Oscar Wilde

Trusting Billionaires and Millionaires

I am continually baffled by the ever growing cult of personality we see in modern society. From politicians, to celebrities, to business moguls why is it people gravitate towards the extreme 1%? I understand there is a romantic notion out there of how cool it would be to have that kind of money etc. but have you ever taken a deep dive into how some of these people accumulated so much wealth?

We are seeing this somewhat with the Musk takeover of Twitter. As if this is some heroic attempt to further free speech on a clearly biased platform. Sure that might be a nice residual effect but you do realize that the amount of data alone he would have access too by acquiring twitter would be worth likely trillions? You think Google has a lot of tracking/resale of data? What do you think a genius entrepreneur with billions in capital is going to do with all that? Sit on it and just keep twitter open “for the good of all?”

LOL, he’s going to make it a highly profitable PRIVATE entity. That’s what Musk does, he did it with Tesla. It’s likely going to come as a surprise to a lot of you but Musk didn’t start Tesla. He did what he is doing at Twitter, he made a huge investment into the company to become a large shareholder and then changed the corporation into what it is today, nearly 2 decades later. Look I’m not saying he is a villain here but be careful whom you place on a pedestal.

Hero, Visionary, Villain ?

Same for politicians. I remember millions of people online and elsewhere shouting something like “Trump is an idiot” ya he’s so stupid he made millions in NYC real-estate, then made more millions on a successful TV show, then the buffoon was so dumb he became president of the united states. What a moron…. Look at your state senator, let me guess a multi-millionaire right? What a shocker.

Point here is folks the 1% the ultra-rich are cunning, intelligent and extremely savvy. Sure some of them are lucky but many of them play the cult of personality game very well. They are nuanced in their approaches to business, public perception etc. Yes, many of them had a leg up when they started, like Trumpy (he got money from his dad) but he took it to another level. Be careful how much power and adulation you give these individuals.

The Zuckerberg’s, the Musk’s, the Clinton’s, Trumps. They are the equivalent of your ancestor’s aristocrats. Believe me if their hold on capital, information and power is threatened (which you saw in 2020) they will do everything and anything to hold on to power. They will cancel you, lock you down, create obstacles for you to vote on and on and on. It’s about economic class, not race, not gender, not political affiliation.

The haves want to keep us at each other’s throats. If we are fighting each other over ridiculous “ists”, who is watching them?

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Enough

Anxiety issues – It’s about to start again – U.S. Politics

Many of my readers reside overseas. I can never thank you enough for your support, truly thank you. I am U.S. based and a lot of my readers are in the U.S. As many of you know the U.S. has 3 distinct branches of government, Executive, Judicial, Legislative. I’m not going to rail on and on about politics here, but there is a reality if you live in the U.S. everything is very political. It stems from the very origins of our country, it was literally a political revolution and centuries later many of us in the U.S. have very deep rooted political beliefs.

Now for those of us with anxiety? It’s another thing we have to deal with and in 2022 it’s a mine field. You see cancel culture is real, mob mentality is real, identity politics is real. It’s all abstract of course if you happen to be on the right side of the current narrative. Until you aren’t, and then it all goes to shit fast. This is why it’s an anxiety mine field because many of us, tens of millions don’t fit into a simple definition. You might be in favor of let’s say gay marriage but the notion of abortion may make your stomach turn.

Where do you fall then? There is less and less flexibility within the U.S. culture. There is extreme vitriol and empowerment to many bad actors on both sides. This is not an exclusively left or right issue. Alas those of us with anxiety, we have to navigate this mine field of correctly assessing the people in the room and what they might think if a particular issue comes up.

Vote
A two party system doesn’t have enough options

Let me give you an example. What if you are at a bar having a drink with a few friends. The place is packed, people are chatting and one of them says “So do you think Trump should run in 2024?” Or maybe you are asked “So do you think Hilary should run in 2024?”. No matter where you are now seemingly easy questions based on you personally feel can become social land mines. Your answer, depending on who hears it could result in someone physically assaulting you. It could result in people buying you a drink.

The point is politics in the U.S. has become so divisive that we are nearly (and in some cases are) at each other’s throats. So what does this have to do with now? In the U.S. we have something called the “mid-term elections” basically every 2 years we have some form of state and local elections that affect the federal landscape. The terms of our elected officials are staggered so we always have something….

In the U.S. and likely abroad you are going to start to hear more and more about these and the potential outcomes. Villains will be trotted out, Hero’s exclaimed etc. The end of the world might even make an appearance “If this many seats change hands we are doomed” (something along those lines). So for those of us with Anxiety it’s just more B.S. we have to deal with. Very little changes in a two party system anyway. Democrats and Republicans are not vastly different, if we look at the ACTUAL RESULTS PRODUCED.

