Category Archives: Social Media

The End of Another Year & What Have We learned?

Head_Platon_Glyptothek_Munich.jpg2018 is almost at an end. Maybe it’s time to review where we are, and what we think we must do.

There are a number of issues routinely discussed in the USA, and not necessarily a lot of agreement.

Lets take a look at a few.

How about one that seems to be ignored, but is indicative of how inept we can be at solving a known problem. No, I’m not talking about the national debt, although that’s certainly a priority issue. Here’s a localized problem that should be an embarrassment considering how much we send to other countries, let alone waste through poor governance.

Flint Michigan Toxic Water:  Flint Michigan lies along the Flint River, 60 miles (100 km) northwest of Detroit. Flint was a busy manufacturing town up until the 1980’s. General Motors was a leading employer in that area. When the fortunes of GM changed, area manufacturing closed down and a lot of ancillary business connected to automotive production also ceased to exist. The financial impact made its way to the city water decisions on saving money. By 2014, Flint wasn’t able to pay the cost of obtaining water from Detroit, a city that also was struggling. They were getting the water from Lake Huron. The city made a decision to route the municipal water from the nearby Flint River. They said it would only be temporary and like dopamine fools, people believed the city officials. (This is how toxic Flint’s Water is) It’s 2018 and the water is still being supplied from the lead and toxins contaminated Flint River. Read this CNN article for a timeline of the crisis.

In March 2016, Flint began to rip out and replace some of the hazardous pipes under a “FAST Start program.” That program continues.
Kristin Moore, a Flint city government spokeswoman, said that 6,264 pipes have been replaced as of April 18, 2018. However, an estimated 12,000 Flint residences still have lead and galvanized service lines that need to be replaced, she said.
“The pipe replacement work is expected to be completed by 2020,” Moore said. “However, the mayor is hopeful that the project can be completed even sooner.”

Climate Change: We might as well go from a local problem to a global one. It lays before us like a rotting pumpkin. Some suggest we should leave it alone, while others say it needs to be cleaned up. There’s probably more discussion on this topic than any of the others I’ll mention. Rightly or wrongly, when it comes to climate change, there’s going to be lively debate on social media any time this topic is discussed.

Some groups claim humanity is plunging headlong towards catastrophe and possibly even a future in which a tiny band of survivors cluster around the last remaining habitable territory near the poles.

Other groups claim that climate change will not be too bad so there is no need to stop using fossil fuels. They point to beneficial effects such as ‘global greening’ in which plant growth is boosted by the extra carbon in the air.

The answers may lay somewhere in between.

The United Nations IPCC publishes a research review in the form of a voluminous,  report on the subject of climate change, which the United Nations asserts is “authored” by approximately 600 scientists. These “authors” are not, however – as is ordinarily the custom in science – permitted power of approval of the published review of which they are supposedly authors. They are permitted to comment on the draft text, but the final text neither conforms to nor includes many of their comments. The final text conforms instead to the United Nations objective of building support for world taxation and rationing of industrially useful energy.

Does this make climate change data or predictions, incorrect or a hoax? That’s not as easy to answer as one can presuppose.

150 years ago Irish physicist John Tyndall discovered ‘carbonic acid’, known today as carbon dioxide. It was one of a number of “perfectly colorless and invisible gases and vapors” to absorb radiant heat. About 40 years later, the Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius first suggested, increasing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would cause the global temperature to go up, particularly in the Arctic. Therefore, according to these ideas and the last 150 years of a rise in global temperature measurement, in combination with a rise in CO2, the science of climate change has become the “hot topic” of discussion.

The Climate-gate scandal proved that key data involving man-made climate change was manipulated. In 2009, the public discovered emails from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit exposing how scientists who have been enormously influential in promoting the concept of man-made climate change actually attempted to cook the books to obtain results that served their narrative that the planet was heating at a dangerous trend due to higher levels of carbon dioxide.

