A bunch of crap with a nice picture attached to it. :)

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I must be getting old. Everything pisses me off these days. Donald Trump. People who like Donald Trump. People who hate him irrationally. People who talk about him like they know him. People who talk like they want to know him. People who don’t talk about him like they know him. Christopher Wool, that talentless fucking hack. The words fake news. Real news. Death. Life. The piece of chocolate I dropped on the floor that I can’t find.  Wednesdays. Donald Trump’s cabinet. Donald Trump’s toilet.

Everything.

No worries though. These feelings are a temporary thing. Life is good. I have a job. I have a wife that loves me. Two cats that are the awesomest cats of awesomeness ever. Enough money to pay the rent. The bills are paid.

I feel almost affluent right now, even through my anger I feel that.

I’m still going to resist Trump, and feeling like things are so alright I can walk away and not be a responsible adult and fight this man who is, and has been for as long as I have known of him, the very symbol of what is wrong with the world, what is wrong with America.  A rich man who flaunts his wealth while being a bad businessman. A ruthless bastard who does everything he can to screw the little guy while pretending to be something he isn’t; one of us.

He’ll never be a man of the people. He’ll never fight for what I need in the world, what the little guy needs. He’ll cut taxes without cutting government, dropping the bill on future generations. We’ll pay less, and that’ll feel nice, but it won’t last, and we’ll have to pay more later.

All his manic self-publicity won’t make the reality of his eminent failure any less real, won’t make our future any less bleak. Republicans can feel great about things now, but reality will bite them in the ass later.

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What could I say to you that would be of value, except that perhaps you seek too much, that as a result of your seeking you cannot find. … When someone is seeking, it happens quite easily that he only sees the thing that he is seeking; that he is unable to find anything, unable to absorb anything, because he is only thinking of the thing he is seeking, because he has a goal, because he is obsessed with his goal.  ~ Herman Hesse, Siddhartha, 1922

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That’s it from here. Real news or something that approximates it tomorrow.

Go to sleep, America.

Early Morning Idle Talk

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It’s 6:00 am, and despite the fact that I’m on vacation I’m awake, have been since earlier than I normally get up on most work days. My wife and I just came back from the In-laws, and the cats, who boarded with our vet, we’re clearly not in the mood to let us sleep. So I’ve decided to run interference, for lack of a better term. I stay awake for a bit and they hang out with me so she can sleep. Later on, she’ll do the same for me.

Although, admittedly, she seems to now be awake and unhappy that I am awake. Do you see how decisions sometimes go awry? Lack of communication, though in this instance I think I have a legitimate excuse. She was asleep, or making the attempt to sleep well enough where I thought she was.

Which is fine.

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I love reading the news.

There’s a ton of stories out about fights breaking out all over America as retailers all across America became mosh pits for unruly shoppers. Which to me doesn’t sound like a bad thing, I’ve been known to jump in the occasional mosh pit after all. But apparently it was bad enough where in a number of cases the malls in question closed and some of the brawls may have been orchestrated in some fashion on social media. Or better put, anti-social asshole media.

And plus, you know, Capitalism. Life in America is all about the fight for the dollar, and where better to stage that fight then at your local Piggly Wiggly or Dollar General or Bed Bath and Beyond? Isn’t thirty percent off (and a lack of manners and social grace usually Wolverineassociated with feral wolverines) a reason to beat the crap out of a total stranger?

No? And you people wonder why Donald Trump won the Presidency. This is the America that we live in. Stupid, violent and prone to excess. This is what we are. As a nation. These are our future leaders.

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Wazzup wit dat, bruh?

It doesn’t bother me one bit either. Why? It points to where we are as a culture, what we deem important enough to fight over. It isn’t good government. It isn’t the rights of our brothers and sisters, regardless of what we may think of that. It’s a love of violence that is endemic to our species, even if many individuals decry the truth of that statement. It’s saving a few bucks on things that we have grown attached to. Base desires for material objects that are deemed socially desirable because of it’s cost-benefit on a personal level, despite our national dislike of math and the lack of money that goes along with that shameful dislike.

I’d prefer to have us show our true faces, so we can at least get a grip on who we are going forward, than mask it with some high minded bullshit and lie to ourselves about who and what we are. After all, a society is only as strong as it’s weakest link.