What they say of course are remarkably different but really not much changes day to day for average Americans. Sure media outlets and your favorite commentators on social media will get more clicks and they make more money but hey, who said the business of politics is clean? So hang in there, it will pass but the volume will be turned up this late spring into summer. The regular shenanigans will occur, you have survived it before you will make it this time too. Just remember, do your part and vote.

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Vaccine Anxiety

So the next phase is upon us, a vaccine. Its great news for millions of vulnerable people who are susceptible to covid and its complications. It’s also great news for those who chose to live in fear for the last near year. I am not trying to minimalize the impact of covid but to say that it’s been driven by fear I don’t think is going too far out on a limb. People are free to believe whatever they want, I encourage people to question conventional narratives. I don’t think it’s ever prudent to follow blindly, I believe strongly you should always trust your instinct. My instinct? I don’t trust government and I certainly don’t trust the media.

What about you? I concede fully just because I feel a certain way that doesn’t mean I am necessarily right. Or more accurately what is good for me might not be good for you. I’m cool with that, lets meet in the middle. So we are at the great spot in this pandemic where we have a vaccine. Yes, it’s because of the government push that we are here, Trumps government to be specific. Presidents rightfully or wrongly get credit when things are good and things are bad.

I know you probably don’t want to hear that, it’s just like my conservative friends don’t want to hear that Obama is largely responsible for the U.S. increasing energy independence. I am getting side tracked here though…. So a vaccine is here, produced in record time and approved in an equally speedy way. Can you trust it? Can you trust a process funded and pushed by a government you might not believe in and a process expedited that normally takes years?

Am I contagious?
Answer = I don’t know.

How anticlimactic I know. We don’t really know what side effects (if any) might occur with this vaccine. Will we be required to take it? How will this requirement be enforced? Where will you fall in to the line of recipients? There are still a lot of unknowns and that can drive anxiety through the roof. I know some people have been feeding on the fear and anxiety for months now. Logging on every day to get their hour by hour update on covid cases, sanitizing their hands because they touched a key board that brought them to a site that discussed covid (I know its hyperbolic, forgive me….)

You are going to be fine, you will survive this and in time, if you want a vaccine you will be able to get it. It’s likely that annually you will be getting this vaccine now. Hang in there, even if you have been consumed with fear over covid, anger at others for not taking it as seriously as you do, relief is on the horizon. This should be a time for you to reflect on what you want the next 6 months of your life to look like. How will you personally come back from the covid crisis? Will this be a battle cry for you? Maybe you will start a blog about some aspect of your experience?

The vaccine is here, don’t succumb to more fear and anxiety about its availability or how many people can get it when. You can’t control that yet, and in time it will be widely available and you will be able to get it if you chose. You’ll then be in a great position to take up the banner for the next fight, should it be mandatory or not? Rest up, the covid wars aren’t over yet. The business of fear is to profitable.

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Justice

2020 Presidential Election, what the law says happens next.

There is a lot of information, misinformation rumor and innuendo right now on voter fraud, office of the president elect on and on. We all knew it was going to be a mess, and it is. Let’s take a step back from the haze, and take our fingers out of our ears as no one is shouting at you here. Let’s just look at some facts.

Below are the specifics of what happens after Election Day. Yes there is a formal legal process. This has been used before (see 2000 election). In most cases the winner is clear and the loser concedes the contest which allows us to forego the Dec 8 deadline. That hasn’t happened yet, and despite all the screaming at Trump, he is within the rules for not conceding yet.

Source: https://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/the-electoral-college.aspx

  • Nov. 3, 2020: Election Day, when voters in each state will select their presidential electors. The 0presidential candidate, s/he is also casting a vote for the electors already selected by the party of that candidate. If a majority of voters in a state vote for the Republican candidate for president, the Republican slate of electors is elected. If a majority vote for the Democratic candidate, the Democratic slate of electors is chosen.

Above is one of Trump’s arguing points, we have an “election day” and the votes on that day are the only ones that can be counted (that’s the crux of his argument). Now this includes mail in ballots received on or before 11/3. Constitutionally he might have a point but I doubt highly the supreme court is going to impose a federal mandate on states here, normally they allow the states a great deal of latitude on how they handle voting.

