Our Miserable 21st Century

Our good friend and fellow Watchers council member The Glittering Eye alerts us to a must-read post at Commentary magazine that explains why Americans feel their country is on the wrong track. “So general economic conditions for many ordinary Americans—not least of these, Americans who did not fit within the academy’s designated victim classes—have been rather more insecure than those within the comfort of the bubble understood. But the anxiety, dissatisfaction, anger, and despair that range within our borders today are not wholly a reaction to the way our economy is misfiring. On the nonmaterial front, it is likewise clear that many things in our society are going wrong and yet seem beyond our powers to correct.”

It’s a must read.

For generations Americans came to expect a rising standard of living. But the jobs that provided that for those without a college degree are pretty much gone, and the college degree itself has become increasingly expensive and its value debased. Many of the same trends that gutted the manufacturing sector such as offshoring in search of cheap labor and increased mechanization are now moving into the service sector. For many Americans it has become a Red Queen’s Race to maintain their current lifestyle, often they often resort to credit to do so. For others their standard of living is in decline and they know it.

Then there are the young, facing college degrees that cost well into the six figures which deliver incomes only into the middle five. Education was always the “ace in the hole” for Americans, but while degrees are used to weed out candidates, unless they are in very specific niche fields they rarely justify the expense to obtain them.

I am middle aged, married and by most measures comfortable. Yet I have no retirement savings, I am still paying off my wife’s medical school loans, and I worry about the job prospects of our adult child. I feel like ours was the last generation to advance up the ladder through conventional means (hard work, sacrifice and education) and that after we arrived someone pulled the ladder up behind us.

How are people now in their teens and twenties supposed to succeed if their aren’t any well-paying jobs?

Of course there will always be entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs, but we can’t be a nation of Steve Jobs especially when Apple is the biggest company in the USA yet employs less than 70,000 people here. We need the equivalent of the old manufacturing companies that employed hundreds of thousands of people at salary levels that would be well into the six figures by today’s standards.

Sure the stock market is reaching highs, but most people don’t own stock and most that do can’t touch that wealth until they retire. Will it still be there when they do?

Americans know something is wrong, but we haven’t put our fingers on exactly what yet, and even when we do it’s not clear to me what the solution is.

How do we employ millions of people at $100k a year or better? I have no clue and neither do any of the Nobel prize winning economists.

We are entering uncharted territory. It is possible that the gap that has become a gulf between the wealthiest and the rest of of us will continue to grow, in which case the only solution might be some form of redistribution. But the wealthy are very good at protecting their wealth and can move it as a last resort should the less well off demand “their fair share.” Raise taxes on the wealthy and their money will disappear in the blink of an eye.

As an American I am supposed to be optimistic about the future, but I’ve seen too many smart people make stupid decisions that make things worse for everyone to be anything but pessimistic.

Photoshop Phun

I’m self-taught using Photoshop, a program that remains one of the most challenging to master I’ve ever used. I’ve been using it for about 17 years and I’m not even close.

I found a folder of stuff that’s over 10 years old at a time when I was participating in contests at a now defunct website.

Enjoy!

A movie about squirrel bullying.

Rembrandt visits the local library…

Courage the Cowardly Dog at the Westminster Dog Show.

The most boring video game ever made.

Kim Jong-il’s Nuke Test

Milo Yiannopoulos and the LGTBQ+ Community’s Dirty Little Secret

While in high school I met my first openly gay person, a 16 old kid who happened to be dating a man twice his age*. Since then I’ve had quite a few gay and lesbian friends and over the years I’ve developed an outlook on life that doesn’t include judging people based on their sexual preference or orientation. Some of my best friends over the years have been gay or bisexual. They are good people and my life would be worse off without them.

What gives me the right to say how somebody finds happiness in this world? How do I know what is best for someone else when there are times I’m not sure I know what’s best for me?

But watching Milo Yiannopoulos crash and burn over comments supportive of pedophilia reminded me that many of my friends had confessed to having had same-sex relationships with adults while they were underage. The LGTBQ+ community has successfully mainstreamed homosexuality in part by either ignoring evidence of homosexual pedophilia or attacking those who breach the subject. Yet the dirty little secret remains that many gay, lesbian and bisexual youth have same-sex encounters with adults while under age.

