Tag: Debt

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.

Yesterday, Today Was Tomorrow

  • Time is a cold hearted bitch. It doesn’t care about you, won’t wait for you, and is moving forward no matter what you do. I constantly need reminding of this. I am crazy guilty of “on Monday I’ll start my diet”, “I will workout tomorrow morning”, or “this spring I will start taking some day trips”. The problem is that tomorrow may or may not come for you. Just this week I had a patient who was young and fit. Had a silly accident and is now paralyzed. It’s a stark reminder that there are no guarantees. All of his plans for tomorrow are gone. For the first time ever, I actually wrote down some goals for the year and shared them with Mrs Troutdog. I didn’t think it would make a difference, but the act of writing them down and being public with them helped make them more real. I always have ideas, things I’d like to do floating around in my head, but rarely act on any of them. Just writing down the goals got me excited enough to start researching and making actual plans. The more I think about my young patient who’s goals are now permanently altered, the more resolved I am to start doing and stop just thinking about plans. It’s time to move forward because time is certainly not going to wait for me.
  • I had to laugh. An ultra left leaning friend on Facebook who’s spent the last four years spewing as much venom as possible towards the bad orange man, posted: “If you are a believer in the disinformation put out by Fox, Newsmax, Oan, Parler and all the other bullshit peddlers of lies – please do me a favor and unfriend me now. After the the last 4 years I’m just ready for truth and decency.” This is the equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and chanting nah, nah, nah. Regardless of your personal and political beliefs – if you only seek out information that confirms what you already think, you’re a puppet and a very shallow thinker. And yes, we’re all guilty of this. It’s human nature. All you can do is try your best to look objectively at the world. It doesn’t mean you can’t be passionate about something, just try not to get so wrapped up in your beliefs that you lose sight of reality.
  • The Biden administration is unveiling plans to combat “domestic terrorism”. I wonder if that will include Antifa and BLM? Get ready for Patriot Act 3.0. Remember, if you see something, say something.
  • In 2006 the United States debt to GDP ratio was 60%. Today it’s roughly 136%. In 2001 Argentina’s debt to GDP ratio hit 166%, they defaulted on billions in loans, capital started leaving the country and unemployment reached 19%. They still haven’t recovered. We’re accelerating down a path that isn’t recoverable. Talks continue about printing more trillions. And Buttigieg is talking about possibly taxing Americans on the number of miles they drive to raise more money for infrastructure spending. Not only is that a regressive tax on the poor, it’s a massive intrusion into your privacy.
  • I almost violated my own admonishment to not seek out only information that confirms what I think. Tucker Carlson had a segment the other night that said CNN had conveniently removed the Covid death counter they’ve displayed prominently all election season as soon as Biden was sworn in. I was going to post that, because, of course, disinformation from the left! I did a little bit of research and that may not be really true. What’s reality? My guess is that CNN is showing it less than they did before because it no longer fits the narrative. Tucker is hyping it because it fits his narrative. So the truth is somewhere in the middle. My advice? Turn it all off an go outside for a run.

Song of the day: The Crystal Method “High Roller” (Live)

Is Politics A Prisoners Dilemma?

