me

Do you want to know more about the guy who's on the other side of your screen, saying all this stuff?

Then come right in...

ribbons

These are my
Mission Statements.

rant

This is where I put the stuff that doesn't fall into the other categories.

Sounds good, not good

I happened across this article and even the side that would have immediately said, "EFF YEAH!!!" instead said, "Wait a minute." Rep. Sheila Butt files bill to prohibit unhealthy foods for food stamps.

This idea is definitely in the "sounds good" category, rather than the "good, sound" category where all laws belong. The major reason why many people in the lower income scales are overweight is not from ice cream, cookies and cake, rather due to the cheap, processed foods that are overstuffed with calories, salt and sugar. These "one-pot-add-water-and-it's-ready" meals are okay in moderation, not as a diet staple like they are now for low-income families.

Yet, that's what it is because many of the people on EBT don't know how to prepare a good, healthy meal. Thanks to the death of Home Economics in the 80's where young women were taught how to plan, shop, prepare and cook a balanced, healthy meal from natural (not processed) components, this gave rise to the "Hamburger Helper" et.al. type meals.

Of course, the low-income, working moms are hit hard by these kinds of food as well. They pick up their children from daycare, bring them home, cook a box meal, then ship the kids off to a relatives house or overnight care on their way to their night shift job. That is no way to feed or raise a family.

Restricting any food choices can only lead to worse things. Let's stick to the Conservative ideal of letting the Citizen make their own choices, not Nashville or Washington.

Cascading Economics

The next time someone flashes a #fightfor15 hashtag, hit them with this.

This is a very simplified and incomplete model of how a physical product is produced. I am using this model to show how a forced raising of the minimum wage will send ripples through the entire chain that goods are produced. Here is a link to a spreadsheet that I used to produce the numbers in this article.

A concept Liberals don’t (or won’t) comprehend is that the pay a worker receives for their part in producing the product or service has to add an equivalent value to what is being produced. Brain Surgeons and 747 Captains are paid very well for what they do. Anybody can be taught how to do brain surgery or how to pilot a 747 in ten easy lessons because 99% of what they do are basic rote actions. The reason why the surgeon and the pilot make way more than a McDonald’s worker is because they know what to do when the patient’s brain starts bleeding, or an engine falls off the aircraft. They are paid the “Big Bucks” so they are in the right place at the right time with the proper training and experience to prevent the catastrophe.

I had a manufacturing job for a short time, assembling 3-D printers, so I got a peek into the manufacturing world. Each printer was composed of six (different) panels for the case, an electronics board, a wiring harness, a heated bed, the actual print head and the various gears, motors and pulleys to move the head and bed to produce what you want it to. There were also screws and other miscellaneous hardware involved as well. All in all, I dealt with about 30 distinct parts, many were used 2 and 4 times (motors, gears, pulleys, etc.) in a single unit. Each part had a different cost from the others, making this a slightly complex product.

The “product” I am making in this example consists of three parts, each made from three different raw materials. In real life, there are more levels, more materials and more sub-assemblies.

Again, this is a very simple model. Please do not fuss over the numbers at all, outside of the labor cost itself. If you do, that makes you miss the point.

The labor for each step is what is necessary to produce enough materials/sub-assemblies for one unit. The same with the transportation. A tractor-trailer can transport hundreds of units, so the labor cost for each unit is very low.

Each raw material costs nothing for the materials (it’s being pulled from the ground) and it takes 15 minutes of work by one person to extract the amount of material necessary to produce 1 part. The overhead is your equipment costs, administration staff, office supplies, etc. All of the things that help the workers bring the materials in and send the finished good out the door. There is also profit to be made.

These raw materials are then transported to another company that uses the materials to make the sub-assemblies. So the sub-assembly companies have to pay for the companies to produce and transport the materials, their own overhead costs and profit. Once each sub-assembly is created, it is shipped to my company so I can use the sub-assemblies to create the final product. I will have my own overhead costs and profit as well.

To keep this simple, I am paying everybody $10 an hour. At $10/hour, each sub-assembly pays $42.00 for their inputs. After labor, overhead and profit, each subcontractor gets their product out their door for $58.50. I pay $64 for each sub-assembly delivered to my factory for a total of $192.00 for my inputs. After materials, labor, overhead and profit I sell one unit of my product for $234. The MSRP/RRP (Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price, or Recommended Retail Price in the UK and elsewhere) would actually be higher, as it would likely have to be shipped from my company to a store (Wal-Mart, Target, Brookstone, et.al.) to be sold to you. For this exercise, I’m only concerned about my out the door price.

