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This is an Opinion site. Unlike Leftists, I back up my opinions with verified facts and the consistent application of personal morals. I do not do "current events" as I like to wait until facts come out and I have to grok on it until fullness is achieved.

This is a one-man operation that I get to after my day job and family. Currently posting only sporadically due to the time it takes me to make a post vs. the demands on my non-computer life. All comments are approved before posting to prevent spam. Coherent comments of differing opinions are welcome.

Concerned, yes. Panic, I don't think so.

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As I write this on the morning of April 5th, the world-wide total is 1,218,000+ confirmed cases of COVID-19/SARS-2 and 66,542 deaths. In the US, those numbers are 312,250 and 8,503.

I am referring to information in two articles, Coronavirus patients over age 80 have a death rate of 15%. Here's the death rate for every age bracket. And The 2019-nCoV Statistics Are Misleading: Why Everyone Already Knows And Acts Like This. I am also referring to CDC data on the H1N1 Influenza pandemic we had a couple of years ago.

Before I get into numbers, let me tickle your brain with this:

For the 2009-2010 H1N1 “Swine Flu” pandemic, plus from March to November 2014, we had several people appear in the US with the Ebola virus. Thankfully, the Ebola did not turn into a pandemic. In each case, the media took the path of “inform, downplay, do not induce panic.”

COVID-19 is admittedly different. “The Common Cold” is caused by several strains of viruses, namely rhinovirus, coronavirus (other than -19), respiratory syncytial virus, influenza and parainfluenza. The (rightfully) scary part of COVID-19 is that it is contagious before you are symptomatic, which is not usual.

Back in January, the media (and Democrat leaders) were in a “dismiss” mode, telling people to “go to Chinatown, get out and mingle,” and “Trump is a racist for calling this “the Chinese Disease” or whatever. Yet, why are the media in a “panic, upplay, misinform” mode today instead of doing what they did for H1N1 and Ebola? Because by and large the members of the media hate Trump. The media realized in February and March that they can use this crisis as a weapon against Trump to make him unelectable in November.

Do I think this can turn serious? Yes. Do I think it’s time to panic and or respond reflexively? No.

Now we can talk numbers.

For the H1N1, 76% of the fatalities were between 18 and 64. For COVID-19, 80% of the deaths so far are from people who were 65 and older.

If we take the deaths and divide them by the number of confirmed cases, my calculator shows a 2.71% fatality rate. Having a certification as a Project Manager, I am aware of a term used in risk management called “known unknowns.” This means “we know this thing is a risk to the completion of the project, but we don’t know how big the risk actually is.”

The second article uses math to explain a “known unknown” about disease, which is “how many people contracted this disease but recovered without specialized medical treatments”? Basically, if someone got sick, used OTC medications to address the symptoms and got better without seeing a doctor, they would fall into this “known unknown.”

This article came up with an admittedly very loose supposition that for every confirmed case, there’s an average of 4.3 cases that went unconfirmed and unnoticed. But even if that number is 2 undiagnosed cases for every confirmed case, that would change things drastically. In that case, including our known unknown of 2:1, that’s now 8,291 deaths against 917,460 infected, and we now have a death rate of 0.9%. And if we went high on the estimate, say 6:1 known unknowns, that’s 2.14 million infected and that death rate drops to 0.4%.

So here’s what we have to realize, then ask ourselves.

  • COVID-19 is here to stay. Just like the cold, influenza, Conjunctivitis, AIDS/STD’s, we will never be rid of it. An annual vaccine might be developed, but get used to it folks.
  • We really don’t have to change our behavior to keep it under control. What stops the spread of viruses in general are frequent hand-washing and not touching our eyes/nose/mouth/face after we touch potentially infected surfaces. We just have to do it all the time now, not just when we’re symptomatic.
  • COVID-19 disproportionately affects the elderly and those with serious issues, especially respiratory-related conditions.

With those points out on the table, and now knowing what we know about the modality, methodology and fatality profile of this disease, do you think it’s justifiable to shut down the entire United States, or maybe just insulate/isolate those at the highest risk of dying from this?

Looking at the fatality rates, if you’re under 50 with no co-morbid conditions, you have a 1% chance of dying from this, if you even contract it at all. Statistically, you have a higher risk of dying in a vehicle crash commuting to work and home every day.

Knowing all of this, which sounds like the rational choice?

Shut down the entire US economy and everyone self-isolate for the foreseeable future?
-OR-
Get most people back to work, use appropriate anti-viral protocols (hand-washing, no face touching, etc.) and minimize exposure to those most vulnerable to sickness, namely the elderly and those with pulmonary issues.

I’m going to take the reasonable risk and go with the latter.

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I'm in love

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...Ideological love, that is.

Working from home the past couple weeks, I have been listening to a bunch of talking head video channels. I'm all over the spectrum, from Ben Shapiro and Dan Bongino to Tim Pool and The Young Turks (in small doses). One channel that popped up in my suggested videos was Dr. Karlyn Borysenko. She was a Liberal life-long Democrat, and having recently come to the epiphany about how crazy the Democrats have become, has done the #WalkAway and is now a liberal (she refuses to give up that political label) and has voiced her intention to vote for Trump in November. Not because she likes him, rather the Democrats can't get their crap together to field a viable candidate and she believes how Trump does things are better for the country than any Democrat.

Dr. Borysenko, who is a "workplace psychologist" for her day job, lost several clients due to her ideological "coming out." That being said, her training services she offers teaches personal responsibility and things like "in the workplace, only you can make yourself happy or unhappy."

