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Ford vs Kavanaugh: #I Don’t Believe Her!

When you don’t have an argument…

…have a contrived scandal in your pocket ready to spring on your opponent.  There is no honor in it, but you might just get the worthless win anyway.  When you are without scruples taking the highroad has no appeal.

Bottom Line Up Front. I have looked at the Ford vs Kavanaugh story and I don’t believe her. Set aside the American imperative that one is innocent until proven guilty (progressives are already snickering behind their hands at that), her story just reeks of progressive emotionalism right out of the gate.

There are politicians out there already selling her tale vigorously. But they don’t believe it any more than I do. They just find a delusional dupe like Ford an easy ride to derail a Supreme Court nominee.

There are rank and file progressives that sincerely believe Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford. But they are credulous, emotion-adled drones already programmed to believe it. No one else, who has read the particulars, available so far, actually believes her. Too much of it makes no sense. The nonsense is so pervasive that to judge her story to be an intentional lie is not being terribly unfair.

And the 11th hour sex scandal from the left is now almost guaranteed whenever they are losing.  They are counting on your credulity to keep using it, no matter how vapid the storylines.

But let’s stipulate to some of her story just to TRY and give her that much credit.

Related post: Sexual Counterfieters IF NOTHING ELSE, READ THE LAST LINE!

The Party

In the early ‘80s, Ford attended a party with other teenagers. It was at the house of someone she does not know and she has no recollection of how she came to know of the party.

[loud gameshow buzzer]

There’s the first red flag. If, in our teens years, a friend invited us to a party at his house and we went there and nothing of note happened, we’d likely forget the details and probably even the party. BUT, if we are part of a group that goes to a strange house and crashes, or we are part of a group that HEARD about a party at a stranger’s house and followed the crowd there, we remember that. We just do. To say other is a lie, unless you make a habit of traipsing off to strange houses, uninvited, to raise hell as a matter of course. Is that how Doctor Ford lived as a teen/young adult?

Add to that, we had an experience at this strange place from which we came away saying, “he might have inadvertently killed me.”

Now that is a party we will always remember. ALWAYS!   (I’ll deal with the repressed memory bullshit in a moment.) If we really did come away regretting the night – and this is human nature – we would  torture ourselves with mental tapes playing over and over in our heads about what happen

Kavanaugh. Source: Brietbart

ed, how we might have avoided it and how we came to be in such a situation to begin with. We would be as embarrassed at our own stupidity as we might be angry at how we were treated.

If there ever was such a party, Ford remembers it in vivid detail and in color.

But…so, okay, there was this party.

 Again, this was the early ‘80s. So what possessed Ford to retire from the group to go to a bedroom with two apparently drunk teenage males? I am going to go out on a limb and make some broad assumptions*. I suspect she wasn’t required to wear a burka as a child. She wasn’t a child of the 18th century, raised by her recluse uncle who was a parson of a small rural church. And she wasn’t raised in a convent. So one can safely assume the teenage girl knew what all drunk, male teenagers want. We’re talking about the 1980’s. Not the 1780’s. So why did she go into this room where she was supposedly molested? I can hear the emotionalist moaning already: [whiney voice] Your blaming the victim! No, I don’t believe she ever was a victim. Her story, as we will see, holds little merit. I am asking a simple question. Why go to the bedroom?

His first reaction? The “offender’s” resume!

Fast-forward to 2012. We have Ford and hubby in a therapy session, as the story goes. By some machination – this therapy session must have been a humdinger – Ford is induced to retrieve a “repressed memory”. Wow!

She tells her therapist and hubby that she was molested at a party as a teenager. She relays, by her own and her husbands accounts, the last names only of the boys involved. And what is hubby’s immediate reaction? Again, by his own account, he thinks hmmm, Kavanagh (no first name). He sits on the DC Circuit court, he could be a Supreme Court Justice someday.

 Now here is how a real husband would react. “Kavanaugh?! Who Kavanaugh? Are you talking about that judge? Brett? Did that mother f*#@er hurt you!? I’ll kill him! I’ll f*#@ing kill him.” A real husband would have to be restrained. I might need an injection from the good doctor.

There is so much wrong with how they speak of the husband’s reaction, I could write a book about it. But I will stick to the basics here.

To the ladies: Would you stay married to a man who, when confronted with you being sexually assaulted, first reacts by wondering if the attacker might make it to the Supremes some day?

To all: How many people, who are not over-the-top political wonks, even know the names of the members of the DC Circuit court? Of those how many actually think DC Circuit and then Supreme Court, concurrently, when there is not a compatible seat open? The answer is NO ONE to both questions.

That is an utterly insincere or sociopathic response. The only reason it was inserted into their story was to give the smear job context. So you can call them liars, meaning they are politically fanatical to the point of ruining another person’s life to score a win. Or you can believe them in which case you acknowledge their weakness and stupidity.

And what of that DC Circuit Court thing? They decide, as a couple we must assume, that he should go on handing down decisions from his bench, for the rest of his life, affecting the lives of countless people.  This explosive information about Kavanaugh being a sexual predator should be kept secret. That’s okay to do. But then, oh no! – He’s about to be confirmed to the Supreme Court! Quick, dash off an anonymous letter to Diane Feinstein, tell her not to use it and get a polygraph test so we never have to come forward with what we know!

 Yeeeeeeeah, that is precisely the behavior of anyone who wishes not to gain notice. RIGHT!

Nothing says immature and emotionalist like a stupid hat.  This is not Christine Blasey-Ford. It is not known if Ford owns a giant vagina costume.

About the whole anonymity, non-political thing: We are dealing with a very political couple. They are heavily involved with groups who are rather loud with their dislike of conservatives and Donald Trump (the two are not synonymous). And our good Doctor Ford is a loud and proud owner of a “pussy hat” (their adolescent term, not mine). People who attend rallies wearing a pussy hat are not averse to notoriety, conflict or emotionalism. Ford is all the way down with being a part of the narrative. But she was most likely told not to look too enthusiastic.

The polygraph is being touted as proof of her truthfulness. There are reasons polygraphs are not permitted in courtrooms as evidence. They are not, as the misnomer would indicate, lie detectors. Let me give you a for-instance.

 

Let’s say my wife gets home from a day of shopping and I have been watching porn and tagging the whiskey all day. When she walks in and says, “what have you been doing all day?” I am going to have a physical reaction. I will blush, my pulse will go up, my breathing will change and I’ll blurt out something like, “RESEARCH!” If I was wired up, a polygraph would go off the charts.

source: Slate.com 

But, if I was smart, knew the question was coming and had 2500 words of an old draft handy, I could just point to that and say “Just writing.” In my confidence I wouldn’t twitch a needle. That is the value of Ford’s polygraph. If her story is basically true, she was attacked by ANYONE, in this case Kavanaugh, she did herself and women everywhere a disservice by doing nothing about it. The gap of time is enough to shed legitimate doubt. But she’d pass a polygraph.

If she is lying, but has her story straight with hubby, her lawyer and likely Feinstein’s staff, she has no reason to stress when she answers direct polygraph questions. She still passes. She lies, but the machine can’t see it.

But why did she already sit for one? Remember, she had no intentions of coming forward. She wanted to remain anonymous. But she sought and sat for a polygraph? For what, to hang  the tape next to her Christmas stocking?  When you are out to ruin someone’s life and pretend to want anonymity, you wait for the first challenge THEN you take the polygraph.  You don’t say I wish to remain anonymous and here’s my polygraph results.  Because people will suspect you are lying…and for good reason.

And of course, there are the biggest questions. Why did she ever write the letter and why did she not write it when Kavanaugh was an up-and-comer?  She could have prevented the potential rapist and possible killer from sitting on a court bench or advising presidents!

I said I’d deal with repressed memory, didn’t I?

This, in my humble opinion, is mostly psychotherapy hogwash. There have been cases where people have actually blanked things out of their own minds. But in such RARE cases you might find these people were traumatized far beyond anything Ford describes as occurring at this party. We are talking about unspeakable trauma or abuse that would make any of us shudder. If this woman was so traumatized by a drunk teenager trying to get in her knickers, only to see him knocked off of her because his buddy was horse playing, then she likely has far more serious issues with abuse that have nothing to do with that party. But we may never really know.

Truth will not be served next Monday in the Senate Committee hearing. The Democrats will be busy demonizing Kavanaugh and coaching Ford with their questions and comments. There will be a lot of “she is woman, hear her roar” crap. The Republicans will be outdoing each other with how obsequious they can be toward Ford. No one will ask real questions because, as the press has already cautioned the GOP, you can’t pick on her because she is just a girl.

Yeah, I can’t rectify it either.

But no one will be interested in the truth.

