Thursday, 31 January 2019

999 Possible Socialisms

Since going into retirement in 2013, I've spent an awful of time looking at various topics, and then pondering upon the definitions and realities of these items.  One topic which I seem to go back to almost weekly....is where some college kid has gotten his 'big' lecture on socialism, and the 'gravy-train' that accompanies socialism.

I sat and watched some discussion where a 20-year old wanted to talk about Swedish socialism and how things worked there.  But about two minutes into the conversation, I came to realize that he's really never been in Sweden, the Nordic countries, or Europe for that matter.  A couple of months ago, I watched some discussion where Spanish socialism got mentioned but it was again someone who has never been there.  In each case....they had a professor make an impact statement upon them.....but there is no real factual evidence that the professor himself has ever been in one of these socialist countries.

So what are the various Socialisms?  There's Karl Marx Socialism.  Friedrich Engels Socialism.  Oscar Wilde Socialism.  Albert Einstein Socialism.  Norway Socialism.  Sweden Socialism. Finland Socialism.  German Socialism.  DDR (old East German) Socialism.  Nelson Mandela Socialism.  Canadian Socialism.  Icelandic Socialism.  Vietnam (1960s-1970s) Socialism.  Vietnam (1990 to now) Socialism.  North Korean Socialism.  Che Guevara Socialism.  Benito Mussolini Socialism.  Hitler Socialism.  Lenin Socialism.  Stalin Socialism.  Chavez-Maduro Socialism.  British Socialism. 

You could spend an entire afternoon going over the 999 types of socialism that exist.  The basic idea is that everything would be fair, balanced, and divided upon up among 'equals'.  You would live in some utopia where everyone got a piece of the pie. 

The best example that people tend to use? Norwegian Socialism.  Few ever mention with the discussion that Norway has a ton of oil and natural gas.....which leads to a major flow of capital into the national treasury.  When that oil and gas money runs out?  There will be an eventual downward trend, and the Norwegian utopia environment will eventually disappear. 

Can you have Socialism without the utopia 'dream'?  This is the key question which would draw a dozen folks to sit in a pub....drink excessive amounts of alcohol....and come to no real rational conclusion. 


Looking at Lifetstyles

At some point over the next decade, I expect around 10,000 Americans (male and female) to have enough plastic surgery done to their bodies....to self-identify as Klingons, Romulans, or Vulcans.  So will start a self-identify campaign to be able to note on their license, or their status in life.....as another species.  We will laugh about the effort, but there will be significant numbers to trigger some kind of public stance in support of the additional species.  The odd thing here.....they are all imaginary groups, and have no logical position in reality. 

So months will pass, as the logical folks among us (myself included) will basically deny that you can identify in some official sense as Klingons or Vulcans.  Some 'experts' will begin to appear on CBS and NPR, to speak to the idea that you can change and become whatever you desire.  It'll reach some stage where the self-identified Romulans have a national parade, a weekend of Romulan lust, and perhaps even get into Romanian-style politics. 

The problem with this is that some end-game ought to occur, where people wake up from this fantasy lifestyle, and maneuver back to some logical mind, but it WON'T occur.

Is there any limit to this illusion in life?  No.

You can already see people maneuvering around with fictional series....fictional religions....and even fictional lifestyles. 

In some ways, we are seeking to find entertainment, and escape our discontent.  This illusion....works.

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

A Russian Story

Over the past month or two, I've spent a fair amount of time looking at Soviet/Russian history, and different historical events that occurred.  A lot of these events rarely, if ever, get discussed.

So I came this week to a Soviet creation of division (it was always important in the Communist thinking....to split people up into groups....in essene to divide them).  After the 1917 Communist Revolution, and the Czar is fired (later executed with his family)....the Communists come to this odd situation.

They decide that out beyond urbanized areas....there exists farms and ruralized folks.  One could suggest that they were not as sophisticated or smart as the intellectual folks....but that wasn't really enough to divide folks up (against each other).

So three groupings were created.

At the top level of this rural business....were the Kulak folks.  They were the ones who'd be given farm land and opportunities since 1904....to pursue commerce at their own level.  Their allotment of land was set at roughly 8 acres of land per male in the family.  So if you were the father, and you had four sons among the 8 members of the family....you were entitled to 40 acres minimum.  You can do the math (in this pre-tractor period) and realize their agricultural production level.  These weren't cattlemen or ranch owners.  They probably had forty hogs....a chicken house....some pear or apple trees, and land for corn or garden-style vegetables.  What was considered excess....sold via their local cooperative operation, and made it's way into cities and towns.

The Kulaks, for all practical discussions....were pursuing profits.  Most writings of the period indicate that the Kulak folks had farming tasks that were beyond their manpower, and they hired folks on, to help with the work.  Unfortunately, this hiring business is what helped to undermine the Kulaks in the 1920s.  These folks left as the employees of the Kulak group were disgruntled, and had the frustration of being 'left-behind'.

If WW I had never occurred and the Communists never took control?  One might suspect that their significance in commerce would have multiplied in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s.  They would have pursued tractors, advanced planting practices, and been a major part of Russian society.

One step down from the Kulaks were the Serednyak.  The Serednyak were termed as middle-class 'poor'.  They weren't making the money that the Kulaks were making.

Then you come to the bottom dirt-level group.....bednyak folks.

There's not a lot to explain how and why three groups came to exist, or to explain why you needed to have a dirt-poor group and a better-than-dirt-poor group.  This is one of those mysteries which historians don't really talk much about.

Having grown up in the south....in a rural environment, I would readily agree that there were the successful and the unsuccessful farmers.  A lot of this division though led back to three central factors:

1.  Educational levels (even in rural regions) differed greatly.  So you could have a hundred young men, and twenty of them might be fairly educated, asking questions, and pursuing new ideas.  The other eighty might be people with no interest in education, or assembling a better master plan for their 'dream-farm'.

2.  Risk taking.  There are generally individuals who are willing to review priorities, assign risk factors, and take steps which most avoid.  Risk takers in a commerce environment....are the type who usually advance, and accumulate wealth (even if meager in terms of amounts).  The non-risk takers?  They stay at a stagnant level.

3.  Alcoholism.  It's worth bringing up that in a rural environment, with little to do for excitement....you drink.  Some drink excessively.  Some drink to a reasonable peak.  In the Russian case....I would suspect that the  Bednyak folks were favored to drink excessively.

In this odd atmosphere, the Communist folks plotted this out and decided that they were better to take the two lowest groups....getting them into a frenzy of sorts, and have them blame the Kulak folks for their position in life.

So here we are in 2019, and it's kinda interesting that the division of society is going on in America, with various groups pursuing blame toward particular groups for their standing in life.  Failing at educational goals, attaining false education values, refusing to take reasonable risks, and allowing drugs/alcohol to be a part of their society.....you've allowed a faction versus faction situation to develop.  What comes next?  It's hard to say.

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

What Made the 1920s Different?

Most history professors and journalists prefer to avoid long discussions on the era.  If you do go and research the period....it's probably best nine years of American society (up until 1929 and the fall of Wall Street) of the past century.

What made the era different? I lay the change that occurred over seven key things.

1.  WW I and the survivors of the war came back and lived remarkable lives.  Whether it was boot-camp, the itself, or the comradery.....guys changed.

2.  Prohibition.  Saloons were the norm until 1919.  After that point, speak-easy operations and hidden clubs became the norm.  It should be noted that with the prohibition era.....came women drinking more.

3.  Cars and roads went to make society mobile.

4.  Movies started to get made, and people were introduced to a new form of entertainment.

5.  Radios started to become reality.

6.  Baseball went to become a national sport, and was often discussed by the working-class.

7.  A housing boom started to take place in this era.

Life changed in this era, and in some ways.....we laid the path to 1929 and the depression that followed. 

