Thursday, February 9, 2017

SPECTRE of the Resident

Trumpian Apologists gather in their isolated world of "Make America Great Again" to invent ad hominem attacks against anyone who would betray the Fearless Leader while the world they have come to believe is the correct one dissolves like an Alka-Seltzer in a glass of water. Unlike the treatment of the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, they believe his treatment was justified and Trumpian's is not. There is some massive dissonance at play in their attitudes.

And Trump-supporting Dunning-Kruger people keep crying to give the Resident a chance. He has had too much leeway already. Even if he stopped now his legacy of appointees yet-to-be-confirmed by the GOP dominated Senate will ricochet down the halls of social justice for decades to come. With proper pre-planning he could have decimated US Democracy in a single day then retired to Mar-a-largo to watch on his matrix of plasma screen monitors in his SPECTRE lair as one-by-one Civil Rights, environmental safeguards, and social safety-nets are taken off-line and the globe goes dark.

Friday, January 13, 2017

The Legacy of Stone Church Incident

The Legacy of Stone Church is a three part story published as eBooks at Amazon and written by Robert Carlson. The first book was made available on January 2, 2017 and presents the inception and development of the community who lived there. Characters who came there to live seem like real people who you might have known. Their story is one of the idyllic life led right up to its tragic interruption.

Two families' stories spanning two continents and two centuries meet on the grounds of the ill-fated Stone Church that is the namesake of the community which formed there.

The second book chronicles the Aftermath of the contemporary demise of the community. Third book presents the Reconstruction of the grounds and the attempt at reconstructing the community itself.

Please visit my Amazon Author Page to see this book and many others which are also available. By bookmarking the page you can stay connected to know the release date of the 2nd and 3rd volumes.

Follow and Like the Legacy of Stone Church on Facebook .

Monday, October 10, 2016

Trump's Cognitive Dissonance Gambit

All of the negative statements surrounding Hillary Clinton have been circulated for many years in advance of her bid to become President of the United States. Her detractors have futilely pounded away at her character, her political voting record, even the reputation of her husband, the former President of the United States. The claims her opposition have made have never stuck. The accusations are just that, accusations. Accusations meant to raise the specter of some great evil which is lurking in her past which will manifest itself as the Destruction of America.

Everyone who supports Hillary has heard the claims against her, her husband and her association with the present President, Barack Obama. The detractors repeatedly try to show the guilt by association with those persons. Ironically, those two people have been two of the best Presidents this nation has been in recent decades. Her supporters lend their votes knowing all the supposed negatives.

The other candidate, Donald Trump, surfaced early on in the run up to the Primary Elections of 2016. Since that entrance he has engaged in a progressively more vile behavior inciting hatreds and violence against one demographic group after another. He started out being very bland and ordinary at the start of the selection process of his own party, the GOP. Since then he has added new vitriol on a nearly weekly basis.

There is a psychological process which humans experience called Cognitive Dissonance. In short, what takes place is the subject person is offered a token reward for an insignificant acceptance of an attitude toward a person, a plan or an idea from a source which is not acceptable. Once the token is accepted, there arises a conflict in the person to remedy the disconnect. The person must either accept that he in actuality supports the position or he must turn away from the token. A token which is an object may be discarded or returned, but one which is an intangible favor, cannot be.

This is the strategy which the Donald Trump presidential campaign has employed. He offered the simple token of "Make America Great Again" which most people would not oppose. They may oppose the methods and the suggestions of what is wrong in the first place, but that part comes later. Once the allied voters accepted the idea of making America great, Mr. Trump began enumerating how he wanted to do it. Now keep in mind there are many Americans who view Trump as a charismatic personage. They love him and his style. But now that they have come to accept it, they cannot break with their support no matter how vile he becomes.

