Archive for February 2017

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.


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.

*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.


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!