As shameless as that all is, it matters little in terms of the accusations. A Senate circus is no place to settle this kinds of thing.  It should have been aired in a courtroom a long time ago. But the true goal of ALL OF THIS may be realized. A man with an amazing legal resume may have his life ruined and a conservative may be denied a seat on the SC.

That trumps everything – even the truth. It is even more important to score a single political victory than to care how real victims of sexual assault will be received in the future.

 

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Vanity Fair Ought To Be More Careful

One of my future books is going to deal with just how wrong so many people can be about so many things. The reasons for such wrong-headedness are simple: One is immature on unprofessional writers, either out of ignorance or agenda, splashing stupid all over the web. The second is that we, as information consumers, tend bite into information in small chunks and swallow it all without questioning anything (especially if it validates our own misconceptions – confirmation bias). A glaring example of an agenda-laden package of stupid delivered to the world came from a Vanity Fair HIVE article in the September 2018 issue by Susan Fowler.

 

Right out of the gate, I am forced to set aside my incredulity if I am to believe her unofficial poll numbers about how many gig workers you’ll see at any given moment in San Francisco.

 

A gig worker is someone who works as an independent, performing app-driven or limited, self-driven functions. Uber, Lyft, Grubhub, etc. are examples. But there are others.

 

Bloody hell! If her outlandish numbers regarding how many gig workers there are in SF, all buzzing about on their assigned errands are true, then her city is an Uber-Valhalla! Forgive the pun, but I’d have liked to have experienced that utopia as a gig worker.

 

 

But like almost all information you’ll receive when motivated by a crusade or simple self-righteousness, the numbers in Susan Fowler’s article require a mystic suspension of disbelief.

 

Here are some real stats gathered from sources like Forbes, US News, Pew and others.

 

34% of the workforce fall into the category that some very loosely define as gig worker. This definition includes people who work 2nd jobs or work freelance. An example of the latter might be a really good-looking author/furniture maker who lives in Vancleave, Mississippi, whose initials are Matt Jordan.

But that is not the type of work the article refers to. Nor does the previous paragraph fit what most people define as gig work. Can my writing be considered gig work? Meh. Some would say yes, but I have only ever written one article based on a request. So I say no.

 

24% of the work force does report that they have received payment for work performed for an app-based service. Now we may be talking Uber or Wegolook, etc. But we would also be talking about affiliate marketers and gig writers, Fivvers who don’t run the streets in pursuit of the next gig. Further, that 24% includes many people who already have jobs and are only doing gig work part time. You won’t see the majority of these people flitting about the streets of San Francisco during the business day.

 

So, eight out of ten random passers-by, as Fowler states, being clearly in her line of sight, in pursuit of an app-based occupation is exceedingly difficult to believe. But perhaps she just happened to be counting on the exact date and time when an almost impossible number of gigsters just happened to collide on the same street corner. Perhaps two Lyfts and an Uber wait for riders, a Postmate glides by on a bicycle while three Grubhubs are delivering to nearby buildings. Meanwhile a Wegolook guy is measuring dents on a Prius with an “I’m with Her” bumper sticker on it (hey, this is San Francisco Vanity Fair is talking about). But when Fowler writes “eight out of every ten” it implies she sat and counted to ten several times and spotted dozens of gigsters. 80% of her total! Stephen Glass suddenly leaps to mind.  Vanity Fair ought to be more careful, even with “opinion” pieces. [emphasis mine]

 

San Francicso is populated enough to represent a fair cross-section of the population. When you only have 24% of the population being paid by the gig and at that, many working after business hours, and most of them not doing it in public, you have a very small number of people to count at any given moment.

 

But all that is prologue. It’s the meat of the article that offends the intelligence in more subtle ways. Take the time to consider what Fowler is trying to say (and not to say).

 

A quote (with my comments). “The gig-economy ecosystem (just “economy” will do – “ecosystem” adds a layer of bullshit and tips your hand right out of the gate) was supposed to represent the Promised Land, striking a harmonious egalitarian (PLEASE!) balance between supply and demand.”

 

The article is loaded with emotionalist tripe like this. But lets start here.

 

  1. These are just apps. Yes, even I have used the term gig-economy. But there is nothing magical about it.
  2. “Promised land?” “Harmonious egalitarian balance?” Seriously? Did an adult write this? Sweetie (Ms. Fowler), there is no such thing in the conduct of commerce as harmony and egalitarianism. Commerce is by its very nature competitive and cyclical. I sell you my widget for as much as I think you are willing to spend. You decide you want the widget more than the money you hold in your hand. If there are competing widget companies out there, I have to price my stuff to outperform the others. But you can shop more judiciously. So there is no balance. There are only cycles that reward or punish the buyers and the sellers. If supply and demand were balanced (and we pretended to be “egalitarian” – none of us are) we would all pay the same amount for everything. Wow! A pig just flew over my house!

 

Here’s another gem. From the start, it is clear Fowler is on a crusade. First she talks about the billions Uber, Lyft and Instacart are worth (rich people implies bad in the context of the article). She then talks about “- A class of workers who aren’t protected by labor laws, or eligible for benefits provided to the rest of the nation’s workforce – “.

 

It would almost move you to tears, if you were utterly ignorant of how the world works.

 

In response, we’ll stick to Uber drivers. Uber is the big gig on the streets.

 

These drivers are 1099, self-employed people. It is rare that a 1099 worker would be eligible for most of what an actual W-2 employee would be.

 

For example, a 1099 worker is not obligated to work in an inherently unsafe environment. So if my builder, Kenny, refused hang from a rope to paint my house, no matter how funny that would be to watch, I can’t force him to do it. Other than those kinds of considerations, a 1099 service provider need only supply what he promises and to take care of his own benefits. THAT IS THE NATURE OF THE RELATIONSHIP YOU HAVE WITH THEM! That is WHY they are 1099 and not W-2!

 

Here’s another doozy. Fowler quotes the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission. They represent people who would not have jobs if not for a) BAD rich people and b) people on expense accounts that don’t care what transportation costs. And their constituent group, taxi and limo drivers, hates Uber as much as the buggy whip makers hated car makers.

 

Anyhoo, the commission, after stroking the stats as thoroughly as possible said that 85% of rideshare drivers earn less than $17.22 an hour.

 

Whoa! Stop the presses! Say What?! You mean to tell me that 85% of the drivers in New York sit like gargoyles waiting for that ping to come, then drive their cars from here to there, and they don’t get paid $17.22 to do it? They actually decide for themselves whether the amount they do get paid is worth schlepping around the city for?

 

I have two news flashes for Ms. Fowler. First the commission has no way of accounting for cash tips. In some markets, they are substantial. Second, when you sign up for Uber or Lyft, they promise no minimum (unless there is a special on for your first 30 rides only). What Uber does say is that nationally, their drivers can earn between $8.00 and $15.00 per hour.

 

So after the commission pencil whips their figures, the threshold for describing driver earnings is $17.22. I say WAY TO GO NEW YORK!  And to the drivers earning more, I compliment you on your ability to ferret out good money spots!

 

In Fowler’s piece there is mention of the Supreme Court of California ruling that Dynamex must pay its gig workers like full-time employees.

Big headline: California court rules against the laws of economics to the general detriment of most entrepreneurial individuals.

 

So what else is new? I read the weird standards they held must exist for an employee to be considered independent. By that standard countless lives can be ruined all in the interest of making sure no one gets ahead.

 

Now in fairness, in the case cited, Dynamex may be abusing the 1099 independent contractor rule. I don’t know. There are companies out there who say they are just an app-based service and gig workers work their own hours and are their own bosses. Then gigsters find out they are closely and personally managed and they must work the hours set for them. There are some that even have reporting requirements. This should be illegal, and it probably is. It is certainly a misrepresentation.

 

But Uber and Lyft certainly don’t fit that description. Drivers really do turn the app on when they want to work and turn it off when they want to stop. They have no minimums to meet. No one calls demanding an accounting of your time. No one chews you out for how you go about your business. If you are found to be unethical, you get canned. Perfect!

 

Fowler, who used to work for Uber as a software engineer, is now beating her breast in guilt at the Frankenstein she feels she helped create (a combination of an over-bloated sense of self-worth and drama queen syndrome). She said when she talked to drivers they claimed no matter how hard they worked they could only cover gas and maintenance on their vehicles and little else.

 

There is a technical term for anyone who would do that repeatedly. The term is SUCKER. I know from experience, in a very tough market that you are not going to get rich driving rideshare. BUT…if you are in a market where you are not making any money at it, why the hell would you continue to drive? My advise would be to network with other drivers and fix your problems, or quit. There are places in this world where there aren’t enough riders for Uber to be worthwhile. Only an idiot would repeatedly go out and spend six, eight or ten hours at time, away from home and relaxation, and not be able to collect a paycheck.

