 37), his mother died and for some reason....that set Larry off into a decade mode-swings.  Some were nice....some were violent.

In the year prior to the church-shooting, people who knew Larry....spoke of disillusions.....saying at one point that the CIA was out to get him.  At some point, he suggested that he'd been assaulted by co-workers and the cops had tried to kill him.  In his home later, after the death.....folks noted that holes had been made in the wall.....concrete dumped into the toilets, and something had been laid out to poison trees and plants in the yard.

Odds of paranoid schizophrenia?  I'd say 100-percent chance.  In the year prior to the church shooting....if the system had worked correctly, cops should have picked up the guy, had him evaluated, and put into a secure mental facility.  But things simply don't work that way.

The odds that the death of his mother affected some chemical balance in his brain?  Maybe.  That's odd part about Larry's history....there's just nothing up to around age forty to say Larry was crazy.  After the mother's death.....year by year, Larry was sinking into some mental abyss.

Did anything change much after this church killing?  No.  Some churches might have armed up a guy or two at the entry of the church, but politicians didn't see anything much to resolve Larry's accomplishment.

Oh, and this group attending the church on that Wednesday?  This is the odd was mostly teens and folks in their twenties.....a youth prayer meeting for that evening.  Four of the dead were 14 to 17 years old.

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Milkshakes, Straws, Environmentalists, and McDonalds

This is one of those essays that leads you along a pretty rough path.

So, if you haven't noticed both in the US and in Europe....plastic straws are fairly negative now (like plastic bags).  McDonalds wanted to get ahead of this situation and have some positive stories to tell. They were going to dump plastic straws entirely. 

Leading out of McDonalds-UK, straws were all going to paper.  They'd gone and done some bare essentials research, and then bought a number of pallets of paper straws to start this new program.

Then, this odd development occurred....they discovered that paperstraws simply don't work well with milkshakes.  Maybe it's the thickness of the paper, or the absorption level of the straw....but it simply doesn't work. 

Added to this misery, the people who do recycling for McDonalds-UK.....looked at the waste product left, and made the decision that these recyclable straws are NOT recyclable.  So they go into the regular waste....not the recyclable waste.

What happens now?  No one says much.  Maybe they could go to bamboo straws, or maybe just dump straws entirely.....handling you a plastic spoon for the milkshake. 

The amusing side of this is that the environmentalists getting into the middle of this whole business....just made it a bigger mess than it was already. 

Monday, 5 August 2019

Devaluing Chinese Currency

Because of the Trump tariff business....we've gone to the next level....a revalue session of Chinese currency. 

So if you were a regular Chinese business man looking at ought to send you a strong signal that the next six to twelve months are going to be rough.  Another revalue session to come?  Oh, I'd be willing to bet on a second episode before December. 

All this will do inside of China.....will be to convince folks to convert their cash to gold or some other currency (besides the dollar or Chinese currency).  Gold is currently at $1,452.  Unless something happens....I would speculate on $1,700 as a minimum by December. 

My Observations over Dayton and El Paso

Ten thoughts:

1.  The word 'Incel' comes up a good bit....meaning 'involuntary celibates', a sub-culture of male 'boys' who are mostly gamers, and unable to date or assemble a life of normalcy.  This has been going on for more than twenty years, and helps to explain why the majority of the shooters are white, losers, and lacking any care of society or people.

2.  Weapons of war.  It's a nifty term, but trying to use it for the AR-15 won't work.  There's not a single military structure in the world that uses the AR-15.  The M-16?  Yes, but the AR-15 is simply a different gun, and not a weapon of war.

3.  People who write manifestos.  In general....anyone who writes a manifesto, is aiming to bring society to a civil war or revolution....through a violent means, and death is involved.  Charles Manson was that type of nut....Adolph Hitler was that type of nut.  The Christchurch shooter, was that type of nut.

4.  Attempting to take all guns?  I just don't see cops being enthusiastic about storming homes and trying to take weapons that people refuse to turn in.

5.  Raising the age to purchase a weapon to 21?  Well, if that kid is that immature....why are you letting him vote, get a credit card, borrow tens of thousands to get into college loan debt, etc?  It seems like if the age is the big deal....lets go and really screw with the immature kids and take their vote away as you take the gun right away.

6.  Treating juveniles in high school who make threats or suggest some 'hit-list' to be treated like adults?  Parents might want to prevent this, but once you took some kid who made a death-threat into a jail situation for a year or would eventually get the attention of kids, and clean up a growing threat.

7.  Ever noticed that the number of black mass shooters are mostly guys who got fired, and returned to work to extract some revenge?  Ever noticed that women shooters are non-existent?

8.  After each of these events, there's a up-turn on folks wanting a conceal-and-carry permit, and folks carrying more weapons?  I would take a guess right now in the state of Alabama....five out of ten vehicles leaving for work this morning....have some guy or gal armed.

9.  Video-gaming dehumanizing kids?  Yes....but what are you willing to do about it?  Would you forbid sales, or criminalize any store that offers the games....even to adults?  I doubt it.

10.  Will-power to change the Constitution?  As much as Democrats blabber about 'change'.....I seriously doubt that you can find more than four of ten Democrats who want the Constitution changed on guns.  I would also suggest that in cities like Detroit and Atlanta....seventy-five percent of Democrat-voting homes will have a minimum of a pistol in the residence.

