Category: Government

Responsibility And Lawn Darts

Reportedly the Alzheimer’s patient occupying 1600 Pennsylvania Ave will come out of hiding today and return to the White House to announce an executive action canceling student loan debt. What’s being reported is that $10,000 of debt will be evaporated for anyone who earns less than $120,000. It’s hard to describe how angry this makes me.

I feel like a chump. It’s that feeling when you pay full retail and then find out you could have had that same thing 30% off if you’d gone down the street and negotiated. Why-oh-why did I work and self-pay for school? All those folks who went into the military so they could go to college? Suckers. It’s the ultimate Fuck You to anyone who tried to be responsible and minimize the debt they took on.

It was a loan. You saw the terms. You saw the interest rate. You understood it was a legal contract you were signing. Of your own free will you acted like an adult and penned your John Hancock on the dotted line. My sympathy level for anyone who has massive student debt is exactly, ZERO. You made choices. I sincerely hope those choices resulted in a well-paying job. If so, then you made a wise decision. It also means you can afford to pay those loans back. If you have a low paying job and massive student loans… then you made a poor decision. That sucks. It’s also the way life works. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes. You’re going to have to take on a second job and work your ass off to get ahead. That was the way this was supposed to work. So sorry, you may have to cut back on your soy lattes and make do with an older smartphone.

Clearly, I grew up in a different era. We were sent out to play after school on our own. The only requirement was to be home in time for dinner. Parents had zero idea where we were. We had to invent our own games and fun. There were no structured play dates or facilitated games with ten helicopter parents hovering over us at all times. I’d highly recommend reading this essay on how important it was (is) to foster the level of independence and learning we had as kids. And how much harm we’ve done to our kids today. We’ve created an entire generation of child-adults who expect to be protected from everything and for mom and dad (government) to bail them out of any situation or poor decisions.

So now we’ve decided to take a break from shipping billions of dollars to Ukraine, so we can print another 300 billion for kids who made poor financial choices. Because it’s not like increasing the money supply has anything to do with inflation. I’m sure there’s no possibility my taxes will go up to pay for the increased debt. Yeah, right.

With an unlimited money supply in the form of federal student loans, university tuition will only continue to skyrocket. Why not? They have no skin in the game. I’ll have to pay for that in the form of higher taxes, increased inflation, and responsible kids who don’t want to take on debt being priced out of higher education.

Can someone, anyone, please explain to me – in simple terms I’ll understand – why I need to pay for your financial obligation? And why I can’t get a refund for the same amount that I stupidly chose to self-pay? Anyone? How is that right or fair? I thought this generation was all about fairness?

While I wait for an answer, I’m going to head out for a solo motorcycle ride in the mountains. Because I wasn’t coddled as a kid on padded playgrounds and forced play dates. I had lawn darts. I am comfortable assessing risk and living with the decisions (good or bad) that I make.

Are You Better Off?

I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon on Facebook. I had to put up with about five plus years of non-stop wailing and gnashing of teeth when the bad orange man was running, in office, and immediately post-election (INSURRECTION!). Virtually every day one of the liberal/democratic folks on my feed would post something about how horrible Trump was and/or how ashamed of the country they were. Day after day. Every word he uttered or tweeted was mocked and pointed to as an example of disaster and impending doom. If you engaged with or disagreed with these folks, you were quickly shouted down as a MAGA loving, xenophobic, right-wing extremist.

But the last year… radio silence. Crickets chirping. Oh, there were a few things posted after the Roe decision and the start of the Ukraine war but for the most part very little political content shows up. Why is that? Inflation hit 9.1% today (probably more like 12%-15% realistically). Not a single mention of it from the left leaning side of my feed. Isn’t that curious? Did the entire left suddenly decide they were no longer interested in politics?

Let me ask an honest question. If you trend more towards the left side of the spectrum, can you point to something the current administration has done that you’d consider a success? What have they done that’s gone well? Are you better off now than you were during the previous administration?

I’m doing my best to be objective, but I can’t point to one thing the administration has done that has moved the country in a better direction. Not one. Literally every single thing that affects the average person in this country has gotten worse. The economy, prices, supply chain, the border… it’s all bad. And don’t get me started on global/foreign engagements. This administration is, to be blunt, a clusterfuck of epic proportions.

Mrs. Troutdog actually asked the other day if we should stock up on food due to the looming food shortages. It now costs me $130 bucks to fill up my truck. Replacement parts for the motorcycle and some construction materials either can’t be found or are on indefinite backorder. The market and our retirement account have taken a hit that will take years to crawl back from. Is this really Build Back Better?

My point is not to claim the right side of the isle is better. 90% of them are as useless as tits on a bull. The bulk of the left and right are a giant uni-party. While I liked many of the things the bad orange man “said”, he was a horrible judge of character whose massive ego led him to spending most of his time in petty twitter spats rather than following through with campaign promises (see, border wall). When the R’s take back congress, I have little faith anything of substance will change. More arranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

So, the point… if you were one of the left-leaning folks shit posting bad orange man memes as fast as you could go, why the silence now? Why aren’t you publicly praising the daily actions of the President? Is it that you’re now embarrassed by your political choice? There must be something you can point to and say, “whew, thank God Biden is President”. Isn’t there?

Maybe, just maybe, the takeaway from this period will be a realization that blind partisanship is stupid. Following your party like a lemming leads to… well, where we are today. A barely functioning grandpa propped up and controlled by unknown and unseen forces behind the curtains. But hey, no mean tweets right?

