A MIND FOREVER VOYAGING THROUGH STRANGE SEAS OF THOUGHT, ALONE


This is my second blog.

My first blog chronicled my experiences over three years caring for my dad as he lived through and finally died from Alzheimer's. That is the book that is for sale.

This second blog kind of chronicles of life, what it is like to start your life over in your late 50's. After caretaking, you are damaged, file bankruptcy, and the world doesn't care what you did. After 8 months of unemployment, you wake each day knowing the world doesn't want you. Finally you do find a job, 5 weeks before homelessness, but doing what you did 30 years ago and getting paid what you did 30 years ago. So this is starting over.



The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.

Monday, January 25, 2016

X FILES REBORN

Okay, have to admit, I was excited about X Files coming back.  And worried.  But I bought the season and this morning, I have Monday's off, I watched the first episode and here is my review.

YIPPEE, THE X FILES ARE BACK

Well, except for one thing, bringing back the Smoking Man.  Look, I understand how they can bring back the three Lone Gunman, and glad they did, I love those guys, but last time we saw the smoking man he was in a wheel chair in a cave in some old abandoned Indian cave in the southwest and two helicopters were shooting missiles right down the cave and right at the guy.  Chris Carter couldn't come up with a new leader of the NWO?

Of course, if you were an adult watching the X Files in the 1990's and watch this show the first thing you will realize is wow, Mulder and Scully sure do look older, well, guess what, we do too.  Our faces are fatter, well, Skully's is not, just seems to keep growing longer, and Mulder is definitely showing the middle age saggy jowls.  But that full head of hair, no way, I suspect a toupee for sure.

But what a nice return, nice lines about how the world has changed since 9/11, nice comments on spying by drone and I cracked up that Mulder covers the front camera on his phone and computer just like I do.

It would be nice, each year, a six to eight episode season of the X Files.

While on the subject of paranoia, one thing I occasionally do is check out who is reading my blog, by country.  I seem to get a lot of readership in Russia and Ukraine.  So any readers from Russia and Ukraine, introduce yourself, leave a comment, and tell me why you are reading my blog!

But I've also notice lately Pakistan showing up and can't imagine why people in Pakistan would be reading this blog.  Perhaps you are upset my making fun our our Muslim President Numb Nuts.

I also see where Twin Peaks is having a new rebirth this year and I think why?  I watched the first season when it was on, never did the second season but recently started watching it on Netflix and finally got bored and stopped.  It really got lost in that second season.

Here is what I would love.  How about a new short season of Northern Exposure.  Let's go back to Cicely Alaska and see how the town and characters evolved.  Too many years have passed for WKRP or Taxi, but Northern Exposure would definitely be a good show to revisit.


Sunday, January 24, 2016

WE ARE ROBIN HOOD, WELL, AS LONG AS WE DON'T HAVE TO ACTUALLY DO ANYTHING

Well, my battle of addiction to TV without actually owning a TV continues as a total loss. Just got done watching the BBC Robin Hood series.

First, I had a really difficult time buying the actor as Robin Hood, he looked like the grown up version of that little kid in The Sixth Sense who keeps running around saying "I see dead people".  Took me to the third season to get that out of my head, almost.  Also I was not real happy when they killed off Marian at the end of season two, oh, shit, sorry, that was a spoiler.  My bad.  That's okay, he sees her again.

I'm such a jerk sometimes.

But what really gets me is the politics of Robin Hood.  Like V for Vendetta, they make the evil lords like conservatives - except lets look at the last two democratic presidents for a moment.

Clinton, the first quasi black president, signed into law NAFTA which totally decimated middle class blue collar jobs in this country.  Yes, republicans were behind it also, but we are focusing on something else here.  It was also during the 90's that private prisons took off under Clinton's blessing.  That is where instead of counties, states, and the feds running a prison, a publicly traded company on the stock market runs them, seeking to maximize shareholder profits, and having contracts that guarantee a price per inmate that is less if occupancy is above 90% meaning our government has a profit motive to make sure those prisons are full.  And where do they get most of those prisoners, from unemployed black america.  Clinton also raised taxes on everyone, who can ever forget that campaign in 1992 promising a middle class tax cut and then that famous speech where he said he "tried, tried harder than anything else I've ever done, but just cannot cut those taxes" however, he did raise them.  And senior citizens, well, they got their SS benefits taxable raised up to 75% while at the same time saw Clinton cut interest rates from about 8% when he came into office down to 1% additionally killing any cost of living increases and well as calling federal bonds that before had never been called and had a no call feature in so further cutting the income seniors could earn.

