Category: Politics

Heartburn over next President

Inspired by In which I reluctantly “choose” Hillary by The Monster in Your Closet

There are some topics of discussion that will always get people fired up, one of them being politics. Reading the personal view from one such writer that I’ve been following for a while now, I felt it was about time for me to get out a subjective and honest post about my internal points of view and why I am or am not voting for specific people. As is the case with every political conversation I’ve ever had since forever, my points of view are largely based on observation, reading, listening, and forming an opinion from all those sources (both individual and mainstream). We won’t agree on all of this, but one of the things I find amazing in this country is being able to share opinions with others, not for acceptance, but because we can. Thousands of people do this every day without the need for violence or anger, so lets keep this civil, ok.

DonaldTrumpHairDonald Trump

I’m smiling and chuckling right now. Where do I start with this guy? Obviously I’m not a supporter of Trump at this point despite having a brief glimmer of hope very early on that he’d be the one to shake things up. Well, he’s shaken things up, but not for the better. I see Donald Trump as the poster child of the anti-government establishment and a member of the, often not thought of like this, the 1% (Bernie Sanders plug). I’m often left thinking how people who support him don’t see that he’s part of the group of people that have caused so many problems for all of us. I feel like the 1% see’s the rest of us as minions that help make them more money while we all get poorer. Mr. Trump is portrayed as a buffoon with little or no experience with politics, I offer an alternative theory. Mr. Trump is a lot smarter than most give him credit for and a White House with him a the helm gives me a very nervous view of the future. I see the potential for him to push through legislation that further separates the poor, low, and middle classes from the upper classes, further compounding the problems we’re currently experiencing. The 2008 housing crisis should have been a wake up call that the wealthy are gaming the system to make as much money as they can. They need to be knocked down a few pegs. Lets bring back some of the top tax bracket taxes that existed in the Regan years for starters.

Donald does not have my support or my vote in November.

HillaryClintonSurprisedHillary Clinton

Being the polar opposite of Donald Trump, my gut is telling me she can’t be trusted. I hear her say words, make promises, endorse the right groups and initiatives. I see her doing things that contradict what she says all over the place though that goes back years or in some cases, decades. Call her what you will; flip flopper, waffler, etc. Her track record is spotted with controversy through her whole career, which her husband didn’t help at all to improve. I’ve been in technology for my entire career and still can’t believe that a person in her position would even think that using a personal server was a good idea. This one action of hers forever made me distrust everything she has said since. She does do the right thing when required, she says the right then when people need to hear it, but her actions blatantly say otherwise and anyone who reads just a little (from reputable sources) will see the pattern emerge.

Hillary does not have my support, but could potentially get my vote in November.

Libertarian Party

I’ll be the first to admit it, I’m behind on their agendas and candidates. Having seen a few of them in the news lately, I decided that a third party vote from me might be worth it. After reading a lot on Ross Perot and Ron Paul, I see the potential as well as the damage that a third party candidate can do. In the previous elections, especially Perot, they pulled votes from the mainstream party candidates and made what could have been a wide margin a very slim margin. I’m hoping that the strength of the third party here this election cycle could actually make a difference. Anyway, never in a million years would I see myself leaning to a party that also included John McAfee. My personal views on him are technical related and I think he’s just a complete moron.

GaryJohnsonI am supporting Gary Johnson at this point as my potential third party candidate. He has impressed me with the few speeches I’ve seen online and his agenda is actually quite logical and straightforward. The three front runners to his agenda are eliminating personal/corporate taxes, scale back government spending and U.S. entanglements overseas, and create a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. I hate paying taxes and will endorse a plan that eliminates them provided that spending is cut more steeply than the lack of revenue from lost taxes. (See Time.com – Can Libertarian Gary Johnson Be a Factor in 2016?) I also support citizenship for undocumented immigrants because, at one point in our history, we were ALL from other countries revolting for independence from all of them. His main support is coming from the fact that he is neither Trump or Clinton, but that isn’t enough for me. I need to do more research.

Johnson has potential support from me and quite possibly my vote as well.

WeirdWeirdo 2016

This year has been one for the record books. Reality TV star as the Republican nominee for President, race violence at an unprecedented coverage level, rich people getting richer, not so rich people getting poorer, and multiple conflicts and wars sucking everyone’s money around the world.

Perhaps migrating to Canada isn’t such a bad idea after all….

Virtual economy

WritingACheck
As if, who writes checks anymore?

