Life Hack #1: Adding value

This just in:  I woke up in a hotel room a couple of months ago with the thought, “I’m wasting too much of my life doing non-productive stuff.”

Now, there’s nothing wrong with being non-productive, unless you think there is.  In my case, I feel guilty when, at the end of a day I think, “Another day wasted.”

So, I put together a list of items that I thought would add value to each day.  The list has grown slightly so there are now 21 items on it.  Daily, I track my accomplishment rate; my goal being to do at least half of the items on the list.

One of those items is to watch a 30-minute lesson on one of my programs purchased from The Learning Company.  My current curriculum is on “How the Universe Works.”  This is a 96-lesson course taught by a professor from Berkeley.

Because of this one item on my checklist, I can go to bed every night knowing a little more about something than I did when I woke up.

I recommend going to www.thegreatcourses.com to have a look at the wide variety of courses you can take.  When I first went there, I would buy a course and have them send the DVD to my house.  Now, I just buy the downloadable version.  I can watch them online or download them to watch later when I don’t have a connection.

More about my “list” another time.

On the “For some reason this works” page...

My mom recommended something to me that her doctor recommended to her.  For better health, more energy and weight loss, simply take 2 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar in the morning and then again in the evening.  I do this with about 3 ounces of water.

I’ve been doing this for about 3 weeks.  I have lost 8 pounds, without dieting, and I feel like I’m 20 years old.

Now, this could be the Placebo Affect…but who cares.  Just as long as it works.

On the “I can believe this is our president” page…

Trump now apparently remembered paying his lawyer to keep Stormy Daniels quiet.  He still says there was no affair but paid her just because.

The Ukraine was providing information the the Mueller investigation until…they wanted Trump to give them missiles.  Trump gave them missiles and they suddenly stopped helping the investigation.

Trump apparently had his private body guard go to his pre-president doctor and take all of his medical records.  This is not only illegal but speaks to Trump’s lack of ethics and reported bullying tactics.  This is bringing up the issue of “How fat is Trump…really?”  Also known as the “Girther Movement.”

There is now overwhelming evidence that the Trump Tax breaks that were supposed to raise wages and spur economic growth and more jobs are having two actual results: (1) A national deficit that exceeds anything we have seen…ever and (2) Companies using the tax break to buy back stock and enrich their investors.  No wages went up. No jobs were created.  This was extremely predictable.

On the “Facebook Free” page…

I quit Facebook on the first of May.  Interestingly, the readership on my blog has risen dramatically since then.  Still, I do miss my Facebook friends.  If you have a FB account, please consider reposting my blog posts there, from time to time.

That’s all the time I have.  The world needs saving.

Up, up and away…

Jim

 

Free of Facebook

This just in:  This morning, I deactivated my Facebook account.

This is sort of a big deal in a weird way.  I really never went to Facebook very often; probably averaging less than 5 minutes a day on the site.  However, I posted stuff there all the time.  I posted cute animal pictures and news articles that I would read and think, “The world needs to hear about this.”  Now that I don’t have a FB account, I can’t post there.  This will take some adjusting on my part.

In the meantime…

Have you ever seen one of those videos where someone is playing music for cows?  I tried this the other day.  I started with a handful of cows and eventually 20 or more showed up.  Here is the video…

Leveraging his stupidity…

There seems to be a lot of news today about Trump’s top cabinet members referring to Trump as “Dumb” or “Idiot” or some other such descriptor.  Here’s the deal…I don’t know it they actually did say those things.  However, I have no trouble believing that those close to Trump find him….simple-minded.

One of the key “fall back” positions of Trump supporters is to say, “He is just pretending to be dumb so that he will win in the end.”  I’m not sure how this works but when you are out of straws to grasp at…anything will do.

Comment Section…

I’m having trouble getting the comment box to appear on this site.  I have a trouble call in and expect to have the box up and running soon.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

 

 

 

 

My Last Day on Facebook

This just in:  This afternoon, I will look up how to cancel my Facebook account.

There are a few reasons for this.  First, let’s start with the fact that I love being able to connect with friends I haven’t seen in years.  I intend to still do that, just not through the Facebook format.