Sunday, 4 August 2019

The Hand-Bag 'Guys'

Over the past five years, I've come to be fascinated by stone carvings which display a guy, with a 'hand-bag'. 

People could point this out from carvings in Egypt and Iraq.  But as time went by, the carving showed up in the Americas, Asia, and even cliff drawings in Australia.  The bag scene even shows up in Turkey at the new site of Gobekli Tepe (oddly enough, just the bags....not the guy holding the bag).

So I've come to ask myself some questions.

First, why so many points around the Earth?  Maybe you could make up some excuse if this were just a 1,000-mile circle from Iraq....but to find this virtually every corner of the Earth? 

Could it be some guy who was just a traveler and made up some fake legend story, and convinced folks of important people existing with handbags?  I've contemplated this....mostly because it's so easy to convince folks of a hoax (like Bigfoot).  Oddly enough, no matter where you find the image in's always the size of a lunch-box. 

Stone characters being women with the hand-bag?  No.  So far, I've yet to find an image where it's a woman.  It's either men, or animal-creature men. 

What's in the bag?  The images never convey that part of the story.  It must be important to identify the guy carrying the bag, but the contents are not that important.

All made around the same time?  This is harder to say or prove.  In the case of Gobekli Tepe, it has to be less than 12,000 years ago. 

Did the stone-carver actually see these folks, or simply get a description handed down....maybe five to ten generations later?  So when folks talk about the bag....maybe it was originally a backpack, and the story got shifted around to identify it as a purse instead?  Well, that's possible. 

Are the bags ever seen just by themselves, and not carried by some VIP-dude?  Well, the only images I've seen so far is the Gobekli Tepe site where multiple bags are put onto a statue indicating great chaos, or on some Australian rock (drawn by an Aborigine). 

Are the bags even significant?  This is debatable.  Obviously, the stone-cutters thought they were.  But you never see an image where 'Joe' is removing something from the bag. 

If the size is realistic....what would the VIP-due carry in a lunch-box size bag?  A Snickers-bar, bag of peanuts, a Mountain Dew, and a deck of cards?  Maybe it was just some aspirin, band-aides, and bug-repellent?  Maybe his communications device, a laser-gun, and a bottle of gin?

So I come to the end of this essay.  It is rather odd that 500-odd stone-carving experts, across the globe, without the ability to send images....came to chip out these carvings....all with the hand-bag guys.  Accidental?  No.  That's the one element to this story that you can cross couldn't have 500-odd guys performing the same accidental visual representation. 

It'll just remain a mystery until someone digs up the statue or image of the hand-bag guy pulling something out of the bag. 

Friday, 2 August 2019

Explaining This Missile Treaty Chatter

Back in November of 1987, the US and Russia signed a missile treaty.  Basically....short-range missiles were OK, and long-range missiles were bad. 

New missile programs came and went.  So in the past couple of years, the Russians came onto this new program (SSC-8)....a cruise missile, which they said only went about 480 kilometers (300 miles).  The US monitored one says how but they did.  In their mind, the cruise missile is capable of carrying nukes and going up to 2000 kilometers (1,200 miles). 

After a number of months of talking about this....President Trump finally said that the 1987 treaty is dissolved (will take six months for this to occur).

Naturally, this has hyped up the Europeans a lot (especially the Germans).  Russia?  They've warned the US about bringing in medium-range cruise missiles to off-set this.  So they are chatting about bringing in missiles to Cuba or Venezuela to play this game out.

Trump's game-plan?  Unknown.  But this might be an occasion where he tells the NATO folks (in particular the Germans) that he has zero intention of bringing in more missiles to Europe, and that if they have a serious worry.....maybe they should take care of it themselves.

You see, the chief method of Russia making Oligarchs wealthy and by oil and natural gas sales to Europe.  I don't think any Russian Oligarch or billionaire has any desire to mess up this situation. 

So this is all fake 'worry'?  More or less.  They will spend hours and hours trying to do public TV displays about Trump screwing up.  Well....he's actually telling Germany and the's your business to protect yourself, and we won't necessarily be paying for it or helping you. 

As for the SSC-8?  Somewhere in the next year or two, I expect the Russians to conduct some test and demonstrate to the Europeans that it can go 2000 to 3000 kilometers.  NATO will try to entice Trump to come into the picture, and he'll tell them that it's their situation to resolve. 

Thursday, 1 August 2019

5th District Chatter

“Democrats aren't the only members of congress who represent districts of distress. Mo Brooks who represents Alabama five, right, they have a median household income which is less than Maryland seven where Elijah Cummings represents, they have a median home value that is less, fewer people with bachelor degrees and the poverty level is a little bit less than Maryland 7 but about in the ballpark. my question to you is this, so Mo Brooks spends a lot of his time defending the president, why should he do that by your logic and not go home and deal with the issues in your district?"

-- CNN's John Berman

My brother pointed out this comment by CNN's journalist.....trying to slam a district in Alabama.  So the district (5th district), is basically where I grew up as a kid.

I just started laughing.

First, he picked on bachelor degrees, which if he'd come to northern Alabama....he would have found out that a fair number of kids are in community college or trade schools, and don't see any value in getting into serious debt with a worthless bachelor degree.