Now, more than ever, it’s time to join the church of Contrarianism. Become a Contrarian. Question everything. Dump your party loyalties. Trust me, they don’t care about you. It’s a hard thing to really examine your opinions, do some actual research, and admit you’ve been duped. It’s a little painful, but just ripping off the Band-Aid is really the best medicine.

Because if we don’t become an army of Contrarians soon… I fear the lemmings are going to reach the edge of the cliff sooner rather than later.

I Might Be A Viking

  • We’ve been watching the Netflix/BBC series “The Last Kingdom“. It’s pretty good, and worth the watch if you haven’t seen it. Similar to Peaky Blinders, watching with captions turned on is recommended due to the heavy English accents. I joked after one of the episodes that, being of Swedish ancestry, I might actually be a Viking. Mrs Troutdog walked away laughing. I was a little hurt. My family is from Sweden. As a young lad I spent my time surfing, sailing, and scuba diving. I love the snow and embrace the cold winter sports. Those things pretty much define what we think of as characteristics of the proud Norse people, right? I did a little bit of reading, and it turns out that the Vikings weren’t very nice people. Raiding and pillaging villages, taking people as slaves, and other unmentionable acts were pretty much the hallmarks of a Viking visit to your hometown. Fearsome warriors, the Vikings occupied much of Europe during their heyday. Ok, I admit I’ll probably never be tossed in the fearsome warrior category. But don’t worry, I can write a scathing email if my back is pushed against the wall. Continuing my extensive research, I stumbled upon a link describing Viking hairstyles. It turns out the “Viking look” is an actual thing right now. Hmmm, I kind of like the look. The problem is that I can’t grow a beard, look terrible with long hair, and Mrs Troutdog would never let me shave the sides of my head. Oh, and that’s probably not a look an old man can pull off anyway (unless you’re a 300-pound powerlifter). Oh well, I don’t really like pickled and salted fish and I’ve never actually been to Sweden. I suppose no radical hairstyle changes are in my future. But deep down, in the dead of winter, I may still have a few small daydreams of being a Viking.

  • Our next Supreme Court Justice, when asked to define what a woman is, replied that she can’t because she’s not a biologist. Her fear of saying anything that goes against the progressive narrative tells you all you need to know about her probable judicial leanings. It doesn’t matter, it’s all political theater anyway.

  • The weather this week will be turning warm. It’ll be in the mid 70’s by the weekend. Glorious warm sun and dry trails. I find myself paralyzed with indecision about what I want to do. Mountain bike? Trail run? Golf? Motorcycle ride? Winter is officially done.

  • Along with warm weather comes… yard work. At the start of winter, I boldly declared that I’m perfectly capable of maintaining the yards and got rid of the gardener. It’ll save us some money and won’t actually take me that much time. Now that time has arrived and as I’m surveying everything that needs to be done… I’m slightly regretting my decision. No matter, I shall rally and become the gardener that I was always meant to be! Stay tuned for frequent garden updates.

  • The Ukraine scenario continues to be awful. It’s horrific to see the suffering. It is a confusing mess in every way imaginable, with no clear or positive outcome. But for all the folks calling for U.S. intervention, you should first define how many American casualties are you willing to accept. How many young men are you willing to let die or be permanently maimed in the name of defending Ukraine? 50? 100? 1,000? More? 100,000 in small tactical nuclear strikes against U.S. bases in Poland or elsewhere? As is clear by the footage we’ve seen, this is not a video game. “Intervention” has consequences. Own up to what you think acceptable losses are – and intervening with zero losses is not a realistic answer.

  • I had jury duty this week. I dutifully drove downtown, parked, and made my way to the courthouse. Checked in, found a hard plastic chair, and began the waiting process. Eventually we were sorted out by red and green badges and lined up by number to proceed into the courtroom. Just before we entered the Jury director came out and said that everyone with a green badge is being dismissed, our case was settled. Hallelujah! Interestingly, in my county you’re still on the hook for the remainder of the week and can still be called in. Fingers crossed for me as I call into the jury selection recording number each night, to find out my fate for the next day.

  • I’ve been seeing a gym trainer twice a week for almost two months now. I’m starting to see progress. My range of motion is improved, balance is better, and core strength is significantly better. For the first time in a long time, I’ve been able to play golf or lift and move heavy patients at work without my back hurting the next day. I’m not quite ready to say I look forward to working out, but I’m actively making sure I don’t miss or find excuses to skip any workout sessions. This is a big change for me. Stay tuned…

Song of the day: Kaskade & Skrillex – Lick It (Official Video)

Selective Outrage

I apologize. I don’t check my email that often, so I must have missed the memo about Ukraine being one of our oldest and most trusted allies. I confess that a month or so ago I couldn’t have found Ukraine on the map. Suddenly it’s somehow now in our national interest to pour (more) billions of dollars into this country and potentially risk another world war in Europe. I’m sure they’re lovely people (aside from that pesky actual Nazi problem they have). And it’s absolutely heart wrenching to see the apparent indiscriminate bombing and killing of civilians. War is awful. Period. Full stop.

But guess what campers, this isn’t the only active war currently going on. Let’s pick one like, hmmm, the Congo. The current hostilities in the Democratic Republic of Congo have produced 4.5 million internally displaced persons, 800,000 refugees in other countries, and an estimated death toll of at least three million. Let me repeat that. THREE MILLION DEATHS. This is a country rich in natural resources, which we need. Our greatest real threat, China, is pulling out all stops to control those resources. And the United States does… [crickets chirping].

