America is broken

After recently ordering a plush toy and an A-line skirt for my daughters Halloween costume this year, I was surprised to see that it would take both over 2 weeks to arrive to my home. Inspecting further on the eBay listing and confirmation, they’re both shipping from China. It got me thinking about how, despite a lot of people claiming America is “first”, in reality we’re not. We actually haven’t been for a number of years. Most countries in the world got a really good lesson in how broken we actually are during the 2008 global market crash that in every way, was started by wealthy and greedy Americans. Sure, you can claim that other countries caused the crisis to worsen through a cascade of crashes, but it started with us. What is scary to think about, is that the system that existed in 2008 is the same system that exists today. Nothing has fundamentally changed to stop it from happening again, banks are still huge, and individuals affected by the crash are now past the 7 year mark when a foreclosure is falling off their credit report and applying for credit and mortgages once again.  Forclosure and bankruptcy didn’t do much in the way of learning from our mistakes.

My wife was watching a movie one evening this week as I arrived home, called The Big Short. I missed the majority of the movie and really only caught the last 30 minutes, however I was aware of all the detail surrounding the crash as I had been personally affected by almost losing my house (even though I had never gone underwater). The crash was a blindingly complicated event that had so many facets that helped contribute to the collapse. The focus of the movie was on a group of individuals that saw the collapse of the credit and housing bubble and took on the banks in their own game of insuring their assets in order to capitalize on the collapse, not the expansion of the bubble.  Seeing this movie coincided with my belief that at least the credit bubble is starting to expand again with the double-digit increase of sub-prime credit lending. Sub-prime, as I understand it, is lending to people with credit scores below 640 (I believe this is the FICO score). I’ve read so much in the past few weeks, there may be other requirements to meet the sub-prime categorization I’m still not aware of. My point here is that we’re heading towards another bubble bursting event that currently has NO compensating controls in the system to correct it. The Fed is powerless right now to correct another downturn event due to the fact that the correction mechanisms are already tapped. The rest of the world isn’t much better either. The end of the movie ended in a joke where there was sweeping legislation, hundreds went to jail, and big banks were broken up. Sadly the truth is that no one went to jail except for one person and Lehman was allowed to go out of business to be used as an example for everyone else that was eventually bailed out.

A really good video capture (link below) from a show called The Newsroom gives a fantastically blunt and factual answer to the question “What makes America the greatest country in the world?” I was amazed at how harsh the answer was delivered despite it being a fictional television show.  Everything that was said was based in true and verifiable facts. I believe this is the kind of rhetoric we need to be having across the country, the rhetoric that scares the crap out of career politicians that are also multi-millionaires and part of the top-tier of society. This resonated with me to the core. The question in the video is being asked by someone in a generation that I admit I have trouble relating to on so many different levels. Relating to the previous generation has been a struggle forever and is often referenced with jokes like “Get off my grass” said by an elder to a young child. I don’t have the proper frame of reference to adequately relate to a generation that has grown up with technology and has a fundamental understanding of its potential that will forever be outside of my grasp.

YouTube Video:  Is America the greatest country?

There are so many problems in our society and we’re all pointing fingers at each other. How immature we are for not holding ourselves accountable for all the hate we’re spewing on others. This is not the first time I’ve written about this topic and I’m unfortunately certain it isn’t the last time either. Global economy arguments aside, we can’t help others if we’re not able to help ourselves. The divide between haves and have-nots is a massive chasm that won’t be closed until the have-nots, with their greater strength in numbers, decides to do something about it. My own way of doing something about it is educating myself on the true system, the system behind the smoke and mirrors of mainstream media, and spreading what I know to others. Not by preaching, not by beating it into them. More along the lines of putting reasonable doubt on the table so that, if they choose to, they can pick up and discover for themselves the truth in all the lies. We need an open dialogue amongst each other where flame throwing puts you into time out. We need to start opening our eyes and seeing the truth that is there for the taking if we only just start scratching at the surface to find out what’s beneath.

This is our call to arms to not elect one man who claims he can “Make America Great Again”. This is our call to arms to not elect one woman who claims there is nothing nefarious about tens of millions of dollars in donations to her “foundation” from countries with laws that oppose all the foundation stands for. This is our call to arms to decide for ourselves, not be mindless sheep, and elect a person that has actually listened to us and is willing to join the fight against the system. It isn’t going to be easy, in fact, it will be damn difficult and seemingly impossible at times. I’m starting this fight personally by choosing to elect a third-party candidate, whomever that may be in my state election. I ask you, my small list of followers, to do your own research and decide for yourselves what the best choice for you should be.