Crime?  Crime in northern Alabama just doesn't compare to Baltimore.  Murder and assault just doesn't occur at the same rate like in Baltimore.

If I actually went to locals in Baltimore and offered up a way for them to move.....given the chances, I think more than half would agree that northern Alabama is a heck of a lot safer than Baltimore.

But lets go to the odd figures.  If you went into the 5th district and started to look at individual households.....a lot of those households have either an RV, or bass-boat.....more so than Baltimore's surroundings.  Cars able to pass a state inspection on a moment's notice?  I would take a guess that more than 95-percent of the 5th district cars could easily pass the inspection.....with Baltimore's collection of cars questionable.

Lets go to this one odd final factor.  If you gathered up 1,000 residents of the 5th district in Alabama and can move, and leave.  There might be a hundred willing to talk about this idea (most wanting to move to Alaska or Wyoming).  But in the end, less than 25 would take the step of leaving the 5th district.  In Baltimore, with a 1,000 residents offered the chance to move?  I suspect that a minimum of 800 would discuss the matter, and maybe 600 of them agreeing to move (virtually anywhere but Baltimore).

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

'Dark Psychic Forces'

It was a great phrase expressed by Marianne Williamson at the debate last night.

It's an image in my mind from the X-Files series....'dark psychic forces'.  Something with demons, monsters, vampires, etc. 

She's trying to label Trump as a 'demon'.  I'm guessing Trump is sitting there and contemplating this.....because it's a curve that he can't come easily back on Twitter.  He might even admit that he is absolutely a demon. 

Putin standing there and grinning?  Oh yes.  He'll even go and tell Williamson in a personal way....that he's darkest psychic force on planet Earth. 

Do we need a President like this?  Well, it's just something to think about. 

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Foreign Change in the US

So here's something to think about.

Back in 2017, Guatemala was thought to have around 16.9 million residents total. 

Back in 2010, the US Census detected around 1.04-million Guatemalans living either legally or illegally in the US. 

The odds that we've reached two-million Guatemalans in the US, and that Guatemala's own population has bumped downward (say losing a million over the past three years)?   Well, it's very possible.

But here's the other thing which you ought to think about.  If nothing changes in Guatemala over the next five years....we will probably have 3.5-million Guatemalans in the US. 

Where do they live?  Mostly in urbanized zones (NY City, Philly, San Francisco, central Texas, northern Virginia).  The odds that they could get onto voting lists, and be part of some 'change'?  Well, here'e the wouldn't take much for some GOP guy to find some hyped-up talker....a Guatemalan lead focus groups in all of these areas, and shift votes from the Democrats to the Republicans. 

Just to suggest that you could find 150,000 votes in Houston alone....that you could convert over....would send a clear message on political change occurring. 

Monday, 29 July 2019

Rats, Rats, Rats

As a kid growing up in rural Alabama in the 1960s and 1970s....I have to admit....I just never saw a rat.  Never.  Mice?  Sure, but not rats. 

In fact, it wasn't until the mid 1980s....that I got to Panama, and really started to see rats (big ones). 

So this Baltimore thing on rats that President Trump hyped on....kinda interests me. 

Generally, when you get to an area where there's rats....there five key elements at work.  First, you have open trash or food to feed a growing rat population.  Second, you need homeless folks in significant numbers, which are tied into the open off/trash situation.  Third, you need heroin addicts or drugged-up idiots who simply don't care about sanitation. need a city council and sanitation department which has zero interest in controlling the rats. Fifth and final, you need decent weather (unlike harsh Montana winters). 

The best way to handle an entire neighborhood of rats?  You put out a massive amount of rat-poison, and you dispose of the dead rats as quickly as possible.  On top of that, you dispose of the buildings that are unused or taken over by addicts.   

Why Baltimore can't take actions?  That's a question that only a local guy there can answer. 

Sunday, 28 July 2019

The Trump Impeachment Scenario

I've spent a fair amount reading this week over the Johnson Impeachment of 1868, and it may lay out of some the problems, and the path that might occur if Impeachment for Trump were attempted.

For those who weren't aware....Johnson was left an enormous task as Lincoln was buried.  The Lincoln 'path' meant that forgiving was in order.  The behavior of the Republican House and Senate?  Less so....they wanted the President to punish the southern states as much as possible.

At some point, Johnson went on a national tour (using the rail network) to make speeches and ask the public to blast their representative/senators. That probably put Johnson on an enormous 'enemies' list.

Upon firing Secretary of War Stanton.....that was the last straw.  So Johnson was brought up on 11 charges for the Impeachment.

The charges:

1.  The Senate was not given a chance to concur with the firing of Stanton (a new act came prior to this which suggested that they had to approve of not only hiring Secretaries for the cabinet, but firing them as well).

2.  By firing Stanton, the President turned around and appointed a new Secretary of War when the vacancy simply didn't exist.  I know, it's a stupid charge but simply added to the burden.

3.  Act of conspiring.  Mostly with members of the House, and harming the jobs of the Senators.

4.  Another act of conspiracy.  Mostly by failing to carry out the law on the Tenure of Office Act.

5.  Another act of conspiracy.  Mostly to take or posses the property of the Department of War.

6.  Another act of conspiracy  Mostly the same thing as number 5 above except it was meant to violate the Tenure of Office act.

