Friday, September 13, 2019

No need for extra dimensions, just complex math

There is no need for the extra dimensions postulated in string theory physics.  Of course, string theory was proven to be a dead end more than a decade ago, but that hasn't stopped thousands of mathematicians from playing with the pretty formulae.

All we need are the regular old three dimension plus time.  But we need to start using mathematics the right way.  That means complex numbers.  No physical theory uses complex numbers in a serious way.  Oh, several formulae use complex numbers, especially in electronics, to indicate rotation.  It's great at that.  They just don't use it as the baseline.  All our physics is based on real numbers, because that is our ordinary experience.  We can't actually imagine a ball moving in a complex direction, because we've never seen what that might look like.

And then along came the weak force.  It can't be explained, it can barely be described.  It is not well understood, because it breaks so many expectation we have about fundamental forces.

And then along came neutrinos.  They can't be explained, they can barely be described.  They are not well understood, because they break so many expectations we have about fundamental particles.

We need to seriously start thinking about complex math being the fundamental math that the universe operates under.

I hereby designate the positive direction in the imaginary plane "Heaven", and the negative direction "Hell".  Here there be monsters, demons, and angels.  And truth.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Sushi as an inflation proxy?

Is the price of sushi really a reliable inflation/CPI proxy?  Some people certainly think so.  If it's not 100% accurate, it seems to be more reliable than any of the known-fraudulent government models.

After all, who are you going to believe about inflation rates, the government or your lying bank account?  (Please note that the prices of almost everything doubled during the Obama administration, while the government kept announcing record low inflation levels.)

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Michael Mann still hiding the decline

In recent news, Michael Mann, the Bernie Madoff of climate fraud, has lost his 8+ year libel suit against a real climate scientist.  Why did he lose?  Because he refused to obey the court order to turn over his data and deobfuscate his models. 

In other words, he committed contempt of court to avoid showing that the data is faked and the models are crooked.

Information-Entropy field to replace dark matter theory?

OK, this actually requires some pondering.  Information-entropy fields adding energy to galaxies, causing them to rotate more quickly than the observable mass would indicate?  That's bringing old ideas out, and polishing them up.  Who needs dark matter when entropy works just as well?

https://www.universal-sci.com/headlines/2019/8/8/keplers-forgotten-ideas-about-symmetry-help-explain-spiral-galaxies-without-the-need-for-dark-matter-new-research


Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Glo-bull Warning

Whenever you hear someone ranting on about "climate change" (formerly global warming, formerly global cooling), just remember:

The ground temperature data is falsified.
The satellite temperature data is currently being falsified.
The ice cores are lied about.
The tree rings were from one side of one tree.
The models are bupkis.
The data is hidden.
The sources are deleted.
The code is obfuscated.
Simple questions and contrary opinions are shouted down.

Questioners are labeled as heretics and threatened with death.

There is no science in their "science".  It's political religion all the way down.  

Marx is a jealous god.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Real drug rehab

Every drug rehab facility you've ever heard of is an scam.  Those 30, 60, 90 day programs?  They do no good whatsoever in 99.44% of cases.

Successful drug rehab requires a minimum of 9 months in a specialized facility. And that is only for the well behaved people who want to be there, and have a serious consequence if they fail to pass the program. It takes 90-120 days for the average druggie to finally admit to himself that he actually has a problem, and that problem is the drugs. Rehab starts the day after that breakthrough. The average stay is 12-15 months.

Real rehab centers have to teach druggies how to be human. This is neither easy, quick, nor cheap. Once they have mastered how to human, then they are taught how to be an adult.

The staff to patient ratio is around one to one. Staff members are on a two year rotation, because they burn out fairly quickly.

How do I know this?  I was lucky enough, in the Army, to be selected to be my unit's urinalysis drug testing program coordinator.  (Better known as the piss test NCO.)  And we were located near both the drug testing facility for the East Coast, and one of the two successful rehab facilities in the entire country.  Yes, there are only two.  The one in Maryland is the biggest, and can handle up to a maximum of one hundred and twenty patients at a time.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Lead, follow, or get out of the way!

The purpose of government is to establish a minimum level of social compliance, enforce contracts, encourage trade, protect life and property, and to punish villains.
Government is force.
Force is pain, suffering, and death.
If you aren't willing to inflict pain, suffering, and death in the defense of your nation, you have no right to any say in how the government is organized and managed.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Happy Independence Day!

Today is the day to look back and remember what America once was, and wonder how we let it go so wrong, and ponder on how to make it right again.

Faithless, treasonous politicians should be hanged on the lawn of their Statehouse on this day each year.  Because of course there will be at least one loud mouthed, anti-American traitor in Congress every year.  And if not in Congress, then surely at least one State will find itself burdened with a Quisling.

