Month: September 2016

A year later and I’m a happy introvert

I’m working from home today and I’m already on my fourth cup of coffee.  My Keurig isn’t the newest and the coffee has recently not been as hot as it should be, so I tend to drink it down rather fast.  I have my personal laptop playing Spotify in the background.  It’s playing the new Flaw album that came out only a few weeks or so ago and I’m amazed that they’ve kept the sound they had from 2001, yet making the new music relevant and fresh.  I’m in my basement office despite the house being entirely empty; daughter is at school and wife is at work.  Only the dog and cat are here to keep me company, but neither of them like the basement if I’m honest.  Like they know it’s a hole in the ground with a heavy two-story house sitting on top of it.

A basement is where you put the things that you don’t want normal visitors to see in your home.  The place where things are taken to be forgotten or stored for the next time it is appropriate for them to be taken back out.  The place where you can hide from the normal stresses and problems of the world if only for a little while until it is time to ascend up the steps.  I often see the basement as a pretty damn good metaphor for how my life is lived and conducted.  The basement is the place I go to remove myself from normal life and descend into a world of my own making, where my decisions are my own and thusly, I own the decisions I make.  Normal problems of life don’t follow me down here and in most circumstances, they don’t return until I’m ready to face them again.  In the past, I’ve spent hours and days in a figurative basement I created in my own mind shutting out everything except the most critical of things.

Fifth coffee down.

It is only now, while I’m sitting in a literal basement, that I finally see the potential for damage that my own descent into introvert holes can create.  There are people in my life that need me to be present in both physical and mental capacities, people who depend on the idea that I’m engaged as much as they are in the circle of life we’ve created together.  This was something that I did not truly understand until I wasn’t a member of the circle we created, where I had to be invited and even ask if it was okay to enter again.  A personal journey into my own life, as I now understand, required that jolt to the system that not being at home last year forced me to take.  At first I was a reluctant passenger, not wanting to admit that I was the cause, not wanting to admit that I had a problem.  In reality, I did have a problem, I was the cause, I was to blame.

After a few weeks, I knew that something had to give.  I had to learn that in order to get what I needed to stay out of the introvert hole, I needed to force myself through situations where I was uncomfortable.  Force is such a strong word.  Perhaps instead of force, I needed to choose to be in situations where I was uncomfortable in order to get into situations where I could retreat into solitude.  The people around me, the closest ones, needed to understand from me why this was a necessity.  That is exactly what I did, finding all sorts of online blogs that I could share with my wife to help her understand my introverted nature from her extroverted point of view.  We were, from the beginning, like oil and water, but I know now that is okay.  It’s okay to not be the same and see the world differently because that is what makes us unique and complimentary to each other.  We’re suited for different situations that, in turn, makes us together prepared for every situation that one or the other shares taking the lead on.

I’m okay with what has amounted to a continuous journey of learning.  Nothing is absolute and nothing is ever a problem that can’t be overcome.  The amazing thing about all of this is that not only had my wife given me another chance last year, but, together we have worked to get to a mutual level of understanding we can both be happy about.  We have started to, through actually talking (go figure), recognize the signs in each other when support is needed vs. solitude; taking charge vs. just observing; talking vs. listening.  We are by far not the perfect couple.  I’m scared of the perfect couple, it’s not natural.  Perfect couples, to me, are like sleeping volcanoes that will at some point blow up and decimate everything and everyone around them.  My sister-in-law is the Queen of bottling things up, creating pressure, and then to explode suddenly over something that essentially is trivial at best.

Sixth coffee down.

After a year of discovering with my wife at my side helping, I’m now in a good place where I feel that problems are recognized and talked about before they end up causing a larger problems.  We both talk a lot more now than we ever have in the past and it took us almost losing our marriage to understand why this is so important.  In a time where people get married and divorced at ever-increasing frequency, I’m happy with the fact that we decided together to work through our differences and adapted to our marriage at 16 years and stopped treating it like we were at 1, 5, or 10 years.  Marriages fail, in my opinion, because one or both participants failed to adapt to the change that marriage demands.  People get older, wiser in some instances, and therefore, it is logical to assume that a marriage needs to change in order to accommodate and stay strong.

I will always be an introvert.  My wife will always be an extrovert.  We understand that somewhat now.  We are cognizant of the fact we’re different people who need different things; sometimes not at the same time.  She gives me the time I need when I need it to regroup, collect, and process my thoughts.  I give her the time she needs when she needs it to connect and feel included to our lives.  We decided together to put the effort into our relationship despite the bumps and road blocks that life inevitably throws our way.  It wasn’t an easy lesson for me to learn personally as I have lived my life for more than 35 years clinging to a mindset that avoided life.  Enlightenment, to me, is understanding how you want things to be around you, but knowing that you’re not in control of anything other than your own actions.  The acceptance of that fact is what makes us choose to do things that aren’t what we want to do, but rather what we need to do in order to live.

