Someone Has To Pay..

No, this post is not going to talk about taking revenge or seeking vengeance. Instead, it is about the idea of getting free information on what is going on in the world and particularly our country today. I think the old saying “you get what you pay for” is true in many areas of life including this one.

2017-02-19_11-13-29.pngI must admit up front that I am probably like most of the people in that I get at least part of my news from Internet sources. I used to get agitated when I clicked on a news article only to have some words to the effect that I need to sign up with a paid prescription in order to view the article. I almost always mumbled, “you gotta be kidding…”

But it finally it dawned on this dense brain of mine that someone has to pay if you want quality news information. Someone has to track down the info, get at least double verification of the facts, and then write the article in concise and understandable words and then someone else needs to check it for all the above. It takes people of talent to do that and they need to be paid what they are worth. In the past, the video versions of news sources were paid by the advertisers of the programs selling their products but that paradigm seems to be losing its effectiveness rather quickly now. How do we get reliable sources for our information? That is the question at hand.

One way is to pay for the service directly through subscription. I recently joined millions of others in this post-truth era who subscribe to the New York Times.  Why the Times? Because they have the most talented writers around. They stick to tried and true methods of obtaining the latest news.

With the abundance of fake news now proliferating the Internet, we need someone we can trust to give us the real facts.  “You get what you pay for” almost seems to be archaic in today’s world but maybe it is actually truer than ever.

Next time you read a news article or see it on a cable news channel, stop and think if this is really true or even pertinent? If you doubt it in any way look for another source of verification.  Especially it that news channel happens to be FOX news or MSNBC and most particularly when it comes out of the Oval Office…

 

There Is No Such Thing As Facts Or Truth Anymore..

Are we entering a different world now or is this just a dangerous  curve in the road? That seems to be the question that many are asking. As the below quote says all of the people around our future president basically are saying that he is simply someone pushing the envelope when he tells us out and out lies.

One pro-Trump pundit argued last week, for example, that there’s “no such thing” as facts anymore. Corey Lewandowski added that American voters “understood that sometimes, when you have a conversation with people, whether it’s around the dinner table or at a bar, you’re going to say things, and sometimes you don’t have all the facts to back it up.”

2016-12-05_14-36-08.pngOutgoing RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, who’ll soon become the White House chief of staff, was asked on CBS’s “Face the Nation” yesterday about Trump lying about voter fraud. Priebus, without proof, said it’s “possible” that millions of illegal ballots were cast. When host John Dickerson noted that there is no evidence to support such a claim, Priebus responded, “I think the president-elect is someone who has pushed the envelope and caused people to think in this country.”

This is, of course, bordering on madness. Asked to defend his boss’ demonstrable lie, the incoming White House chief of staff thinks it’s great that the president-elect is “pushing the envelope” – as if making transparently false claims to the nation is somehow cutting-edge….

This is no small moment. Americans are being told that their incoming president lied to them, got caught, and this is somehow a positive development that should inspire confidence in our reality-challenged leader….

When he lies, are Americans supposed to give Trump a pass because he likes to “push the envelope”? When the president chooses to replace the truth with ridiculous falsehoods, are we supposed to find this “refreshing” because most presidents at least try to be honest?

Source: Trump allies defend his election lie as ‘refreshing’ | MSNBC

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If Only…

It is nice to read an article that finally admits that we can never unite under a common political cause. Our fundamental beliefs prevent that from happening:

When they disagree, it’s often because they have incompatible values.

Most Democrats believe it’s inhumane for society not to guarantee a certain minimum standard of things like food, shelter, and health care; most Republicans don’t.

Most Democrats believe women ought to control their own reproductive lives; most Republicans don’t.

Most Democrats believe the wealthy ought to shoulder more of the burden of funding the things government does; most Republicans don’t.

These aren’t just fleeting preferences — they spring from fundamental ideas about how the world works and how it ought to work.

And yes, we do live in a polarized age. But that’s in large part because both parties have become more internally consistent about what they believe. There are problematic consequences for the government’s ability to perform basic functions (even those that ought to be removed from ideology), but the differences are substantive and substantial….

What I’d like to hear is a presidential candidate answer the unity question by saying,

“I wish I could unify the country, but I can’t. All I can do is do the best job possible, even if I know that no matter what happens a healthy portion of the population is still going to hate me.  But I’ll try to do right by them too.”