 

But one is left to wonder about which drivers Fowler was speaking to. Could it be her professional exposure was limited to complaints? That she never heard from the drivers who were actually killing it?

 

There is a lot more drivel, leading predictably to an obvious conclusion, notions like functions being broken down (as they are with gig work – making it so anyone can do them) into dehumanized pieces.

 

Well! Isn’t Susan just full of her socio-political self! What is a humanized task as opposed to a dehumanized one? How about cleaning a network engineer’s toilet or parking their car? Which is the humanized task? But yeah, we know where this is going.

 

When a group of Fowler’s low-level engineer bubbas were sitting around talking about how terrible their employers are, or how frightening the technology that feeds them has become, one person asks (you have to sigh here), “What can we do about it?”

 

The answer? You guessed it. Gig economy workers MUST unionize.

 

Rideshare drivers frequently see ringers come into their online groups waving the union banner. With the exception of a few people who don’t understand what is it they are doing as drivers or delivering food or measuring dents in cars, the ringers get laughed off the page.

 

Anyone who does 1099 work does so because either they wish to AUGMENT their income, or they wish to control more of their own time and effort. They reject the notion of a boss or a time clock. They will trade set effort for an agreed price – voluntarily. Any gig worker who claims to be abused by “the man” and still turns the app on tomorrow is an idiot.

 

So who will the union protect gigsters from, themselves? The app they are using? Their tool bag? Will a gig worker help widen his market reach by filing complaints against – who – the customer? Or would unions end up killing the golden goose, which is USUALLY the case.

 

Unions come with a truckload of time-wasting, overly complex work requirements. They also hide behind mountains of legal bullshit, required to maintain their very existence, which would cross the eyes of a hydra. How is the average Uber driver going to contend with that?

 

At the beginning of this piece I said people often buy off on stupid things because they read it in important places, like Vanity Fair. In Susan Fowler’s case, the story is drenched in frightening or dramatic drivel. If you don’t have time to digest it, you might even buy into it.

 

But it is thinking like hers that holds us back from realizing the full potential of what we can accomplish as persons, a company or an economy. And yes, this includes all the risks that come with any worthwhile endeavor.

 

So if you like having a rideshare ready to come pick you up and cheerfully take you wherever you want to go, at a great price, you might want to blow off Ms. Fowler’s heart tugger. People like her will ruin the concept.

 

Matt Jordan is an author, furniture maker and occasional gig worker living on the gulf coast.

 

 

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Is All This Tariff Talk Real? I hope Not!

Is all the Trump tariff talk real? Or is this just a better-orchestrated rehash of Trump vs Pina Nieta 2017?

Do you remember when President Donald Trump begged Mexico to pay for the wall, or failing that, at least not to say publically that they wouldn’t?

Of course, you don’t. If you linked here from FB you probably can’t remember what people were pretending to care about just before they pretended to care about illegals being separated from their kids. (It was Trump meeting with the crazy fat kid – even though the same people pretending to object to the meeting were insisting on it the week before Trump announced the meeting.)

But the idea behind the phone call to Mexico, cited in the link above, was to create theater around the border wall issue. I believe that by mid-2017, the Donald already realized the slim chance he had of getting a needless wall built. But his entire political trajectory is predicated on him being the Ultimate Deal Maker. Building the wall was supposed to be one facet of this title.

He isn’t a great deal maker. He never was. As streetpolitics.us has pointed out in other pieces, citing a variety of sources, Trump was never the big deal maker in the multi-billion dollar empire that bares his name. He was the face man. He was the dog-and-pony show that kept the flamboyant public image of empire alive, and the big money marks occupied, while the real deal makers hammered out real business. Ultimately, after it became apparent that he had no mature interest in the actual running and monetization of the corporation, the board fired him from positions of real responsibility and paid him a monthly stipend to stay on as the public entertainer-in-chief.

But hey, it’s an image, right?

When Trump first donned the MAGA hat and announced his candidacy, he knew that most of the public was blissfully unaware of his real role in Trump Enterprises and counted on his undeserved “Gordon Gecko” image to say that he would make “great, great” deals as president. “Such beautiful deals!”

But when it came time to actually perform, we found the Donald woefully lacking.

President Donald J. Trump

For example, when Trump did call Mexican President Pena Nieta in 2017, not only did he tip his entire hand, leaving himself no avenue of attack or retreat, he made a series of cringe-worthy gaffes which for some reason, even his political detractors didn’t really hammer him for. But Trump displayed an ignorance of parlay not seen since the Duke of Edinburg demonstrated the diplomatic skills of a Moe Howard on Chinese soil.

Along with racial groupings that only a modern “liberal” would conflate (because modern liberals are racist), Trump suggested to the president of another nation, that although his “wall” was the least important thing being discussed, that it would be helpful TO TRUMP if they would pay for the wall or at least stop saying they wouldn’t. This was tantamount to begging someone of an opposing point of view to pretend not to be, so the requesting party might not be made to “look terrible”.

I’ll try to address the racial gaffes in another article. My to-do list grows exponentially with such asides.

 Fast Forward

Is it possible we are seeing the same immature theater playing out with these tariff battles (minus the leaks that resulted in the WAPO article linked above)? Did Trump actually sit down with leaders in recent summits and say something like, “Look, I have to pretend to be this tough guy. So I will announce tariffs, then you can do the same and then we’ll settle back to basically where we are right now anyway. I have to do something because I said I would in the campaign. Not doing so would make me look stupid.”

If so, then the worst you can say about this “trade war” dust up is, at least in private, the leaders of the world are giggling behind their hands at the President of the United States. After a few months of posturing and stock market drama, all things will settle back to where they are right now, with a few meaningless, token changes. Trump will declare victory and the our trading partners will be happy to let him do so  because they will continue to gauge our exports as they have for the last 50 years.

I can live with the embarrassment. I would be disappointed with the result.

But what if the tariff talk is real?

What if Donald Trump really intends to use a tariff war to “help” the U.S.? Is it possible that someone who has no understanding of history or economics convinced him that haphazardly slapping several countries with tariffs is a good idea?

I will stipulate that among Facebook bozos and talking heads in the “Entertainment News” business, there is almost no understanding of history or economics. Most people in those two intellectual ghetto forums are motivated by what is politically helpful to my tribe?

 But when White House advisors start telling someone as pliable as Trump that protectionism is GOOD for our economy, well… Houston, we have a problem.

Assuming this is not a stunt, this is how Trump’s present course of action will pan out. We are hitting several key trading partners (I use that term advisedly) with broad, impulsive tariffs. They must respond in kind for their own domestic consumption. This includes China. It can be argued that they need our markets more than we need theirs. That is mostly true, but as you will see, hardly of any help in this scenario.

Very quickly, trade will slow, production will slow, and people WILL start losing jobs. Companies with the money and dexterity to quickly move production into countries, considered our to be “trade war” enemies, will do so. This will minimize some of the damage they will endure. These companies will be punished (mostly with rhetoric – look at Harley) by our deal-maker-in-chief. No one will actually be able to do anything to them legally, except congress, but there isn’t a gonad to be found among the entire 535 creatures there.

And so it will go. Eventually, no country will be able to sustain the economic hostilities. Slowly, quietly, the barricades will be dismantled, and as before, all belligerents will slowly retire to about where we are right now. As was the case in Cuban missile crisis, all countries involved will make some token gestures that will leave their home audience thinking they are strong and the international community thinking they are magnanimous. Everyone will get a participation trophy.

But after wrecking jobs and retirement accounts, nothing really will have changed in the grand scheme of things…

Except for one thing…

…The market sentiment and economic trend created with Trump’s election will be over. In fact it will see a huge reversal. Everything we have enjoyed over the last two years will be wiped out. And this COULD all happen by November of 2018. That means we could be looking at a real “blue wave” as opposed to the imagined one of today.

This is one reason I have still not completely let go of my old Trump-as-democrat-shill theory.

It all depends on whether we are looking at an opening gambit, with real free trade[1]  to be proposed in the ensuing weeks or if Trump and company are actually stupid enough to follow through on the existing threats.

[1] Real free trade is just that; no tariffs, no subsidies, no protectionism.

In my next economic piece, I will discuss REAL free trade and why we need it now more than ever.

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My Facebook Friends Are Drones. An inner monologue.

We are indeed a lovely lot of mindless drones. The state of our nation is in free-fall. This is the product of our own numb skulls.  Thank you Facebook!

It would be one thing to say that we had no choice in the matter. Perhaps an evil government entity snuck some hypnotic substance into our junk food causing us to loose the power of reason and abandon maturity. Perhaps we are being manipulated by the evil government entity.