What a crappy Monday!

Today has been difficult for me, definitely a “down” type of day that has infected everything around me. It’s been a long time since I last had a day where it started off wrong from the moment my alarm went off. No matter what I’ve attempted to accomplish today, it’s gone sideways and ended up being much more effort to be expended to get things straight again. Coming off a great three-day weekend (had a friend’s wedding on Friday) where no one yelled, got angry, or fought about anything just to get rewarded with such a horrible Monday really does suck. Noises around me seem worse today the before, my typing is horrible and labored, have yet to have a meeting go well, and I keep fighting the urge to just go home.

The news was depressing at lunch and didn’t do much to make things better, although it was part of my routine that wasn’t upended today. Bombs, stabbings, rumors it is linked to terrorism….. WTH? I can’t shake the feeling that we’ve done this to ourselves, we’ve created a system that is ripe for this sort of violence. We’re a divided country and with that division, we’re too focused on what offends us to recognize what a massive target our country actually has become. Obama is a lame-duck, the government is gridlocked and hopelessly ineffective, the Fed is hinting at a rate hike (that I think is needed btw), yet all we’re worried about is how much gasoline is going to cost heading into the holiday season threatening our pervasive need to buy more stuff. It makes me sick. We want the quick fix, a miracle pill for the economy, all without the sting and pain that goes along with it. Don’t raise my taxes, but reduce the debt. Don’t spend so much on military, but protect us from evil-doers. Keep me safe, but don’t violate my privacy doing so. Grrr!

My pessimism can’t be hidden today. I’m angry at the system and the people who have been allowed, unchecked, to mold the system to their benefit. Only 3% of this country makes over $250,000/year (after tax deductions and loopholes that is) of reported income. Would I think differently if I suddenly started making $2-3 million per year? Perhaps. I’d much rather think that I’d be the outsider, the squeaky wheel, the one that polarized the 97% to recognize their power and start wielding it instead of ignoring it. Take all that pessimist energy, the “downs”, and channel it into something productive that normal Americans can get behind. How quickly things would get turned upside down and quickly fall apart when over 300 million people start pushing a common message. A message that tells the other 3% your time is up, easy money is gone, and they’re the ones footing the bill for our great economic recovery.

Has my day improved now having gotten this negative word vomit out? No. Has my pessimism been reduced a little? Yes. Do I hope that you are listening to me instead of just hearing me? Yes, definitely yes! A good saying, not sure who said it. “You can fill a bucket with drops or a torrent, the bucket still gets full. You can change Government one person at a time or with a country, the Government still changes.”

There’s no excuse anymore to not vote

Call me jaded, or disheartened, about this year’s Presidential election. That’s fine. Over the last several weeks of finding and reading truly unbiased and factual information on the Internet from sources that boast their verifiable pedigree, my eyes and mind have been opened more than in my entire life since I turned 18. My parents, almost polar opposites from me, are focused on the “standard” issues that have been discussed on the election campaigns for more than three decades. Heck, my Mom is voting for Clinton because she wants to be part of “history” in helping the first woman ascend to President of the United States. It is a very narrow point of view and indicative of a tragically closed mind. I get it, and I certainly don’t hold it against them. I am not opposed to and strongly support equality among men and women, but is Clinton really the best choice? My parents and their generation aren’t going to foster the change that I am now convinced we need in this country. Yes, I’m generalizing, I mean no offense to anyone that is in the boomer generation. Generation Y, my generation, is at a cross-road where they need to decide if the status quo is adequate, or if revelational change is needed. One has no risk at all, but has the potential for damage into the next 2-3 decades. The other is loaded, dripping, on fire with risk, however has the potential to upend and reboot the system in ways that could benefit us much longer.

I have not endorsed any one particular person strongly other than that I support third-party candidates in general. My view of the two-party system is that it reinforces the other, unspoken, two party system that we’re all currently living with now. We’ve all heard of the 1%/99% division in the country, but I think it goes much deeper than that. The 1%, aka elite, are a group of people who control an overwhelming majority of the wealth in this country and truly can do what they want, how they want to, and essentially without impunity by the law. The remaining 99%, aka non-elite, is the rest of the country who are unfairly measured against the law that has been distorted by the elite to keep all of us in check. The law is no longer equal. The elite have managed to completely distort the founding fathers ideal of a true democracy where absolute law is the core belief in only 40-50 years. We are essentially two types of economies; the 1% socialist elite and the 99% capitalist non-elite. They want us to keep buying stuff, creating more debt, surrendering our freedom to become modern slaves to our debt. Debt that is becoming increasingly harder and practically impossible to get away from.

