A fairy tale about the economy

This just in: Once upon a time, there was a country made up of 1,000 individuals.

These individuals worked together to create an economy for themselves.  There were hard workers that tended the crops and hard workers that minded the banks.  There were lazy people at the top, living off of inheritances and there were lazy people at the bottom, living off of the government.

There was a wide range of incomes.  The richest person in the land had $100 million in the bank. He’d made some of his money through hard work; some was inherited and some was perhaps a bit shady.  The next richest person had $1 million in the bank.  He owned nearly every company in the country.  There were several people with $100k in the bank.  About 50% of the population had no savings.  The average income in this country was $50K a year.

This country had a government consisting of 1 person.  This person made all of the decisions that any government was expected to make.

One day, the richest person in the country approached the government and said, “I will give you $5 million if cut taxes on businesses.”

The government readily agreed to this.  It cut taxes on all of the country’s businesses.  This caused it to borrow $100 million from China to make up for the lass over the next few years.

The results appeared to be spectacular.

The richest person now had $200 million due to lower taxes.  This caused the average wealth in the nation to go from $50,000 up to $150,000.  The newspaper, which was owned by the richest person, ran headlines that read, “Tax cut triples the average wealth of our citizens!!!”

No mention was made of the newly acquired $100 million debt to China.  No mention was made of the fact that only 1 person in the country actually benefited from this debt.

The government certainly didn’t say anything.  It quietly accepted its payment from the nation’s richest person and acted like nothing had happened at all.

A couple of years later, the country’s economy started to feel the strain of making payments on its China loan.  Since taxes were cut, there was no money left for healthcare, pensions or infrastructure.  The country’s people became poorer and poorer; even as the rich became richer and richer.

In the end, the country’s economy collapsed.  Those with money were able to bail out and live elsewhere.  Those that were left behind…well they lost everything as China showed up to collect their debt and there were no resources available to stop them.

The End.

Up, up and away…



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The motive matters

This just in:  I have a lot of political opinions.  However, I usually vote based on Character rather than Position.

Here are a few examples…

Republicans claim “Gun control is useless”.  In fact, they won’t even support a measure to research the issue.  Now, what is their motive?  My belief is that they have 2 motives here.  First, they want the NRA money and endorsement.  Secondly, they want the gun owners that actually believe this statement.  In short, they are allowing people to be killed at the rate of 30,000 per year so they can get some extra votes.

Republicans claim that the “Free Market” is best for healthcare.  Why?  There are two reasons for this.  First, “Free Market” appeals to the uneducated.  They hear this term and think “God Bless America”.  They think the Free Market is fitting in every situation; a belief suitable for someone short of a high school diploma.  Secondly, Obamacare is not their idea.  Republican, Mitt Romney oversaw socialized healthcare in MA where it is still a huge success.  He opposed it nationally because credit for doing that would go to the Democrats.  So, the Republican party is willing to let healthcare kill people or cause bankruptcy for elders so they can get votes.

These are just a couple of examples.

I can hear it now.  “They both do it!”

To this I say, “Beware of the false equivalency.”

I have started posting ridiculous things the GOP is doing along with the comment, “Do you think both parties do this?”  Trump lying in yesterday’s Op-Ed is an example.  No, both parties don’t do that.

However, to an extent, I agree that both parties are misleading.  I saw Hillary misrepresent the cost of national healthcare so she could slam Bernie Sanders.  She lost my vote that moment.  Not because she was against healthcare.  Rather, because she showed she was willing to lie and not do the obviously right thing in order to get votes.

Also, both parties take positions to get votes.  In a way, that is their job description.  However, misrepresenting the situation is a problem.

For example, Yesterday, Trump had an Op-Ed posted where he slammed the Democrats on healthcare.  Fact checkers found lies and misleading statements in nearly every sentence.  He did this for votes.  However, by misrepresenting the truth, he is getting votes from people that want better healthcare that he has no intention of providing.

He should say, “I want the Free Market to rule healthcare” and then make his case for it honestly.  Let people hear his position and compare it to the opposition’s position.  In this way, we can all make good decisions.

For example, the Republican Party should say, “We oppose gun control because many of our voters support it.  We clearly understand that this will cause tens of thousands of gun deaths but its a price we are willing for you to pay.”

I know this is a Pollyanna position for me to take. However, I know it’s within our grasp.  The internet, which is notorious for allowing the spread of misinformation, may, someday, be the very thing that says, “Here are the results of your search and we have annotated those that are fake or misleading.”

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…


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Ramblings from an unfocused mind

This just in:  Every now and then, I just need to clear all the temporary files in my mind.  The result is a random flood of unrelated things with no attempt to weave them into a story.  This is one of those days.

Let’s begin…

When I travel, I allow myself one stop at Popeye’s Chicken and one stop at Taco Bell.  The result of this well-intentioned effort on restraint is that I stop at Popeye’s once and buy enough food for everyone on the block…and one plastic fork.  Today…it was $20 at Taco Bell.  The last few bites were slow going down but still awesome.

