This just in:  The Republican Party is trying to pass a national health care plan with the following 2 goals in mind: (1) Get rid of the policy that was put in place by the opposing party because “It was put in place by the opposing party” and (2) Reduce the tax burden on the wealthiest Americans (those that are the biggest donors to their party) that is due to any national health care plan.

Notice the absence of any motive that has to do with what is best for our citizens as a whole.

We hear about “patient centered healthcare.”   This is a nice bumper sticker slogan but it means nothing.  I can pick my own insurance now.  I can pick my own doctor.  I can pick my own level of coverage.  I can take it with me from state to state.

Trump, who appears to know nothing about Obamacare or Trumpcare is making promises that are in direct conflict with the actual bill the Republican Party is selling.  I heard on Congressman say that Trump was threatening people with their jobs if they don’t support his bill.  “Vote for the bill I know nothing about or I will not support you during reelection.”

Let me make just a couple of points; knowing that I am beating a dead horse…

  • The neutral Congressional Budget Office has not yet rated this latest plan.  This means those voting on it have no idea about the cost and coverage impact of what they are voting on.  And yet…they will vote.  Why?  They claim there is some urgency.  That is why they spent an entire 9 days on this latest plan and can’t wait for another week to see what the CBO says….this after having 7 years to come up with something.  My guess is that they know what the CBO will say and it won’t be what they want to hear.
  • If the cost of this plan, to the government, is less but our healthcare needs remain unchanged, then that missing support from the government will fall onto our shoulders.  If you think government has no business in healthcare…then stop reading now and go do a bit of research on Economics, the Free Market and Healthcare.
  • High risk pools mean that those with pre-existing conditions will be corralled together and have to pay more.  The GOP claims the government will help with those higher plans…all the while providing less financial support than before.  This comes down the to following claim: By having healthy people in one group and sick people in another group we will somehow pay less even though their overall needs have remained unchanged.  This way of thinking openly demonstrates and complete lack of understanding about how insurance works.
  • When pressed on how costs will go down, the Republican claim is that their reorganization will reduce inefficiency but provide no evidence as to why that would be the case.  In fact, there is nothing in the bill to address efficiency.  It’s just a bumper sticker.
  • The government plan to supplement insurance for high risk people is “Send us the bill and we will pay it until we run out of money.”  Two problems.  First, they are going to provide much, much less money than before so that well will go dry quickly.  Secondly, this means a healthcare provider can charge whatever they want; even if its far above what your insurance will pay because they know they will get money from the government.  This type of “cost plus” billing is the exact opposite of “efficiency.”

In the end…I look at Trump and shake my head.

Then I look at the GOP and think…they are no better.

I once wrote a story about how an underaged kid got a local mentally handicapped man to buy buy alcohol for him.  This is how the Republican Party is using Trump.  He is constantly confused (someone should investigate why we had a Civil War) but is the rubber stamp for whatever the GOP wants.

Right now, they want a tax cut for their big donors.  Trump is just there to talk about himself in the third person and sign whatever is pushed in front of him.

Sad.

Up, up and away….

Jim

 

This just in:  There are things going on right in front of us but the “spin” makes them almost unnoticeable.  I thought I would point out a few.

Healthcare:  Right now, Obamacare says that insurance companies must accept new patients with their pre-existing conditions and they can’t charge those people more than others.  What this means is that the insurance companies must take on high risk people but then spread the cost of that risk among everyone.  This is the essence of insurance.

The GOP is saying “Insurance companies must offer insurance to people with pre-existing condition BUT they can charge those people more.”  So, a person with cancer will pay significantly more than someone without cancer.  By significantly, I mean tens of thousands of dollars more.  The GOP calls this “making insurance available” but leave out the part about affordable.  They do claim lower premiums which will be true for those that don’t have pre-existing conditions.

So, I am old and you are young.  Age is my only pre-existing condition.  I will pay far, far more than you.  As I age, my insurance will go up; pushing me towards bankruptcy at the end of a long life.