And America is filled with weak links.

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It is by its promise of a sense of power that evil often attracts the weak. ~ Eric Hoffer, The Passionate State of Mind

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It’s more than an hour later, and all the piss and vinegar seems to have left the cats, and they are now peacefully asleep, or perhaps not so peacefully awaiting  their next chance to strike and steal our ham and cheese. All I want to do is go back to sleep.

Thankfully my wife is blissfully asleep. Something is going right.

But I still have things to do. Clothes to wash, food to buy, things to get for my wife for her birthday.

I’ll give them what they want later. Not sure what’ll happen next, aside from a few more words…

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Twelve dead, forty others wounded in Chicago this weekend. Christmas weekend.

Much of this is being attributed to gang violence, and most of the dead were gang bangers.

Gangs police themselves apparently. And like the police, they miss and shoot people who didn’t have jack to do with anything they were doing.

Reminds me of the Henry Rollins lyric ” I see you say you hate Pigs so much, so why the hell you act like one? Because you’re civilized.”

It’s a short, sad, hard life, and these Darwin award winners were out to prove that this weekend.

Glad I don’t live in that shithole…Which may otherwise be a nice city but…c’mon, really? How nice can it be if that much shit happens there during Christmas?

Clean your shit up, Chicago.

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Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. ~ Robert A. Heinlein, Starship Troopers, 1959

Fake News Isn’t Fake, and It Isn’t News

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What is news? Well, the dictionary definition (courtesy of Merriam Webster) is: News (n.) A report of a recent events.

What is fake? Fake (n.) One that is not what it purports to be.

These two words seem to be antonyms. If it’s news, it can’t be fake. If it’s fake, it can’t be news. So how did we end up with this “Fake news?”

Well, the words placed together themselves have as much to do with the intellectual laziness of both reporters and readers as anything. Why? Well, because the words “Purposefully, factually improper reporting from dubious and facetious sources with the intent of misleading the public.” is not exactly considered concise enough for twitter and the other terse forms of media where grabbing attention is more important than getting across your information accurately. Although there is a shorter, ten letter word that these people are forgetting about that fits the term even better than my long-winded though clearly accurate term.

I’ll get to it later.

How did the phenomena come to be? Simple. News, aka reality, did not go the way several groups of people wanted it to. There were people telling stories that others didn’t like, so they decided to create their own version of reality to fit their own needs.

Note I said several groups. Which groups? Right wing. Left wing. Single issue voters, like anti-vaxxers, Pro-life groups, pro-abortions rights groups. I do not know where it began, but it has existed since long before I was born. Probably before your grandparents were born, and each generation has found a way to make it happen, to create their own news. This thing that has taken over our newswires is nothing new. The new wrinkle that exists now is that it has left the fringe and has gone mainstream. It is no longer just the hallmark of conspiracy theorists and nutjobs, though they are still the greatest fomenters of this type of crap.

Just to make the point, here are a few stories from the past twelve months, with stories that were fabricated:

Elizabeth Warren’s endorsement of Bernie Sanders in March, from a site that spoofed the New York Times, all the way down to fonts and reporter byline. Fake as hell. She endorsed Hillary, but endorsed no one until June.

Megan Kelly fired by Fox after Endorsing Hillary Clinton, was a story that surfaced in late August. Megyn is still there, and she did not actually endorse Hillary Clinton, or anyone to my knowledge, but that did not stop endingthefed.com from getting one of the larger fake news stories of the year out there and planted all over Facebook in late August.

Donald Trump won the popular vote: Nope. Hillary won by over three million votes, yet there are stories that are still circulating that the Donald actually won. And a side note here, The stories that abounded of millions of illegal votes being counted for Hillary are just as fake, no matter (Ahem, Mister Trump) who made the claim. The only voter fraud out there is the stuff floating around the heads of conspiracy theorists, aka people who can’t handle the truth of the world that exists around them.

The truth though, is out there to be had, if only you look, America.

Find out. Life is information, how you take it in dictates who you are. Hearing about anything from anyone is just something to whet the appetite, it isn’t the be all end all. Just hearing something from someone is never enough. We need to dig, to find out, to go past that initial level of knowledge and get to the actual story. Often times you will find the initial headline and the real story are often at odds with reality.