What the Howard 'Starbucks' Schultz Candidacy Does

As he came out yesterday and announced he's running an independent campaign in 2020 to be President, it has several themes and scenarios attached to it.  If you haven't noticed, he's leveled criticism across the board toward both parties.  Even I would admit that there is much frustration over both the Democrats and the GOP.

So what is the real strategy here?  Let's go back to 1992 and examine Ross Perot's end-result....roughly 19-percent of the vote, and 19.7-million votes.  I think Schultz could easily attain 24-million votes, with a decent social media campaign, and aim simply at five topics that most people feel frustration over.

But here's the interesting thing.....if he just concentrated the bulk of his time and effort on Michigan, Penn, and Wisconsin.....he'd likely win against Trump and the Democratic contender.  By taking those 46 electoral votes.....there would be NO ONE to hold 270 or more votes.  So the Electoral College would pass, with no winner.

Then in 2021, the House would be given the job of the vote, and it'd go state by state.  Right now today.....the GOP barely holds an edge, with 26 states being 'GOP-control', and 22 states being Democratic-control.  The rest are 'even'.  This differs from 2016's election where the GOP held control over 32 states.  So there would have to be at least two states where things would change drastically, and bring the GOP-control down to 24. 

This could be a situation where the Democrat....possibly with less than 55-million votes....would end up as the winner.

So this is a Electoral College gimmick?  Yes, I think so.  But a lot depends on the House elections in 2020, and if they can manage to hold some control.  If Schultz does all of this, and the GOP ends up controlling the House state votes?  Then all of this was for nothing.

'Rube' Comes Back Around?

'Rube' as a word, got used in the past month by a Washington Post journalist....to describe the people voting for President Trump in 2016.  This was a chatter episode which was supposed to explain to naive or innocent folks.....how so many folks got stupid and voted that way. 

For those who aren't familiar with 'Rube'....a little history lesson.

To be honest, it hasn't been used to any significant degree since the 1930s (that was probably the peak). 'Rube' Waddell is where most folks remember the word.  Waddell was one of the premier pitchers of the American League,  Pitching from 1897 to 1910....he was probably one of the five best pitchers in the league, and was washed-up by age 33.  Roughly four years later, he'd pass away.  In simple terms, Waddell was a nutcase.  Everytime a fire truck would pass a stadium in the midst of a game that he was pitching.....it was a 50-50 possibility that he'd take off after the fire truck and leave the game.

The term 'Rube' was supposed to be a county guy with no real recognition of the big world, and bound with 'innocence'. 

Generally, it's said that Rube came from the early 1800s, and was supposed to be slang to identify a guy without class, or one with no sophistication....in simple terms.....a non-intellectual.

But here's the funny thing about the term, it's not really been used for almost eighty years.  In terms of slang-value, it's been dead since the 1950s.  You could bring up the term with folks who are over sixty, and they have a basic idea of the term.  Someone who was 20 to 30 years old?  There might be one person out a dozen who has heard of the word or has some idea of the meaning.

So where did the journalist dig the term up?  Unknown.

Does this mean we are reverting back to some 1920s slangs?  Let's talk about some of these:

1.  'Giggle Water'.  That's something with an alcoholic punch to it. 

2.  'Hay Burner'.  That's a car that gets exceptionally poor mileage.....like less than ten miles to the gallon.

3.  'Ms Grundy'.  A 'dame' who has an exceptional number of personal rules, and questions anything related to fun.

4.  'Sheba'.  A 'dame' who is exceptionally fit, in loose clothing, and dangles a cigarette from her lips....suggesting to 'blow this joint' (to leave the bar), and do unimaginable things in a hay-barn down the road.

5.  'Bearcat'.  A 'dame' who is fairly dangerous when 'juiced-up' (drinking), who might show fits of rage or assault, if a guy wasn't careful. 

You have to wonder if this journalist is trying to lead folks back around to three-hundred-odd phrases which died in the 1930s. 

Monday, 28 January 2019

The Seven Ways That Trump Wins in 2020

It's a silly essay but over the past twelve months, there's so much theatrical business in DC, and with both parties....that in some ways....it's pretty much guaranteed that Trump would win a second time.  So these are my scenarios:

1.  Biden and Bernie are edged out or just refuse run, with Senator Harris the likely contender for the Democratic Party.  Her numbers in Trump-win states in 2016 (30 states)?  She might pull more votes than Hillary in the popular vote, but I don't see any of the 30 Trump-win states going her way.  With Biden or Bernie, I would suggest three to four of the Trump-win states being possible to win.

2.  Howard Schultz of Starbucks fame.....runs as a third-party guy....taking around sixteen-million votes and two states in the Electoral College.  Unfortunately, the major (probably 90-percent) of his votes would come from the Democratic Party.

3.  The Democratic Party fails to dislodge or impeach President Trump.  If you reach January of 2020, and nothing has happened, or it's been a utter failure.....then the negativity falls upon the hype.

4.  The Russians help Trump again.  As comical as it sounds....if some comedian were to put on a Russian mafia suit, or 1960s military uniform with 88 medals.....doing a daily two-minute presentation of Democratic screw-up's, and how Putin's personal plan is at work to take the Democrats down again.....people would start laughing and label his comments as believable, with Facebook forced to review comical relief as political fake news.  College kids would be putting on Russian uniforms and pretending that it's all one big act.

5.  If the black unemployment rate were to 5.5 percent or less?  Yeah, it'd be a serious issue for the Democrats to argue about.

6.  If Latinos start to agree with Trump.  Trump took around 28-percent of Latino vote in 2016.  If he were to carry weight, and somehow reach 40-percent?  Trump wins against all possibilities.

7.  Finally, there is a fair possibility that Pence will be offered the Secretary of State job, with some new character (possibly a female) stepping in as the VP candidate.  Depending on who it is and their campaign stamina.....it's possible that 'edge' would be enough.

The comical side of this 2020 discussion is that so far....the Russian collusion stuff has been 'Harry Potter' type material.....good on hype but little in terms of facts.  Yet if nothing occurs to prove collusion.....everyone will be laughing at fake Russian collusion in 2020.

Course, the other side of this is that he could say 'no' and not run for a second term. 

Ten Books You Should Read by Age Eighteen

I've read an awful lot of fictional and non-fictional books in my life, so I've come to this list that I think every kid should wrap up by 18.

1.  Animal Farm, George Orwell

2.  1984, George Orwell

3.  A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens

4.  The Republic, Plato

5.  Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville

6.  True Believer, Eric Hoffer

7.  Capitalism and Freedom, Milton Friedman

8. Undaunted Courage, Stephen E. Ambrose

9. This Republic of Suffering, Drew Gilpin Faust

10. Toward a Civil Discourse, Sharon Crowley

Sunday, 27 January 2019

Who Were the Kulaks and Why Does It Matter

The term 'Kulaks' got brought up today and there is a bit of history to the term, and why it fits into the shape of the 2020 Presidential race.

Around 1900 in Russia (while still a Czarist monarchy).....there was some agreement that agricultural grumbling was reaching a stage where 'something' needed to occur.  So a reform 'period' was started up and the chief goal was to create something that somewhat a copy of the US 'share-cropper' system where actual farm land was dispensed out to a family and they produced x-amount of food for themselves and the rest was destined to be sold.  The idea was to give people some independence.

Between improved agricultural education, cooperatives, and various avenues to commerce....the system was a step up.

Those who took advantage of the program?  In rural areas....they moved ahead.  Those with no motivation or lacking competence for the program?  They got behind.  Over the next twenty years, there grew to be a lot more of the 'slackers' than the 'advancers'.  The 'slackers' eventually invented a term for the 'avancers' in this farm endeavor.....'Kulaks'.