One of these scientists included Dr. James Hansen, a former NASA climatologist who is known by some as the “father” or “grandfather” of the climate change myth, as it was his “Model Zero” that first introduced the concept of global warming. Hansen, Philip Jones, Michael Mann, et al. were all involved in trying “to lower past temperatures and to ‘adjust’ recent temperatures upwards, in order to convey the impression of an accelerated warming.” The leaked emails bore that out. The emails also revealed how this cabal of scientists would discuss various ways to stonewall the public from seeing the “background data on which their findings and temperature records were based,” even going as far as deleting significant amounts of data. They would engage in efforts to smear “any scientific journal which dares to publish their critics’ work.”

Michael Mann has used Canada’s courts to sue one of his major critics of anthropogenic global warming. Dr. Tim Ball has on several occasions caused people to pause and review the underlying facts and purposes of a government proposition they can tax the environmental reprobates and credit the appropriate parties. It’s a perfect “crisis” for any government to use more authority and gain added revenues. All the while, taking credit when it isn’t due, and shifting blame whenever things aren’t favorable.
The use of ‘science’ as a tool for social manipulation is thoroughly confusing to most people until they understand the motive behind the deception.

It has been 28 years since Channel 4 in the UK produced >The Greenhouse Conspiracy.  It covered all the things that were wrong with the AGW theory. They are still valid, but now time-tested. Unfortunately, most people still don’t understand how it disproves the theory, despite all the efforts to educate people about the misuse of science. The bureaucratic technocrats, including those funded by them, who created and promote the deception, rarely respond to scientific challenges. Why bother when the public doesn’t understand?

Health Care: The debate over U.S. health care reform and the future of the Affordable Care Act dominated headlines in 2017, and has slowly diminished attention. The problems with healthcare in the US has continued. It’s a mixed message to the public by government politicos. On one hand, they say we need universal, “government managed” health care, but this type of care has been available since the inception of medicare.  The evidence for government managed health care has proven to be an empty promise. The Veterans Health (a very small percentage of the US population) has gone through numerous exposes on its mis-management. Medicare is definitely limited coverage, and about the only people who seem to have the right amount of health care coverage are those with a lot of money or high up government officials.

There’s no doubt that health care costs in the U.S. needs to be controlled. It’s not going to be corrected by elimination of private insurance, and corporate medical health organizations. The government has for decades, along with insurance, pharmaceutical lobbyists, and the legal industry, have been manipulating the health care industry. There’s a lot of shifting of responsibility, making it more complex for the care giver as well as the patients.

Government Spending: This is the 800 gorilla in the living room, and he’s growing into a 1 ton monster.

Federal, State, Local, and Total US government spending

Amounts in Trillion$ FY 2018 FY 2019
----------------------------------
Federal Spending     4.11  4.41
Intergov. Transfers  -0.72 -0.7
State Spending       1.81  1.87
Local Spending       1.93  1.99
Total Spending       7.12  7.56

Where’s the money being spent?
2019-budget-spending-chart

“World stock markets staggered Monday towards the end of their worst year since the global financial crisis a decade ago, rocked by rising interest rates, the global trade war and Brexit, dealers said.”

“London and Paris wobbled in holiday-shortened trade on New Year’s Eve — but nursed dizzying double-digit annual falls after an exceptionally volatile 2018.”

All that is what may concern some investors, but what should concern everyone, is the rapid year upon year increase of government debt. This is a crisis that can be averted, but the distress in shrinking the exorbitant spending habit of the federal government is more painful than the withdrawal symptoms of a heroin addict. Massive protests would ensue if someone’s favored group or program either was shrunk or defunded. As evidenced by the growing outspoken demands by a younger generation, they want to see universal health care, free college tuition, and basic income for all. Where this all will be created from, isn’t their problem. They just believe the “wealthy will pay”.