My point is that it’s odd what conflicts and crisis of the moment reach our attention span. Why is Ukraine any more or less important than the DRC? I don’t pretend to understand either conflict, and neither should you. I do not trust the narrative we’re being fed. Ukraine is a massively corrupt country full of coups, separatists factions, and a puppet regime installed by the United States. The US has been using Ukraine as a stick to keep poking Russia for years. Well… now you’ve woken up the bear. Maybe that’s what we wanted all along? I have no idea and I doubt you do either.

You should ask yourself some questions. Number one, why is paying for and solving this crisis a problem the US needs to manage? This is primarily a European issue. They’re the ones who are dependent on Russian energy supplies. The EU countries have massive GDP’s, economies, and have huge numbers of weapons, planes, and all types of fancy missiles and missile defense stuff. Our European allies need to be front and center in managing and paying for this crisis. If and when they need our help, we can be there. But the US does not need to be the worlds pocketbook and policeman. If you disagree, please explain why we need to take the lead in solving this?

Similar to the first question, why should the US taxpayers fund this war? You do realize we’re now thirty trillion dollars in debt, right? Our economy is poised to crater. There are literally no more checks in the checkbook. Every dollar we give to Ukraine and every weapon system we hand them, was first money we borrowed from China. WE DO NOT HAVE the 14 billion we just authorized to give to Ukraine. We have to borrow that money. Record setting inflation, gas prices, crumbling infrastructure, supply chain issues, and a 150,000 people a month streaming across our border. We have some issues. Please explain why spending billions to give to Ukraine is more important than any of those things? The best that I can tell, the EU has promised a whopping $450 million. Individually, EU countries are giving a smattering of weapons and other goods. If this was such a momentous issue on European soil, wouldn’t you think they’d have a bit more skin in the game? But why should they when they know we’ll pay for it.

As a side note, we give billions to the UN every year. Where are they? What actual purpose do they serve other than to write sternly worded letters? Perhaps we should divert our UN payments to Ukraine.

There are no good answers to any of this. This morning, Ukraine’s president Zelensky gave an impassioned speech to our congress. He invoked the memories of Pearl Harbor and 9/11. He received a standing ovation. I suspect out of fear of appearing to do nothing, our brave representatives will pour more money and aid to Ukraine, further provoking the conflict and increasing the potential of escalation. Do you really think Putin is going to say, “whoops, my bad. I’ll pull out.”? By further arming Ukraine, we’re forcing Putin to take more extreme measures. I fear we’re one mistake or misunderstanding away from another world conflict. Is that really what you want?

Look, I realize I’m sounding all Neville Chamberlain-ish this morning. But the US is not the superpower we once were. We’re broke, and that’s hard to admit. It’s time for US to step aside and let others shoulder the burden for a while. We shouldn’t let social media shame us into something that could rapidly get far worse than we can possibly imagine.

It’s hard to see human suffering. But I doubt any of you have been outraged at the war in the DRC. Why? Admit it, you couldn’t have found Ukraine on a map a month ago. Me either. And you certainly weren’t outraged at (or even know about) the 14,000 killed and 1.5 million people displaced in the Donbass region of Ukraine in 2014. There’s a lot of human suffering going on in the world at any given time and it’s awful to see. But just because CNN is breathlessly promoting this conflict 24×7 doesn’t mean we have to spring into action. It’s time for cooler heads to prevail and for us to sit this one out.

We have a massive economic war looming on the horizon with China. A war that will alter your standard of living. We may very well be wishing we had some of those billions we pissed away, trying to be the good guy, back.

Shuffle The Deck

Enjoying the clown show? It might almost be funny to sit back and watch this administration flail about if the consequences weren’t so dire. I do not underestimate the ability of these clowns to blunder us into an actual, serious armed conflict involving U.S. forces. Now don’t think I’m just blaming the democrats for where we’re at. It’s taken decades of incompetence, grift, and arrogance from both parties to get to this point. And along the way, we’ve managed to create a fourth branch of government that is unelected, unsupervised, and unchecked – the Federal Bureaucracy. a.k.a. the deep state.

As the old saying goes, while Putin and Xi are playing 3D chess, we’re playing checkers. Well, to be fair this administration is playing tic-tac-toe. Russia and China plan the long game. We plan for the latest news cycle. The EU worshiped at the Church of Climate Change. They now need Russia’s oil and gas. Germany is fully in bed with Russia. You’ll notice that Europe is doing virtually nothing about all this. Putin correctly judged that our economy is in trouble and we’re too busy arguing over pronouns and which bridges are the most racist. In all likelihood the sanctions will end up hurting us more than Russia. We’ll do nothing (hopefully), and he knew it. Game, set, match. Russia will now have a heavily defended buffer zone against NATO. Meanwhile, the US spent billions trying to set up yet another puppet state in the name of “democracy” that failed. Sound familiar? It’s like Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown. How come we never learn? Since WWII, we have failed at every single foreign policy intervention we’ve attempted. All at the cost of trillions and thousands upon thousands of lives. And yet we continue to listen to the same foreign policy “experts”.