This is the GOP healthcare plan.

More Healthcare:  The GOP wants insurance companies to be able to compete across state lines.  They can do this now.  I have Kaiser.  I can move to another state and still have Kaiser.  I can buy my plan in California and then take it with me to Kansas.  I have seen no evidence that insurance companies are terrified of the GOP plan because “competition” will cause them to lower their rates.  No evidence.  This is a false premise offered to those that read chapter 1 in their very first class on Economics and think they have a handle on things.

Flynn:  The White House claims it fired Flynn because he lied about his ties to Russia.  Specifically, Pence claims he was lied to by Flynn and had no idea about Flynn’s Russian connections.  The truth is a congressman told Pence specifically about Flynn way before Flynn was given the position of National Security Advisor (he has a copy of the letter he sent to Pence).  Next week, a previous Attorney General will testify that she also warned Pence about Flynn in advance.  So, Pence lied and in doing so, actively participated in the Trump/Russia coverup.

Spending Bill:  The GOP is claiming victory in the latest spending bill.  Why?  Because they were able to spend 5 times as much money on the military as they did on the rest of the country. Paul Ryan is openly bragging about this.  This is my opinion but…our military is big enough.  Infrastructure spending has a return of 4 to 5 times what we invest in it.

As I write this, Republican Congressman Steve King was on CNN.  He would not say the new plan guarantees coverage of pre-existing conditions and claimed everything was working fine before Obamacare.

This is why we can’t have nice things.

On the funny pages…

Within the last two weeks, both Trump and the Republican Congress have threatened to close down the government that they are running.  In both cases they blamed the Democrats.

Up, up and away…

Jim

This just in:  I started out as anti-Trump but still hoped that he would be successful.  As time goes by, it is clear, at least to me, that Trump is spectacularly unqualified for the job of President of the United States.

It has been “Opposite Day” for more than 100 days in a row now.  For example, I think coal is a dead industry and see jobs in Green Energy as Trump gets rid of regulations on coal; pretending that regulations are the reason coal is on the way out.

Yes, he could be mentally ill but I can only speculate as I am not a psychologist and he may just be eccentric.

He’s made a lot of money but, had he simply invested his dad’s seed money in a stock market index fund, he would have been much richer than he is now.

Yesterday, he said Andrew Jackson was upset about the Civil War and yet…Jackson died 16 years before the war began.

My impression is that Trump is just not a very intelligent person.

I have created a quiz that I think most of us would do well on.  Based on what I have seen of Trump thus far, I would be surprised if he was able to get ANY of the following questions right…

  1. Give two instances where the strength of the dollar is preferred to be strong, or weak; your choice.
  2. Name one, very specific thing that you don’t like about NAFTA.
  3. Name one, very specific thing that you don’t like about the TPP.
  4. Name one, very specific thing you don’t like about Obamacare along with your plan to fix it.
  5. Name any 5 Amendments in the Bill of Rights.
  6. Why will “competition” among healthcare providers bring down prices when it never did before?
  7. Make your case for Trickle-Down economics.
  8. Name one case presided over by the Supreme Court justice you just picked.
  9. Name three consequences of tariffs.
  10. Name 5 members of NATO.
  11. Name just 3 people that voted illegally in 2016, that were NOT Republicans.
  12. Give an example of one job you have created as the result of your being president (Position created for your daughter does not count).
  13. What is the difference between a Bill and an Executive Order?
  14. What is nepotism?
  15. What document contains the “emoluments clause” and what does that clause mean?
  16. How many aircraft carries does the United States have and name the location of any 3 of them.
  17. When did Andrew Jackson die?
  18. What is the definition of a Free Market?
  19. Name just five members of the EU.
  20. Find Germany on a map.
  21. Name one person, other than yourself, that believes either of the following (1) Obama wiretapped you or (2) 3 to 5 million people voted illegally.
  22. Give one instance where your negotiating skills have gotten something accomplished while in office.
  23. Why are you talking about jobs when the United States has far more jobs than it has qualified people to fill those jobs?
  24. What specific traits of the following cabinet members made you choose them for their positions: Sessions, Flynn, Devos, Pruitt?
  25. Give three instances of fake news and provide evidence that those instances are fake.

