Tag: Government

I’m Worried

I’ve been worried before. Big world or national events happen and it’s natural to wonder what the fallout will be. But time moves on and things get back to normal. The worry dissipates. However, this moment in time feels different. There are so many things that have taken a turn for the worse, it’s hard to see a path back to stability. For the first time in my life, I’m actually concerned about where we’re headed. Not just a yell at the TV and vote the bums out concern, but an oh shit I can see things turning very dark kind of worry.

I’d been thinking about this in an abstract way as we’ve watched the events of the last few years unfold. But I just recently finished a book that really made me think. It’s called “The Fourth Turning“. It’s not new – it was published in 1997. I don’t remember how I stumbled upon it, but I devoured it. I read it on a Kindle, but wish I’d had a paperback version. It’s the kind of book you write in the margins, go back and re-read tables and charts, and place copious post-it notes.

In a nutshell, the premise is that human history runs in 80-year cycles that are broken up into roughly 20-year blocks, or “turnings”. What’s fascinating, and prophetic, is that the four turnings have repeated consistently from the beginning of human history. The four turnings are as follows:

  • High – A period of stability, growth, prosperity, and conformity
  • Awakening – a period of spiritual awakening and rebellion against conformity
  • Unraveling – a period in which individualism triumphs over crumbling institutions
  • Crisis – This is the fourth turning. War, revolution, and a profound loss of trust in institutions

The three recent crises in recent American history are the revolutionary war (1776), the civil war (1861), and WWII (1941). The last High period was the post WWII boom, the Awakening was the ’60’s to the early 80’s, and the Unraveling was 90’s to the 20’s. It certainly feels like we’re currently in or at the cusp of a new Crisis.

This was the author’s prediction in 1997:

“History is seasonal and winter is coming. The very survival of the nation will feel at stake. Sometime before the year 2025, America will pass through a great gate in history, commensurate with the American Revolution, Civil War, and the twin emergencies of the Great Depression in World War II. The risk of catastrophe will be high. The nation could erupt into insurrection or civil violence, crack up geographically or succumb to authoritarian rule. If there is a war, it is likely to be one of maximum risk and effort – in other words, a total war. Every Fourth Turning has registered an upward ratchet in the technology of destruction, and in mankind’s willingness to use it.”

(The Fourth Turning, Strauss & Howe, 1997)

It’s not hard to see that our ruling class has led us to an abyss – financially, politically, and culturally. Bonds, treasuries, and stocks are in free-fall. We’re $31 trillion dollars in debt. The debt service alone will soon be eating into any entitlement or discretionary spending. And yet, we keep printing and spending money like drunken sailors. Inflation is quickly wiping out any savings and wage growth for most of the population. We’re clearly in a recessionary period, probably heading towards stagflation.

Politically, the world is extremely dangerous right now. World powers are jockeying for position, power, and control over global resources. We’re probably the closest we’ve ever been to a tactical nuclear engagement. Meanwhile, the public face of our own government is an inept octogenarian with dementia. It’s unclear who’s actually running our government, but that cabal has mismanaged (either via utter incompetence or on purpose) virtually every aspect of the American fabric. While I wasn’t thrilled with the election of the current administration, never in a million years would I have thought things could unravel as fast as they have.

And finally, we’ve lost the culture that maintains a society. I honestly believe we’ve abandoned any sense of ourselves as “Americans“. We’ve been driven into loose groups separated by race, gender, and political ideology. Wokeness and the onslaught of Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity has driven a wedge into society that I don’t think we’ll recover from. There is no common ground anymore. Pick your camp and defend at all costs (via mean tweets and cancel culture).

We’re at the end of the Unraveling period. Society is divided, we’re at the brink of a financial collapse, and weak leadership invites global power shifts. The scope and scale of government overreach and authoritarianism we’ve seen the last few years really frightened me. Not so much that government would do it, but how willing many in society accepted it. The loss of trust in law enforcement, health services, and public officials is not recoverable.

So, what will the trigger be for the fourth turning? A nuclear move by Putin in Ukraine? The sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines? A new “George Floyd” moment that spawns civil unrest? A resurgence of Covid and new lockdowns? The next 2008 financial crisis? Food or energy shortages? All seem possible right now.

This country, and the world, just doesn’t feel stable right now. I honestly don’t remember feeling that before. I don’t know what the answer is. I’m not sure if there is one. History sure seems to be good at repeating itself. We’re just not very good at recognizing it. But maybe that book is hogwash? There’s no doubt that the danger of pattern matching is that it’s very easy to start seeing patterns everywhere to reinforce your desired outcome.