With this explained, I am now officially supporting the Libertarian Johnson/Weld bid for the presidential election this year. It was recently announced, that for the first time since 1996, a third-party candidate will be sitting along side the Democrat and Republican nominees in all 50 states. In an election year where a lot of normal Americans do not like either Clinton or Trump, a third party nominee is a welcome relief. His platform is more in alignment with my newfound understanding of the problems in our country right now, more so than either Clinton or Trump combined. My fear is that, should he actually pull off the upset of the millennium, he won’t have any traction during his entire 4 years as President due to the gridlocked House and Senate. Executive Orders aside, he absolutely needs to have support of the Legislative branch of the government in order to effect any real and lasting change. The more likely scenario is that he garners a much larger chuck of the Electoral votes that prevents Clinton or Trump from reaching the minimum 270. The election in 1800 was the last time that this happened. The process to decide the President/Vice President is truly bizarre and is explained HERE.

The 1% is, in my opinion, truly afraid of one thing. That the 99% remaining population catches on to their deception, lies, manipulation, and socialist ways and decides to make a change through who they decide to vote for. Regardless of whether you think your vote matters or not, the fact we can still vote despite the control the 1% has of us is a core Constitutional right. Granted it took more than 100 years to even get that right, it eventually did get changed to where 1 American equals 1 vote. I’m happy that a third-party candidate is on the ballot in all 50 states because I was seriously close to not voting for the next President. I would be no more effective than a rock at that point. We as Americans need to start realizing that knowledge is power and individually we have the power to affect change at the highest levels of government. We need to take the time to re-learn how to wield this power again and flip off the elite in this country. I’m still appalled that 97% of the people in this country make less than $250,000/year yet the majority of them have decided to not vote for multiple reasons. I’m sorry, but if you don’t vote, you need to get off your ass and get to the voting booths and make your voice heard. There is a powerful message sent when 97% of the country unites and screams at the same time demanding change to the current system. Well, you going to vote?

Three Things Thursday – 9/15/2016

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Inspired by Nerd in the Brain

Bring the happy!

Bro Time

Today, finally, is a long-awaited day of hanging out with friends. After work, I’m heading to a local restaurant that cooks pizza using coal and the pizza is always well-done. They have flowing beer out of the tap that is seasonal and its never the same thing from one visit to the next. I really enjoy the time I spend with the few friends that I actually have managed to keep where I can talk or say anything I want or need to without fear of getting the “stink-eye” look or the cold shoulder. We’re each others lawyers with a strict confidentiality code.

Coffee

This black gold substance has been my closest companion the last few weeks due to it being audit season at work. Some Director decided it would be a good idea to consolidate the audits to a specific quarter of the year to save some money and take advantage of bulk audit discounts. Well, there was no thought of the people who have to run and coordinate these audits, as is typical with someone too far removed from the work. So, therefore, coffee has become my elixir of awakeness and alertness. It will continue to serve me well without complaint well into November as well.

Water Softeners

By my estimation, all the hard water has now been removed from my house pipes. Cleaning, showering, and general tasks that require water have become much less apprehensive and easier. We’re using less detergent and soap and are on our way to replacing them with homemade stuff. We’re now drinking water from the tap and the refrigerator now that it isn’t laden with magnesium and calcium, and the filter on the kitchen sink has provided water that is free from other stuff too. Our last bottle of water has been used and we’re no longer spending over $500/year on bottled water. I’m so happy we’re finally able to drink the water out of tap without it feeling like we’re guzzling what can only be described as transparent metallic tasting liquid.

Why I’ve decided to delete my Facebook account

I’ve been on Facebook for almost a decade, signed up around 2008 or so. It was fun at first, reconnecting with all sort of people who were blasts from the past in high school and college. That quickly faded though as I realized that past the idle chit-chat and random posts, I never really had a connection with them from before, so why would I think it would be different through Facebook. Recent events and taking the time to read, understand, and read more about the true nature of the system we’re being forced to live with, I’m seeing things clearer and for how they truly exist. I’m in a better space now based on knowledge and truth and have decided to delete my Facebook account.

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Inspiration for this post: Control perception, control the world by Learning to Speak Politics

Opt-in Default Settings

Lets face it, the social meida world in 2008 was drastically different from the social media world today. We’re in a state of thought where privacy is fleeting and is more of an illusion than of true fact. The settings for privacy on Facebook have changed multiple times in the past decade and not always for the better. Traditionally, as privacy settings have been added and/or updated, they were implemented in our accounts as an “opt-in” feature, or turned on by default. As I’m sure there are people out there that are perfectly fine (I think they’re crazy) with sharing with “Everyone” their entire lives, I am not. I had to review privacy every few weeks to a few months to make sure a sneaky privacy change didn’t creep in and I unknowingly started sharing with everyone. I never appreciated most of the changes Facebook made as it was time-consuming to first figure out what changed and then work to protect myself from the change so that I wasn’t sharing with 1 billion people instead of the 94 friends I currently have.