If a rise in the labor costs is caused by a forced inflation of the minimum wage to $15/hour by legislative fiat, provided all other costs stay the same (they won’t; I’ll explain why in a moment) my sub-assemblies will now cost me $74.75 and my out the door price will jump to $281.25. That’s a $48.25 or a 16.8% increase in price.

In the real world, my price will actually go up more than what these “pure” numbers reflect. What will go up in addition to the labor price is the overhead. Remember, “overhead” is the labor costs of your administrative staff, office supplies and the equipment you use to produce your product. The companies who provide me with goods and services covered under that "overhead" banner will have to increase their prices to compensate for the new minimum wage. The price of everything I use, from reams of paper, staples and all the way up to million-dollar fabrication machines are going to be affected by just like I am. The company that makes the paper, staples or fabrication equipment has the same “tree” as I do. And if everyone has to get paid a minimum of $15, the price of paper, staples and fabrication machines will inevitably go up.

Now, one of the companies that produces my sub-assemblies may not have to buy a new fabrication machine for 5 years, however because the cost of labor is jumping now, that company has pressure to raise his prices now, not just to cover the additional labor but to help save up for the additional price of that new equipment down the road.

Labor also does not exist in isolation. All jobs are connected and dependent on others. In real life, some workers in this chain are paid less than $10, others are paid more. Just to make this clear, let’s look at two workers in this manufacturing chain. Worker A is paid $9/hour and Worker B is paid $19/hour, if/when the minimum wage raises worker A’s pay to $15, you would have to be on a different planet to not realize that worker B will push for more pay as well. Worker B has to fight for his pay to increase about $25/hour because by raising the pay of worker A, you devalue the knowledge and experience that justified worker B their $19/hour.

Because economics is an indirect art form, if we raise the labor costs on January 1st, we will start seeing prices increasing about June. Prices will increase, I promise you. You may not see it, but they will increase.

Real-world examples can be found in your local grocery store. Products contained in jars (peanut butter, jelly, mayonnaise, etc.) will decrease in quantity by increasing the arch under the jar to reduce the internal volume while charging the same price. So if you have a 24 ounce jar that costs $2.49 in March, it transforms into a 20.4 ounce jar that costs $2.49 in October, that is a price increase of 15% (it costs 10.375 cents/ounce before, 12.205 cents/ounce after). Boxed products (like breakfast cereals) will retain the same front dimensions (height and width) but make their boxes thinner (less depth) to reduce their volume.

My advice is to be very careful what you wish for. You may get it.

Truth vs. Narrative

Journalism is what used to be news reporting. People witnessing historic events or interviewing those who had seen it first hand, then transcribing it into such a form for all people to read and learn from. It is meant to be an account from a neutral viewpoint, all facts presented equally to let the reader decide on the matter.

The term "Yellow Journalism" was developed by Erwin Wardman who at the time was the Editor of the New York Press, and was meant to describe the fight between Pulitzer's New York World and Hearst's New York Journal. The "classic" Yellow Journalism ran at its heaviest from 1895-1898. While the concept or practice was not exclusive to New York or these two newspapers, this particular "feud" did not extend beyond New York, simply because the communications network did not exist.

After the turn of the 20th Century, reporting the news returned to being a serious business where reporters realized that there was a great level of trust bestowed upon them by the public who depended upon them for an accurate recounting of events. I remember watching men like Water Cronkite, Chet Huntley and David Brinkley give the evening news. My Dad was a Cronkite man all the way, but sometimes NBC came up on our TV tuner at 6:30pm.

It was in the 70's that some network executives wanted the news bureau to "make a profit." I think that's pretty much the start of the groundwork for our current news climate. It was the launch of CNN on June 1st, 1980 to start the 24-hour news cycle. Since then, that news network addiction of "being first" (not being correct, or truthful or accurate) let the drive to live and die by ratings. The MSM has also artfully blended actual news with opinion pieces since the 90's makeing them very difficult to tell one from the other. Since the concept and term of "clickbait", most of the news media in the United States has had a resurgence of Yellow Journalism and "fake news."