  • I was thinking about the apparent lack of awareness politicians on both sides have of the pulse of the people they’re supposed to represent. They tend to rush to solve the wrong problem because they need to be seen as “doing something” about whatever’s in the news. We just had a large mob of very angry people rally to express their dissatisfaction with something that devolved (as mobs do) into violence. Politicians rush to “fix” the end result of the situation – we need to call in the national guard, they must condemn all violence, we need to put people on no-fly-lists, we need to impeach, etc… While all of that may or may not need to be addressed, I don’t hear anyone on the left asking the real question – what happened to make all those people so angry and what could be done to address that? It reminded me of the Prisoners Dilemma. Two prisoners in solitary confinement, no way to communicate with each other. If one snitches on the other, he goes free and the other serves his sentence. If both snitch, both serve their sentence. If neither snitches (because snitches wind up in ditches), both serve reduced sentences. Politicians (especially today) seem to be wired to always believe politics is a zero sum game. The only way I can win is to ensure someone else loses. We’ve entered the era of scorched earth politics. Tearing up a state of the union speech or driving pointless impeachments to score points is more important than asking what’s more beneficial for everyone. Both sides are guilty of this… Republicans just really suck at it. I wonder if we’ll ever get back to a point where folks recognize if both sides accept a little pain (compromise), everyone benefits in the long run? (Don’t answer that. It’s rhetorical. Never going to happen.)
  • I had to laugh. A couple of days ago Tucker Carlson had a line that made me snort out loud: “Once Donald Trump leaves the scene and it’s time to divvy up the spoils of the United States Treasury to begin the great piñata party of 2021…” And sure enough, yesterday Biden rolls out a $2 trillion dollar stimulus spending plan. This will be followed by another $1.3 – $2 trillion dollar infrastructure plan. It’s gotten absurd to the point there’s no reason to even fight it anymore. We’re printing money out of thin air. Hell, if we’re already printing trillions, we may as well print another four or five. Give every American with a drivers license a brand new car. And pay for their insurance. And create a guaranteed auto buyback program for all the existing vehicles and loans. Can you even imagine the stimulus this would bring to country? It would resurrect the failing auto industries, create new manufacturing jobs for the entire supply chain, improve our air quality, put more money in the pocket of struggling families by getting rid of a car payment, and help the most disenfranchised be able to get a job. I think that’s a damn fine idea. I guess you couldn’t require a drivers license. That would be discriminatory. Anyway, put me down for a Tesla Cybertruck.
  • I was reasonably productive yesterday with planning. I resurrected the Bullet Journal and starting looking into some travel ideas. I agree that putting (figurative) pen to paper does help organize thoughts. Next up will be working on the daily routine and thinking about hobbies.
  • For dinner last night I made a deluxe grill cheese and tomato soup. Thick sourdough, two kinds of cheese, bacon, grilled onions, sliced tomato and avocado. Probably a 2,500 calorie meal, but worth it. Now I just need to go run approximately 50 miles to break even.
  • We watched the History of Swear Words last night. Pretty good. Nicholas Cage was able to poke fun at himself. Nice to see actors who are comfortable enough to do that. It’s said that swearing is a sign of intelligence. If so, I should be a rocket scientist.
  • A list of red flags in job interviews. Reminded me of an answer I got frequently when I was a hiring manager at Microsoft. I’d ask the candidate how they would find out the answer to something and I’d frequently get the response: “I’d Google it”. Uhmm… you’re interviewing at Microsoft, are you really that dense? If you’re going say that, at least make the case why one search engine is better than the other. That I’d respect. This is beside the issue of being so unaware that if all I needed was someone who could “Google” something, I could hire a random street person (or sixth grader) and be just as successful. This of course was back in the day when Microsoft was the Evil Empire and Google’s code of conduct slogan was “Don’t be evil”.

Song of the day: Meredith Brooks ( Live) Lilith Fair- Bitch 1997

Notions Of Cool V.012

  • A note for my two readers… Notions will be sparse to non-existent for a week. I’ll be on an island drinking tropical drinks with tiny umbrellas and fighting a heroic battle to remain in ketosis. Not.
  • The US government hit its borrowing limit yesterday. The estimate is that they run out of money by September if we don’t raise the debt ceiling (again). Our total debt is $22 trillion. But whoo hoo, a green new deal!
  • I love this quote from @garyvee “Technology has not changed us, technology has exposed us”.
  • There are some thoughts that the universe is expanding faster than previously thought. I love that stuff. I’m also not smart enough to understand what the hell I’m reading. As Forrest Gump says, “I’m not a smart man”.
  • Speaking of reading, I struggled to find a few books to read on vacation. I don’t know why but lately finding books that keep my interest is like searching through Netflix for a movie. I settled on these three. Don’t judge.
  • I’ve been doing an experiment-ish on the Twitter. Created a new account. I have exactly 1 follower. Been slowly adding a few tweets, some hashtags, following people, etc… I’m curious what will be the spark that actually gets followers?
  • Still no Instagram story. Maybe this week.
  • Dropped the hound off at the pet sitter yesterday. Surprising how quiet the house is without that knucklehead. See you in a week!

Song of the day: Buju Banton “Love Dem Bad”