 

But such is not the case. We have done this to ourselves. We, through our self-destructive level of complacency and intellectual sloth have given over everything that is ours, including our capacity to reason to a cacophony of entertainment media and our lessers on Capitol Hill.

 

Of course, I paint with a wide brush. There are individuals who work hard every day to make you aware of the ocean of inanity we are happily drowning in. Some work in the very entertainment industry I mentioned. You can actually find them on CNN, FOX News, the U. S. Government and on multiple internet sites like this one.

 

Arrogant, you say? Who am I to set myself on such a lofty pedestal? Well, you might have a point if I were discussing complex issues like Quantum Mechanics, microbiology or how a Slinky can walk down the steps, all of which are far beyond my capacity for understanding.

 

But I’m not. It is much simpler than all that. I am speaking here of our ability to know when we are being played; manipulated. The game is ubiquitous and depressingly obvious. And nearly all of us either ignore it or voluntarily dive into the cesspool and swim around in it. Worse, many of us contribute extra layers of excrement to it in places like Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

Every day, we tune in to our favorite echo chamber and drink stupid through a fire hose. Whatever the issue – taxes, immigration, Hollywood’s adolescent celebration of the word “fuck”, there seems to be two basic reactions among the vast majority of people: ignoring the issue (I can’t blame you, but you do so, often at your peril) or jumping into the fray with mindless and/or intentionally offensive comments. And most of what I read in FB threads and from “professional” news personalities alike, do not inform, deal in truth or contribute to the betterment of anything.

 

Pick any talk program or any FB thread – that isn’t about kitties playing with toilet paper – and ferret out the comments that are based on reason. Then look at the rest. Do a running tally on both. It will take you perhaps two or three threads and ten comments each to spot the pattern I speak of. The only difference between FB drones and “professional” commentators is splashier presentation and a big budget. And I’ll provide an example in just a sec.

 

But almost all of it slavishly serves a phony “side” in a non-existent battle between forces that commentators couldn’t define if you paid them to do it. I will have to break down that comment in a separate article. But it is probably the root of the intellectual abyss we find ourselves in.

 

But here’s the upshot of things we are seeing, wall-to-wall, on immigration this week. The newsies messed up. Last week Trump had the best week he’s had in a while and the Mueller Investigation, for the same reason, had it’s worst. A few basic truths trickled out into the light of day.

 

There was a sudden spark of outrage among parts of the population, enough to trigger an all-out response by the entertainment/news industry to change the subject.

 

[No, I am not a Trump supporter. Read my work. The words “President Trump” still do not roll easily off my tongue, although I don’t question his occupation of the office. I simply throw the bullshit flag wherever bullshit bubbles up.]

 

We have had the immigration issue on slow boil for decades. It is a tool both parties use to keep you from focusing on real issues, like the fact that Fannie and Freddie are nearly broke again and will soon need another trillion-dollar bailout. This will make 2008 look like a 3-point market correction.

 

So look over here!

 

Don’t look at the most brazen abuse of the presidency in our history (all the things Obama did to squash opponents – that would be the Mueller thing no one is supposed to focus on)!

Don’t look at the silly home loan thingy.

Look at the plight of the people no one really cares a lick about anyway. Look at the crying children in the pictures, including the ones staged by the people protesting how we make children cry…by making children cry.

 

We are “imprisoning” innocent (?) people who broke a law and are now being called on it! How dare we?

 

Leave alone the fact that the processing these people face is a goddamn welcome wagon when compared to the shitholes they just left behind. Don’t consider the man-hours and effort and money spent to make them comfy while they await almost inevitable release onto our streets. Ignore the fact that MAYBE 3% will ever show up for the hearing they will surely dodge at the border.

 

YOU ARE ORDERED TO ACCCEPT THE FACT THE DONAL TRUMP IS A NAZI AND ALL THE PEOPLE WORKING ON THE BORDER ARE NAZIS.

 

Or if you are on the opposing side:

 

THIS IS PROOF THAT WE NEED A BORDER WALL!

 

Both those statements are, of course, bullshit.

 

It was and continues to be pathetically predicable. I use illegal immigration as an example because it happens to be the line of bullshit run on us right now, and as it develops the bullshit continues to pile up. It is simply the timeliest demonstration of how we are being played.

 

The laws and regulations protecting illegals crossing the southern border are voluminous, so much so that they are almost impossible to enforce. That is intentional.

 

So (I’ll say it – President Trump) signs an executive order* directing that families be kept together.

 

And this is where the predictability continues. It was precisely what politicians, newsies and stupid people on FB had been chanting since the IG report showed how vile and corrupt the FBI and Justice Department had become. “Keep the families together” was the phrase heard in every pass on your Facebook page and several times a minute on every “news” program.

 

So Trump says okay, keep the families together.

 

This morning what do we see in “newspapers”, commentaries, and on social media? IT’S NOT ENOUGH! IT DOESN’T INCLUDE GRANDPARENTS, COUSINS, AUNTS AND UNCLES.

 

WTF? (I characterized my reaction thus for the FB drones) What that means is: who are these people kidding? No one, and I mean no one, ever intended to include extended family in this phony protest. You didn’t, Mika Brzezinski didn’t, even the Four Morons didn’t. But the whiners had to add that in today because their demands about taking kids from their moms were met. Some people just can’t take “yes” for an answer. People like Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi.

 

The fact is, this is all fuelled by a simple anti-Trump agenda. It isn’t real. The folks crying about illegal immigrants today, on both sides of the argument, will be on to the next shiny object when told to be by the “news” entertainers. Only a negligible few will fight for or against illegals as they always have. The rest will have made themselves feel good, having contributed to the stupidity of their fellow man.

 

Let’s get a taste of how things get so blown out of proportion.

 

This is Joe Scarborough on the child separation issue: “I know children are being ripped from their mother’s arms, even while they’re being breast-fed. I know children are being marched away to showers, marched away to showers. Being told they are — just like the Nazis — said that they were taking people to the showers and then they never came back.”

 

That has got to be the single most irresponsible, most appalling thing I have ever heard from a “news” entertainer. That idiot compared holding your child in the custody of caregivers while you await processing (a reward for committing a crime) to killing people in gas chambers with Zyclon-B! And the stupid people all over social media jumped right on it. They loved it!

 

As an aside, I was just wondering if Mistress Mika made him say it. Perhaps she had him on his knees in a leather G-string during show prep.

 

“You will say the Nazi shower line, you dirty, little comment boy!” [cracks whip across pasty, white butt]

 

“Yes Mistress!”

 

And Scarborough is not alone. There are endless references to Nazis throughout the “news” and from Capitol Hill. It’s a common theme when criticizing Trump. And it can never be defined. Even the people using the term “nazi”, in these endless I-hate-Trump contexts, wouldn’t know a nazi from a kumkuat.

 

There was a time, I would say 4 or 5 years ago, when Scarborough would have not survived an hour in his present position, for a comment so vile. Not today. Today, like I said, you drink your stupid through a fire hose, and most of you are dumb enough to accept it. That’s how far we have fallen.

 

And can you imagine if George Will had made such a comment about an Obama policy? Even the exact same policy? He’d have gotten a double whammy for the crappy nazi comment AND being racist for disagreeing with Dear Leader Obama. Either way, he’d have been escorted from the studio during the next commercial break.

 

So here’s a challenge: the next time you are told to look over at the new shiny object, take a look around at what they would rather not talk about. And I mean the “they” on both sides of the aisle. You will find, almost without exception, the big headlines are not the most important political or social issue you should be focusing on.

 

More on this and related topics to come.

 

Maybe I’ll go back to talking about some of Trump’s bullshit. That will make some of my friends who think they are “liberal” happy.

 

Here endeth my random stream of consciousness on poor citizenship. Cheers.

*This is total bullshit in that he has no authority to do this. The laws he addressed can only be addressed legislatively.  “But – B. Hussein did it, so why can’t we?” comes the chant from people who think they are conservative.

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Sexual Counterfeiters

I wrote this before leaving town for the holidays.  But check out the update at the end.  I love being right!

Let’s pretend we’re Puritans and we’re irreparably offended by Roy Moore, et al!

A good holiday read this year might be The Crucible: A play in four acts by Arthur Miller. Yes, the original play is a great read. It beats the movie all the hell. And it couldn’t be more timely.

People who do not understand economics, and there are far too many in this country, usually fail to realize what happens to the value of their money when worthless dollars are injected into the economy. Whether on a small scale by counterfeiters or a large scale by the government trying desperately to keep Wall Street afloat, flushing money with no underlying value into the system cheapens the currency and hurts everyone but the Federal Reserve and the cronies or criminals who will profit directly from the circulation of the funny money.