Oh, and what he said, with spurs on.

Useful Idiots

It is entertaining and enlightening that the overgrown children clamoring to remove all borders are also demanding that they be protected from the harmful influence of alternate ideas being spoken in their vicinity.
The Soviets quite rightly described this group of people as “useful idiots”.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Needful things

I would really like to buy a Henry Long Ranger in 6.5 Creedmoor or .243 Winchester.  They're under $1,000 retail, and reportedly shoot about a minute of angle out of the box.  They use detachable box magazines, with a capacity of 4 rounds (5 for the .223 version).

Henry Long Ranger



I simply can't afford that right now, or in the foreseeable future.  But it sure is attractive.  And it's a potent thousand yard gun that won't scare the Fudds.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Geometry is everything

Or, rather, everything is geometry.  Quantum physics and relativity are expressions of geometry.  The reduced Planck constant is the radius of a circle, or the amplitude of a photon.  The Planck constant is the circumference of a circle with the same radius, and is the momentum of a photon.  In Newtonian physics, the energy of an object would be proportional to the volume of the circle with this circumference.  (For the special case of a photon, imagine the circle lying entirely on the imaginary plane, orthogonal (perpendicular) to the real number line.  We only experience real-number events, so the photon has no energy, only momentum.)

Geometry is simple.  Calculating geometry with numbers and formulas is hard.  The simplest form of calculation is trigonometry.  Trigonometry is well understood, especially for flat (Euclidian) space.  Euclidian space is what you learned in high school geometry.  It's the space where parallel lines never meet.

It's when you go beyond simple Euclidian geometry that things get not only weird, but difficult.  General relativity is the application of the conservation of both momentum and energy to a curved space-time.  Sounds simple when you say it like that, right?  It is, until you start trying to work out how to do the math.  This was why Einstein was a genius.  He not only came up with the theory, he actually worked out the math.  He had to reinvent some of the math, because in his day, non-Euclidian geometry wasn't universally taught.

Speaking of which:  Why in the world isn't linear algebra explicitly taught as a freshman college course?  It could be taught in high school, for crying out loud.  A firm grounding in vectors and matrix manipulation would be an incredible help as a prerequisite to physics.  This is a major failing of the educational process.



Thursday, April 4, 2019

End of life advice

Prepare early, for we all eventually die.  Below is advice for how to keep your estate, if any, out of the hands of the lawyers.  Found here and copied wholesale.  All hail the original author!

Don't forget to read the comments, if the original article is still available.