I just don’t know. But I’m worried.

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.

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

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 Return To Chaos

In about a week we’ll be watching the most consequential election of our times… according to the news. It’s for the governorship of Virginia. I’m sure there’s other elections going on in the country, but for some reason all the smart people believe the outcome of this one will signal the how the rest of the elections will go for the next four years. Whatever. The democrats are apparently worried and have brought out the heavy hitters to help campaign. No, not Brandon but Obama. And yesterday the former and current acting president said something during his speech that caught my ear.

“We’re not going to go back to the chaos that did so much damage” said Obama. Hmmm. Just exactly what damage is he referring to? That’s a serious question. I’m not talking about the four years of hysterical teeth gnashing and wailing brought about by Trump Derangement Syndrome. That’s entirely an issue brought about by the left and fueled by the “media”. Madonna and Ashely Judd wearing pink pussy hats and caterwauling like scalded cats about blowing up the white house and being nasty women perfectly encapsulates the TDS that started right after the election and grew steadily for four years. While annoying, that’s not destruction.

So what exactly did the bad orange man destroy? The economy? Jobs? Gas prices? Border security? A rapid vaccine development in the face of a pandemic? Trust me, there’s plenty not to like about the guy but I can’t think of any actual harm that happened or was exacerbated on his watch other than triggered snowflakes devastated by mean tweets.

It must be really painful for the left right now, as evidenced by the complete radio silence about this president. Nobody is even attempting to defend anything the administration is doing. CNN spends its time covering ani-vaxxers, an actor shooting someone, and never ending analysis of the Laundrie murder. MSNBC still covers the devastating capitol insurrection 24×7. Meanwhile kids, pull up a chair and lets think about the achievements under the current administration:

  • A disastrous Afghanistan pull out that got US solders and marines killed, droned a car full of kids, and left behind hundreds of Americans. Oh, and gifted the Taliban $80 some odd billion dollars in military hardware. Tens of thousands of unvetted Afghans have been brought in as refugees and released into the country.
  • Rapidly accelerating inflation, gas prices, food costs, and a worker shortage that nobody can explain.
  • A supply chain crisis the likes of which we’ve never seen before. Hundreds of ships anchored offshore with no way to offload. Store shelves are empty, manufacturing is shut down, and consumer goods like cars and appliances are non-existent. Meanwhile the transportation secretary who was already AWOL on this issue, goes on paternity leave (and nobody in the media even notices).
  • A mishandling of public health messaging that’s so inept it’s causing reasonable people to question vaccines simply because they no longer trust the governments message. Public health officials demanding you “follow the science” while actually ignoring the science. Our covid czar Fauci is caught lying about funding gain of function research in, wait for it… Wuhan. A president to actually believes millions of people should lose their jobs if they don’t submit to the jab.
  • An unimaginable border crisis that grows by the day. A record 1.7 million unvaccinated and unvetted people intercepted and released into the country. Hundreds of thousands more that snuck in without detection. New caravans of thousands are heading to the border at this moment. Secret flights are sending folks to cities across the country in the middle of the night. The Vice President, appointed as the border czar is… simply AWOL. But dammit, we will investigate the border patrol riding horses. The public imagery is horrific!
  • From a foreign policy standpoint, we’ve managed to piss off the French, provoke the China/Taiwan issue and North Korea is back to launching missiles. Straight out of the gate our secretary of state attempted to lecture Chinese officials and got his ass handed to him. Speaking of China, they’re now actively posturing and provoking militarily on the sea and in the air.
  • Crime and murder are at all time highs across the country. Meanwhile the attorney general appears to be more concerned with parents attending school board meetings.

In times past, any one of those issues would be enough to hamstring a president for the duration of their term. All of this and we’re not even a year into this administration. The growing list of crises is causing actual damage, with no relief in sight. There doesn’t appear to be anyone in the administration even attempting to get out in front of any of this. All efforts appear to be solely on getting the two, five, seven, ten trillion (I’ve lost track of what it is now) in new spending passed. Because printing new trillions of dollars during inflation/stagflation is clearly sound economic policy.

No offense, but I preferred the previous chaos and damage.

Let’s Go Brandon

“Let’s Go Brandon!” It’s currently trending on twitter. I think it’s hilarious and an absolutely perfect representation of where we’re currently at as a country. If you’re not familiar with the phrase, stop being selfish and get yo’self plugged into the social medias. ‘Cause you ain’t gunna hear this reported in the mainstream news. Anyway… if you’ve watched any large sporting event in the last few weeks, a curious event has been taking place. The crowds, tens of thousands strong, have been erupting into long chants. And what are they chanting? “Fuck Joe Biden!”.

