- If you haven’t seen the 1990’s film The Grifters, you should. It’s good. Grift evolved from the original word graft, which means “to acquire dishonestly”. Dear readers, I’m about to disappoint some of you. You may have picked up on a theme here… I’m not a fan of politicians. Because we’re all guilty of confirmation bias (i.e. finding information to support what we already think and ignoring the opposite), many of you may have assumed I’m a hard core right winger who simply hates the dreaded democrats. My three long time readers will know that’s not true. I generally dislike all of them, regardless of party. And when it comes to Trump, well, my opinion of Trump is complicated and worthy of an essay all it’s own. Where am I going with this? If you’re willing to brave a little contrarian thought, I urge you to read this about Jarrod Kushner and Brad Parscale. Warning, you may become disillusioned if you’ve been a big MAGA supporter. The truth is, and I’ve said this many times, politics doesn’t care about you. If you really think politicians have your best interest in mind, you’re a fool. It’s all of them. Both parties. If you’ve read any of Peter Schweizer’s books you’d have a sense of just how corrupt they are. The Clintons, Romney, Mcconnell, Kerry, Mccain, Biden, Harris, the Trump machine. All of them. Are there principled politicians out there? Of course. But you have to sell more and more of your soul to get to the top. And to remain on top.. well, nobody willingly gives up power, money, and influence. None of this is new and is found in every society from time beginning. The most disillusioning thing about this is that the movements some of these powerful people can spark are real. The MAGA crowd. The Bernie bro’s. These are everyday, average people, who honestly want change, to make a difference, and to build a better life for their families and communities. And they willingly give their money to politicians who have the right narrative and slick talking points, thinking this guy (or gal) is the right one this time. They have my back. Their hard earned dollars are hoovered up by the machine and then distributed to loyalists, lobbyists, lawyers, and shell corporations, never to be seen again. Until the next election season. It’s Lucy, Charlie Brown, and the football, time and time again. When you strip away the veneer, there is virtually no difference between the parties. Their goal is to maintain the status quo. Bush, Obama, and Trump have collectively added $17 trillion dollars to the national debt. Biden is poised to add another four straight out of the gate. Nothing changes, silly grasshopper. I don’t mean to be negative, just a realist.
- What the fuck is the My Pillow Guy doing delivering messages to the President about replacing the deputy director of the CIA? Sorry, I just… can’t.
- I was getting on the freeway yesterday and in the middle of the lane there were two skis. Looked like kids skis. I wonder what the story was? Did dad forget to shut the ski rack? Did mom get tired of the kids bickering in the car, said we’re no longer skiing today and pitched ’em out? (the skis, not the kids) Reminded me of a very long time ago when I worked at a ski rental shop. A very distraught soccer mom type came in a few days before Christmas and said she had a serious problem with her skis, would we mind coming out and taking a look? Once outside she burst into tears. She had gone to sports store, bought an expensive ski rack and four sets of skis for the family. They helped her mount everything up and she drove home. Unfortunately she never stopped to check the clearance in the garage when she drove in. All four skis were strapped to the rack, with the front halves snapped up at a 90 degree angle. Not enough P-Tex in the world to fix that.
- Mrs Troutdog has decided we’re going to a dude ranch. She owns a horse and rides. I don’t. I’ve pet the horse a few times, that’s about it. Clearly I’m the dude in this ranch equation. It actually sounds kinda fun. I like the outdoors, so what’s not to enjoy? Especially if there’s no shoveling of poop in this vacation. I see enough poop in my regular job.
- Biden has a 100 day Covid plan. It’s actually perfect marketing. The vaccination program is well underway, so he didn’t have to do anything there. And what happens in 100 days? Warm weather and spring. And what do viruses do in warmer weather? They recede. So, the case counts will be down significantly and the media will gush and declare that thanks to a president who actually believes in science, the Covid is being defeated. Perfect! Marketing 101 people.
- And finishing on a somber note, I don’t check Facebook all that often but did yesterday and noticed a post from someone in the past. I thought to myself I hadn’t seen any posts from him in a while. Scrolling into his feed I was confused by some of the past-tense references people were posting, until I realized he’d passed away a year ago. He was killed by some random person in a road-rage incident. You just never know how much time we have left. Yell at the wrong guy because he cut you off, and they pull out a gun and you’re done. What a waste. He was a good person, single dad with two kids.
Song of the day: Slightly Stoopid – Collie Man (Live at Roberto’s TRI Studios)
- 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
You see Bob, it’s not that I’m lazy, it’s that I just don’t care.
I don’t care what your cause is. Saving the whales. Education. Transportation. Border walls. Healthcare. Wars. Infrastructure. Climate change. Everyone has their hot button interests. I’m sure they’re all worthy in some way. There’s just one problem. WE CAN’T PAY FOR ALL OF THEM.
As someone once said, eventually you run out of other peoples money. Whatever topic is your burning issue, the one that gets you to fire up the Facebook meme machine… great, more power to you. Advocate the hell out of it. But what I do want you to do as a responsible citizen, is tell me what you’re going to cut to pay for it.
You don’t get to just add spending any more. You want to fund research for the mating habits of the snowy plover? Great! Tell me what existing program is less important that you’ll cut funding for.
Could you imagine? We freeze local, state, and federal funding at it’s current point. Every single program, existing and proposed, has to compete for a fixed number of dollars.
Sorry, I’m under the weather and may have had too much cough medicine. I nodded off and had a weird vision of government. Carry on.