By 1918 (the war has ended)....the Czar is out, and Communism is the controlling force.  Armed groups have now attached themselves to a major target....Kulaks.  They start to show up on individual farms and hunt for stashes of wheat.  Their perception is that those who advanced.....have screwed the those who were 'slackers'.

For a decade, the Soviet government tried to avoid serious confrontations with the Kulak folks, who were still producing significant amounts of agricultural products, and selling via the cooperative markets.

Things changed in 1929, the Soviet government decided to change.  The Soviets invented an artificial and high production cycle.  If you failed to produce and deliver to them.....you were in a serious mess.  The Kulak-folks?  They couldn't possibly meet the goal.

Arrest, deportations and confiscation of farms started up in 1930.  As you can imagine....it only takes two to three years for a massive starvation and famine period to start up in the Soviet Union.  The Kulak-farmers?  They were sitting in Siberia for the most part and unable to produce products.  The nation starved. 

The slackers?  They were basically given confiscated farms which were consolidated into large operations where intense pressure was put on each manager to take whatever actions were necessary to force his slacker-manpower to do the work required.  Those who didn't cooperate?  They were sent off to Siberia as well.

Some people are looking at commentary at billionaires in the US and the idea of taking their 'money' and 'assets'.  This will work its way into the 2020 election.  Billionaires aren't really Kulak-types but the idea here works along the same lines.  You'd have some political thug invent a fake goal and find yourself taking money, but unable to turn that into anything meaningful to the general public.  In some ways, you'd invent a Venezuela-like atmosphere. 

So when you hear Kulaks....remember that they were driven by commerce and capitalism....achieving results, and were destroyed by those opposing commerce and capitalism. 

How to Resolve the Budget Mess

It's actually pretty simple.

You write a three-text piece which basically says that if the House, the Senate, and the President can't come to an agreement on the budget each year by 1 July, then the House will dissolve by the end of October, and a new state-by-state election will occur in November.  If you were in the House, you'd have to run again.  And in the Senate, you would mandate that their pay goes down to zero from 1 July, until a new House is elected and in place. 

Based on this system....everyone will be working day and night from January on....with the budget as the number one priority to get completed as early as possible.  Heck, they might even agree on a two-year budget cycle, just to avoid the pain of early elections. 

Yes, you could be talking about a 6-month period of shutdown in the government for the more agreeable House to arrive.  But this would put full and absolute force upon the idiots of both parties to cooperate and just avoid these battles. 

Saturday, 26 January 2019

Bernie in 2020?

Yes (at least the story from Friday afternoon says that Bernie is just days away from making the announcement).

How big a deal is this? 

First, lets be honest....nationally, Bernie was barely known in 2016, and yet managed to almost out-run Hillary Clinton.  In the Iowa caucus, Bernie won.  If you round up a hundred working-class Democrats, at least half of them are fairly open to a Bernie theme.

Second, Bernie picked up a lot of lessons-learned in 2016. 

Third, in a straight Bernie-Trump situation...I think he could easily take Michigan and Ohio (both states that Trump took in 2016).  That's a 34-Electoral College-shift.  It's enough to win.

Fourth, if you gaze across at the twenty-odd characters that the Democrats will front in 2020.....no one perks up crowds like Bernie does.

Fifth, while Bernie's wife is in a bit of a scandal.....no one really cares.

Yeah, I'm suggesting that this 2020 election would be tough for Trump to win.  But adding to the fury.....if Trump decides NOT to run?  Bernie could easily win against the typical list of GOP candidates.

Friday, 25 January 2019

Schizophrenia 'Signs'

Over the past year, I've done a fair amount of reading and research over Paranoid Schizophrenia.  Various people I worked around in the past....showed signs of the problem.  Some in minor ways.....some to the more extreme ways.  So I've come to the typical ten ways that you can see or ID an individual with the issue:

1.  Sleeping to extremes or lacking sleep in extremes.  This is typically the person who can sleep 12 hours straight, or you find they are surviving off four hours of sleep nightly for months.  At some point, they demonstrate their inability to concentrate or focus to accomplish any type of in depth problem.

2.  There is a continued focus on suspicions.  An example is that they think they are being watched at work, or while driving around. They suggest that such-and-such cop is following them.  They think that their wife or girlfriend is spying upon them.  They talk about suspicions on an hour-by-hour basis.

3.  Disorganized. We aren't talking about a single desk with things littered around it.  In this case....it could be a person who has a personal records method of a shoebox for each single year.  Or it could be the person who shops in a disorganized method, where 30 minutes of shopping takes 90 minutes (routinely).  This could be a guy with twenty shovels in their garage, but they are all spread out and spaced in the four corners of the garage.

4.  Hallucinations.  Typically, the person will realize that some inner voice is the one talking but they seem to want to listen to the imaginary voice and be told something.  The voice might be often critical and telling the person they shouldn't have done this, or they need to improve themselves.

5.  Dresstyle and hygiene slack off.  Sometimes (in the more rare situations)....the guy just starts to avoid showers or brushing his teeth.  They might go to some routine....like only showing/brushing on Tuesdays and Saturdays.  They might go to one single style of clothing (flip flops, t-shirt and shorts 365 days a year).  They might choose to only wear black for a color option.

6.  Neologisms become a daily chore.  A Neologism is where you invent a term that explains something but it's only needed or used by you alone.  Sometimes, the term gets out into the public and then reused to a great extent by others. The term 'butterfingers' was created in such a way....to mean an individual who often clumsy, and it got out into the public.....to later be accepted.  A Schizophrenia person will have dozens of these phrases to use and throw at people.

7.  Lack of motivation.  We aren't talking about the normal typical lack of motivation....this is more like the guy who has stated 100 goals for the year, and 365 days later.....not a single one has been accomplished.  This is the guy who has a job and function at work, but just seems to sit there in a daze and not interested in the work.  This could be the guy who has forty head of cattle but never feeds them or checks the herd.  It could be the guy with two acres of yard around their house, with a $8,000 lawn-mower.....yet only mows the lot maybe three times a year. 

8. Impulse orientated. This is where the guy is at the checkout line and notes screw-driver kits on sale for $3, and every single month.....buys another kit.  It might be the person who has seen a travel documentary last night on Aruba, and out of the 'blue'.....they've gone to the travel agent today to book tickets to Aruba.  A lot of people show impulse purchases....but this is typically a person who is a die-hard enthusiast, and impulses occur every single day. 

9.  Delusions.  This is where the individual has imagined that they sit and have coffee each morning with 'Daniel', and often refer about Daniel to their wife or co-worker....maybe for years.  Then you come to realize one day.....Daniel never existed, but the guy imagined these meetings (so he's not lying).  You can hook a lie detector up to the guy, and he'll pass each and every time.  The guy might actually write about a four-year degree they got via such-and-such university, but the reality is that they attended a community college for one single year.  It might go to the extreme of them being convinced that the angel Gabriel came and visited them in the backyard....giving them advice and suggesting that they pursue passions in life.  None of this is a lie....it's just a piece of their imagination.  The angel Gabriel might even suggest they start a religion and write a Bible-like document to establish the 'truth'.

10.  Persecution.  This person will cite others are against him, or working to harm them.  It might go to the extreme where they are checking for vehicle bombs everyday, or inspecting their house each night upon their arrival. 

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Wilbur Ross is Correct

Someone got around to the U.S. Commerce Secretary today....Wilbur Ross....who spoke up to federal workers on furlough or working without pay.....that they don't have money to pay bills, buy groceries, and attempting to use food banks.

His response?   “I know they are, and I don’t really quite understand why.”

Here is the blunt truth.....these individuals....some making $70,000 a year....are living paycheck to paycheck.  Some, in a couple situation....clearly over $200k a year before taxes, and they live paycheck to paycheck.