The major point I want to put forward here is this: I have written time-and-again on how Liberals who even get a toe off the ideological line will have their leg taken off to the knee. Since her enlightenment, she has paid the price for leaving the Left. The Right welcomes her where she is and how she is. I am sure Karlyn and I could discuss politics all day and find more points of agreement than disagreement. We might have different paths to get to the same goal and that's okay. I can say that with confidence because if the goal is the same but only the paths are different, we can work together and try both paths to see which is better.

The media is replete with examples of where Leftists have a goal, and I don't share that goal. Because I don't share that goal, I, regardless of political affiliation, skin color, sex, gender, racial background or whatever else, must be personally destroyed. Quite frankly, even if I shared that goal, my different path to get there still means I have to be destroyed.

Just as a personal observation, Karlyn's ideological testicles (she has a husband and to my knowledge she's "happily hetero") are bigger than Tim Pool's. They're pretty much in the same part of the political spectrum, but at least Karlyn openly admits it.

Anyway, welcome Karlyn!

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COVID-19 observations

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I have seen many things over the past two weeks, let me detail them to you.

The good things I have seen:

  • Politeness in the midst of the frenzy.
  • People "coming together alone" to try and interrupt the spread of this virus.
  • People realizing that medical personnel, first responders and truckers are more important to them than celebrities.
  • A unity of national purpose I have not seen since 9/11.
  • People realizing that local and state governments can help them faster and better than the federal government could ever do so.
  • School systems at the local level pivoting literally overnight to deliver schooling to kids remotely.
  • Kindness, care and respect freely given to the elderly.
  • A collective awareness that everyone should be a "prepper" to keep their household fed in a crisis like this.

The bad things I have seen:

  • The mainstream media engaging in a level of panic-inducing and fear-mongering that I have never seen before, and they are doing their damnedest to lay the blame on Trump to try and make him defeatable him in November.
  • Leftists clamoring for Trump to take Dictatorial power to "save them," the same powers they have accused him over the last three years of already taking.
  • Politicians engaging in insider trading by using non-public knowledge to protect their own interests.
  • Empty shelves from panic buying, which is unwarranted at this point because the supply chain is intact and will continue to supply everything for another 2-4 months minimum.

The one funny thing I saw was beside the empty supermarket shelves, the gluten-free and vegan sections are untouched.

Through all of this, PLEASE be of good cheer and help others as best as you can. We are all in this together.

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Kicked in the Wallet

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This is too good to pass up

It seems that radical Leftists like Cenk Uygur is all for Unions, until they show up in his company. The Young Turks’ Progressive Founder Urged His Staff Not To Unionize.

First of all, workers generally don’t unionize unless they are part of the original “gig economy” like carpenters, electricians, plumbers, truck drivers, etc. The second reason is the workers believe they are being taken advantage of, like low wages, unsafe working conditions and so on.

So when there was an all staff meeting at The Young Turks on Feb. 12th, the discussion quickly turned to the staffs’ declared intent to form a union. This basically sent TYT’s owner Cenk Uygur into a hissy fit.

Then, two days after Cenk lost his primary bid for a Congressional bid (he came in 4th with 6% of the vote), we get this story: The Young Turks Union Fight Gets Nastier With Charges of Retaliatory Firing, Withholding Raises.

On his first day back in the office after taking his electoral thumping, Cenk fires the employee that has been the most critically vocal to management’s “injustices,” especially when it came to sticking up for his co-workers against management. Then, planned and scheduled pay raises and bonuses were withheld, but only for the employees who were trying to organize. Not for the union, “here’s your raise.” For the union, “sorry we got nuthin’ for you.”

I love it when a Socialist, trying to profit in a free-market Capitalist economy is kicked in the wallet by a cornerstone of the Democrat party.

Being the freedom-loving Conservative I am, I fully support any workers who feel they need to organize for collective bargaining. I’m also all for them striking, or even quitting en masse.

I recently left a job I really liked because of a bad supervisor. Three of six co-workers in my specific team left within the span of six weeks. The other two techs were with the company for 10-15 years. Right before I left, there was talk about unionizing, so I understand what they’re going through.

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12 Strawmen

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Yes, I know this video is almost a year old. First of all, it takes an order of magnitude more effort to refute BS than the effort to create it, second, I've had other things to occupy my time while I have been writing and researching this.

Robert Reiche, economist extraordinaire (just ask him), New York Times columnist and destroyer of nations put out a video in April 2019 which is nothing more than another rapid fire video, full of platitudes, carefully distorted half-truths that sound good and talking points that are totally devoid of any sustenance.

I pulled apart one of his points of his “The 7 Biggest economic lies” video in this post. Here I will tackle all twelve of these.

Before I begin, a couple of points so we have a common ground to work upon. First, Reich attempts to portray “The Rich” like Scrooge McDuck, like this:

scrooge mcduck
In reality, someone like Bill Gates (net worth $90 Billion or more) probably has less than 1% of his wealth in cash, either physical or in a bank. The other 99% of his wealth is in various forms of investments. Stocks, bonds, property and the like. These investments have a variety of degrees of difficulty to turn into cash.

Second, when you own something, it’s worth only what someone else will pay you for it, not what you paid for it. Say I have a house I bought for $100,000 ten years ago. If for whatever reason I try to sell it today and the best offer I could get is $30,000, then the house is worth only $30,000, no matter what me, the county property assessor or the appraiser says. The person who sets the value is the person who is willing to shell out the most cash. Also, the value of things go up and down. As I write this, shares of Microsoft are going for $178.59 and Bill has about 298 million shares, which works out to about $53.2 billion and 3.8% of the total company stock. If Bill did something stupid and caused the stock price to tank to $60, he now only has $17.8 billion in stocks, if he sold them. The same goes for cars, property, collectables and the like.

