Sunday, June 17, 2018

Death is terrible. Not just the end... but while some of us are lucky enough to expire with relative speed and peace, modern medicine and the tenacious manner at which we cling to life makes it horrible. It's naturally horrible, but we add horror to the process.

We do not die all at once. We lose pieces of what we love most. Our strength, our patience, our clarity, our independence, our senses, our memories, our loved ones..

Many of us will sentenced to confinement in a bed smaller than a cell in solitary confinement for the last weeks, months, years of our lives. An ever shrinking world of purposeless pain. I don't fear death as much as I fear a decade of nonambulatory pain. A decade of enslaving a loved one (or several) as my physical and mental needs demanded round the clock care. I fear watching my own failing health cause their health, careers, marriages, lives to fail one by one...

Death takes most of us piece by piece and takes the best parts of us first. I understand the nearly universal human need to believe death isn't the end but that we transition to some paradise forever. If we can't pump the dying full of morphine we can at least give them pleasant fictions.

This is dark but anyone reading this either has or will likely watch someone who means the world to them degenerate into a mess of pure suffering at some point and never come back.

My nightmare is our life extension technology gets more advanced without advancements in quality of life or cultural introspection about what we want out of existence and we all live to be 150 with the last 55 years writhing in pain, wallowing in our own shit, and begging for it to end.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Working the Refs

This is a bit about how we are trained to waste our time entertaining nonsense and how it works to our detriment. Written while I am waiting for the SOTU to start...

In football, there are officials on the lookout for cheating the make sure the game being played is “Football” and “Team who sneakily put more players on the field wins!”.

Some teams cheat more. Some teams are notorious for doing this*. These teams tend to garner more penalties and get called out more for their cheating... And managers and coaches have a strategy called “Working the Refs”

The premise is that after being caught and penalized for cheating far more than the other team, the manager will have a fit and raise hell and such implying some level of unfairness towards their team or unacceptable bias is the reason why they are getting penalized more. The reason for working the refs is to encourage future leniency regarding the next penalty when the cheating team cheats again, or to encourage harshness in calls against the opposing team.

We as humans are weak to vulnerable to this idea of “balance” when it is not applicable to all things and all people.

We also see this in public discussions. There are notorious liars and cheaters influencing public policy. Project Veritas is an example of an organization whose entire premise is to create deceptive videos to back attacks against institutions, public figures and journalists. There exists public policy groups that have existed only to promote falsehoods and doubts about if smoking or sugar was hazardous to one’s health, if changing out atmosphere would change our climate, if certain leaders were speaking in good faith about weapons of mass destruction and so on. After getting caught in lies again and again, some groups and speakers are dis-invited to participate in discussions, or only with disclaimers about the other times they have been using coverage to lie to their audience.

I recently was in a discussion started when I responded to a complaint about how "The Media" and journalists were biased against Conservatives because they had flagged groups such as the U.K. Institute for Economic Affairs. Google them if you like, or if you know PR imagine a British Version of the Heartland Institute. This group has been paid by groups such as RJR Reynolds Tobaccos, Exxon Mobil, and [SECRET NONDISCLOSED DONOR] to always have an... """Expert""" at the ready to advocate stopping anti-tobacco education, arguing against the science of climate change, and in favor of Brexit.

It turns out smoking is harmful, actions HAVE been able to decrease smoking rates, changing the makeup of the atmosphere IS changing the climate, Brexit DID inflict economic pain on the British People and so on. If you are looking for someone to contribute in a smart and meaningful honest way to any discussion, you can probably do MUCH better than someone from the IEA.

So when (smartly and rightly) folks flagged IEA ....""Experts"" and invited them less (along with other think tanks with similar histories) someone wrote a piece decrying the "BIAS!!!" of Journalists, the Media, and so on.

This is an attempt to Work the Refs. Someone will sent an angry email, someone will write a letter, someone will threaten to never tune in again or cancel a subscription and so on. Hearing an accusation that another is being "Biased" against you group produces a strong emotional response to "Defend" your group against some outside threat. It often moves the discussion from deciding what objective truth is to making sure your particular group isn't being mistreated.

Groups such as Young Earth Creationists, "Vaccines Cause Autism!", Supply Side Economists, Phrenologists and others all have felt their laughably and obviously wrong ideas and experts were the victims of unfair bias and not given equal time compared to their non-wrong opposition. Eventually, we decided that evidence and truth was more important than seeming "unbiased" and so truth moved forward.

