I See Myself As…

canstockphoto6621324.jpgWe all have a vision of who we are and what we are all about. Many times that vision is strikingly different than the way others see us. I don’t know why that is but it probably has something to do with our egos.  Yes, we all have egos but of course some are much more massive than others. Anyway I want to put forward here a little about how I see myself. Maybe you could benefit from some of the same self evaluation?

I see myself as a perpetual  student and teacher at the same time.  There is always something new to learn and prejudices that need to be unlearned.  I seek adventure, yes, but never conquest.

I loathe the “survival of the fittest” mentality and embrace the “brother’s keeper” alternative.  I am a follower of the messages of Jesus Christ but am for the most part disappointed in what much of his church on earth has become.

I question everything. Truth’s borders are a transient place where walls sometimes need to crumble, for barriers to come down. I try to always be open to new possibilities.

Each personal encounter is the mixture of commonalities and differences, exploring paths of shared experiences while discovering new paths that lead to new territories unbounded.

I loathe boredom or maybe it is just not moving forward. I am always looking to the next frontier.

This is how I see myself today. Tomorrow might be a different story.

What about you? How do you see yourself?

 

I Don’t Have Many Friends — By Choice..

Maybe I should explain the title some more before I continue with the post.  Yes, because of my Aspie traits and my isolation as a deaf senior citizen I don’t have as many friends as I had when I was in the corporate world. That is a fact that can’t be denied but it is not the point of this post.

The point I am trying to make is that by Facebook standards my friends list is pretty abysmal.  I think at last count I had about 40 “friends”. Some of them I don’t “follow” because they post multiple times daily about the most mundane things in their life and even though I am a 24/7 senior I don’t have, or maybe I won’t take the time to even browse through those posts.  Of those 40 friends I think their average friend count is over 200.

2017-10-12_12-05-50.pngIt is not because I am not able to have more “friends”, Lord knows I get multiple requests weekly from people I have no idea who they are. Maybe they read a post here at RJsCorner and want me to know what they are doing?  But I suspect most of them found me when I made a comment on Facebook one place or another.  Their purpose for asking me is simply to increase their count so as to impress their friends.

I’m probably going to come off as an old fogie here but I think social media is a fad not worth following, at least to the degree that many do. We all say our days are so hectic that we have no time for family things. But then the stats show that people spend multiple hours daily interacting with social media.  Maybe it’s time for many to go cold turkey from social media for a few days to spend time on other things? Maybe its absence would show them that it doesn’t add much value to their lives?

The Tail Wags The Dog..

It is becoming abundantly clear to me now that when it comes to video media that the tails wags the dog.  Keeping me informed so that I can make wise decisions is not a prominent goal of most telemedia companies, especially those like CNN, MSNBC and FOX.

Unlike much of the rest of the world our news sources depend of advertising to stay in existence. The more views they can get, the more they can charge for advertising. It is as simple as that. For those of us who are at least middle aged, we know of a different time.  The network news organizations were there for a public benefit not a profit center. If the proper regulations had been in place that could have stayed the same today. Like everything else it seems, the Reagan administration was all about deregulation so when the cable news orgs happened on the scene they we untethered to make as much money as they could.

Being a profit center the news is now driven by views. The more people to watch the more profit they claim. Sensationalizing what they cover is now the norm.  If they can find controversy that is what they do.  The more controversy the better. It is no longer profitable to cover mundane things like the details of annual budget reports. Things that help us make better decisions went out the window years ago.

canstockphoto46913608.jpgThe easy, or should I say lazy, way to stay informed now is to lock onto one worldview and disregard everything else. That is what drives FOX and MSNBC totally and CNN most often. It now takes hard work to glean through multiple news sources to find the “truth” of almost any matter.

Like Thomas Jefferson said a democracy depends on an informed electorate and that creature is quickly disappearing from the landscape now.  Does that mean that our democracy is doomed it failure or simply that we will fall to become an “also ran” country. If the latter is the case it looks like China is getting well positioned to take our place.

The tail wags the dog in too much of our world now. Being a democracy it is up to us to change that fact if we are not too lazy to do it now.  That is the question of the day….

 

 

Let’s Get Rid of ALL Gun Controls..