And now we’re at the brink of a serious inflection point. I’m honestly surprised that China hasn’t moved on Taiwan yet. That’s the big test. What would we do? Are we going to get into a shooting war with China? I’m pretty sure that won’t go well. I’m sorry if I sound skeptical, but the same people who planned the Afghan withdraw, fired SOF folks for refusing the jab, and seem more worried about white rage and DEI in the military, are still in charge. It’s ok though, just like with every conflict, the UN will write a strongly worded letter.

So, what are we to do? Create a new, third party like Andrew Yang thinks? Term limits? I think term limits absolutely needs to be a part of any change. The corruption and self-interest in Washington (and state politics) is endemic. These people are dug in like ticks on a hound. If we have any hope of staving off our total demise, we need to start getting rid of the political establishment. But how do you get someone to vote for something that’s not in their self-interest?

It’s time to shuffle the deck. How? VOTE THEM OUT. Who? ALL OF THEM. Every single one of them. Both parties. Regardless of party, choose someone new. Do not re-elect the same clown. Everyone gets primaried. Even if the same clown gets re-elected, make them fight for it. Demand accountability. And next election cycle – do it again. We need to keep shuffling the deck until we get the hand we want.

Is that realistic? Nope. Is it going to happen? Nope. As negative as that sounds, I do see a tiny sliver of hope. There is a sense of frustration in the country. People are getting tired of the authoritarians. They’re pushing back against CRT and mask mandates, and censorship. At the moment, it looks like the next election cycle will be a bloodbath for the left. Will the right do something with it, or revert to politics as usual? If the new congress starts behaving like representatives of the people, AND, if we elect an actual leader (no, not Trump) with the next presidential cycle… there’s a small chance we can start to right the ship.

I give it a 10% chance. I fear that it’s probably already too late. History shows that once you start that downslide, it’s pretty hard to fight momentum. Realistically it’s not an issue for my generation – this will be for the next generation to live with. Unfortunately, this new generation aren’t much for learning from history. Because, like, you know, history is all racist or something.

It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.

 Upton Sinclair

Abandon Your Team

Loyalties are odd. Often, you’re loyal to something for no concrete or logical reason. You’re either a Bud or a Coors guy. They’re both rancid gutter water, but probably your dad drank one or the other, so that’s what you did as an impressionable youth. Coke or Pepsi. Ford vs. GM. I grew up as a Denver Broncos fan. I didn’t live in Colorado or anywhere nearby. So why the Broncos? As a kid my favorite soft drink was Orange Crush. The late 70’s Bronco defensive line was called the Orange Crush. Good enough for me. I followed Denver into adulthood.

Politics are much the same. I’d wager that the vast majority of people pick a party because that’s what their parents were. They then vote party line for their entire lives. If they become disillusioned enough, they tend not to vote, or vote rarely. I’m too lazy to look it up, but I’d be willing to bet it’s a pretty small percentage of folks that actually switch parties or vote back and forth depending upon the politician. People are creatures of habit and it’s uncomfortable to make changes. You’ll find a way to justify and cling to your beliefs no matter what. It’s like religion. Virtually nobody switches religions. The idea of abandoning your Catholicism for the teachings of Budha are inconceivable, no matter how disillusioned you may become. Worse case, you’ll just abandon religion altogether rather than switch.

And why don’t people switch teams? Because once you get beyond the initial infatuation/honeymoon period, you realize that the same crap that turned you off from your original team is rampant in the new team. Politics, religion, corporations, the deep state, the military industrial complex… all suffer from the same institutional inbreeding. Once entities reach a certain size and inertia, gravity pulls them to the same center regardless of where they started from.

Oh, they can put up fancy new window dressings and run expensive ad campaigns, but at the end of the day, if you strip away the fluff at the outer edges… the core is the same. Team Red controlled all three branches of government when Trump took office. The trifecta. And they spent more in those two years than the previous four under Obama. And that was pre-pandemic. Do you really think Team Red is suddenly going to see the light and become fiscally responsible when they take back the reins in ’24? If so, I have some NFT’s I’d like to sell you. Payment in Dogecoin only, please.

But wait, you say. We’re bringing back the bad orange man. MAGA time, baby! He’s going to kick some butt this time around. Our obsession with the office of the President is odd. Personally, I think it’s the bright shiny object intended to keep you distracted. The president cannot create budgets. They can’t cut budgets. They have the power to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic, but that’s it. They can attempt to rule via executive order, but every single EO will be challenged in court and, worse case, overturned by the next administration. The president has the power of the bully pulpit, and that’s about it. That can be powerful for sure, depending upon the speaker, but it’s not going to fundamentally alter the structure of the institutions.

The real power is congress. And the same power players on both teams just keep getting re-elected year, after year, after year, after year. I’d be willing to bet 80% (if not more) of the population couldn’t name their two senators and representative. And THAT’S who’s actually making the decisions that impact your life. My representative has been in office since 1999. 23 years and I guarantee you’ve never heard of him.

My point? I’m not sure, I’ve forgotten by now. Oh, wait I remember. I read a substack article from someone way smarter than me, and he had a great quote:

Perhaps if when next you vote, you think not about left or right, about us or them, about the lesser evil vs the greater, but rather about “which of these people is most likely to take power way from government and defend the rights of the people”

Because at this point it’s become about authoritarianism vs liberty, not Red vs Blue. If your representatives haven’t done anything meaningful and demonstratable to reduce government, rein in the institutions, or protect your rights as a citizen… get rid of them. Vote the bums out. It’s time to keep shuffling the deck until we get something better. Even if you vote the same team, put someone new in. Stop the blind allegiance to a specific office holder just because. Trust me, there’s nothing special about them other than their ability to raise money. At this point, the best thing we could do for this country would be to randomly pull 535 people from the phone book and put them in office. Whoo boy, that would put the fear of God into the deep state!