********

Yes, you should have your affairs in order.
But I really dislike self-interested jackasses peddling crap -- and this falls into that category.
First, there are plenty of people who need no Will at all.  If you have little or nothing in terms of assets, or intend to die broke and have no minor children then a Will is not only a waste of time it is functionally worthless.  In fact in that situation whoever you name as Executor (Personal Representative in some states) would be five-alarm stupid to accept the job and file the Will with the courts because there's nothing to get but once you file there are both costs and responsibilities.  In other words if you know you will either die broke or in the hole and have no minor children then save the money.
You should still have a durable power of attorney and advance directive; those are to some extent state-specific depending on where you live, in an attempt to have what you want to happen actually happen when it comes to you being flat on your back and unable to make decisions.  Make damn sure said advance directive is on file with all the hospitals and other places you might be taken if you collapse without warning; until said place has it and knows they have it they'll do whatever the hell they want and maybe, but not necessarily, whatever someone who identifies as one of your next-of-kin wants.  If this isn't what you want it's bad news and the cost of that, if any, will wind up billed to your estate which your estate will be obligated to pay.  So if you do only one thing make it that advance directive and put it on file at all the local hospitals.
Warning: Some people will tell you to put someone else on your accounts.  If you are offered this, to be a "second signer" or "co-owner" do not accept unless you are that person's spouse, in which case it is (of course) perfectly ok.  The reason to refuse is that if they do something stupid you are fully responsible legally and financially, and this can ruin you instantly.  Consider someone who has brokerage account and is short at the margin limit of a company that gets taken out and the stock doubles.  They will come after your house!  Don't do it.
power of attorney gives you the ability to take care of business while the other person is alive without that risk and is the correct instrument; there are several forms of that from very limited ones for a specific asset or account and specific directives all the way to a general durable power of attorney that is extremely broad and essentially gives the person who holds it the same rights as the principal.  Just be aware it turns into a pumpkin instantly upon the principal's death and if you are holding one it is a civil and in some cases criminal offense to self-deal or otherwise screw the principal who gave it to you.
If you have or expect to have assets, or in the instance where you have minor children then a Will is appropriate.  Just understand its limitations and do it the right way to minimize them.
Specifically, get anything worthwhile out of the Will and thus out of probate.  This will make your heirs happier as it's faster, cheaper and has a near-perfect capability to have happen exactly what you wish so long as that's legal.
The first thing to consider is that for anything that doesn't trigger gift tax issues (e.g. things worth under $14,000 in total to a single person, but perhaps of immense sentimental value) give it to the people who you want to have it while you're still alive -- but before you're on your deathbed.  This is very unlikely to be challenged and if it is the person challenging it will be forced to spend money on a legal case with no monetary reward.
When you die with or without a Will but with some assets subject to probate then "someone" has to file with the probate court.  If you do not have a Will then whatever is subject to probate is distributed based on state law; there's a table they go down (e.g. "spouse first, then any direct descendant children, then ..... and on and on until the category fills.)  A Will overrides this to any extent you wish and nominates one or more people (in a chain, if the first refuses or is dead, etc) to be the Personal Representative (or "Executor" in some states; same thing, different names depending on the state.)
However, as soon as that Will is filed with someone named as Personal Representative (assuming the designation of either as valid is not contested, and it can be if someone wants to), or Probate is open "intestate" (with no Will) the fees start.  Filing and publication fees are typically in the many hundred dollar range right up front.  Unless that person both lives locally and can and will keep their act together sufficiently to deal with the court on a routine basis then there will also be legal fees involved.  Most people will either want or need at least legal consultation in doing this job; if you have a law office do it "end to end" for you (which is also an option) the cost is going to double or more.  The cost of this process in dollar terms is almost-always well north of a thousand dollars simply in court fees alone by the time it's all said and done; with lawyers involved it only takes one that's a bit of a snake to run the bill through the roof since all time is billed hourly.  Choose wisely and ask lots of questions!
Further, and much worse in many cases than the money hit is the fact that once Probate is opened there are statutory time windows that amount to a virtual standstill in terms of anything being paid out or distributed and similar.  The reason for this is that all states have a "Bar Date" for claims; 3 or 4 months is common and the clock does not start running until Probate is filed and published.  A company or person with a financial claim on the estate has that long to file their claim; if the Personal Representative pays out anything beyond funeral and ordinary maintenance costs (e.g. utility bills on a house, etc) and there are insufficient funds to cover claims he or she can be held personally responsible for those debts!  Therefore the usual (and good) advice is distribute nothing until the bar date passes so you know exactly how much is left.  If the Personal Representative is comfortable enough with the decedent's debt profile (usually only true if you were running that person's money for a couple of years prior to their death) then some distribution can be made sooner, especially of things that have little financial but lots of sentimental value (various bits and pieces of personal property, etc.)  One thing to be very conscious of is anything on a lease; this most-often comes up with cars but it can be anything (e.g. an apartment!)  Death does not void a lease in nearly all cases and the firm or person the decedent took it from can and usually will try to collect the entire remaining balance of payments.  That can be a literal crap-ton of money and is quite capable of turning a modest estate into a smoking hole with negative value.
Next up is that most states assess an inventory fee on estates -- which amounts to a tax.  That's usually assessed on the net value of assets on the day of death. Some assess straight-up taxes as well.  There is also a potential federal estate tax issue but that doesn't hit most people as the limit is quite high ($11.4 million at present); if you're in thatbracket then you're a 5-alarm idiot if you don't already have professional legal advice to deal with it in advance with some sort of bypass trust.  There are ways to defray that tax and in some cases completely avoid it but that has to be done well in advance, so if you're that wealthy head thee to a good estate planning attorney pronto.
Note that if you do not file probate on an estate then there is still a statute of limitations on debts -- typically two years, but in some states it can be materially longer.  In other words if there are debts then it's to advantage to bar any who don't pay attention by filing Probate -- but only if there are assets to pay the debts with and, when that's done, something will be left!  Otherwise the correct action is to walk away and let the creditors pound sand; that you're named in a Will does not mean you're obligated until and unless you accept the appointment.  Figure out if it's worth it (there will be something left, in your best estimation, and whatever you'll receive is enough to be worth your trouble) before you file!