51% of of our Senate represent 44% of our population and 26% of our country’s GDP.  Yes, they represent the poor states; those states that have made bad investments in themselves and their economy.  Instead,they rely on the Blue states to subsidize them.

When I read for fun, it’s usually “hard” Science Fiction.  There has to be a couple of spaceships and some sort of war.  Neal Asher is my author of choice.  However, I am now reading a book about two little girls that are solving a neighborhood crime.  It’s called “The Trouble With Goats and Sheep.”  I’m really enjoying it!

I’m going to San Diego to watch Navy play Notre Dame.  It should be a lot of fun as a few of my Naval Academy classmates will be there.  The game will be a horror story as Notre Dame will probably score like a basketball game.

Yesterday, I left my hotel room in the morning as MSNBC was interviewing people about Kavanaugh.  The question was, “Who is more energized by this; Republicans or Democrats?”  I came back 10 hours later are this was still the question they were discussing.

The New York Times ran a story about Trump’s history of tax evasion and tax fraud.  The result:  His fans still love him.  Go figure.  This guy belongs in jail and my hope is that he dies wearing Folsom Orange.

I’m taking a class on “influence.”  Chapter 3 was about the downside of influence.  It talked about traits like Narcissism and how those are basically used for evil.  As an example, the course used Donald Trump.  By the way, this was recorded about 10 years ago.  The course says avoid Narcissistic people because they lie all the time and promise you great things but have no substance.  Pure Trump.

A UN Climate report came out and said, “You have 11 years until the end of the world.”  Everyone in the world is terrified.  Not Trump.  He continues to think Climate Change is a Chinese hoax designed to somehow hurt American manufacturing.

Last word on Kavanaugh…The Republican Party said the following 2 statements (paraphrased here): “We believe Dr. Ford” and “Dr. Ford was a hoax.”  They wavered between these two, depending on the audience.  The Republican Party also defines “Mob” as “Angry women that raise their voices and make old white men uncomfortable.”

As I write this, MSNBC has moved from “Who is the most energized” to “Live coverage of people wading through water while carrying puppies.”  It seems to me that the major news outlets have three modes: (1) Politics because no one is dying right now, (2) Plane crashes because a bunch of people died at once and (3) Hurricanes because “Who doesn’t like watching roofs blow off?”  Honorable mention is the occasional mass shooting (or…act of terrorism if it was committed by a non-white.)

I’ve been doing some work in Canada recently and I would like to report that Canadians are as nice as we think they are.  They look at Trump and understand that we had a temporary lack of good judgement and they will wait patiently for sanity to return to the lower 48.

I guess that’s enough of a data dump for now…I still have a Burrito Supreme that’s not going to eat itself.

Up, up and away…


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The Lazy “Single Issue Voter”

This just in:  Today, in an ongoing attempt to understand why ANYONE would vote Republican, I’ll be complaining about the Single Issue Voter.

Let’s start with this:  A single issue voter is one that is intellectually lazy.  They pick a single issue and then cling to the one party that sings the most promising song with regards to that issue. They are like that horse with blinders on.  They pretend that a candidate that supports their issue does not support anything else.

The biggest Single Issues…

Abortion:  Ignore the fact that no one likes abortion.

Some people actually believe to know the will of God.  They can’t name the capitals of the various countries in the world but when it comes to God…they have complete understanding.  The know for a fact that God, while creating a universe, every now and then looks over to make sure we and not having abortions.  In philosophy courses, they refer to a belief in God as “Mystery therefore Magic.”

Now, maybe they are right and God is anti-abortion.  I certainly don’t know one way or the other.  However, the Republican Party wants this vote so they say, “We will work to stop abortions.”  Score 1 for the GOP.

This ignores that making abortions illegal does nothing to stop abortions.  This ignores the fact that this same God Fearing Party is taking kids from their parents at the border.  They are in a constant battle to stop feeding the poor and needy.  In short, they do what it takes to get the vote “Let that baby be born!” and then turn their backs on it.  The GOP has very little to do with the common good.  They call those efforts “liberal”.  But, this is ignored because Pro-Life people are single issue voters and their intellect stops at the womb.

Gun Control: Ignore the fact that everyone wants to end needless gun deaths.

The GOP has discovered that single issue voters that like their guns, will vote for the party that allows virtually unlimited gun ownership.  The GOP has convinced this type of voter that any effort to stem gun violence is equal to the government taking away everyone’s guns.

The intellectually lazy does not look at the facts.  They don’t want to hear about solutions or how other countries are handling this.  They are too lazy (or fearful) to listen to the other side.  They say things like, “If we make laws to control guns, only the bad guys will have guns.”  By this logic, we shouldn’t have any laws because only the good guys will follow them.