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The same holds true with just about every other aspect of your life. When there is too much of something or false versions of something flood society, the real thing loses value. Sometimes the real thing becomes the object of contempt.

So in an age of me-too-ism, where hoards of people try to inject themselves into high-visibility narratives, the experience of real people with real problems becomes cheapened.

In recent weeks we have seen a gully wash of sexual harassment claims made public by people trying to gain notice by riding on the backs of people who have real harassment grievances.

We hear stories every day from people coming out of the woodwork to tell us what happened to them way back when. Some are real. Some indicate real trauma, if the activity involved was unwanted.

But many are of the type we hear from a handful of women trying to get some mileage out of some me too stories.

Barbara Boxer recounts a story about a fellow member of congress in the 80’s who said, “I’d like to associate with the gentle-lady (Boxer),” In a joking and suggestive manner. Please remember that Boxer is an attractive woman. In the 80’s she was HOT.

So what are we to make of this? Was it harassment? Of course not. It was a joke and one can safely assume meant as a compliment. And it happened thirty-some years ago. If Boxer considered it harassment what are we to say about her strength as a person. It seems she wants us to feel sorry for her because she is just a girl.

In a world where sexual harassment charges have become a cottage industry even before fat Harvey hit the headlines, are we to assume that Barbara Boxer was too weak to bring this capital offense to light? Of course not. She is putting forward this story because she wants to gain some political cache while all this SH talk is still percolating. So she takes a joke, which she in all likelihood laughed at, and is now touting it as trauma.


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Oh! But they must all be believed!

This is actually the message, both direct and indirect, that we are being sent. If a woman says she was harassed or assaulted sexually we are to believe it without question. If we don’t we are no better than the accused. And in this reinvigorated age of penny ante sexual offense, the accused has no assumption of innocence. The accused is guilty and that is that.

I would ask why? Are we obliged to believe something because the person making the claim wants to be believed? Is that the reasoning process?

The justification, we are told, is that coming out with such allegations is a brave act.

Well.

I would submit that to approach your organizations chain of command, as a lone accuser, in a timely manner with accusations about someone you see every day or actually work for is brave. There are hoops to jump through. Despite assurances, we’ve seen that companies or government organizations are not always honest brokers in these situations. Hell, Fat Harvey’s company had a schedule of financial penalties they would charge him every time he got caught begging women for sex. THAT is NOT an organization with a desire to see its employees protected from abuse. That is a company with incentives to support the abuser.

5830868448_ca22aefe5d
Gloria Allred being celebrated at a men-dressed-up-as-women parade. Because she “cares.” Photo Credit: calvinfleming Flickr via Compfight cc

It is NOT brave to be recruited by the media or bottom dwellers like Gloria Allred and to smear politicians or anyone in exchange for 15 minutes of fame. I’ll deal with the veracity of claims against Conyers, Moore and Franken in a bit. But true or not, to come out and claim offense, years after the alleged incident, to the public, surrounded by cheerleaders, at a time that JUST HAPPENS to be the most damaging to the accused is not brave. It is underhanded, vindictive and questionable on its face.

To Wit…

The stories presently swirling around many male celebrities have sweeping degrees of credibility. In the case of poor John Conyers (D-MI) things do look bad. It seems his odd predilection for walking around his office in his skivvies was well-known [1.See what I mean about organizations not REALLY being interested in helping the actual victims of harassment…or even embarrassment] throughout Capitol Hill. AND he’s paid settlement money [stolen from us] to hush his accusers. We have to chalk him up as guilty.

8364327271_162ee81664
Al Franken dehumanizing two women at once. He is evidently an ambidextrous dehumanizer. Photo Credit: RamseyCountyMN Flickr via Compfight cc

The stories around Al Franken (D-MN) show him to be sophomoric and kind of pathetic. If true, some of the claims do rise to at least smarmy. The original accuser, who I tend to put the most trust in, had pictures. Franken’s response to her was at first dismissive. Then when the pictures came out, Al was suddenly somber and contrite. He would restage his contrition, always fine-tuning his remarks again and again. But his tone was always somewhat smug and self-important, even while trying to pretend he was sorry.

His non-resignation resignation speech was an exercise in deflecting, projecting and chest beating.

But as is almost always the case with these high profile smack downs, out from nowhere we get the ones who WANT to pile on. The last one I heard piling onto Franken said when he posed for a picture with her at an event YEARS AGO, he put his hand ON HER WAIST and squeezed twice. On her waist? Is the waist a sex organ? Is it depraved when mooning for political photo (the attendees are always the ones to request a picture) to throw an arm around the people you’re posing with? And squeezed how?

The complainant in this case said a hand on her waist made her feel diminished, less human. She also said she won’t allow her husband to touch her that way in public. Wow! She sounds like loads of fun! She also sounds like she is piling on. Oh yeah…uh…me too! Me too! He assaulted me!

As for the original accuser, Leeann Tweeden, I think my wife hit the nail right on the head. Little troll with a permanent Joker smirk on his face wants to “rehearse” a stage kiss with hot lady. Hot lady finally gives in. Little troll, desperate to feel attractive lays a killer lip lock on hot lady. Hot lady is, of course, annoyed with the little troll. She also finds out he posed for pictures while she slept, pretending to grope her boobs. There was no groping, but again, even the accuser at the time considered it all adolescent behavior. It was probably the subject of many a demeaning giggles and gossip over the ensuing years.

But in the age of “all men suck” and “I want some too” it all went from Isn’t Al gross? to I was abused and damaged for life.

 My wife said that if it had been an A list star for whom Tweeden felt a physical or romantic attraction, the whole “rehearsal” would have seemed cute and sexy, [sigh] impetuous! But it was the little troll, so he needed to be punished.

The Roy Moore Story: In A Class of its Own

Roy Moore dressed up as a rootin’, tootin’, gun-totin’ cowboy. Yeeee-hah! Credit: https://i0.wp.com/www.occidentaldissent.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Roy-Moore.jpg?fit=1200%2C630

In most states, it is legal to marry at 16 with parental consent. In Hawaii that age is 15. In Alabama and Utah it’s 14.

So right off the bat, we can dispense with the whole child abuse thing regarding Moore. We may think a 30+ year old man pursuing teenagers is kind of pathetic, but it doesn’t automatically rise to the destruction of someone 40 years after the fact.

In the case of one of Moore’s accusers, the mother of the girl in question encouraged her to pursue the relationship. One can safely assume mom thought gittin’ daughter hitched up to a lawyer might not be so bad.

Eliminate Yearbook Lady.

Before I break down this circus I’ll say this: When a politician comes at you waving a bible or any holy paper and says vote for me, assume first that you are being played. Moore is a Southern political stereotype. He is smarmy and disingenuous. His whole religious schtick is laughable. I can’t believe how easily people still fall for that crap. But if he says he’s a Christian and wears a cowboy hat, I guess that’s good enough for Billy Bob.

That said…

…Beverly Young Nelson, likely recruited by Gloria Allred for fun and profit, has stunk to high heaven from the start. Her overly rehearsed statement, read from a script, was an outlier from the beginning. The narrative is in no way similar to that of the other accusers. It sounded completely contrived. Then after insisting twice in that press conference that the inscription in her yearbook was entirely from the hand of Moore, we find out Nelson added the cute little notations. So in the court of law and the court of common sense we are permitted to dismiss her and Allred entirely out of hand.

As for the others, whether Moore made a play for them or not, my question is where the hell have they been for the past 40 years? Where were they when Moore was elected to the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court? In that position he has a much more direct effect on people’s lives than the 535 jackasses we have working on Capitol Hill. Why didn’t these brave troopers speak up then about his antics from 38 years ago? Where were they with Moore’s Ten Commandments circus stunt? He clearly knew it would spark a shits storm, it always does. He did it for political mileage. Why didn’t these women call him out as a hypocrite then, while he was making national headlines?

The answer is obvious. Roy Moore was not running for a precariously balanced Senate yet. So there was no press or political operatives snooping around hoping to create a story.   Opposition research led to some stuff that was ripe for the pickin’ in the age of Fat Harvey. And voila, you have a 38-year-old story that is treated as if it were serious and happened last week.

If you are truly so puritanical as to be offended by this, so be it. But I expect to see the same people rallying against child marriages, parental consent or not, because to get to that point with a young girl, we all know there has to be some he-in’ and she-in’ going in before hand. If that is sexual assault or child abuse, there can be no child marriage. Period. If you are not ready for this fight, spare me your faux offense.

Hypocrite Hill

We hear congressmen saying if Moore wins the ethics committee will immediately launch an investigation. About what? The allegations are 38 years old. And as we have demonstrated here, this is none of the Federal Government’s business.   They have absolutely no bearing on Moore’s ability to legislate.

