In order that my readers do not think I am some conspiracy theorist, I like to cite reliable sources. From Statista, as of April 26, 2023, COVID-19 killed 1,130,662 in the United States. I mean, mistakes happen, right? Many of those listed as succumbing to the virus had refused to be vaccinated, and subsequently were infected and died. Many of the “Anti-Vaxers” who became infected and perished were rather famous in denying the effectiveness of the vaccine; they were dead wrong, and life goes on without them. As much as I hate to say it, I feel little sympathy for the “conspiracy theorists” who perished; they were wrong, and now they are dead wrong.Keep Reading
It had to happen. There are giant corporations who are playing the weak and the chumps in order to line their pockets. Sound familiar? Some two-hundred school boards so far have joined together for litigation against the parent companies of Facebook, TikTok, Snapchat and YouTube, with the lawsuits consolidated into one at the U.S. District Court in Oakland, California. But you don’t really think that these billion-dollar money machines are going to just let themselves be dragged into court, now do you?Keep Reading
One of the best ways of shoving something nasty down another person’s throat is to explain “things have changed.” Well, of course they have changed. If you look closely out your window, the vegetation will grow, change color, even wilt and die, sometimes to re-emerge all over again. Then, of course, we have the people who are unhappy with the way things are, so they deliberately change things. Please understand, I am not suggesting that all changes are bad. It is just that from my personal experiences, change has, often as not, meant that something I liked was going away, and something I disliked was coming about. I won’t go over the nasty and bitter exchanges, because they’re in the past.
Young people like change; they are captivated and enchanted with all of the new technology that has deliberately sought to obtain and keep their attention for as long as possible. The result is at least one generation that isn’t as happy as past generations. Three things making young people unhappy, from Psychology Today, October 6, 2022:Keep Reading
Conspiracy theorists wake up, it is all here. While watching Bill Maher a few days ago, he showed some statistics about colleges, one being that tenured professors have fallen drastically, and that the administrative personnel have greatly expanded. In the 1970s, 70% of professors were tenured, whereas while now, 70% are untenured. Adding to the lack of experienced professors, we have the unbelievable inflation that has made higher-education costs astronomical. Academic fees have expanded far beyond almost any other aspect of the U.S. economy, with the exception of health care.
Forbes magazine, in 2017, noticed the changes: “Put another way, administrative spending comprised just 26% of total educational spending by American colleges in 1980-1981, while instructional spending comprised 41%. Three decades later, the two categories were almost even: administrative spending made up 24% of schools’ total expenditures, while instructional spending made up 29%.” Not only that, but in the present day the probability of your college instructor being a full-time tenured professor is quite low; you are more likely to have a part-time untenured graduate student who is paid a fraction of what a full professor is paid (and they aren’t getting health insurance.)
The price of a college education has soared. From Intelligent.com: “According to the National Center for Education Statistics, for the 1970-71 academic year, the average in-state tuition and fees for one year at a public non-profit university was $394. By the 2020-21 academic year, that amount jumped to $10,560, an increase of 2,580%.Keep Reading
Twenty-one year old Jack Teixeira, a guardsman in the Massachusetts Air National Guard, has been arrested and accused of revealing classified national defense information. According to The Guardian (not affiliated with the Massachusetts Air National Guard as far as I know) Teixeira took secret documents home, photographed them and posted them on 4chan and Telegram internet sites.