IMHO, assuming no minor children, your goal while alive should be to make it not worth it to Probate the Estate even if there are assets and by doing so deny both the lawyers and the courts their fees.
Many times this can be done.
First, financial accounts of various sorts can for zero cost have what is known as "POD" put on them.  That's payable on death and it's exactly what the name implies.  You designate who gets what percentage and it's a simple form you fill out at the bank or brokerage.  If you die your heirs need only present a death certificate, which they can usually obtain within a week or your passing, and the money is theirs -- period.  A cashier's check is cut and that's the end of it.  Likewise life insurance policies should always name specific beneficiaries and not your Estate.  If you have modest debts -- such as a credit card for ordinary monthly expenses -- and someone you trust to pay it when you die then POD them an account specifically for that purpose with just enough in it for that to happen.  They pay the debts after you pass with that money and that's the end of it.
Second, if you have Real Estate and it's owned and has a positive equity then the superior means of dealing with it is usually a Trust.  It costs money to set one up (typically a couple of thousand if a lawyer does it) and it's state specific as is a Will so if you're planning on moving then choosing your venue can be important as well as state tax considerations can come into play.  A trust, once set up, must be funded by having the assets transferred into it.  In other words for a house you re-title the house into the Trust.  A material advantage of this if you do it before you buy the house in the first place is that it largely "hides" who owns it in the public records (e.g. "Green Acres Trust" as opposed to your name) and since Trusts are private it takes a fair bit of work to uncover who it is (it's not impossible, so if you're trying to screw someone you'll likely fail -- but it keeps the nosy out of your business without a fair bit of work and cost to run it down.)  In the trust documents you name a successor trustee who is the person (or chain of persons) who obtains control of the trust after you die.  You can designate pretty much anything that's legal which you want done in a Trust.
Trusts can also have financial accounts re-titled into them and that's frequently done if, for example, you have minor children and a fair bit of money -- or adult children you don't want to have get all the cash at once.  Thus the term "Trust Fund Babies"; if there's plenty of money you may be perfectly ok with having a law firm named as the successor trustee to carry it out when you get hit by a bus since you don't care about the fees and costs.  For most people designating the chain of heirs is sufficient, but once you get into high net worth situations you may make a different choice.
The key difference with a Trust is that just like a POD on a financial account it doesn't go through probate; the court never gets their hands on it and thus there are no delays or fees assessed by same.  This means the heirs get possession and control literally as soon as you diewhich makes things a lot simpler.
Consider that if you have all your assets covered by a Will -- a house, a bank account, maybe a brokerage account -- and you die, until someone files that Will and is named Personal Representative how does the power bill get paid at the house?  Your bank account is locked on the day of your death and a power of attorney to access that account becomes worthless.  Someone is going to have to fork up their money to take care of that until the Will can be put into probate and Estate accounts set up and financial accounts transferred or liquidated, all of which costs time and money.  In addition there's a very clean argument that nobody has the right of possession (e.g. to live there!) in said house at the moment of your death until Probate is established and on the day the Probate Court appoints the Personal Representative that person immediately has a fiduciary duty to preserve the value of same for the benefit of all the heirs.  This can easily conflict with reality; let's say you have someone living in the house who is a partial heir but is a drug user and might trash the place or interfere with the sale required since no heir has the means or desire to buy out the others; the PR can, if the house isn't to pass solely to said person, have a legal duty to forcibly evict them no matter who it is and no matter what else is in the Will as their duty is to protect the Estate assets for the benefit of all the heirs (not just the person living there) and that duty is not to the dead person it's to the court!
If the bank account is POD'd to your heirs in some percentage distribution and the house is in a Trust that specifies that "X" has a right of possession then you immediately (within a couple of days) have the funds to pay the power bill and whoever is so-designated has the rights set forth in the Trust document no matter whether it's to the benefit of the asset -- or the rest of the estate -- or not.  In other words your desires before your death are continued exactly after your death and as long as whatever you put in that document is legal it's enforceable.  Even better is that whatever people have the right to possession of the property need do nothing to enjoy it, and the title remains undisturbed since the Trust still owns it.
Finally none of this changes tax and debt obligations; you cannot evade either.  If you try creditors (or the IRS) can (and if its worth it for them will) sue to claw back whatever you try to distribute outside of the process.  If you have $10 large in a bank account and owe $25 large on a credit card, thinking you can POD the bank account to your daughter as a way to screw the credit card company out of the $25,000 that's likely to fail and get her sued a few months after you pass, quite possibly after she's already spent the money!  Don't do that.
Finally there are "small estate" rules for people who die with little in the way of assets but the limits vary from state to state and in some states are laughably low, to the point that someone with nothing more than a modest car exceeds them.
As you can see this can be a lot more complex than it first appears, even if you aren't particularly wealthy.  The only place it doesn't matter at all is if you either are or intend to die broke (or even better, deeply in the hole) -- in that case then **** 'em and do nothing with regard to finances (e.g. POD, will or trust), on purpose, but make damn sure nobody else has joint responsibility for anything so the people who you owe can't come after someone else when you die.
In short get competent advice -- there are plenty of people out there who are outright snakes and whoever is managing things for you when you pass is going to get to meet a bunch of them.
I just recently wound up my later mother's estate; I'm not a lawyer nor did I set up her affairs originally, but I did hold powers of attorney for both financial matters and health care and was her Personal Representative, and have seen the flat-out ugly bullcrap that everyone in the world tries to pull.  I got dozens of spammy and in some cases scammy letters from various entities and people, along with more than a few phone calls.  It's a five alarm pain in the ass and a good thing that I'm pretty-much a pissed-off alligator when someone steps on my tail and am more than willing to chase-and-bite -- hard.  Most people would have been butt****ed by some of the crap that was pulled -- as it stands everyone who was legitimately owed money (not many) got paid and there was something left, with none of the schemers and scammers getting anything.  That's the way it should be but it was overly complex -- when my time comes it won't be.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The EU Hates the Europeans