Besides, until Congress comes clean about who paid tax-payer dollars to hush up sexual harassment accusers, and what these congressmen did to those who were paid, they have no ethical authority to investigate anything of a sexual nature.

But as I said earlier, it is stories like these that will cause bosses, coworkers and potential mentors to hold people at arm’s length.   When someone is legitimately accused of sexual abuse, stories like these will cheapen the charge, cause eye-rolls and give organizations even more incentives to circle the wagons against REAL accusers.

And no, we don’t have to believe anyone just because they said something. Certainly we don’t if the story is years old and timed to damage someone at a key moment. I couldn’t care less if Franken and Moore slid into a sinkhole together. But when we treat petty complaints like these as if they were the equivalent of REAL abuse, we hurt women.

Update: Well, well!  It turns out that I had it exactly right.  Gloria Allred and Lisa Bloom (Mama Sleazebag and Baby Sleazebag, respectively) have been COLLECTING DONATIONS  from liberal suckers to pay women to make sexual assault and harassment allegations against high-ranking conservatives.  To have suspected it bothered me.  To learn it was true infuriates me.  These “crusaders for women’s rights” have done more damage to the position of women in society than anything Franken or Moore could ever dream of.

And just to make it all even sleazier, these two wretches were schlepping donations to do this!  They’re both richer than god.  They could have bankrolled these “offended” women if they really believed their complaints.  And when many turned out to be duds, Allred and Bloom claim to have returned “some” of the donated money.  What skanks!

Expect to see more of this in coming elections.  Hey, when you don’t have real issues to pursue, why not make a mockery of a real issue?

 

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Why Everyone is Wrong About the NFL "Protests".

This whole taking a knee stunt has more than worn out its welcome.  From the start it was missing the point of the playing of the National Anthem to begin with.  But so was almost all of the reaction to it.

First let’s clarify what the “protest” has been from the beginning.  It was a stunt to get camera time by a few players who can’t seem to get enough attention just playing a kid’s game for money.  But when a fuss was raised, the me-too middle school stunts began to spread.

First we were told the players were protesting police brutality (far below 1% of the interactions by police that are actually confrontational.  Even less than that of the total interactions police have with civilians.)

Then when that got laughed off the stage, we were told they were sitting on the bench or taking a knee to protest racism in general.  That didn’t make a lot of sense coming from people who were making tens of millions of dollars and hadn’t heard the word “no” since early puberty.

When so challenged, one player said it wasn’t protesting, but praying.  Anything wrong with praying?

Uh…yeah, right.

When the NFL Commissioner started to make a little noise about it, it was back to protesting racism again.  Only this time we were told we needed to feel sorry for the players, by that great philosopher, Shiela Jackson Lee (who should be kicked out of Congress because she is named after two slaveholders).  She said the players were actually being treated like slaves.

With a name like that?  She’s such a hypocrite.

The fluid reasoning is its own lie.  By simply acknowledging all the different explanations we can rightfully dismiss the whole charade as just getting camera time and doing the whole me-too routine.

When the Cure Is Worse Than the Disease.

Enter the critics.  I am not disgusted with the people spouting out against the players childishness as I am with the players and their cowardly employers.  But I completely disagree with their reasoning too.

I have heard and read repeatedly that the biggest offense ongoing here was the lack of respect for the sacrifices made by our military.  If you protest during the playing of the anthem you must hate America and not care about veterans and our war dead.

Sorry guys, but you can’t know what anyone including NFL players think about that.  And the playing of the anthem was not intended to be a salute to the military.  If, when it is played, you are moved to remember such sacrifice, that’s a good thing.  But that is your reaction.  You cannot correctly criticize anyone for not thinking about battles and death when the anthem plays because you do.  That’s projecting your wishes on the motivations of others.

Some criticize the disrespect to the flag itself.  If you feel the flag is something venerable, people who are religious might take issue with that because they only know one thing that rises to such a status.  But that’s okay.  And YOUR reaction to the song and the National Ensign is none of their business anyway.  And again, that’s a good thing…for you.  But for many, including myself, the flag is just a pretty piece of cloth symbolizing the nation we are feting in the anthem or pledging our allegiance to (far too infrequently).  It isn’t the flag so much as the nation; the incredible experiment it represents.  In that, a real protest, one in which people actually knew what they were protesting, gains legitimacy.  So to dismiss it on the basis of  patriotism defies logic.

So Why Is the Protest Silly?

The playing of the National Anthem during a sporting event goes as far back as 1862.  By World War II it was pretty much a tradition.  The playing of the song, as a tradition, was never intended to make a values statement about America per se.  It was not a way to, game after game, declare our pride in our military.  It certainly isn’t intended to stoke martial feelings against the rest of the world.

When played at large gatherings it is intended to remind us, despite our differences, that we here, gathered on a happy occasion, no matter our creed, race or other differences, are all a part of something larger than ourselves.  Even larger than our military.  Literally, despite whatever is going on outside this arena, we remember now that we are still one people.

No matter what your pleasure or grievance with society, today we are here to enjoy an event together.  The playing of the national anthem simply places the only all-encompassing umbrella over the arena.  Unless you are a visitor to this country, you are undeniably a part of this group.  For this moment, before the players take the field, we have a happy way to appreciate this oneness – fleeting though it may be.

As I said before on this subject there may be a gay man in the stadium who will tomorrow be marching for gay rights. There may be people who think the President is an idiot.  There may be military people who worry that the country is going to hell on a rocket sled, and so on.  But we still occupy the same soil.  We still face the same challenges on some level, day in and day out.  And like it or not, we indeniably share a history.  We all have far more in common than we have differences – despite what you may hear outside the ball field.  That is a simple fact.

So when the players turn their backs on that, it is out of ignorance and misses the point of the moment.  When people angrily say their interpretation of the moment is being ignored, they too are missing the point.

For people, especially our challenged President to call them sonsofbitches, is unhelpful.  For the players to keep making up stories about why they play up for the cameras is laughable.

Freedom of Speech?  Yeah, Not the Point At ALL!

Finally, the whole “freedom of speech” thing has been the most perverted argument by both sides.

Here are the facts:  Rules governing the play of the game in the NFL are silent on this issue.  However, the NFL team manual states unequivocally that the players will be on the field before the anthem and will stand respectfully during its playing.  This is not a suggestion.  It comes with penalties which include loss of revenues and draft picks.  It’s a rule.

The cowardly silence by the NFL and team owners is an example of why we are the society we are.  We only follow the rules when it is convenient.  Worried that a star player might get his panties in a bunch  league leadership kept silent on the issue, other than a few non-committal non-statements.  Finally, before the start of the 2018-19 season they said that there would be no more anthem protests.  Sadly, the union cried foul and the NFL rolled over again.

So, until the team owners come up with a pair of gonads between them, the players are INDEED free to express themselves contrary to the manual. But at any time, the team owners can assert their correct authority and tell the players that while they wear the uniform, they will represent the club as instructed.  If a player has the courage of his convictions and thinks he needs to exercise his free speech rights on matters of race or anything else, he is free to remove the uniform, forego his pay, go out to a public space and on his own time make his best case.  But in a private relationship, where one is paid to follow rules, public speech rights do not apply.

It is for the same reason, military members are not permitted by law anyway, from public protests against any level of government in uniform.  It is wrong to represent your service while making such statements for your own reasons.  This has been abused often in the last decade.  Most frequently, I’ve seen members protest over gay issues while in uniform.  Again, afraid of an empty outcry, leaders didn’t enforce the rules.  I don’t have a problem with gays in the military.  But the rules say, quite correctly and for good reason, that when you are protesting, you are not a representative of the U.S. Armed forces and should not be in uniform during a public demonstration – or even in a media interview.

So the free speech cries from the NFL kneelers get as much sympathy from me as the cries about being treated as slaves.

C’mon gang.  The tantrum has played itself out.  Your fans now see you as drama queens.  If you believe any of what you claim I would expect to see you all on the streets carrying signs and fighting the good fight.  But on game day stand up, rejoin your fellow citizens, enjoy the moment and then play some ball.

If we can’t do that, none of what you claim to be protesting will ever be solved.

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Why Everyone Is Wrong About "Tax Reform"

So, What’s Wrong With “Tax Reform”?

I’ll start with this little hint:  What we are seeing debated right now in the abortion we call Congress is not tax reform.  It isn’t even a significant tax reduction.  Okay, so that was more than a hint.

Take a gander at my piece about Boris and Ivan.  When I posted it last week a Boris attitude was running rampant through social media and cable news.  Commentators and the wider ignorant crowd were whining about how unfair it is that the rich get the several times more than everyone else.They should pay more still!