Part of his allure has been "I am your savior and Hillary is so bad that I will appoint a special investigator to indict and imprison her after you elect me." His only focus as of late is to assert how dishonest, evil, criminal and untrustworthy she is. His alleged positive attributes have no meaning since support for him is mainly as the only alternative to her. His qualifications have as little value as does Jill Stein and Gary Johnson. A vote for Trump is merely a protest vote against Hillary.

Every time Trump adds yet another negative statement, his supporters categorize it as one they must accept in order to reduce the dissonance they feel for liking him even when he and his statements and behaviors are so utterly destructive of American values, the Constitution and the dignity of targeted demographics such as African-Americans, Hispanic persons,  Muslims, women, persons with disabilities, gays, low-income workers, veterans and immigrants.

For any supporter to disassociate themselves from the vitriol of Donald Trump necessitates they also disavow Trump himself and admit that they were misled and wrong in their prior energetic support. Trump has engendered a lot of support from people who formerly would not have expressed such negative attitudes, however there are many others for whom he merely gave a voice and emboldened them to become vocal and inflamed.

It is they who after the election will be troublesome to the state of the Union, no matter which candidate gets the 270+ electoral votes. Donald Trump has carelessly lit brush fires which will flare up all over the landscape no matter which way the wind blows.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Time and the Principle of Imminent Collapse

Investors and bankers assert that time is money. Time may as well be money but so is money both a wealth and a debt. Debt may indeed be a form of negative money but there are two types of debt: one is currency and the other is physical need.

Monitory debt is the borrowing of cash with a promise to repay after some period of time. Physical debt arises when infrastructure needs are not addressed in a timely fashion. A simple example is a fleet of two vehicles with useful life of 5 years. The fleet owner must replace two vehicles every year in order to not let the average fleet age exceed 5 years. If the owner does two vehicles every year, that replacement schedule will go on indefinitely. If the requisite two vehicles are not replaced a physical debt is incurred that must some time be repaid. One could wait for all 5 years to pass then make the expenditure for 10 vehicles all at once.

The first plan works well for anyone who plans to stay in business for a long time such as generationally.  The second plan works well if the current owner expects to bail out of the business and leave the ruins for someone else to handle.

Now we need to extend this concept to the millions of miles of water mains and customer tap pipes that are buried under our city streets and roadways. Most water mains are publicly owned and will be replaced at ratepayer expense at some time in the future. With a 30 to 50 lifecycle for water mains, between 1/30th to 1/50th of the total miles of pipe need to be replaced every year for there to not be a physical debt building up that will reach epidemic proportions as all the pipes and joints become a day older for every day they are not replaced. Since we are talking millions of miles of pipes we ate likewise talking about hundreds of thousands of miles of pipe every year.

Sewer lines are likewise publicly owned and must be maintained by the governing municipalities. The most common cause of urban sinkholes that suck down entire street intersections is a collapsed sanitary or storm sewer line deep under the street that has been in place about a month too long. The collapse starts deep underground when the collapse occurs. It progresses unseen until it reaches the surface and surprises everyone with a gaping hole it the street. It is then that politicians vow to get it fixed as quickly as possible so that traffic may resume its carefree flow.

Gas transmission lines are usually privately owned and operated but they cannot escape the ravages of time and the Principle of Imminent Collapse. Corrosion, earth movement, frost heaving, weld and metal fatigue have caused nearly half of the 7,763 volatile liquid and gas pipeline failures since 1986. The other half is from excavation neglect and the mysterious Other Cause. This article is not an indictment of the fossil fuel industry but rather one of the ubiquitous need for regular pipe replacement and maintenance. Both will necessitate an increase of operating costs, but someone has to pay the monitory debt or the physical debt. There is no such thing as a free lunch. (TINSTAAFL)

The big infrastructure debt that we have been incurring during the past few decades is the highway and bridge category. Our tax base via the motor fuels tax on cents per gallon has not been raised since 1985. The Federal 18.5 Cents per gallon has become woefully inadequate as more and more vehicle miles driven increases at the same time as the fuel efficiency has double to tripled over the years.  In 1973 a car that got 11 mpg and be driven 20,000 miles per year would have paid $612 in tax at the 1985 rate (same as today). That same driver today in a car that gets 24 mpg pays $154 for the road he uses. The roads are wearing out. The bridges are 30 years older since the last time the tax rate was increased. someone needs to pay for the maintenance and replacement.