The EU is passing a pro-African bill.  You just can't make this shit up.

https://archive.ph/n4YLz

Go read this piece of hateful garbage.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Recycling is wasteful

Recycling is one of the most wasteful things we do in America.  Over half of all recycled products end up in landfills.  The rest cost more in money, time, and natural resources than the products they replace.  It is easier and cheaper to make a new plastic bottle from oil, than it costs to recycle plastic bottles into new plastic bottles.

The sole exception to this is metals.  Aluminum, steel, and copper are actually easy to recycle, and worth real money.  Why do you think people steal copper wire and pipes?

If recycling were worth it, the recycling centers would pay you for your trash.  Instead, they charge you extra for the service.  How much extra?  Three to five times the rate of just dumping it in the landfills.

Oh, and the problem is getting worse rapidly.  China used to take half of our recyclables.  They stopped taking them in January of 2018.  So the recyclables are just piling up, and nobody seeme to know what to do with these new mountains of garbage.

Pen and Teller knew most of this back in 2004.  They used to have a show called Bullshit!  Don't take my words for it.  They must know what they're talking about.  They're famous celebrities.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Leftism delenda est.

The philosophy of Leftism is the absolute denial or reality.

The goal of Leftism is the destruction of Western Civilization, formerly known as Christendom.

Once you understand these two facts, Leftist words and deeds make more sense.

They are both insane and evil.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Recent events

I post this in response to the spate of recent events, all caused bu the lunacy of the Left.
The Left is wholly without reason, as their philosophy is the denial of reality in favor of feelings and desires.

The Gods of the Copybook Headings - R. Kipling, 1919

AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know."

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die." 

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return! 

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Bell's theoretical straw man

The Bell inequality states that "no theory of local hidden variables can ever reproduce all of the predictions of quantum mechanics."   It is used to "prove" the "spooky" nature of quantum entanglement, i.e. action at a distance.

It proves nothing of the sort.

Bell's theorem assumes that quantum phenonema, when treated as if they were not quantum phenonema, do not act accordingly.  He sets up a straw man, and then, to the surprise of no one, knocks it down.

Why has this obvious fallacy been used as a bedrock of scientific wisdom for 50+ years?  Why has no one corrected this obvious error?

This is why I hold most scientists in disdain.  They have been carefully taught to not think.  They only repeat what they have been told.  Copenhagen interpretation ├╝ber alles!

The entire edifice can be easily knocked down with a simple thought experiment.  Imagine a sine wave, beginning at the origin.  Now follow it in both directions equally, imagining arrows tangent to the points of interest, pointed in opposite directions.  The arrows will always face 180 degrees opposite to each other.  

Now conduct quantum experiments to determine the "up" or "down" directions of the arrows.  Since all experiments on waves return a probability, only when the direction of measurement is perfectly in line with the direction of the arrows will the measurements be exactly correct.  At all other times, the measures will have some probability of determining "upness" or "downness" correctly.  And yet, the positions of the arrows are always and at every point completely deterministic and opposite, and were so from the very creation of the sine wave.  QED

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

As Kratman says...

Thank you, LTC (Ret) Tom Kratman, for your service, your wit, and your insight.  

To the tune of "Ode to Joy".

Fuck the European Union!
Fuck the Hague and ICC!
Fuck their rules and regulations;
Fuck the whole bureaucracy!

Asshats, Bastards, Cowards, Dimwits,
Excrement-Feeding, Gallows-bait.
Hang the swine Higher than Haman,
Ignorant Jackasses, Knaves.

Watch them purge the bent banana.
See your taxes rise and rise.
See your nations fall to ruin.
Watch as every freedom dies.

Lick-ass Morons, Nincompoops, Oh,
Pity the Quagmire these Reds made.
Sycophants and Thieves, the whole crew,
Underworked and oVerpaid.

Friday Mornings EUnuchs sign in
To ensure their holidays
Are paid for by lesser beings.
Others call those people, "slaves."

To the lampposts, Europeans.
Tie the knots and toss the ropes.
Fit the nooses, haul the free ends
Stand back; let the bastards choke. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Tucker Carlson: We Are Ruled By Mercenaries Who Feel No Long-Term Obligation To The People They Rule

I'm posting this transcript from Tucker Carlson speaking on Fox News, because I think it's important enough to preserve.  In other words, "Yeah.  What he said."