It was in the news (if you can call it that now) that Facebook in the past had changed settings and defaulted them to “opt-in” which I think now has changed. The change is that they now notify you of pending changes and offer you the chance to “opt-out” of the change prior to it being implemented. The true problem here is that regardless of whether you share with Everyone or just Friends, Facebook has access to your entire profile all the time. Pictures, friends, groups, pages, etc. They hold this data on you for purposes of squeezing out as much monetization from ads as they can. As several countries have brought Facebook to court over privacy, and even had their service blocked in some cases, should be a reminder that they’re not in it for us. A social network without people being social and sharing everything doesn’t hold a lot of appeal. A quick Bing or Google search will bring up hundreds of articles on how Facebook has filtered and manipulated what is shared, the most recent example being related to Bernie Sanders.

Filtered Feeds

For years I had my settings set to show me the most recent stories by default. Sometime in the last few years, Facebook decided that the most recent stories are crap and instead thought that I deserved their news feed. Their news feed was based on some algorithm based on what I posted, who I followed/commented on regularly, and rarely showed me anything that wasn’t at least a few hours to a few days old. Logging on, the first thing I did was immediately change that from “News Stories” to “Most Recent” before even looking at anything. I’m not the only one that thought this was crap, but they have refused to allow the settings to be changed to a default of anything other than “News Stories”. Facebook, it seems, is now in bed with CNN, FoxNews, MSNBC, and others to push their agenda of filtered news and show only what they think we should see. They consistently spin a narrative where they are in control and use tactics that force a suggested theory on the conclusions we eventually make. I fell into that trap for years and have finally broken free and I urge everyone I talk to, do some independent research to discover it for themselves. I’m not so naive to think that I can alter someones opinion just on my own conjecture. Yes, I’m looking at you Trump supporters out there. Open eyes are what the elite fear most in us non-elite common folk. The truth is there, but it has to be discovered on your own time and effort.

Our world has become so filtered at this point that no one remembers what it’s like to not have it filtered. See the Jeff Daniels video I posted from his performance in News Room if you don’t believe me. Fiction is often a silent protest of the so-called truth.

It’s about money now

A free service that isn’t free. Try as hard as you can to debate this, there are too many examples to contradict that in fact, the service costs something. It costs you the surrender of your personal details. Email, Name, location, mobile number, friends, etc. It has become almost impossible to create an account that doesn’t demand these details so aggressively that you’re forced to surrender them just to make the reminders go away. Facebook doesn’t need to know I went to a certain high school or college, the friends I’m still in touch with already know. They also don’t need to know what groups I’m interested in outside of Facebook, but they poke and prod that out of you as well. Facebook is trading as of this post at $125.60/share, how can a “free” service be worth money unless their Ad network is raking in the money for both Facebook and their advertisers? My personal data is being used to fuel the money-making engine that is targeted advertising. “Suggested posts” are littered in my feed from pages that I don’t remember liking and accidentally clicking on them yields a click-through that ends up getting everyone but me paid some money. I’ve had a hard time getting past the feeling that I’m being used and exploited for my personal data.

Personal ads that matched recent non-Facebook searches

In the last year or so, I started seeing ads in the right margin that weren’t related to Facebook likes or posts, but related to searches I had made outside of Facebook. Thinking that was a bit odd, I searched for specific items that I had never done in the past a few times each day for a week. Sure enough, I started seeing ads related to those search terms while in Facebook. It would appear, through my unscientific research, that Facebook was reading search cookies on my laptop using Google on the Chrome browser. These search cookies were used to display ads to me while logged into Facebook in an attempt to get me to click-through. I’m sure Facebook has some Terms of Service where data from affiliate systems (like Google or Chrome) can be shared with Facebook for the purposes of displaying relevant information to me. Unfortunately the Terms of Service would require 1-2 hours to completely read through with the assumption that I wouldn’t need to look anything up. I loathe ads of any type and is the reason I run an Ad-blocker. An ad-blocker that interestingly doesn’t block the Facebook ads.

Is “free” truly “free”?

Ask yourself what is being surrendered when you use a “free” service? In the case of Facebook, they attempt to force their idea of what you want to see in your feed and use your data to personalize the service in order to maximize their revenue. I downloaded my data set from Facebook, a 29MB zip file, that took me all of 5 minutes to discover that it wasn’t all my data. A deleted profile in fact, is not deleted, rather the value for the “Data Deleted” flag is changed from “No” to “Yes”. What happened to my right to be forgotten?