I bring all of this up because I hear the MSM and everyone who believes their narrative hook, link and sinker, is yelling about "THE RUSSIANS HACKED OUR ELECTION."

To which I say:

Inigo

The reason why I say this (and use that meme) is because when you use the term "Hacked the US election" (or some other derivative) this implies that somehow the Russians changed the outcome of the election by changing the vote totals. Just to dispel that notion, elections are conducted and certified at a county level in each state, which is transmitted to the appropriate State government and on to the MSM to provide "election coverage." Currently, there are 3,143 Counties (called Boroughs in Alaska, Parishes in Louisiana) in the US. The "Russians" (or whomever is to blame) would have had to penetrate at least 90+% of these counties and on demand votes. Not to add votes, but to record Hillary votes for Trump. Since "they" couldn't know which counties would go which way or how far, this could be pulled off only if the vast majority of systems were successfully penetrated.

What the hackers actually did was penetrate the email system of the Democrat National Committee and pass those emails to Wikileaks. These emails, private communications between high-ranking members of the DNC and their minions, show how they rigged the primary elections against Bernie Sanders so he never had a chance, and worked with major MSM players to provide as many pro-Hillary and anti-Trump "news" articles and opinion pieces disguised as news as possible. Enough of the information in these emails surfaced in the American Collective Consciousness through the truly neutral and Conservative-leaning media to make a difference in changing public opinion enough to put Trump in office.

The US would never, ever do that to another country, right? According to a L.A. Times story:

The U.S. has a long history of attempting to influence presidential elections in other countries – it’s done so as many as 81 times between 1946 and 2000, according to a database amassed by political scientist Dov Levin of Carnegie Mellon University.

[...]

Levin defines intervention as “a costly act which is designed to determine the election results [in favor of] one of the two sides.” These acts, carried out in secret two-thirds of the time, include funding the election campaigns of specific parties, disseminating misinformation or propaganda, training locals of only one side in various campaigning or get-out-the-vote techniques, helping one side design their campaign materials, making public pronouncements or threats in favor of or against a candidate, and providing or withdrawing foreign aid.

And of course, we see the US meddling in Israeli affairs and actively trying to oust Netanyahu, the current Israeli PM.

Goose, meet Gander.

Chasing bubbles

As a young man, I bruised my forehead rather severely. I inflicted this wound upon myself by repeatedly slapping my forhead over the plain-to-read common sense in the pamphlet Common Sense, written by Thomas Paine in 1776. I kept slapping my forehead because it made perfect, common sense to me when I read it over 200 years after it was first published.

This book, Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt has generated a similar self-inflicted wound.

Mr. Hazlitt wrote this in 1946, ten years after John Maynard Keynes wrote The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, which is the bible for Keynesian Economics today. Economics in One Lesson lays out plainly yet with elegant prose concepts that explains economics as what I call a "delayed art form." I mean that in this way: In the age old Art vs. Science argument, if you can quantify the elements and reliably replicate action A producing result B, it's a science. Everything else is Art. In economics, action A will more than likely produce something approaching result B, but not always, six months to a year (sometimes even longer) after the initial action. This is because of Microeconomics, the thousands of transactions that occur daily in an economy. It takes time to make all of the transactions that culminates in a person purchasing a product from a business.

Think of putting a decorative cling on your window. Invariably, there will be some air bubbles trapped between the cling and the glass. Even if you are extremely careful, trying to "squeegee" the bubbles to the edge and get rid of them will result in those bubbles moving in almost any direction but where you want them to go.

When God created the Law of Unintended Consequences, He was thinking about economics. Mr. Hazlitt shows plainly using the "broken window" fallacy that when someone, a consumer or a business, is coerced in one way or another to buy a product (in this case, a Baker has to buy a new window because a miscreant broke the original) a great victory is proclaimed because the Glazer (the person who produces glass and windows) has business. But what about the Tailor, or the Plumber, or any other tradesman? Say the Baker was going to buy a new suit because his present clothes are tattered. Or, the plumbing is leaking in his home. The Baker is forced to spend his limited resources to replace the window and thus postpone getting new clothes or his pipes replaced. This story is repeated every time a choice is forced upon a consumer or a business.

Read this book, please. Then you can attend the free, online video course Economics 101 by Hillsdale College and grasp those concepts with a lot more understanding.

The scope of this operation

This is a "year start" disclaimer, just so all of my readers knows where I am coming from.