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2019/01/03/tucker_carlson_we_are_ruled_by_mercenaries_who_feel_no_long-term_obligation_to_the_people_they_rule.html

Happy New Year. Newly-elected Utah senator Mitt Romney kicked off 2019 with an op-ed in the Washington Post savaging Donald Trump’s character and leadership. Romney’s attack and Trump’s response this morning on Twitter are the latest salvos in a longstanding personal feud between the two men. It’s even possible that Romney is planning to challenge Trump for the Republican nomination in 2020. We’ll see. But for now, Romney’s piece is fascinating on its own terms. It’s a window into how the people in charge, in both parties, see our country.

Romney’s main complaint is that Donald Trump is a mercurial and divisive leader. That’s true of course. Beneath the personal slights, though, Romney has a policy critique. He seems genuinely angry that Trump might pull American troops out of the Syrian civil war. Romney doesn’t explain how staying in Syria would benefit America. He doesn’t appear to consider that a relevant question. More policing in the Middle East is always better. We know that. Virtually everyone in Washington agrees.
Corporate tax cuts are also popular in Washington, and Romney is strongly on board with those too. His piece throws a rare compliment to Trump for cutting the corporate rate a year ago. This isn’t surprising. Romney spent the bulk of his business career at a firm called Bain Capital. Bain Capital all but invented what is now a familiar business strategy: take over an existing company for a short period of time, cut costs by firing employees, run up the debt, extract the wealth, and move on, sometimes leaving retirees without their earned pensions. Romney became fantastically rich doing this. Meanwhile, a remarkable number of those companies are now bankrupt or extinct. This is the private equity model. Our ruling class sees nothing wrong with it. It’s how they run the country.

Mitt Romney refers to unwavering support for a finance-based economy and an internationalist foreign policy as the “mainstream Republican” view. He’s right. For generations, Republicans have considered it their duty to make the world safe for banking, while simultaneously prosecuting ever more foreign wars. Modern Democrats generally support these goals. There are signs, however, that most people do not support this, and not just in America. In countries around the world — France, Brazil, Sweden, the Philippines, Germany, and many others — voters are suddenly backing candidates and ideas that would have been unimaginable just a decade ago. These are not isolated events. What you’re watching is populations revolting against leaders who refuse to improve their lives.

Something like this has been in happening in our country for three years. Donald Trump rode a surge of popular discontent all the way to the White House. Does he understand the political revolution he harnessed? Can he reverse the economic and cultural trends that are destroying America? Those are open questions. But they’re less relevant than we think. At some point, Donald Trump will be gone. The rest of us will be too. The country will remain. What kind of country will be it be then? How do we want our grandchildren to live?

These are the only questions that matter. The answer used to be obvious: the overriding goal for America is more prosperity, meaning cheaper consumer goods. But is that still true? Does anyone still believe that cheaper iPhones, or more Amazon deliveries of plastic garbage from China are going to make us happy? They haven’t so far. A lot of Americans are drowning in stuff. Yet drug addiction and suicide are depopulating large parts of the country. Anyone who thinks the health of a nation can be summed up in GDP is an idiot.

The goal for America is both simpler and more elusive than mere prosperity. It’s happiness. There are a lot of ingredients in being happy: Dignity. Purpose. Self-control. Independence. Above all, deep relationships with other people. Those are the things that you want for your children. They’re what our leaders should want for us, and would if they cared. But our leaders don’t care. We are ruled by mercenaries who feel no long-term obligation to the people they rule. They’re day traders. Substitute teachers. They’re just passing through. They have no skin in this game, and it shows. They can’t solve our problems. They don’t even bother to understand our problems.

One of the biggest lies our leaders tell is that you can separate economics from everything else that matters. Economics is a topic for public debate. Family and faith and culture, those are personal matters. Both parties believe this. Members of our educated upper-middle-classes, now the backbone of the Democratic Party, usually describe themselves as fiscally responsible and socially moderate. In other words, functionally libertarian. They don’t care how you live, as long as the bills are paid and the markets function. Somehow they don’t see a connection between people’s personal lives and the health of our economy, or for that matter, the country’s ability to pay its bills. As far as they’re concerned, these are two totally separate categories.

Social conservatives, meanwhile, come to the debate from the opposite perspective, but reach a strikingly similar conclusion. The real problem, you’ll hear them say, is that the American family is collapsing. Nothing can be fixed before we fix that. Yet, like the libertarians they claim to oppose, many social conservatives also consider markets sacrosanct. The idea that families are being crushed by market forces seems never to occur to them. They refuse to consider it. Questioning markets feels like apostasy.