  • Dec. 8, 2020: Deadline for Resolving Election Disputes. All state recounts and court contests over presidential election results must be completed by this date. (3 U.S.C. § 5) . For the majority of states the date of certification is the same as for all contests, but in eight states there is a deadline that either directly references 3 USC §5  or uses similar language, requiring that disputes surrounding the selection of presidential electors be resolved in time to meet the “safe harbor” deadline: Indiana, Iowa, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. For detailed information on state post-election processes, please visit this page.

This is exactly what Gore used in 2000 and what Trump is using now. He does have the right to challenge the results if he thinks there is fraud. Of course he has to PROVE there is fraud and not just proclaim it. This is the deadline date, once we get here save for ongoing litigation state votes are certified.

Enough
Had Enough of 2020 yet?
  • Dec. 14, 2020Meeting of the Electors. The electors meet in each state and cast their ballots for president and vice president. Each elector votes on his or her own ballot and signs it. The ballots are immediately transmitted to various people: one copy goes to the president of the U.S. Senate (who is also the vice president of the United States); this is the copy that will be officially counted later. Other copies go to the state’s secretary of state, the National Archives and Records Administration, and the presiding judge in the district where the electors meet (this serves as a backup copy that would replace the official copy sent to the president of the Senate if it is lost or destroyed).
  • Dec. 23, 2020: Deadline for Receipt of Ballots. The electors’ ballots from all states must be received by the president of the Senate by this date. There is no penalty for missing this deadline.

Both the points above are essentially the same, but this is when official Electoral ballots are signed by Electors. Generally these follow along the lines of the state mandate, meaning if Biden won NH and got 4 Electoral College votes, all 4 electors for NH would vote for Biden. Now there is no federal law, or constitutional requirement that electors must follow the will of the state vote outcome. There are however STATE penalties if they do not, and generally this never happens but it can. In theory those electors can chose not to vote for Biden and instead vote for Trump or vice versa, or not vote at all.

  • Jan. 6, 2021: Counting of the Electoral Ballots. The U.S. Congress meets in joint session to count the electoral votes.

This is the end of the line, once these are counted by congress and verified by the joint session it becomes legal record. The person with 270+ wins. There is no going back, no more challenges. Now PRIOR to this the Supreme Court can order a delay if it has pending litigation pertaining to the election outcome. It’s highly unlikely but it can happen.

  • Jan. 20, 2021: Inauguration Day.  The president-elect becomes the president of the United States.

Whomever obtained the 270 is sworn in as the next president of the United States. Again this can be delayed if the counting of the Electoral Ballots was delayed. Once the ballots are verified by congress it’s usually 2 weeks after that inauguration happens.

So that is technically what we are looking at. Expect legal challenges to keep happening right until the deadline by Trump.

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Ben Franklin

Wisdom from the past – Benjamin Franklin

“Freedom of speech is a principal pillar of a free government; when this support is taken away, the constitution of a free society is dissolved, and tyranny is erected on its ruins. Republics…derive their strength and vigor from a popular examination into the action of the magistrates.” Benjamin Franklin

If you are actively trying to silence/cancel other people’s ability to speak freely you are a tyrant or the tool of a tyrant. You are without question one of the most dangerous people on the planet. You are willing to shut down others because you don’t like them, or don’t like what they have to say. I actually pity you, and when the day comes when YOU are the one silenced/canceled you will receive no quarter.

Even if you don’t like what you are hearing or reading the ability to say or write it is paramount. When we silence others, we create the conditions by which dissent festers and breeds revolt and violence. History is littered with examples of this, you shouldn’t have to be reminded.

Don’t become worse than those you dislike, you will not be able to live with yourself and no one will want to live with you.

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Vote

The other 5% – A Politics piece

As many of you know I don’t do politics often on this blog. I think this is my 5 post on politics in 2 years. I’m not going to go on and on about how bad one person is, or if another has cognitive decline or who is better etc. I am going to go talk about the other 5%. What is that? That is the average % of voters who don’t vote for Democrats or Republicans every year.

In the U.S. we have a two party system. It is corrupt and rotting in my opinion. Both the main parties have been infiltrated by corporate interests and those who do not necessarily have the voter’s interest in mind. It’s such a mess and the marketing around both parties has created an us vs them mentality to drive sentiment either way and push the consumption of the mouth pieces for either or side. I know that’s cynical, but things are bad and anyone telling you “IT’S THEM” is part of the problem, in my opinion.

The alternatives? Well there aren’t many. You see the two corporate corrupt parties have created the conditions by which they dominate election processes. Ballot access, as an example is a perplexing maze of red tape that takes decades to navigate. We have only one other party, the libertarians, that are on the ballot on all 50 states. Really? A country with 300 million + has a choice of 3 parties? The main two parties are multibillion dollar operations, good luck getting equal time with that kind of money in play.