Wait… What? Oh, what’s that ten letter word I mentioned before that is even more accurate than fake news?

Propaganda.

We as a nation have lost our ability to realize what we are really looking at. We’ve been had, and our propensity to find cute terms to fit the world we want to live in, rather than using words that fit the world we do live in is making us dumber and weaker. Not just as a society, or as a culture, or even as a nation. Since this is not just an American phenomena, it is making us dumber and weaker as a species.

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Quote of the day: We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false. ~ William Casey, CIA Director at his first meeting as head of the organization, 1981.

How We Got Here

 

I’ve seen my side lose before, and I am sure I will again. It isn’t easy to live with, but the world doesn’t give anyone what they want, it gives what it gives, and you have to be adult enough to deal with it.  So I deal with it.  It surprises me that others who are on my side are as shocked as they are, or were on election day. There are people out there who are just so sure that we had made so much progress as a people that our side should automatically win.

You see the problems with the thinking in that sentence, yes?

No?

Let me make a point or two for you. Your view of progress is not another’s, and this land has this amazing thing called freedom, and that includes the freedom to disagree. And if enough people in the the right places disagree, they can change the face of an election.  Donald Trump did not need to win the popular vote. He just needed to win enough places in enough key states to turn purple states red to win the election.

Those key places were, and have been for several election cycles Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. He turned all of them, the election results were very close. Trump won Florida by 1.1%, a 100,000 vote difference in a state were 9.4 million people voted, less than 1% in Pennsylvania, and less than 23,000 votes in Wisconsin.

All the other spots he won he was going to win, just like all the other spots where Hillary won she was going to win. Was it his ground game that won those places for him? Her lack of interest in campaigning in some of these places that lost it for her? It’s a bit of both, but it’s much more complex than that.

It was also the media.

And social media.

And discontent.

That was the real force that the Trump campaign used to get him where he is today. They played the entire “Look what Obama did to America” concept and milked it to the point where it was a potent force. The fact that he did a good job despite constant interference from a congress that refused to work with him was ignored. The constant negative buzz from the right wing mainstream media (If you don’t think that Breitbart and Fox and Limbaugh and Jones aren’t a potent media force, you don’t know a damn thing about media) was an implement wielded with great force and deft precision in the places where the right needed to make noise enough to tilt the battleground for the American mind towards the conservative.

And yes fake news, but that only affected the idiots. A few million of them … but I digress…

Even if the Russians did nothing, the battleground shift due to discontent that was aimed directly at the American left is what really did the Hillary Clinton campaign in.  The right worked the middle American mind adroitly by playing to pessimism about our present.

That the present is by and large brighter than the picture the right presented America with regardless of who won the Presidency is something else that the right can take advantage of. All it will take is a change of tone and terminology about our future and all of a sudden, without any real need to do anything, things will look, and be, that much better for those who watch and listen to right wing msm outlets. This will be attributed to the change in President and party despite the fact the President-Elect will have to do nothing.

While the real world grows darker and angrier in his presence. Which the right wing msm will readily ignore.

He should not be surprised if the very thing that got him elected defeats him and his conservative allies later.

Such is the world in which we live.

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Quote of the Day: When one side only of a story is heard and often repeated, the human mind becomes impressed with it insensibly. ~ George Washington, letter to Edmund Pendleton, January 7th, 1798

 

Don’t Build The Wall

If you were conscious on any level and existed on planet earth for the last two years, you’ve likely heard the cry BUILD THE WALL! or something similar countless times. The call for a wall between the United States and Mexico. To keep drug dealers and murderers out of our fine land and to keep people from living here illegally, among a great many other reasons.

Now if that were all there were to it, yes. Build the wall. If it keeps America safe from external threats, yes, keep us safe.  But there are a great many other thoughts and considerations that go into such an endeavor.

The first one being what is already there.

What’s there is a mess that doesn’t look like it can be cleaned up with a wall. The answer sounds far too simple for such a complex subject.