The percentage of homosexual pedophiles ranges from 9% to 40%, which is approximately 4 to 20 times higher than the rate of adult men attracted to other adult men (using a prevalence rate of adult homosexuality of 2%-4%). [5,7,10,19,29,30] This finding does not imply that homosexuals are more likely to molest children, just that a larger percentage of pedophiles are homosexual or bisexual in orientation to children. As quoted. Source.

I believe Milo’s statements originated from this fact, and that he forgot how controversial this fact remains both within and outside of the LGTBQ+ community. This should neither condone Milo’s remarks nor condemn the broader LGTBQ community. But the fact remains that sex with minors is tolerated in the LGTBQ+ community, condoned as “coming of age” or a sexual awakening for the young in ways that aren’t accepted in the heterosexual community.

Society has a right to protect its children, and the age of consent laws remain prudent barriers to doing so. They should be respected regardless of sexual orientation and it’s in the best interest of the LGTBQ+ community to support these laws. Nevertheless I’m not sure the leftist orientation of the community will stop with equality with heterosexuals, and may ultimately seek the overthrow of these laws as it refuses to “declare victory” and insists on continued aggression towards the outside community by supporting bathroom access laws which endanger women.
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*Around the same time one of my friends, a girl also 16, was dating a guy in his mid-30s, the lead singer of a punk rock band. St. Louis was weirder than one would think.

Obamacare: Let It Be

“(Obamacare) is in a death spiral,” Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini told The Wall Street Journal. The “Death Spiral” Bertolini refers to occurs when healthy people drop health insurance, keeping their premiums that would have been used to offset insurance payouts. This leaves the insured pool sicker and with less money, forcing premiums to rise and driving the remaining health people to drop their insurance in a vicious cycle that ends when the insurance pool collapses. Aetna will leave the Obamacare market completely in 2018, while Humana recently announced it was pulling out of the state markets starting next year.

Leftist groups funded by George Soros have paid people to attend and disrupt Republican town hall meetings and protest the GOP’s promise to “repeal and replace” Obamacare. These paid protesters are trying to give the appearance that they are concerned citizens and constituents of the Republican congressmen holding the meetings, when they are anything but. They’ve chosen Obamacare because it’s the most appealing of the Leftist talking points that gives the disruptions the appearance of being spontaneous grassroots concern when they are as orchestrated as a flash mob dance number. They can’t use other hot-button topics such as the “Muslim ban” since most Americans support it, ditto transgender usage of bathrooms and other Leftist hysteria that would give away the game.

But Republicans need to ask themselves this: What’s the point of killing something that is in the process of dying? The number of insurance providers in state markets are dwindling with some states only having a single provider offering plans. Costs continue to rise as do premiums. The American health care system is so screwed up that there are no easy fixes for Trump and the GOP-led congress to put in place. So why even try?

Let it be. Let Obamacare die the miserable death it was destined at birth, rammed through Congress by Democrats who had to use the parliamentary tactic of reconciliation to get it put into law. Not a single Republican voted for Obamacare so its demise will only hurt the GOP if it’s stupid enough to try to save it.

The American health care system is beyond saving. It must crash and burn before it can be replaced and the GOP should do everything to let that happen. At that point everyone will agree that the system is broken and will be willing to make the painful compromises needed to create a workable health care system. That means patients won’t be able to see doctors for every twinge nor will they be able to order their providers to perform tests or dispense antibiotics and pain meds like they were at the counter of Burger King. Health care insurance companies will cease to exist in their current form, becoming much smaller as the move to insure the wealthy as single payer takes over. Malpractice attorneys will be forced to find another line of work. Specialists will have to tighten their belts as will pharmaceutical companies. The pain will be widespread and everyone will feel it.

But until that happens the Republican must let it be. Their instincts were right about the plan 7 years ago and they are right about it today. But they must not believe they know how to fix it because until the current system dies stakeholders will resist every effort to shore it up or modify it. Politically the party has everything to lose and little to gain so in the end they must let it be.

Playing By The Rules

The text came from out of the blue over my work messaging system. “I need to talk to you. It’s important,” one of the people who I manage pinged me.

I responded to her reply, afraid that the project she had been working had experienced another setback. When I assigned her to the project I hadn’t realized I was sending her into a hornet’s nest, but like so many IT projects, one really can’t tell what the project is going to be like until one’s knee-deep into it. I texted her my phone number, and my office phone rang within seconds.