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How People Fight Back

When two men get into an argument and one of them makes a fist and swings, the other usually tries to deflect the strike and makes a fist to strike back. The goal is to be the "last man standing."

When two or more men gang up on another it is not a fight but a beating that is intended. Unless the lone recipient of the violence is a master at martial arts, he's going to get the beating. He may even look for an object to yield as a weapon. He may have come prepared to defend himself with a concealed weapon such as a knife or handgun.

The complexity of conflict continually escalates up through conventional warfare to battles between highly weaponized military forces and men in tents in the desert. Whereas the heavily armed military use the brute force of their armaments, the vastly weaker adversary must use deception, surprise, innovation and outrageous acts.

In the film "Battle of Algiers" the captured Algerian fighter was being interrogated by the French military.  The man was part of a bomb attack where the explosives were secreted in a baby carriage. The French officer was outraged by the fact of their enemy using the cover of the carriage in their fight for independence from the French Colonials. The Algerian replied, "You give us your airplanes and we will give you our baby carriages." In short the Algerians were using whatever tools and weapons they could muster against the vastly larger French military.

How long the victim of violence will hold off fighting back is an unknown quantity. Bullies in the school yard are often surprised when their quarry finally strikes back and devastates the bully by a factor of 10x or more. The victim had reached that point where a measurable commensurate response is out the window. Sometimes the victim seeks a response that involves far more than the actual bully.

It has been suggested for how to create terrorists is to bomb, kill and maim a person's family and neighborhood and there be no remedy and no stopping the next attack. A man gets angry quite easily when justice is not forthcoming.

Here in the US we have been having a terrible season of police killings of minority persons where the city or state refuses to indict the killers, indicts and drops charges, or takes the killers to trial only to fail to convict. Such outcomes are viewed as being nearly 100% of the time. This leave no room for remedy. The question is how long will any demographic stand down and accept that police are being given the right to kill people of your demographic with impunity. How long will it be before minority persons "use their baby carriages" against the superior armed militarized police?

Cities in America are very fortunate that protesting angry people only riot, burn cars, and loot stores in their venting the frustrations created by unjustified police killings of unarmed black men. It is fortunate they are highly armed and inclined to shoot back when the confrontations erupt.

The fact of police killing of citizens is make even more egregious when the statistics are viewed.

The news reports show a black man getting gunned down within seconds of police confrontation while a white man is negotiated with and arrested (or not) for greater alleged violations after hours of confrontation. Black men who only were minding their own business get arrested for "resisting arrest" when there was no arrest-able infraction in the first place. Black people who were seeking the assistance become the suspect/assailant who gets arrested and or killed by the police. Black people who get shot by police who were looking for someone else who has an outstanding warrant. The reports that show the utter disregard for the injured and dying police shooting victim who is allowed to die. The videos of beefy police officers descending on a black suspect and suffocating him or kicking and punching him mercilessly while other officers stand around and watch the assault. The considered opinion is these officers are heavy users of steroids for body-building and may be manifesting "Roid Rage." Then the police unions refuse to be drug tested for any illicit drugs which may be contributing to their violent behaviors.

We as a society are creating the conditions for a major rebellion here in the US. When the guilty go unpunished anger will be intensified. Back in the 1970s there arose the assertion that criminals were getting away with their crimes. They were "getting off on a technicality." They were getting mere hand slaps from liberal judges. So as a response, state legislatures enacted a barrage of statutory minimum sentencing requirements and the so called "three strikes" rule that could put a man in prison for life for stealing a pack of cigarettes. Charles Bronson became a celebrity for his five Death Wish movies where he is the reluctant vigilante killing all the very ethnic-looking bad guys. Dirty Harry movies also became popular.