It’s a big deal because of this: Releasing classified information reveals what we (or, as it is, the U.S. government) know, and by revealing what we know it also endangers those who supply us with information about our adversaries. When such information becomes public, the source of that information can be in grave danger (or, as Jack Nicholson said “is there any other kind?”) and, in some cases, be executed almost immediately. What Jack Teixeira apparently doesn’t understand is that revealing information puts our sources at risk. Certain information can come from very limited sources, and when that information in U.S. hands becomes public, those who had access to said information and revealed it to the U.S. are in questioned and, in many cases, executed or imprisoned for a very long time.Keep Reading
Money and Banking is a required economics course in most business colleges. Banks were a large problem with the Great Depression (1929 to 1938 to those of you who didn’t pay attention in history class). There was a great economic downturn again in 2008,or, as it is called, “The Great Recession.” Fast forward to 2023, and the sixteenth largest bank in the U.S., the Silicon Valley Bank failed, (from here on referred to as SVB) with a considerable amount of help from Twitter, which influenced a great number of depositors to withdraw their money from SVB. The Silicon Valley millionaires have great belief in their inventions, but apparently little belief in the bank that helped them get wealthy. According to The Wall Street Journal of March 17, 2023: “It is now apparent that the ruination of this 40-year-old institution was, in a sense, an inside job, initiated by the very startups and investors who had previously been so devoted to it.”Keep Reading
The United States has been described as “the melting pot” because between 1820 and 1920, 80 million people emigrated to the U.S. and became citizens. Certain prejudices are beginning to rear their ugly heads. The city of Seattle became the first city to outlaw caste-based discrimination on February 1, 2023.
To offer some explanation, we quote Forbes of February 3, 2023: “The caste system is a social hierarchy structure that divides people at birth into social classes—it has roots in South Asia and Hinduism but also impacts African, Middle Eastern and Pacific communities.” Dalits, also known as “Untouchables” are the lowest of Hindu culture, and have been for several thousand years. Several universities have already adopted policies that forbid discrimination based on the caste system.Keep Reading
Internal combustion engines started way back in 1833. By 1860, functional internal combustion engines were being experimented with, and by 1872, the principles of intake, compression, combustion and exhaust were established. By 1903, the Wright brothers applied internal combustion engines in aircraft. By 1908, the U.S. Army ordered a “heavier than air flying machine” from the Wright brothers.
We call them “early adopters,” the people who wish to get a jump on whatever the newest technology has to offer. In a curious coincidence, adolescents and the military both have a penchant to be on the cutting edge of technology; both for bragging rights, and one for killing people with meager abilities to resist the new weapons. If it is your military that has the technological edge, you will be all for it. But being on the leading edge doesn’t assure that you will prevail, just ask the bumpkins who lost billions betting on Bitcoin.
Seeing as how it is January of a new year (2023), the winter sports are winding down, and the summer sports are just getting started with training camp. With a substantial percentage of the population remaining indoors, this becomes award season. I won’t bother naming them. The award season is where some very rich, lucky, or related to the right people, get together and congratulate each other. The rich and famous don lavish attire, the ladies in designer dresses (sometimes revealing) and sporting jewelry that it would take the average Jane or Joe decades of their salaries to buy. I’m not opposed to the filthy-rich recognizing good work; however, all artistic work is recognized in context. We’ll get to that in a moment.Keep Reading
Some liars make themselves famous for the wrong reasons, and all of the exposed liars make 2022 an annus mirabilis. Sunny Balwani is getting thirteen years in federal prison for misleading investors out of millions of dollars. Elizabeth Holmes who partnered with Balwani, was sentenced to eleven years for claiming her biotech firm Theranos could do things it, in fact, could not do. Sam Bankman-Fried faces a potential one-hundred fifteen year sentence in the federal slammer if he is convicted in federal court of bilking crypto investors out of billions of dollars. According to one of my law professors, going up against the Feds is almost always a losing proposition.Keep Reading
It seemed to start with Steve Jobs. Jobs wore black turtlenecks when he was presenting new ideas to the Apple bureaucracy, as well as the general public. Many a medical expert has claimed that Mr. Jobs could have lived considerably longer, and possibly even enjoyed his billions for a few more years had he taken the right measures to address his cancer. But we’ve all failed in some respect, it is just that being a billionaire makes everyone examine your life with microscopes and make judgements. The world is full of Monday morning quarterbacks, yours truly included at least to some degree.Keep Reading
The Covid pandemic created a lot of economic changes. Privileged employees who taunt their employers and claim they will never return to their office. Wages moved up because of a lack of talent. (“Talent” is human resource jargon for employees.) Members of the U.S. Congress made high-yielding stock purchases because of inside information, and now dare their constituents to try to make such inside information trades illegal while they waive their gains in the face of their electorates.