And prison for tax cheaters tripled, well, non democratic tax cheaters, prison sentences to make sure those prisons were full and those campaign donations from said companies kept piling in to Bill and later Hillary.  Yep, Hillary is the largest receiver of campaign contributions from our private prison companies.  But fear not, Marco Rubio is running a close second from his time in Florida.

Kind of like the sheriff on Nottingham, huh?

And how have lower and middle class americans fared under Obama, well, they certainly aren't as lonely as they were, since he's just about doubled the poor in his 8 years while spending 100 million a year taking vacations.  Golf fees are not included.

What are we at now, about 95 million americans between 18 and 65 who can be working except they cannot find a job.  About a 30 million increase in 8 years.  And besides all the other taxes we keep paying, we now have that wonderful ObamaCare tax that will auto be stamped on your tax bill or face prison.

And Robin Hood is the kind hearted doesn't like to kill person who steal the money the evil sheriff takes from the hard working people and returns it to those hard working people.  Let's face it, in my lifetime only two presidents have actually cut taxes on the working people of this country, JFK and Ronald Reagan.  The rest just keep using the american tax payers butts as their personal ATM.

Nearly 100 million unemployed people and jobs keep going overseas, or, large companies are illegally using those work visas to fire american tech workers and replace them will foreign workers, saving themselves about 2/3 of the salary and all the benefits.  Disney is the latest, remind yourselves that as you plan your next trip to DisneyWorld or DisneyLand and pay those horrid prices for tickets, food, and hotels at Disney and remind yourself that the company you are giving your money to just replaced hundreds of high tech workers with foreign immigrants violating the law and paying the politicians to look the other way.

And the Obama Administration, nothing, not a word from the Justice Department which really should change their name to Injustice Sheriffs Department of Nottingham

And tell me, as you watch the political debates, do you see a candidate that if elected you actually seriously expect your taxes to go down?  Hillary?  Please.  Sanders?  Pretty good bet taxes will be going up for everybody and everything - except the top 10%.

Republicans?  Oh, they all have plans but campaign plans generally all go away after election day, historically, like 100% of the time.

And Trump''s plan for jobs in America?  Let me tell you a little secret, labor is not the only reason things are made in China.  Look at the parts in a smart phone or computer, who makes all the chips and screens and stuff?  If a company moved their assembly plant 'back' to the USA, then there would be daily shipping of all those parts to the plant from overseas which would add a pretty hefty additional cost to those computers.  Since most of these companies use JIT, written about before here, they don't have inventory and need shipments throughout the day to keep stock for todays production.  Kind of hard to do when the plant that makes the chip is 3,000 miles away.

So for a company to move back to america, so would all their suppliers.  Each would have to build plants, which will take 10 years for EPA approval, cost millions in legal fees and licensing, and that is not going to happen.

So back to Robin Hood.  A world where workers are taxed to the max, where jobs are destroyed and one man stands up and says no and fights the evil Prince and Sheriff and in the end, well, no one wins.  What cracked me up the most though was the person who recommended I watch Robin Hood.  I work with her and she is the most follow the rules and procedures and don't violate anything one iota or you will get nicked and I wonder now if when she watched the show if she wasn't rooting for the sheriff the whole time.

Oops, sorry, edit here, forgot one other thing.  Do you know what Robin's flaw was?  He didn't kill the Sheriff or his henchman, Guy, numerous times when he had the chance to.  He didn't kill Isabella when he had the chance to.  Betrayals abound, but Robin said no, don't kill them. And in the end, that decision cause a lot of people to die, friends, villagers, Marion and in the end, well, the ending.  His indecision or idea that people could change, in the end, cost him everything.

There is a lesson there, not sure what it means, but there is a lesson.

Politician 'bout to make his speech
Signal for attention, please
Then he shuffled his notes
And wiped his sweating brow
I looked at my friend next to me
And we don't dare agree
Before this is over
We'll wish we woulda left right now

'Cause it sounds like a long song comin'
And it looks like he might throw in a little dancin', too
Yes, it sounds like a long song comin'
And buddy, listen buddy
We got better things to listen to

Bob Seger 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

VISIONS OF SUGARPLUMS DANCE IN MY HEAD

I still haven't quite come to accept Donald Trump is serious about this run for office, but if he is really running to get Hillary in, he has his work cut out for him.