Over the years, I’ve seen more and more nasty stuff being posted on FB.  At first, I thought, “This is fine.  I think it’s great that people have strong opinions, even if they differ from me.”  Then I noticed that “opinions were turning into hate.”

This is something I have no need of.

Lately, FB has been nothing but an expose on what people really think.  I see things like, “Michelle Obama was a terrible First Lady; nothing as great as Melania Trump.”  This is not just a statement about opinion.  This is a statement about someone’s acceptance of having a black person in the Oval Office.

I see posts about, “Liberals are trying to take away my guns.”  This is not about the Constitution.  This is about someone willing to risk 30,000 American lives annually so they can maintain their fantasy about killing a home intruder and making the front page of their hometown newspaper.

I see posts about how Trump is doing a great job.  This is possibly the most telling of all.  To support Trump is to demonstrate to me that we, as Americans, are not capable of governing ourselves.

This list can go on and on but I think the point is made.  I’m finding Facebook to be a disappointment.

So, this evening, I am logging off.

Elsewhere….

I see that North and South Korea are making nice with each other.  I really think there is something here this time.  We could end up with a unified Korean peninsula with no nuclear weapons and no Forever Presence of U.S. troops.

The best part of this is that all of this denuclearization is taking place without interference from the United States.  We are completely out of the loop.  However, this has not stopped Trump from taking credit for all of it.

Speaking of Trump…

His tariffs are set to tear apart the global economy.  Yes, it could be that bad.  Already, car prices are spiking up; quickly gobbling away at the extra $100 per year we each go in the Kock Tax Cut.

Europe is scrambling to figure out how to retaliate.  Meanwhile, China is sitting back with open arms as the world turns to them for new leadership in the global economy.

I was speaking with an economist last week.  I asked, “How can any country know what to do about Trump’s tariffs when even he has no idea what he wants?  He keeps changing his position and is often directly contradicting himself..”

The response was golden: She said, “Maybe he’s doing this on purpose.  Maybe he is trying to leverage his stupidity.”

This may be the most brilliant thing I have heard in a year!

On the Entertainment Page…

Watch “The Death of Stalin.”  This is a black comedy with several priceless lines and situations.

Watch “Mr. Robot” on Amazon Prime.  There are 3 seasons out.  Granted, a few episodes are a bit slow but overall, this is a very unique type of show.

On my webpage…

I will try to beef up the ability to make comments and interact on this site.  So, if you are on FB and want to stay in touch, make sure to sign up in the right sidebar.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

 

Choices

This just in:  I was in Miami Beach last weekend.  As I walked along a harbor, I was able to marvel at the super yachts lining the piers.  These are boats that can easily cost tens of millions of dollars.

The thought crossed my mind, “I wonder how many of these yacht owners took their multi-million dollar tax cut and turned it into jobs?”

The answer is zero, of course.

People and companies don’t hire people unless they need to.  They also don’t give pay raises unless they need to.

In other words, the tax break for the rich did nothing to increase wages or create jobs.  This is Economics 101.  If you don’t agree with this, then you lack education.  This is not “a matter of opinion.”  It’s a simple fact.

So, where did that tax break money go to?  Well, individuals bought yachts or nicer houses or new dresses.  Corporations bought back stock which served to enrich shareholders.  If you don’t own stock, then you missed out on this as well.

The latest Congressional Budget Office analysis of the Republican Tax Bill is that it is going to bankrupt our country.  It is increasing our national debt by $1-$2 trillion a year…forever going forward.

Meanwhile…90% of American see no benefit.  None….

Eventually we will have to make some choices.  Let me list a few here…

  1. We can spend money on education. We can pay teachers living wages.  We can buy textbooks and computers. OR…we can let the very rich continue to buy yachts.
  2. We can maintain our roads and bridges.  We can invest in high speed transportation that brings labor into cities that are too crowded and too expensive to live in.  OR…we can continue to elect Republicans which are funded by groups like the Koch Brothers who are now making an additional $1 billion a year thanks to the tax break.
  3. We can create a healthcare system that is the envy of the world.  Or…we can allow income inequality to continue to grow so that for every $1 our country earns, $.99 go to the top 50 richest Americans…so they can buy more yachts.
  4. We can provide for Social Security so that our elderly don’t spend the last few years of their lives in poverty or as burdens to their children OR we can continue to believe the line that “Big Government is Bad” and thus continue to elect people that will govern to the needs of the rich.