Might = Right:  This is a biggie.  The old white males that make up the majority of the Republican Party grew up in a world where the United States won WWII.  They like it when the U.S. flexes its muscle.  When Trump put up tariffs, they cheer because they see this as being “tough”.  Ask them who is really paying for those tariffs.  Ask them what the basic economic terms “elasticity” or “Marginal Cost” mean and they stare at you like a cow.  They have no idea about economics but they like the idea that we are being tough.

White Superiority:  The truth is that we are a nation of immigrants.  The truth is that one of the major issues holding back our economic growth is a lack of labor.  We need immigrants.  However, there are single issue voters that think we are a nation of White People.  They think whites invented stuff.  Whites won the wars.  Being white means being a true American.  They will vote for the political party that subtly supports this idea.  How is it done subtly?  We blame immigrants.  We build walls.  We back off of treaties.  We call acts of terror by whites….crime and by non-white…terrorism.  Trump sees hate at a rally and claims “both sides are equal.”

Christianity:  I was probably 7 years old, sitting in Sunday School when I had the realization that I was studying a fairy tale.  I would ask, “Why would God want Abraham to kill his son?” and get back, “It was a test.”  I knew that was bullshit.  And yet, there are those that think that they not only know the will of God, they also know that God chose America to be the promised land.  God intended for the United States to be Christian.  Now, again, I have no way of knowing if this is true or not.  But…I’m quite certain that absolutely no one knows this to be true.  However, the single issue voter will vote for the party that will keep the other religions out of town.  That would be the Republican Party.

These five issues alone will bring a lot of voters to the Republican side of the table.  The Republicans don’t necessarily believe in any of this stuff but that act like they do and that’s enough.

There are other issues: Education, Global Warming, World Peace, Healthcare, Infrastructure, Taking care of each other, World Trade, Pursuit of the Truth, Space Exploration, the Disappearing Middle Class, Income inequality, Money in Politics.

There are just soooo many important issues and yet….they are ignored by the intellectually lazy.  The GOP goes after the low hanging fruit that is the Single Issue Voter, because their level of ethics allows for them to do that.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…



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The Shame

This just in: “Every nation gets the government it deserves.” – Joseph de Maistre

Last night I had a dream.  I was some sort of Terminator-type guy and I was fighting off an alien invasion that was enslaving mankind.  In the end, I saved the world.  There was a brief celebration and then everyone turned against each other to see which of them would be the new leader and thus, the new “enslaver of mankind.”

At this point, I turned my back on the populace and walked away knowing I had accomplished…nothing.

I think the moral of the story is that the enemy is within.

Our government is in a shambles.  I can’t blame Trump.  I can’t blame the Republicans.  Why?  Because if we get rid of them, the “system” that gave birth to them will endure and thus…produce replacements that are just as bad.

What do I mean when I say “system”?

I think if I had to choose one issue…it would be the absence of accepted facts.

Pick any issue.  Let’s use tariffs.  I think we should know exactly why the tariffs are in.  We should know exactly how these affect our target (China) and our allies.  We should know how they affect us.  We should know how, as a tool, tariffs stack up against other options that may achieve the same goal.

We don’t clearly know any of this.

What about the tax cut that was passed?  What about immigration?  What about NATO or the Paris Accord?  What about Kavanaugh?  What about auto emissions? What about Net Neutrality?  What’s the impact of income inequality?  Can we do better with healthcare?

Suppose we knew exactly the impact and various solutions to these and many other issues.  We could then make good choices.  Perfect decisions come from perfect information.

This brings me to the title of this post: Shame.

The “Shame” is that we are completely able of finding the answers to these issues and making them public.  We are smart and capable.  We can do this.

But we don’t.

We don’t because people are “influenced” to turn the other way.  It could be “vote this way for me and I’ll vote that way for you” type of thing. It could be “I don’t’ want Trump to give me a nickname.”  It could be, my billionaire campaign contributor won’t back me if I don’t vote a certain way.”  Once influence, the fact are often hidden as they may contradict a desired action.

These types of influencers are what got a tax cut passed that is adding trillions to our debt so the extremely rich have even more money.  These types of influences gives us a circus for Supreme Court nominations where 90% of Kavanaugh’s history is kept secret even from the Judicial committee’s Democrat members and the FBI is directed to apparently “not find anything.”

What’s that you say, “We don’t know what the FBI was directed to do.”  That is true.  So I ask, “Why don’t we know exactly what the FBI was directed to do?”

We now have permission to lie.  We have permission to hate.  We have permission to ignore science.  We have permission to scam the tax system.  We have permission to ignore the plight of women and minorities.

And with this permission came an astonishing revelation:  We have been waiting all along for this to be okay. 

The most shameful thing of all is that the mirror has been turned towards us and the picture is not pretty.

That Shame may also be the hidden blessing.  I can pretend that my face is not dirty so long as you don’t make me look in the mirror.  When confronted with the fact…maybe I’ll decide it’s time to bath.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…


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