7.  Giving the new Secretary of War the ability to control disbursement of government funding for the war.

8.  Giving illegal orders to Major General Emory with the illegal intent to violate federal law.

9.  Giving three speeches 'insulting' the Congress (mostly the Senate and mostly Republicans).

10.  Acting in a disgraceful way to the Presidency.

11.  Hiring the new Secretary of War without consulting the Senate.

So when you look over the list, it looks like a lot.

So on day one with the Impeachment accepted....the Johnson team asked for 40 days to present their case....the Senate (by vote) said 'no', and gave him a total of 10 days to present the case.  They didn't really want to spend a heck of a lot of time talking about this or how the firing came about with Stanton.

Impeachment at that point required a two-thirds majority to vote on this and the magic number was 36 votes.  The Impeachment acts were divided into three votes.  As long as they reached 36 on any of the three, then Johnson was thrown out.

Well, this is the curious thing.  From the nine Democratic Senators in the Senate...they all voted NO, to all three acts.  For the Republicans, they were only able to muster 35 of the Senators to vote in favor of the Impeachment.  Nine Republicans voted with the Democrats (on all three acts).  Without that one single extra GOP vote....the measures were defeated.

The nine Republican Senators and their future?  All left office after their term ended.

As much as the 35 Republicans felt they'd have the votes to toss Johnson out.....they guessed wrong.

So you gaze at the way this might fit into the Trump scenario.  You'd have to write up charges.  There would have to be some details involved, with accusations and evidence.

The Senate might say 'fine' with the charges, and then Trump's legal team would ask for not just 40 days (like Johnson's team), but Trump's team might say that well over four months are required.  You can imagine the Senate in a lock-down situation....nothing to be accomplished for four entire months.  No trips to golf trips campaign trips.

Trump's team bringing out subpoenas in massive quantity?  I would imagine well over 150 subpoenas will be issued and some folks will be shocked at being dragged into this.  The potential that former President Obama being dragged in and forced to swear on what he said or did?  That threat exists.   The potential threat that one or two US Senators might be accused of being part of some counter-conspiracy effort.....forcing them to remove themselves from the Impeachment vote?  That might occur as well.

The threat of individuals have charges drawn up because of a false testimony?  That issue exists as well.

And at the end?  If the two-thirds vote doesn't occur?  It's more than likely.

Destruction of trust for the Democratic Party?  If this pee dossier is proven to be totally fictional, and paid by Democratic operatives, it opens up a big mess which Mitch McConnell would just stand there in a 8-year old kid in Disneyland.

Anyone saying or suggesting that this would only take ten days...hasn't read the Johnson history piece or tried to connect the dots on this whole entire anti-Trump effort.

Could the news media even survive four entire months of this process?

So, it's a curious thing to imagine.

Saturday, 27 July 2019

How 2016 'Russian Meddling' May Work in the 2020 Election

You have two separate concepts.  One group suggests that the Russians heavily meddled in the 2016 election....causing Trump to win (or Hillary to lose, depending on your state of mind).  The other group suggests that whatever did occur, was really outflanked by meddling by the GOP and Democrats themselves.

Trump (and the Democratic House) may decide by spring of 2020 (eight months prior to the election) that SOMETHING has to be resolved or fixed, and this might turn into a cluster-F**K (a term we often used in the Air Force when marginal problems got resolutions that made bigger problems instead of fixing the original situation).

Trump could go and push for a national database to ensure voter conflicts are resolved, which would be bitterly fought by twenty-odd states. 

The Congress folks (led by Pelosi) could go and suggest a national commission to monitor the situation (meaning nothing would basically occur).

Some big push might occur to ensure an ID is required to vote, while the Democratic-held House would fight against it. 

Some folks from both groups might go and suggest a massive grip by the government on social media, which would harm both political parties. 

I would suggest to sit back and be entertained by the 'fakeness' of the meddling and how people laugh over the Russian story. 

Heat Wave Chatter

I noticed this today....some guy (probably a PhD'er)....came out and suggested that we needed to name 'heat waves' like we name hurricanes or storm fronts.  Course, he wanted to start the naming process at 28 degrees C (82 degrees F). 

I kinda like the idea although I'd start it at 35 degrees C (95 degrees F).  And I'd go one step further.....I'd only use Greek names (Aesop, Andrei, etc). 

Here's the thing....talking about the weather used to be normal and one of the ten ways that you could connect with the gas station 'chief' or the coffee shop waitress.  Ever since climate change entered into the discussion.....if you bring up weather, then it's some science discussion or catastrophic worry. If these events had names, then you'd talk about the big Apollo-2022 heat wave compared against the Arsen-2020 heat wave.  It'd be more personable in discussion then. 

Thursday, 25 July 2019

My Observations Over the Mueller Episode

Altogether, I probably watched about two hours of clips over the Mueller meeting yesterday.  No, I didn't watch his opening statement segment....but I caught enough of Republicans and Democrats asking questions to reach four observations:

1.  Maybe a decade ago, Mueller was a witty and clever guy, but the guy I saw yesterday was drained of energy, lacking any ability to drill down into the topic, and was a guy at the end of his career.