Both sides miss the obvious point: culture and economics are inseparably intertwined. Certain economic systems allow families to thrive. Thriving families make market economies possible. You can’t separate the two. It used to be possible to deny this. Not anymore. The evidence is now overwhelming. Consider the inner cities. Thirty years ago, conservatives looked at Detroit or Newark and were horrified by what they saw. Conventional families had all but disappeared in poor neighborhoods. The majority of children were born out of wedlock. Single mothers were the rule. Crime and drugs and disorder became universal. What caused this nightmare? Liberals didn’t want to acknowledge the question. They were benefiting from the disaster, in the form of reliable votes. Conservatives, though, had a ready explanation for inner city dysfunction: big government. Decades of badly-designed social programs had driven fathers from the home and created what they called a “culture of poverty” that trapped people in generational decline.

There was truth in what the conservatives said. But it wasn’t the whole story. How do we know? Because virtually the same thing has happened decades later to an entirely different population. In many ways, rural America now looks a lot like Detroit. This is striking because rural Americans don’t seem to have much in common with people from the inner city. These groups have different cultures, different traditions and political beliefs. Usually they have different skin colors. Rural people are white conservatives, mostly. Yet the pathologies of modern rural America are familiar to anyone who visited downtown Baltimore in the 1980s: Stunning out of wedlock birthrates. High male unemployment. A terrifying drug epidemic.

Two different worlds. Similar outcomes. How did this happen? You’d think our ruling class would be interested in knowing the answer. Mostly they’re not. They don’t have to be. It’s easier to import foreign labor to take the place of native-born Americans who are slipping behind. But Republicans now represent rural voters. They ought to be interested. Here’s a big part of the answer: male wages declined. Manufacturing, a male-dominated industry, all but disappeared over the course of a generation. All that remained in many areas were the schools and the hospitals, both traditional employers of women. In many places, women suddenly made more than men. Before you applaud this as a victory for feminism, consider the effects. Study after study has shown that when men make less than women, women generally don’t want to marry them. Maybe they should want to, but they don’t. Over big populations, this causes a drop in marriage, a spike in out of wedlock births, and all the familiar disasters that follow: more drug and alcohol abuse, higher incarceration rates, fewer families formed in the next generation. This isn’t speculation, or propaganda from the evangelicals. It’s social science. We know it’s true. Rich people know it best of all. That’s why they get married before they have kids. That model works. Increasingly, marriage is a luxury only the affluent in America can afford.

And yet, and here’s the bewildering and infuriating part, those very same affluent married people, the ones making virtually all the decisions in our society, are doing pretty much nothing to help the people below them get and stay married. Rich people are happy to fight malaria in Congo. But working to raise men’s wages in Dayton or Detroit? That’s crazy.

This is negligence on a massive scale. Both parties ignore the crisis in marriage. Our mindless cultural leaders act like it’s still 1961, and the biggest problem American families face is that sexism is preventing millions of housewives from becoming investment bankers or Facebook executives.

For our ruling class, more investment banking is always the answer. They teach us it’s more virtuous to devote your life to some soulless corporation than it is to raise your own kids. Sheryl Sandburg of Facebook wrote an entire book about this. Sandburg explained that our first duty is to shareholders, above our own children. No surprise there. Sandburg herself is one of America’s biggest shareholders. Propaganda like this has made her rich. What’s remarkable is how the rest of us responded. We didn’t question why Sandburg was saying this. We didn’t laugh in her face at the pure absurdity of it. Our corporate media celebrated Sandburg as the leader of a liberation movement. Her book became a bestseller: Lean In. As if putting a corporation first is empowerment. It’s not. It’s bondage. Republicans should say so.

They should also speak out against the ugliest parts of our financial system. Not all commerce is good. Why is it defensible to loan people money they can’t possibly repay? Or charge them interest that impoverishes them? Payday loan outlets in poor neighborhoods collect 400 percent annual interest. We’re ok with that? We shouldn’t be. Libertarians tell us that’s how markets work: consenting adults making voluntary decisions about how to live their lives. OK. But it’s also disgusting. If you care about America, you ought to oppose the exploitation of Americans, whether it’s happening in the inner city or on Wall Street.

And by the way, if you really loved your fellow Americans, if it would break your heart to see them high all the time. Which they are. A huge number of our kids, especially our boys, are smoking weed constantly. You may not realize that, because new technology has made it odorless. But it’s everywhere. That’s not an accident. Once our leaders understood they could get rich from marijuana, marijuana became ubiquitous. In many places, tax-hungry politicians have legalized or decriminalized it. Former Speaker of the House John Boehner now lobbies for the marijuana industry. His fellow Republicans seem fine with that. “Oh, but it’s better for you than alcohol,” they tell us. Maybe. Who cares? Talk about missing the point. Try having dinner with a 19-year-old who’s been smoking weed. The life is gone. Passive, flat, trapped in their own heads. Do you want that for your kids? Of course not. Then why are our leaders pushing it on us? You know the reason. Because they don’t care about you.