To tell you the truth, The Conservative Zone is a one man operation. Because I am working 40+ hours a week at my day job, spending time with my family, working on my home repairs and improvements, plus "me" time, I do not have the time I used to have to devote to generating content.

I refuse to sell advertising space to monetize this website because I do not want to have advertisers say to me, "We'd really like it if you would emphasize this or not cover that..." This content of this website is what is important to me. It's not everything that I want to say because I don't have the time to properly research and artfully craft everything I want to say. I would love it if I could spend my day generating quality and interesting content and make a good living at it. I also know that will never truly happen. I realize my voice is not that different from thousands of other Conservative websites.

I do what I can, when I can do it. And that's all I can do.

The reason why

A warship has many functions and purposes. Purposes like showing the flag, force projection, area denial and battlegroup defense are a few of what they do. In the end, it accomplishes all of these purposes by executing (or threatening to execute) its main function, that of delivering ordinance on target.

Every action the ship and crew do enable those weapon systems to be in the proper place at the proper time to accurately deliver that ordinance on target. Outside of the personal effects of the crew, every item on that ship is meant to operate the ship so the mission can be carried out, either undamaged or damaged. Every item on those ships has a function and purpose, as well as a place to stand ready until needed. They are maintained and inspected on a regular basis. The attention-to-detail sailors have to provide on a daily basis would make someone with severe OCD feel inadequate.

Every item and where it is stored on a ship have reasons written in blood from earlier ships taking damage.

Since I enlisted in 1979, six US Navy ships have been seriously damaged, five by enemy action and one by a "TFOA" (Things Falling Off Aircraft). Each of these ships, by their design, their redundant systems and the courage and training of their crew made it back to port to be repaired and return to the fleet.

The film below, Seven Sailors was filmed on the USS Lawrence (DDG-4), a Charles F. Addams Guided-Missile Destroyer. It was filmed in 1968 on 16mm film, which was probably later recorded on videotape and finally to digital format. This is why it is out of focus a bit.

This film illustrates the necessary attention-to-detail that every sailor needs to have in order to properly carry out their job. No job is too small or menial. When sailors don't do the proper thing, bad things do happen. A person who has never served on a ship will probably think these seven sailors made minor mistakes. As the film progresses you will see how those "minor mistakes" seriously hurt the ability of the ship to survive, let alone carry out its needed mission.

Controlled Burn

Here you go. Example upmtyzillion on how even with all of the facts, Liberals come to the wrong conclusion. Trump’s Chief Strategist Wants To ‘Destroy The State’.

Here’s the fear-inducing quote:

“I’m a Leninist,” Bannon proudly told Radosh in 2013.  “Lenin,” he continued, “wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal, too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.” Bannon’s fondness for the Russian revolutionary is telling in light of the the recent scrutiny over Russia’s pro-Trump interference in the 2016 election. Vladimir Lenin was the leader of Russia’s Bolshevik Party whose 1917 October Revolution threw a provisional government out of power, leading to the creation of the USSR.

If you read the sentence immediately preceding that quote, you’ll see what Bannon’s objective is:

…Bannon’s goal is to destroy the American system as we know it and replace it with a populist, Tea Party agenda.

I find it ironic that Liberals have since the 60’s have worshiped the bloody revolution that Lenin instigated to overthrow Tsar Nicholas II to bring about the Communist Party and the “workers paradise” that was the Soviet Union. If you’ve ever wondered why that pessimistic fatalism and a total “don’t give a shit” attitude is ingrained into the DNA of almost every Russian, look at their collective lives under the Tsars and Communism.

Also, “Radical Zero” (as opposed to “patient zero”) and Obama mentor Saul Alinsky in his book Rules for Radicals gives an “over-the-shoulder acknowledgement” to the original “burn-it-all down” guy, Lucifer (AKA Satan).

saul

The Liberals of the 60’s wanted to “burn down the Establishment” until they realized that if they could infiltrate the Establishment, they could gradually bend it to their objectives. We are coming to the end of eight years of having a Radical Leftist in the Oval Office.

IMG 1093

So “burning it down” can be a good thing, with controlled burns. Trumps Cabinet picks show hints of this. From the article:

Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt — Is a climate-change denier with deep ties to the fossil fuel industry. 