In some ways, I felt sorry for him.  But as you look around....there are a number of folks who have stayed beyond their value in Washington and can't deliver any longer (Pelosi, former Senator from Mississippi.....Thad Cochran, Senator Feinstein from California, Senator Grassley from Kansas, etc).

2.  The value of this 'show' yesterday for the Democrats?  Maybe they had some view that they had 'gold' still left to mine, but I'd say if anything....this impeachment chatter is basically finished and any hope of using Mueller's work is a joke.

3.  If they did go to impeachment....the President's lawyers have the right to bring various witnesses in, and they might drag Mueller back for a second round, or perhaps drag in dementia experts to talk over Mueller's health aspects.  If you thought this round yesterday went marginally well, that impeachment project would be a total failure.

4.  This brings me back to the beginning....did Sessions know that Mueller was losing it?  Did one guy marginally capable of delivering anything....just select another guy marginally capable of delivering anything?

I'm kinda hoping this is the end now for this whole impeachment talk.  If it continues on....people would start to treat it as a comedy, and it's value goes away.

Wednesday, 24 July 2019


All total in my life, I would estimate that I've picked up 2,200-plus books and read them.  At some point as a kid, I was probably reading one book week.  Split between fiction and non-fiction?  It's probably 10-percent fiction, and the rest of historic value.  Somewhere in the middle might be five or six science fiction pieces (Planet of the Apes for example), a book or two by Stephen King, and maybe twenty-odd books over climate change, science topics, and economics.

I made an attempt to read Mein Kampf by Hitler....failing on the first attempt, and then picking it up around twenty years later.  It's not a book that I'd recommend, but mostly because it's basically a manifesto-type document.

Some recommended reading list?  It's marginally possible because I've touched so many books and I might have a list just based on Steinbeck alone, or just one World War I alone.  But I'll list out ten books that I'd tell folks that it's worth a read:

1.  In the Devil's Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692, Norton.  A fact-filled book which covers the pre-events, the background, the chief characters, and the landscape on the crisis itself.  For those who never understood the midst of an Indian War....for some odd reason, religion got turned upside down, and over the course of a few entire region was 'entertained' by accusations of witchcraft.

At the heart of this matter were a couple of teen girls, with great imagination.  By the end, around fifty-odd folks had confessed to satanic stuff, and nineteen of them hanged.  The authorities?  They eventually reached some level where the excitement just couldn't be pumped up anymore, and the circle of accusations might have been close enough to include some of the authorities themselves.

2.  My Man Jeeves, Wodehouse.  Great fictional piece which came out at the conclusion of WW I.  Great wit, and probably good enough for an entire comedy series today.

3.  True Believer, Hoffer.  First of about ten books by Hoffer, coming out in the mid-1950s, and discusses how large groups of people are herded by propaganda into mass movements.  Hoffer was the last intellectual existing in America who never attended college.

It's a book that you can wrap up over a weekend, and it conveys a great deal of historical examples of how people fall for some fake political business.

4.  Animal Farm, Orwell.  You could probably assign this fictional book to some nine-year-old kids, but they would be asking some serious political questions by the end, and it'd be hard to lay out the reality of this world.  It's another book that you can wrap up in a single weekend.  After you read it, you will never be able to avoid skeptical nature with politics.

5.  The Great Fire of London: 1666, Hanson.  It is a fine history piece which lays out London, and how the fire developed.

6.  The Forgotten Man, Schlaes.  Roughly 500 pages of historical coverage over the end of WW I and the path up to the early 1930s.  For those who felt that high school history never introduced them to the period, or explained the causes for Great Depression.....this book weaves a great story.

7. The Prairie Traveler: A Guidebook for Overland Expeditions, Marcy.  It's a weekend book which lays out the hardships and general practices of a wagon-train.  Written in 1859, and I'd highly recommend it.

8.  Pastures of Heaven, Steinbeck.  A book of fictional pieces (maybe ten stories) and entertaining.  To be honest, there's over a dozen Steinbeck books that I'd recommend.

9. Democracy in America, Tocqueville.  Roughly 400 pages and written after his tour of America in the 1830s.  The big adventure of seeing early America by a French guy, who seemed to be thrilled over each week that passed.

10. The Full Catastrophe: Travels Among the New Greek Ruins (2015), Angelos.  Around eight years ago, Greece kinda collapsed (financially).  This writer went over and did a tour of the explain how you get to this level of screwed-up nature.  It's mostly a book about how people reach a point of distrust for the government and all of it's 'promises'.

The problem with this list, is that I'd probably like to make it around 400 books, and mandate kids between the ages of twelve and eighteen read all of these.

Trump and Kashmir?

Ok, this could be a 300-line story, but I'll try to limit it to a simple forty lines.

Around 1947, India was given the 'pass' by the UK to assume it's own control.  To be honest, while the UK did bring a lot of commerce and innovation into India for years and years....Indians preferred their own destiny. But added to this parting.....some Muslim folks wanted their own path of destiny.  So instead of just one single nation....Pakistan and India came to exist (along with Bangladesh). 

So when you gaze up at the extreme north of India, there's this area of about 200 by 200 miles.  If you see Islamabad (the capital of Pakistan) on the map....just look 30 miles east of it, and there's the border with this area of Kashmir. 