Third, you become wealthy by having a cash income greater than your expenses over an extended period. If you have $1,000 a week income, but you spend $1,100 a week (rent, utilities, food, other expenses, etc.) you will never become wealthy. If you have that $1,000 a week income, but you only spend $800 and put the remaining $200 into an investment (or even under your mattress), that’s how wealth is acquired.

Here is the video, be ready to be stupefied.


Here are my responses, point-by-point.

Myth 1 – A top marginal tax rate applies to all of a person’s total income or wealth.
I have to admit, he’s right on this point. The US has a regressive “last dollar” marginal tax rate. I’m sure Reich was deliberately correct on the opening point to get you to let your guard down because he “might be reasonable this time.” Fat chance.

Myth 2 - Raising taxes on the rich is a far-left idea.
Look at it this way. Since the establishment of the Sixteenth Amendment (the income tax) in 1913, we have seen five presidents enact some kind of lowering or restructuring of the income tax rates. Those presidents are/were Hoover, Kennedy, Reagan, Bush 43 and Trump. Kennedy proposed the tax cut, but was assassinated before it passed. It happened under Johnson and was considered part of Kennedy’s legacy. All of these tax cuts had success, some better than others. All were/are Republicans except for Kennedy. And while Kennedy was a Democrat, if you were to look at his 1960 stances on race relations, taxes, gun ownership and more, his positions viewed through the political lens of 2020, he could undoubtedly be called a Racist Republican Nazi.

Then Reich quotes an opinion poll showing the support of a general “tax the rich” proposal, including 57% of Republicans. All this tells me is Leftists like Reich have been effective in making the Liberal talking point about having the rich “pay their fair share” sound reasonable.

According to The Tax Foundation, in 2014 the top 1% of US households paid 35% of the total income taxes paid to the federal government.

The 90% top marginal tax rates in the 1950's is correct. But did you know there were less than 50 households out of a total of 60 million at that time which were subject to that tax bracket? That’s 0.00000083% of households.

Myth 3 – A wealth tax is unconstitutional.
Remember, the Constitution is a document that defines and limits the federal government. Property taxes are determined, assessed and collected on the city and county level and have zero to do with the federal government. State sales and income taxes also have nothing to do with the federal government.

Then Reich says, “But THE RICH hold most of their wealth in stocks and bonds, so why should these forms of wealth escape taxation?” This guy claims to be an economist, right?

You have already paid income tax of some kind (federal, state and local) on the money you used to purchase those stocks and bonds. When you sell them at a profit, that’s called INCOME and is taxed as capital gains. The same goes for losses. If you buy stock at $10 and sell it at $5, that’s a loss and can be deducted from any profitable trades you made in that year.

And when Mr. Reich brings up Article I Section 8, he neglects the last half of the clause: “…but all duties, imposts (a tax on imported goods, called tariffs today), and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;” Which means this doesn’t include taxing personal income, or profits from sales. It means a tax on imported goods and it must be equal for the entire country.

The Sixteenth Amendment modified the power of the Congress to lay and collect income taxes and reads thusly:

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.


By that Amendment, Congress can tax personal income and set whatever tax rates they want, subject to the normal lawmaking process. Which includes capital gains tax rates.

Myth 4 – When taxes on the rich are cut, they invest more and when taxes on the rich are increased, economic growth slows. (Trickle-down economics)

“The Rich” have two things going for them that regular people don’t: accountants and campaign donations. Accountants practice the art of tax avoidance by structuring a person’s or company’s assets in such a way as to pay the least amount of tax possible. They do this by knowing the rules of the game (tax laws) and taking advantage of every deduction possible.

Campaign donations are really nothing more than an investment, in politicians rather than companies. By “investing” in politicians, the politicians write laws into the tax code that are advantageous to the donors. I don’t like it either, but that’s the reality of our present political system.

I have already spoken at length on “Trickle-Down Economics.”

I found a Pew Research chart that showed between 1981 and 1991, the group with the lowest income did grow by 1%, while the top tier income group grew by 2%. So yes, some people became poorer, but more got richer.

Now Reich brings up a chart saying that average real GDP growth between 1950 and 2010 averaged 2.1% for lower tax rates and 4% when the tax rate is 71% or higher. I verified his numbers, and they are correct. I see statistically equal samplings (18 years for the higher tax rate and 14 for the lower), but I have learned to never trust Bob when it comes to statistics, and I was justified in my distrust. Bob should go into magic, with his mad misdirection skills he’d give David Copperfield a run for his money.

You have to pay attention to what is being compared. Reich is doing the equivalent of comparing the length of women’s skirts in the US to the price of coal in India, i.e., these things are not related. Instead of comparing the whole GDP, why not compare each person’s share of the GDP? Because the population as a whole changes, just like the GDP itself. So I found the data for “Average Real GDP Growth Per Capita” (GDP divided by the number of people in the country), and lo and behold, his GDP growth for the high tax rate drops from 4% to 1.07%, while the number change for the lower taxation increases slightly from 2.1% to 2.33%.

Myth 5 – When you cut taxes on corporations, they invest more and create more jobs.

Reich then explains how corporations took the tax cut and bought back their own stock, keeping the stock price high. This is a shell game, and Reich is not explaining the rules.

The “Market cap” of a company (its price if someone wants to buy it) is determined by the number of shares issued times the share price. So which is a bigger company? One that has 1 million “shares outstanding” and has a share price of $100, or one that has 50,000 shares that trade for $2,000 each? They have the same “market cap” so the companies are considered the same size.