On the other hand, last week this 'vision' or something came to me.  I don't usually have 'visions' so I don't know if I'm just connecting dots or what, but here it goes.

If Trump is winning the republican nomination, just before the republican convention in August, I expect there will be an assassination attempt on Trump.  But what I saw was if the attempt is not successful, they will wait and two or three days before the election in November, they will assassinate the democratic nominee.  Now this is where it was weird, because it was not Hillary, but Elizabeth Warren who is killed.

And then Obama will attempt to postpone the election.  Weird huh.

But Hillary, good heavens, how is that woman not in jail?  Are you following the latest release of the emails?  Let me sum this up for you.  Hillary Clinton ran her own private email server, well subcontracted a company to run the server, while Sec of State.  This is illegal.  Then she used that email system for work related emails.  This is illegal too.  Now it comes out she was sending classified information in email on her email server.  This also is illegal.

And she just chuckles and blames a right wing conspiracy.  And the media that covers her and is not allowed to ask questions chuckles along.

So what happens to Hillary if she gets smoked in Iowa?  She will probably lose NH and I doubt she is seriously popular in SC.  She very well could lose all three February primaries and then it's going to be over.

Then it will get exciting because someone else like Biden, Warren, Kerry, or Bloomberg is going to jump into the race.

Meanwhile, Numb Nuts, I'm sorry, I'm so disrespectful, President Numb Nuts is giving what we can only hope and pray is his final Sate of the Union address where he's going to tell everyone that things are great.  The economy has turned the corner, okay, it ran over about 10 million people standing on the corner with signs "will code for food" or "out of work for 1,343 days, where is Ted Koppel and Nightline now?"  But by golly those top 10% are totally cleaning up right now, life could not be better for them.

And I will be tonights speech will be heavy with how climate change is the number one threat to humanity.  Which I guess means climate change is the english translation of the arabic Islam.  Did you follow the news stories from Europe on what happened on NYE in Germany, Sweden, Denmark and one other country that slips my mind?  Those peace loving refugees went on rape and pillage sprees attacking women all over the place and robbing and raping.  Good heavens, ignore that, our temperature might go up .5 degrees in the next 100 years, hey don't laugh, they do enough computer models one is bound to be right eventually.

Put a million monkeys at one million computer terminals and one is eventually going to correctly predict the weather 10 years from now.

You got to wonder about Germany.  If anyone there says anything about the hundreds of thousands of arabs being brought in, it is responded to with reminders of Nazi's and what they did to the jews.  Problem is, while they were wrong what they did to the jews, they are right about what is about to happen to their country.  Maybe God is just not done punishing them, or all of Europe because let's face it, Europe left God behind several decades ago.

And after climate change, the president is going to make a big push for amnesty for all the illegal aliens in the country, as well as wanting to take in one million, pronounced 1 thousand in the speech, young arab men who had no place to live after Russia bombed their terrorist camps.

I wonder if the president will brag about matching Bush's record of doubling the national debt?  I'm sure he won't remind people what he said as a senator and candidate about how irresponsible it was for Bush to double the debt.  Thought I forgot that, didn't you President Numb Nuts?

Oh, one more prediction for tonights speech.  The president will break the World Record for the use of the term "I" in a speech, breaking his previous record from last years State of the Union.

Well, nice to be blogging again and now can blog again on my Mac.  Bought a desk this weekend for the living room, nice 33 inch deep table with drawer in dark cherry and made from real wood, not pressed wood dust.

Which will come in handy, because the last check they paid us on Thursday the 31st, not Friday the first, and now because I adjusted my W4 higher to get more cash these next two checks it's totally hosed my 2015 taxes and now I have to figure out how to reduce my 850 dollar tax bill I'm going to get hit with.  Bastards.

'Twas Halloween and the ghosts were out
And everywhere they'd go they'd shout
And though I covered my eyes I knew
They'd go away

But fear's the only thing I saw
And three days later was clear to all
That nothing is as scary as election day

But the day after is darker
And darker and darker it goes
Who knows maybe the plans will change
Who knows maybe he's not deranged

The news men know what they know
But they know even less than what they say
And I don't know who I can trust
For the come what may

'Cause we believed in our candidate
But even more it's the one we hate
I needed someone I could shake
On election day

But the day after is darker
And deeper and deeper we go
Who knows maybe it's all a dream
Who knows if I'll wake up and scream

I love the things that you've given me
I cherish you my dear country
But sometimes I don't understand
The way we play


Norah Jones


WHAT AN ECONOMIC MESS WE ARE

Okay, Les Leopold recently published a book "Runaway Inequality" that I recommend everyone read.  All of the charts in this blog are pulled from his book, though he often provides original sourcing but in this case I want to plug his book so I am referencing it as the source.