2017-10-07_13-47-05.pngYou heard me right in the title above.  There is so much opposition to gun control now that I think we should just open up the purchase of guns to anyone who wants them . If you already have a hundred guns but want more then by all means you should be able to get them. If you want every one of your guns to have a bump-stock by all means buy as many as you want.  That’s what the free market system is all about isn’t it?  The NRA can finally be proud of me for my revised stand on guns. As my blood red friends say Guns don’t kill people…

Ok now for the kicker ( you knew there had to be one), I don’t believe that guns kill people either. What kills them are bullets so let’s regulate the hell out of buying bullets. Guns don’t kill people, bullets do. The 2nd amendment doesn’t say anything about bullets. If you want to join a militia to protect our country as was the actual purpose of the second amendment then you supply your gun and the government will supply the bullets.

canstockphoto39651775.jpgIf you spend every weekend shooting your guns as many of our red citizens claim they do then on Monday take our your empty shells to the bullet store and get up to one box (number in a box – to be determined) of new bullets.  But in order to buy bullets you gotta trade in your empty shells.

With this solution the gun folks who point out that knives also kill people will really learn that lesson. If you want to, you can use your gun as a club and beat someone to death with it then you are finally comparing apples to apples when it comes to knives and other such weapons.

 

Red America & Blue America (after the divorce)..

If you haven’t already read the first two posts in this series I would highly recommend you do that now because this one won’t make much sense if you don’t.

Red & Blue America – Part 1 

Red & Blue America – Part 2

Last time I promised you a settled map of what Red America and Blue America might look like under the “My View of the World” plan. Here it is:

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I know, I know, Blue America kinda looks like a gerrymandered congressional map but it was the best I can do on such short notice.  Maybe if we assigned some committee to study it further they could do better. On second thought “design by committee” would probably take a decade and still be undecided. Since I am the sole proprietor of RJsCorner we will just leave it as it is.

2017-10-02_12-48-33.pngLet’s do some studying on what this means. Starting with the GDP it looks like Blue America will have about 75% of the GDP, leaving Red America with 25%.  Since Red America will likely immediately eliminate taxes, at least on the rich I just don’t know where their funding will come from except maybe borrowing or by printing more money. Blue America on the other hand since there military spending will be aligned with much of the rest of the world will have an abundance of cash for infrastructure improvement and such. It’s not likely they will want to reduce taxes so they will have to look for other opportunities to spend it.

2017-10-01_11-49-28.pngOk, How about population?  The weird map shown to the right here is proportioned by population. I don’t know if you see anything too obvious here but the blue does seem to overwhelm the red. So again,  Blue American even with Florida which RJsPlan gave them will be about twice the size for Red when you consider population. Maybe that is a good thing for them. Except for Florida which they got through trade there just aren’t many people in the red states. Since they will likely shut down social security and all subsidized health care they will probably lose citizens who migrate blue for those things.

Let’s  finish up here by looking at the top priorities of the two countries to see how they might fair.

Red America – I don’t think they will have enough taxes to keep up their military spending without, GOD FORBID, raising taxes. What will they do? They need a BIG army to feel safe especially now since Blue America almost surrounds them.

Blue America – They will quickly turn to a single payer healthcare system that might cost a little more will be much more efficient. Blue America will take their lessons from the successes of the world and not have to reinvent everything themselves.

In the final analysis, I don’t think Red America will be a very good place to live.  But for the most part that won’t be much different from today.  But, at least both red and blue may then be able to get things done that they want.

Red & Blue America is starting to sound like a good idea….

Ok, enough of this silly dreaming for now…. Back to this dark Trumpian world…at least for a little while…

It’s Time For A Divorce Between Red America & Blue America..

crayon-banner  This is a continuation of yesterday’s post about a divorce between Red America and Blue America. This time I will start putting forward my rather warped view of how that might happen.  If you missed yesterday’s post that started this discussion I would recommend that you click the “Home” button at the top of this page and see the post from yesterday directly below this one. Now on to the matter at hand.

Our flag is just too tattered to even recognize it any more. It might be time to go our separate ways but how do we divide up what we currently have? The divide between Red America and Blue America has always been there but it has become a deep abyss in the last almost forty years.  I could start this divorce with in November 2016 but that would not really represent anywhere close to reality. That year was the result of laziness of Blue America to put their voices forward. It allowed Red State America to push forward their extreme candidate.

Now I realize that no State except maybe for Texas (those people are beyond description) is all Red or Blue so there will have to be some migration as a result of this divorce.  You could say we all will be the children of divorce.  Since it doesn’t seem possible to move between our Red and Blue parents we gotta find another way.  For a solution you gotta start somewhere and I propose to do that with the 2012 electoral map.

Looking at the map some things pop up. The northeast and west seem pretty blue so that is probably the core for Blue America. But in order to make a country viable it needs to be connected. To do that means that Indiana, Montana, North Dakota and Arizona will have to give up some land. The question is how much?  Part of the answer is apportioning by population and that is where the next map comes in.  It l

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ooks strange because the map is proportioned by population of each State.