Corporations like to keep their stock price in a certain range to make them attractive to certain types of investors. Wal-Mart keeps its’ share price around $100 a share, while Google/Alphabet’s stock price is over $1,100. If the corporation grows, the stock price goes up (see math above). If the value goes down, same thing.
When the stock price goes out of the target range, the corporations can do several things:

  • Stock split: When the price gets too high, they “stock split.” What was one share becomes two (or three, or four, it depends). With a 2-for-1 split, that single $100 share becomes two $50 shares.
  • Stock merger: This is the opposite of a split. If you have two $50 shares, they become a single $100 share. Don’t ask about odd numbers, I don’t know.
  • Stock buyback: A corporation purchases and keeps shares to reduce the “shares outstanding” and raise/keep the stock price up. This is part of the first rule of economics, the supply and demand curve.

Mr. Reich gives you the impression that this is a “nefarious action.” But if you pay attention to the markets, all three of these are common occurrences.

“Enriching executives and wealthy investors but providing no real benefit to the economy.” This is one of these few times where the phrase “A rising tide lifts all boats” applies. It doesn’t matter if you have 10 shares or 10 million shares, you benefit from a higher stock price (when you sell it) and the associated dividends. So not just “executives and wealthy investors.” All investors benefit.

As a last point, looking at the recent unemployment numbers, the number of unemployed people are at records lows, like “the last 50 years” record lows. That includes Blacks and Hispanics, who historically have had higher unemployment numbers than the general population.

During Obama’s tine in the White House, seeing a business with a “help wanted” sign was an anomaly, on the scale with “hen’s teeth.” As I write this in 2020, you can’t turn around without bumping into a help wanted sign. In such a market, companies have to pay more to gain and keep good workers, so employee pay has been increasing since Trump took office. Yes, the pay of the top 20% of workers is rising, what isn’t reported is the pay for the bottom 20% is increasing more.

What was that again, Bob? I would call this “myth” a reality.

Myth 6 – The rich already pay more than their fair share in taxes.

Reich starts out by saying, “This is misleading because it only talks about income taxes.” Remember, wealth is acquired when your expenses are lower than your income for an extended period of time.

Reich then shows a pie chart with Income Taxes, Payroll Taxes, State Taxes, Local Taxes and Property taxes. Again, are we talking about federal, state or local taxes, or all three combined? He jumps back and forth, hoping to confuse you. Income taxes include those capital gains taxes paid by THE RICH. They file a 1040 like the rest of us and use Schedule D to figure out their Capital Gains (or Loss) and the taxes assessed from that form end up on line 11a on the 1040 form.

Payroll taxes (invented by Milton Friedman) are your tax pre-payments to the government that are taken out of every paycheck. What you paid in payroll taxes during the year is compared to what taxes you actually need to pay when you file. If your payroll tax withholding is too high, you get a big refund check (you gave Uncle Sam an interest-free loan) when you file your taxes. If you didn’t withhold enough from your paycheck, you have to send the difference in to get square. So, federal, state and local income taxes all fall under that “payroll taxes” umbrella.

And wouldn’t you think THE RICH pay the same rate in property taxes?

In my county, there is a 1.38% tax on the fair market value of a property. A $75,000 house pays $1,035 a year, a $7,500,000 house pays $103,500 a year. Or does Mr. Reich suggest we should go with a regressive property tax system like our income taxes?

Myth 7 – The rich already pay capital gains taxes.

Reich says, “The rich avoid paying capital gains taxes because they pass their wealth on to their heirs.” Then he passes quickly over “unrealized capital gains.”

See paragraph 5 at the top of this article. An “unrealized capital gain” happens no matter if you hold onto it yourself or pass it to your heirs, any profits (or losses) made are counted when you sell the asset. If I used $100,000 of my money to buy an investment and a couple years later it’s appraised for $200,000, if I haven’t sold it, that extra $100,000 is an unrealized capital gain. It is not taxed nor counted as taxable income because I haven’t sold it yet. “Unrealized” is “ghost money” because if I (or the government) think it’s worth $200,000, but I can only sell it for $95,000, then I have a “capital gains loss” (I know that’s confusing).

Myth 8 – The estate tax is a death tax that hits millions of Americans.

I admit it, he’s right on this one. The estate tax doesn’t kick in until you have assets in excess of $11 Million for a single person, $22 Million for a couple, and a minuscule amount of estates are affected.

But you see, my positions on things like this are based on principles, not political ideology or which way the political winds are blowing. Would you want the IRS showing up at the funeral of your parent, their hand out asking for money? Once you realize the size of the estate is irrelevant, the side of the issue to be on becomes easy. Remember, the IRS will collect taxes when the property is sold.

Myth 9 – If taxes are raised on the wealthy, they’ll find ways to evade them. So very little money will be raised.

Now we skirt the edge of Constitutionality here. Reich states “Elizabeth Warrens’ 2% wealth tax will raise about $2.75 Trillion over 10 years.”  First of all, that’s an accounting trick. Let me put it this way, every year, Reich claims this tax would raise $275 Billion, which is about 7% of the annual federal budget. That’s what Leftists have previously called “a rounding error.” It’s also only about 20% if the annual deficit. It doesn’t really matter if you’re overspending by $4 or $5, you’re still overspending.

The Constitutionality of such a tax could be contested under Article I, Section 9, Clause 3 which reads,

“No bill of attainder or ex post facto law shall be passed.”

A bill of attainder is a law that is directed toward a specific person or groups of people. A “wealth tax” that would affect only the top 1% (about 2 million people or 0.00625% of the population) could bump up against this Clause.

A “loophole” is an imperfection in how a law is written or interpreted. Taking advantage of loopholes is called tax avoidance and is legal. Tax evasion is where you falsify documents to pay less taxes (or don’t file or pay them at all) and against the law. Loopholes can be accidental or they can be intentional on the part of the law writer. The more complex the tax laws are, the easier it is to have loopholes. And with the current tax law running over 75,000 pages, that’s a lot of loopholes.

