PSA-230130-Useless Information on Canada

Cajones the Size of Basketballs

Normally, I don’t like to post articles that other people have written, but when I get lazy and a great piece of writing comes across my desk I get lazy. Here is a list of questions that every American should be asking for answers to. When did we the people lose control of our government? When did we get so complacent as to allow the crazies among us to take over? I give Victor Davis Hanson credit for flexing his cojones, and his right to free speech to remind us of all the stupid, lawless things that are going on in the country today. What ever happened to the “Rule of Law?”

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The Coup We Never Knew

Did someone or something seize 

control of the United States?

By: Victor Davis Hanson

January 5, 2023

What happened to the U.S. border? Where did it go? Who erased it? Why and how did 5 million people enter our country illegally? Did Congress secretly repeal our immigration laws? Did Joe Biden issue an executive order allowing foreign nationals to walk across the border and reside in the United States as they pleased?

Since when did money not have to be paid back? Who insisted that the more dollars the federal government printed, the more prosperity would follow? When did America embrace zero interest? Why do we believe $30 trillion in debt is no big deal?

When did clean-burning, cheap, and abundant natural gas become the equivalent of dirty coal? How did prized natural gas that had granted America’s wishes of energy self-sufficiency, reduced pollution, and inexpensive electricity become almost overnight a pariah fuel whose extraction was a war against nature? Which lawmakers, which laws, which votes of the people declared natural gas development and pipelines near criminal?

Was it not against federal law to swarm the homes of Supreme Court justices, to picket and to intimidate their households in efforts to affect their rulings? How then with impunity did bullies surround the homes of Justices Brett Kavanaugh, Samuel Alito, Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch, John Roberts, and Clarence Thomas—furious over a court decision on abortion? How could these mobs so easily throng our justices’ homes, with placards declaring “Off with their d—s”?

Since when did Americans create a government Ministry of Truth? And on whose orders did the FBI contract private news organizations to censor stories it did not like and writers whom it feared?

How did we wake up one morning to new customs of impeaching a president over a phone call? Of the speaker of the House tearing up the State of the Union address on national television? Of barring congressional members from serving on their assigned congressional committees?

When did we assume the FBI had the right to subvert the campaign of a candidate it disliked? Was it legal suddenly for one presidential candidate to hire a foreign ex-spy to subvert the campaign of her rival?

Was some state or federal law passed that allowed biological males to compete in female sports? Did Congress enact such a law? Did the Supreme Court guarantee that biological male students could shower in gym locker rooms with biological women? Were women ever asked to redefine the very sports they had championed?

When did the government pass a law depriving Americans of their freedom during a pandemic? In America can health officials simply cancel rental contracts or declare loan payments in suspension? How could it become illegal for mom-and-pop stores to sell flowers or shoes during a quarantine but not so for Walmart or Target?

Since when did the people decide that 70 percent of voters would not cast their ballots on Election Day? Was this revolutionary change the subject of a national debate, a heated congressional session, or the votes of dozens of state legislatures?

What happened to Election Night returns? Did the fact that Americans created more electronic ballots and computerized tallies make it take so much longer to tabulate the votes?

When did the nation abruptly decide that theft is not a crime, assault not a felony? How can thieves walk out with bags of stolen goods, without the wrath of angry shoppers, much less fear of the law?

Was there ever a national debate about the terrified flight from Afghanistan?  Who planned it and why?

What happened to the once-trusted FBI? Why almost overnight did its directors decide to mislead Congress, to deceive judges with concocted tales from fake dossiers and with doctored writs? Did Congress pass a law that our federal leaders in the FBI or CIA could lie under oath with impunity?

Who redefined our military and with whose consent? Who proclaimed that our chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff could call his Chinese Communist counterpart to warn him that America’s president was supposedly unstable? Was it always true that retired generals routinely libeled their commander-in-chief as a near Nazi, a Mussolini, an adherent of the tools of Auschwitz?

Were Americans ever asked whether their universities could discriminate against their sons and daughters based on their race? How did it become physically dangerous to speak the truth on a campus? Whose idea was it to reboot racial segregation and bias as “theme houses,” “safe spaces,” and“diversity”? How did that happen in America?

How did a virus cancel the Constitution? Did the lockdowns rob us of our sanity? Or was it the woke hysteria that ignited our collective madness?