Crazy idea to fix the economy, FTW!

Every day, during my lunch, I read several news sites including MSN. I know, MSN isn’t exactly the best source of news, but I’m an avid music fan and find some of their coverage interesting. The rest of main stream media is a joke now that I’m onto them and their filtered brainwashing of individuals pushing “news” that is subliminally lulling them into a false sense of comfort. There is so much that goes on around the world that just isn’t covered anywhere in American media. When Gary Johnson asked “What is Aleppo?” on Fox News Morning Joe, I was at first surprised but quickly realized that his platform isn’t primarily focused on foreign policy, rather domestic policy. News outlets instead hammered him for not knowing about Aleppo and made correlations to someone not knowing about Sarajevo in the 90’s or Iran-Contra in the 80’s. It’s crap if you ask me. Yes, I’m a third-party supporter, however I’m not biased enough to not recognize a mistake as we all make them. No one is perfect.  He does have a few ideas on his platform that suggest it would improve the economy, but don’t go far enough I think.

The entire monetary system, as it exists right now, is predicated on borrowed money. It was created out of thin air, by the Fed, after the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. A system so broken and propped up by debt can’t sustain itself for too long, and none of the plans by any Presidential candidate really lives up to the promise of being able to fix it. The rich elite run the country and until they don’t, nothing will fundamentally change. Here is a quick and dirty plan I came up with after reflecting a short period of time. I’m not an economist, but do understand the concept of credit/debit systems and religiously balance my register every month.

For all households making less than $250,000/year

  • Forgive all property asset debt
  • Forgive all consumer credit debt
  • Forgive all student loan debt

That might seem like a high annual income amount, however only 3% of American households make over that amount per year. Essentially, you would be removing the two largest amounts of debt for almost 97% of the entire country. An enormous amount of spending power would return to almost 97% of households to where the question or food vs. utilities would not need to be thought of again. The catch, and there’s a catch, is that anyone with a forgiven property asset or consumer credit debt would not be permitted to take on any new debts of those types for a minimum of 12 months. For the majority of the country, I don’t think that would be a problem. This one simple and drastic measure would remove the following amounts of debt from the U.S. financial system:

  • $13.8 trillion in mortgages (EOY 2015)
  • $929 billion in consumer credit (May 2016)
  • $1.2 trillion in student loans (April 2015)

Essentially, when you add it all up, it would remove more in currency than the Fed added to stabilize the economy during the 2008-2009 financial crisis. The amounts are staggering especially considering that the group of people in the U.S. that hold that debt are NOT part of the elite class that can afford do a house outright, don’t carry credit in most cases, and typically go to college for free with a “donation” to the University being attended. Forgiving this debt would in turn give the economy a shot of adrenalin to get it jump started in the right direction. How would your view of the country change if you didn’t have to make your monthly mortgage, credit card, and school loan payments. How much would your lives change for the better?

The other side of this problem is with the law and regulatory requirements that would need to be changed. The financial sector could no longer be allowed to self-regulate as they’ve shown over the last several decades they only care about making more money. Any law put in place in the last 30 years would need to be reviewed, analyzed for effectiveness, and then repealed or updated to align with the founding fathers view of law. The law is what grants all citizens the equality that is required to be a true democracy. Laws that favor the elite and/or don’t apply to the elite need to be removed completely. Here’s an example: a guy with a pound of marijuana is sent to jail for 5 years with 5 years probation (legal in some states) while a government official complicit in sharing top-secret emails that threatened national security is mildly scolded. Another example: executive office officials are brought up on charges for destroying top-secret documents, charged, and served jail time while the President that ordered this to take place is pardoned following his resignation by his former Vice-President.

No idea is too crazy once you’ve passed the proverbial point of no return. Yeah, it will be a whole hell of a lot of short-term pain in terms of the financial market, shifting of power, etc. When you weigh it against the long-term potential of doing the above plan and keeping the system working or letting it go and having the system crash globally, seriously, what would the better choice be?

15 years later, still hurts

I wrote this last year:  9/11, Never Forget

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To all the people who died in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C., I remember.

This year marks 15 years since the events on 9/11 unfolded in real-time in the American media and changed our view of the world forever.  Seeing the events unfold on documentaries, I’m still hit with the same raw emotion I felt on the day it actually happened.  I’ve consistently not liked this day since this happened, and it being a Sunday today, leaves me without the distraction of being at work.  The vivid detail I can recall is unsettling, which is something we can all do that lived through these events.

I’ve received some negativity from family and friends on this, however I have allowed my daughter to watch several of the documentaries including “102 Minutes That Changed the World” because I want her to understand the true gravity of the actions that took place.  I want her to understand why it was such a pivotal point in our history.  She asked a lot of questions to better understand what happened and I’m happy she did so that she understands everything they’re not going to show or talk about in school.  I don’t believe in shielding our children completely when there is a life lesson to learn, within certain limits of course.  Some things are better left to when she is older.