This was one of the reasons for the Flat Tax proposal. There were no deductions, no write-offs, no exemptions, no targeted tax cuts. Line 1, “How much did you make?” Line 2, “Multiply Line 1 by the tax rate.” Line 3, “How much have you paid already?” Line 4, “Subtract Line 3 from Line 2. If positive, send this amount in.”

Then Reich says “ 'for a 70% tax over $10 million' we would raise a whopping $720 billion over the next ten years." Again, per year that works out to $72 billion a year, or about a quarter of Warren’s 2% wealth tax.

Myth 10- The only reason to raise taxes on the wealthy is to collect revenue.

“Help us reduce the national debt?” Really Bob? Really?

Sorry Bob, the only way to reduce the national debt is if the federal government spends less than it raises in tax revenues. Just raising taxes (no spending cuts) is a horrible way to achieve that goal. In 1981, the federal government collected about $505 Billion in taxes and spent $578.8 Billion, leading to a spending deficit of $73.8 Billion. When Reagan left office in 1988, thanks to his tax cuts the government collected $949 billion that year. Thanks to Congress, the 1988 deficit was $155.18 Billion because Congress spent $1.104 Trillion. If Congress had kept spending level (or near to it), we would have been filling in that hole of the national debt instead of digging deeper.

Then Reich spills the beans by saying, “It’s to promote [income] equality and prevent oligarchy.”

So, a small cadre of people who get Political Science degrees in prestigious Universities and immediately enter into government service, then work to rise to positions of power in the federal government and basically dictating what is actually done, not necessarily what the elected leaders tell them to do, how is this not an oligarchy?

And if we confiscate the wealth of "The Rich," then who would have the incentive to start a small business with the intent of becoming wealthy? I mean, you put everything into your business, 80-100 hour work weeks, 3rd mortgage on the house, sell everything but the kids to keep things running until it takes off, then as soon as you become successful and get that big cash flow... the government takes most if not all of it.

Myth 11 – It’s unfair to raise taxes on the wealthy.

Let me put it this way. If you took every dollar, every asset of “The Rich” over $250,000, that would be about $1.5 Trillion dollars. At the current spending rate, that would fund the government from 12:01 January 1st until about April 30th at 8:30pm. There’s 244 days left in the year after we confiscate all the wealth of “The Rich.” And what are we going to do next year? There’s nothing left to take or tax from them. You didn’t shear the sheep and remove its wool, so it could grow more wool, you killed it, harvested its meat and other parts and there is nothing left.

Myth 12 – They earned it. It’s their money!

I just found a whole new level of stupid, and Bob’s his name. He sets up the strawman of Myth 12, then says, “[The Rich] couldn’t maintain their fortunes without what America provides… and a nation that respects private property rights.”

So he plagiarizes Obama’s “You didn’t build it” speech, then says "we live in a nation that respects property rights." Literally 82 seconds after Bob is talking about overtaxing “The Rich” to provide “income equality,” he then says, “…a nation that respects private property rights.” This makes my brain hurt. I’ve heard the phrase, “The logic is inescapable” before, for this instance I’m going to have to say, “The logic is inachieveable.” Bob is needing you to have the memory of a goldfish (11 seconds) to swallow his BS.

When we get right down to it, what is money but private property? Money is a measure of the value of my work product. The more valuable my work product is, the more money I get for a given period of time. Doctors are paid more than plumbers because their work product is more valuable.

And there you have it. My article on “What is money?” should enlighten you a bit as well.

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Killing Butterflys

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I am angry that anywhere in the United States there is this attitude to do stuff like this. I cannot attribute it to evil, but there is an extremely twisted agenda at work, and the people who are moving that agenda forward do not care about the bodies and shattered lives left in their wake.

This was inspired by the story of James/Luna Younger, a 7-year-old boy who said, “I’m a girl!” at 3. Since then there has been a parental battle between the dad saying he’s a boy and the mom saying she’s a girl. I’m not choosing sides for or against either parent, my point is if this child goes through with this before they are an adult, the life of this person will be drastically impaired. Physically and emotionally this person will likely be a train wreck in 20 years.

I am angry about the unquestioning belief of a prepubescent child’s statement that they are transgender. Once a child voices this thought to an amenable parent or non-parental adult with authority (doctor, teacher, etc.), then these adults will start the process to dose the child with puberty-blocking drugs and scheduling gender reassignment surgery.

A child goes through a metamorphosis as they grow from child to adult, much like a caterpillar to a butterfly. Those of us who have had teenagers sometimes wish the teenagers would encase themselves in a cocoon until they emerge as adults. It would save us from a lot of yelling, slammed doors, Teen Angst and Boy Bands. 😉

A child is under the authority of an adult because children do not have the capacity of complex thought and how actions now can have consequences for the rest of their life. It’s been proven the rational part of the human brain isn’t fully developed until the mid-20s. When the Brain Starts Adulting. Children are depending on their Amygdala (otherwise known as the “lizard brain”) to react to situations they encounter to keep them alive. It’s all reflex and biological memory. The reasoning part of the brain (pre-frontal cortex) starts developing during the teenage years and finally starts to take full control by the time they are legally adults. The chaos of the “teenage years” is from the fight for control between the amygdala and the pre-frontal cortex. This is why teenagers are rational one moment and reflexive and emotional the next.

When you get right down to it, human beings (on the physical plane) are nothing more than bags of chemicals. These chemicals are used throughout the body to do everything. Clot blood, heal skin, move muscles, be happy, be sad, be in love, regulate organ function and so on. The organs that trigger and control the metamorphosis we call puberty are the sexual organs.

Someone please explain this to me. We have a child, prepubescent or going through puberty. If that child expresses that they want to have chocolate and Pepsi three times a day every day as their entire diet, the parent and society says “NO” because the child can’t see the result of taking such a course of action. On the other hand, if that same child expresses gender dysphoria (biological boy who thinks and believes they are a girl and vice versa), this has to be acted upon immediately, totally and irrevocably.