“They’ve got to keep the government-funded,” and where or how we obtain that funding isn’t important. That kind of thinking is a train wreck waiting to happen.

“Every dollar the government spends, even if borrowed, has to come out of some existing person’s pocket and therefore pre-empts the use of that dollar somewhere else in the economy—not in the future, but here and now.”

“The government can obtain its borrowed money by selling Treasury bonds to either American citizens or foreigners. If it borrows from domestic sources, it is getting money that Americans would have either invested somewhere in the economy or spent on goods and services. Government borrowing simply diverts the cash from other uses, just as if its spending were financed by taxation.” Economists call this the “crowding out effect.”

What’s necessary to understand, there will be a point where there’s not enough money to pay the interest and the required expenditures. This usually results in runaway inflation in order to “devalue” the debt.

US_debt_history

Growing Government Encroachment

“As we look into the future, contemplating artificial intelligence, automation, driverless cars and robots in our homes, big data — our data — is providing the foundation for this new world. Smart technology is just another part of the food chain, foraging personal data from our lives, without our permission or full comprehension of the implications.”

“The scale of hacking at numerous corporations around the world and the data exchange between Cambridge Analytica and Facebook, gives us an idea of how fierce this battle has become. Big data are today’s gold. Our personal and national sovereignties are at stake.”

Whistle Blowers are most often hailed as heroes, but not when it comes to blowing the whistle on a major government, most particularly, the United States. The U.S. will hunt you down, in almost any country in the world. Edward Snowden and Julian Assange have been identified as either traitors, or a high security risk. Most problematic for those advocating their arrest and need for a trial, are the things they’ve revealed. Snowden disclosed the unrestrained eavesdropping by the NSA, and Assange opened the curtain of secrecy on how third-party military contractors conduct themselves in some situations with non-combatants.

Even more problematic for the “pure democracy” the politicos have tried to portray, were the devious conduct of the National Democrat party co-opting their support of  Bernie Sanders in favor of Hillary Clinton. This caused enough backlash from the Clinton campaign, they began a series of intrigue and rumors to the point where we are still investigating the 2016 election results, blaming the Russians and the Trump campaign in concert of subverting the election. All of the facts disclosing this “palace intrigue,” came through Wiki Leaks led by Julian Assange. Mills_Snowden_holidays_2018

This national anxiety over either the Russians, Trump, Assange, or Snowden, are misplaced. It’s one huge disinformation campaign. Private & government ambition and technology have raced ahead of law, policy and norms.

This is not just a national problem. It’s a global problem seeking global solutions. Stricter data protection regulations and the breaking up of monopolies may be excellent starting points. Of course the clever government sponsored ideas on making the Internet Fair, are nothing more than a way of twisting the debate to furthering federal control of a public resource. The Chinese have that control within their borders, the U.S. government will continue to posit arguments through surrogates to wrest this control from private entities. What’s most amazing is the naive public view that government is inherently more trustworthy than a corporate entity.  Amazon and Google have gone to great lengths to be willing to share any data on a proactive basis. Forget privacy, it’s an illusion.

Indeed one of many arguments I’ve seen on the topic of privacy and the need for controls, are similar to asking the wolf to guard the chicken coop.

Privacy commissioners need the tools and the authority and we all need a transparent process focused on marrying moral and ethical considerations with technological progress.” Oh sure, the people who have repeatedly demonstrated their self-serving ineptitude, should be in charge of the technology they’ve already exploited.

There are other concerns and challenges facing us in 2019. The U.S. routine military interventions around the world should be a cause for concern for all of us. If the situation was flipped around, let’s say China or Russia were inside U.S. borders and using military force to impose their will, what would be the reaction? Might we become a terrorist, or support that type of activity in their homeland? I believe we need a clear written public policy statement which identifies the reasons for our military to engage into a foreign country. It needs healthy debate. We’ve skirted this debate, by having a contemporary President make a televised impassioned speech, then impromptu short international meetings and choreographed public pronouncements. USA_military_interventions_map

What are your concerns going forward? What changes, if any do you think need to at least begin in 2019?