"Test Everything, Hold on to what is good" - 1 Thessalonians 5:21

To move forward, in terms of knowledge, wisdom, good decisions.. we must not only seek out and find new data, ideas and interpretations, but we also must discard ideas and practices that are explicitly wrong. It wasn't enough for Ignaz Semmelweis to theorize and demonstrate that properly washing hands before surgery reduced infections and saved lives, but the "Handwashing Sceptics" had to be persuaded, cajoled, or mandated to clean their hands as well. Today there is a strong "Bias" in Medical Schools towards cleanliness in operating rooms and if you wish to advocate the abandonment of these principles, you will likely not be welcome to teach in a credentialed medical school. This can be viewed as either progress and the triumph of truth and a great victory for the health and well being of patients the world over, or as an example of academic snobbery and an attack on the free exchange of ideas. It wasn't enough for Dr. John Snow to learn theorize and demonstrate that contaminated water was the source of Cholera, he had to remove the dirty well's pump handle. People fought Semmelweis's and Snow's ideas for quite some time but we now know to wash our hands well before putting them into a human body and to avoid drinking shitwater.

"A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it." - Max Plank

We are blessed to live in a free, open, and technologically advanced society where ideas from the world over can be expressed and examined with ease. We are also drowning in a deluge of bullshit. "Fair and Balanced" can NEVER produce progress. At some point those espousing clearly wrong ideas, proven again and again and again to be lying, acting in bad faith, and demonstrably wrong - need to be pushed to the margins.

We still have flat-earthers, people who don't believe in viruses, supply side economists, and people who voted for Blake Shelton as the sexiest man alive. It is not in the nature of man to have EVERYONE to discard an idea when it is wrong and harmful. We hoard - sometimes nearly discarded ideas turn out to be useful, but usually not. Every time we take a step forward and former a point of contention becomes the common wisdom, it will appear as "Bias" to those who are for some reason emotionally invested in their ideas.

Conservatives, as this particular time and place in the history of the United States, often claim to be the victims of Bias by those who study history, political scientists, anthropologists, psychologists, journalists, entertainers, academics, researchers and so on. In a way, they are probably right - some tenets of conservatism are more and more objectively wrong (given more and more history to observe) and - as progress is made - any idealogy that clings to demonstrably wrong ideas is not going to be rejected by thinkers more and more, often culture leads common wisdom and policy, but over the long arc of history, the bend is towards progress.

I've had some really, really wrong ideas in my life. I most certainly still do. But I am making a sincere effort to try and be open to the ideas making progress and to give a greater weight to those advocating out of understanding, duty or urgency, rather than for a check or out of self interest. As I approach middle age, I will likely feel my "side" is under attack from biased people more and more. May I be blessed with the wisdom to weigh a "Bias" against my ideas with eyes open to the possibility that some ideas may not be true enough to merit further discussion.

Also, Fuck the whores of the Heartland Institure, The Institute for Economic Affairs and Project Veritas. Y'all are selling bullshit and you know it.

*-Sometimes those football teams go to the Superbowl.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

NO ONE who inherited a large sum of money should EVER utter the word "Meritocracy".

Monday, September 4, 2017

Labor Day, 2017

Labor Day remains my favorite Holiday. A day that celebrates no single individual or act, but rather the effort that goes into all the things that keep this modern world fed, safe, comfortable and entertained. I was born the son of a Carpenter and Steelworker and remain so. Looking back at my life, I've been continuously employed ever since I stopped being educated, with many a month overlapping between the two. I've always believed in the honor of a job well done and I truly fear any place or time where there is not a certain dignity afforded everyone who puts in an honest day's work.

Labor Day also marks the unofficial end of summer... the kids back in school, the last fireworks spent, the return of long pants and eventually firing up the furnaces again. It's been a hell of a ride these last few months, but I've done my best to make the Summer of 2017 count for me and my family. Best of wishes to anyone out there reading this.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

I am genuinely thankful for so much thus year, career stuff, my boys and wife, my wonderful sisters and brother, my parents and lots of really good friends, near and far.

Thank you to all the wonderful people in my life. thank you to all the folks still working, cops and first responders and soldiers and air travel people and electric linemen and those other folks who keep the wheels turning while we pass out from Turkey and Pie.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016


An early leak of Trump's concession remarks, Leaked off Trump's servers 11/8/2016 at 735PM :

Good evening, good evening,

It’s late, we’ve been checking the numbers, not trusting the polls but the actual election totals coming in from our brave poll watchers and I just Tweeted my concession to Hillary and the Media and congratulated them on her win. We’ve fought hard, and long, ran a huge campaign, the best campaign, the most beautiful campaign but crooked Hillary and her rigged system

I want to send a huge special message to every Trump voter, supporter, donors big and small, Republican Party members who supported me throughout, Republican Party members who switched to support me after I took the nomination, multiple organizations that endorsed and supported me, certain FBI field offices, Ted Nugent, Scott Baio, entire news Networks, all the folks at Breitbart, 4chan dank meme creators and anyone who has promoted me with their words, a sign in their yard, or even sharing information on Facebook.