“I have to resign,” she said.

“What?”

Like many of our contractors, Sri (not her real name of course) is from India and has been living in the United States for several years with her husband and young children. Sri has been a part of my team  and has done solid, dependable work even though I feel that like many Asian women she doesn’t get the respect she deserves in the predominantly male IT field. A few months back she became the scapegoat for the project deadlines being missed, so I stepped in to provide cover and bore some of the heat while she continued her work. Within days she had fixed the problems and the project had gone quiet, humming along with short boring status meetings and the occasional emails, but the stings hadn’t worn off just yet. Had she kicked the nest again somehow? Did someone push her over the edge?

She explained that she and her husband had been waiting for years for their green cards, and had just learned that it would take another half a year – possibly longer – before they came through. Meanwhile their work visas were expiring this summer. The school year was starting in India in the Spring and she didn’t want her kids to be left behind, so she had to quit and return to India in the next few weeks so that they could enroll and attend school. Her husband would finish up his assignment and and reunite with his family in June.

I was dumbfounded. I had enough work to keep her busy well into the year, but I knew what she was dealing with. Having worked abroad I have waited for visas to clear or traveled outside the country simply to get my passport stamped with the correct visa. Knowing the rules and playing by them was critical to succeeding in a foreign country as a researcher or worker, at least it was until recently when American liberals decided borders didn’t matter.

Sri is a diligent worker and I’m sure I’ll run into her again but not for a little while. She’s playing by the rules, returning to her country and waiting in line for her turn at the elusive Green Card.

She’s a hardworking mother and wife who cares about her children’s education enough to cut short her stay so that they don’t miss out on their education. Her family is exactly what we need in our country, and is the modern version of my Irish ancestors who risked everything to come here. Like them Sri’s playing by the rules and paying the price.

Think about Sri the next time you hear a liberal justify illegal immigration.

Reality – the Cure for Trump Derangement Syndrome

Warrior Defined

Just in case there is some confusion over the definition…

Hattip: Zulufucx

Add NOAA to the Fake News Purveyors

As reported by the Daily Mail:

In an exclusive interview, Dr Bates accused the lead author of the paper, Thomas Karl, who was until last year director of the NOAA section that produces climate data – the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) – of ‘insisting on decisions and scientific choices that maximised warming and minimised documentation… in an effort to discredit the notion of a global warming pause, rushed so that he could time publication to influence national and international deliberations on climate policy’.

“Real” Journalists Continue Spreading Fake News

Geez I even bought some of these: The sending  troops into Mexico and the State Department mass resignation. Turns out I was believing in “fake news” that we’ve heard so much about, except that this came from “real” journalists.

Errors from the Press Are Piling Up

The AP, arguably America’s most reputable news source, reported Wednesday that President Trump threatened to send troops into Mexico while on the phone with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. “You have a bunch of bad hombres down there,” Trump told Peña Nieto in the excerpt provided to the AP. “You aren’t doing enough to stop them. I think your military is scared. Our military isn’t, so I just might send them down to take care of it.”

Hours later, however, CNN would report that the AP excerpt was an internal readout of the call and not the actual transcript. CNN said Trump actually told Peña Nieto, “You have some pretty tough hombres in Mexico that you may need help with. We are willing to help with that big-league, but they have be knocked out and you have not done a good job knocking them out.”


That’s a very big difference in interpretation.

Amazon Washington Post lackey Josh Rogin “reported that the entire senior administrative team at the state department resigned in the opening week of the Trump administration. The columnist failed to mention that only one undersecretary of state stayed in the transition from the Clinton to Bush administration.”

Keep shoveling guys!

The Left’s Latest Meltdown: Trump Is Hitler

President Trump’s executive order on Friday caused yet another Liberal Meltdown on the Internet as well as on social media. But not everywhere. Reuters reports from my old stomping grounds of Manchester Missouri that Trump supporters there aren’t bothered by the 00 day moratorium on refugees from 7 middle eastern nations that the Left has characterized as a “Muslim Ban.” “In the St. Louis suburb of Manchester, Missouri, 72-year-old Jo Ann Tieken characterized the president as bringing reason into an overheated debate.“Somebody has to stand up, be the grown up and see what we can do better to check on people coming in,” she said. “I’m all for everybody to stop and take a breath … Just give it a chance.””