Now, before you get to the first graph, no cheating, I want to ask you to think about this question:  How much more do CEO's make than the wage of the lowest paid full time employee in their company makes?  What is the factor?  In other words, if CEO makes 100,000/year and lowest paid full time employee makes 10,000/year, it is a factor of 10

So, come on you peaked, what is your guess for the top 200 corporations in America?









Were you close?  587 to 1.  For every dollar the lowest paid full time worker makes the CEO makes 587 dollars.  But wait, what about the top 100 companies?  Is the ratio the same?







Nope, even more embarrassing 829 to 1.  Now you are thinking "hey, that's fair, they run the ship, they make the decisions, when the company does well, they should get paid for all those jobs they create and keep, CEO's have always made lots more than the workers!"

Well, not really.























So back in 1970, the president of GE or Union Pacific Railroad, or IBM made 45x the lowest paid full time worker.  Today, 829x the lowest paid full time worker.

So we certainly see CEO wages have done well over the last 40 years, how about workers?




Well, not so well.    Two important items in this chart.  First, notice the relationship between productivity and wages.  From 1947 to 1972ish wages and productivity were tied at the alter, as productivity increases, wages increase.  But something happened in 1972 and the two variables became divorced.  And since 1972, productivity has continued to increase and wages have stagnated and actually decreased.

Adjusted for inflation, the average weekly wages have actually gone down since 1970 by about 100 bucks a week.  Now, understand what this is saying because it's already adjusted for inflation, you had more money in 1970 per week than you do today, 100 bucks more spending money AND in 1970, your company probably paid 100% of your health insurance, no cable bill, one landline phone bill, so you had much more disposable income to work with in 1970 than today.



Let's look at it another way.  Above is a graph from the book that shows the top 1% of earners in this country versus the other 99% of wage earners.

Now I'm not going to go into the depth Leopold does in his book explaining root causes to these numbers, some I agree with, some others I'm not as convinced by his arguments, but the data he lays out and pointing to the 1980's and how CEO pay is tied into stock performance and the focus of most companies becomes stock performance not other issues, so R&D gets reduced, employees in America get reduced, money is borrowed at 1% to buy back stock to raise the stock prices and CEO's get paid for that stock going up.

It is a very convincing argument.

"Oh, quit whining you pinko commie and listen to Limbaugh" you say.  "It's like this everywhere, we are no different!"

Wrong again, Robin!










Now I like these two graphs but bear in mind, the list of countries are not the same, not sure what that means, but you can pick out different European and Asian countries as well as Canada to do a comparison and it does not look good for the American worker.

Also bear in mind, the above two graphs and the one below are changing the subject from CEO's of top X companies to the 1% of income earners to the 99%





Golly, you almost feel sorry for the 1% of France, Denmark, or Sweden living in near poverty compared to their counterparts in the USA.  Don't feel too bad for the people of these countries, get a load of the following table:





These are the laws.  Leopold gives a wonderful example of a full time burger flipper at McDonalds in NYC and a full time burger flipper at McDonalds in Denmark.  Flipper makes more the twice the hourly wage in Denmark than in NYC AND the flipper in Denmark gets 25 paid vacation days.  The flipper in NYC, well, he gets zero paid vacation days.

By this time, you are realizing that the american worker is kind of being screwed and Leopold lays out a lot of the reasoning, laws, and taxation that occurred to create this mess.

Another series of graphs that are fascinating follow:

What you see here is a loss of 8 million manufacturing jobs in America since 1980.  But, remember, we have 100 million increase in population during this same time period.




So we see below what % of people are working, by sex.  Sorry, did not break down beyond male and female for my transwhatever imaginary readers.



























Amazing how women in the workforce increased by over 30% while men lost 20% of jobs.  Warren discusses this phenomena in several of her lectures and how two income families led to the housing increases since mortgages were paid by two incomes rather than one and why this was not a good thing for families.  In the old model, when husband lost job, wife could find work and while sacrifices would be made between her income and savings, homes were not lost.  When homes were bought on two incomes, and one person lost a job, mortgages were in danger of going under and losing the home.




And now here we go, in 1979 the median hourly income was 17/hour for men, meaning by median 50% above and 50% below.  200 million people in country, say 150,000 working age adults, 80% of men and 50% of women are working and making, well, if you are a guy 17/hour and woman about 11/hour in todays dollars.