Most folks will say that being that close to Islamabad was simply a magnet for trouble, and the original crowd in 1947 should have taken a pen, and drawn a different border.  Ever since that point, India and Pakistan have argued over the area (you should note that China argues about the far eastern area of about 40 by 40 miles).

When this comes up about the disagreement, the chief question there anything really of value there?  For decades, it was mostly a mountainous area that served as a agricultural area.  In the past 20 of minerals and gold have been openly discussed.  So far, no one is suggesting that it's a big deal....just that if time and effort occurred....maybe there would be gold exploration.

My description of the area?  If you took the Rocky Mountains and removed all of the interstate access, you'd have the Kashmir region.  Tons of potential for tourism, but the potential threat of war has always made this tourism discussion a joke.

So, there's this rumor that India has talked over to Trump and asked for some moderation.  Course, they also denied this in the news media. 

What could Trump do?  Trump could bring both groups to the table, and a dozen-odd community groups from Kashmir itself, and then discuss the idea of open trade and commerce.  Yes, a tax-free zone. You'd want to emphasize Kashmir as getting a win-win situation in the end.  Then you'd draw this dividing line (probably the top forty-percent of Kashmir going to the Pakistan folks, the far east small area to China, and then the rest to India).  But then you'd openly talk about trade, and how locals would improve their society.  You'd discuss national parks, access to trade and border-crossing opportunities. 

Yes, the 'art of a deal'. Everyone wins something in the end. 

If Trump got the Kashmir situation figured out, and conflict ended?  It'd shock a lot of people, but let's admit it.....this whole discussion over the gold potential probably would hinder the talks, and be the basis of walking out of the talks. 

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Is Anyone Really That 'Privileged'?

Over the past three or four years, I see this comment of being 'privileged' come up a great deal.  It's hyped upon by college kids, journalists, and intellectuals.  After a fair amount of pondering.....I've come back to the the normal average guy that privileged?

Maybe if you grew up in a wealthy household (income of $500,000 a year or more), went off to a private university ($200k for your degree), and got a inside step to your first ten years of work compliments of dad's friends.....then you might have earned the chip on your shoulder of being privileged.

The rest of us?  No.

We might have actually lucky and done the first two years of college rather cheaply at some local college and our student loan debt is less than $20,000.

We might have been lucky enough and just drove used cars for the first decade of our 'real' life.

We might have been cheapass camping in some state park, instead of spending $8,000 on a four-star trip to Aruba.

We might have kept that living chair and couch around for sixteen years instead of buying new stuff every four years.

We might still be mowing the lawn with the mower we bought back in 2002, and the only thing we've done recently is buy a new blade for it.

We might still be drinking cheap beer, instead of the good stuff.

You see, most of us just aren't that privileged. Nor do we buy that stupid story.

How This Plague Scenario Would Play Out in California

Well, this is my scenario and just explains the landscape of how the plague would arrive, and how things would work.

At some point, a guy will show up with various symptoms, and the free-clinic doctor will spend three weeks working with the guy, and he is continuing to matter what the doctor prescribes.  So he finally does the plague test, and is shocked....full-up plague, and advancing to the black skin stage.

So the doctor starts to look at the tent-camp that this is from.  Over forty people are showing some symptoms....masked mostly by alcoholism and heavy drug use (meth, cocaine, and heroin). 

The county health department is concerned and talking to the mayor, but no one wants to overreact.

The first guy is put into a light-quarantine facility, while the doctor is trying to convince the other forty to come in for tests.  No of this is working well, with no saying anything to the news media.

Then you get some local kid (resident, not a tent dweller) who comes down with the plague.  Parents ask questions and some nurse admits the plague discussion.

Within four nights, a group of concerned citizens burn down the tent community. 

The doctor and the health department now have a problem because the forty infected folks have now run off.  The mayor has a problem because the cops aren't reacting to the burn-down episode. 

The Governor now steps into this and suggests a quarantine program but doesn't seem capable of mastering the requirement or having judges issue orders.

Trump steps in.....orders federal law enforcement and federal rules into the mess.  A judge stands there with the cops and the health department....every single plague person is ordered to a 30-day quarantine program.

Problems now?  Well.....these tent folks are all alcoholics and drug consumers.  They can't cooperate with any of these rules or orders.

A 300-man National Guard team arrives and sets up a camp.

But now folks are worried about the plague over the whole state.  More camps are burned.   Suddenly, you have 10,000 folks heading north, toward San Francisco.  Fear pops up, and more tent communities are burned to the ground. 

Leadership shown by the state?  Marginal and lousy.  A year into this, more than 2,000 individuals have been identified as having the plague. 

The Debate Over the Minimum Wage

The idea of one single national minimum wage, and failing to account for fifty different state variations, and probably over 300 urbanized area variations?  That's what makes the minimum wage discussion a wasted effort.

There's no doubt that a Burger King in Queens, NY and a Burger King in Demopolis, Alabama....simply aren't of the same variety.  One probably should have a set minimum wage of $8 to $8.50 an hour (starting pay).  The other probably should have a set minimum wage of $15 to $18 an hour (starting pay).

So this whole discussion is a wasted effort?  More or less.

It's like talking over minimum wage for Miami, and then talking about a small rural community sixty miles north of Miami....the wages simply can't be the same.  Yet no one will stand there and admit this in public. 