Life is raw, graphic, and tragic at times.  I would much rather my daughter have the foreknowledge and tools to handle life in her own way from me.  As her parent, it is my responsibility to pass onto her all the wisdom, knowledge, and experience I have had so that she can be the best person she is able to be.  I’ve adopted this approach, not because I want to be harsh, but because I want to be honest.  I want to be the person that she knows she can reach out to in times of trouble and confusion and know that nothing I say will be anything but truthful (to the best of my ability).  My extended family and friends don’t have that responsibility to her and do not have a right to express their negative opinion in how I choose to raise her.

I have purchased tickets from the local fire company for a day trip to New York scheduled for November 12th to visit the 9/11 Memorial and Museum for the family.  I’m already anxious for the trip in regards to my reaction to the physical location of the tragedy as I have not been to lower Manhattan since before 9/11 over 15 years ago.  Watching it online and seeing pictures of the progress pales in comparison to being there in person.  At some point in the coming year, I will be visiting the memorials in Washington D.C. and Shanksville, PA.  It is my responsibility to remember all the people that died on this tragic day for the rest of my life.  It is my responsibility to ensure that my daughter understands the true scope of this tragedy with the hope that it will never happen again in her lifetime.

Pattern of repeated statements

I’m often not a hater when it comes to how people articulate their words to others. After all, I’m not perfect in my execution of the English language so how can I judge others on their execution? There is one exception though, and this exception is an observation I’ve made over my current lifetime. Not necessarily poor english or grammar, rather in what people say when they don’t know what they’re talking about. It was a communication skill I picked up in one of multiple classes I had been sent to early on in my career for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time which was often taken out of context. The skill was simply listening to what the other person was saying, analyzing and processing, then determining that a few or several phrases were repeated. Here’s an example of something I just read yesterday in my lunchtime. I’ve removed names to keep it anonymous, but I think you can figure out who actually said this. Felt if fitting based on what tomorrow is.

There were people who were cheering on the other side of New Jersey, where you have large Arab populations. They were cheering as the World Trade Center came down. I know it might be not politically correct for you to talk about it, but there were people cheering as that building came down — as those buildings came down. And that tells you something. It was well covered at the time. Now, I know they don’t like to talk about it, but it was well covered at the time. There were people over in New Jersey that were watching it, a heavy Arab population, that were cheering as the buildings came down. Not good.

Here is an overview:

  • 4 times, people cheering in New Jersey
  • 2 times, arab population(s)
  • 4 times, World Trade Center, building, or buildings
  • 2 times, Not politically correct
  • 2 times, well covered in the media

There are only 8 sentences in that one paragraph that had only 5 items repeated over and over again. Each time slightly different, but this is the point I’m trying to make. This was clearly not the truth as the points being made were over emphasized to prove a point, almost like they were trying to convince themselves it was truth instead of answering a question. The interviewer called them out as well for saying that these reports weren’t true in the United States, rather they were true in some isolated pockets in the Middle East that were known to sympathize with terrorist organizations.

A repeating idea or phase in a conversation is often done for two reasons. The first reason, which is legitimate, is emphasizing an idea or concept that is known to be difficult to understand. A good way to describe this is a math teacher explaining the concept of area to a group of students that are new to Geometry. Or a science teacher trying to explain the Theory of Relativity. The second reason repeating ideas or phrases are used, which indicates a lack of knowledge or fallacy, is covering up for the fact that the person has a lack of knowledge or is making up false statements about something. As you can see, hopefully clearly from my example, this was a false statement of events for shock factor. I say shock factor as these statements were made in 2015, not in 2001. If these were stated in 2001 or closer to the tragedy, they would have been dismissed as rhetoric or anger driven statements.

Trying really hard to not judge someone who clearly is making false statements is difficult to near impossible. The problem I’m having is that the entire political system is full of people who continually repeat the same statements over and over again. There are even YouTube videos that consist of several minutes of them saying the same statement over a span of several years. The hairstyles and outfits may change, but the basic statement remains the same. Am I the only one that has seen this pattern?

Neoclassical economics are killing our Democracy

Corporate America is stealing our future one dollar at a time.  They have brainwashed us into believing that a neoclassical system they’ve put in place is the one that will create prosperity as they achieve wealth and power.  The players of this neoclassical system are corporations, banks, politicians, and the wealthy elite.  Their’s is a systems of Socialism, but we don’t see that because we’re driving the wheels of their machine through a Capitalist market.  Essentially, the capitalist non-elite are supporting the socialist elite.  I’ve been reading and watching a lot about this lately due in part to our ridiculous Presidential election coming up and also because I’m tired of being a pawn in their game of becoming ever richer.

