TELL US WHO YOU ARE

We’ve all played them, those innocent little games that appear on social media and are shared to our friends so that we may compare results.  They will ask you to answer a series of questions in order to determine what sort of tree you would be or which super hero you would identify with.

While you are being matched with a quaking aspen or being compared to Thor or Wonder Lass you are also contributing to someone’s demographic data base for the purpose of becoming a commodity.

The information you provide when answering the questions, linked to your social media platform, is valuable input for marketing departments all around the globe.

A particularly transparent version of this information gathering technique showed up on my Face Book page.  This one had a sophistication level so low that it might well have been crafted by one of those wives-cousins-brothers-nephews of some Nigerian government official who had died leaving umpteen and a half million in a secret bank account which could now be shared by you in exchange for all your banking data.

The following illustration is not linked to anything and cannot be used to “play” the game.PHONE GAME.jpg

At the time this showed up on my FB page there was one respondent.  She scored ‘freaky-freaky-outstanding-freaky’, or a phone number ending in 3303.  In as much as the game was keyed to her social media platform and therefore her profile, the authors knew her name, location, telephone area code and prefix.  There are areas which have more than one prefix but robo-dialers don’t seem to mind.

She is now in yet another data base and someone is collecting a fee for having added her name.

Speaking only for myself, I get a sufficient number of telephone solicitations without making their job any easier.

 

 

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WAGE REVERSAL

Throughout the history of this country we have had a roller coaster of a ride but the trend was always upward.  Across the peaks and valleys of progress each generation somehow managed to do a bit better than the preceding one until now.  The following clip is from the AARP Bulletin, March 2017.

Wade Reversal.jpg

Whether we can attribute this to Globalism or automation or a combination of the two, this is a disturbing trend.

Just a few days ago I heard an economist on talk radio discussing the need to tax industrial robots at the income rate of the humans they replaced.  That way the government could maintain status quo without worrying about those pesky unemployed folks.

I don’t have the answers but I do want my kids to do better than me in the game of life.  It’s time to recognize that this wage reversal is a serious problem and needs to be addressed, not merely recognized as existing.

Thoughts from the blogosphere?

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ENOUGH, TAKE OFF THE GLOVES

I’ve never been particularly good at the art of the rant but here goes.

We have a duly elected President attempting to get his act together and run an administration.  Mr. Trump was not my candidate and I would willingly have joined any vocal loyal opposition formed to hold his feet to the fire, legally and constitutionally, as he worked to fulfill the duties of his office.

However many others have taken the view that he is their enemy and must be defeated at every turn.

First a couple of definitions:

Sedition.  Incitement or discontent or rebellion against a government or any action, especially in speech or writing promoting such discontent or rebellion.

Treason.  The offense of acting to overthrow one’s government.  A violation of allegiance to one’s sovereign or state (nation).

There is strong evidence that a coalition of people, both inside and outside the government, aided and abetted by no fewer than four of the five living ex-presidents, are actively attempting to thwart the current President and by some lights, to stage a coup d’etat.

This is the United States of America, not some third world banana republic and we simply cannot allow this to happen.  Such action is contrary to everything we stand for, contrary to what millions of our young people have fought, bled and died for on battlefields both foreign and domestic.

If you are an American with any sense of what this nation has endured in its 240 year march to this point in history then you would not countenance such an affront, not to the people currently elected, but to the system that has been our mainstay over the centuries.

And to Mr. Trump, sir, respectfully, you are in power and have not only the law but the right on your side.  Sedition and treasonous acts are taking place.  Stop making nice with people who want your head on a pike.  Convene whatever forums or panels necessary and root them out.  Prosecute them, all of them, and if found guilty in a court of law, send them to prison, without regard to who they are or what positions they hold or former positions they might have held.  No one is above the law.

I worry not about President Trump, he will continue to thrive no matter what the outcome.  I worry about my country and whether it can survive the acts of those traitors as they seek to destroy the rule of law for whatever selfish agenda they are pursuing.

We must stand up for America and allow our system of laws and governance to work as intended or our nation will perish.

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TRUMP VS: THE ROMAN OCCUPATION

Throughout the seemingly endless Presidential  campaign, the battle-scarred interval between election day and the inauguration, the constant, often violent protests and the infighting over cabinet picks, I held onto the view that Donald Trump was simply a businessman, unskilled in the political arena but possessed of a deep patriotic streak.