Does Mr. Pruitt deny any climate change, or that Man is the major contributing factor in climate change? Remember, Liberals were screaming “GLOBAL COOLING” in the 70’s, and “GLOBAL WARMING” after that up until they realized that no one is listening to them because their predictions were 100% wrong.

And of course the EPA needs SWAT teams to perform paperwork inspections, nor would one of their inspectors would actually cause an environmental disaster through incompetence.

Department of Energy Secretary, Rick Perry — In a 2011 GOP presidential debate, Perry listed the Department of Energy among the agencies he would completely eliminate as president. 

It seems like the functions of departments like the EPA, Department of Energy, Department of Education are to consolidate power in Washington and interfere with the daily lives of citizens. Severe pruning or amputation of these and other federal departments should be seriously considered.

Department of Labor, Andy Puzder —  A fast-food CEO who opposes the minimum wage and whose company has been fined multiple times for worker safety violations.

Forced elevation of wages hurts the people they were designed to help. Simple math and real-world effects clearly show this. Higher base wages than market value force employers to raise prices, lay off people in favor of forced automation and/or requiring the remaining workers to “do more with less people in the same amount of time.”

Concerning the safety violations, I have written before on forcing executives who make bad decisions to pay personally, not the company.

Department of Education, Betsy DeVos — She’s a leading advocate of school voucher programs. 

*GASP*!!!1! You mean parents shouldn’t have the power to choose where their children are indoctrinated taught?

Our history has seen businessmen and farmers temporarily putting their businesses and tools aside for a short period of time to go to Washington and serve the People. In my lifetime, we have seen a political ruling class install themselves in the seats of power and refuse to leave.

Maybe it’s time to divest Washington of the political rulers and restore people who want to improve the country and serve the people rather than line their own pockets.

An old article

A few months after I was discharged from the Navy, I was interviewed for a "transition supplement" for the Navy/Army/Air Force Times. A while back, I found an old, yellowed DTF copy (it was dated 1993) and I have finally spent the time to transcribe it and post it here. Enjoy "Like Godzilla Did Tokyo."

An Open Letter to Masons

This letter is specifically for those Masons who shouted me down with cries of "Leviticus!" when I stood to speak for the elimination of most of 6.207 (27) from the Tennessee Masonic Code. It also applies to those who silently support them.

A friend on Facebook made a post which reminded me of something that I once said long ago; I had forgotten it until that moment.

For non-Masons, I have to explain something first so you have a context. After each degree, a Mason memorizes a series of answers to questions in a question-and-answer lecture that relates to the degree they just went through. In order to advance to the next degree, the Mason must be able to proficiently answer the questions. During the teaching, the instructor asks the question, then gives the answer. At the examination to determine if the Mason is proficient, he has to recite the answers with minimal, if any prompts.

Some lodges teach rote memorization, e.g. "say these specific words in this specific order" and the instructors never teach the meaning of what they are learning. As an example, one part went like this: "I will not reveal the secrets of this degree... without without due trial, strict examination or legal information." In the Masonic world, these three word pairs have very specific meanings as to what you are supposed to do to the brother to determine if a brother is entitled to receive certain knowledge. If you received your instruction from a "rote" instructor, you probably don't know what those methods are or what would determine a pass/fail. If you received instruction from my lodge, the instructors (including myself) would talk about what those words meant and what you had to do. We found that this extra knowledge helped in the retention of the memorization and inspired the Mason to learn more.

So what does rote memorization has to to with Leviticus? I'm glad you asked.

I have read my Bible from Genesis to Revelations. I prefer the New International Version because it is derived from the original texts and is heavily footnoted to provide context. In the Old Testament it was made clear that you could not enter the Kingdom of Yahweh (God) if you were not spiritually clean. If you sinned, the only way for you to atone for your sins was by making the appropriate sacrifice to God. In Leviticus, the exact steps you had to take in the sacrifice was laid out as well as the animal/thing used as the offering. There were five specific areas of offerings. Burnt offerings, grain offerings, fellowship offerings, sin offerings and guilt offerings. Each type of offering had a different purpose and required a different sacrifice depending on the social/financial status of the one performing the offering.

As an example, if you unintentionally broke one of the Ten Commandments this would fall under the heading of a "sin offering." If a high priest or the whole congregation was guilty, a young bull would be required. If the sinner was a leader, a male goat would be required. For a common person, the sacrifice had to be a female goat or a lamb. The poor could offer a dove or pigeon and for the very poor, a tenth of an ephah, or about 2.25 gallons of flour.