These are the kinds of choices we face.  They are not new choices. They have always been there.

The right choice seems clear in every case.  The only roadblock is the Populist Agenda.  This is where someone with no educational background to support their assertion will tell you, “Vote for me and I’ll give you the best healthcare in the world and it will cost you nothing,” or “Vote for me and I’ll give you the biggest tax break in history and our economy will blossom with high paying jobs.”

Populism is basically promising people whatever they want to hear knowing that a large percentage will vote for you “just in case you really do know how to turn lead into gold.”

Populists are gullible and therein lies the problem.

Time for me to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

I was wrong…imagine that!

This just in:  For basically forever, I have said that the president cannot be held responsible for the economy; at least in the short run (less than a year).

I remember Obama taking over in 2004 and a week later, the Republican Party blamed him for the millions of jobs lost during the Bush administration.  They blamed him if gas prices went up for a month.  They blamed him if the stock market took a 1-day dip.  They blamed him if unemployment went up.  All of this was blamed on him after about 20 minutes in office.

My response was to say, “Hey, Congress passes the laws.  Congress passes the budget.  Our economy is huge and cannot turn on a dime.  The president doesn’t have the power to change the economy very much and has zero ability to change anything economically in the short run.”

Turns out I was wrong…

Trump, all by himself (as the Republican Party acts as if they are busy elsewhere) has managed to tank our economy in about a year.  Yes, we are not in a recession…yet; however, the table has been set for us to begin a steep downward slide into insignificance.

He started with using his executive powers to drop us out the the Trans Pacific Partnership.  This effectively put billions of customers out of reach for our products.  He then started trying to renegotiate NAFTA; a partnership that involves our biggest trading partner, Canada.  Then he started exporting undocumented workers.  Yes, he broke up families but it also sent cheap labor out of the country.  This didn’t create high-paying jobs in the the tech industry.  What it did do was raise the price you pay for nearly everything you buy in a grocery store.

Now it’s tariffs.  It took about a week for a trade war with China to go nuclear.  A trade war with another country is like having a starvation diet competition with your neighbor.  You both suffer until one of you dies.  When that happens, the remaining person can say, “I won” as his body lays crippled on a hospital gurney.  Expect inflation; the inevitable result of a trade war.  Expect higher interest rates; the inevitable result of inflation.  Expect your home value to drop; the inevitable result of high interest rates.

The stock market is having its worst quarter since the Great Depression.  This is all the result of one man….Donald Trump.  A man fooling with our economy that was once called “the dumbest student I ever had” by his college economics professor.

Trump does not know what is in the tax bill he signed.  Trump does not know what is in the Trans Pacific Partnership.  Trump does not know what is in NAFTA. Trump does not understand tariffs or international trade in general.  Trump even famously asked Flynn, his then National Security Advisor, “What’s the difference between a strong dollar and a weak dollar?”

And yet…he is in charge.

So…I was wrong.  The president can have a major impact on the economy.

Score one for the big Cheeto in the White House.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

Note: I drop out of Facebook on 1 May.  If you want to still read these posts (for some reason), make sure you subscribe in the right sidebar.  Also, I will no longer be able to post these blogs on Facebook so if you think others might like the content, from time to time, please repost.

j

An absence of Shame

This just in:  I used to think the problem was “money in politics”.  Next, I blamed everything on Trump.  Now, I think it comes down to this…people no longer have shame.

Laura Ingram, a Fox News Host has taken to attacking one of the students in the Parkland shooting.  She’s actually cyberbullying this kid because he hasn’t been accepted at his first choice of colleges.  Why is she doing this?  Well, there is the money.  She has high ratings because she does stuff like this and her viewers eat it up.  Also…she has no apparent shame.  She sees nothing morally wrong with her position and actions.