Looking at this population map there just aren’t many people in North Dakota or Montana.  Maybe we could give all those folks who don’t want to be part of Blue America a million bucks each to migrate south and just move those States from Red to Blue? Since the northern part of Indiana is pretty much blue I think we could work out a 30-70 split without a lot of work. I don’t mean to totally ignore the fact that Idaho is in play with a small strip but since no one likely lives in that sliver of Idaho no one would even notice that it switched from red to blue.

2017-10-01_11-51-21Arizona and Utah need to turn blue too so let’s swap those two States for Florida. Population wise the trade would benefit the Red States  so they just might buy into it. Now with all this initial swapping done what would  Red America and Blue America look like? I will hold off on showing you that until the next post in this series early next week.

If you want to chime in on all this silliness put in your two cents now or forever hold your peace. 🙂 I never said that my view of the world was a totally sane one.

 

 

 

 

 

I Think It’s Time For A Divorce..

canstockphoto2610264.jpgcrayon-banner  I imagine the title at got a few of you to click it.  No, although I have sometimes thought about it, it is not about me divorcing my wife of 32 years. I kinda think it is time to start thinking about a divorce between Red and Blue America for irreconcilable differences. I am just not sure if we’ll ever listen to each other anymore let alone come to any agreement on compromise. Our flag is becoming too tattered to even recognize anymore. Its time for a change.

It’s time to start getting ready to go our separate ways and that is what this series of posts is all about. Before I get to a how we do this let’s talk a little about how we got here:

Red America’s solution to everything seems to be to take us back to the States. We tried that solution over two hundred years ago. It was called “The Confederation of American States” where each state was actually almost a separate country with their own laws and regulations. The early founders discovered that type of rule totally unworkable. Red America’ mantra is survival of the fittest. They believe those who accumulate wealth have no more responsibility toward society than those who have nothing.  These  Red America beliefs are very foreign to those in Blue America.

Blue America desperately want healthcare for all, much the same as the rest of the 1st world countries. They think that government, yes even the federal government, is to do the people’s business.  It is to make sure that we all have the same opportunities in life. To do that educational opportunities must be available to all. They think that  we are all in this together and each shares responsibility for the other. Blue America is definitely a brother’s keeper place. The Blue America beliefs contain WAY too much empathy for Red America.

I think we can point to one particular point in history where the abyss between Red and Blue America started and that is in the early 1980s. It is when Ronald Reagan flatly said that government is not a solution to our problems but instead the main reason for them. That started the ultra conservative fringe in America and has increased dramatically since then. Now the abyss in almost bottomless. No one seems to be able to see across it anymore.

Flash forward to today where we have a president that no one could even imagine thirty years ago. He is the epitome of “self-centered”. Nothing matters to him if it doesn’t directly benefit him.  He viciously trashes anyone who dares to criticize anything he says or does.  It seems that RedAmerica loves this guy while Blue America despises him.

It’s time for a divorce due to irreconcilable differences.  Next time I will start giving you  my solution to a successful divorce between Red America and Blue America.

If you feel like getting into this swamp water, post a comment…

“Don’t Confuse Me With The Facts”…

I am becoming more and more convinced that the title of this post should be the theme of the Trump base.  Their hero continues to lie, attack and poison everything he touches and they just ignore it.  Don’t confuse me with the facts… yeah that fits.

Fake news is often the topic with the liar in chief so I’m sure he has seen the article below:

canstockphoto45579151.jpgHorner, whose fake news stories often went viral on Facebook and Twitter, told The Intersect, a Washington Post blog, last year that Trump supporters were especially susceptible to being fooled. “My sites were picked up by Trump supporters all the time,” Horner said. “I think Trump is in the White House because of me. 

“His followers don’t fact-check anything — they’ll post everything, believe anything. His campaign manager posted my story about a protester getting paid $3,500 as fact. Like, I made that up. I posted a fake ad on Craigslist.”

Source: Fake news writer in 2016 presidential election found dead | TheHill

This quote was by a self proclaimed fake news writer. He got his kicks out of making up stories and then seeing how “Trumpsters” propagated them across the Internet without ever questioning their validity.

Yes, many of Mr. Trump’s Twitter rants are about fake news. How ironic is that since he would not have his current job if fake news  and some very naive voters hadn’t help put him there.

This Is Houston, We Have A Problem..

2017-09-26_16-07-46.pngTexas is famous for their lack of regulations and for this discussion that means that they allowed thousands of homes around Houston to be built on floodplains. Of course most of the devastation from Irma is a direct result of that decision.  It is kind of ironic in a sad way that a State who almost hates the federal government now comes to it with hat in hand asking the rest of us to get them out of the problems they caused. Texas claims to be able to take care of themselves so maybe we should just let them do that now?