Would you break into a caterpillar’s cocoon and give it surgery and chemicals to change its’ final form from a butterfly to a moth? So why are we doing it with children?

My personal core belief of “Maximum Personal Freedom” applies here. I have multiple friends and acquaintances who are actively moving from one sex to the other, or have already completed the process and are physically of the sex that matches the sex they are in their head. I don’t understand their struggles and I cannot conceive of what they are going through. But I support them without criticism. I do not judge them for their decision. They are adults, they had access to medical procedures and medications that allowed them to do that. It was their choice and that’s all I got to say about that.

My point is, doing this massive hormonal and surgical intervention when they don’t have the reasoning ability to understand the long-term consequences of their decision, either before or actively experiencing puberty, is a bad idea. This is when their body needs those organs and hormones to grow into their full potential. To alter that process, you’re basically killing butterflies before they have a chance to become one.

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Resurfacing

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Hey All,

I changed jobs last month that got me away from being worked to death (basically, one week in three was second shift, either 8 or 10 days straight). Now that I'm back to an 8-5, M-F schedule, I have more time to write, and boy howdy have I been writing! Also, a programming project which has consumed most of my keyboard time has likewise been completed and will clear my calendar for more writing and research time.

I have managed to write/complete six articles, at least two and maybe a third to be deep dives. The post below popped up over the weekend and I had to write about it. Anyway, I will be working as best as I can to post regularly again. When I started this blog, it was a knee-jerk commentary on multiple news stories a day. It has now evolved (18 years now!) to a more philosophical and social commentary type blog. I hope you continue to enjoy.

 

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Emoluments case dismissed

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I had another article to put up today, I thought this was better: Appeals court tosses Democrats' emoluments lawsuit against Trump. The Emoluments clause of the Constitution (Article I, Section 9, Clause 8) states:

...no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince or foreign State."

As one of the first attacks against Trump (the illegal spying of his campaign being the first) was his "profiting" from his businesses when foreign heads of state and other powerful people would book hotel rooms and such at Trump-owned locations. the federal appeals court in a 3-0 ruling, dismissed this case brought by 186 Representatives and 29 Senators for a lack of a better term, "having a hissy fit" (my words). The Congressmen could not raise enough support in their respective Chambers to do anything about it. So, as Leftists are want to do when they can't have their way, they run crying crocodile tears to a sympathetic judge to issue a ruling based on political beliefs, not the four corners of the law.

Now, there are two other emolument lawsuits still grinding their way through the court system, we will have to see how they come out.

But I can poke a hole very quickly in almost any emoluments argument thusly: The overall stipulation that Trump is "profiting" from heads of State, etc. is bullshit on it's face. What would be the profit/influence difference to Trump if a foreign head-of-state spends a week in a Trump Hotel, or I, a regular guy, rent the same rooms for the same length of time? Would that get me "the ear of the president"? Obviously, if I won the lottery and rented 100 luxury suites for a month at Mar-A-Lago, would that give me standing to influence Trump? I would have access to him, because he eats dinner in the dining room and "presses the flesh" with the other people there. But could I start asking for special favors because I rented so many suites for so long? Don't be absurd. Trump makes the same profit every time a room is rented, it doesn't matter if you rent it for a day, week or year. The price is the price and does not go up or down depending on who you are (unless you're racked up enough Trump Points to stay a free night).

I have to gloat a bit here, the Dems are Zero in the wins category with Trump the Honey Badger. The spying failed to turn up anything, Russian collusion evaporated, along with the "Quid Pro No" with the Ukrainians, the impeachment was nothing but empty charges, and now (this) emoluments fight failed.

I think they would have more success if they employed the assassins sent to take out Inspector Clouseau.

 

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Oh, the irony

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I remember the impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton. He was impeached for lying under oath in a deposition, which is an actual crime. You can look it up here, 18 U.S. Code § 1621. A deposition, I might add, that I agree with Justice Kavanaugh that should never have taken place, because if the President is forced to address civil complaints against him while in office, it distracts him from leading the country.

During that trial and right before the end of the trial, Senator Charles Schumer (D- NY) penned a passionate letter. Here it is, Charles Schumer’s 1999 letter about impeachment comes back to bite him. Replacing "Clinton" with "Trump," "Republican" with "Democrat" and "Paula Jones" with "Ukraine," this letter is very telling and damning against the Democrats. If, of course, they had things like, Honor, Integrity, Morals and Sanity.

I will close with this, from the end of Senator Schumer's letter:

In the eyes of the Founding Fathers, that is a legitimate consideration in deciding whether a President should be removed. And for six months, the American people in every segment of the country have been unwavering in their view that the President should not be removed.

They remain unshakable in their belief that the Congress, the Courts, and the press had gone too far. They were the only, truly rational actor in the whole drama. God bless them.

The people and the founders are the twin oaks that stand tall amidst this sad episode of American history. But if the cycle of political recrimination and scandalizing continues, the American people will become more alienated and cynical and shaken by the political process and they, too, will lose faith in the great instrument the Founding Fathers have given us.

If it gets to the point where the American people become too cynical we could lose it all.

After this is over let’s end the recriminations. Let’s not blame Ken Starr, or bash the President, or scapegoat the House Managers. Let’s instead think about what brought us to this point.

Let us shake hands and say we are now going to forego bringing down people for political gain. Let us understand that our leaders have foibles, and though we must be held to a higher standard, let us not make it a sport to expose those weaknesses.

These are words that the Democrats should take to heart.