You, yes you, are the most gullible people who have ever lived. Every single one of you, without a single exception, should have known better. Every second, every penny, every iota of credibility, any single thing you gave for me was a waste. I was never going to become president, this whole thing was a transparent con.

And I DO mean transparent. I have spent decades in front of you faking everything I do. “Reality” television, Professional Wrestling, Investment “Universities”, everything I do has been inherently fake for a damned long time and it’s not been anything resembling hard to find.

I especially want to thank my white, middle-class supporters. You people have been my bread and buttery through every crap product, every failed project I screwed investors on, every casino, every pyramid scheme, stiffing contractors, stiffing employees…. More than any other group I have been able to rob you people blind again, and again, and again, and again and you STILL dig into your pockets for the next scheme. I am like a freakin’ vampire and you are the townspeople who fuel my undead powers of the night with their very blood. I am a New York Billionaire real-estate mogul who inherited billions of dollars and dodged the Vietnam draft with help from my personal physician. I got into prep-schools because of who my daddy was. I brag about basically bribing officials to get around laws that protect you. I brag about using my fame and power to flat out grope women when I feel like it. I am the embodiment of every spoiled brat and pervy boss and crooked executive who has made your working lives shit. But I tweet a few racist-sounding things about Muslims and Mexicans? You love me. That’s how damned easy it is to press your buttons.

You are all so beautifully lucky to have the LUXURY to be so easily conned and know that smarter, more informed, more engaged people will step in and save you from yourselves. Every single American would have been worse off in a Trump presidency. I am obviously, so obviously, unprepared for the job of the President. I’ve never been a Governor, Senator, or even State Representative, Mayor, or even a flippin’ dog catcher. I do not know how this all works, or even is supposed to work. NO ONE wins in a disaster. Everyone on the Titanic is worse off when the Captain hits an iceberg and that is obviously what I would do. Heck, I’d circle around and hit it again just to make sure it knew who was boss. No one, literally no one, should have voted for me at any time as my entire ability to be President was a god damned joke and you are so lucky your support didn’t really ever matter.

Of course a Joke beat out the other Republicans. The entire Republican Party is a joke. The central premise of the Republican Party is that if rich people don't have to pay taxes, everything else works itself out. A joke. How's that working in Kansas? You're fired. I haven't paid taxes in a long, long time and I'm telling you, I don't produce one damn thing worth having in this world.

Of course I played Television people like a fiddle. YOU, both the people that supported me AND the people that opposed me tuned in. You watched. That meant ratings and that meant ads and that meant dollars and that's what the deal is all about. Gullible folks angry at "The Media" forgetting the boob tube gives you what you will watch.

You believe me when I say I want to put Hillary in Jail? We went to our daughter’s weddings. Our kids went to college together. I donated to her campaigns. Her husband encouraged me to run! We have hung out together in some very public ways, I am obviously not particularly bothered by this person’s presence. You think they wanted me to run so I would WIN? So. Hugely. Gullible.

This could be a learning moment for you. You could see which buttons I pressed, how future cons are able to get to you, what you need to learn about yourself to be a little wiser from here on out. But you won’t. Other guys like me will con you using the same "Them other folks gonna get you!" fear technique that I did, and, for that matter, I'll use the same con as well.

If you all would grow a sense of healthy skepticism guys like me wouldn't have a change to hijack your time, elections, or your whatever, but you won't. Some things just TOO GOOD to go along with to questions. So here it is, the wrap up, where I close the deal I've been working on you all along.

Hillary was a crook and she cheated. Watch how we fight the fight for REAL AMERICA on TrumpTV starting soon!

TrumpTV, Where we will cover MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!!!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

The chance to give thanks.

I'm Thankful for so much. Tommorow I will mostly be off of any work duties and will get to be with both my immediate and extended family. I am blessed my parents will be there, I am blessed with wonderful siblings and nieces and nephews and in laws and friends who are like family. We are in good health and spirits, we will be celebrating around a table and not in a war zone or in some famine zone or fighting a plague somewhere far from home. We will have the luxury of discussing things and possibly disagreeing about abstract notions, not forced to only think about the necessities of survival. None of us really know how many more times we will get a chance to share gratitude with the people who matter the most to us, each time is a gift.

Thank you to everyone, seen and unseen, who work to create and defend that little bit of domestic tranquility where we can pursue happiness.