Pro sports, college sports, doesn’t seem to matter. Once started, chants go on for quite a while. Not sure I’ve ever seen that before for a sitting president. Not once, not twice, but every single weekend at multiple events. It seems to be gaining momentum.

What’s this have to do with Brandon? At a recent NASCAR race, driver Brandon Brown won. As he was being interviewed, the crowd in the stadium broke out in an enthusiastic Fuck Joe Biden chant. The NBC reporter tried to cover for the expletive filled chant by saying “As you can hear the chants from the crowd, ‘Let’s go Brandon’,” she said. LOL

I think it sums up perfectly the current mood. Literally everything this administration has done or touched has been an unmitigated disaster from day one. And it’s getting harder and harder to cover for the continuing errors, missteps, poor decisions, and incompetence. Each attempt to explain away the disaster of the day is more and more doublespeak, deflection, and finger pointing.

So “Let’s Go Brandon” perfectly fits. Of course that’s what the crowd was chanting. And if you don’t believe it, then you are clearly part of the right wing disinformation machine. And you probably watch Fox News.

Meanwhile, my digital scale indicated that I’d lost a significant amount of weight. Far more weight than the previous scale. I reject any characterization of the number displayed as being inaccurate. I’m not going to get into the technical details of the scale, I’ll refer you to the manufacture for that. I don’t want to get too far ahead of the data. Perhaps we should circle back on the topic. With this tremendous weight loss, all indications are that I can clearly afford to eat nachos tonight. Besides, I went for a run yesterday which means the calories are paid for so the net caloric cost is zero. Works for me. Let’s Go Brandon!

Going To The Big House

A random round-up of random things that randomly caught my eye

  • Scrolling through my extensive sources of information (twitter) I saw this headline: “Michigan Nurse Arrested for Selling Fake COVID-19 Vaccine Cards”. My first thought was this is going to happen more and more often… bring on the electronic vaccine passports! Because, you know, security and all. My second thought was, how is a covid vaccine card even a legal document? How is it illegal to sell a randomly printed piece of paper? My vaccine card only has one of the lot numbers and no signature/site listed. Anybody could have filled it out. It’s a horrible “official” document. Naturally I had to put my mad search skills to work to see if it really is a legal document. Turns out there’s about a hundred obscure statutes that could be used to charge this person. The most likely one is:

    The unauthorized use of of the official seal of the CDC or DHHS is a violation of 18 U.S.C. 1017. This federal statute makes it a crime to wrongfully or fraudulently affix the seal of any federal department or agency to a certificate, document, or paper, and likewise makes it a crime to use, buy, sell, or transfer such a document knowing that it’s fraudulent. A violation of this statute is punishable by a fine or imprisonment of up to five years.

    So, that nurse is definitely going to the big house. (slang: A state or federal prison) And she should, if for no other reason than she was selling them via Facebook Messenger. Seriously? She’s not exactly a criminal mastermind.

  • I’ve gone to the golf driving range twice in the last week and hit really, really well. (for me that just means my shots mostly went up in the air and sorta straight) I’m convinced it’s the new shoes. I went with a natural toe box style to let my toes spread out more. They’re very wide. Plus, they’re very bright. They looked more subdued on the website pictures. There’s a definite clown shoe vibe going on. Oh well. If John Daily can dress the way he does, I can wear clown shoes.

  • Take a minute and watch this video titled “Every Sport a Bowling Ball“.

  • I just finished reading “Uncontrolled Spread: Why COVID-19 Crushed Us and How We Can Defeat the Next Pandemic” by Dr Scott Gottlieb, the former head of the FDA. Quite a bit of behind the scenes information related to the inner workings of various federal agencies. It’s a little dry, but worth the read. The sad revelation is that it’s really pitiful how inept the US government is at doing most anything. We’re the freaking technology center of the universe and for most of the pandemic hospitals had to resort to faxing case count data to the CDC. The size, scale, and budget of the United States government is so ginormous it boggles the mind, yet we can’t get the simplest, most basic things right. Sigh…

  • If you’re not already, you need to be following Alaska’s “Fat Bear Week” contest. A weekly bracket competition to find the fattest bear of 2021. The winner will be declared October 5th. My money’s on bear 480, Otis.