Nunes is the Republican leading the way in protecting Trump.  If there is a wall, its the one Nunes is building around the president.  Now he is after the FBI to produce millions of documents that he says will prove….who knows what.  I think he is trying to paint the FBI as anti-Trump under Comey.  This seems to ignore the fact that Comey may have made the biggest contribution to Trump’s victory when he came out about “more Hillary emails” days before the election.  Nunes is the one responsible for putting out a misleading “memo” that was designed to paint a completely false picture about a FISA warrant.  He also brought the Senate investigation into Trump to an abrupt end saying, “nothing to see here.”  His blatant lying and other actions should be embarrassing to him.  Instead…he seems okay with all of this.  Shameless.

Trump himself is the King of Shameless Land.  He will hold up an apple and tell you its a stick of butter knowing that both you and him know that he is lying.  Shameless.

The woman in charge of the Department of Education seems bent on destroying education.  I’m not sure if this is due to a lack of shame or just incompetence.

The man in charge of the Department of Energy seems bent on stopping the pursuit of clean energy and actively stomps on any suggestion that there is a thing called Global warming.  Shameless or incompetence?

The man in charge of Finance believes in Trickle Down Economics.  He can’t be so stupid as to believe this so my guess is he is lying to enrich others.  Shameless.

Paul Ryan,  the Speaker of the House, pushed through a tax bill that gives billions to the richest Americans at the cost of a $1.4 trillion addition to our national debt over the next 10 years.  Then, he says, we need to cut Social Security and Medicare because we are out of money. Shameless.

Mitch McConnell has a huge list of lies.  For example: Obama came to him and said, “Hey, Russia is interfering in our elections.  We should put out a joint statement so the country knows this is a non-partisan issue and it is really happening.”  McConnell says “Nope”.  Then later he blames Obama for not telling us about the Russian interference. Mitch also prevented Obama from appointing a Supreme Court Justice even though he had about 8 months left in his term.  No Shame.

I am astounded by this lack of shame.  Not because “We should feel shame”.  But rather because, when we do the right thing (like tell the truth) we avoid shame.  If you have no sense of shame, there is nothing to avoid.  You can do whatever you want and your moral compass stays locked away in the closet.

We can fix this.

We can vote in 2018.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

The gift that keeps on giving…

This just in:  In Putin’s eyes, Trump is the gift that keeps on giving.  It really doesn’t matter why Trump does what he does.  It doesn’t matter if Trump just has a boy-crush on Putin or if Putin is controlling Trump.  It doesn’t even matter if some shady Russian loan shark is controlling Trump. All that really matters is that Trump is behaving in a way that Putin must find very satisfying.

Let’s look at a few examples….

  • Russia depends on oil. They use oil, but their real income comes when others use oil.  Trump inexplicably stepping out of the Paris Climate Accord means he is free to promote all types of oil exploitation.  He has done this with great enthusiasm; allowing drilling in Alaska, national parks and off our pristine coast lines.  This makes Putting happy.
  • Russia is a small economy and no match for the United States and its allies. Putin knows this, so it would be in his interest if the United States was somehow made smaller.  For example, if our economy was less robust or our allies around the world began to stand a bit farther from us; as if we were at a global party and broke wind.

Has Trump given this to Putin?  Has Trump made us smaller?

I would argue that he has on several fronts.  Let’s look at a couple…

  1. Moving our Israeli embassy to Jerusalem has alienated us from every Arab country in the Middle East.
  2. Threatening war with Iran and stepping away from the Iranian agreement alienates us from our NATO allies who are part of that Iranian agreement.
  3. Tariffs that start a global trade war has spooked the entire global economy. This, all for a few steel worker jobs that will never be recreated.
  4. A Trump wall has alienated Mexico.
  5. Boasting about lying to the P.M. of Canada has alienated, not only Canada but the rest of the world that now has confirmation about that they have long suspected – Trump lies constantly.
  6. Bolton, Trump’s new National Security Advisor, has openly advocated for a preemptive strike against North Korea; a move that many believe will be almost instantly followed by 20 million deaths in South Korea. This move, even if it worked, would alienate China who sees NK as their illegitimate step child that they are someone responsible for taking care of.
  7. We have stepped out of the Trans Pacific Partnership, closing the door on a massive amount of potential trade.
  8. At home we have seen a rise in white supremacy and racism as well as religious intolerance. All of this serves to dis-unify our country.
  9. At home we have seen tax policies enacted and regulations tossed aside all directly responsible for increased income inequality; another divisive issue.