That would at least be honest, even if the candidate would be pilloried for not buying into the myth of a unity that is always supposed to be awaiting us if only we can put aside our differences.

Source: No president can unify our hopelessly divided country

Given the still adamant Trump supporters even after so much ugliness about him has come out  I have to agree that values differ greatly among us in the U.S.  Some concentrate on one part of our constitution as being sacrosanct, and some another. Some want to throw the entire document and all of government along with it out the window.  As the article above says Democrats  believe that everyone should be their brother’s keeper. When our fellow citizens fall on harsh times we should be there for them as a society. (Kind of sounds like the words of Jesus if you ask me but I won’t go any further with that thought here. ) Democrats believe that government has the duty to do the people’s business especially when individual citizens can’t do it themselves.

Since it has been a long time since I claimed the Republican mantel I can only guess by their actions what my Republican friends believe . Republicans put the pre-born into a much higher category than those who have left the womb.  They will fight to insure that every life conceived is brought to birth but then don’t seem to care much about it after that.  They believe that government is to do the least possible and let the capitalist systems take care of the rest. They ferociously cling to their guns as their main protection against their conceived evils of the world.

With this great disparity  of values I agree there can never be  a president to unify the country.  All we can hope for is that whichever party holds the power they do the best within their mindset and we  count on checks and balances to reign them in when they exceed their bounds.  Maybe there is something that can bridge this gap between us but right now I seriously doubt that it can happen anytime in the near future.

Bill Clinton takes on protesters in coal country

I know it is quite chic to be a Hillary and Bill basher right now. Especially with the Basher-in-chief, read that as Trump, tweeting almost hourly  lies and conspiracy theories about them.  But I must admit that I do miss Bill Clinton sometimes.  My 401k especially misses him!

He might not have been able to keep his zipper up but he was the master of logic in his thinking. The rally in West Virginia shows that he hasn’t lost it. He says things that I would have said in the same circumstances.  He just has a way of putting things in very simple and real terms. Let’s look at some of his most recent quotes:

2016-07-07_09-30-45.png“I’m not like a lot of people. It doesn’t bother me to have protesters at rallies,” the former president began.

“I’m glad they come, because I think one of the biggest problems in America today is we seem to be less prejudiced about a lot of things, except we don’t want to be around anybody who disagrees with us. You notice that?”…

Hillary Clinton seemed to confirm that perception in March, at a town hall in Ohio, when she said that a transition to clean energy would “put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.” She later said she had made “a misstatement,” but the comment contributed to her loss Tuesday in West Virginia, a state whose Democratic primary she had won by a landslide in 2008.

“I think ‘Make America Great Again’ means that we’ll make it like it was in the 1960s, even if [we] have to put another wall up,” he said. “Well, if you think you can do it, have at it, but no place else in the world that mines coal has been able to do it.”

“Don’t tell me we can’t bring different kinds of jobs,” he admonished. “Don’t tell me you’re not smart enough to do it, and don’t tell me nobody over a certain age can learn this stuff.”

SOURCE:  Bill Clinton takes on protesters in coal country – The Washington Post

Bill Clinton is a debater. He loves facing off with those who might not think as he does. Now that he will no longer be seeking a political office  he doesn’t parse as many words as most politicians.  He is free to say what he thinks and often does just that to the embarrassment of his wife.

This post is  very much aligned with the one from yesterday about being replaced by robots. Let’s face it coal is quickly becoming yesterday’s energy resource and therefore needs to be replaced by other commodities. It is as simple as that. But the problem is that there are just too many in certain areas of the country who depend solely on coal as a means of income. There is little else available to bring income into the family.

We can’t go forwards by going backwards, it is that simple. Now I admit that it will be decades, if it even happens that rural Pennsylvania and especially much of West Virginia can replace coal jobs. The short term solution will probably be to simply move someplace else. But that is emotionally hard for some to do…

The World of Pretend…

2016-03-26_12-51-39.pngA good portion of my life was spent around someone who lived in a world of pretend. My mother was that person. She abandoned me, my brother, and her husband when I was about ten years old to marry someone much richer who could provide her with the luxuries she so wanted in life.  I would not have any sort of relationship with her again until twenty years later when that husband divorced her to marry his much younger secretary.