The nearly two thousand mile long border has many types of terrain and exists in a  great many places.  There are currently hundreds of miles of wall that exists in many places along the border. In some of those places that works. But not in all. In some places the fencing that exists is insufficient, some of it low enough to be scaled by people who want to cross the border. But part of the problem is also that there are spots where surveillance is insufficient, and that is the real problem. Because not only do illegal aliens make it across in those spots, but people die crossing the border to get here. Sometimes Americans on this side of the border get killed, sometimes those crossing die.

It is a humanitarian crisis for everyone involved. Has been for years. We as a nation have tried to fix things by building fencing and walls, stringent sentencing for people caught without papers more than once. That has added to the misery without doing much of anything for those who live on either side of the fence. Drugs still get across, people still get across, and good and bad, people die. Want is the real issue.

A fence or a wall is something that can be gotten around, over under or through. There is something to be said for desire. People who want to get here will get here regardless of wall or fence or enforcement. The fact that people die at the rate they do crossing (numbers I have seen run as high as an average of 200-250 people die per year crossing the border) speaks to the tenacity of those who are crossing to get here. It is impossible to stop people from doing what they want if there is even a hair of a chance of success.

There are other things to consider as well.

Money, for one thing. Do you know how much it costs to build and maintain a wall, even a fence that large and long? Billions. Billions we don’t have. President-elect Trump has already promised to slash the tax base that gives us the money to pay for things we need, like a military, which already costs us over half a trillion dollars annually. Adding this wall, along with the money it will cost to maintain it, build it, and surveil the fence so that no one gets across, is something we simply do not have the money to do. The price tag is steep. As high as sixteen million dollars per mile for building and upkeep of the fence in places, with the cheapest estimate being somewhere around $6,000,000 per mile, with higher estimates sitting at over $10,000,000.

Per mile.

For the entire one thousand nine hundred fifty four mile stretch of border

Oh and a mass deportation bill that goes along with it will run well over a hundred billion dollars.

There is no way that this is a feasible plan. None. You would create a humanitarian crisis greater than the one that exists and bankrupt us to boot by building it.  No American in their right mind could possibly want that.

Not one who cares about America. Or humanity. There is a reason that people along the border by and large disagree with the idea of a wall.  They see the effect on people on both sides of the fence. They don’t want criminals coming into America, they don’t want to live in fear, but at the same time they don’t want a humanitarian crisis happening on their doorstep either. Building a wall won’t make the crisis go away, won’t keep people who want to get in out, and won’t make us safer as a nation.

Click the word Links at the top of the page, or here, for links to stories this piece is based upon.

And How do you Plan to Pay for That, Sir?

If you know anything about finances, there are a few basics that must be paid attention to. Among the most important is a very simple concept: Don’t spend more than you make.  Now when you have a bureaucracy as huge as the United States government, that is an amazingly difficult thing to do on the best of days.

When you spend more than you make, that is called deficit spending, it creates debt.  The Obama administration was somewhat successful in fighting the deficit. He inherited an economy that was hemorrhaging cash and jobs at a rate that was as alarming as it was dangerous.

It took some serious work, but he, along with the OMB, Ben Bernanke (Who also bears some responsibility FOR the Financial crisis of 2007-08) and legislation (Frank-Dodd and in particular the Volcker rule, among other pieces of legislation) that successfully regulated the shadow banking system (It’s not that shadowy, but the subject will get additional scrutiny in future) managed to stop the bleeding.

But with a price that will be paid for in future. The deficit will rise again later. It cannot be helped. It is a ripple effect of the amount of damage that the unregulated economy did back in 2007-08, and the trillions of dollars that bled out of the system. The Obama administration has done all they could to mitigate that, with some success.

The deficit, year on year has dropped every year he has been in office, and thanks to the efforts of everyone in and around the economy, the deficit over the next ten years will never go, if things stay on track, over 4%. Not great, but given the circumstances, not too shabby.

Enter Donald Trump.

His plan is to cut taxes, increase the size of the military, spend billions on infrastructure.

And build a wall.

Let me explain something here about this.  Cutting taxes feels good. No one likes paying taxes, especially if they don’t like government programs that pay for things people don’t like, like ANYTHING  they think of as being wasteful or going to people who don’t deserve it. Both laughable concepts, but people think these things and they must be taken into account. So yeah, lower taxes puts more money in your pocket today so you can do more today.