I understand the Church of Contrarianism takes a bit to get used to. It’s hard to give up the dogma you’ve lived with for all of your adult life. The status quo is comfortable. I liken it to my separation from the NFL. Like any red-blooded American boy, I grew up with the NFL. Sundays were for football. I played Pop Warner and high school ball. And I had my team. And then in the late ’90’s there was a big free agency court ruling. And suddenly players who’d played on your team forever, left. That hurt. It wasn’t quite the same anymore.

And then, I discovered fantasy football. All of a sudden, I no longer cared about teams… I cared about individual players. That broke the hold Sunday games had on me. The player stats on Monday were much more interesting than an individual game. And slowly the fantasy leagues lost their attraction (mostly because I was really bad at it). I’d watch a few NFL game from time to time, but it was fewer and fewer every year. This year marks the second full year I haven’t watched a single game. And I don’t miss it.

It hurts a little bit to give up your blind allegiance to Team Red or Team Blue. But once you embrace the fact that the game is rigged… you’ll be happier.

I Have Concerns

I had an epiphany the other day that depressed the hell out of me, so naturally I wanted to share the negativity with y’all. We live in interesting times, as the saying goes. I saw a kid, maybe nine or ten, walking down a neighborhood street. By himself. Wearing a mask. This is what we’ve done to an entire generation – put the fear of Fauci into them to the point that they’re more comfortable wearing a mask when outdoors, alone.

This is already a generation that’s afraid to explore, they don’t drive until forced to, and they’re perfectly happy living with mom and dad forever. They generally don’t work as kids, summer jobs are a thing of the past, and they spend every free waking minute gaming or on their devices. Their relationships are with on-line gamer groups and reddit forums. They are immersed in woke culture, think nothing of announcing their pronouns, and assume M&M’s changing cartoon characters to be less “sexy”, is normal. That company’s official statement was that this is part of their “global commitment to creating a world where everyone feels they belong and society is inclusive.” These young people are already beginning to understand that finding a job or being accepted into a school will be more regulated by Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion policies than actual merit. Once they do get into corporate America, they’ll need to embrace and celebrate the woke company line if they wish to remain employed and be accepted by peers.

These kids have grown up seeing fear and hysteria propagated daily about masks, lockdowns, vaccines, and health passports being required to shop or eat in a restaurant. They’re being fed a steady diet of “us vs them” rhetoric. Every single day, the idea that government is the solution to everything is reinforced. They saw shutting down business for “the greater good”. They hear that the unvaxxed should be denied healthcare, and only semi-dismiss it as crazy. The “Karen” culture of snitching on neighbors and calling the manager for every subtle perceived slight, grows more common. They post their encounters to Tik Tok to shame those who don’t follow rules.

Here was my epiphany – these kids are going to grow up and run for office in the not-so-distant future. They will be the leaders, CEOs, and cultural influencers for the next generation. And that my friends, worries me. These kids spent their formulative years being told that literally everything is racist. Even their own generation are inadvertent racists who need to make amends. Offensive statutes of Teddy Roosevelt are trigger points, and authoritarian government scientists and “experts” know what’s best for you – do not question or you’ll be labeled some sort of weird right wing anti-science denier. They deeply believe that we only have a dozen or so years left to defeat climate change and that the mere act of drinking out of a plastic straw murders hundreds of turtles. So, when the government decides that a social credit system is in your best interest, who’s going to say no? These kids grew up with government mandates and authoritarianism. They won’t blink an eye and will celebrate it as progress. Want to get into school or land a job? Your DEI score better be good enough.

And as the world rapidly bifurcates further into the haves and have-nots, and the middle class disappears, the resulting labor class will devolve into the undesirable caste. The kids of today, having never done actual manual labor themselves, will find that the need to import cheaper and cheaper low caste workers will only grow. Borders will become mere suggestions at that point (if not already). Production of anything in this country, already struggling, will succumb to juggernaut of China and globalization. We will be a net importer of everything.

Enhanced “patriot act” type laws giving the state full surveillance authority in the name of preventing “domestic extremist acts of terror” will pass the through the congress of the not-so-distant future without pushback. These kids have been monitored and watched from the moment they were born. They were taught to “check-in” with mommy every 10 minutes just going to down the street to play with a friend. From day one, every (data) aspect of their lives has already been mined and sold by big tech. They don’t see the big deal with giving up a bit more privacy in exchange for perceived security.

I don’t see this coming progressive tide stopping. These kids, these future leaders, see it as normal. It would take an absolute massive groundswell of opposition to start pushing back against the current progressive status quo in any meaningful way. You see it in bits and pieces here and there, but not in huge numbers. Will the population grow weary enough of the massive rise in crime and violence to start pushing back against corrupt Soros-elected DA’s and politicians advocating for defunding the police? The older generations might, but I don’t see the up-and-coming generation suddenly rejecting what they’ve been taught – that police and harsh sentencing laws are racist and discriminatory. I simply don’t see the kids of today pushing back against the woke mindset of their peers.