So yes, Trump has given Putin what he wants.  He has made American smaller.

There you have it.  My argument for “Trump is the gift that keeps on giving…to Putin.”

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

A short list of Trump’s Troubles

This just in:  I was wondering about what Trump thinks of as he starts each day.  What are his priorities?  His goals?  Then it occurred to me that he must have very little time to do anything other than Damage Control.  I would like to think “Poor Trump.  He tries so hard and yet the world is against him.”  However, I think that most, if not all, of his troubles are of his own making.

Let’s take a look at them…

  • Colluding with Russia during the 2016 election has to be high on his list of troubles.  This is not an illegal thing unless there was a Quid Pro Quo; unless he promised them favors in exchange for their help.
  • The Mueller investigation seems to be expanding.  Mueller has the ability to investigate anything that arises as a result of his initial investigation into Russian Collusion.  This has given birth to a whole family of problems.
  1. Trump’s extensive Russian connections are being discovered.
  2. Trump’s finances are being investigated.
  3. Trump’s daughter and son-in-law are being investigated.
  4. Money laundering comes up a lot
  5. Dealings with Russian banks is a constant; especially when they found ways to loan him money when normal banks would not.
  6. Several of his closest associates have been indicted including his Senior Security Advisor and his campaign manager.  It’s as if everyone Trump worked with in his campaign is associated with Russia.
  7. Obstruction charges are likely to be brought simply because Trump has and is actively trying to stop the investigation.  This includes firing the head of the FBI as well as constant pressure to get his Attorney General to quit.

But wait…there is more outside of the Russia stuff…

  • Trump has dropped the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accord, leaving our seat at the head of the table empty, until China stepped in.
  • Trump has dropped the U.S. out of the Trans Pacific Partnership, leaving our seat at the head of the table empty, until China stepped in.  (China is not part of the TPP but is suddenly a major player in the regions economics and will likely join the TPP soon).
  • Trump has pissed on Canada and Mexico by trying to renegotiate NAFTA even though he apparently has no idea what that means.
  • Trump lies constantly which really highlights “Oh what a tangled web we weave.”  He seems to have overcome the burden of remembering his lies by simply not caring about them. However, his international credibility is shot; especially since he recently announced he intentionally likes to Canada’s PM.
  • The EU is putting together plans to ramp up a trade war after Trump fired the first shot with needless tariffs.
  • The Deficit is starting to shoot up and out of control following the recent tax plan; a plan that gives billions to the richest among us and virtually nothing to the poor and middle class.
  • The mid-term elections are shaping up to be a runaway for the Democrats if recent special elections are any indicator.  Republicans are being dumped right and left as the country observes their complicit behavior when it comes to Trump’s misdeeds.
  • An analytical firm that played a very major role in Trump’s election was recently outed as a company willing do just about anything to get their client elected.  Just by being associated with this company has cost Facebook $50 billion in the last 48 hours.  Trump, Russia, Bannon and Kershner all have their thumbs in this toxic pie.
  • A pornstar is about to spill the beans on Trump.  Watch 60 minutes this Sunday.
  • Trump got tens of millions of dollars from the NRA who is now being investigated for taking money from Russia and passing it along to Trump.  The is made worse by the fact that a bunch of teenagers noticed that the NRA is apparently a terrorist organization.
  • Trump is under criticism for his “brilliant” plan to fight the opioid crisis with a combination of commercials and death sentences.
  • Trump’s cabinet is experiencing the highest turnover in modern history with insiders describing Trump’s organization as being “in chaos.”

So, he wakes up to Russia, to money laundering, to questionable associations, to a world now led by China and to at least one pornstar.

Which of these are not of his own making.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

I know who to blame

This just in:  I noticed I have become increasing less sensitive to those that propagate political nonsense.  For example, yesterday I saw a post that said, “Hitler supported universal healthcare.”  The implication seemed to be that if you supported everyone having healthcare as a right…you want to kill 6 million Jews.

So…today…I’ve decided to put “niceness”aside and call ’em as I see ’em.