Sympathy for them?  No......sorry, I have none.

It's one of those rules I had from age thirty-five on....have three months of pay sitting in some kind of account (either savings or CDs) which you can use in some emergency if necessary.

How did these dimwits get to this stage?  Lots of credit, and the belief that nothing would derail their fantastic lifestyle.

Where Venezuela Went Wrong

You could write a 500 page epic story over where Venezuela went wrong, but I'll try to limit this to three central causes:

1.  In 1989 to 1993, there were some woeful economic downfalls, with some folks ending up dead in the chaos.  The two coups in 1992 by Hugo Chavez....connected to the economic period.  Chavez failed in the coups (six to eight months apart).  But the damage was started at this point.  Confidence in democracy was a problem, and corruption was s national issue.

2.  In 1999, Hugo Chavez arrives.  Chavez thinks he's a wise at government, economics, commerce, banking, etc.  He declines any and all advice....taking mostly advice from the inner circle.  Redistribution of wealth and ownership became his central theme.  Literally every single bit of wealth that did exist....got siphoned off and redistributed.   In 2013.....Hugo passes away.  Some folks had this idea that the country would have some coup, and somehow find it's path back to stability.  They were wrong.

3.  In 2013, Nicol├ís Maduro arrives, via an election, and the Chavez era continues with more redistribution.  The chief item Maduro's resume that suggested where things were going to go?  For one year of his life....he was a bus driver.

The correction situation today?  Well....there's no more wealth to redistribute.  Anyone who had money left....moved it beyond the border.  Stores are mostly empty.  People were reported in 2018 to have lost a minimum of 10 pounds over the year because there's simply nothing left to eat.  It took thirty years, but it's pretty much wrapped up.....they spent everyone's cash.

The Give and Take Problem

"The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else."
-- Adrian Rogers

I rarely quote ministers, but I sat and reflected upon this recent commentary for a 75-percent tax situation for the ultra rich by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) (AOC).  I eventually came to this quote which really lays out a frustrating part of the taxation gimmick. 

It used to be that the government simply provided simply freedoms (at least in the 1776 mentality).  Then the government came to provide protection against invasion....requiring a standing Army.  Then the government reached a stage where taxation was necessary because of the various services being provided (roads, bridges, education, etc).  Then the government took on social 'corrections' and got into housing and healthcare for the elderly.  Then the government got into university loan situations where vast sums of money were given for sometimes worthless degrees.  So now the government (by AOC's insight) would go and become the fair distributor of wealth.

Someone from the government (if the AOC proposition continues on and becomes reality) will sit and make a determination about who is reasonably wealthy and overly wealthy.  A guy making $100,000 a year?  He's probably safe.  A guy making $500,000 a year?  He's probably in the threshold of being in the 75-percent taxation racket.  A guy making $1-million a year or more.....he'll be in the 75-percent tax racket for sure.

At some point, if all this redistribution and taxation business fell into place (assuming in the next decade).....you would see a dramatic drop in business growth, and probably view the unemployment rate climbing to around 10-percent nationally.....as businessmen got smart and just downsized. Why bother taking risks or making money?   It would take around a year for everyone to wake up and realize that instead of resolving/fixing things....this gimmick of 'give and take' delivered some incredible negativity to the economy. 

At that point, the voters would turn to President AOC....asking for an explanation.  And she'd have to admit she really didn't know much about economics or business. 

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Bob Lazar and the Area 51 UFO Story

For years I debated about the Bob Lazar story and how the pieces fell or failed to fall into place.  Bob says in his youth....after college studies at Cal Tech and MIT....he was hired on with some company that dealt with the government studies of UFOs outside of Vegas.  Somewhere along about a year into this.....Bob screwed up and apparently brought friends onto the Area 51 grounds, got into trouble, got fired, and then decided that he wanted to admit to the world about the whole thing.  Along the way, Bob says that both Cal Tech and MIT wiped out his records and they say he officially doesn't exist in their records.

A lot of what Bob talks about in interviews does suggest a vast knowledge of science....there's no doubt about that.

In the last couple of years, Stanton Friedman (a real physicist), went out and decided to review Bob's whole story.  Stanton says virtually every single potential avenue was studied via Cal Tech and MIT.  Bob has no existence there.  At some point, Bob volunteers one single name of a professor via Cal Tech.  So Stanton goes looking for this guy.

Oddly enough, this professor remember Bob.  But there's one problem.  The professor ONLY taught at a regional community college in California......NEVER at Cal Tech.

So Stanton decides to go back to the high school were Bob attended.  Oddly enough, they remember Bob.  So they pull out the records and there's some chat.  Bob didn't finish even in the top 50-percent of the class.  What they remember about Bob was that he was really into chemistry and science.  What other subjects did Bob study?  Well.....just science subjects.  That's it.

After looking over the various interviews and stories told of Bob and Area 51....I've come to this conclusion.  Bob has Paranoid Schizophrenia...to the extent that he believes in a particular disillusion.  Oh I admit....Bob is super-smart on science topics and probably has read a hundred times more science journals than the average smart-guy.  But he relates these bits of science knowledge into this delusional world that he lives in.....believing he was a MIT and Cal Tech graduation....that he was hired by some corporation to work at Area 51....that he brought friends out to the secure reservation area....and that all of this UFO chatter is true.

He's not inventing a hoax.  He could easily pass the lie-detector test because he actually believes in the delusional side of this.  If you go and review the statistical data....the PhD folks estimate that around 10-percent of people are in some phase of Paranoid Schizophrenia.  My guess is that you can break the crowd up into different groups.....where some can drift in and out, and some who are living the delusional life to 100-percent.

The problem here is that people generally want to believe in the alien chatter to such a degree....that when you have a guy with a smart mind and clever enough to build his story up.....the Paranoid Schizophrenia isn't apparent, and you put full faith in the whole story.  Bob is real....believing precisely in his Area 51 story, and absolutely believes that he holds degrees from MIT and Cal Tech.  He's not a fake....or a hoaxer....he's just telling you precisely what he imagines.

Kentucky Justice

As the smoke starts to clear on this media frenzy that occurred last week with the Covington School episode, and the Indian guy....things appear to be falling in place.

Rob Sanders, the county prosecutor, was interviewed and basically said yesterday.....yes, he's preparing charges against everyone who made a threat against the kids or the school.  Kentucky has this law about making a 'terroristic threat'.  Jail-time and fines are possible.

So how would this go?

The prosecution team prepares folders with Twitter/Facebook ID's and locations.  They prepare paperwork and serve on this poor dimwit.  Across the nation, these get served.  People start laughing, with no intention of getting serious.

Rob prepares paperwork to have those not getting serious to be detained and brought to Kentucky.  Yep, added cost burden on the guilty folks.

Those real serious about the matter will call a Kentucky lawyer, and end up having to pay at least $5,000 to get the easy deal.  I would speculate that the prosecution will offer up a suspended 6-month sentence in jail, you agree to terminate your social media account for two years, pay court costs (likely to be in the $5k range), and a fine (likely to be $500 to $3,000).

Those pretending to skip around this?  They will be arrested and dragged to Kentucky, and added court cost will fall into place, with added defense lawyer cost (figure $10,000).  Then you go into another negotiation moment....with a bulked up court cost situation (maybe over $15,000).   You could also add on a charge of failure to respond, giving them 30 days in the county jail.  The judge might even offer a deal where you get a leg-tracker, and agree to stay in a local hotel for 30 days (boosting up local revenue that way).

This second scenario would mean you have to find at least $30,000 to handle two or three lines of stupid texting to convey a threat.