  • Tweet of the day: In response to a post about why General Milley didn’t jump across the table and murder Representative Gaetz during yesterdays hearing… “Milley is 5′ 8″ and obese. The only thing he’s murdering is a plate of nachos”. I did actually laugh out loud at that one. Take a look at the picture – definitely not the same regal image the media carefully cultivates. Meanwhile, I’m going to think about nachos all day.

  • I’ve decided to abandon my idea of being a retirement lifestyle coach. I’m stealing an idea from another site and creating a “Contrarian University”. You’ll be able to sign up for classes, listen to podcasts, and receive personal instruction on how to be a Contrarian. I’ll be raking in the Quan. Just as soon as I create some content.

Song of the day: Living Colour- “Cult of Personality” Live in Auburn 1988

A Tower Of Babel

It’s an interesting paradox we’re seeing today. On one hand we live in the most information rich time in history. People walk around with a device containing all of human knowledge, instantly available, in their pockets. Any fact, figure, formula, quote, or phrase is simply a button press away. We’re no longer constrained to listening to Walter Cronkite telling us what happened each night – we have literally thousands upon thousands of news presenters available to us. Every newspaper and magazine article written in the world each day are available to us. Millions upon millions of everyday ordinary people are publishing their opinions and thoughts in blogs, vlogs, YouTube videos, e-books, and pushing that content out into the world daily. Social media allows us to publish whatever random thought pops into your head instantly to thousands. The amount of data we have available to consume is truly mind boggling.

And yet, even with all of that available knowledge, opinions, thoughts, and diversity of voices… we no longer know what to believe. Government, as an institution, has shown itself to be corrupt and untrustworthy. Institutes of science, the CDC, NIH, NOAA, etc… are deeply political and agenda driven. The garden gnome Dr Fauci has probably done more to damage the credibility of “scientists” than any person in history. Journalists of all types are now so biased it’s very hard to find a true independent voice. People now choose their journalists based upon what side of the political spectrum they’re from. Military leaders have lost credibility. According to the media, every priest, kids sports coach, and boy scout leader is a raging pedophile so you can’t turn to them. Teachers are being exposed daily as having political agendas that influence what and how they teach. Our mega corporations, in partnership with the government, are busy trying to create an Orwellian social credit system that will punish free thought.

How are we supposed to know what to believe today? Mrs Troutdog has a trip planned and asked me if I thought travel was safe right now with the delta variant (you know, the virus that shall not be named) so prevalent. I honestly don’t know what the answer is. I’m a practicing RN who’s taken a fair number of science, statistics, and research courses. I work in a hospital and do work the Covid floor from time to time. I read research papers, articles, and hospital issued policies and positions. I read every independent investigative journalist I can find. I make a point of watching videos from a wide spectrum of medical folks. There is such a massive flood of often contradictory, conspiracy, and agenda driven information out there… as a reasonably well informed person, I still don’t know what to think. The amount of conflicting information is so massive, it’s hard to make an informed decision.

How did we get to this point? Even when a doctor says something about the virus, I now feel I have to question everything. Not that I think they’re lying, but that they’ve fallen into one camp or another so I need to take what they say with a grain of salt. I no longer trust the data that gets published by the government. Everything is so agenda and funding driven I’ve become skeptical of everything. How do you function in a world where two trusted sources often say completely contradictory things? My brain hurts. I just want someone to tell me the answer.

So here’s my truth nugget out of all this pessimism. I don’t think any of this is new. Government has always been corrupt. There has never been such a thing as scientific consensus. Journalism has always been agenda driven and biased. Most of us have just been blissfully unaware. We had lives to live. Families to raise. Ball games to watch. We believed what Walter Cronkite told us. We believed whatever was printed in our local newspaper. Because humans are frightened herd creatures. We want someone in authority to tell us what to believe.

But now the curtains have been thrown open. The ugly reality that there are no universal truths out there, is glaringly evident to all. So this is going to go one of two ways. The government and mega corporations will continue to squash free speech and squeeze everything down to accepted opinions. If you want to get along and function in society you’ll toe the party line. And that will be ok for most. We want to get back to watching our sports and going to Disneyland and raising our families.

Or, the trust chasm will grow. More and more independent voices will raise contrary opinions. People will learn to think critically and not blindly trust the authorities. We’ll begin to reject massive central government control on every aspect of our lives. This fourth industrial revolution we’re in will spawn a more independent society that moves away from the nanny state.