The article goes on to interview a retired school cafeteria worker in Michigan who referenced referenced the attacks in Brussels and Paris. “Look at what’s happening in Europe,” she said. “I don’t dare travel there, out of fear.”

The wife and I have been traveling twice a year to Europe for several years now, and over that time we’ve seen the damage caused by the EU’s “Open Door” policy to refugees from the Middle East. These refugees have thanked the peace, prosperity and freedom granted by their hosts by making neighborhoods in France, Germany and Sweden “no-go” zones for women and non-Muslims where they risk rape and assault. Even in my beloved Rome I’ve seen young men turning a park on the Domus Aurea near the Colosseum into a hangout that’s become increasingly unsafe even during the day. While we aren’t giving up travel to Europe just yet, we are finding our destination list increasingly circumscribed by events there.

Bookworm of Bookworm Room fame has been besieged by the Left on social media but strikes back with a post attacking the fallacies underlying the Left’s latest freakout.

Here’s the core point: Unlike the Jews of WWII, the Muslims whom the Left insists we accept in the US aren’t the victims of a vast, aberrant genocidal upheaval, completely out of keeping with historical norms and, indeed, 19th century trends in humanism. Other than Syria, the other nations on the list (nations, incidentally, that the Obama administration classified as terrorism risks) are cultural and economic backwaters that have values in keeping with Nazi values. They’re on the move, not because of a one-off genocidal war, but because majority Muslim nations in the Middle East are dangerous, corrupt, hate-filled, and poverty-stricken…

Islam’s rules marginalizing women, forbidding lending for reasonable interest (which is one of the engines of a growing economy), barring Jews and Christians, killing gays, and limiting knowledge to the Koran (which vast numbers of illiterates in the Middle East even cannot read) are perfect ingredients for a violent, degraded, economically stagnant community. Those countries that have some wealth (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, etc.) achieved their wealth, not through human potential, but for the West’s willingness to pay big bucks for black gold.

Read the entire thing.

 

 

 

The Failure of the Davos Globalist Elite

When did people start believing that “buy American” and thinking about America first were bad?

Countries already worry about their own first. They enter deals which benefit them or their people. The Japanese enter trade deals because it creates jobs and improves the lives of the Japanese. The Chinese do the same as do the Russians. Most countries already have laws that encourage governments and their citizens to buy their own products. It’s naive to think that countries don’t put the interests of their citizens first.

What globalization proponents have failed to do is to explain how trade with other nations benefit a specific country. Free trade is supposed to be a benefit to all participating countries, not a zero sum game where one country wins at the expense of another.

Globalization proponents have failed to fully appreciate the devastation to workers and their communities when factories and businesses move abroad. This is because within a trading country free trade is a zero sum game: there are winners such as the Silicon Valley billionaires and consumers who pay less for products, and losers, such as factory workers in the Midwest and South. Many globalists don’t have any contact with or understanding of the lives of these people. For them it’s an academic argument “there will be winners and losers in the economy blah blah blah” but for a person working at the factory it’s the center of his or her existence.

For twenty-somethings with college degrees it’s easy to switch careers. For people in their forties and fifties who have mortgages, children and elderly loved ones to support, and car payments it’s nearly impossible. We haven’t found a way to take a laid off middle aged factory worker in the Midwest and train her with new skills that will immediately pay the same or more than she is currently earning in her factory job. When factories close workers usually end up finding jobs earning half of what they previously earned. The trickle down effects of this can be seen throughout communities in the South and Midwest.

Those who have suffered from globalization have found little support from the major parties. Democrat Bernie Sanders recognized them as did Republican Trump but the ruling elite of both Democrats and Republican is controlled by globalization forces. Democrats like Hillary Clinton and Republicans like Jeb Bush have supported free trade and immigration policies that have crushed the working poor. Only Sanders and Trump appreciated their plight.

If we are to maintain a free trade globalist system we must come up with a means of redistributing wealth from the winners to the losers within a country. But so far this has been completely ignored by globalists meeting in Davos Switzerland. “People talk about inequality, how it’s a major problem, the greatest threat to globalization and the global economy,” (Nobel Prize wining economist Joseph) Stiglitz said. “You have to recognize that the way we have managed globalization has contributed significantly to inequality. But I have not yet heard a good conversation about what changes in globalization would address inequality.”