Just Vote
Remember to Vote !

In the U.S. there are 2 major parties as discussed, a viable 3rd party that does have ballot access in all 50 states the libertarians. We also have “4th” parties that have ballot access in some states not others. They do not have enough access to win enough Electoral College votes for their candidates to win the presidency outright. Those are The Green Party, The Independent party, and The Constitution Party to name a few. The Green party has the best shot of getting ballot access to all 50 states next, we’ll see.

There are of course many other small local and state parties, but they don’t have ballot access nationally. The 3 main “4th” parties mentioned above, might have ballot access in 1-5 states. These “other” parties take approx. 5% of the vote every year (give or take). The purpose of the post today is to let you know there are alternatives. You do not have to vote for the candidates for the corporate parties. You do not have to “chose a side”, you do not have to fall in line and be a part of the “us vs them” narrative. You can chose to vote for someone else in another party.

They have ideas too, they have platforms they stand for things. Are they perfect? No but look at the mess we are in now because of the two party system. Maybe it’s time to have a 5 party system where all ideas have to be considered and discourse has to be civil because voters have viable choices outside of the multibillion dollar corporate parties currently dominating.

Okay rant over…. Thanks for hanging in there with me.

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Looting, Violence, Racism

I’m not going to go on some profound rant here. Everyone who disagrees with you is not an idiot. Everyone who agrees with you is not necessarily a good person. Just because you think something is right, doesnt mean its right. This applies to all of us, if you chose to draw a line in the sand and deal in absolutes nothing changes.

I wont take the easy way out which many do and blame the president. Im not going to take the easy way out and say everyone out there participating in the title are terrorist. I am going to say very simply, you know whats right and wrong. When you sit back and chose a side and then pile on to the other side you destroy nearly any chance of reconciliation. Opportunists will take this and run with it, sowing discord divides and conquers.

Normal well intended people with a platform will use it to push simplistic idea’s and solutions. Repeating talking points they saw or read somewhere else. Rarely do you see substance in their prose. They dont know what to do either. Shouting loudly to people who nod and agree and shout back their agreement just creates more noise. Soon, no one will be able to hear.

It’s easy to blame others, to latch on to a popular notion and run with it. You are empowered, you have other people who feel the same way you do, you are emboldened. Its sad to see what is happening out there, and I have seen it before in 1992 when Rodney King was beaten, 60+ people died. Oh sure there have been others, Furgeson, on and on. Cops killing Americans in the street is an atrocity that should be dealt with severely. A 3rd degree murder charge is ridiculous.

Racism is real, it is not exclusively owned by one race. There are people, in the U.S. who want to harm this country. Who want us to be at each others throats tearing ourselves apart from within. Will you allow it? Will you be, yet another voice that points the finger and says “IT’S THEM NOT ME!!!”

You are smarter than that, you know the problems that plaque us as humans are complex. You know this isnt simple, you know there isnt a quick fix. Be kind to people, and step outside of your comfort zone and engage someone who has a different point of view.

Otherwise this will keep happening, year after year, decade after decade, century after century. Maybe in 100 years the U.S. has dissolved. Someone else will come along, will the cycle continue? I dont know, but I do know we are better than this, all of us.

Just Vote

A brief indulgence on politics

I don’t normally wade into politics on this blog, for a good reason. Many people get very ugly very fast when you don’t agree with their point of view. Otherwise reasonable people lose their poop over politics, they become very unkind and have citations of “well they do this” or “he says that” as if the rest of us are supposed to believe that two wrongs make a right. Mini rant over…

AS some of you may or may not know I am a libertarian. I have voted libertarian nearly exclusively since the late 90’s. In the U.S. we have two dominate political parties and it is my belief that a 3rd viable party will help reign in some of the partisanship and angst we see year after year.

It just so happens that I do identify pretty closely with libertarian ideals as well. You can read about those here if you are interested. Last week the Libertarian Party nominated its candidate for president, her name is Dr. Jo Jorgensen. You can read more about her here

I think its great news that she has gotten the nomination. She has been in the front lines of the libertarian party for a long time and has definitely earned it. Much will be made by the fact she is a woman and while that is absolutely noteworthy, more should be made of the fact she is qualified to hold the office. Many Libertarians like myself are very realistic about the prospects of our party.

We understand the two dominate parties have built massive entertainment and news industries around the political process to support their agenda. Places like CNN and FOX news are mouth pieces for politicians. While that might be cynical to say, it’s imperative to look at politics with a critical eye. Politics is a road to power and power corrupts.