Everyone in this country knows there is a police violence, police shooting epidemic going on, even though there are a few conservative minded people who have raised denial to an art form. If nothing is done to stem the tide of violence and death at the hands of police officers we will be creating a class of terrorist who will take it into their own hands to obtain their notion of "justice."

The tinder is dry. The wind is blowing. It will only require a spark to set a conflagration going. The Principle of Imminent Collapse asserts that it only requires a nudge to bring down a volatile system.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The VW Undiscovered Lie

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Volkswagen AG Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn, resigned over his leadership of the company after it was revealed that VW cooked its automotive firmware to lie about the exhaust emissions of its popular diesel cars. 

The company rigged the computer code to falsify the pollution levels during emission tests. Essentially the engine performance was tweaked to be better running, i.e. lower fuel efficiency in order to pass the EPA tests. Then the setting were returned to "normal" where the fuel efficiency was higher but so was the pollution.

On the day of that expose VW stock price fell 20% and the company said that it was sorry for the deception, the betrayal of its customers and promised to fix the deficiency. They said they were setting aside $7.3 Billion to cover fines and recall repairs. THAT's a lot of car sales to make up for that cost.

Before this Undiscovered Lie the VW company was the darling of German engineering and value.  Today we find out how and why they were able to accomplish this status.

Undiscovered Lies are appallingly common. All it takes is the desire to be thought of as great, generate massive wealth and not concern yourself with the consequences or the people who are hurt by it. At lease in this case of VW the damage done was contributing to the long term health impairment of the breathing public. There are so many other violators of environmental standards that VW can only be held accountable for it portion of the total damage.

At least the damage done was not like the Toyota "Sudden Unexplained Acceleration" events caused by their computer glitch. While they failed to take action on the poor design of the system, they did not design the system to have this "Bug" be a "feature." General Motors' ignition switch defect was allowed to go on while denying that it was indeed a flaw. In both of these cases, people were injured. People died.

Back in the days of the Ford Pinto fires due to deficient fuel tank design and position, the uncommon knowledge was that the Ford Mustang had the exact same type of fuel tank problem. The Mustang brand was far more valuable than that of the Pinto, so Ford sacrificed the Pinto and bit the bullet to publicly fix its problems while silently going about fixing the similar Mustang tank. 

In all of these situations, the manufacturers believed (and probably rightfully so) that waiting to have their problems surface and fixing it later is more cost-effective in the long run. VW will survive and Martin Winterkorn either already has his millions of Deutsche Marks or will get some other position of equal compensation. 

Author's Note: The book cover images in the side margins of this blog are my own publications of eBooks available at both Amazon and B&N. Please take a moment and go to the sites and read about them. Then if you like it, buy one or two.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Undiscovered Lies That Are All Too Common

The Undiscovered Lie is a stalwart feature of the Principle of Imminent Collapse. The PIC in brief says that everything in our reality is on the verge of collapse and that all it takes to make it fail is The Nudge.

There are hundreds of examples of the Undiscovered Lie in modern politics and corporate marketing to be fully explored in a blog posting. The subject could be handled in a large printed volume or two say as "A- Li" and "Lo-Z".

There are two corollary parts to the Undiscovered Lie that could also divide the volumes. The one UL is one where the person claims virtue and a special stature in society then is brought down amidst scandal and shame. Just think Josh Duggar, Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker, and those type of people. The other kind are the ones who were given the accolades, stature and notoriety by a corporate entity and they are then destroyed by their actions that nobody was really concerned about when the celebrity status was being exploited. It this version we can list Tiger Woods, Michel Vick, Jared Fogle and Bill Cosby.