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What we don't know

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When General Soleimani was erased from existence last week by a US missile, he was acting covertly on Iraqi soil, in civilian clothes and had just finished conducting an attack on the US Embassy in Baghdad. He had committed an act of war against the United States and Iraq. For a military person to be caught in non-military clothing while/after committing attacks on foreign powers, is classified as a SPY and is subject to immediate and summary execution.

If you don't think Soleimani was a bad guy, his unit is responsible for training, financing and the supply of materials to terrorist groups around the world. His training, financing and supply of war materials is responsible for over 600 US deaths in Iraq, about 20%. If you still don't think he's a bad guy, you have some serious issues and I hope you seek help.

You and I may disagree on how the issue was addressed, but please remember, he was withdrawing back to Iran after committing an act of WAR on US soil (in case you didn't know it, embassies are considered the native soil from that country. Any foreign forces who enter any embassy without invitation is considered an attack on that country).

And there were Tweets made, words said, threats made, back and forth. As a result, my Leftist friends and acquaintances were covering themselves in sackcloth and ashes, while there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth, lamenting that they would soon be called up to fight Trump's Iranian War(c).

A few days after Soleimani's erasure, a couple of US bases in Iraq were attacked by Iran, without damage or casualties, and it's been quiet since. Here's why: Swiss Back Channel Helped Defuse U.S.-Iran Crisis.

I said it years ago, Trump is a magician. He does one thing to distract you and does something else while you're not looking. In one week, Trump took out a Really Bad Guy, taught a lesson to the Iranians about strength and restraint, and concluded the crisis by showing mercy and allowing the Iranian government to save face.

All-in-all, an elegant solution, which was resolved through strength. Not by capitulation and giving our lunch money to bullies.

 

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Talking the terrorists language

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Many people weren't born yet or were too young in the early 1980's to remember the Lebanon Hostage Crisis. Let me give you a history lesson about different approaches on how to address the solution.

Between 1982 and 1992, 104 foreign national hostages were taken by various terrorist organizations, most notably Hezbollah (Party of God). The ransom for these hostages were to stop Western attacks in Lebanon. The victims were 25 Americans, 16 French, 12 British, 7 Swiss, 7 West Germans, 1 Irish and 4 Russians. Five Americans, one French and two British and one Russian were killed or otherwise died in captivity. The ones who were released or rescued usually spent years in captivity. Except for the Russians.

You have never heard about the Russian hostages because the surviving 3 were returned with days of their kidnapping. Arkady Katlov was killed because the Soviets did not acquiesce to the kidnappers demands. After the body of Katlov was found, Colonel Yuri Perfilyev, the KGB station chief in Lebanon, met with Ayotollah Muhammad Fadlallah, the spiritual leader of the hostage takers.

In that meeting, he made an overt threat of a nuclear weapon "accidentally" launching and wiping out Qom, a holy city second only to Mecca itself.

While that was going on, an elite KGB squad captured a family member of a Hezbollah leader. This family member was killed, dismembered and returned to the leader in several boxes. Shortly thereafter, the remaining Russians were "enthusiastically" released, and no other Russian was taken hostage anywhere again by Muslim extremists. The Russians spoke with their actions in a way the terrorists understood and respected.

So you see, you cannot talk peace with someone who wants you dead. When we offer olive branches to terrorists, they whip out a gun and shoot us in the head. When Islamic terrorists shoot Russians in the head, they respond not with words, but by killing their entire family out to their third cousin twice removed and their favorite goat. This is why we get attacked and the Russians don't.

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Schrödinger's Impeachment

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In the movie Dr. Strangelove, Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, at the point where the Soviet Ambassador tells the US President, "We have a Doomsday Device that we haven't told you about which will destroy the world if we're attacked." Doctor Strangelove then said to the Soviet ambassador, "The whole point of a Doomsday Machine is lost IF YOU KEEP IT A SECRET!"

And so it is with the Democrats. Yes, they voted on Articles of Impeachment this past Wednesday. But according to Noah Feldman in his article Trump Isn’t Impeached Until the House Tells the Senate, the Impeachment is in this kind of "Schrödinger's cat" state until the Senate is made formally aware of the vote.

And make no bones about it, Mr. Feldman is totally in favor of Trump being Impeached and removed from office, so I'm sure that he's a bit reluctant to bring this up because it makes clear just how much of a foolish derphead Nancy and the rest of the Democrats are. I applaud him for his intellectual integrity.

You gotta love it folks. An Impeachment that's not really an Impeachment. Like so many other efforts of Democrats... well, The Bard said it best in Macbeth Act 5, Scene 5:

And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

The Democrats knew from the start they would never get Trump removed from office. They just wanted to put that little " * " by his name, for the footnote in history that means "Impeached." Except they can't even do that right. And because they don't have the testicles to go down fighting, they won't even get their tiny little asterisk.

 

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Almost Back

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I know I have been absent for a while, due to me writing a book and an app for a game I play. The book is done, The app is in it's final stages. I am also starting a new job at the beginning of 2020, and I will be in training for a couple of weeks, this will give me some time to work on the various articles I have been sporadically working on over the past couple months.

I have also updated my Markisms and ringtones.

Hopefully I can start posting weekly again, I'll know by February.

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Spread This Word

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If you haven't read my posts from the start of this blog, I was a Mental Health Counselor for several years. I dealt with people who were in terrible situations, some caused by their own malfunctioning biology, some by external events.

Some of the saddest cases I dealt with were those who engaged in "non-fatal self-injury" known by most people as "cutting." While the reasons that cause this coping skill are different for each person, the reasons why are either the person feels emotionally numb and need to feel something, even pain, or they do it to convince themselves they have control over their body because they are in an untenable situation they have zero control over.

If you know of or find someone who engages in this behavior, NEVER NEVER NEVER try to get them (by whatever means) to stop that behavior. This is their "mental steam valve" and if you take this away from them, while this behavior is not good, worse things will happen. Cutting is a symptom and coping mechanism for a far deeper and serious issue.