Leviticus Chapters 18-20 lists various sins. Some of them listed in Chapter 18 are repeated in Chapter 20 with punishments.

They include:

  • Giving (sacrificing) your child to Molech (the god of the Ammonites).
  • Not stoning a man to death for giving his child to Molech.
  • Anyone who turns to Mediums or Spiritualists.
  • Cursing a parent.
  • Sleeping with another man's wife (adultery).
  • Sleeping with his fathers wife.
  • Sleeping with his daughter-in-law.
  • Homosexuality ("If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman...").
  • If a man marries both a woman and her mother.
  • Having sex with an animal (man or woman).
  • If a man marries his sister.
  • If a man has sex with a woman during menstruation.
  • Cursing the deaf or putting stumbling blocks in the way of the blind.
  • Endangering your neighbors life.
  • Mating different kinds of animals.
  • Planting one field with two kinds of seed.
  • Wearing clothing made of two different kinds of material.
  • Eating meat with the blood still in it.
  • Cutting the hair on the sides of your head or trimming your beard.
  • Mutilating or tattooing yourselves.
  • Using dishonest measures.

In today's world how many people do you know of who sacrifice an animal every time they broke one of the above laws? Pretty much zero. And many Christians will say why through rote memorization. They say the correct thing ("Jesus sacrificed Himself on the cross for all of the sins of Mankind") but there is no knowledge, no realization of what that exactly means.

Here's what I realized and said many years ago: "Jesus' sacrifice on the cross rendered inert all of the laws laid out in the Old Testament."

Knowing our history is important. that's why the Bible contains the OT. However the laws contained in the OT are no longer requirements to be followed and strictly obeyed.

This is clearly spelled out in Matthew Chapter 22. In verse 36, the Sadducees asked, "Teacher, what is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus' reply in versus 37-40 reads,

Jesus replied, " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on the two commandments."

Every law in the Old Testament became irrelevant the moment Jesus breathed His last saying, "It is finished."

Here's my final kick in the gonads to my hyper-religious former brothers:

If you demand adherence to the laws laid down in the OT, you negate Jesus' sacrifice. He died in vain because you prefer the old laws and don't think His sacrifice was good enough for you.

Think about that the next time you open your pie hole to shout "Leviticus!"

They got what they wanted

In the Star Trek (TOS) episode The Savage Curtain, Abraham Lincoln gave some advice to Captain Kirk: "Give your enemy what he wants. Just don't give it to him the way he wants it." I apply that advice to my opponents when I wargame.

The #fightfor15 crowd has won some significant victories to have government force the private sector to double the minimum wage. California and New York have made this state law. But like in all things Economic, the results of actions happen after a delay and can be somewhat unexpected. This one has been foretold since the discussion began. Now the buzzards have started coming home to roost: Thanks To 'Fight For $15' Minimum Wage, McDonald's Unveils Job-Replacing Self-Service Kiosks Nationwide.

The consequences of paying your employees more are either A) charge your customers more (higher prices) or B) have less employees. These changes and their consequences are clearly shown to those who look at the actual numbers and do the math. Frankly, either choice upsets the business-customer equilibrium. If prices go up, sales go down. This is a well-established economic fact, proved by hundreds of years of research on this subject. However, reduction of staff without a "force multiplier" (something that enhances the effectiveness of the employee) will also result in lost sales because the level of customer satisfaction will decrease.

The "force multiplier" discussed in this article are self-service kiosks. This means you will walk up to a kiosk, put in your order, swipe/touch your card and your food will be ready in a few minutes. This will cut the number of employees at an average McDonald's from 15 to about 8-10.

But wait! There's more! There are also machines in development (actually in testing) that will automate the entire store. One or two people will be required to put the materials (buns, meat, fries, condiments, etc.) in one end of the machine. The machine will then process the food order (via the kiosks) from the customer and proceed to cook the food, then assemble, package and deliver the order to the customer without any human assistance.

Congratulations! You now have four employees working full time at $15/hour, when you used to have 15 employees working various hours (30 hours/week average) at $7.50/hour. If you've done your math, you can see a 30% decrease in payroll ($7.25/hour x 30 hours/week x 15 employees= $3,375/week payroll vs. $15.00 x 40 x 4= $2,400). The bad news is that the $1,900/week "saved" has to go to pay off the cost of the machine as well as maintenance and repair costs.