In the Swaggart/Bakker situation they claimed righteousness and piety while actually doing the crap that they were preaching against. This makes them hypocrites of the first order. They deserve to be crushed financially and personally for their transgressions. Crying and invoking the alleged forgiveness of their god doesn't cut it. They stole from real people and should have been penalized in a commensurate fashion.

The marketing faces of Vick/Woods/Cosby version they were not preaching their goodness as Christians, Conservatives or virtuous people. The world came to them and conferred the mantle of celebrity on them and handed them millions of dollars for their countenances on products and services. They had no duty to be pure and righteous in their daily lives even though they did some despicable things.

Now I didn't intend to divide the two types along racial lines, it just happened that way. Certainly Anthony Weiner falls into the second group too. Bill Clinton did some sketchy things with Monica Lewinsky in the Whitehouse, while married, but those activities were more scandalous than illegal. While american seemed to want their President to be a pillar of virtue, he had no duty to be so. Now if he has run for the office as the "candidate who never participated in extra-marital affairs or had lust in his heart," then maybe Kenneth Starr might have had a case to press.

Jared Fogle had a long history of sexual indiscretions with children that reportedly dates back to 2008 when at least one business associated notified the Subway franchise food chain management that he was a predatory sex criminal and they chose to not address the claim. Subway will probably bear some financial penalty for that negligence.

Penn State University certainly bears liability for what Coach Joe Paterno did and did not do with his knowledge of what Jerry Sandusky was doing on and off campus with young boys. Both of these men fit into the second category with Vick and Woods. Either claimed virtuousness that they betrayed even as they betrayed the children and parents who assumed that the children would be safe.

The examples indeed could go on a long time but the more important part of the Principle of Imminent Collapse is this. Collapse doesn't mean extinction. Collapse more than not leads to the New Equilibrium. All the grifter-evangelists ultimately make their comeback, sometimes after a stint in prison, and start their game all over again.

Vick is playing football again. Woods is play golf, but not as profitably. Josh Duggar has entered a sex therapy institute where he will pray away the urges. Fogle will have time in a cell to come up with a revised life strategy where he can earn a living again. Bill Clinton seems to have side stepped the legal system and come back stronger than before. The New Equilibrium has been good to Bill.

  • Robert Packwood, Senator (R-OR), resigned his office after 29 women came forward with claims of sexual harassment, abuse, and assaults. His denials of any wrongdoing were eventually contradicted by his own diaries boasting of his sexual conquests. (1995)
  • Bob Barr, Representative (R-GA), had an affair while married. Barr had been the first lawmaker in either chamber to call for Clinton's resignation due to the Lewinsky affair. Barr lost a primary challenge less than three years after the impeachment proceedings. (1999)
  • Newt Gingrich, Representative (R-GA) and leader of the Republican Revolution of 1994, resigned from the House after admitting in 1998 to having had an affair with his intern while he was married to his second wife, and at the same time he was leading the impeachment of Bill Clinton for perjury regarding an affair with his intern Monica Lewinsky. (1998)
  • Ed Schrock, Representative (R-VA), announced he would abort his 2004 attempt for a third term in Congress after allegedly being caught on tape soliciting sex from a male prostitute after having aggressively opposed various gay-rights issues in Congress, such as same-sex marriage and gays in the military.

  • Now I am not so prudish that I care if a Senator or Representative has an affair or a homosexual encounter. That is not really any of my business. But when they stand behind the mask of respectability and espouse a position that is opposite that position, then it is everyone's business. The Undiscovered Lie has the ability to destroy or at least temporarily hamstring a public figure. After all Jerry Springer was a Cincinnati city councilman when he was caught having paid a prostitute with a personal check. He resigned, got reelected then was successful in his bid for Mayor. He had done far better as a TV show host.

    List of Scandals Some qualify as type 1 UL and other type 2.

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    Author's Note: The book cover images in the side margins of this blog are my own publications of eBooks available at both Amazon and B&N. Please take a moment and go to the sites and read about them. Then if you like it, buy one or two.