 ——

Rewriting History to Fit Your Ideology

The Suffocation of Democracy

I read a preliminary description of a book as this author has written. I have to wonder, how can he refer to himself as a historian? This book is nothing more than his distorted view of history to fit his politics. Imagine how this would read if the author actually gave a factual explanation of history instead of as a means to bash individuals or political party? I was unable to find this book on Amazon.

Adolf_Hitler_Buckeburg_1937

When I listen, read or watch someone compare the current political climate in the USA to Nazi Germany, this is when almost all credibility of an individual is lost. Plain and simple, we are not living in a fascist state, nor are we in any immediate danger of that being introduced, not from the Trump administration or the current crop of Congressional GOP. To make such a claim is either incredibly naïve or highly motivated deceptive political misappropriation. In fact I’m amazed this person refers to himself as a historian. Hysterical yes, historian no.

The author’s references and description of current USA politics with respect to Nazi Germany is fallacious. The author claims that United States isolationism of the 1920’s & ’30’s can be compared to conservatism today.

Our current Congress and President has nothing in common with Nazi Germany and Hitler. Making these assertions as if they’re facts isn’t harmful, but taken collectively, incite destructive emotional behavior and a disconnect from reality.

Hitlers-manifest-ramblingsIt’s another attempt to tabulate and correlate all of the popular political prejudices. It plays to an audience, like Hitler did in his speeches, with a lack of historical depth to document his incredibly naïve or misleading suppositions.

History is complicated and a detailed topic. I dislike the use of it to portray events and people with incorrect information in order to claim special insight. This author’s technique isn’t unusual, I’ve seen other people take advantage of the lack of knowledge of most people and infuse it with their offbeat pronouncements or comparisons.

The 20th century was one of the worst centuries in recorded history. Scarred by two global conflicts, many violent regime changes, and the displacement of millions of refugees, it was rife with villainy and intrigue. No era, or major human endeavor operates in isolation. In order to dispel some of the myths which this author, Christopher R. Browning begins to weave, I will attempt to explain topics which need much more depth than many will care to read. I’m not going to bother tackling his anti-Trump, anti-GOP, anti-Mitch McConnell statements. To do so really does nothing to get at the core of his writing, and almost anyone that reads this has their mind made up about the GOP and Trump, anyways.

Let’s examine the United States historical position on isolationism. This alone is a huge topic, because much of the stage was set from our previous conflicts, the Civil War, Spanish American War, and World War I. 

The United States has been involved with one war or another since its inception. The Civil War was an unavoidable, bloody conflict, leaving the worst human losses for our country to date. I’m not going to spend time on it’s cause or reasons, just know that many older people, including veterans were still living well into the first two decades of the twentieth century. That left an indelible memory for all those who lived through it.

In the closing period of the 19th century we had the brief Spanish American War. That’s one of those conflicts that should have been avoided, but it gave the US some of that false bravado we liked to get caught up in.  World War I wasn’t anything like the quick and relatively bloodless Spanish American War. The European war started 3 years before we decided to enter it. From our involvement, we gained a taste of what a world wide conflict could begin to look like, and there were a lot of men that came back from that war damaged physically and mentally.

As a response to the horrors of WWI, and the distant memories of the Civil War, many people in the US wanted nothing to do with the insanity of future international conflicts. Japan was soon engaged in their territorial scuffles, and Spain was in full scale revolt in the ’30’s. We had just put behind us, our memories of the conflict with Spain, and here they were, fighting among themselves, which potentially could start another European war. Germany was using this opportunity to perfect tactics they would use in a few more years in eastern Europe. We wanted nothing to do with another war. So, isolationism was the prevalent disposition in Washington.