Whatever happens, it will be messy. Right now the information wars are like a room full of screeching baboons all flinging poop at each other. I think people are tired of it. Government and the mega corporations are so powerful it’s hard to see them losing. look at nightmare of government control that Australia has created if you want to see our current trajectory. I scoffed at the idea of the China social credit system ever taking hold here. And in less than a year we now have major cities in the US requiring you show your vaccine status if you want to shop, go to a restaurant, or watch a ball game. Government officials are publicly saying they intend to make participating in society difficult if you don’t comply with their health mandates. What makes you think they’re going to stop there?

People in France, Germany, and even Australia are protesting in the streets by the tens of thousands at the controls being forced by their governments. Here in the land of the free and home of the brave… crickets. It’s fascinating to watch. It’s hard to predict what way things will turn. Are you a red pill or blue pill? Regardless, it’s an amazing point in history, that’s for sure.

I know this steak doesn’t exist. I know that when I put it in my mouth, the Matrix is telling my brain that it is juicy and delicious. After nine years, you know what I realize? Ignorance is bliss.

Cypher, The Matrix 1999

Put It On My Credit Card

This weekend we were treated to the complete collapse of a country. Not ours, yet, but Afghanistan. The human cost will be horrible, but entirely predictable. Unless of course you’re a high level military officer, work for one of the intelligence services, department of state, congress, etc… Our elites, the ones who know better than us, have screwed the pooch on this for literally decades. And this coming week will be an epic circle jerk of finger pointing, blaming every past administration, other agencies, and frantic scrambling to ensure they’re not last one standing when the music stops. Or not. Nobody is ever held to account in government-world. Don’t worry, the Durham report will be released any day now!

The president is on vacation and may or may not address the nation in the next few days. The press secretary also left for vacation yesterday. Kamala won’t take any questions. Afghan citizens are literally falling to their death, desperately clinging to U.S. military planes as they try to evacuate the last remaining embassy personnel. This is a bad week for the Biden administration. When added to the southern border disaster, rising gas prices, inflation, skyrocketing crime rates, Antifa running unchecked through the streets, and the failed Covid plan… this week may be what cost the dems the house and/or senate in ’22. Which will change nothing because there’s virtually no difference between the two parties once you scrape away all the verbal diarrhea spouted at the TV cameras and Twitter.

Everything about how this ended in Afghanistan is awful. There are two main takeaways from all this. First, there should be no further evidence needed that there is such a thing as the deep state. From the military brass to defense contractors to think tanks to intelligence services to K street lobbyists and consultants to congress… they exist to line their own pockets and keep the status quo. The bad orange man had at least one thing right – it is a swamp. And the swamp creatures will do anything to defend their piece of the pie. We ridicule the corruption of third world countries. Do you really think our government is any better?

The second takeaway is closely related to the first. We spent $2.26 trillion on the now failed forced democracy experiment in Afghanistan, according to the Costs of War project. Billions upon billions in squandered reconstruction projects. Billions upon billions in military equipment that now lays in the hands of the Taliban. And here’s the best part – we had to borrow all that money so we could give it away. We’ve already paid $530 billion in just interest payments on that borrowed money. Every time you hear someone caterwauling about the U.S. needing to live up to our leadership role and dole out more aid, support, and assistance to some other country – WE HAVE TO FREAKING BORROW IT SO WE CAN GIVE IT TO SOMEONE ELSE. The leaderships of Russia, China, and the middle east must laugh at us.

Meanwhile, our intrepid government leaders are busy fighting over another 1, 6, 10 trillion (?? I’ve lost count of how much it’s up to now) in “infrastructure spending”. Don’t worry, I’m sure it’s all for shovel ready projects. Good paying union jobs! Taxes of every possible type are going to go up. Because, you know, we all need to pay our fair share.

It’s a helpless feeling. Like back when the mob ruled various cities. Pay protection or your shop gets burned down. Pay bribes if you want to get a building permit. You were powerless to do anything about it because the police and officials were all on the take. Speak out too loudly and you’d end up in a shallow grave somewhere in the desert. While the little guy suffered and simply tried to make an honest living, the elites and the mob bosses went to the front of the line and lived the good life. I suppose it’s always been that way. Sometimes it’s just more blatant than other times.

Watching the debacle of this Afghanistan withdrawal and reading the reactions on the social medias, I feel the level of frustration, discord, anger, and distrust in this country is starting to reach dangerous levels. But then again, maybe not. After all, there’s plenty of videos from the Chinese owned TikTok to distract us. Hmm, I think I sounded a little pessimistic in todays missive. Time to unplug and go do something outside. I suggest you do the same.