I told you this was going to be negative. I’m not sure I see a way out. What I do see is that the idea of a future “national divorce” is not as far-fetched as I once thought. I don’t see anything as extreme as an actual civil war and separation. Instead, I see a “soft” separation. Some sort of traditionalist vs progressive local and state governments. Like the great migration spawned by the industrial revolution from rural areas to the cities, the next migration will be free states vs authoritarian. The question is – what direction will the migration be?

What’s crazy is that simply typing this already feels like an act of insubordination. Like I’m labeling myself as an alt-thinker. One of the deplorables. I suspect I’m probably on somebody’s watch list for my subversive writing. If I’d told you just five years ago, we’d be forced to produce vaccine passports and ID just to get in a restaurant, you’d have thought me a weird tinfoil hat conspiracy theorist. Back then If I said in five years police will be arresting 9-year-olds in museums for not having their vaccine cards – you’d may have thought, of course that will happen… we elected a crazy right wing, bad orange man who’s a certified authoritarian fascist. But these things weren’t done by the alt-right, but by the progressive liberal left.

And that way of thinking is embraced by the kids of today. They don’t know any better. They have zero historical frame of reference and have been sheltered from birth from everything scary. I don’t see it getting better. This is a war of incrementalism. Tiny little changes, bit by bit, chipping away at what you thought was the status quo, until you suddenly no longer recognize the new normal.

I’m not sure there’s an answer. Every empire reaches their peak at some point. The great American experiment had a good run, but I fear we’re on the downslope. Weak men create hard times, as the saying goes. And our current generation aren’t the most rugged little cowboys. You do the math.

I’m not sure there’s an answer. But you can choose to accept the status quo or not.

Become ungovernable. Be a Contrarian.

P.S. Although I diligently followed the five D’s of dodgeball – dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge, it finally got me. The coof. The covfefe. The virus that shall not be named. The last several days have produced some fun, fever fueled dreams which probably contributed to this avalanche of Debbie-downerism. Apologies. A bit more Tylenol and I’m sure I’ll be back to puppy-dogs, rainbows, and thrilling fitness and diet exploits.

There is a Chinese curse which says ‘May he live in interesting times.’

From a speech by Robert Kennedy, 1966

I Am A Closet Conformist

  • Here in the land of 1’s and 0’s, bits and bytes, I am a fierce contrarian. A dedicated non-conformist. The man ain’t gonna tell me what to do! I am a keyboard warrior who gives no quarter. (hey, that sorta rhymes) In the real world… I’m a rule follower. I wait to cross the street in the crosswalk until the light turns green, even if there’s no traffic (fueling Mrs troutdog’s never ending exasperation with this behavior). I dutifully return my hotel card key when checking out rather than just leave it in the room. I don’t get into the 10 items or less checkout lane if I have 11 items. I drive the speed limit. And to my shame, I wear a mask when required. If you’ve been reading along for any time, you’ll know that the mouth diapers are a bit of a pet peeve of mine. I’ve ranted about them all too frequently, although I’ve managed to refrain myself lately to spare ya’ll from too much of the same dribble. In my state there are no mask mandates. Other than at work (hospital) I never wear one. We recently had to travel to California, which is nanny-state central. And what did I do? Made sure I had extra masks and my vaccine card packed. Made sure I wore one in the airport, on the plane, and in restaurants. Why? It was an important trip, and I couldn’t risk getting “cancelled”. So much for being a rebel. It’s frightening how much power the state has. America, the land of the free and the home of the brave. And what did we do when compelled to do irrational things? We all meekly rolled over and said, “thank you sir, may I have another?” I’m very disappointed in myself and my fellow citizens. It’s clear that the state can create just about any rule they want and we’ll all just comply. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ll go along with just about any silly rule, rather than risk missing out on all you can eat prime rib night at Joey’s Dinner. We’ve clearly forgotten that all important phrase in the constitution, “…governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”. Perhaps it’s time for us to start pushing back just a little bit?

  • Speaking of pushing back, I heard a rumor the other day. My hospital decided they were going to require the vaccine to keep your job early in the pandemic. I’d already gotten the vaxx (seemed like the right thing to do at the time), so it didn’t really affect me. They suspended that rule when Covid wave 2 (or 3, can’t keep track these days) hit and we were desperate for personnel. Staffing is better now, so they’re re-implementing the vaccination rule. I believe the deadline is Jan 1. It’ll be interesting to see how many people we lose. But that’s not the rumor… word floating around is they may add the booster to the requirements. I don’t know if this is true or not. I’ve decided not to get the booster at the moment for a variety of reasons. So – if they do require it, what am I going to do? I’m going to have to do some thinking on this one.

  • For my sanity and waistline, I’m asking everyone to start doing a snow-dance. If you’re not familiar, those of us who require the white fluffy stuff so we can go skiing perform a ritual dance to encourage the snow gods to bless us. Similar to voodoo. Anyway, we’ve had zero snow so far. This is a bad thing. There is a large storm lined up for the weekend with the potential of several feet of snow. So far, every storm has diverted further north at the last minute. Pray for us.

  • I just finished Dr Scott Atlas’ book about his time as a special advisor to the White House and the Covid task force. Read this book if you’d like to get really angry about the utter incompetence of government. It’s a great reminder that groupthink, ego, dogma, and politics exist in “science” just like any other discipline. Anytime you hear the words “consensus” or “science says”, you need to put your contrarian hat on.