So you have reduced employment opportunities for young people by over 60%. Because at least one or two of those four workers will have to have experience and knowledge in maintaining and repairing the new machine. If that machine stops working for whatever reason, the staff on hand won't have time to call the service technician and wait for him to drive across town to get their store working.

I promise you, the 16-year-old that used to get his first job at McDonald's will not have the knowledge or experience to run and maintain that equipment reliably. His opportunity to have that "first job" where he could learn all the necessary skills for his future jobs (arrive on time, dressed properly, do the job as you are told, etc.) just evaporated, and #fightfor15 killed it.

Any job has to add value to the product or service in order to justify the price the customer has to pay for that product or service. If a worker by using his skills does not add a value to the product greater than what they are being paid, the business cannot remain producing that product or service.

The #fightfor15 crowd has gotten exactly what they wanted, a $15 minimum wage. But by losing 60% of that job pool, they aren't getting it the way they wanted it.

Not as bad as you think

I am writing this from a point of personal experience. I would like to declare that a Trump presidency will not be as bad as you think.

There are actually several reasons, the first is the “alt-right” are not Nazis, nor are they going to turn into Nazis because this is not 1934 Germany. The National Socialist German Workers Party was the full name for the Nazis, who were Socialists. You might want to click on that word to see what Socialists really are.

If you look at the times and conditions on how Hitler rose to power, that kind of government and those economic conditions are not present in 2016 United States

Second, the German people were experiencing a systemic economic collapse because Germany was being forced to repay the Allies for war debts and damage incurred in The Great War. This collapse was manifesting itself with hyperinflation of the German Mark, where the inflation was so fast workers were paid twice a day so they could give the money to their wives to go out and buy food before the prices went up.

Third, the German government has very few similarities, if any at all, to the US government. Also, social makeup was built on obedience to power. Hitler’s title, “Führer” is the German word for Leader. As a German, you obeyed whomever was the leader. It didn’t help that after Hitler came to power, those who were critical of him disappeared.

In great contrast, the US as a country, a government and a society was built on maximum individual freedom. Even in the US military, while obedience to the orders from your superior officer is required, every action any service member does is subject their review and that member is obligated to disobey orders that run counter to what is right.

Fourth, which I can speak from personal experience, is that power constrains. As Worshipful Master of my Masonic lodge, I was basically President of the lodge. A lodge will take the direction the Master desires, within certain limitations.

The Master puts forth ideas on what the lodge can do for the lodge or the community. If it’s a good idea, he will have no shortage of brothers willing to help and participate. An example of this would be a quarterly breakfast for first responders in their community. If it’s a dumb idea or counter to the principles of Masonry, a Past Master will probably privately advise the Master of the “inadvisability” of such an idea. If the Master presses forward anyway, he will likely find himself alone at the event.

The US federal government is the same way. The President can try to take a controversial action. His cabinet could be in total agreement and the bureaucratic heads of the appropriate departments can be just as enthusiastic to carry out the orders. However, if anybody anywhere in the entire chain from Cabinet members to the people tasked with carrying the orders out, decides that it’s stupid and detrimental to the country, it won’t get done. This is not to say the consequences of disobedience won’t be severe to them, however it can be done and all the President can do in the end is scream at the top of his lungs from the White House.

Trump could jump up and down on his desk in the Oval Office and scream, “Kill all the Muslims! Deport all the Mexicans!” all day long. He could sign Executive Orders until they fly out his ass and tell his Cabinet to carry out his orders. If those orders managed to make it down to the agents who would carry them out, I wouldn’t be surprised that most of the agents would suddenly be unable to find anybody in those targeted groups.

How will Trumps time in office unfold? I have no idea. I do know it won’t be as bad as many fear.

I demand a game 8!

I heard Limbaugh came up with this from a Renegade Republican podcast.

With all of the butthurt Liberals whining about Trump winning the Electoral vote while losing the popular vote, I thought I would present the issue and purpose of the Electoral College with an analogy.

Baseball. Specifically the World Series.

Because the WS is like the Electoral College. You have a series of up to seven games, which are played until one team wins four games. The score in each game determines the winner for that game only. The runs acquired in one game cannot be "transferred" to a subsequent or prior game to change the result of the other game. Nor can the total of runs in all the games can be totaled (the "popular vote") and that process used to determine the winner.