The prosecution team probably would go through at least a thousand folks....but this might even go up into the ten-thousand range.  Imagine all that cash flowing into defense attorneys and the county commission revenue bucket.  You could be talking about a million dollars a month flowing into the fines bucket.

I'm just sitting there and shaking my head....all of those 'angry' people lack any appreciation for court activity.  Well....this is the new reality.  Welcome to Kentucky justice.

Sunday, 20 January 2019

2020 Democratic Primary and 15-Odd 'Players'

What happens if you have 15-odd individuals running in the Democratic primary next spring?  You can anticipate four conditions occurring:

1.  For the most part, six of them will be gone by the fourth primary.  Cash-wise, from 12 May on (a total of 12 left)....it'll be down to just three candidates.

2.  The overwhelming odds are that no one will have sufficient votes to win an outright convention deal.

3.  The VIP votes at the primary will then go and pull on who they favor....even if it's the number two or three candidate.

4.  The odds are heavily fixed that the convention winner won't be someone really capable of taking on Trump.....even if the journalists say otherwise.

The two characters that I think could beat Trump?  Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden.  But at this point, neither appear to be lined up to run.  Maybe I'm wrong.

How I'd Repair Immigration

Trump seems to have a plan, and a few other GOP guys suggest some alternate ideas.  Democrats?  It's best not to ask them, because officially.....there is no plan.

So this is my ten point-plan.

1.  The wall gets built.

2.  I remove all US Army troops from Europe, and deploy them to five staging areas or Army posts in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.  At least fifteen-thousand would be assigned a simple task of patrol and recon.  The US Border Patrol folks would continue to exist and be the arresting agent for all collected 'crossers'.

3.  I'd establish six to ten containment villages along the border and this is where everyone gets taken.  You stay there until your future situation (where you go) is determined.  Kids, parents, etc.....it won't matter.  At least two US Senators (one GOP, one Democrat) will be required to visit these camps each month.  It'll be a rotating duty for the US Senators.

4.  A simplified visa/work-permit will be created.  You declare yourself, and show some form of native land ID (it must be valid).  You show that you've been in the US prior to 1 January 2018.  You swear that you have not registered to vote in any US election.  You demonstrate that you haven't been convicted of any felony in the time that you've been in the US, or arrested for drug-related charges.  The visa/work-permit will be issued and good for five years.  It'll re-issued every five years as long as you don't vote or get convicted of any felony.  After ten years of demonstrated good behavior....you can apply for citizenship.

5.  Any non-American who gets the visa/work-permit, and completes three years of US Army time (including the reserves) will be given a fast-pace situation to citizenship.

6.  If you are the manager of a US business and found to have hired non-American and non-visa immigrants, you get detained for criminal charges.  The minimum for jail-time is 90 days, or a payment for each non-visa employee of $10,000 to the local state authority.

7.  Any non-American and non-visa holding individual arrested for drug trafficking.....is kept on hold until the trial case comes up.  If convicted, you will serve your time in prison (preferably your home-country) and when released....if you are ever found on US soil...it'll be an immediate disposal to your home country.

8.  No driving license will be valid or issued to any non-American unless you hold a visa or work-permit. Across the front of the license.....will be some wording to the effect 'not eligible to vote'. 

9.  No foreign students will be allowed to stay in the US more than 90 days after anticipated graduation of their school situation....unless you complete a work-permit or visa application.  Anyone with an advanced degree who applies, will be given a higher priority for the visa or work-permit.  Anyone with a PhD will be given the fast-track (in two years) to be given US citizenship.

10.  Any non-American and non-visa/non-work-permit individual found to have voted illegally in the US....will be released back to the nation and forbidden any permit or visa for a period of ten years.

Saturday, 19 January 2019

In the Fake World of Toxicness

This week, I sat and watched a clip off YouTube of this new Gillette ad that folks are discussing a good bit.  The theme?  Bad boy-men who seem to be 'bullies' of some type, and they needed to be knocked down a step.

So I pondered over what is a Procter and Gamble brand and wondered about the effort of advertising. 

The sad thing is that I've been a Gillette user since probably August 1977 (when I went off to boot-camp).  The electric razor wasn't practical there, and the only cheap razors that the BX Shoppette offered....was Gillette.  Even today, their offer is limited to Gillette, a off-brand for the BX made by Gillette, or BIC.  For those who've never used BIC.....it's a lousy razor of low-quality, and you usually end up with a dozen cuts.

So, back to the commercial.  My interpretation is that someone on the ad-team built the original concept, which would have flowed in a positive way.  At some point, someone else advanced in the ad-team, and built it to have some message that advanced toxic behavior, and in the end.....you have an advertising moment which became a political hit-piece. 

My guess is that Procter and Gamble, with Gillette.....are standing there now and realizing that something really went wrong in the purchase of the ad.  You can't really take it down without admitting you screwed up.....but you dislike the negative attention.

Will guys stop using Gillette?  I would suggest some number (probably in the 20-percent range) are leaving Gillette.  The sad thing is that they have a superior product and this ad wasn't needed. 

But there is other question laying there.  If men's behavior was 'bad'.....shouldn't the Ford pick-up division run the same type ad?  Or how about the NFL?  Or how about Bud?  Or how about the chain-saw folks?  Harley-Davidson? 

Friday, 18 January 2019

Just Logical

If your church was all up into a financial crisis, with money missing and the accounting book all messed up, and then your minister says he and his wife are going off tomorrow on a three-week vacation....there's something wrong.

If your bank called and said that three months of mortgage payments hadn't been paid, and your wife suddenly says she's got tickets for tomorrow for a Mediterranean cruise of two weeks....you'd pause and suggest to her that there's some more important work to do.

If your septic tank overflowed, and your cousin showed up with his bass-boat to suggest you and him haul off for a three-day weekend starting this afternoon.....you'd tell him in blunt words that you got real work to do.

If your wife let you know that she'd been arrested for hefty drug possession this afternoon, but she's got a casino hotel room in Louisiana all rented up for the next seven days....you'd stop her in her tracks, and say 'no'.....we got real work to do.

Real people....logical people....common sense people....would eyeball the problem, the resolution, and the path ahead.  They'd prioritize. 

So I just gaze at this Nancy-goes-on-holiday-to-Brussels situation, and kinda wonder how she relates to real people. 

Trump, Nancy and WWE-Wrestling

Around eight years ago, I started to get into reality shows.  You know....like Amish Mafia, Pawn Stars, Hardcore Pawn, or Ice Road Truckers.  At some point in early 2013, I was probably watching twenty-plus hours a week of reality TV.

I reached some stage in the spring of 2016, where I started to identify Donald Trump, the GOP, Hillary Clinton, the Democrats, the news media, social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc), and politics.....as reality TV.  It's just pure entertainment.

After the election?  Well....it just got better and better.  Journalists came on the air and literally made themselves into WWE-wrestling type 'talkers'.  If you watched CNN for all of 2017....it was pure WWE-wrestling....around the clock.  Sometimes, there were three or four wrestling-type commentators chatting away, and you'd get a thrill or two every five minutes. 

Without realizing it....both the Democratic and Republican Party became wrestlers.  Some folks play the act as 'managers', and some play the act as 'wrestlers'. 

Yesterday, it reached a high point on reality TV  enthusiasm....as Nancy was on the bus and probably halfway out to the Air Force Base with her 'entourage' for some grand tour (what wrestlers typically do).  That's when President Trump came out with some letter....telling Nancy and her entourage....the 'luxury-jet' ride was not possible.  A bunch of fake journalists came on the air, then cried rivers of tears....like good fake wrestlers would do.....and then vowed some revenge.

The problem here, is that a lot of us are now divided.  Me.....I see it as pure entertainment.  But there are folks who get caught up into this gimmick, and think it's all real.  For some, this is better than a Baptist revival or state fair visit in August. 