Some information before we continue. There is a public organization called the Federal Reserve System. No, wait, it is a private organization. No, wait, the Fed, as it is called, is, um, both. Owned by the banks (big ones, naturally) the Fed is a privately held public organization, and don’t you dare ask the names of those banks. After all, knowing the names of those banks would open to public scrutiny decisions about interest rates charged to the public, and we just can’t have that, now can we? After all, private organizations that have a vested interest in public policy deserve their privacy, now don’t they? If only they were on Facebook, then we could buy all of their personal information, but no, they have far too much money for that to happen.Keep Reading
The pickup truck and SUV markets in the U.S. increased by 9.9% between 2019 and 2022, let’s just say 10% for the sake for simplicity. More and more people seem to be wanting buy an SUV or a pickup truck and venture out into the wilderness, at least that’s what the commercials are reflecting. No matter what brand we are looking at, commercials show their owners (mostly fairly young) taking their vehicles out where any sign of human civilization cannot be seen. The new owners crave to be In The Middle Of Nowhere, or, ITMON, a new acronym.
The truck/SUV owners are “exploring” places where the roads aren’t paved, no speed limit signs, traffic signals. There are also no fueling stations, food, water, toilets, emergency services, doctors, nurses or walk-on clinics. Just buy this truck/SUV and get out there in the Great Outdoors, get yourself ITMON. New Hampshire, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Vermont and Oregon have laws that allow rescue services to bill you if you get yourself in a bad situation out ITMON and need to be rescued. These bills can run up to $5,000 if the rangers have to do a lot to find you, especially in the middle of the night.
I have seen a fair number of younger people buy 4-wheel drive trucks with the specific purpose of using them to tear up the countryside. It seems these young truck owners are in competition to see who can tear up more of the landscape. We can’t be sure if the truck manufacturers condone such behavior, but their commercials certainly don’t discourage it.Keep Reading
Not a lawyer, but took a few law classes; the professors taught the law classes as if they were teaching in law school. The constitutional law professor (Harvard grad, by the way) stated that there were aspects of the law that our Supreme Court deliberately stayed away from, because they were “slippery slope” issues. Welcome to the slippery slope, America.
The recent decision, which will probably be known as Dobb v. Jackson, turned to federalism. “Turned to federalism” means the issue has been turned back to the states to decide for themselves. The federal protection of abortion is no more. The SCOTUS decided that the federal protection of the right to get an abortion was not constitutional, that is to say, there is nothing in our Constitution that guarantees the right to get an abortion; Roe v. Wade is overturned.Keep Reading
The student debt problem remains, but there are always options. Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Maxine Waters, D-Calif. and Senator Elizabeth Warren, like spoiled children who can’t get what they want the fair and proven legislative way, will create a workaround. The aforementioned representatives are suggesting, or, even insisting, that President Biden achieve what they cannot accomplish via legislation by issuing an executive order relieving millions from their student debt. An executive order would be a great boon (in the way of votes) for the Democrats who pushed for it. Look for such a move close to the election, where it will be firmly in the minds of voters.
To quote Senator Elizabeth Warren: “Student loan debt is crushing millions, especially during this pandemic. It’s an anchor dragging down our struggling economy.” So adding trillions to the government debt will be a good economic move?Keep Reading
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (from this point described as AOC) has determined capitalism in the United States as “irredeemable.” AOC has a degree (cum laude) in economics and international relations from Boston University. So a member of the U.S. Congress with an economics degree describes capitalism as: “Capitalism is an ideology of capital-the most important thing is the concentration of capital and maximize profit.” While the aforementioned quote is a great summary of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, there are other considerations regarding capitalism.