Lest we forget the consequences of the lack of Texas regulations, I want to go back to a report by the New York Times of the tragic explosion in West Texas in 2013:

Texas has always prided itself on its free-market posture. It is the only state that does not require companies to contribute to workers’ compensation coverage. It boasts the largest city in the country, Houston, with no zoning laws. It does not have a state fire code, and it prohibits smaller counties from having such codes. Some Texas counties even cite the lack of local fire codes as a reason for companies to move there.

But Texas has also had the nation’s highest number of workplace fatalities — more than 400 annually — for much of the past decade. Fires and explosions at Texas’ more than 1,300 chemical and industrial plants have cost as much in property damage as those in all the other states combined for the five years ending in May 2012. Compared with Illinois, which has the nation’s second-largest number of high-risk sites, more than 950, but tighter fire and safety rules, Texas had more than three times the number of accidents, four times the number of injuries and deaths, and 300 times the property damage costs

Source: New York Times May 9, 2013

With Texas being the execution capital of the world and hate safety regulations it seems pretty clear that they just don’t value life as much as most of us. I know Texas prides themselves on not have regulations about floodplains and pretty much everything else.  So, why should the rest of us have to pay for their recklessness? That is the question of the day for me.  They need to live with the consequences of their actions.  It is as simple as that. Or at the very least tell them next time you are on your own…

Medicine Is An Unsettled Science..

canstockphoto28789734.jpgI don’t think there is anyone around who thinks we have all the answers when it comes to medicine. There have been and will continue to be major breakthroughs in that field but that doesn’t mean that our current knowledge is not to be believed.

We don’t go to a witchdoctor for our health care needs because medicine is an unsettled science.  So, why do some allow this convoluted logic to drive their beliefs around climate change. They say climate change is an unsettled science so we want to wait for more answers! Yes, there are between 1-3% of scientific paper in the climate change arena that say it is bogus.  But lets remember that scientist in any field love to disagree with each other. That is just the nature of science.

I know the climate change deniers have pretty much made up their minds about this issue and are not open to any discussions. It’s kind of like “Don’t confuse me with the facts” issue now. Looking at life, there is virtually nothing that is 100% certain. canstockphoto30575391 Everything is shades of grey. I love trying to get into the minds of those I have disagreements with but on this issue that seems impossible.  Due to my Aspie characteristics being a very logical person is who I am and seeing logic in the climate change deniers seems impossible.

Some say it is already too late to ameliorate the effects of climate change, it is going to happen now no matter what we do. I don’t know but it still wouldn’t hurt to change our way of thinking about carbon based fuels.

 

Altered States..

canstockphoto44046673.jpgWho wants to totally live in our hectic world today.  I have seen too many of my friends give up on our times and say they want out.  That defeatist attitude seem to be taking over our world especially with the current Oval Office holder in charge.

It seems that all of us need to get away from today at least for a little while each day. We need an “Altered State” that we can escape to. Somewhere where the world doesn’t seem so real. Just what that altered state ends up being depends on the person. Some like one thing, some like another.  Here are some of the choices:

Alcohol – Some can’t wait till the end of the day when they can have their beer or shot. Of course this remedy is not a new one. People have been doing that for as long as we have existed.  Those folks on the mythical TV show Blue Bloods must go through gallons of the stuff daily.  Even the police commissioner on the show regularly takes a shot or two in his office.  He NEEDS his altered state. Some of my personal altered states include an occasional beer or wine but that is less than one a week thing.

Cigarettes –  I know a thing or two about this altered state as I was a smoker for over twenty years! It has been twenty-five  years since my last one but I still remember how nicotine helped me forget some of my worries. My wife unfortunately still puffs on her cancer sticks even after three heart attacks and bout with lung cancer.

Coffee – Caffeine is another altered state drug that millions use.  If it is not multiple cups of coffee a day or a six pack of Mountain Dew then it is another special drink loaded with the drug.

Marijuana – This is an altered state that is coming back into its own.  It used to be legal and then it wasn’t. I see more and more States (no not that kind but the 50 in the USA) are legalizing it once again. Even though I was in college in the 1960s I never tried the stuff then or since. I don’t personally know how “altered” my state would be if marijuana was my choice but I suspect it would mellow me out and don’t we all need our dose that in these current times.

