Category Archives: Preparing for the worst

information warfare

Jim Wright makes a lot of sense of a muddled field.

http://www.stonekettle.com/2016/12/blind-spot-part-ii.html

(I wonder how this will present itself when it is copied to the other platforms I share to?)

And here are some weapons for the war –

http://www.npr.org/2016/12/11/505154631/a-finders-guide-to-facts

Trust

We have set up Trust Funds to help cover growth and costs. There is Social Security, Highway, Post Office, Military Retirement, etc. These funds collect money from use taxes and the like, with the expectation that it will be spent sometime in the future. It is setting aside money collected today to pay for a rainy day.

But Congress, in its infinite wisdom, has made the revenues collected and distributions part of the federal budget. So the money collected on the sunny days is counted as Federal Income and the money spent on rainy days  is subject to political debates, every time.  The Highway Trust Fund is a good example. We have gasoline taxes that go into the fund and should go to pay for highway repairs ten or twenty years down the road. If the Fund is On Budget, then some or all the monies go into the General Fund controlled by Congress and when it comes time to actually repair the bridges and roads Congress won’t provide the funds because it is not politically expedient to spend the money and increase the deficit.

Take the trust funds off-budget and the money in-out flows don’t count towards the federal budget. If the Fund actually needs an infusion of cash, then  Congress can debate if it is deserved instead of debating whether to payout monies that should already be in the fund or not.

Infrastructure support. If we build infrastructure we need to expect and plan to maintain that infrastructure for the ongoing future. Highways, airports, pensions, these are all part of the infrastructure we need to maintain the society we are building.  If we don’t want the building to collapse, with us in it, we need to keep it repaired and growing. Congress is not doing that.

Even cities and states should be setting up trust funds to maintain the public infrastructure of roads, sewers, water mains and public buildings. These shouldn’t be subject to debate every time a bridge collapses or water treatment plant fails.

Saving for a rainy day is an axiom that is based on common sense. It isn’t always easy to see a large nest egg being built up and not used when you have so many ‘better’ things to spend it on, but it needs to be done.

Take the Trust Funds off budget.

 

 

Uncertainty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Regulatory uncertainty: A phony explanation for our jobs problem | Economic Policy Institute.

There is some talk about the uncertainty of government regulation slowing down or stopping ‘business’ from investing their several Trillions of  dollars in the growth of the American economy.

So instead of uncertainty, why doesn’t business assume the worst. The government will establish regulations that will prevent American Citizens from being:

  • Poisoned
  • Killed
  • Defrauded
  • Threatened
  • Mistreated
  • Terrorized
  • Disadvantaged

And that will put the public good over the corporate good.

Assume the worst and everything doesn’t come true is gravy for your bottom line.

 

A discussion

I saw an interesting interview with Senator Rand Paul by Jon Stewart last night, three parts. They were actually exchanging coherent ideas.

You don’t have the right to pollute your neighbor’s air, and the air is much cleaner than it was 30 years ago. (Only some of it is the Clean Air Act?) Things are a balancing act.

There is a difference between stupidity and over-regulation.  Government has a role in regulation. Congress has a role in stupidity.

Corporations aren’t going to keep themselves clean; we the people need to have some oversight. That’s what Congress is for.

Do we work to monitor the stupidity in regulation or do we get rid of regulation altogether?

Rather than taking a sledgehammer to the government, let’s debate the extent that regulations should have. Let Congress do its job and rein in the Faceless Bureaucrats as needed. But it seems that congress doesn’t want to get involved with the details and they pass laws with vague wording that requires substantial interpretation. And if the interpretation is not politically correct, the politician has a fall back position.

I  thought Paul’s example of Hazmat teams needed to clean up milk spills was a bit of hyperbole, especially since he tied it to Oil Spill clean up. Did a civil servant really tie the animal fat oil in milk to petroleum? Or is someone out there making fun of the faceless bureaucracy? Or is our milk supply really hazardous?  (Where are those milk inspectors when you need them?)