Capitalism was outlined by Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations in1776, with the newly-minted United States as an “early adopter” (gosh, I’m sure I heard that somewhere else.) Mercantilism, which preceded capitalism, was the fruitless feudal attempt of the nobility to retain the wealth created by the peasants and serfs. The United States gave up the feudal system and set out on a capitalist journey after fighting off the greatest power on earth. In case you are wondering, Article 1, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution prohibits the states from granting titles of nobility, that is, prince, duke, or any other title to a citizen. In short, the founding fathers had enough of kings and royalty. (I’m sure they would have exempted Elvis, but that’s another essay.)Keep Reading
With 100,000 troops on the Ukraine border, Vladimir Putin (whatever his title) is playing a very dangerous game. Putin wants the Ukraine. His Russia is not enough for him. Like any power-hungry autocrat, the largest country on the globe is not enough. Putin doesn’t want to “liberate” Ukraine; he wants to enslave it, although he will put any conflict in terms of a “liberation.” He will also explain any conflict as being Ukraine started by the Ukraine, even though the Ukraine has no interest in attacking Russia.Keep Reading
Before year 2020, what does not kill me makes me stronger. After the year 2020, it mutates and tries again. Freedom in the Unites States means you can choose to die if you wish. You have the right to refuse to wear a mask, and the organizations that you visit have the right to refuse you entry into their property if you decline to wear said mask. The reason these organizations have the right to refuse your entry is because you do not have the right to infect other people. When your rights impose a risk to other citizens, it becomes a societal problem.
Historically, free speech in the United States has seen limitations. You cannot shout “fire” in a crowded theatre. Free speech ends when it threatens lives of other citizens. Citizens have been tried for manslaughter when they urged other citizens to kill themselves. The great thing about the United States is that you may listen and follow the advice, no matter how naïve, of other citizens. If that advice results in your demise, then the mistake is yours, a decision you are free to make.
You may believe that you have the right to consume intoxicants and operate a vehicle, but if your behavior threatens the safety of other citizens, that right impinges on other citizens who have the right to be protected from your behavior. As a citizen, you have the right to refuse vaccination, which in some cases, has cost people their lives. Social media has become saturated with uncredentialed self-proclaimed “experts” who have found numerous reasons why you shouldn’t be vaccinated. These experts have reasons too long to discuss in this essay. Statistically speaking, there is, and I will not deny it, a small amount of risk if you get vaccinated, since the vaccine has not been tested on millions of people, but that risk is very, very small.Keep Reading
In November of 1964, Jack Weinberg posed the phrase “don’t trust anyone over 30.” While this phrase has been attributed to the Beatles, Abbie Hoffman, and Jerry Rubin, all icons of the 1960s, research finds that Mr. Weinberg coined the phrase when he was a member of the Free Speech Movement.
While a free speech is a tenant of the United States and a right outlined in our Constitution, from our founding fathers to Mr. Weinberg, few could imagine what technology has brought us. Social media has redefined free speech in a manner never imagined over two-hundred years ago. While free speech is protected by law, its amplification has exceeded anything imaginable two-hundred years ago.Keep Reading
According to The Wall Street Journal of September 18, 2021, on September 17, 2021 attorney Michael Sussman was indicted by Special Counsel John Durham for lying to the FBI regarding Donald Trump’s association with Russians. Specifically, Sussman (allegedly) lied about the Russian-based Alfa Bank and the Trump Administration. Mr. Sussman was an attorney for the law firm Perkins Coie and was working for the Clinton Campaign when he presented then FBI general counsel James Baker documents purporting to show “secret internet communications between the Trump Organization and the Russian-based Alfa bank” on September 19, 2016.
The indictment reads that Sussman represented himself to the FBI General Counsel as a “good citizen” and was not working “for any client” and not an advocate for a candidate. It turns out that he was lying to the FBI, something that is taken quite seriously by our federal government. Just ask Martha Stewart about lying to the FBI. The first question should be: How competent is an FBI who can be fooled by someone (even a lawyer, who are universally generalized as being adroit liars) who misleads them about their employer. I’m pretty sure that having access to tax records and financial transfers (of which it seems that the federal government can review) might reveal that someone is getting money transfers from a firm associated with a political campaign. I guess that the IRS is too busy examining citizens with more than six-hundred dollars in their bank account than to verify the income of wealthy and powerful liars.Keep Reading