I became overjoyed to have this article brought to my attention by a friend: This Girl’s Therapist Suggested Drawing On Her Body Instead of Cutting, And It Worked Beautifully. This is a great solution to the cutting symptom and why you shouldn't try to stop someone from using a coping skill (even a negative coping skill) You redirect the behavior into a positive skill. This redirection allows the person who continue to engage in their coping skill without doing further harm to themselves. The article at the bottom even gives drawing tips, hint and ideas on what and how to draw.

This won't work in all cases, however coping skills redirected from a negative to a positive skill provides the needed coping and redirects it into an empowering direction. Once the self-harm is stopped, help the person to address the reasons for the self-injury.

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Credible vs. BS accusations

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SPECIAL NOTE: I am still working on the development of an application which is taking all of my creative time and energy. But I just had to get this out...

When the Mueller report came out a few months ago, I had an acquaintance totally believe and repeatedly tell me there was actual evidence that President Trump "committed collusion with the Russians." I asked him to quote the page, paragraph and passage in that 448-page report that supported his position. He just kept repeating "IT'S IN THE REPORT! READ IT!!!" Yet, he couldn't point to anything that support his position. Yet, in my perusal of that same report I found (page 10, paragraph 1 of the document, pg 2 of the "Introduction to Volume I"):

"...the [Muller] investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities."

In case you didn't know it, in this country the bedrock of our legal system is the concept that a person is "innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt." The lack of evidence (to prove or disprove) is not proof of guilt or a reason to keep digging. Investigations also do not "exonerate" the people being investigated. If there is no evidence that a crime was committed, how could there be a possibility that the investigated person committed a crime that didn't happen, or "prove" that the accused didn't commit the crime? It would be like investigating someone for robbing a bank in a specific city on a specific date, when no bank was robbed in that city on that date. Expecting an exoneration in such a case is trying to prove a negative (e.g., at Noon on a sunny day, prove the sun rose in the East and/or sets in the West. You can't, because at that moment, it's overhead.). I can't lay out evidence that you didn't do something that didn't happen.

Now, let's compare that to James Comey's July 5th 2016 press conference, where he outlined the actions of Clinton and her team:

Yes, it does not include his overreach from the realm of investigator to prosecutor, "no prosecutor would move forward with this." As the investigator, he has no input on the decision to file charges or not. That is the job of the prosecutor. His reaching that conclusion as the investigator clearly exceeded his authority. But that's a discussion for another time.

"Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive and highly classified information..."

Whereupon he details about seven email chains that Clinton sent and received,

"There is evidence that to support a conclusion that any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton's position or in the position of those with whom she was corresponding about those matters should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation."

Now, I can point to the laws concerning the handling of classified information, namely 18 U.S.C. § 798 - U.S. Code, section (a),

"Whoever knowingly and willfully communicates, furnishes, transmits, or otherwise makes available to an unauthorized person, or publishes, or uses in any manner prejudicial to the safety or interest of the United States or for the benefit of any foreign government to the detriment of the United States any classified information--"

Sending and receiving unencrypted emails over the Internet is like sending a post card through the US Mail. Anyone who handles it can read the information written on it. Let me also say, "intent" is not part of the code to determine if the law was broken. If I had during my time in the Navy when I handled classified documents, left one unguarded in a place where people without the proper clearance would have had access to it, it didn't matter if I had left it out by accident or on purpose. I did it and that's all the prosecutor has to prove to convict me. I would have gone to Fort Leavenworth for a very long stay.

You also have some degree of mens rea, which is Latin for "guilty mind." There are 4 levels of mens rea,

  1. acting purposely - the defendant had an underlying conscious object to act
  2. acting knowingly - the defendant is practically certain that the conduct will cause a particular result
  3. acting recklessly - The defendant consciously disregarded a substantial and unjustified risk
  4. acting negligently - The defendant was not aware of the risk, but should have been aware of the risk

As Comey detailed above, Clinton and whom she was emailing with unquestioningly met #4, and considering how persnickety the government IT people are about setting up their systems to prevent incidents like this, plus the constant training of workers on this subject, I'd say Clinton & Co. hit #3 as well.

I covered all that to show you the difference between a credible accusation, versus a bullshit accusation.

Credible == definable act, the specific law violated and some level of mens rea.

Bullshit == no definable act, no specific law, just an ambiguous word that implies improper behavior and no mens rea (since no law was being violated).

To illustrate, let's say I have a friend with a birthday approaching. I collude with his wife to throw him a party for the occasion. Did his wife and I break a law if we "colluded" on this project? Also, "quid pro quo" is Latin for "I give you something, you give me something that we both benefit from." If I do work for my employer and he pays me in cash, then I take that cash to the supermarket and buy food, I have engaged in two separate "quid pro quo's." I spent time and effort for my employer and he paid me for that work product, then I paid the grocery to receive food.

Now we have this "Ukrainian scandal" where Trump, during a recorded and transcribed phone call, Trump is accused of offering a "quid pro quo." Please show me in the transcript where that happened. Don't say "It's in there! Read it!" quote me the parts that support your accusation.

With all that being said, can anyone tell me what act did Trump perform, what section of the US code did he violate and did he meet any level of mens rea?

Last point. Biden and his boast about "getting a prosecutor fired" (1:20 point of the video below) was not a quid pro quo. That was extortion. I have to ask, why is the Vice President of the United States, threatening the withholding of a Billion dollars in military aid to Ukraine unless this internal state prosecutor is fired? Why does the United States seriously have an interest in any specific official in another country, unless that person somehow posed a threat to the United States, a high-ranking US government official or a person directly or indirectly related to said official?

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