  • The 80th anniversary of Pearl Harbor was a few days ago. 80 years before that was the start of the civil war. I thought that was an interesting illustration of time. There were some civil war veterans alive at the start of WWII, and a few WWII veterans alive today. Amazing to think about where we are today in a relatively few generations.

  • Substack is bringing back blogging in a big way. Whod’a thunk people would be willing to pay for blogs? I was convinced blogs were dead. I’ve contemplated abandoning WordPress for Substack. I equally contemplate giving up writing completely, as I can’t really define why I continue to babble. It’s clearly not for fame, fortune, or followers… Meanwhile, here’s a Substack dedicated to snacks. You wouldn’t think it would work, but it does.

  • It cost me $81 to fill up my truck yesterday. When I was traveling to CA the other day it was $15 for 2.8 gallons near the airport. Lets Go Brandon!

  • Having just returned from the nightmare world of airline travel, here’s a collection of historical airline seatback safety cards. I will confess to having never read one, nor listened to the safety brief at the beginning of the flight. It’s still unclear to me why, in the 21st century, we still need instruction on how to fasten the seatbelt buckle?

Song of the day: AC/DC – Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (Official Video – AC/DC Live) (inspired by a little A10 action)

It’s Time To Fear The Toilet

I like learning new things. Most of the time it’s useless information like, on average 100 people a year choke on ballpoint pens. Or Al Capones business card said he was a used furniture dealer. And that licking a stamp is one-tenth of a calorie. But once in a while I stumble upon something that’s interesting and useful. Like Covid is spread through the toilet. What?

If you have time, this article is an excellent read. It’s long and complicated. I confess, I’ve read it three times now and still don’t understand at least a third of it. It’s about the origins of Covid. But one section about transmission routes of Covid caught my eye. It turns out that the initial, and most probable, sources of infection were from fecal aerosols and Class B Biosolids. Fecal aerosols? That sounds horrible!

Toilet aerosols are, well… produced by the forceful evacuation of fecal material, followed by flushing (not sure how else to put it?). Large amounts of virus are shed in fecal matter. Part of the longstanding methodology of tracing virus spread is from testing wastewater. (I didn’t know that) So, you’ve produced a plume of virus containing aerosol that now wafts through the plumbing and hovers in air. Household member number two comes along to conduct their daily constitutional and, boom, transmission. The bulk of transmission, especially early on, came from intra-family and group living settings. Hmmm.

Next up is the Class B Biosolids. I’d never heard of that. I wish I hadn’t. It turns out that the “sludge” that comes from wastewater treatment facilities is repackaged as fertilizer. Yes, you read that right. Human feces, now branded as a “Biosolid”, is given/sold to farmers as fertilizer. Class B means it has NOT been treated to remove pathogens. So, we’re happily spreading Covid virus packed human feces fertilizer on our food source. This chart blew me away. It shows the top 500 US counties with Covid case increases early in the pandemic (Nov 2020). Next to it is the US counties with the highest level of corn production. The two are a near mirror image. Nah, that’s not frightening at all.

A few minutes of searching time and you’ll realize that none of this is new or novel information. It was well known science long before Covid, with plenty of papers in the various journals. Our various health departments and agencies clearly know about this. Yet, they spent over a year pushing respiratory droplets and fomites as the primary vector of transmission. We’ve been forced to wear useless masks in the hopes that they might stop the larger mucus particles and to panic buy sani-wipes to clean every conceivable surface before we sit down. Meanwhile the virus has been happily aerosolized and is wafting along in plumes, and slowly drifting down to be inhaled hours or days later in any room that doesn’t have adequate ventilation.

With pro sports back in swing, how many “super spreader” events have there been from stadiums of 70,000+ fans? None. They’re outdoors or in facilities with fantastic air circulation. There’s clearly been some limited spread at events like Sturgis. While most of the Sturgis rally is outdoors, what other component does it have? In the evening everyone heads to the bars and clubs with little to no real HVAC capability. Why haven’t there been any large spread events documented with the airlines? If primary transmission was direct respiratory droplet spread, you’d think we’d constantly hear of entire planeloads of passengers that tested positive. We don’t. Airlines have some of the most effective air circulation you’ll find.

This is not to imply that you cannot get Covid via respiratory droplets. Of course you can. But that’s going to happen in an environment of close contact for extended periods of time. Bars, clubs, friends sitting around the kitchen table for hours. Coughing, laughing, touching their face, sharing drinks, smokes, and physical contact (what do you think the young kids are doing at the clubs, silly rabbit?)

You are not going to get Covid walking through the grocery store, strolling through the restaurant to your table, or passing people on the hiking trail. If you do, you most likely passed through an aerosolized plume that’s been wafting in the air for hours already. Unless you’re wearing a properly fit tested N-95 mask… nothing is going to prevent that. Sorry.

There’s much more to unpack in this article, this was just the first part that jumped out at me. How much further I go with it depends upon the current state of my ADHD attention span, the weather, and my natural inclination to throw up my hands and decide never to write again at any given moment (happens multiple times a week).

The image I’m left with after reading this is that poor fellow who you spot walking along by themselves, outdoors, alone, wearing a mask. Fearful and paralyzed with the idea that the ‘Rona is just waiting for them around every corner. Can you even imagine them finding out there’s Corona virus in fertilizer and fecal aerosols? Being unable to eat or ever poop again would be a sad ending.