Does anyone even realize what it's become?  I doubt that.  If they did come to realize the fakeness of democracy.....then we'd all kinda slip out of the room, and head back home embarrassed at how we got all hyped up over nothing. 

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

To Make Sense Out of BREXIT

In simple terms, on 23 June 2016....a referendum was 'allowed' by the right-leaning government on whether the UK should stay as a member of the EU.  When you go back to the early 1970s....as the membership was concreted in.....there wasn't that much of a thrill with the public.  The leadership figured this vote would be a 55-to-60 percent 'remain in the EU'.  They guessed wrong....it was 52-percent to exit. 

The government then spent roughly eight months mostly 'grinning' at folks and trying to find some exit to the referendum.   The bitterness shown by the pro-EU Europeans (the French, the Germans, etc)?  They went way beyond what you'd expect and that really didn't help matters. On 29 March 2017.....notice was finally given.  They would follow the set path that the EU has to exit.  Basically, you have a two-year exit period to negotiate all the little pieces to still do business....travel without a visa....handle banking transfers....etc.  Along the way, the EU wanted the UK to pay 'damages' (this got into the hundreds of billions of Euro 'talk').

At some point, all of this negotiation chatter went negative, and the treaty product seemed to be worthless.  To be honest, this hype about paying the EU some kind of money....made it seem like paying a 'whore' for services. 

At this point, a 'hard' BREXIT versus 'soft' BREXIT started to get discussed.  This meant that if you reached the deadline (the EU Constitution says you could exit with no treaty and find things very messy if you wanted to conduct trade), you would be screwed.  A 'soft' BREXIT meant a treaty existed. 

The vote last night in the UK?  The Prime Minister had the treaty and folks had a chance to read the requirements.  A vast majority (way more than a handful of votes, actually 200 votes more than necessary) said NO. 

What happens now?  The EU is sitting there and shaking its head.  They refuse to give any real deal situation to the Brits.  Adding to the EU pain....the election in May for EU representatives across Europe will be affected by this event. 

Could another referendum be held?  Yes.  Some suggest that 55-to-60 percent would vote to stop the BREXIT.  Course, it might be another 52-percent in favor of leaving the EU. 

How this might end?  It is possible that it goes to a messy end, and President Trump arrives in March 2019....to offer up a major trade deal with the US, and engage in some deals that go way beyond what the EU could ever put on the table. 

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Should McDonalds Be Strictly a Teen-Job Center?

Here's the thing, if you walk into any of the more modern McDonalds....you find a significant amount of automation at work.  You don't need counter-help because they've got touch-screens ready to take your order.  Enough of the grill and fry business is process-driven and with automation built into it.  So what you really need in a 8-hour shift is one real manager type (over the age of twenty-five), a number two guy with experience at the customer and operations level (over the age of twenty-five), and then the 'kids'. 

By the term 'kids'....I'm suggesting that the bulk of McDonalds employees probably should be between 16 and 21 years old. By the time you hit the age of 21 to 24....you need to have some real path laid out and procured some type of education or training....to 'move up'.  If your ambition is to be the permanent and everlasting French Fry guy at McDonalds....then you've failed.  Your entire life is set to a minimum wage situation.....where you will rest from age 16 to age 67.  Go do the social security amounts for retirement.  I doubt if you can get more than $400 a month if this was your path in life.

This idea that you can reside at McDonalds for your entire life and live off the minimum wage situation?  It's a joke.  You need to have a path, and the goal of getting some additional training/education, then moving on. 

2024: President Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?

Here's the thing.....she turns 35 in October of 2024.  She would be 'of age' to meet the requirement.

So you sit and ponder upon President AOC.....bartender-college student-House member-President.  Could a three line resume lead to AOC's presidency? 

There are two curious pieces to this idea.  First, she's not this mystery character like Barack Obama....who needed to write a book and tell his story.  Second, she has a degree in economics and is super-smart (well, people think that).

Here's the problem for the Democrats.  If Trump runs in 2020....there is a likely chance that a number of weak GOP guys will view 2024 as impossible to win.  So you add in the fact that no one really exists on the Democratic side right now, with 99-percent chance of winning (like Hillary was) in 2020, or for that matter 2024. 

Via social media and a dimwit news media....yes, I think AOC can win.  And after four years of a goofball adventurist?  Most will admit that the system is broke.  But it's all really entertainment now....not some political system, and AOC fits well into it. 

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Could Marvel's 'Black Panther' Win an Oscar?

A year ago....folks would have generally laughed over that suggestion.  But this weird year has occurred where there is no five-star movie leading all of the others, and some suggest that the dialog/script, along with the acting....might have carried the movie far enough.  In roughly ten days, the announcement will be listed on the nominees.  Some suggest it will be there as best picture nominee.

Was it that good of a movie?  Around eight months ago, I sat and watched it in a theater.  On the big screen, it really does well.  The dialog and story that unfolds?  To have thought that this comic book creation could go through several decades, and deliver itself in such a complete package....is difficult to believe. 

The funny thing here....is that Stan Lee and the Marvel team gave so much great storyline....that the studios have over twenty years of material available.  You could be looking at a dozen oscar winners over the next two decades, and a hundred movies....making literally billions upon billions. 

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

A Writer's Story

F. Scott Fitzgerald sat down and wrote the Great Gatsby in the early 1920s....getting it published in 1925.

High school literature teachers like assigning the book to students but generally....students wake up about fifty pages into the novel, then start whining about the woes of the chief characters and that everyone seems to be 'lost' (unable to fix any problem within their life).

The book kinda lingered around in the 1920s and 1930s, and 'suddenly' caught on fire as GI's read it in off-duty time for 'entertainment'.  So then it took off on a roller-coaster ride as everyone felt it was some great piece of literature.

In some ways, I see modern lifestyles in America to be something of the 'script' that Fitzgerald wrote.  A bunch of lost young people....on some great adventure without any compass or map....begging people to recognize them via their social media commentary, and falling into some dramatic emotional pit when someone criticizes them (seeking a safe-place).

Fitzgerald in the WW I period, ended up as a young Lieutenant in the Army, and stationed in Alabama.  He ends up marrying some Alabama local gal who was the daughter of a Supreme Court judge, and takes her off to New York after the war.  It's safe to say that Zelda (the wife) was a bit of a nutcase, and in today's world.....she'd be on medication, featured on some reality TV show and would be freaking people out weekly over her behavior.

Fitzgerald and Zelda had a nine-year period of 'stability' and by 1930....there was no doubt about Zelda and her schizophrenia issues.  To some degree, dealing with Zelda was a problem unto itself, and throughout this period.....Fitzgerald was drinking heavily.

It was this love-hate relationship I think.  Zelda was one of those people who attended parties....got gossip...and wrote these into a diary.  Some folks argue that a lot of the rich material that Fitzgerald put into his books....really came out of Zelda's flamboyant lifestyle.  After she got shipped off to a mental facility?  This becomes interesting.

Zelda went into some recovery phase, and decided in 1931.....to write her own book.  Fitzgerald got an advance copy.  It was basically a novel which carried a lot of the history between them and painted Fitzgerald in a negative light.  The publisher actually went and made up roughly 3,000 copies and they went out, but barely half of them actually sold.

From the mid-1930s on (till her death in 1948), she stayed mostly in mental facilities.

Fitzgerald?  Well....he went out west to California and was a script writer for movie studios.  Most will say that his alcoholism simply got worse, and he died in 1940.  His best stuff?  There is this argument that there was the with-Zelda writing, and the after-Zelda writing....that he wrote best when around Zelda.

Trump-Pelosi-Schumer

Few folks realize it, but Lincoln's Gettysburg address was roughly 200 words, spoken over a 2-minute period.  That was it.  One of the most impressive moments in speech-history....over in two minutes.