Friday, 19 July 2019

Things I Hate About America

I sat and thought over the Squad and their level of hatred, and tried to think of ten things that I disliked about America, so this is my list:

1.  Potholes.  It's silly to travel around various states, and note the frequency and severe nature of potholes.  Can't we have some national policy to fix them?  Can't we get a cabinet-level agency up and running to resolve this pothole crisis?

2.  TSA agents.  Ever since 9-11, I've had to deal with TSA folks.  Maybe two-thirds of them are capable and intelligent folks....but roughly one-third of them are marginally intelligent and behave like mall-cops.  Every occasion that I transit through an airport, I just sit there....frustrated with this problem, and I hate the experience of traveling in the US.

3.  Hollywood-style Representatives/Senators.  You now see this fake Hollywood-group from DC....almost daily on TV.  Is it really necessary?

4.  Rat-infestation.  The number one problem of LA now?  Rats?  Really?  How the heck did that come to pass?  The talk of the plague returning?  Really?

5.  Cable-TV offering up 200 channels....of which you watch maybe ten of them on a regular basis.  And I'm paying in some way for the 190 other channels....that I never watch?

6.  The NCAA bowl process.  It's obviously corrupted, and run by very evil men with the intent to hold back true champions (like the University of Alabama).

7.  Racists everywhere.  After watching a full hour of MSNBC news, I have the impression that at least 150-million racists exist in America.  In fact, there are Puerto Rican racists, Indian racists, Taiwanese racists, black racists, Mexican racists, Guatemalan racists, Canadian racists, and even racists racists.

8.  The idea that a McDonalds burger bag (basically a regular hamburger, fries, and Coke) will cost around $9.99 eventually, after the $15-an-hour minimum wage deal goes into effect.  It just isn't worth $9.99.  In fact, it's probably not worth $4.99.

9.  There's probably over 400,000 folks in America who are crazy-crazy-enough....that ought to be in a managed facility, and is instead housed under various bridges in the nation.  And we seem to pat ourselves on the back in letting the crazy-crazy squad enjoy the bridge 'house' for a lifestyle.

10.  Finally, I hate the idea that some news guy refers to some ten-man group as a debate...when they get a marginal two-minute period to say something that doesn't make much sense. 

Video Story

Over the past ten-odd days, NBC News went to a great length to find a video, which had footage of Trump with this Epstein guy (noted in the news, and currently sitting in jail because the judge won't issue a release). 

What's odd about that the video comes from almost thirty years ago. 

It's consider all the vast investigative journalism that exists with NBC News, and you haven't really seen much of any of this.....for almost twenty years.  Suddenly now?  It shows up?

People sit there in disbelief, and laugh over NBC's great effort, and why they couldn't see anything like this over the Obama period.  So many resources, and they simply sit there....with no instruction or desire to demonstrate their capability, unless it fits the agenda. 

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

What If CNN Switched Its Format Suddenly?

What if you woke up tomorrow morning, accidentally hit the button for CNN (noting you haven't watched the network more than 30 minutes in the year)....finding the crew in Iceland, and interviewing locals over the installation of a new traffic light, and the overnight report of three gentlemen reporting they saw some Demonic creature over by the harbor?  Would you sit there and watch it for 30 minutes?

What if CNN came up and was doing live interviews with Iowa farmers for six hours, discussing cattle, pumpkins, and the influence of full-moons on their personal lives?

What if CNN came up and had four journalists in an RV crossing Canada and featuring live-over-the air coverage, for three days straight? 

Instead of being the Trump-network.....why not try to be something totally new and get viewers back?

If Everyone Just Went Back 'Home'

It brought up my interest when the chatter came up, and President Trump finally said something to the effect....if you aren't happy here, maybe you ought to go back home.

Some folks are hinged on the term racism, but I'm trying to figure out where this angle fits.

If he did mean it in a racist-way, where exactly would I go?

You see, I have roots that kinda lead back to Kirby Bedon, UK (maybe from 400 years ago).  Prior to that 'adventure'....then my folks were living for around 400 years in the Chester area of England (way over on the western side of the country).

Prior to Chester, we were Norman-folks and got all involved in some invasion angle by our Norman king, and we were connected to the northern coast of France.

But to be honest, we'd only been in Normandy for about two generations, and before that we were Danish folks.   And if you go six to eight generations prior to that, we seem to have some time in the Latvia and Lithuania area.

So if I did get hyped up like the CNN guy suggests I should be.....where exactly was Trump referring me back to?  Kirby Bedon?  Chester?  Normandy?  Denmark?  Latvia?

And with that .7-percent Congo DNA....could I establish some connection to head on back to the homeland of Congo?

But onto the bigger question....if I was referred to this suggestion of Trump....why am I unhappy?  Shouldn't that be the bigger question with the CNN folks?  If Trump isn't racist, and these people are actually unhappy....where does that lead them, or me?

Maybe the bigger question of this whole discussion....why are folks so unhappy?

Trump and Washington State

How hard would it be for Trump to win the state in 2020?

From 2016 results, Hillary was able to take 1.75-million votes....Trump was limited to 1.22-million votes.  The Libertarian guy?  He took 160,000 (roughly 5-percent of the votes).  Normally, you'd go and say it's be awful hard.

So you shift and look at 2020.