While sitting down and entering in receipts and paying some bills, I started to laugh. Looking at the electronic representation of money I never really had in my possession had a comical and humorous feel to it. I mean, I worked to earn the money that was deposited in my account that I then spent on things. At no point was this money actually ever in existence except as numbers in some software. It first started at my company, then transferred to the payroll company, then to my account, then to the final destination after leaving my account. It was all electronic transfer of money relying on a system that is horrifyingly fragile to a number of external threats, all of which are real possibilities in the future.

 

Somewhere out there is an electronic record of my finances that is being used to judge my creditworthiness for almost everything. The shear amount of things that require good credit is staggering especially when you consider that more than 50% of the country is in some form of debt beyond a home or vehicle. I’m in that category myself despite having significant control over what is purchased and when. Despite my best efforts, there always seems to be something that hits the bottom line making it nearly impossible to actually save money. Everyone wants their piece of the pie along the way leaving the guy at the end left to pick from the crumbs. I’m not complaining by any means, I take responsibility for the money I’ve spent regardless of whether it was a “want” or a “need”. There are certainly things I can live without, but weighed against whether I want to or not, some things are just too convenient to live without. An example, a garbage disposal, have one for 12 years and then take it away, you suddenly realize how convenient it was.

Recalling back the last several years, I realized I rarely carry paper money anymore. I’ve come to rely on cards (ATM/Debit, CC, etc.) so much that the need to carry paper money has all but disappeared. There are only a few places that I require paper money at this point, but only because they don’t accept cards. The only other reason is when you need a purchase to be under the radar (like an anniversary or birthday present). Previously I wrote about being off the grid as a personal decision. What if living off the grid was necessary because the grid was no longer functioning? As in the case of computer hacking, electromagnetic pulse bombs, or a complete collapse of the financial infrastructure as it exists today. What do you do then knowing you have electronic money but no electronic means of getting to it or knowing if it still even existed?

DoomsdayPreppers
Doomsday preppers….  or a typical family in Texas, you choose, lol  (c) National Geographic

While I’m not a doomsday prepper by any means, I do want to make sure I’m sanely prepared for certain disasters that have a relative certainty of happening in the future. One of them being a collapse of the financial system where paper money might be the only currency that is left and actually still works. In the case of a market collapse, the only sure means of wealth to purchase what you need is precious metals like gold and silver. For over 100 years, the American currency was both gold and silver backed at least until the turn of the 20th century. People have been pushing for years to get back to that standard, however, it would mean pulling billions of dollars out of circulation in a system that is only backed by trust. Not a good place to be in my honest opinion because if it weren’t removed from circulation, the value of the dollar would fall significantly to match the gold or silver being used to back it.

 

With that said then, I’ve got a stash of paper money in my safe at home specifically for when all electronic means to access my money aren’t working. Regardless of the reason, until such a moment that the financial system collapses, paper money will still hopefully buy the necessary things to survive. Depending on the type of financial system collapse, paper money might also be worthless. An example of that was in 1929 at the start of the Great Depression, paper money was only worth cents on the dollar. The monetary system at that time was very different than it is today, however the underlying factors of wealth, greed, and power have never changed. Whether it be borrowing to purchase stocks (sometimes $.20 on the dollar) or to finance sub-prime loans for people who couldn’t afford it, economies will fluctuate regardless of circumstances. Fear is the driving force behind all the stock market plunges through history. If you objectively look at the system in place, it fundamentally doesn’t change pre-plunge to post-plunge, however people fearing they will lose money (they never had in their possession physically) make a run on a system that can’t support conversion from electronic to physical form.

redflagAn article I read recently detailed the warning sign that the housing market is again going to take a downturn. The basis of the article explained how seasoned infrastructure investors have backed off purchasing foreclosed (fixer-upper flips basically) properties due to demand for inventory and the return falling below 30%. The unfortunately side-effect of that is that novice or misinformed first time investors are purchasing these properties, on slim potential margins, often utilizing credit to do so. The red flag here is that there is the potential for that first time investor to not only lose the investment they just purchased, but also lose their current property as well. That doesn’t turn out well in a market still fragile from 2008 and serves to show that things haven’t changed that much despite the new regulations that have been put in place. Having just purchased a new home, I’m concerned that a downturn in the economy at this point would hit much harder than the previous one. The correction mechanisms in our economic systems have not recovered and would be inadequate to offer any help if a downturn happened now.

The bottom line here, and the main point of this, is we rely too much on electronic technology. There aren’t enough adequate safeguards in place to ensure the systems protection. The irony is that I’m explaining this through an electronic journal.

irony
Oh, the irony!