A Proxy For The Future

If you haven’t been paying attention, the Kyle Rittenhouse trial appears to be going very badly for the prosecution. I’m not a lawyer and have little faith in our judicial system, so the outcome is anything but clear. But… as a casual observer it’s hard not to see what happened as anything other than a textbook case of self-defense. That is not my topic today. Instead, I’m interested in the point that several talking heads have made. What drove Kyle Rittenhouse to be there in the first place?

As someone with decades of life experience, and a whole lot to lose, would I have gone there? Hell no. I bet Mr. Rittenhouse wishes he’d made a better decision that day as well. But what drove him to insert himself in a scenario that had massive probabilities of going south in a hurry? His town was burning. Rocked by days of looting, rioting, vandalism, and sheer lawlessness. And the police did nothing. The mayor, governor, nobody charged with protecting the peace did anything to stop it. So a passionate young kid got fed up and decided he was going to go try to help out.

Young kids, especially males, can get very worked up over stuff. Remember WWI and WWII? I don’t – I’m old, but not that old. But I have read history. Tens of thousands of teenaged boys volunteered to go do their duty. 16 year olds lied about their age so they wouldn’t get left behind. We were going to go teach those dirty Germans a thing or two before they came to our shores. And off they went to war. Babes who had no idea what was actually facing them. No concept of the impacts those events would have on their lives. But they were fired up, passionate, and ready to go.

Such has been the nature of man from time beginning. So what’s my point? Probably the number one thing people crave is safety and security. That has also been true for all of human existence. And when our perceived safety disappears… people will do just about anything to bring it back. And for much of the US, that’s where if feels we’re headed.

Defund the police. Police reform. The media is complicit in whipping up an anti-police sentiment, further fueled by 24×7 chants of racism, racism, racism. The facts surrounding police shootings don’t matter. The only thing that matters is that the police are violent. Oh, and racist. If you’re not familiar with the term “The Ferguson Effect”, it’s a very real thing. After the Michael Brown shooting in 2014, officers were afraid to do much in the way of policing for fear of being charged. Since then it’s only gotten worse. Police departments and local politicians have refused to back their officers. The end result is that officers, especially in bigger cities, tend not to respond to calls other than to back up other officers. Why would they? Even the slightest whiff of being “too aggressive” and your career and life savings will be gone in an instant. It’s not worth it.

Police are quitting in droves. Those that remain won’t respond to anything other than critical events. And the predictable result? Crime is skyrocketing. In New York, thugs are now roaming the streets and randomly attacking strangers. There’s videos of it nearly every day now. Antifa operates with impunity and causes billions of dollars in damage. Brazen daytime robberies of restaurant patrons is now happening in affluent areas of Los Angeles. In San Francisco shoplifters happily walk out of stores with bags of stuff. Yesterday there was video of people who wheeled carts of grocery items out and calmly loaded it up in mini-vans. Why? Nobody’s going to stop them. Even if the police tried, the prosecutors probably wouldn’t charge them. This is not going to get better.

As an insulated, privileged society with narratives of non-stop racism driven by CNN, MSNBC, and Facebook, the progressive left wants you to believe that somehow crime and violence can somehow be solved with kind words, outreach programs, and roving teams of mental health experts. That is not how the world works, as much as the latte sipping crowd would like to believe. The reality of the street is not Hollywood.

Even in my hospital world that’s not reality. We have social workers and psychiatrists on the floor. When someone is having a mental health crisis we don’t call them. Why? Because folks in that scenario are violent and dangerous. We call security. And more often than not, it takes six security dudes and several nurses to wrestle the patient to the bed and get restraints placed. Even then the odds of someone getting hit, kicked, spit on, or bitten are high. I’m positive if family members saw that they’d be horrified. But you know what? I’m under no obligation to get hurt. I also don’t have four hours available to talk gently and pass them pudding in hopes they’ll see the error of their thinking. The real world doesn’t work that way.

Magnify that 100x on the street with actual criminals. And a single officer responding to that same potentially violent person. I know it’s shocking, but asking “pretty please with sugar on top” doesn’t work. But, we don’t want to see that. So our society has swung 180 degrees and we don’t want our police to actually, you know, do policing. It’s mean spirited. So the police have stopped. The results have been predictable to anyone who doesn’t have a liberal arts degree and a three thousand dollar espresso machine in their kitchen.

So what was my point? Somewhere down the road, people are going to get fed up. And that my friends, is when bad things happen. Vigilante groups form. Actual extremist groups form, not the pretend QAnon, Jan 6th insurrection groups… but people willing to commit real violence in the name of protecting the homeland. This is the inflection point where the population elects a real fascist in the name of safety and security. We don’t want to go down that road people.

I seriously fear for our country. We’re speeding down a road that ends in a bad place. The woke, 24×7 racist, progressive push the media hammers into our brains day in and day out is going to result in people taking matters into their own hands. We want safety and security. Without it we have Kyle Rittenhouse. A young kid heading into the fray because he felt like nobody else was. He was armed. He was attacked by a viscous mob out for blood and no police to be found. The outcome was predictable.

I’m not sure what the answer is. Maybe there isn’t one. We need a strong, charismatic, and benevolent leader who can use the bully pulpit to turn down the temperature. Get this ship turned around. I don’t see that happening. I suspect the political divides are too great at this point. Unfortunately, leaders who wield that level of power and charisma tend not to be benevolent if history holds to be true.

Oh great, now I’ve gone and depressed myself. Time to turn off social media and head outdoors for some recreation to clear my head. Amazing how well that works.