Trying to discuss 20th century trade wars, and place them in context with current policies isn’t relevant. What was important, and set the stage for the world wide depression in the late 1920’s and 1930’s is where politics and economics came together and added fuel to the hate cauldron of Nazi Germany. Adolf Hitler was the perfect scoundrel to take advantage and replace a broken democratic republic with a fascist regime.

For reasons he doesn’t indicate in this write up (click on link at top of this post for reference), we might see some form of totalitarianism in this country if we continue to add annual deficits. The financial disarray is only part of the conditions which beleaguered post WWI Nazi Germany. 

Hitler achieved power and control for several reasons. If you wish to make comparisons to contemporary USA, you would have to understand the vast differences, as well.

1 – Germany was in financial ruin from World War I. The repayments demanded of it through the League of Nations, Treaty of Versailles, plus their own inability to recover through their own initiatives signaled their downward spiral. They diluted the currency, and ended up with hyper inflation. “Quantitative easing” is a favored technique of our central bank and endorsed by elected officials.

Their, “economic easing” began with more Reich Marks put into circulation. This came to a horrible end, as all of these inflationary death spirals do, hastened by over speculation and a collapse in trust of the currency. People were literally using wheel barrows filled with currency to buy bread.

2 – From the ashes of crisis the “savior arises”. As many times as these comparisons emerge, Trump and Hitler are not even close to the same person. So, if you can’t or won’t see the obvious differences, then no amount of reading or reasoning will work for you, and I’m truly sorry. For the rest of those who care to read on… Adolf Hitler came from a broken home. Never really became educated, and usually never finished what he started. He failed at labor, no craftsmanship. He had limited artistic skills, and he seemed to even have problems with obtaining and sustaining male & female relationships. In short, he was a born loser. For all you Trump haters out there, and those of you who want to believe the lopsided view of his business skills or his male & female relationships, he’s really a polar opposite of Hitler. Then, because conditions were just right, Hitler became a phoenix. Germany was a proud state, still had many veterans who believed their country sold them out. Many believed in the myth that the only reasons they lost WWI was due to their political leadership giving in to the people who wanted peace. Adolf_Hitler_politician_1921

3 – This is where we are much different in the USA from Germany in the 1920’s & 30’s. The country was broke, both in spirit and in economics.

Hitler’s behavior was closer to what we see from Antifa, or these other groups protesting with vagina hats. Crazy, rabble rousing behavior. Speaking at first to anyone who would listen in bars. He eventually caught the eye of another dysfunctional but wealthier and more influential man.

Hitler joined the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, later known as the Nazi Party. This political party was formed and developed during the post-World War I era.

It, along with Hitler rose to power very slowly at first throughout the 1920’s. Hitler was even arrested and imprisoned for his participation in a failed coup. The Germany of 1930’s was in a huge mess, and the vacuum of power permitted the Nazi’s to become participants in the national government. It’s difficult for anyone to watch him now, in those old propaganda films, but Hitler was considered a great orator. He knew how to wow the crowd. Yes, Trump has the ability to communicate, but he’s not in the league of spell binding speeches which Adolf Hitler could muster. Adolf_Hitler_Paris_1940

4 – Identify scape goats or shift the blame. Current politics in the US is in a free fall. There’s a definite crisis of leadership. I recognized it and saw it in the 2016 election process. If you’re honest, you should have seen both parties brought forth two candidates who for different reasons, should never have been the top of their party’s ticket. Well, that election happened, and despite the constant outcry from the die-hard Democrats, it’s over. They can look forward to midterms and 2020. Each party is blaming the other, and neither is acting in any mode other than trying to make the other team look bad and themselves look good. 

None the less this is not Germany in 1933 & ‘34. When Hitler was appointed Chancellor in 1933, his rise to the top was meteoric. The Enabling Act passed in March 1933 gave Hitler total authority, and thereafter constitutionally exercise dictatorial power without legal objection. He had ultimate executive authority, because of their crisis. This is when and where you can see anyone who isn’t playing dirty with the facts and fails to realize the greater danger in that behavior was on full display with the previous Democrat administration. Here’s what one of them said to his President,

You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before.”