Opioids – These are the tragic altered states that have become an epidemic lately.  Mostly this is due to over prescribing heron type drugs by doctors. Opioids just alter your state too much but maybe not if we have to really go through four Trump years…  Before you hit the flame button I am joking…

Let’s close out this post with some sobering thoughts. Maybe if we spent more time outside our altered states we might just be able to prevent the things that make them necessary.

A Follow Up…

Given my last post was about the “repenter” of Times Square I thought I would follow it up with a quite different version.

click on any image to see a larger slideshow version

 

Looking back on the posts this week it is interesting to see how they are all linked by common threads.  I definitely wasn’t disappointed by the crowds and revelry on Times Square that Saturday night. 🙂

Getting My Hopes Up…

I truly believe that I am an optimist at heart but being one is down right depressing at times, especially these times.  I have been thinking a lot about this lately and I have come to the conclusion that looking back ony seven plus decades on this earth can maybe be summed up by one word.

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I know at first thought that is kind of sad commentary on any life, but let me explain my version of disappointment.  All my life I have had high hopes. I always want everything to turn out the best it can be. As a result people, including myself, often disappoint me to one degree or another.  As a young boy I looked up to my father as the epitome of what a good person should be. Then one day I saw him do something that shredded that image. That might have been my first disappointment but it certainly would not be my last. Many many others would follow. One of my primary life lessons in this regard is that things are never as good as you hope nor as bad as you dread. Sometimes that helps ameliorate the situation but…

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In the end it just comes down to the fact that I expect too much from others and even myself.  I think that is because of my optimistic nature and that is something I proudly cling to.  Getting my hopes up does often result in disappointment but sometimes it results in joy and celebration.  I would rather have that than to go through life expecting nothing from anyone or anything in order to avoid disappointment.  Now, that would be a depressing way to spend my time, especially what I have left of it.  The celebration of the successes in life far outweigh the disappointments even if disappointment comes more frequently.  It is as simple as that for me.

Wage Slavery…

2017-09-17_10-36-44.pngI know this post is way overdue but it is still important to understand that the observence of Labor Day which started in the 1890s was to exhibit to the public “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations”. This was also the time of the “Robber Barons”. That is, those industrialists who were accumulating great wealth primarily on the backs of their workers.  It was not until a Republican named Theodore Roosevelt came to the White House that their monoplies were broken up.

Labor Day was born in the late 19th century, during a time of raw fear about the path of economic development.

Opportunities for decent, middle-class livelihoods seemed to be shrinking, and the “laboring classes” confronted a grim future of what many called wage slavery. Conservatives held most of the seats of power, but reform-minded politicians, activists and policy mavens were thinking big about labor’s rights and wrongs….

During and after the New Deal, unions were essential to forging a broad new middle class — not only because they raised wages and benefits, but also because they countered corporate and financial political power, which today is the greatest impediment to serious change. Without a rejuvenated labor movement, it’s almost inconceivable that breakthrough reforms will come to pass…

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/04/opinion/labor-laws-workers.html?

As mentioned above the laboring class had a grim future of wage slavery. This would start to change as workers started banding together to demand their share of the profits of the company. But since the corporate owners controlled most of city, state, and even national government and law enforcement the workers simply didn’t have the power to get what they wanted. Strikes were bloody with the local police taking their orders from the ruling class conservatives.

The main point of the NY Times source article is that the labor unions of one hundred years ago are just not applicable to today’s times.  A new version needs to be discovered for today and the sooner the better..

Breaking Gridlock…

Hey, I’m not ashamed to give someone credit for things that are accomplished even if it was only by accident or maybe serendipity. So, congratulations President Trump on starting to break the gridlock that has kidnapped our nation’s capitol for far too long. The GOP is starting to scream “He wants to work with the DEMOCRATS!!!” “WE HAVE BEEN BETRAYED!!” To all that I say It is about time.

We knew going in that Trump was neither a Republican or a Democrat. The only thing he is for is to make himself look good. Nothing else really matters to him and I mean nothing else. That fact is obvious to anyone with an objective take on this alternative reality. But who says two wrongs don’t eventually make a right? Putting Trump in office and letting him betray the party that put him there just might solve some of the fundamental problems inside the beltway.

Bernie Sanders and others have brought forth the proposition that an independent in the Oval Office who is not of either party is someone who can force the two bickering parties to “play well”. He can propose legislation that at least some of both parties can accept.

canstockphoto9691431.jpgSo, I celebrate Mr. Trump’s success in making a deal with the Democrats even to the total dismay of the GOP.  Maybe this is the beginning of a successful Trump strategy.  I am certainly a dreamer aren’t I? 🙂

If nothing else these limited successes, however long they last, will show us what an independent and competent  person could do with Oval Office power and that just might give an independent a chance in the 2020 election..