Trump doesn’t know what is in ObamaCare or its replacements.  Trump doesn’t understand economics.  Trump has no idea how to conduct Foreign Policy.  Trump does not understand the Tax Code. Trump does not understand issues regarding the Environment, Education or Poverty.

But the biggest problem is: Trump is to caught up in himself to bother learning anything new.

Up, up and away…

Jim

 

 

 

This just in:  My New Year’s Resolution was to live a more expansive life; to broaden my horizons.

Oddly…this is harder to do that I thought.  Turns out doing nothing new is my default mode of operation.

I find that keeping a resolution is a lot like trying not to fall asleep while meditation.  I forget that I’m meditating and fall asleep anyway.  Just like I forget I’m expanding and slip right back into my old and familiar routines.

Now, my wife and I have a plan.

We live in Marin County.  She just came across a Best of Marin article which has at least a year’s worth of expansion in it.  We will start going to the Best Beach or the Best Indian Food or the Best Whatever.  Our mission will be to knock off as many of the things on this list as we can before the year is over.  I’ll keep you informed.

On the back pain page…

I am now enrolled in the Stanford Study on back pain.  I fill out a daily Pain Survey.  I will get and MRI in a couple of weeks and another one in a few months.  They will measure my brain somehow to see if my ability to mitigate and manage pain can be measured.  There are weekly group sessions where they teach meditation and various behavioural changes that are supposed to be effective.

I was taking Gabapentin for pain but turn out it makes me kind of stupid.  Since I spend most of my time on near the “stupid line” as it is, I’ve given it up and now rely on Advil.

Cub reported Kim recommended a cream.  I ordered some but it turns out I ordered a different cream. (I was still taking Gabapentin at the time).  So, I started using this new cream and it works quite well!  Imagine that.  It’s called Penetrex.

On the Trump page….

I watched Face the Nation on Sunday and my suspicions were confirmed – We have a mentally unstable man as president.  Don’t take my word for it, read the full transcript yourself here.

I have no idea where our country is heading with regards to Healthcare, Tax Reform, Foreign Policy, Education and Infrastructure.  I have no idea because Trump is sending mixed signals, the GOP is trying to spin everything Trump says so they can do what they want and the Democrats are being led by a couple of ancients whose entire platform is to stand next to Trump with a shirt that has an arrow pointing to Trump and says, “I’m not with him.”

One new nugget I saw yesterday is about Pence.  He is the VP that was lied to by Flynn about Flynn’s ties to Russia…or was he?  It turns out that Pence led the vetting of Flynn and was well aware of Pence’s ties to both Russian and Trump.  He was not lied to because he knew all along!

I’m thinking that the Democrats are starting to smell blood in the water.

Time to save the world…

Up, up and away…

Jim

This just in:  Trump just put forth a Tax Plan that will be hugely good.  Or so he says.

Here is what it looks like to me…

First of all, I wrote a blog post called The Schrodinger President a few days ago.  I explained how Trump puts out a promise and then basks in the afterglow as if he has actually accomplished something.  When we peek at his plans, we see they are empty but by that time, he has move on to another false promise and another self-congratulatory session…for doing nothing.

This tax plan is a lot like that.

It’s 1 page long and has the same amount of content that you’d find in a high school freshman’s English theme for an assignment of “In 500 words or less, what did you do last summer.”

My guess is that Trump slapped this together in about 15 minutes.

He then marched it out and is taking credit for major tax reform in his first 100 days.

Aside from the fact that this plan means nothing and contains almost nothing, let’s look at a few issues.