When I read and hear people saying such things I often wonder if they are stupid and pathetic enough to actually believe it, or if they are hoping to join the chorus of the left, hoping that Daddy Government will kill Ivan’s goat for them.

At any rate, it seems to be working.  Since last post congress has been debating who should get taxed to pay for the tax cuts.  (Can you see the stupidity at work here?)   It appears they will not only keep the top rate at 39.6%, there is serious talk of running it up to 48%+ to pay for the measly tax breaks the middle class is getting.

There are so many things wrong with the ongoing debate it is hard to know where to start.  The undiluted bullshit is flowing out of DC like a wall of stinking lava.

The first, and most significant point is how blatantly disinterested the Republican are in a true, free-market fix to our tax code.  I would lump Trump in with them but I have to allow for his monumental ignorance about all things political and economic.  I have been so hard on him over the years it wouldn’t be fair to pretend he understands what is actually being debated here.  Clearly, the Four Morons simply stroked his ego, let him think he was the driver of the debate and told him this was going to be a historic tax cut.  It’s not going to be any such thing.

If the GOP actually wanted to REFORM the tax code, they would have started from a position of real reform.  This would have been to announce that taxes and spending were going to be slashed to the bone.  Naturally, the Dems would have had fits.  But they would have been forced to defend the ridiculous code we have now.  Any conservative, even pretend conservatives like Paul Ryan could have easily won that debate.

The result, even with compromises, would have been far more productive and far better for the economy than what we have now.  That’s because the GOP started, as they did with Obamacare repeal and Immigration, from a position that was already 90% a Dem/Socialist position.  And as with Obamacare and Immigration the Dems couldn’t have been happier with the laws being proposed by Ryan and McConnell.

When you see the Democrat half of the Four Morons saying how horrible the GOP plans are, you are just hearing hot air.  They know three things: There are a few honest conservatives on the Right who know this is all theater and will have a hard time supporting it.  They also know there are at least two political whores, McCain and Collins, who will not support anything that isn’t 99.9% liberal so they can claim to be “mavericks” working across the aisle.  Finally they know the Ryan and McConnell are weak leaders who care more about simply being in their cushy positions as party leaders than actually accomplishing something.

Result:  the Dems know they will either keep everything as they want it or if they “lose” the debate, they keep 90% of what they want.  In other words, the Dems can’t lose and the GOP had already surrendered their principals before the first committee took up “tax reform”.

Oh Yeah, about the “reform” thing.

I really hope if you are reading this you are not one of those pathetic rubes excited about the post card tax form.  THAT is the first “reform” Paul Ryan has been touting.  There is nothing new about that card.  It is a 1040A printed in a smaller piece of thicker paper.  You’ll enter the same numbers in basically the same way.  The only difference is there will be more people claiming “gifts” from the government in the form of “earned” income credit (EIC) and the “alternative minimum” tax (AMT) repeal.

While these “gimmees” send more of our money to mostly people who don’t pay income taxes to begin with, they represent more of the federal government taking money from you and me and pretending to help us by giving it back or giving it to someone else.  Why take it to begin with?

So the card is a hoax.

The state tax write-off.

Most people actually think this is a good thing.  While I am sure they love the idea of getting the money in their Federal refund, did you ever consider what little sense it makes?

Let’s say you live in Mississippi.  Your government taxes you and everybody else. At the end of the year you get a deduction for what you paid Mississippi.  In other words Daddy Government is subsidizing your citizenship in a state.  Pretty good, right? 

But in MS, you don’t pay very much in the way of state taxes.  New Yorkers, on the other hand, pay a huge tax bill to the state.  Their deduction is a lot bigger.  So when businesses and people decide to live in New York, it is understood that to live in such a “great” state, you have to pay for the privilege.  But wait, they are subsidized too.  Hmmm.

What would happen, I wonder, if the federal government dropped everyone’s tax rates a bit and stopped subsidizing people living in congested, high tax, big, bureaucratic areas?  Would a small to medium sized business person stay there with the traffic and the crime and the red tape, if someone else was not paying him public money to do so?  Just chew on that one.

But everyone is worried about the deduction (which the government never had any business creating) going away.  The idea of the government subsidizing what state you live in deserves more attention.  And I will revisit this subject in greater detail soon.

And what of your mortgage interest deduction?  Did you buy a home because you got a deduction?  Don’t lie.  You’re not a billionaire.  You bought a house because you were ready to buy a house.  Period.  The “deduction” you get is smoke and mirrors.  How about we knock a few more point of your tax bracket and stop wasting time and money factoring and paying inflated refunds.

How about the child-care credit?  That’s going up!  How about we knock more still off what you pay to begin with and not pretend to “give” you that money every year?  Do you know what happens to prices when there is less money chasing them?  That’s right!  Very good!  They go down.  It is the illusion of getting that money from Daddy Government that contributes to the high cost of child care.

And if you don’t qualify to pay income taxes, everyone else is paying for your child care and your “earned” income credit.  You should thank people for that every day.  If that line makes you smirk it is because you are an ingrate with an over-bloated sense of entitlement.  Don’t worry, you are not alone.  This tax debate and the comments I see on social media indicate there a bunch of you out there.

Don’t get me wrong.

Any reduction in taxes will have a positive effect on the economy right now.  But the pathetic little we will come away with after this bit of worthless theater in Congress will not be anywhere near the boost we’d get from a real across-the-board cut.  Everyone paying the same percentage of their income, closing all loop holes would be better.

But the tax cuts need to be paid for!!!!

No they don’t.  Not in the near term.  But once the economy settles into the new norm, there will be no new boost from the tax rates.  So, since we know that any new revenue from the volume of taxes being paid will be wasted by the spending pigs in the House and Senate, what is a voter to do?  What is the 1 smart statesmen in 50 to do?

Well, if you want to offset tax cuts directly, you don’t raise other kinds of taxes.  That kills the point of the exercise.  You must cut spending.  First there has to be a push for no new spending.  No one is dying in this country because the government doesn’t piss enough money away.

Uncle Stinky can, as I point out in Street Politics, dump a lot of useless spending over night. Start with the entire Department of Education.  It has never educated a single child in this country since its inception.  In fact, like the “war on poverty”, every dollar spent by the Dept of Ed has resulted in one less educated graduating class after another.  It is a drag on REAL education.  Dump it.

Put the EPA under the Department of the Interior.  Strip it of its entire mission other than referee of disputes between states over shared waterways.  Every state now has an EPA of its own.  We don’t need a 51st EPA in DC.  Slash it by 90%.  Not a single molecule of carbon will be emitted because of that cut.  Until now the only thing that stood between fossil fuels and success was bribe money on K Street.  Now the states will be the final arbiter of who burns what fuel and who builds wind farms.

And don’t get me started on job training programs.  They are most wasted tax dollars ever spent.  Not one of the 47 job training programs run by the federal government has reported a single success.  Most don’t even pretend to have a matrix to justify the money they waste.

That’s just three examples of billions we can save to put the “pay for tax cuts” canard to rest.  There are more in the book and many more to be had throughout the federal pig trough.

Conclusions

This should be your take-away.  There is only one true, honest, permanent tax reform to be pursued.  That would be a flat tax.  To be most effective it should be a point-of-sale retail tax, but or now we just leave it as an income tax.  No pretend loop holes.

Arguing for more taxes to pay for tax cuts is the kind of sick shit Orwell tried in vain to warn us about.  Reduce the size of the pig trough.

My final conclusion is this:  I am likely pissing up a rope (old Navy talk for wasting my time).  My guess is the GOP will put out a plan even more Byzantine than our existing tax code which will do 1/10th of what a simple across-the-board cut will do.  There will be great fanfare.  The Donald will call it the greatest tax cut in history.  And you will let them all get away with it.

 Don’t be a political pansy! Read Street Politics: It Ain’t Your Daddy’s GOP Anymore! Grab your copy here.
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A Fun and Easy Lesson: Boris and Ivan

I was told this story by an economist. He said an economist is a CPA without the bubbly personality. For the life of me I cannot recall his name.

Boris and Ivan

Boris and Ivan were goat herders in pre-communist Russia.   They lived on neighboring farms, raised their little herds and sold goat milk.

Goat herding is a hard living. Every day the men would go out to the yards and feed the animals and yell at the goats to produce more milk. They’d kick them and curse them. The goats would give up a little milk each day. Money was always tight.

One day, Ivan got it in his head to pray for a better life for his family. After some time a genie (old Eastern Orthodox term for angel) appeared to Ivan and asked how he could help Ivan. Ivan said, “If my goats would just produce a bit more milk each day I would be a bit wealthier and we would have a better life.”