America is broken, and it’s up to us, the have-nots, to fix it!

iPhone got chewed

I’ve been increasingly frustrated with my daughters use of devices that run on electricity with a connection to the Internet. Her addiction to these devices is becoming quite concerning for me as I see her emulating my wife’s use of the same type of devices. A recent conversation with my wife over the weekend consisted of half spoken sentences with a blank stare on the device screen, long pause, me saying “lets speak in complete sentences please” with little change to the communication taking place. My daughter is unfortunately not as adept at pretending to multi-task as my wife and flat out ignores you except for the uttering of the word “What?”….. I’m starting to dislike that word quite a bit.

We were cleaning out glass and wires from the dogs teeth for an hour

The dog ate my daughters iPhone 5C two weeks ago and I was excited to have it happen. She would learn a hard and valuable lesson in how to keep your things looking and working as expected by putting them away where they belong. The second was she would no longer have the ability to kill brain cells playing whatever game of the day she downloaded and installed. It was brief excitement on my part. My wife was ready to go out and purchase a brand new iPhone 6S, at full price, with a credit card of all things! NO! I made it clear that a new phone was the wrong decision and until the daughter could demonstrate some capacity of care with her things. As in my phone is in perfect condition despite not have a case or screen protector on it and being kept in my pocket most of the time. I was in a conundrum of a decision as I didn’t want to get her anything to replace the now broken 5C.

I relented to my wife’s insistence at getting her something to replace the dead device. “Fine, whatever” I said. She knew I wasn’t happy about it, but I very quickly told her to not buy anything, I would take care of it. Heading over to the Telecom Manager’s office, I started digging through the box of devices that were going out for recycling. I found a functional iPhone 4 with a horribly cracked glass back with pieces falling out. The screen was fine though, so I grabbed it and saved it from the inevitable shredding death it was in line for. Rolling past the receiving dock, I grabbed a measured piece of clear packing tape and stabilized the back glass. No more pieces coming off this thing! Throwing it on charge and hoping that the non-Apple charger would be recognized, it started to charge. Several hours later, I got to updating it from iOS 7.whatever to iOS 9.whatever, logging into her parent controlled account, and proceeded to download and install the massive list of applications she had listed.

My plan was to give it to her after some really good behavior based on the fact that she was so upset after the dog ate her last one. That unfortunately was not in the cards as my wife, upon asking to see it, immediately gave it to her. Nothing like not getting any support for well laid plans to have a behaving daughter for a few days teaching patience at the same time…. I walked away without saying anything as my daughter ran upstairs to her bedroom to start another iPhone induced coma under her covers. Just shook my head not getting it why my brand of discipline seems to always be at odds with my wife’s brand. Yes, she’s at home with her all day while I’m at work, however she is going to be 10 soon and honestly, if she doesn’t get what she wants, can handle it regardless of the scene she displays. When I was a kid and acted like she does, I got a smack and was sent to my non-electronic laden room. She on the other hand, gets a stern voice and ends up storming to her electronic heaven of a room, which is probably what she ultimately wanted anyway. Nothing like getting your way without having to ask for it.

The concern I have for the current generation is starting to hit frightening levels. Everywhere I can see younger and younger kids on devices they should never be exposed to at such an early age. I truly believe that the occurrence of ADHD and other disorders, especially in their numbers, is the cause of instant gratification always on electronics, applications, and television shows that wire their brains all whacked. Watch a cartoon with even mild action, and count how many times in 30 minutes the screen shifts to another view or flashes. If you’re less than 100 I’d be surprised or say you counted incorrectly. The last show I watched, some Jap-anime show, flashed or switched 314 times in just 22 minutes (watched on Hulu) or once every 4.2 seconds. Essentially it was visual queues paired with mind-numbing content that kept the developing brain amped for 22 minutes with bursts of stimulus every 4 seconds. I had trouble keeping up with the show honestly.

While I attempt to do my best with limiting electronic devices, the battle is futile the older she gets as her need to be independent grows. Now that its the summer and no school, she’s home all day with the temptation to stay in bed watching an iPhone without the ability to not give into it. Even as friends come over, her impulse is to watch Hulu or play on the iPhone and drag her friends along with her. Over the weekend I turned off the router (remotely) to force her to get outside and spend time in the land of the living. She protested at first, but I forced the issue saying that it would be boring to stay in the house as the router would NOT get turned back on until after dinner and it was dark. I’m working on a chore/rule list that will need to be followed daily if she is to get the WiFi password that I’m going to change daily each morning as part of my routine. It may seem extreme, but its for her own good that she won’t understand until she’s an adult and has kids of her own. I didn’t get it until I had kids and actually apologized to my Dad for the years of hell I put him through. That’s another subject for later.

Electronics are rotting our brains, its up to the parents that remember what it’s like to not have them to step up and do what is right. Limit the screen time.