Rahm Emanuel

President_Trump_podiumLet that sink in for a moment. While you want to think about ways the third Reich and the GOP are similar, may I suggest you do a lot more reading and consider for a moment that where we are now, isn’t anywhere near to Germany of the 1920’s or ‘30’s. We might find ourselves there at some unpredictable date in the future because of our fiscal irresponsibility. We’re just not there now. We don’t have Brown Shirts (look them up), we don’t have the SS, nor do we have a government as shady as what once was the Clinton administration.

References:

Some are Optimistic – Sadly I’m Not

We may lament the lack of civility and the ability to find common ground. The last few weeks crystallized just how insane people can become over their ideology, as shown during the Brett Kavanaugh, Supreme Court nomination hearings.
 
brett_kavanaugh_shaking_hands_trump

Brett Kavanaugh at swearing-in ceremony with President Donald Trump

I was all set to ignore another appointment to the Supreme Court. After all, none of us vote the person in, and we’ve seen both Democrats & Republicans pick their own. We used to even see some bi-partisanship in the nomination process.

Not this time however, I can’t recall a process that became so partisan and bitter, even with Clarence Thomas. I believe there’s nothing any of us could do to alter those events, but we did have the option of expressing our opinions and what damages we could do to each other throughout this period.
 
I finally shutdown some of the more obnoxious Facebook posters, who were linked as friends. I don’t mind people with a different opinion, but some completely crossed the line of rationality. As a famous line was expressed by Danny Glover in the movie, Lethal Weapon, “I’m getting too old for this sh1+”.
 
Robert Redford recently expressed his opinion on this same topic:I Feel Out of Place in the Country I Was Born Into
 
Here’s his full statement:
 
“Tonight, for the first time I can remember, I feel out of place in the country I was born into and the citizenship I’ve loved my whole life. For weeks I’ve watched with sadness as our civil servants have failed us, turning toward bigotry, mean-spiritedness, and mockery as the now-normal tools of the trade.”
 
“How can we expect the next generation to step up and serve, to be interested in public life, and to aspire to get involved when all we show them is how to spar, attack, and destroy each other?”
 
“It’s hard to blame young people for calling us out, and pointing to our conflicts between the values we declare, and those we stand behind only when it’s convenient to partisanship. Many people are rightly calling it a damn mess.”
 
“But I want to encourage you to dig deep for hope and civility right now—to try to make connections with people you disagree with, to be better than our politicians.”
 
“We don’t have to share the same motivations to want the same outcomes. Let’s focus on each other, and strengthening our communities, and reflecting on what’s happening. Let’s live in justice and respect and let others fight it out now to the bitter ends.”
 
“This is our country too. Every woman, man, and child in it, our American future.”
 
“We’ve got work to do.”

The madness continues

women_dressed_as_handmaids_kavanaugh_hearings

Women dressed as handmaids in protest – CNN photo 9/14/2018

Rosemount educator on leave after tweeting ‘kill Kavanaugh

Google exec has meltdown on Twitter, blasts GOP over Kavanaugh nomination
~  “F–K. YOU. ALL. TO. HELL,” wrote Dave Hogue Saturday

Antifa Takes Over Portland Traffic, Chases Down And Threatens Elderly Driver
~You’re a whitey, aren’t ya! Get the f*** down the road!

Kelly Paul, wife of Senator Rand Paul ~ “It’s bizarre. I’ve never been like this in my whole life. … We used to never even lock our doors, and now that has all changed. Even going out to dinner in D.C., last night, you worry. You hope that people aren’t going to come up and just start screaming at you.”

Kavanaugh_protestors_continue_a

Kavanaugh protestors continue – AP photo 10/9/2018