We are beginning to wake up from a nightmare of a country we no longer recognize, and from a coup we never knew.

Coincidence???

This week I finished reading a book titled “Ransomeware Hunting Team.” As I read I began to realize why passwords are so important, and necessary. Each time I write about passwords it is negative. I hate passwords with a passion. My favorite saying is that the only one that a password protects me from is me. Fortunately, I have only encountered a ransomeware attack once in my lifetime, and I was smart enough to ignore it, and also wise enough to restart my computer in Safe mode, I got lucky. The thought of my computer being invaded by a complete stranger who then sends a nasty-gram asking for money to get rid of him makes the hair on my arms stand at attention. The only thing scarier is encountering that same man on the street who sticks a gun in your face and demands your wallet.

In the book “Ransomeware Hunting Team” the authors tell a story of the heroic effort expended by a few people in the world who take the opposite stance as the thieves. The main characters are hackers who specialize in, and get delight from being able to unlock the thief’s key, and to save the victim from paying the ransom. At first, these brave hackers were the only ones fighting the hundreds (or maybe thousands) of evil-hackers who everyday hold unsuspecting victims hostage. It took decades of cooperation between the good-hackers and the FBI to finally develop enough clout to fight back effectively. In the mean time, evil-hackers had bilked billions of dollars from individuals and corporations.

I still believe that better computer designs, and more secure software can be developed to squash the ransomeware developers. But will anyone be able to force computer and software companies to do that?This is such a big problem that it will take a concerted effort by our government to enact regulations and controls that will make it impossible for evil-hackers to function.

To my surprise, yesterday I read headlines that airlines had been shut down nationally due to an unknown computer outage. My mind immediately jumped to suspect ransomeware, and Russian hackers looking to get rich by imposing such a grand scheme as shutting down the major transportation system in the country. It is a documented fact that the USA has imposed sanctions on Russia, and the sanctions are working. It is also known that the USA is assisting Ukraine in the war with Russia. This is not just a coincidence. The shutdown of the USA air transport system is most likely Vladimir Putin getting revenge on the United States for waging war against Russia by using Ukraine as a proxy.

Of course the airlines have denied that the problem is not due to ransomeware. It would be too embarrassing for them to admit such a thing, and it would be even more embarrassing to admit that the FAA has sent Russia tons of money to get the system back up and running. It would be even more damaging to learn that the FAA system was so out of date that it was susceptible to crash just like Southwest Airlines. We spend trillions of dollars every year to run our country, but I’d be willing to bet that there isn’t one nickel in the budget for upgrading crucial computer systems.

My prediction is the Department of Transportation, run by a weakling rookie, will spend more money trying to find the root cause than they would spend on a system upgrade.

A Wordy Post About Stuff

One problem with writing a post everyday is finding themes. In that regard I admire Daniel Greenfield who writes for his blog called Sultan of Knish. He posts several times a week and each time it is an academic essay on some aspect of politics or world affairs. His posts are between 1200 and 3200 words each time. On the other hand, when I am in good form I will post about three times a week and average about 600 words. Lately, my posts are about four times a month, and I am having difficulty thinking of stuff to write about.

I wouldn’t be surprised if someone labels me racist again, because when Obama was president he did so many things I disagreed with that I couldn’t stop writing negatively about him. When Trump was president, I didn’t want to fan the fires of those who were against him because the press didn’t need any help from me. Biden on the other hand hasn’t done anything I like, and I believe he is destroying the country. Biden is making Obama look like an amateur when it comes to stupid policies and stupid governance. I don’t want to waste my time repeating what the daily news is already doing. Besides sleepy Joe is an old timer like me, and I won’t pick on someone who can’t help himself because his brain has stopped functioning. There is nothing sadder in life than watching a person who was a fireball while younger, and who has lost it to Alzheimer’s. I saw what happened with my wife, and it is truly saddening that so many people end their time on earth by slowly losing their memory to the point where they forget how to breath.

One memory invoked by Sleepy Joe is the era of Jimmy Carter when inflation kept rising and the Federal Reserve couldn’t do anything but raise interest rates to 16%. It was a great time for people with cash who could buy Certificates of Deposit earning a 16% return for a five year period. They advanced the size of their savings dramatically. The high interest rate eventually worked, and the economy adjusted so the rates began to drop, and about the time the 16% CD’s matured the rates were back to a paltry 3%. So for anyone looking at how long this pain will last history says it will be at least five years after the current rates rise to 16%.