First, we have a very high corporate tax rate (35%).  However, once you factor in tax credits and loopholes, the realized rate is actually between 12% and 17%.  This is based on a Study by the Government Accounting Office in 2010.

The Republican Party knows this.  So, when they are saying “35%” they are lying directly to you.

I don’t mind a corporate tax cut but it must be offset by eliminating loopholes.  If you don’t do this, then a new tax rate of 15%, as proposed by Trump, will result in an actual tax rate near zero.

Trumps tax plan is going to cost about $7 trillion over the next 10 years.  That’s how much less money we will collect from corporations.

However, the Republican Party has switched our accounting system over to something called “Dynamic Scoring.”  This means that if we need to make up $7 trillion in the next 10 years, the Republicans just make up a GDP growth number that will generate that figure.  There is no data needed.  This is really just a guess.  They reach into thin air and say “GPD will grow at 3% or 7%” or whatever balances the books.

If they did use data, they would find that historically, tax cuts result in short term growth in the GDP followed by an ongoing loss of revenue and a higher debt.  Just look at Kansas if you want to see how tax cuts work.

Second, loopholes actually serve a purpose.  These are rules that are created to incentivize companies to behave a certain way.  San Francisco wants investment south of Market Street.  They tell Twitter they will give them a tax break if they build a building there and hire a certain number of people.  This is an effective use of the tax code.

So, don’t get rid of all loopholes.  Just get rid of the ones that are being abused or that are no longer needed.

Third,  the GOP is stuck on Trickle-Down economics (aka Supply Side economics).  According to them, if you give a rich person more money, they will hire more people.  This is nonsense and possibly the most thoroughly disproven economic policy of all time.  The truth is that consumers create jobs.  In the United States, the middle class makes up 2/3 of our consumers.  If you want to create jobs, give the middle class more money.  GM will build another plant when people can afford to buy more cars, not because of a tax cut.

Forth, The United States has far more job openings than we have people to fill them.  Sending home immigrants is making this even worse.  The H-1B visa program is needed simply because we don’t have enough skilled people at home so we need to import them.  Trump keeps saying “Make American Great Again by bringing back jobs.”  How come no one is asking, “Why will that make us great when we can’t fill the need for jobs right now?”

Fifth, Eliminating the Estate Tax and the Minimum Alternative tax is a gift.  Specifically this is a gift to Trump and other members of the 1% that benefit from this tax elimination.  It won’t affect you or me; aside from increasing our debt.

I would love to pay less in taxes.  However, I expect tax reform to be meaningful, not some sort of propaganda stunt without substance.  It’s time we started taking care of the 99% and stop worrying about whether or not Trump’s heirs will have to pay too much in tax once he finally bites the dust.

There you have it.

I think the probability is very high that the 20 minutes I spent writing this post if more time than Trump put into his Tax Plan.

Up, up and away…

Jim

This just in:  I just returned from Stanford University where they have accepted me as one of their guinea pigs in a study about lower back pain.

Lower back pain is ubiquitous. It’s everywhere.  I thought I would share some of my various treatments here.  The goal is two-fold.  First, I want to keep track of what I’m doing. This will include whatever it is that Stanford wants me to try.  Secondly, I want to share my successes and failures with the world-at-large in hopes that someone will find something here that works for them or someone will comment on this post with their own little secret treatment.

Background:  I’ve had lower back pain for most of my life.  Occasionally bad enough for me to stay in bed.  However, it became dramatically worse about a month ago. Since that time I have had two trips to the emergency room, one while strapped to a board.  I have never experienced a “10 out of 10” on the pain scale until these two visits.  Yesterday, I met with a spine specialist to review my MRI.  I have 2 herniated discs.  There is apparently no cure for this and they will only get worse.  Surgery is an option but I’m not there yet.  There are studies underway like one in Davis where they inject stem cells directly into your herniated disc to see what happens.  I’ll keep an eye on that one.