It was not until this re-introduction that I realized that she primarily lived in a world of pretend.  Reality had little to do with her mentality. She lived in a dream world of her own making. Since she left school at the age of fifteen to bare her first child it is unlikely that she ever graduated from high school. But to her that was not her reality. Throughout her life she made up stories about how she was a doctor, a head nurse at a prominent hospital, and a myriad of other occupations and circumstances.

She was pretty much a bigot and did not have much room for empathy in her life. But to show that she wasn’t she would occasionally “adopt” a person of lower standing than she perceived herself to be.  But then she would drop them as quickly as she adopted them. In reality she very seldom looked beyond herself for any reason.  I would later learn that she was the epitome of a narcissist. She lived in her own world of pretend throughout her life. Tragically, in the end she became an extremely spiteful person who looked down on everyone and everything around her. I was the only one of her four children that had any kind of a relationship with her and even that was very limited in the final year.  I think she finally discovered that the world of pretend was a cage, not a cocoon and that was devastating to her ego.

In a way I am thankful that she was in my life, it gave me a perspective of what I didn’t want to be. To counter her narcissism I went the other direction and became an empath. I purposely try to always tell things as I believe them to be. I probably do this to a fault. I just don’t want to ever want to live in a pretend world.

The world of pretend is in itself not a bad place, but when it invades and even takes over the real world it becomes a strangling cage.

 

Why Hillary Clinton could easily lose to Donald Trump

2016-02-27_11-48-43.pngBut Hillary Clinton is not a strong opponent — against Trump, or anyone else.

The problem isn’t ideology. As a center-left neoliberal, Clinton fits right into a political sweet spot — affirming the importance of reality-based policy expertise at home and abroad; showing a willingness to cut deals to get things done; and displaying an appreciation for the crucial importance of markets in generating economic growth, along with a recognition that tough-minded regulations (and a generous safety net) are needed to minimize the corruption and injustices to which markets are prone. This combination of idealism and pragmatism grows out of the core neoliberal aim of creating a society as fair as possible within a world of intransigent political and economic constraints….

Even without a subpoena (or indictment), Clinton is widely disliked and distrusted. Trump may have the highest unfavorable rating of anyone running for president, but his closest rival for that honor (now that Jeb Bush has given up his bid for the White House) is none other than… Hillary! Is it really so hard to imagine Trump beating her in states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, North Carolina, and Florida?

Talk about squandering what should be an enormous Democratic advantage.

SOURCE:  Why Hillary Clinton could easily lose to Donald Trump.

I too can see the Trump as president scenario happen with Hillary as the opposition and that scares me! I don’t think the mistrust and downright contempt for the current political establishments is just a GOP thing. Politics has gotten so ugly that most, if not all of us, are a little fed up with it. We are ready for a clean break with the recent past and Hillary is anything but that. Her air of entitlement just turns me off. No, I don’t buy the false rhetoric from the GOP that she is somehow less trustworthy than other politicians.  If it comes down to a Trump/Clinton election I will undoubtedly cast my vote for her. But I think there are better, wiser choices out there.

In order to affect any significant changes in our political process it will take a near revolution among the voting masses and Trump certainly represents that. Maybe we need our “Jessie Ventura” moment on the national stage in order for a paradigm shift to occur in our politics. Maybe it is time for Trump???

In order to affect any significant changes in our world maybe we need a President Trump. That would likely scare many countries around the world to start to take responsibility for their own safety. Due to his erratic nature they would like want to protect themselves. Then we could finally reign in our absurd military spending in the U.S.  We could then start taking better care for our own citizens. We could then even afford universal healthcare much as the rest of the world already has.

Maybe a President Trump is just what we need right now…. but I seriously doubt it…

An Ounce of Truth

2015-11-26_07-19-24.png

Oh the Good Ole Days……

Some are saying that W’s appearance at Jeb’s rally in South Carolina was the reason for his dismal showing there.   I guess I am not the only one with Bush fatigue…  We need to turn the page, however ugly it might get…

There Will Always Be Sob Stories…

I see in the debates how the GOP candidates for president constantly comment about how bad things are.  I wish someone would ask them point blank whether they think things are worse now than when the last Republican president left the Oval Office?  It would be very interesting to see how much spin they could put on that question.