For the past twelve years we have enjoyed an economy that was operating on free money. Loans were down to the low 3.0% range and that allowed many people to buy the house of their dreams. Those who had cash in the bank were sadly only making 0.1 % on their savings. Most people invested in stocks to make decent money. My retirement has been happy because of the earnings I have received, but I’m not so sure I will be happy moving forward as the economy begins to falter. My advisor continues to admonish me to look at the long run, and not the short term. Excuse me, but just how much longer do I have? Ten minutes, ten days, ten months, ten years? I worry that my paltry portfolio will not be strong enough to keep me going for the duration.

Last week I went into a McAllister’s deli for a sandwich($20 for a cup of soup and a six inch sandwich), and I swear the lady who took my order was older than me. I had a vision of me behind the counter making sandwiches, and that is not appealing. I’d rather spend my time standing in the middle of busy intersection dodging traffic with a bucket in my shaky hand collecting money for my Lions club.

In the good old days everyone was a farmer who worked until he died. It was only after the industrial revolution, and the Great Depression that people began looking at work as a forty-five year duration. Pensions, vacation, and medical insurance all became perks for workers. These benefits were being offered by companies desperate for help. With Trump’s economy we saw a huge shortage of help, but I didn’t see anyone offering huge new benefits to lure workers to their factories. About the most extreme benefit I saw was the work from home model which came because of Covid. Let’s hope things get better sooner than later.

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Public Service-221009

During the four years of Donald Trump’s term as president I often wondered why he gave his son-in-law Jared Kushner recognition. Kushner served as Trump’s advisor, but in his memoir he writes very detailed accounts of his role as a leader on several high level and huge projects. Among them were re-negotiating the NAFTA trade agreement with Mexico, Criminal Justice Reform, Middle-East peace, and the COVID-19 response. All of these yielded major benefits to the country.

Jared tells his story in a fast moving narrative that held my interest through out. His writing style is mesmerizing. Since I lived through this period, it was refreshing to learn the inside details of how success was achieved, i.e. not easily, but required persistence and constant brainstorming to come up with creative solutions to problems. I was particularly moved by the response to the pandemic. The process used was classic engineering project management, and reminded me of similar situations that I faced in my role as Chief Engineer of a manufacturing company. His process as facilitator of the Mid-Eastern peace deal was one of classic “think outside the box” management. Unfortunately, bureaucratic thinking and processes cannot move past the traditional forms and age old methodology of years of failure. Each administration and career diplomats merely continued to rehash old talking points for the past fifty years. Too many people within the system are interested only in advancing their own career over what is best for the country. The result is a swamp full of creatures whose only interest is to live off each other, and to procreate the process. Kushner kept repeating the old adage that he must not keep repeating the same unsuccessful steps over and over and expecting a different outcome. He made this point repeatedly to Arab leaders throughout his negotiations.

One fact that Kushner writes about never appeared in the press. During his tenure, he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and underwent surgery and follow-up treatment. He never let the diagnoses affect his ability to serve, and he continued to look forward and not let the past affect his drive. Luckily, his treatment solved the problem.

As an engineer, I had many opportunities to write reports and to present them. So many times I was disappointed by the revisions that the CEO made to my work. Eventually, I learned that drafting a report from scratch is much more difficult than it is to revise it. Once the main man has the basis for a decision he can then modify it to arrive at a better outcome. I used this argument in mentoring sessions with engineers. I followed the same process as my boss, and learned that my revisions made a report more valuable than the original. I always gave credit for the final report to the engineer. Kushner’s presentations to the President almost always triggered Trump to make revisions that led to a better solution.

Working in the White House is vicious, stressful, fast paced, and relentless. Too many of the people who work there are constantly seeking power and favor from the president. The most notable tactic for a staff member to feel powerful is to become a leaker. It seems that people who feed inside information to the outside gain an adrenaline rush from the knowledge that their information was obtained because of their position next to the president. Many times the leaker is someone who opposes the president and is seeking to destroy his agenda. Kushner describes experiencing many incidents of leaking. One of the advantages Trump had within the White House was to have his son-in-law. Working directly for him. Kushner being a family member was there to serve his country and to protect his father-in-law.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who has a penchant for history and the inside machinations of top level government. If you are not that interested in government I still recommend the book as a biography of a young man who served his country at the highest level.