Trump would have to and convince half of the Libertarian voters of 2016, to shift over to him (giving him 80,000 of those votes).  It's quiet possible.

Then you gaze at the map.  Hillary won only urbanized counties....the rest of the state (roughly two-thirds of the counties) went to Trump. In the case of five of the Hillary was not a was marginally for her. 

Toss in some key advertising....the slant on capitalism versus socialism.....Democrats who left their party in the past two years, I think you could suggest 250,000 votes flipping from 2016 to 2020....over to Trump.  That would bump Trump slightly over the threshold, and show the state as a red-win state.

The last time that happened?  1984, with Reagan. 

But there is one key element since 2004....massive registration and voter turn-out.  There's like an entire era that closed out in 2000, and voter-surge occurred in 2004, and has repeated in 2008, 2012, and 2016. 

So either you go and convince these older Democratic voters to flip their votes, or to stay home (to send a message).

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

No Desire to Win in 2020

Over the past year, I've seen various statements by the news media, the Democratic platform, AOC, Pelosi, and so on.  I've reached the point where I now believe that they really don't want to win in 2020....not the Presidency, the Senate seats, or the House. 

To even suggest a chance at anything.....the party needed to select something that they'd own, and show passage via the system.  At the rate 2019 is going, and the what appears on the early landscape of 2020....there's just nothing much worth talking about.

So I'm suggesting the radical situation....they really don't want to win, and this is about a massive loss which probably leads to a fair number of the 'old' establishment in the party....just retiring after the 2020 election, and leaving politics. 

A rebuilding stage?  Yes...that's what I'm suggesting. 

Alcohol-Free Beer Story

So I tried to make sense out of this two-line story in today's news:

Malaysia (mostly a Muslim country in the Pacific) gave out this warning to Malaysian breweries....NOT to sell/produce alcohol-free beer.  Reason?  The very hint of this....confuses Muslims about whether they can drink it.

I sat there pondering.

Alcohol-free beer, which I've consumed probably two in my life....has ZERO alcohol content.  Yes, it kinda tastes like regular beer, but it's more like a wheat-like taste (maybe like taking wheat bread and throwing it into a blender with a cup of water). 

Calorie-wise?  Most will fall between 40 and 60 calories per bottle (12 ounce). 

Is it totally alcohol-free?  People tend to argue about this point.  Rather than the standard 3-percent alcohol....a fair number of the alcohol-free beers will have .1 to .3 percent alcohol in them.  But lets be honest....a overly ripe banana will have about the same percentage of alcohol (.1 to .3 percent).

So why this warning?  I think it's mostly because some government folks like to worry about you and your morals.

Monday, 15 July 2019

Trump, in Black and White

There are a hundred things that occurred in 2015 and 2016, which basically set up this landscape in which Hillary went onto lose, and Trump went onto win.

But since that day, the black and white landscape has simply continued on. 

The news media (cable news, newspapers, Time, Newsweek), along with social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube), and the internet players....replaced Hillary, and become the opponent of Trump.  And the public simply agrees with the Trump passion to continue the 2016 campaign, into 2017, 2018, and 2019.  In some ways, the campaign cycle never ended.

Then you toss in the small-time players....retirees, farmers, working-class people....who seem to have no problem in writing out a check for $100 to the Trump campaign.  That wouldn't have happened in 1984 or even 2000.  In fact, some guys probably have no problem in throwing $50 a month toward the Trump campaign.

Maybe it's a theatrical type performance that we simply enjoy watching.  Watching some CNN situation develop and AOC goes live to make a 90-second idiot statement about about some topic, and suddenly our smart-phone vibrates and we realize that we just got a Twitter statement by Trump himself....over something that AOC said five minutes ago.....saying how stupid this AOC comment was, and not even giving the news media an hour to talk over her words.  So now the CNN guy is having to react to this live situation....MORE to the Trump comeback....than AOC's words of ten minutes ago.

All of this leads back to New York City....where Trump sat and watched the news element at work for over fifty years, and developed a New York style of comeback....which few can master.

The Pee dossier?  For most would have taken them down (even President Obama).  For Trump, he just flipped the whole thing over and there anything really true here?  No.  Oh....well....why are we bothering to discuss it then? 

This 2020 election?  It's actually a 'show' that most of us would really like to watch, and be entertained by.  Democracy at work?  Hell no.....but we've already moved on and generally disbelieve this whole fake discussion of democracy.   We want the Trump plain black and white.

The MAGA Story

"We export American exceptionalism, the great America, the land of liberty and justice. If you ask anybody walking on the side of the street somewhere in the middle of the world they will tell you, ‘America the great,' but we don't live those values here. That hypocrisy is one that I am bothered by. I want America the great to be America the great.

-- Ihan Omar

Over the weekend Omar tried to explain her patriotism angle, and centered on the thought that America was previously 'great', and she'd like to return it to the status of 'great'.

Amusingly enough, she's basically uttering the Trump phrase.....Make America Great Again.

How would she achieve this status?  Unknown.  She left that part out of the discussion. 

In professional wrestling, at the key point of really 'BAD' status, the tough evil wrestler will undergo some conversion situation, and suddenly appear in public as the 'GOOD' wrestler.  Perhaps in this case, Omar has been given the script, and will suddenly appear as a Trump-supporter, and shock everyone.