Why I think American politics suck

It’s only September of 2015, over a year away from the Presidential election in November 2016, and we’re already seeing way too much coverage on the next election daily on the news.  I personally think it is stupid to have this much coverage so early in the race for the White House.  I mean, here’s an interesting statistic that I don’t think most Americans have bothered to digest:

  • Approximately 300 million Americans in the United States in 2008
  • Approximately 150 million bothered to vote in that election
  • 51%, of those 150 million, voted for our current President
  • Do the math.  Approximately 25% of the countries population actually chose our current President

I don’t get it.  There are literally millions of people who complain on Facebook, blogs, forums, news sites, etc. about our current President.  Only approximately a quarter of the country actually chose him.  I won’t indicate who I voted for as it is irrelevant to this conversation.  What I will say though, is that there needs to be an awakening within the American public that voting is not an inconvenience.  It’s one of the many rights that this country was founded upon regardless of its misguided beginnings.  The truth is now its fair for everyone:  1 person = 1 vote.

Really? An 80's movie is being used to symbolize a Presidential campaign?
Really? An 80’s movie is being used to symbolize a Presidential campaign?

It’s crap like the picture above that underscores how laughable American politics have become.  It’s a subject no one wants to bring up in a group of friends.  It’s one of two subjects that polarize people to the point of wanting to throw punches at one another.  Personally, I avoid both politics (1) and religion (2) in most conversations with even like minded people.  I don’t like to get into debates where a differing opinion can alter the course of a friendship.  I reserve my right to not engage as my opinion is exactly that, mine, and no one can sway me without a titanic amount of fact.  I choose not to engage as I just don’t have the energy.

That isn’t to say that I don’t do my own research, online, on my own time and in the privacy of my own head.  I make my decisions based on anything that can be backed up by hard data so I can form my own opinion.  I personally am a Bernie Sanders fan, however there are almost 20 candidates for both Republican and Democrat and over a years worth of data can alter my opinion, or not.  Depends on the facts.  With all of this going on, no one ever will know the true story or all the facts.  It is after all the government we’re talking about here and there are things they think is necessary to keep away from the public.  I get it, national security and all that, but shouldn’t we decide what is and isn’t appropriate for us to consume as individuals?

The real crime though, and I firmly believe in this, is the wealthy “forcing” their agendas on the majority behind the cloaked veil of “lobbyists.”  A true shame of how the system has been warped so much and under such cloak and dagger tactics.  Monsanto, Koch Brothers, the 1%, the list goes on and on.  I’m of the belief that if every American able to vote actually took just 10 minutes per day actually researching some of the crap going on, there would be a fundamental shift in how politics are played in the general arena.

Money is the root of all evil.
Money is the root of all evil.

I saw a commercial just this weekend about the Koch brothers.  Here’s the link to the commercial if you’re interested in puking a little in your throat.  As written on the Business Insider website where I got the link to the video:

Now, the Kochs want to burnish the image of the corporation that created their fortune. The 60-second ad does not show or mention the brothers. Instead, it shows images of hardworking Koch employees and everyday people interacting with products made by Koch industries, from toilet paper to jeans. There’s a strong-use of generic Americana imagery, such as cowboys, welders, and blue-collar workers in hard hats. They all seem to love their jobs. (The Kochs have opposed union rights for such workers.)

The Koch brothers have given so much money to campaigns in the past its hard to separate what they’ve endorsed and what they’ve blocked.  Navigating the lobby waters would drive a sane person insane.  What I don’t get is why we’ve allowed a system to flourish where the super wealthy can get away with everything they do just so they can make more money.  I don’t recall the exact statistic, but it was calculated that Bill Gates was worth almost 90 billion at one point in the past.  If he gave all that money to Jesus Christ, and Jesus spent 1 million per day from birth to present, he wouldn’t be able to spend it all.  That kind of wealth is sickening.

I don’t support pure socialism, please don’t misunderstand me on this.  I believe in more of a socialist/capitalist type of system where everyone pays their fair share based on their income and wealth.  It would take queues from other countries that support National Healthcare, taxes and levies on finite resources (oil, gas, etc.), tax breaks on renewable resources (solar, wind, recyclables, etc.) and an economic structure that supports a moderate share of wealth.  The United States is no where near that sort of structure and in fact laws are catered to the companies that are contributing to the corruption.

We need a reboot of our government, plain and simple.