Our elite have convinced us that the only way to be happy is to acquire debt that purchases the goods and services produced largely in other countries.  Debt, as I’ve come to realize, is basically a modern form of slavery.  We are slaves to the corporations, holding the majority of wealth in the country, that take what they want even when we don’t have it.  The 2008 housing bubble crisis proves this point to me in the form of thousands of foreclosures around the country.  The people who couldn’t afford predatory lending practices paid the price, they lost their home.  The banks and mortgage companies, left with sub-prime defaulted mortgages, got bailed out by the government.  They created over $8 trillion of new debt, created money out of nothing, to keep the companies that had become so pervasive in our economy that we couldn’t let them fail.  What if we had?  Where would we be?  Our country wouldn’t have died.  We would still be here, perhaps even with a reformed and more equal system.

Here’s a scary statistic.  All paper currency in the world right now is 97% debt.  The appearance that our world economy, in my opinion, is on the brink of collapse that even the elite won’t be able to stop.  Sure, they’re fine now, stroking the palms of politicians at the ratio of 5 lobbyists to 1 politician.  Over the last 50 years, the system has been rigged and contorted with massive deregulation, repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, created conflicts around the world.  All this has resulted in a system where only a wealthy few, contributing very little, have ridden the backs of billions of people making sure they can never climb out of poverty.

The Presidential elects have shown concern on the realization that the middle-class is disappearing.  That is the truth, the middle-class is shrinking.  They are borrowing more and more money as they’re buying into the lies of the elite corporations that sell them their mortgages, cars, and “stuff” that we are all brainwashed into thinking that we need.  I’m starting to think that middle-class is being systematically dismantled because they are the biggest threat to the wealthy elite running corporations, media, and government.  The middle-class, still with the ability to become aware of the truth and open their eyes to the system that has been allowed to continue, are a huge threat to the socialist system at the top of the heap.  I’m starting to question everything now.  I’m starting to actually research this and verify what I’m being told.  I’m shocked to find that verifiable facts are emerging through multiple sources that are confirming what my research is uncovering.

I am so frustrated at myself for having fallen into the propaganda without actually seeing the real motive behind all of this.  The arrogance the top corporate and political leaders have had for the last several decades.  It seriously pisses me off!  My concern isn’t for me, but for my daughter.  What is she going to inherit if this system is allowed to continue unchecked and unregulated?  What is she going to have to suffer with, or rather, without, as she gets older?  Will I be able to help her with college?  Will she be in a position where poverty is the only choice she has no matter how hard she works?  I’M ANGRY AT THE SYSTEM!

The military actions we’ve been involved with in the last 15 years since 9/11 are only proving to me that we have spread our parasitic system around the world.  We decimate a country hunting for possible terrorists.  We arrange for a huge loan from a world bank and then offer to rebuild their country.  That money that should have gone to the citizens left in that country instead go to U.S. based contractors that build infrastructure that the poorest people can’t access.  What good are highways without a car to drive on them?  What good is electricity grids if you don’t have a house to have it delivered to let alone pay for it to be delivered?  Instead, the poor people who don’t have a voice have to lose their farms because we’re now drilling for oil or stripping for resources.  These people have to endure pollution in the rivers they’ve come to depend on since being pushed off their farms.  How the hell is a humanitarian mission going to help a poor citizen if all the money from the loan is spent on the minority elite that can afford to use it?  WTF?

I’m sure by now you’re asking yourself what can we do.  I can’t tell you anything other than just do some research, listen and read with an open mind, and decide if who you’re voting for truly has your back of their own.  This year’s Presidential election isn’t about Trump vs. Clinton, it’s certainly not about male vs. female, it damn well isn’t about rhetoric that helps get them voted in to result in 4 years of excuses how the Senate and House are polarized against their platforms.  What it’s about is very simple I think, it’s about who is the best choice to go against the system.  Simply put, in my mind, neither candidate, including third-party, would ever go against the system.  Third party might have a chance, if they won, but the system is so much more than what one person can fix.  The President certainly isn’t the fix.

What fixes the system; reboots the economy; makes serious change, is us.  The non-elite people who are being broken under the weight of a socialist elitist system that has been created right under our noses.  We fix it by paying down our debt and getting rid of it, can’t be a slave to the system if you don’t owe it anything.  We fix it by working to educate others around us to start looking with wider eyes and actually seeing it for the corrupt bully that it has become.  We fix it by rising up and demanding that it be fixed through our elected officials, as we the people, have the power to remove them from office and put someone in that will listen to us.  We fix it by going back to the economists that helped create the system that worked and was backed by a gold standard.  We fix it by creating an open and honest discussion that isn’t partisan, racial, mean, or accusatory.