I understand the likelihood of Jo winning the presidency is nearly zero. That doesn’t mean that she can’t garner enough support to impact the U.S. political scene. 5-10% of the vote would do that. You would have a lot of news outlets cover this, and they would all be asking why. Voters in the U.S. are tired of “Democrat vs Republican” it’s been this way for decades and decades.

We just want politicians who will do a good job and get things done. Is Jo Jorgensen the answer? I don’t know, I do know that if we keep doing the same thing over and over again (voting democrat or republican) and expect a different result we are fools. In the end the most important thing we have to do as Americans is vote. November will be here before you know it, no one vote is inconsequential, your vote matters. Consider an alternative approach, maybe we will get a different outcome other than the tired status quo.

Just Vote

Politics: Wisdom from a 50 year old

Won’t be a very long post today on this. If you live in the U.S., you know that we are in the throws of the 2020 presidential election . Many people seem to be very invested, if you go to twitter (which I don’t recommend you do) you will find it a cesspool of anger. Nearly everyone is angry about something and woe unto you if you attempt engagement with someone who has an opposing view.

So first let me say that I was born when Richard Nixon was president (yes, I’m ancient) so Trump is the 9th president of my life time. I suspect I will survive a few more elections to boot and there is something very important to remember. National Politics, while important, rarely have an immediate impact on you locally.

What this means is very simply, when you wake up after the 2020 election there will be little to no change at all in your life. Unlike other countries where there are riots, executions, coups, genocides… The U.S. presidential election is often very uneventful. Things will continue on as is, even if your chosen candidate does not win.

The best most immediate impact politics can have on your life is the local level. Yes, town halls, cities, local councils. “All politics are local” Tip O’Neil.  

Are your roads plowed? Is the fire station under staffed? Does the homeless shelter have enough canned goods? Are after school programs fully staffed? Is the dog barking next store ever going to shut up?

The president isn’t going to help you with that. National politics is often a game of anxiety, working you up to a frenzy as the inference is if candidate “T” wins the stakes are immeasurable, we can’t let this happen !!!!!!

I get it but remember the day after the election your local parks dept still has to empty trash cans. The water dept still has to test the water supply. Take some of your investment nationally and redistribute it locally to really impact your life. Presidents come and go, someday you’ll be on your 9th, or maybe 10th too. 😊


 

Folded up like a cheap suit.

The non-stop political nonsense is draining, I get it so I’m not going to go on and on about it. Trump has decided to sign a bill to reopen the government for 3 weeks while negotiations continue on border wall funding.

The problem Trump has is the negotiator and chief painted himself into a corner. He top campaign promise was to build a wall and have Mexico pay for it. Problem 1, he hasn’t built the wall. Problem 2 Mexico isn’t paying for it directly. Now I know there is a narrative out there that the renegotiated NFTA will provide the U.S. with more revenues and jobs coming back to the U.S. so that’s his rational for Mexico paying for it. Too bad he didn’t articulate that more clearly in 2016 LOL.

The next set of problems Trump has is congress. He is whining now that congress won’t give him the wall but up until last month he had republican majorities in both houses. Why didn’t he try and get wall funding then? The next problem is Pelosi came in with less than an enthusiastic mandate. We have all sorts of fringe democrats in congress now and they have alternative agendas to the corporate democrats (like Pelosi). The shutdown gave them an issue to unify around, Trump handed Pelosi an alley oop basically and she slammed it home. Like her or not Pelosi is a seasoned and experienced politician, she played it really well.

His next problem is the 3 weeks. So the current deal runs out 2/15/19. Congress will have to present another funding bill, Trump will have to sign it or we have another shut down. Now there is a narrative out there that Trump has done this tactically to give democrats room to get him his funding and if they don’t he shuts the gov down again. Now that’s a fair observation, we all know what he wants and I don’t think his request is unreasonable but I don’t have a vote until 2020. I really don’t think the dems are going to give him a wall, but he has to come out of this with a win we will see.

Last problem he has is, he can declare a national emergency. Now if he does that he can technically start building the wall without congressional approval but I guarantee you that it will be challenged in court the minute he issues the declaration and some court will hold it up. Basically that approach will need to go to the supreme court which could take some time. So he’s left with a long wait to get the wall which will hurt him in 2020.

Trump screwed up here, he should have pushed funding for his wall his first 60 days in office when he had the majority and he had momentum. He’s now dealing with an empowered democratic party whose sole purpose at the moment is to defeat him. U.S. politics is bad nationally, thank god local politics are much more palatable. The Negotiator and chief folded up like a cheap suit on this one. He lost a battle, is the war over?