When you care about people, you do your best to treat them fairly. Our leaders don’t even try. They hand out jobs and contracts and scholarships and slots at prestigious universities based purely on how we look. There’s nothing less fair than that, though our tax code comes close. Under our current system, an American who works for a salary pays about twice the tax rate of someone who’s living off inherited money and doesn’t work at all. We tax capital at half of what we tax labor. It’s a sweet deal if you work in finance, as many of the richest people do. In 2010, for example, Mitt Romney made about $22 million dollars in investment income. He paid a federal tax rate of 14 percent. For normal upper-middle-class wage earners, the federal tax rate is nearly 40 percent. No wonder Romney supports the status quo. But for everyone else, it’s infuriating. Our leaders rarely mention any of this. They tell us our multi-tiered tax code is based on the principles of the free market. Please. It’s based on laws that congress passed, laws that companies lobbied for in order to increase their economic advantage. It worked well for those people, but at a big cost to everyone else. Unfairness is profoundly divisive. When you favor one child over another, your kids don’t hate you. They hate each other. That happens in countries too. It’s happening in ours, probably by design. Divided countries are easier to rule. Nothing divides us like the perception that some people are getting special treatment. In our country, some people definitely are. Republicans should oppose that with everything they have.

What kind of country do you want to live in? A fair country. A decent country. A cohesive country. A country whose leaders don’t accelerate the forces of change purely for their own profit and amusement. A country you might recognize when you’re old. A country that listens to young people who don’t live in Brooklyn. A country where you can make a solid living outside of the big cities. A country where Lewiston, Maine seems almost as important as the west side of Los Angeles. A country where environmentalism means getting outside and picking up the trash. A clean, orderly, stable country that respects itself. And above all, a country where normal people with an average education who grew up no place special can get married, and have happy kids, and repeat unto the generations. A country that actually cares about families, the building block of everything.

What will it take a get a country like that? Leaders who want it. For now, those leaders will have to be Republicans. There’s no option at this point. But first, Republican leaders will have to acknowledge that market capitalism is not a religion. Market capitalism is a tool, like a staple gun or a toaster. You’d have to be a fool to worship it. Our system was created by human beings for the benefit of human beings. We do not exist to serve markets. Just the opposite. Any economic system that weakens and destroys families isn’t worth having. A system like that is the enemy of a healthy society.

Internalizing this won’t be easy for Republican leaders. They’ll have to unlearn decades of bumper sticker-talking points and corporate propaganda. They’ll likely lose donors in the process. Libertarians are sure to call any deviation from market fundamentalism a form of socialism. That’s a lie. Socialism is a disaster. It doesn’t work. It’s what we should be working desperately to avoid. But socialism is exactly what we’re going to get, and soon, unless a group of responsible people in our political system reforms the American economy in a way that protects normal people.

If you want to put America first, you’ve got to put its families first.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

So there I was...

Years ago, I participated in a Corps level army exercise.  Early one afternoon, the 3 man CI team I was on found the Corps headquarters almost completely unguarded (one squad on patrol), with a single antenna sited within 50 feet of the command tents. They had one huge generator running everything. It was a hundred meters or so out beyond the hive of tents, because it was noisy and smelly.  We got hold of an O/C (referee), and told him that our team was going to shoot the generator. (He ruled it would take 3 shots to disable.)  He got another O/C to go turn the generator off himself, while we moved about 100 meters along the wood line.  Then we waited for the repair guy to show up. We shot him, too. Then we relocated, because the nearest patrol was only a half hour away.  The O/C thought the whole thing was hilarious.
The entire Corps command center went dark for the rest of the day. No lights, no computers, no comms. No backups, either, apparently.  One Sergeant Major had brought a whiteboard and pens in his own footlocker, and tracked the battle himself based on the reports of radio relays from a truck.
When the command center got power again the next morning, it hadn't moved, and their sole antenna was still in position next to the tents. So when they started broadcasting again, we called an artillery strike in on their location, and killed everybody. The 3-star was PISSED.

The only survivor was that SGM with the white board.  He had been having the truck with the radio move at least once per hour.  When the radios went live again, he got in the truck and had the driver move over a kilometer away into the forest.  We had a drink with him later, and laughed about the whole thing.  We didn't know it at the time, but the maneuver units performed a lot better without the Corps micromanaging them.

The General ordered the MPs to arrest us if they ever saw us again.  Not exercise mock-arrest, either.  Oddly enough, he didn't get his 4th star, and retired after turning over command the next year.

That's what I call a job well done.