Because if we use the total runs method, we need to have an 8th game since both teams scored 37 runs across the seven games.

Be thankful for things like the EC. They protect you when you don't realize it.

Change your thoughts, change your world

I have been listening to a lot of podcasts that talk about changing what goes on inside of you to change what goes on outside of you. As a consequence of this, I am changing my "stock answers" To reflect a more positive life view.

The first one was when someone asked, "How are you doing?" I used to respond, "Still above ground, despite my own best efforts." This was to reflect my personal history of struggling with my suicide attempts.

I now respond to that question with, "I'm blessed." This simple phrase allows me to celebrate that I am a survivor. I am thankful for my life, my family, my friends and all of the good things in my life.

When a salesperson asks me, "Can I help you," I used to respond with, "No thanks, I'm beyond help." The fast-on-their-feet sales staff would then ask, "What are you looking for?" To which I would respond with my hands shoulder length apart and say, "I'm looking for a bag of $20 this big."

Now I thank them and tell them I will find them if I need help.

I still have to fight to say "I'm blessed." But a calm, warmth and a subtle happiness comes over me when I say that.

try it. It might change your life.

To all my friends

This is an open letter to all of my friends, because I do not classify my friends by their skin color, their sex, their sexual preferences, their political views or any other method Liberals use to divide us. If we enjoy each others' company and respect our similarities and differences, that's good enough for me.

In the past eight years while Obama has been in the White House, I have been critical of him whenever warranted, as well as supportive of him when he does the right thing. I did the same with Bush 43 and I will do the same with Trump.

I promise this to all of my friends who are scared about the impending Trump Presidency and how it may negatively affect your lives. I will be there and not abandon you. I will be just as publicly critical of Trump when he infringes on the rights of any Citizen of this country. My political ideology is not tied to a political party, it's tied to what's right.

This is one of my personal mission statements. I believe in the maximum freedom of the individual citizen. I believe in the fact we are all human beings. Our differences should be celebrated and used to strengthen the whole, not divide us. Laws should provide justice when someone is wronged, not used as weapons to bludgeon Citizens and advance a political agenda.

I watch both major parties equally.

The veracity of my vocabulary

I have said for years, I can insult you and several of your preceding generations using words perfectly acceptable at a ladies' tea cotillion. A Liberal made me prove it tonight.

A friend made a post concerning the basics of health care. I commended him on a thoughtful, well-written post. I had to disagree on him concerning the concept of "forcing" those who decline/can't afford to have health care to pay the tax. This one Liberal and I then proceeded to banter back and forth like a tennis match. I tried to stick to the issues. This ...person... repeatedly attacked me personally. When I had enough, I gave this liberal a mild tongue-lashing, about a 3 on my insult scale. R. Lee Ermey is an 8 on that scale. Here's what I wrote:

[Liberal], I have been polite with you. I have spoken about the issue with you politely. I have been respectful to you as a person. Yet you have repeatedly insulted me personally without cause. Since it seems that your whole repertoire consists of insults rather than coherently expressed thoughts back by appropriately verifiable facts, if you want to be insulting, I can certainly stoop to the level above you.

You are a pusillanimous, insignificant and self-important blowhard. You are so narrow minded you can look through a peephole with both eyes simultaneously. You are a vacuous, mealy-mouthed cross-dresser who thinks they know more than they actually do. The lint in my pants pocket is worth more than your opinion or you personally. You are such a closed-minded low-grade moron, each of your friends and family have probably lost at least 15 IQ points because they have been forced to endure multiple sessions of your immense ignorance. Everyone who has personal contact with you agrees with you simply because it gets you away from them quicker than voicing a differing opinion. I personally would rather give myself a root canal with a power drill and a 2" paddle bit in a 7-Eleven restroom than interact with you personally.

I didn't use any curse words above simply because you're not worth it.

I worked for UnitedHealthcare for years. I know the ins and outs of medical insurance. I know about diplomacy and international affairs because I've been a part of it. I've done things in my life you wish you had the courage to put on your bucket list. What most people term as "due diligence" is my initial research.

If you shut up and listen to what people with a different opinion or viewpoint than yours say to you with an open heart and mind, with the intent to understand rather than the intent to reply, you might actually learn something, instead of letting that echo chamber between your ears do all the talking for you.

Like I said, this was a 3. Don't make me go to eleven.