Redistribution of wealth is instinctively hated by libertarians and conservatives, but the Left has remained silent, refusing to confront their globalist allies in Silicon Valley, Hollywood and New York. Free Trade has been oversold to citizens. It’s not perfect and it does damage lives. Unfortunately the ruling elite hasn’t figured out how to fix that damage and support those who lose their jobs by confiscating wealth from the few winners and handing it to the millions of losers in an economy. Until they do it will be populists like Trump, Farage and Le Pen who will write History.

President Trump Takes Office

After more than 8 years of Obama (remember how active he was as president-elect, even using a special seal on his podium after the election?) I am too weary to write another word more about the Disaster-in-Chief Obama other than: Don’t let the door hit you in the butt on the way out. I suspect his life as an ex-pres will force me to write about him again. While Jimmy Carter knocks on Death’s door I’m sure Obama is ready to replace him as the Liberal Nag-in-Chief.

As for Trump, I know we are living in a tumultuous time, but it will be interesting to see someone fight for the forgotten American workers – those who have struggled to survive after seeing their livelihoods shipped abroad, then told to get an education by someone half their age who has no clue what it’s like.

For the sake of the less fortunate I hope he delivers on his promises.

Timeless Moment

Satori is what Buddhist’s call “sudden enlightenment”. It’s what others call “flashes of insight”, “a moment of stillness,” or even when the world says “meow.”

My last moment of satori was 5 years ago on a local highway with the kid in the backseat and the wife beside me.

Last night it was just the kid and I except he was driving. The moment came without warning during this Alice in Chains song.

For a moment time stretched and there was just me and my adult son, driving through the night and listening to loud music together.

For all the worry, fear and self-doubt that comes with being a parent such moments are a blessing, needed assurance as your child explores independence in an increasingly insane world.

 

Corporate Media Has Learned Nothing From 2016 Election

Zerohedge takes aim at a preinauguration poll floating around claiming Trump is the most unpopular president-elect in 40 years.

Here’s a screenshot of a poll taken the day before the election.

Here’s a screenshot taken of the poll today.

Note that Scott Clement is a writer on both pieces. Even though the election the next day proved his polling was flawed due to oversampling of Democrats, Scott makes the exact same mistake again as pointed out in the Zerohedge piece.

The Washington Post is owned by Jeff Bezos, the Amazon slave driver as shown in this 2014 essay by Republican mouthpiece Salon, so it’s no surprise Clement would slant his poll to suit his boss’s antipathy towards Trump. Got to make his master happy at all cost.

Still it’s disappointing to see corporate media resort to the same reality-distorting tricks that caused Liberals to run to their safe spaces after the election.

Rich Lowery: Democrats Losing Their Collective Minds

Writing in the New York Post, Rich Lowery believes Buzzfeed has done the President-elect a huge favor. “Its decision to post the document has to be considered another chapter in the ongoing saga of the media and Democrats losing their collective minds. If the election had gone the other way, it is hard to see BuzzFeed publishing a 35-page document containing unverified, lurid allegations about President-elect Hillary Clinton that it didn’t consider credible. This was an anti-Trump decision, pure and simple.”

He also realizes the “Democrats have done themselves no favors by implicitly refusing to accept the election results after browbeating Trump for months to accept the results in advance. And if the press is going to lower its standards in response to Trump, it will diminish and discredit itself more than the president-elect.”

Exactly. The more the press acts like the propaganda wing of the Democratic Party, the stronger Trump’s support becomes. If the Democrats and their media allies really wanted to bring Trump down they’d do what Lowery suggests: treat him like a “normal” politician. Question his ideas and how he plans to implement them.

For example I’m all for repealing Obamacare yet I have no idea how Trump and the GOP plan to do this. No clue – and I’m a Trump supporter and a GOP member. But since I’m a Trump supporter my ideas are ignored, just as Lowery’s will be because he’s a Fox News contributor and sympathetic to the GOP.

Instead the press and the Democrats are getting in bed with the CIAfomenting a war with Russia, famous actors and actresses are making speeches about being oppressed in front of audiences wearing $20,000 designer dresses and tuxedos on TV and taking to Twitter to call for martial law.

All this hysteria will do is make Trump and the GOP stronger, so I guess we should thank the media and the Democrats.