So I watched the Trump eight minute piece, and then the four minute piece with Pelosi and Schumer.  As you match to some grading system against Lincoln's speech.....neither speech would rate more than a five on the Lincoln scale of one to ten.

Pelosi and Schumer?  What exactly were they going to deliver in terms of dynamics and countering the President's problem with migration and issues attached?  If they did have some big negative about his program.....they gave a marginalized speech, and it was worthless to have the two on the camera for the four-minute piece.  As sales-pitch-folks, they are lousy.

Should they have used Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?  Yes.  I wouldn't have allowed her to write the speech, but she would have been ten times better than Pelosi or Schumer at giving the speech.

If this were some sports team competition....I'd suggest that the Democrats go and rebuild their theme/message, and work on convincing working-class people of their intentions.  In Trump's case, I'd go and suggest that hinging all of this repair of the immigration business just on the Wall....fails to address a dozen other immigration issues, and we need more practical answers. 

As for the CNN crowd wasting hours and hours of 'chatter' after the two speeches?  Well....that was a total waste of time. I think most people turned them off after about twenty minutes of worthless chatter.

Garbage Story

This morning, I read through a piece where a couple of California Democrats....all hyped-up and negative about the National Park shutdown.....are collecting up garbage from the parks, and bringing it to dump at the White House.

So I paused over the idea.

First, how do you transport it from California to DC?  Are you putting this in two suitcases and just sending 'Jimmy' and 'Wanda' to DC with the garbage as they travel via the airlines?  Are you sending it via Fedex or UPS?  Are you mailing it to DC?

Second, is it real California garbage.....or fake garbage that you picked up in Fairfax, Virginia?  Can you prove it's real California garbage?

Third, even if you were upset with the shutdown business and garbage piling up around the National Parks....what exactly will this accomplish?  Does anyone really care?  To be honest, out of a thousand people living around Nashville.....probably less than fifty might be hyped-up over the publicity gimmick.  The rest would ask what the address is for the California Democrats involved, and just start mailing their garbage out to California. 

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Warren Story

This came up today about Elizabeth Warren.

As a kid (one might assume around age 17)....1966....she came up and won some type of Betty Crocker Homemaker of Tomorrow scholarship.

I read through the piece....this was done at the local high school....not at the national level.

Basically, you took a 50-min test....loaded with 150 questions.  Do the math, that means every 20 seconds or so....she had to come to a conclusion.

The subjects of the test?  Family relationships, religious stuff and moral values, kid development,  health, safety, money management, leisure time, home care and beautification, your local community and further education.

How she won the contest?  My humble guess is that there were only five or six girls in the group who attempted this, and maybe out of the 150 questions.....she got sixty of these correct.  The mere suggestion that she even got a hundred questions answered in the 50 minutes?  No, I just can't believe that's possible.

Would that Betty Crocker business hype you to vote for her?  That's the oddball thing.....southerners like that kind of stuff, but you notice.....this was not for a cooking or baking project, it was just for a test of knowledge.

Delusional People

The first time in my life that I had some introduction to delusional people....I was around 13 years old.  My dad had a vehicle with serious transmission issues, and had decided that he'd take it to his mechanic (local guy, someone that done several mechanical projects for my dad).  So we left the vehicle for four days, and returned on a Saturday...hoping to pick it up.  You have to remember, this is rural Alabama, in the early 1970s.

In four days time, the guy had done absolutely nothing with the car.  So this big 'chat' occurs, and I'm standing there eyeballing this guy with my dad.  The guy is mid-30s and I'd met him on at least two other occasions.

He couldn't get to the car issue because of all the UFO's flying over his house.  Yes, a 8-minute conversation is carried on.....mostly with my dad responding 'uh huh'.  It wasn't a positive 'uh huh' or a negative 'uh huh'.  It was just to acknowledge that the guy could carry onto the next part of the story.

For me, I was quiet entertained and astonished at the level of UFO traffic over his remote farm (it was about four miles from our farm), and kept wondering why I didn't didn't see these UFOs if they were in such abundance.

At some point, my dad responded that we'd take the truck, and maybe return in a couple of weeks.  Then he told me to take the car and he'd return in the transmission-issue truck.  I responded that I was only 13 and I'd have to travel on the county road, and the cops might stop me.  He assured me....this just wasn't a problem.

I settled back into the LTD.  If you've never sat in a LTD.....it's made for four folks to sit side-by-side in the front seat, and a seven-foot tall guy could easily lay out in the seat.  It was my first real 'on-the-road' experience.  Luckily, this was mostly a chirt or dirt road, and I didn't cruise more than 40 mph. If you've never done a dirt road at 40 mph in a LTD...let me assure you....there's a fair-sized dust trail that is achieved. 

Upon my dad's arrival back at the house, and after his phone call to find another mechanic, I engaged in the UFO conversation.  He used the word 'delusional' but with his southern drawl.....it came out something like 'de-lucy-nel' (sounding almost French).  I took the 15-pound dictionary that we had in the house later, and spent at least 15 minutes paging through out it to arrive at a meaning.  The word 'paranoid' really didn't make any sense to me (that's what they wanted you to grasp).  But then it came to imaginary and I began to understand the whole thing.

Throughout my Air Force years, I came across three or four people....who were figured out to be delusional. Some got onto drugs of some type, and that helped them to think various things.  Some just fell apart at some point, maybe through some breakdown, and went to this delusional sequence.

Over the weekend, I was watching some German cop movie, and in the midst of this.....they had the script arranged so that two delusional people met and both were engaging in each others fantasy world.  Yeah, it was a great script, I have to admit.  But I sat and thought over the story as a kid....over the UFO mechanic.

In some way, I would have stood there for a good hour listening to the guy and been impressed by his description.  Luckily, my dad saw through this fairly quickly.

Debate: Being 'Morally Right' Better Than Being 'Factually Correct'

This 'concept' (amusing enough) is a discussion that Ocasio-Cortez has dragged out of some university memory that she had, and used for a basis of our path ahead in the political sphere.

So, I'll ask some questions.

1.  Can you make any argument or discussion without facts?  Someone living in a fantasy world....wanting to argue that unicorns are faster than horses, could start a discussion.  Could it go anywhere?  If 'Bigfoot' were born in America, would he be able to run for President?  If 'Casper, the friendly ghost' were fat and chubby....would it be right to bully him along to lose weight?  Could the Coyote beat the Road Runner, in a fair fight?  All of these are discussions, without facts.  Arguments or discussions without facts....simply don't work.

2   Does being morally right win in every single argument?  It depends greatly on whose morales you intend to use.  There are often a hundred degrees of morales, and each one will go down a path that some people simply aren't devoted to or willing to attach themselves. 

3.  Do the two terms (morales versus facts) connect together?  You can make a case that it helps to have facts....to arrive at a decision, but you can also make the case that morales will drive the decision process.  It's like arriving to a raft after a ship sinking and it can only hold twelve people, while you have twenty people there in the water.  Eight of those people won't be able to do much other than float on the water and hang onto the side of the raft.  Facts generate the dilemma and the resolution.  Morally, you might be willing to overburden the raft with the twenty people, and help sink the raft in a quick fashion, so that fairness has been shared, and everyone now will have a zero chance of survival.  Morally, it's a positive thing that all have the same equal chance now of dying.

4.  Do you really want some Senator, Congressman, or President....yanking on your morales chain?  Most people can remember how the prohibition era went in 1920, and how that morales effort by the government led to an absolute failure.

5.  Finally, is O-C suggesting that facts might be downplayed, and their value marginalized?  This might worry some people because our lives are built, assembled, and layered with facts.  Our jobs only exist because companies have a record of predicting success with factual sales, and factual profits.  Our medical situations are mostly resolved because a doctor works with facts and prescribes the more predictable treatment for a positive outcome.  Could we even exist as a society, with less facts?  I have my doubts.