Open Letter to my nieces and nephews

Eat the Future – NYTimes.com.

Please pay attention to what Congress is doing. Because most of what they are going to do is going to be bad for you.  And the main reason for that is that you don’t speak out loudly enough for Congress to care. Don’t let the baby-boomers (that’s us) continue to suck out the good stuff of America. We will leave you the dried-out husk.

You have got to make Congress aware that you want a coherent policy that addresses the concerns 50 years down the road as well as the short-term issues. These guys are as bad or worse than a corporate board of directors. Short-term profits are paramount.  If it doesn’t get them re-elected next time around it isn’t a concern. You have to make it a concern. You have got to use your voice now; reaffirm the basic principles of our country:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

otherwise you, my Posterity, will be in Tahrir Square demanding Justice, Tranquility and the Blessings of Liberty, but that will be after I am gone.

You get to decide if you will live in the Blade Runner world, or the world of Brazil. You have to speak up early, often, and never stop, or you will get the dregs we leave you.

On a more positive note, we may be out of Afghanistan by then.

Internet ‘kill switch’ bill reintroduced as Egypt remains dark

Sen. Collins said the bill would not allow the President to deactivate the Internet in whole or in part during times of political unrest or protest – just during a “cyber emergency,” according to Wired.com.

“My legislation would provide a mechanism for the government to work with the private sector in the event of a true cyber emergency,” Collins said in an e-mailed response to Wired.com last week. “It would give our nation the best tools available to swiftly respond to a significant threat.”

via Internet ‘kill switch’ bill reintroduced as Egypt remains dark.

Any bets that a time of political unrest or protest won’t be labeled “cyber emergency”?

I think it would be more appropriate to up a domain where the folks afraid of cyber-terrorists can hide and if the cyber emergency happens then they can be unplugged, leaving the rest of us bereft of their presence.

Yay!

Thank you!
World Community Grid is pleased to announce the completion of the first phase of the “Discovering Dengue Drugs – Together” project. It took only two years to complete, even though the project was halted for 17 weeks due to the destruction of the University of Texas Medical Branch research facilities as a result of Hurricane Ike.

In total, members provided nearly 12,000 years of computer processing time to this project. Your computer run time contribution was 6 days of processing time to “Discovering Dengue Drugs – Together”.

Completing this phase of the project is a significant contribution to the research of not only Dengue Fever but also Hepatitis C, West Nile, Yellow Fever and other diseases caused by the Flaviviridea family of viruses.
More details about the conclusion of Phase 1 and the upcoming Phase 2 may be viewed by visiting: http://www.worldcommunitygrid.org/forums/wcg/viewthread?thread=26618

Can we start here?

I keep hearing about people trying to shout down health care discussions- and most of the shouters don’t appear to understand what they are talking about. Can we start with this article by Paul Krugman and work from there?

A friend sent me  a link to HR3200 (all 1017 pages) and to a short 35 page summary of the bill (more of a short explanation of each section). Or is it fair to get into a complicated discussion with an informed base?

I don’t see anything on ‘death panels’ in the bill, but maybe I don’t know the right codewords to read it correctly – could:

A BILL To provide affordable, quality health care for all Americans and reduce the growth in health care spending, and for other purposes.

be the sinister code words we are looking for? What are those ‘other purposes’? Oh, they appear to be revising the tax code, providing credits for small businesses, and improving Medicare and Medicaid.

I think I found the sinister part that  is so disturbing the American Citizenry :

The bill would prevent foreign multinational corporations incorporated in tax haven countries from avoiding tax on income earned in the United States by routing their income through structures in which a United States subsidiary of the foreign multinational corporation makes a deductible payment to a country with which the United States has a tax treaty before ultimately repatriating these earning in the tax haven country. (from section 451 of the explanation)

Yes, this is decidedly sinister.