The genie said that was easy to fix. “Show your goats affection,” the genie told him. “Engage them and speak kindly to them.”

So Ivan did just that. He would pet his goats and talk to them every morning while he fed them.

Before long his goats were producing copious amounts of milk. His income doubled, then tripled. He was able to send his children to school. He was able to buy nice things for his wife. He improved his home and made it more comfortable. His family thrived. Ivan was very grateful.

Boris watched Ivan with great envy. He would laugh at Ivan for talking to his goats like they were children. When his wife suggested he try doing what Ivan was doing to be more successful Boris scolded her. “Who has time,” he bellowed, “to pet dumb animals and blather on to them about how nice they are? I have enough problems just feeding and milking and selling the milk!” Then Boris would go into his yards and berate his goats and yell at them as he’d always done. This went on for two more years. Ivan became wealthier and had a much happier life. Boris barely scratched out a living. Finally, he gave up and he too prayed for help from heaven.

Finally, one day a genie appeared and asked Boris what it was he wanted more than anything. Boris looked across to his neighbor’s yards and back at the genie and said, “Kill Ivan’s goats!”

Are you Boris or Ivan?

Think about this story the next time you hear an ignorant, envious loser (encouraged by low-life politicians) say we want our tax cuts AND we want to keep all our benefits, but be sure to screw the rich at the same time. Rich people will inject far more into the economy, supporting your job and the general quality of life more than any ignorant, envious loser will.

Better yet, with more money sloshing around the private economy, there is a far better chance that you might end up being one of the rich people the envious loser despises.   Wish the honest, rich people well, and then do what they do.

Unless you care more about what ignorant, envious losers think than you do about your own life.

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Smirky Head Shakers II

Those TV and movie moments that make normal people smirk and shake their heads.

I was at a doctor’s office waiting for my wife last week, watching a Biloxi news show. I had to cringe. This is why local news is seen as the kindergarten of the news media industry.

The anchorwoman was discussing child obesity with a local “expert” on the subject. The “expert” said that child obesity strikes 74 million boys and 50 million girls in this country. The “news” anchor joined the “expert” in a short round of somber head-shaking. Why, it’s just shocking!

Made all the more shocking by the fact that we now have 124 million kids out of 73.8 million (total) suffering from obesity. (Look at those numbers again if you aren’t smirking yet).

We see this almost every day; and not just on local news. It only stands out on a local level because these programs look like high school media projects. But we see this kind of “reporting” everywhere. The reason why most people don’t question enough is because when the shoddy information is reported it is often reported on varsity outlets like cable news, featuring our favorite celebrity reporters.

Guests make the most outrageous claims and the “news” celebrity nods, giving the statements an air of legitimacy. We shake our heads and wonder My god! Is there ANTHING that can be done about this!

 In most cases, with the slightest intellectual curiosity on our part, we would find that what we are being told is either grossly exaggerated, being spun to the point where the underlying information is worthless, or that the statements are outright lies.

Name a big news item we’ve seen on the last 10 years. Think about what is reported and opined upon with respect to the “news”. With ten minutes of critical thought, you can probably find that a) the “reporting” provides very little in the way of fact surrounding the item, and b) the opinions are ALMOST always an effort to advance a commentator’s personal crusade or to advance the career of the commentator/”reporter”.

Here’s the problem with that. Once we reach the point where discussion is bereft of fact or reason argument ceases. You cannot argue a point with reason on one side and self-serving bullshit on the other. And when reporting and discussing reaches the point where both sides are shoveling agenda and spin and ignoring reason, you hit the slimy bottom of the sewer.

As a culture, we’ve been there for a while.

Name the subject:  North Korea, Donald Trump, the Vegas shooter or fat kids; there is precious little being said anywhere having any intrinsic value. There is almost no subject upon which we can gain purchase and reach valid conclusions. Not from the sources we presently accept as legitimate.

We ARE the “idiocracy”.

We live in a world where in some powerful circles Donald Trump is still referred to as “brilliant” and a great “deal maker”. He was NEVER either. We live in a world where an entire house party caucus still allows itself to be disgraced by Nancy Pelosi. We live in a world where a cabinet officer, former first lady and presidential candidate is caught red-handed, up to her eyeballs committing felonies – and nothing happens. In this world, Mitch McConnell is still revered. Global warming alarmism is gospel, while not a single person can tell you what the ideal median temperature of the earth* is supposed to be.

And while half of the population latches onto one of these stupid conclusions the other is only motivated by how they can be used to discredit or destroy political opponents.

We may well have passed the tipping point where recovering a mature, educated, civil society is impossible.

How do we now teach our daughters that a pat on the ass, while most consider it inappropriate, is NOT sexual assault? How do we then teach her to handle such things as an adult?

How do we teach our children that history favors free and open discourse, while we allow a growing list of things we are not permitted to discuss?

How do we, as a nation, ever again recognize the laws of economics (as hard and fast as gravity) versus the failure of “managing” an economy among 312 million people?

We live in a country where adults watch TV shows about vampires and zombies, and now police officers with magic super powers. Think about that! Less than a generation ago such concepts would be laughed out of any adult gathering.

Me-too-ism is running rampant. For every dramatic news event, there are now battalions of Americans jumping in and trying to be part of someone else’s narrative. They are followers and claim the mantle of weakness or victimization as if those were good things.

Our schools, our government and now many of our corporations operate not from a position how do I improve my world today, but from a kill Ivan’s goats perspective.

Some believe we just need “god in schools” to fix everything. But our present-day, citizen-as-obedient-drone society has been metastasizing since Woodrow Wilson. Religion has been around since the discovery of fire. Prayer in schools and the Pledge of Alligiance didn’t stop the rise of FDR or LBJ. So that’s not the answer.

If someone can tell me how we can un-Animal Farm this nation based on reason and without magical thinking, I’d love to hear your argument. I will enthusiastically invite you to post it here.

Just follow and message me here.

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Pay Attention!

I am supposed to be doing homework for a special project. But I if I didn’t get this out, my head will explode.

Everybody is getting their noses out of joint about the NFL and Donald Trump being his regular, inarticulate, nonsensical self.  I sure as hell said my piece about it.  But as a problem, who stands, sits or scratches their asses during the National Anthem should be about 138 on our list of national priorities right now.

There is far more to worry about.

First I will stipulate that as sure as there will never be a real wall on our southern border, I am equally sure that the NOKOs will get their nukes, just like the Iranians did. There is no one in DC with the brains, much less the sack to do anything about it. (Perhaps the only saving grace in this case is that the American President isn’t going to actively facilitate Kim’s acquisition of the weapons as Obama did for the Iranians.)

BUT!!!!!

If anyone is seriously thinking about going after the crazy fat kid and his crazy generals they better start making preparations SIX MONTHS AGO! If the post Vietnam yes men in the Pentagon plan this one the way they have done the last several, we will find ourselves in real trouble on the Korean Peninsula.

I have been watching the Ken Burns’ Vietnam series. Not much new there, but the detail is amazing. And as many times as I have read or seen these stories, it still leaves me gob smacked at how criminally incompetent LBJ, Robert McNamara and the Joint Chiefs were in the execution of that war. All the years in Nam and all the conflicts since have demonstrated that we have yet to learn anything since 1945.

In McNamara’s time, the powers that be believed the guy with the best spreadsheet would win the war. Now the yes men believe the guys with the coolest PowerPoint slides are on top of things.

If we don’t get REAL generals and planners in DC, plan a REAL campaign designed to defeat the enemy and INITIATE THE DRAFT right now, any adventure in Korea will result in a tremendous loss of life, squandered initiative and NOKO getting their nukes anyway.

In Chapter 16 of Street Politics: It Ain’t Your Daddy’s GOP Anymore! I laid out my objections to the concept of limited war. The bottom line was that if you don’t intend to take all the real estate and keep it; if you don’t intend to completely break the enemy’s will to resist your own, you don’t go to war. Period.

Korea I, Vietnam, Iraq (under Obama) and Afghanistan were all a colossal waste of American lives. As this NOKO debacle unfolds before our eyes, I don’t see anyone with the requisite knowledge and courage to understand this.

Trump still lacks the intellectual curiosity needed to digest real input from his advisors on a subject as important as this. And I see no indication the military is being led by a new breed of young turks capable of planning a real war.

Again, I don’t think we will lift a finger against NOKO nukes. But if we decide to do so, and try to do the “limited war” circus, popular since 1950, we are going to be in deep shit!

Don’t be a political pansy! Read Street Politics: It Ain’t Your Daddy’s GOP Anymore! Grab your copy here.
Let’s demand good governance!

Kindle version here!

Or just start reading for free on Kindle Unlimited!