Today?  320,000,000 people, about 225 million to 250 million working age adults, 68% of men are working, down 12% and  55% of women are working, up 5% - a net loss of 7% by the way, and men are earning14/hour and women 12.12/hour.  See a problem here?




Okay, just thought I would throw in the last graph to show what a bigoted, racist, xenophobe I am.  Draw your own conclusions on comparing the rate of immigration both legal and illegal from south of the border and compare it to loss of manufacturing, wages going down and everything else.

So in the end, you gotta read this book.  Some things I liked is his discussion of a transaction tax, state banks in each state like ND has, and his in depth analysis of what started in the 1980's in corporate america that changed the game so drastically.

You can call me Joe
Buy me a drink and shake my hand
You want courage
I'll show you courage you can understand
Pearl and silver
Restin' on my night table
It's just me Lord, pray I'm able

Darlin' with this kiss
Say you understand
I am the nothing man
I am the nothing man

Bruce Springsteen





Sunday, January 10, 2016

EXTINCTION 11.2

Would someone explain to me how I can be addictive to TV and not have a TV?  I mean, I'm all for the Zen thinking here, but I wish someone had not told me about Netflix a couple of weeks ago.  I think in the last two weeks I've watch every episode of Longmire, Cheers, Twighlight Zone, and a few others.  No TV and 8 hours a day I'm watching TV.  Shoot me.

 I have come to the conclusion that mankind is seriously doomed.

I make a living supporting certain products with a company that should remain nameless on this blog.  I don't often blog about work, well, maybe a little, but I don't bad mouth the company I work for because frankly, I like the company I work for.

I talk to people all over the country and the one north of us.  And I have come to the conclusion that the extinction of humanity is on the horizon.

I have lost count, not that I was ever actually keeping count - that would be neurotic - of the number of times I hear parents needing to take a, shall we say, electronic product, away for a few moments in order to work on the, electronic product, and the kids will scream, cry, refuse to give it up or if it's given up you spend the next 20 minutes working on some issue with the equivalent of "ARE WE THERE YET" constantly being yelled in the background at some high pitch squeal.

What is even worse is listening to some neutered man say something like, 'well, can I use my phone' and I'm thinking "NO, GROUND THE LITTLE BASTARD AND TAKE THE ELECTRONIC DEVICE AWAY FROM HIM AND MAKE HIM GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY"

Look, I love technology, but I also know how to turn it off.  When I go out in the car somewhere, the phone is set to not get a cell signal or wifi signal - okay, listening to tunes sometimes, but with only one earbud inserted.

But what we are seeing in society, let's start with kids that cannot exist without being 'plugged into' their devices, can't go 1 minute without reading what others are posting/texting/facebooking, can't go a minute without posting to the world what they are doing.  They stare at the screen every waking moment.

Children, teens, and adults.  Go out to eat sometime and just kick back and watch the room.  People sitting at tables, not talking anymore, just alone in their plugged in world.

In spite of the possibility that all these people will walk in front of a car, off a cliff, or just die from not moving for a week before they can reproduce, it's the future that should seriously worry us.

Last night on C2C, the guest was talking about how some tech companies are investing in technologies for the future that we don't carry, we don't wear, but get implanted in our bodies whether we want them or not.

But who's going to be around to say no?  That little kid who won't give up his device?  You kidding me?  They will be first in line when they are 20 to sign up.

Imagine you are given this, a mental implant that will provide you unlimited access to all the knowledge in the world, being able to instantly access any book, article, web page on earth.  Got a test in calc, no worries, you got the text book in your head.  How do you get a job without this capability when other applicants have it?

Think how wonderful that would be, wait, of course it would be wonderful because the chip in your head will tell you it's wonderful.  When they start chipping our heads, beaming signals, your individuality is lost forever, a slave, a drone, and you will never know it.

Turning off computer now, unplugging the wifi, and reading a book, printed on paper.

I'm numb as a statue
I may have to beg, borrow or steal
Some feelings from you
So I can have some feelings too

I'm pale as a ghost
You know what I love about you
That's what I need the most
I'm gonna beg, borrow or steal
Some feelings from you
I'm gonna beg, borrow or steal
So I can have some feelings too

I don't care if it's superficial
You don't have to dig down deep
Just bring enough for the ritual
Get here before I fall asleep

Ain't nothing special
When the present meets the past
I've always taken care of business
I've paid my first and last

Warren Zevon