In the meantime, here is what I have been doing…

  1.  Everyone says “Core is the key”.  A strong stomach will help.  I’ve been starting every day with some sort of core exercise for about 5 years.  I think it helps.
  2. Yoga:  I have several yoga routines that I do in the morning with my core.  None take more than 5 or 10 minutes.  I won’t go into the details as the actual exercises change from time to time but they are always focused on the lower back.
  3. I have this thing called Teeter Hang Ups.  I’ve had it for about 3 years.  I hang upside down with it for about a minute in the morning and the evening.  The spine guy told me to use it for about 45 seconds every hour.  It has been my experience that this is the single most effective and immediate solution to pain.
  4. I don’t lift heavy stuff.  This is a hard one; mostly because of testosterone.  All men have a built in thought of “I bet I can lift that”. I need to fight this.  When I do lift something heavy, I first look for help or, at least use proper lifting techniques.
  5. I have inserts in my shoes.  Not sure if this is impactful or not but the people that sell them tell me they are…so take that for what it’s worth.
  6. I don’t carry my briefcase unless I have no option.  I use one with wheels on it.
  7. Ice works.
  8. I’m trying to lose about 10 pounds.  Every pound of weight is 7 pounds per square inch on your spine.
  9. When I do exercises, I do those that don’t make things worse.  Slow pushups and pullups give me all of the upper body I need.  I don’t do curls or anything that adds weight to my upper body and thus impacts my spine.  I don’t jog but I do walk.  Flat surfaces tend to be less impactful.  Note:  It’s important to find a way to stay fit.  A sore back is a ready-made excuse to be lazy.  Laziness will make you fat and unhealthy.  Just sayin…
  10. I spend 15 minutes in a jacuzzi every day with jets working on my back.
  11. I take a lot of Advil, about 1,000 milligrams a day.  The doctor says I can take more but I don’t.  In fact, I’m planning on tapering off in a couple of weeks.  I’ve only been doing this for about a month, since my first ER visit.
  12. I use a Netti Pot daily to reduce sneezing.  Sneezing and coughing are the most painful things I can do to my back.
  13. I use this thing called “Tens” which sends electrical signals to back through a patch that I attach there.  I thought it was bogus medicine but I tried it out of desperation….and it works!  I think it helps with the muscles around the spine that get tensed up when the pain gets bad…thus causing more pain.  My spine doctor like “Tens”.
  14. I don’t use any narcotic or opioid for pain.  I hear these are effective but highly addictive.  1 out of 5 people that take an opioid for back pain will become addicted.  I assume I will be that “one” so I just say no.  Having said that, when I go to the ER because I can’t move due to the pain, I’ll take whatever they want to give me.  I just won’t leave with a prescription for anything.
  15. Inflammation is the enemy.  Look for foods (and medication) that reduce inflammation.
  16. I hesitate to say this but….I also have a walker and a cane.  My vanity will only let me use these around the house and I only use them on bad days.  I can walk just fine but pushing down on a cane or walker takes some of the pressure off of my body.
  17. I’m thinking of getting a Zero Gravity Work Station.  It’s a bit pricey but it does look like something out of a spaceship so it does have that going for it.  My spine guy said herniated discs only get worse so the less pressure I put on my back on a daily basis, the longer I will be able to live a pain-free life.

The Stanford study will slot me into either a Mediation group to work on the impact of stress or another group that focuses on Behavioral Modification.  There is a third group that will use Acupuncture.  I’ve done that before with no positive results so I told them to not put me in that group.

If you have anything to add to my list, I’m all ears.  I had a guy on a plane last week tell me that when he sneezes, he lifts one of his heels and it make the sneeze hurt his back less.  Interesting.