In that same light, it is a strange dichotomy how Wall Street is so anxious to get rid of Obama and put another conservative in the White House. During the eight years of the Bush administration the stock market went for 11,000 to below 8,000. Whereas during that same period of time for Obama it went from 8,000 to 18,000. Maybe my math is defective but it seems like they made a lot more money from the latter than the former so why are they so anxious to go back to the Bush years?

Getting to the title of this post, the GOP wannabes say they hear all the pain and suffering in the population and want to do something about it. But what they want to do is what caused most of it to come crashing down eight years ago.  Of course that immediately brings to mind the old saying”

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

But maybe even more insane is how so many people seem to believe their rhetoric! My hero Will Rogers said that anyone who gets all his news from one newspaper is an idiot. It seems most of those who immediately fall in line with whatever these guys say is probably among that group of idiots, except that now it is one cable news channel instead of a newspaper.

Yeah, I know that there will always be sob stories from at least a few but it is kind of like all those reviews for products found on Amazon. Many, if not most of the worst reviews come from the competitors of the product being reviewed. They want to drive sales to their own products. And then there are those in the opposite direction.  There will always be sob stories but if you want to understand the overall picture you need to throw out the worst and the best and look at all the in between.

Let Me See If I Got This Right?

2016-01-06_08-13-16.pngLaVoy Finicum says the Feds won’t take him alive

One of the armed protesters occupying a federal wildlife refuge in rural Oregon said he would rather die defending the building than be arrested by the FBI.

Source: Oregon Occupier Warns FBI He’d Take Death Over Jail | TIME

I guess that not all the nuts in the country are running for president. Some of them are waving the flag and the constitution in the name of getting “free” stuff and saying they will die rather than pay for it.

Ok, maybe that is a little harsh, lets look at it a little more.  The major conflict of these guys known as the “Oregon Occupiers” is grazing rights. They all have ranches/farms  close to federal land and think they should be able to use that land for their own purposes. They get upset when the federal government says they have to pay rent on it via grazing fees.

How much is the rent? -I’m not sure if I got all this straight but it appears that people using government land to feed their cattle pay about $1.50 per cow a month. That comes to about $18 a year. If the rancher is not fortunate enough to be close to federal land he would have to pay  about $1/day. That’s about 20 times more than grazing fees.

How is this rent money used? – About half of it goes to the States to compensate them for not being able to get property taxes from that land. The other half goes to the costs of managing the land and to preserve additional land for public ownership.

All this doesn’t seem very evil to me and it certainly is not worth dying for. It doesn’t sound like it is the big bad feds putting it to the little guy. To me it kind of sounds like these guys are getting a deep discount for their cattle business but they want it free instead! I’m sure the vast majority, if not all, of these guys are ultra-conservatives who rail against all those free-loaders who are living off welfare checks but are they really any different in wanting free stuff?

As of this writing, and I hope into the future, the FBI and other law enforcement branches are choosing to just ignore these nuts who are ranting in the northern wilderness about their constitutional rights but actual history shows they are on the wrong side of this issue. I suspect they will prosecute some of them for the laws they are breaking, especially when they do so at the point of a gun. But that will come later.

As soon as the press leave I suspect even the guy who claims he will fight to the death for free stuff will leave. Let’s end this post with another group of armed insurrectionist occupying federal buildings..

2016-01-07_11-25-06.png

 

As If We Didn’t Have Enough To Fear…

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If strong enough, the storm of electrons and other charged particles from an EMP could disrupt the Earth’s magnetic field, disable satellites and the internet, ground all commercial aviation, silence telecommunications, and fry much of the electrical grid — catapulting our society back to the 19th century for months or years.

Peter Pry, executive director of the federal EMP Task Force on National and Homeland Security, told Congress this year that a major EMP could cause widespread “starvation, disease, and societal collapse” that could lead to the deaths of tens of millions of people. The Obama administration recently released a multiagency battle plan to study and defend against what many scientists consider the most likely source of EMPs: solar storms, which Bill Murtagh of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy calls “a real and present danger.”

SOURCE:  The deadly threat of a solar superstorm.

Having training in electrical engineering I have known about EMPs for quite some time and their possible impact on the world. According to this article the last solar super-storm with a massive EMP occurred in 1859 long before we had microchips.

I guess we need to add this one to our overgrowing list of fears for today.