I now believe that I was far off the mark, he is no simple patriotic business man, unskilled in politics, in my opinion he is a Zealot in the Biblical sense.

To make the point I must digress.  Let us travel back to Judea, 1st century CE.  Many scholarly tomes have been written concerning the so-called lost years of Jesus.  I believe those years were spent following the Spice Road, traveling with the caravans that traded with the Far East.  Further, that Jesus was exposed to and studied the then 500 year old Buddhist philosophy which he incorporated into his Jewish worldview.

When Jesus began his Rabbinical work Judea was a Roman province and the Jewish religious leaders were all willingly subservient to Roman rule.  At that time the Jews were anxiously awaiting the arrival of The Messiah, a military leader who would lead a revolution and end Roman rule.

Jesus was identified as Messiah and attracted a following, many coming from the Galileans, a hotbed of zealots and a group described by Josephus as, “ever fond of innovation and by nature disposed to change and delighted in sedition.  They were ever ready to follow the leader and to begin an insurrection.”

But Jesus, influenced by his exposure to Far Eastern philosophy, proved to be a peaceful messiah which caused some of his disciples, notably Judas Iscariot, Simon Zelotes and Peter to attempt to force his hand by setting up his arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, Peter even taking a sword to Malchus, the servant of the High Priest, and cutting off his ear.

How does all this tie into our current President?  Donald Trump certainly does not compare to Jesus, rather he is a modern day zealot.  His Rome is the Globalist establishment and, as the modern equivalent of that ancient Jewish priesthood who were willing lackeys of the Roman occupiers, he sees the entire Washington political class along with the main stream media.

Donald Trump is a man with a mission, no less so than Barabbas, Judas and others from among the first century Zealots.  There is an epic battle taking shape, one that can alter the course of history for decades to come.

On the one side we have those forces of Globalism which have been growing and marshaling power since the days of Woodrow Wilson and they have become the defacto “Papa  Gepetto,” pulling the strings in every industrialized nation on earth.  On the other side we have Donald Trump and his cadre of true believers.

Donald Trump occupies the most powerful position on the planet but the question remains, can he successfully overturn a movement that has been a century in the making?

His enemies are formidable.  They include half the population of the country as well as nearly the entire mainstream media and they are being led by a massive, organized and well-funded coalition that includes no fewer than four of the five living ex-presidents.

Without regard to anyone’s political views, we all have front row seats to a seminal moment in history.  This will be the stuff legends are made on.  It will be the reality show of all reality shows.  So grab that popcorn, those milk duds, settle into your seats and focus on center stage.  Oh, and don’t forget to buckle your seat belts.

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PRAY FOR THE PREZ

If you are one who stands to profit from a failed administration then this is not the post for you.  Go back to whatever you were doing.  Sorry for the interruption.

A tourist visiting in one of the Banana Republics asked a native, “what is the most popular sport in your country?”  “Cock fighting,” replied the local, “having those game roosters give their all in the arena draws many thousands of people each week.”  The tourist grimaced and said, “isn’t it revolting?”  “No replied the man, “revolting, while always popular, remains number two.  Cock fighting is number one.”

Watching the news these past few months one might begin to compare parts of America to that Banana Republic, lacking only the courage of the birds.

In keeping with a 240 year old tradition we held a presidential election and predictably one candidate won while the others lost.  We can argue ad infinitum over the results of the election, the fairness of the process, alleged criminality on all sides, but the results were certified and the process of forming a new administration undertaken.

As a result of this particular election it has become increasingly difficult to avoid the two “third rail” topics of discourse, religion and politics.  I would challenge anyone to identify my political stance through reading any of my posts yet I have lost friends and alienated relatives because of what they have read into my views.  At heart I am a pragmatist and I firmly believe in the lessons of Occam’s Razor, that the solution to any problem which contains the fewest variables is most often the best solution.

The problem we are facing today is that we have a deeply divided nation.  Without regard to which side of the political aisle you are on you have roughly one half of the country’s population for company.  That is simple fact.

Unless you are one of those referenced in the first paragraph it would seem that a divided nation is not, and cannot be, in your best interest.  Which brings us to the title subject.

Although America is a majority Christian nation, we are home to some number of people who follow every religion known to man as well as a share of agnostics and atheists.

We are all on the ship of state together and it is up to us to decide whether this boat is to be the Mayflower or the Titanic.

I happen to believe that prayer is effective, that it works.  I can argue either side of whether it is due to divine intervention or because prayer is focused thought and that  thoughts are tangible things, able to influence other tangible things.