What would happen if all credit and housing debt in this country were forgiven, with a moratorium on any new credit, and a concerted effort to make sure anyone without the means could access the money they needed to start over?  The non-elites would benefit the most as they would suddenly own their home and everything that had been purchased on credit.  The system would start to self-correct with each subsequent paycheck.  The elite would bear the brunt of this forgiveness, including the government, as they control more debt than all the non-elite combined but don’t have any assets they could own afterwards.  Wouldn’t that be something?  It’s been done before; Germany 1947, following WWII.  It’s not such a fantastical idea, and how can 99% of the country not be right against the remaining 1%.  It starts with us and its up to us how it ends.

The Government Debt Bubble

moneybubble

I’m on a documentary kick right now on Hulu and Netflix. The one I watched last night after work has me really concerned for the future of our economy and the ability of the Federal Reserve to correct the next crisis. Similar to The Big Short, this movie focused on the history of the Fed and the events leading to the most recent crash of the market in 2008. To say the movie, Money for Nothing: Inside the Federal Reserve was eye-opening, is a titanic understatement. Some of the earlier history, both pre-Fed and newly-created-Fed, was new to me and I wasn’t aware of the problems they faced. Our economy is actually so much more fragile than we are all led to think. An independent, or self-described independent, government agency tasked with keeping our economy balanced that is separate from government policy and influence, really doesn’t seem to be working after seeing this movie.

What absolutely floored me, the eye-opening moment, was the near $4 trillion that the Fed pumped into the economy in the form of a bailout for companies like Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Bear Stearns, Morgan Stanley, and GE. That isn’t a withdraw from a bank account totalling $4 trillion, no, it was a loan to these companies from the Fed that stopped them from collapsing like Lehman Brothers. A loan! It created, in one year, an increase to our national debt of $4 trillion. Banks were saved, investment firms were saved, mortgage companies were saved….. but were they? A loan by the Fed added debt to the economy, any growth or correction from that loan was done with “credit”. For those of you that own homes, you don’t really own the home, you own the debt created at the time of purchase. You don’t actually own your home until you satisfy the debt associated with it. The mortgage company technically owns the home, they hold the deed. The bailout didn’t wipe out the fact that 14 million homes were purchased in 2006-2007, half of which were considered sub-prime. In some cases, companies would provide NINJA loans, aka No Income, No Job, or Assets. Call me crazy, but who in their right mind would actually think that was a GOOD thing to do?

All the economic recovery we’ve experienced since 2008 has been built on the money the Fed has pumped into the economy. The interest rate is currently at 0.5%, making it impossible for people to make any money from savings. A low rate is supposed to make it easier for lenders to, well, actually lend money, but they’re not. Our unemployment rate has gone up following the 2008 crash. We have nothing to show that the improvement is based on anything tangible. Industry is still struggling, we don’t make anything the world wants (for the most part), and consumers are spending money they don’t have and creating more personal debt. The United States, when all forms of debt are counted, is pushing $50 trillion! A staggering number that most people can’t understand let alone visualize in real world comparisons. What is scary though, is that the policies the Fed were using in 1994 and the bailout of Long Term Capital in 1998 created the mechanisms for the 2008 crash to take place. That and an across the board refusal to regulate the Derivatives and Investment Insurance markets. Both of these markets were allowed to run unchecked for more than a decade feeding into a housing market bubble that eventually popped with catastrophic effects.

In the span of 2008-2009, I have had all my credit cards converted from fixed rates to variable rates (none of which I’ve managed to convert back to fixed). I almost lost my house due to job loss and pay cut on a new job compounded by the fact that I had used equity in my home to help offset the cost of adoption in 2006. I nearly went underwater in home price and it took me over a year to get through the ridiculous HARP process. At this point, I see the evidence from this documentary in real life and fear that a bubble so big, so enormous, is about to rip itself apart and take the entire world economy down with it. The system that existed in 2008 is the same system that exists today with very little regulation or legislation to prevent it. You would think that after the dust settled, people would have been brought up on charges, banks would have been broken up, the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 re-enacted…. something! No, nothing, not a damn thing!. The precedent has been set that if companies make money, they win, if they make mistakes they lose money and the Fed bails them out. Either way, they win. It sucks.

If you watch the movie, you need to let me know if you are willing to take some short-term pain so that the system can be fixed and correct itself to set in motion some long-term prosperity. I’m sure the 1% would have a few choice words for me at this point because it would mean an end to nearly free money with interest rates at 0.5% for them and 4-6% to consumers who borrow from them.  Interest rates leading up to 2007 were 0% by the way, in case you didn’t know.  The problem is that the bubble this time is the debt of the United States Government and the Federal Reserve…. talk about “too big to fail.”