The problem I see here is that you have some 29-year old adults....with a university degree, who is trying hard to impress upon you that those years in college achieved something.  Sadly, the more she talks....the less convinced you are about her university background. 

Monday, 7 January 2019

Why Americans Love Gutter-Talk and Mob-Mentality

Well....here's the thing, if you had a group of working class Americans from beyond urbanized areas....the vast majority (over 90-percent) would tell you some curious perspectives.

First, they'd let you know that when you step into a interstate diner where 'truckers' hang out, they expect gutter-talk.  When they step into a Texas honky-tonk, they expect gutter-talk.  When they go to a Klan meeting, they expect gutter-talk.  When they land on some French beach with a bunch of Army characters being shot at by Nazis, they expect gutter-talk.

But those are environments where gutter-talk can survive and flourish.  When you walk into a stock-holders meeting, you don't expect gutter-talk.  When you walk into a Wal-Mart....dealing with some return issue, you don't expect gutter-talk.  When you attend some parent-teachers meeting, you don't expect gutter-talk.

So when some House member or Senator gets all hyped up and used **@#$##@#%, you kinda stand there and wonder why the member had to resort to gutter-talk.  And once you start the trend, would we have to get used to 'Moth(*&@#er' in every third sentence?  Would it just turn into being normal?

In some ways, it's like a Southpark episode now, with fifth-grade kids cursing, and no teacher willing to correct the behavior, and then just grinning at the camera.

Second, mob-mentality might flow well at a WWE-wrestling event, or some Baptist revival episode in Alabama ('mobs for Jesus' event).....but folks tend to shy away from mob-mentality.  Again, it's like fifth-grade kids trying to pretend they are upset, and pretending mob-mentality achieves something (it usually doesn't).

But here's the real bottom line of all this gutter-talk and mob-mentality business.....after you look long and hard at it, it's fake.

Yes....fake gutter-talk, and fake mob-mentality.  It's scripted in various ways.

They want to make you think that they are really gutter-talk and trash-talk individuals, but to be honest, until the last year....they've probably only uttered Mo@#$#$#@# or F#$^ about an average of three times a year (usually when the transmission blew, or they walked into the basement to find four inches of water standing there).

Fake mob-mentality?  Ask the mob-crowd what they've ever achieved via their mob-pretending.  There will be this long pause, and other than rolling some toilet paper around various lawns, that's their big achievement in life as a mob.

So it's a joke?  Yeah.  At some point by summer of 2019, the public will be giving out awards for fake gutter-talk and everyone will be laughing over how the joke got picked up by the journalists.

Saturday, 5 January 2019

If You Did Bonanza Today

Every Sunday night as a kid, from the mid-1960s to 1973, I watched Bonanza.  It's safe to say that I kinda liked the show.  It had a simple format, four central characters (well, with Hop-Sing occasionally), and three or four guests to each episode. On some occasions, bad guys either got shot or sent off to some state prison.  What generally sold the show were the father (Ben) and his three sons (Adam, Hoss and 'Little' Joe). 

If you tried to make a version of Bonanza today?  I think you would run into problems. 

First, Hop-Sing would be viewed as negative because you were racially profiling the character.

Second, gun-play of any type....would be frowned upon.  Most would ask why Adam needs to carry a pistol, and why shooting is necessary.

Third, at least one of the three kids has to be a daughter.

Fourth, Ben would have to be told by one of the kids on a weekly basis.....that he's out of touch with reality. 

Fifth, the three Cartwright 'kids' would all have some social warrior justice theme going on.  Most viewers would dislike the kids and think there's too much disrespect going on. 

In simple terms, the show would fail in the first year. 

Tax Return Story

Someone drafted up a House bill yesterday and introduced it....which had the intent of forcing all Presidents to provide ten years of tax returns.

I will make three observations:

1.  There's pretty much zero chance that the Senate will pick up this and pass it.  So it's mostly for marginalized journalists to 'chatter' about, and get all silly.

2.  If it did pass, I think it might scare at least twenty-five people thinking about running in 2020, 2024, and 2028.  It would open up questions about 'gifts', home loans, business loans, etc. 

3.  Who exactly gets these ten years of tax returns is NOT clear.  The House Speaker?  Imagine a yearly return from Trump of 500 to 700 pages of a return....TIMES TEN.  Even with a staff of professional accountants (25 professionals), I would suggest it'd take at least six months to review and make any criticisms.

So I'm going out on the branch and making my own suggestion....this is actually a good idea, and we need not limit it to the President.  Every member of the cabinet should also provide the ten years of returns.  Every single member of the House and Senate should provide ten years of returns.  Every ambassador should provide ten years of returns. And all of these returns, with the address and personal info redacted (blocked out) should be put in a PDF format, open to the public, and you yourself should be able to analyze in your own way. 

Yes, lets make this ultra transparent.  Lets make everyone sweat a bit and get about 300 people out of politics because of their corrupted nature. 

Friday, 4 January 2019

A Story

I worked with a guy around eight years ago, who had a close relative who was your basic neighborhood drug/dope dealer.  We got into this discussion one day.  The relative was in her mid-20s, barely finished high school, and simply walked into some situation where she could flip drugs.  He figured that on sales, after paying off the cost involved....there was $3,000 a week of income ($12k a month). 

So I asked the obvious question....how did she really come to hide the income?  Well....it was all cash.  Her rent was paid in cash.  Her food and beverages in cash.  Her used car, in cash.  She'd walk in two or three times a year to some bank deposit box and just toss in the range of $15k.

We went on with this discussion and eventually reached this impact point.  There are thousands of people like her, and all are part of some underground business empire, with cash in a funny position.  You really need to laundry the money and make it legit, but you don't want to draw attention.  So you stick with the tested method of just hiding cash.

I asked....how would you event retire from the 'profession'.  His take was that she'd eventually tire out, and maybe just quit one day in her forties, and walk away, if she wasn't arrested and sent off to state prison.

But you'd be sitting there with hundreds of thousands in bundles, and trying to put together a legit life, when the system just wasn't built to handle that.

This is one of the dozen odd problems with our society, in that we've created a mass landscape with financial affairs that don't fit the mold of our system today. 

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

MItt's Words of Criticism for Trump

What I think happened with this Mitt Romney Op-Ed, criticizing President Trump?

I think some Russian collusion agents wrote it for Mitt and he just signed the bottom of the 'letter'.

There are Russian agents everywhere, and these were probably the same agents who helped Mitt in his 2012 election campaign (to lose).   

//sarcasm off//

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Senator Warren in the 2020 Presidential Race

Iowa's caucus matters.

For Democrats, statistically....if you can't pull out a first-place finish, then you have problems.  I just don't see Senator Warren doing well (maybe a 3rd or 4th place finish in Iowa).

So you come to New Hampshire (a definite win for Warren), then Nevada, and South Carolina (both likely to be 3rd place 'wins'). 

As Warren goes off to aim for the 3 March event (nine primaries)....I can only suggest two sure-fire wins (Mass and Vermont).  She might pull a second-place win in California, but for the remaining six states....it's a dismal 3rd or 4th place.

A week will then pass, and you come to the 10 March episode, with six primaries.  She might have a chance in Michigan and Ohio, but it's dependent on the other candidates in the running. 

I expect Warren to shutdown the operation by 11 March, with four to five state wins (at best). 

I admit, if this was an awful weak group in 2020 (like the Hillary/Bernie year in 2016), then she could win forty states.  But the minute you put her up in debates and then mix three or four decent candidates of Bernie's level, then her odds go rapidly into decline. 

But this is mostly geared to get her into a VP or Secretary of State job.