Let’s start with Trump.  He is a crime family boss indebted to the Russian government.  His existence as our president instead of an an inmate is the fault of the Republican Party and those that vote Republican.

For underprivileged kids that get free meals at school because their parents can’t afford to feed them….I blame the Democrats and those that vote Democrat.

For a tax break that gives billions to the richest in the country while almost nothing to the middle class and the poor, all the while creating the largest annual deficit in our nation’s history…I blame the Republican Party and those that vote Republican.

Every time there is a “Death by Gun” I blame the Republican Party and those that vote Republican.

When there are federally funded advances in technology and medicine, I blame the Democrat Party and those that vote Democrat.

Every time there is an attempt to keep people from voting (voter suppression) or to keep 1 vote from having the same weight as another vote (Gerrymandering) I blame the Republican Party and those that vote Republican.

Every time I see a public project, like transportation, that costs billions but contributes to the public good, I blame the Democrat Party and those that vote Democrat.

Whenever the NRA gets it way with regards to gun legislation, I blame the Republican Party and those that vote Republican.

Whenever our government reaches out to help those in need (contributions to poor countries, welcoming refugees etc) I blame the Democrat Party and those that vote Democrat.

Whenever my health care cost go up as services decline, I blame the Republican Party and those that vote Republican.

Whenever I see the United States working with other countries in harmony on issues such as the Environment or trade, I blame the Democrat Party and those that vote Democrat.

When I see a news station put out knowingly bias and/or false information while those that offer real news are called “fake” I blame the Republican Party and those that vote Republican.  (You must watch this video to see what I mean.  After watching…pass it along)

When people see families as families and not as “Muslim” or “Mexican” and treat them as such, I blame the Democrat Party and those that vote Democrat.

Whenever I see the rest of the world turning their back to the United States, whether it’s because of trade or human rights or whatever, I blame the Republican Party and those that vote Republican.

When I see hate groups legitimized; when Muslims are seen as terrorists and Mexicans as someone to blame for our own shortfalls, I blame the Republican Party and those that vote Republican.

In short, I see no reason to vote Republican.

I see nothing but The Dark Side, when I think of a Republican.

It has not always been this way.  I, myself, am an ex-Republican.  However, in the last 15 years…this party has morphed into something unrecognizable.

We must vote in 2018.  We need this corrupt Political Party of fear, hate and greed to be erase from the American vista.

Now…it’s time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

Big News Day

This just in: Stephen Hawking died yesterday.  This man revolutionized physics in a way that few have.  We should take a moment to remember him.  Science matters.  Without it…we would be ruled by theology…or some other form of fake news.

Meanwhile, the Republican Party’s investigation into Trump’s Russian collusion came out of their hole and said, “Nothing to see here, people.  Move along.”

The Democrats involved in that same investigation came out of the same hole and said, “Looks like Trump did a whole lot of colluding.”

When Mueller finishes his investigation, someone will be proved wrong.  The same Mueller that seems to be charging people in Trump’s “clan” with crimes related to Russia nearly every week.

My bet is that a whole lot of people are going to jail and a whole lot of Republicans will be losing in the midterm elections.

On the “You’re Fired!” page…

The president of the United States fired his Secretary of State…by twitter.  That’s right.  I cannot imagine a more cowardly way to do that.  However, with Trump…it somehow feels normal.  That is how low the bar it.

On the Election front…

The Democrats have three problems: (1) I follow politics and I don’t know what their platform is, (2) They need to be able to communicate their platform when, and if, they get one.  “Not Trump” should not be considered a platform.  (3) Single issue voters.

Single Issue Voters!!??

Yes.  These are the people that vote based on a single issue; usually its abortion or guns.  So, if your party is against guns, and I like guns…I vote for the other guy.  If you are anti-abortion, I vote for you if I am anti abortion.  This means that Republicans can destroy healthcare, prevent people from voting, end Medicare or Social Security or even support a president that works for Russia….just so long as they are pro-gun or pro-abortion.

The “single issue voter” is the best evidence that Democracy doesn’t work; that we are incapable of governing ourselves.

However, Churchill was right when he said, “Democracy is the worse form of government except for all of the others that have been tried.”

Up, up and away…

Jim