But it increases the bill for later. Decreasing the taxes the government needs to pay for things while increasing government services, like border security and a larger armed forces will do nothing more than make the next financial crisis, and there will be one, count on that, that much worse.

Check the Links section for the pertinent information.

I would love nothing more than to have something that approaches a secure financial future. That future was nearly terminated by unregulated excess and improper financial decisions both in the private and public sectors, in particular by  Hank Paulson, Christopher Cox, and George W. Bush. The Obama Administration did much to ameliorate the situation, but it seems that we are headed back to the same place we were at before the Democrats came in and saved the nations bacon.

Republican decision making nearly threw it, and us with it, into a fire,  and thanks to Donald Trump and out of control spending and thoughtless tax cuts seemingly will send the economy reeling back into that same economic death spiral. Trump and his plan are darkening a future that was, while not bright, clearly not as dark as it is with Republicans back in fiscal control of the nation.

Expect inflation, deficit spending, and the debt to skyrocket over the next two years. So much for a secure financial future.

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Quote of the day: I was aware that the loosening of mortgage credit terms for subprime borrowers increased financial risk. But I believed then, as now, that the benefits of broadened home ownership are worth the risk. ~Alan Greenspan, September 2007

Back to It

In this installment: Where the hell has the Rhino been? What’s the new plan? Is Donald Trump that big of an evil dumbass? (Short answers: Over there, doing shit; Agitate and make war on evil; and Is that even a fucking question?)

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Asshole-Elect

Bless me father for I have sinned.  It has been years since my last posting here. (Boy are you people in for it.)

It has been years for a variety of reasons, none of them very good, but all of them rationales, if not actual reasons. Work has been busy, first with one part-time job and a furious search for more work, then with two, three and at one time four different part time jobs. Then when I landed the full-time gig, after a search that seemed to last a lifetime, I was suddenly even busier than the busy that I had been.

On top of that I had been writing fiction, heaps and heaps of it. Never made a damn dime off of it. Didn’t mind. I write for me. Fuck money (If I ever bitch about funds, remind me I said that shit) But even that went by the wayside as busy become super busy became maddeningly, intensely, stupefyingly, beautifully, bellicosely busy. (I promise, no more shitty strings of adverbs after this… I hope.) So writing went by the wayside. I tried to keep up with it in any way possible. A testament to it is the fact that I have about twenty notebooks with short stories and plans for novels strewn about Rhino Hacienda in what can only be called a deliberately haphazard (That is today’s oxymoron of the day, btw) fashion.

That’s cute and all, but I hear you ask what’s up now and what’s with all the Latin up top?

Glad you asked! Kinda…

Life’d be better if I didn’t feel like I had to be here. After all, a bunch of you assholes voted for the orange haired devil, and now the rest of us adults with priorities and intellects that haven’t been skewed by evil, racism, and ravenous needy greedy bullshit masked as the capitalist urge are left to clean up the mess, and he hasn’t even begun to make it in earnest yet.

Donald Trump, one of the worst humans to disgrace the face of the Earth before he entered politics, is now the leader of the (Buy everything, get nothing) free world. I am going to, starting with my next post go over in exquisite detail every policy position of his, and tear it to pieces like Oliver Stone going over the Zabruder film (Back… and to the left.  Back… and to the left.) I may take a stab at his twitter ranting bullshit, which should go away after the inauguration, but if it doesn’t, keep your eyes here. But all things Politics are back on the table, and it should be…well…

…Trump’s presidency is going to be an exciting ride.

If by exciting you mean like riding an unsafe amusement park ride,

After the site has been condemned,

Closed for five years and allowed to rust,

Aaaaaaaand recently hit by a massive earthquake.

But we’re in this together, so strap in, and get ready for a screamfest!

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This ride will rip your face off…literally.

Oh, and the House and Senate are as stacked with fun every bit as interesting and wicked as the White house, and his Cabinet is crazier than Arkham asylum on LSD so stay tuned for all the fun.

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Quote of the day:  People want me to [run for president] all the time … I don’t like it. Can you imagine how controversial I’d be? You think about [Bill Clinton] and the women. How about me with the women? Can you imagine? ~ Donald Trump, from an interview in the New York Post,  July 12th, 1999