Additions:  Thanks to cub reporter Sharon who reports that a friend had success with a Zaaz machine which is vibration therapy.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

This just in:  Put a cat in a box with a decaying switch that will eventually release poison. Quantum Law says the cat it both, dead and alive until we actually open the box and have a peek.  This is famously known as Schrodinger’s Cat; a thought experiment about Quantum Theory.

So, according to Quantum Law, two opposite conditions of being can exist at the same time, so long as we don’t peek.

Trump is a lot like this.  Let me give a few examples…

Trump says something like, “We have the best tax reform coming up pretty soon.  It’s going to be fantastic.  This will spur economic growth up to like 6% (economists predict 2%).”

So, do we really have a great tax reform plan coming our way or not?  Trump says he has a The Plan.

Quantum Law (extrapolated to the political realm) says that we have both: a great tax plan and no tax plan.

Because both of these “opposite states of being” exist at the same time, everyone has what they want.  The people that like Trump can’t wait for Great Leader to unveil his gift to the country.  Everyone else shakes their heads and thinks, “Here we go again.  Another Trump bluff.”

We won’t know who it right until we peek.

But we have peeked at a few other things.

At one time the following existed simultaneously: (1) Obama had Trump wiretapped and (2) Trump lied about being wiretapped.

Also: (1) There were 3 to 5 million illegal voters or (2) Trump lied about this.

Also: (1) Trump has the best healthcare alternative to ObamaCare or (2) Trump lied about having a plan to replace ObamaCare.

Also: (1) Trump will keep the United States out of Syria or (2) Trump lied about Syria

Also: (1) Trump did no collude with Russia to get elected of (2) Trump lied about Russia

Also: (1) Korea was once part of China or (2) Trump missed a Geography class

Also: (1) Trump caused companies to bring jobs to America or (2) Trump lied about jobs since those moves were already planned before he took office.

Also: (1) We have an armada heading towards North Korea or (2) Trump lost the entire Pacific Fleet

Also: (1) We are going to do “extreme vetting” of immigrants or (2) Trump has no idea how we currently vet immigrants.

Also: (1) Trump helped force a runoff in the Georgia special election or (2) A nobody was able to force a runoff by being “not Trump”

This list can go on and on.

The point is, we all know that Trump lies.  He does this to create little “packets” of Schrodinger’s Cat.  He makes wild claims and then basks in a sea of “Theoretical Success” until someone peeks.

You might think “But we do peek.  He is routinely exposed as a Grifter.”

True.  But we forget.  If we don’t forget, we are at best, only mildly put off.

Trump has told so many lies that we have become immune to it.

The anti-vaxxer President has inoculated us against being put off by his wildly childish and unpredictable behavior.

The only thing we know for sure…if Trump said it…then it’s not true.

So, remember, for the next 3.75 years, it’s Opposite Day in the White House.

Up, up and away…

Jim

This just in:  I’m not sure what Trump is doing; what his intentions are on a number of fronts.  I’m reaching out to Republicans that have some idea of what’s going on to help me with the following questions:

  1. I just wrote a big check to the IRS.  This makes me wondering if Trump will release his tax returns.  He has said he will once an audit is over.  Is this still true?  I think we need to see them for two reasons: (1) If he is pushing for tax reform, we need to know if he is looking out for the interests of the country or his own self interests and (2) He claims to have no Russia business connections. The tax returns would prove this one way or the other.
  2. Isn’t nepotism illegal?
  3. Trump claimed that he had strategic reasons from dropping that huge MOAB in Afghanistan.  Later, it appeared that he didn’t even know such a bomb existed until after it had been dropped.  Which is it?  Was it strategic or was he just taking credit for something he had nothing to do with?
  4. Why is congressional ethics committee not investigating Trump for having business interests that benefit from his position as president?  This is illegal.
  5. What is his plan about HealthCare?  Is it to Repeal and Replace ObamaCare at all costs or is it to Repeal ObamaCare and replace it with something that is even better?  What I have seen so far appears to be “Repeal and Replace with anything not named ObamaCare regardless of how bad it is.”
  6. What is his plan with China?  Are they trade partners of currency manipulators.  Are they helping with North Korea?  Yes, they turned back a couple of shipments of coal but that seems like a minimalist gesture to give the impression that they actually care.
  7. What is his plan with North Korea?  Are we going to attack?  If so, what would be the trigger?  I know he is saying that he doesn’t want to tip his hand.  However, from Trump, this seems to mean “I have no idea what I’m doing.”
  8. What is the status of the infrastructure plan?  He has said he wants to spend a trillion dollars.  The Democrats support this but the Republican Party does not.  This seems to have disappeared off the radar.
  9. What is our plan for Syria?  Are we going to put more boots on the ground?  Do barrel bombs = chemical bombs as far as what makes him feel bad?  Are we working with Russia on this issue?
  10. Does Trump support a Free Market or does he support “Buy American”?  These are two distinctly different economic thoughts.
  11. Why does Trump keep talking about bringing back jobs when we can’t fill the jobs we have now?  He is limiting H-1B visas stating that we are bringing in cheap foreign labor.  In truth, H-1B visa holders make about 15% more than American workers and we are bringing them in to take jobs that we can’t fill because we don’t have a skilled enough workforce.
  12. If our workforce truly is not skilled, what are we doing about that?  What is Trump’s view on education?
  13. Why does Trump want to build a wall when the vast majority of Americans don’t want one and there are plenty of other things that the money could be spent on.  Along the same lines, how is deporting undocumented workers creating jobs?  Does Trump think that an undocumented worked picking lettuce for $7.50 and hour will be replaced by a documented worker at $35 an hour?  Or does he believe there are plenty of people lining up for $7.50 an hour?
  14. How will Trump bring back coal?  Plants are shutting down at increasing rates and clean energy is making jobs faster than we can fill them.
  15. What is Trump’s plan on tax reform?  When he says stuff like “it will be so great” I hear “I actually have no idea.”  His recent comments on tax reform, like healthcare, seem to indicate he has no idea how out tax system works.
  16. Why does Trump lie constantly?  Is this a planned strategy or is it pathological?
  17. Why is Trump alone, even among his cabinet members, in his affection for Russia and Putin.  He seems to have very thin skin, striking out at even the smallest insult…except for when it comes to Russia.
  18. On a completely unrelated note:  Why is Trump stonewalling on the Russia investigation and why is the Republican Party helping him in this regard.

These are just a few things that I don’t understand.  I’d love for someone to help me out.   Saying things like “fake news” or “he won the election so get over it” tell me that there are no answers that fit other than…Trump has no idea what he is doing.

Up, up and away…

Jim

This just in:  I think we need to take action in North Korea…but first, we need to plan for the aftermath.

For more than half a century…we’ve tried to remove the band-aid that is North Korea, from the arm of the Earth by pulling slowly in order to avoid any pain.  It only made it worse.  Or rather….it only gave North Korea time to make itself more dangerous.

Maybe it’s time to just yank off the band-aid.  Maybe we should strike first.  We can do this by overwhelming their nuclear capabilities.   Apparently we know where everything is and have the ability to take it out before it can be used.  After that, its simply a matter of a 2017 military against a 1955 military.  In short, their tanks can shoot and hit our tanks without causing any damage.  Their air force will be gone in under an hour.  Their 2 million ground troops will be sitting ducks.  In short…it would take less than a day if we decided we had better things to do tomorrow.

But wait…there are some downsides to having a War-Boner….

First, do we really want the world to know what we can do?  Russia will be watching very closely.  If we shoot down ICBM’s as they leave the launching pads, Russia will take notice and prepare to take that option away from us in the future.

As for Nukes.  If we miss one, we might as well miss them all.  While the United States is currently not in danger, millions in South Korea are.  Are we ready to accept the responsibility of that city having a Nuke  lobbed over the fence?  Forget ICBM’s.  Kim Jong Un Donut could fling one over using a catapult and it would be “mission accomplished”.