Without regard, as Christians we are called to love our enemies.  In Luke, Chapter 6 (KJV) it is written:  “Ye have heard it said thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thy enemy but I say unto you, love your enemies, do good to those that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you.”  And:  “For if you love them that love you, what reward have ye?  Do not even the publicans the same?  And if you salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others?  Do not even the publicans so?  Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

Most major religions have expressed similar thought, that we should reach out to those with opposing viewpoints and seek common ground.  In all religions this outreach is accomplished first through prayer and then, if so led, by positive action.

For my agnostic or atheist friends I would ask that you simply hold a good thought that the best solutions for the country’s current problems manifest themselves.

A deeply divided America with a failed administrative branch would result in a power vacuum that could easily endanger the entire globe.  If this President’s internal enemies are successful then our external enemies will most certainly take advantage of the situation and unless you are in the group referenced in the first paragraph then you will be among the losers.

It is in our country’s interest as well as our individual interests that a loyal opposition emerge to help to beat back the well funded, borderline seditionist, movement, both inside and outside of the government, that has been organized to destroy our democracy.

A loyal opposition will seek to put the country’s interests first and attempt to guide the current administration rather than to emulate the Banana Republic by overthrowing a duly elected administration.  And, if not successful it would then work to turn the current administration out of office at the next election cycle.

That is the American way.

In the meantime I urge to you to pray, in whatever form makes sense to you, not for the people but for the preservation of our time honored system of government.

 

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PINT SIZED PICASSO

The soon to be 4 year old twin grand-girls were laboring away at their art center.  Our blondie was filling letter sized sheets of paper with impromptu geometric designs in a variety of pastels while the red-head seemed to favor only her black water colors.

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My wife, a former art teacher, stood and watched for a few minutes then asked L’il Red, “Are you sad?”
“Nope.”
“Then why is everything black.”
“Because, Grandma, It’s a picture of a stormy night.”

dark-stormy-night346

I’m not certain that Claude Monet started this way but could be.

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THERE ARE NONE SO BLIND…

There are none so blind as those who will not see.  This proverb has been traced back to 1546, attributed to John Heywood, and is similar to the Biblical verse found in Jeremiah 5:21, “hear now this O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes and see not, which have ears and hear not.”

It was used by Jonathan Swift (1738) in his ‘polite Conversations’ and first appeared in the United States in the 1713 ‘Works of Thomas Chalkley.’  The full saying is: “There are none so blind as those who will not see.  The most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they already know.”

And then there is the term “useful idiots,” in modern parlance a description of those who support one side of an ideological debate, but who are manipulated and held in contempt by the leaders of their faction, or are unaware of the true agenda that is driving the ideology to which they subscribe.

The election is over and we have a new president.  Anyone familiar with this blog will know that my preferred candidate throughout the campaign and up until election day was “none of the above.”

The election is over and yet the battle continues.  Where once in this country a loyal opposition would emerge after the votes were counted we have instead a well financed, well organized series of sometimes violent “protests.”

I would caution those participating in such protests to think through the consequences of their action.  We have as Commander in Chief a man who is highly successful in business but is an amateur politician.

The learning curve for POTUS is steep, not an ideal undertaking for on the job training.  Yet here we are.  Those who would frustrate and impend the new President as he gropes toward a firm footing in the job do so at the peril of the entire planet.  While they might very well succeed in derailing his Presidency, to do so could prove to be a Pyrrhic Victory of epic proportions.

While the protesters are marching, chanting, occasionally burning and looting (some call it ‘shopping’) and carrying signs describing Mr. Trump as homophobic, xenophobic, gynophobic, everything but anatidaephobic, none seem to question the motives of those who are funding these well organized protests, working out the logistics and creating those thousands of well-crafted signs.

To the protesters I say that never has an administration needed a loyal opposition more than this one.  During the campaign many folks decried the fact that a successful run by Donald trump would put his finger squarely on the nuclear trigger.  Well guess what, that’s where it is.  It’s time to suck it up and for the good of the nation to organize for the purpose of educating the President in those areas of political life where he is lacking.

An openly hostile press, obstructionism and burning buildings serve only to antagonize, not to educate.  Think it through, four years of Donald Trump will not destroy America, we survived Woodrow Wilson.  But a frustrated, angry President, lacking political experience, is ripe for making that sort of irretrievable mistake that could spell disaster for our entire nation.

It’s time for us to either lead, follow or get out of the way.

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