What about the aftermath?

There are 25 million people in North Korea.  They are not guilty of anything other than being in North Korea when they were born.  They have no industry.  They will have no society.  If we (meaning the entire world) are not prepared to step in and help, then get ready for Asian ISIS.  Thugs will fill the void.

What about China’s concerns?

China is not our enemy, however, we are a threat and they certainly don’t want a unified Korean peninsula with nuclear weapons at their doorstep.  I don’t blame them.  If we want China’s help, and we will certainly need it, then we need to do what it takes to address their concerns about this.

North Korea is a threat.  They are ruled by a crazy person with nuclear weapons.  But….so is the United States.

Are they a big enough threat to justify a preemptive strike?  Maybe.

I am probably leaning towards a “yes” on this.  I do think such a strike is inevitable.  However, I think we need to spend way more time preparing for what happens afterwards.  Maybe this is taking place behind the scenes.  Probably not.

That’s my two cents.

As a superhero, I have these 6 words for North Korea “Don’t make me come over there.”

Up, up and away…

Jim

This just in:  The people we elect, represent us and thus, are a reflection of who we are.

Let’s take a look at what that means…

We are a country that thinks the poor are somehow lesser than the rich.

A waiter works 60 hours a week and is homeless.  A cashier works 12-hour days and can’t afford lunch for her children.  We eat salads made from vegetables picked by a migrant worker that lives in his car.  We ignore our Domestic Untouchables.  When they dare to use public assistance, we call them “lazy” or “takers”.  This is who we are.

We are a country that thinks Healthcare and Education only belongs to the rich.

In order to keep the wealthy from paying too much in taxes, we charge the less fortunate for things like healthcare and college because if we provide it for free, they will become dependent upon it and stop trying.  In other words, we believe they like being poor.

We are a country that does not believe in science.

Data says climate change is real and man-made.  Data shows that making abortions illegal will not slow abortions but will rather make them more dangerous.  Data shows that providing birth control lowers unwanted births and abortions.  Data shows that legalizing marijuana lowers opioid deaths.  Data shows that tax cuts only provide short-term growth in the economy.  Data shows that we don’t need jobs but rather a more skilled workforce to fill jobs that are currently available.  Data shows that Consumers, not the rich, create jobs. Data shows that the Free Market is the worst possible solution to rising healthcare costs.   Data shows that Green Jobs outpace Fossil Fuel jobs by a large order of magnitude.  Data shows that joining wars in the Middle East cost the lives of children from poor families while providing wealth to those that build the missile.  Data shows that unlimited money in politics is the number one reason our country is no longer in the world’s top 15 democracies.

We are a country that believes in Santa and the Devil.

We elect leaders that tell us our problems are someone else’s fault.  Let’s blame the Muslims or the Mexicans or the Poor or the Other Political Party.

We elect leaders that promise us gifts using magic.  The Free Market will lower healthcare costs….this time!  Lower taxes will cause economic growth…this time.

We elect the worst people in our society.

Start with Trump. Add Pelosi.  Add Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell.  We hate Congress but more specifically, we hate “everyone else’s choice but love our own choice” when it comes to congress.  The result is we keep electing the same people over and over again.

We allow for anti-Democratic processes.

We allow Gerrymandering.  We allow voter suppression.  We allow corporations to pick election winners.

In summary…

All of this points to a society with a weak spine; one that finds it easier to believe things we know are not true rather than stand up against such things.  We find it easier to justify actions we would normally abhor because to push for change….would take an effort.  We fall for the same cons over and over again because “maybe this time it will be true.”

Trump is the worst possible leader I can image and yet…he is the one we deserve…

So…now what?

If you look in the mirror and the image looking back at you is wearing the wrong shirt or carrying too many pounds…you ask yourself a question:  “Is it worth the effort needed to change this image?”

Up, up and away…

Jim