November 11, 2016 – After the Election

Donald Trump is now the President Elect. Many people are happy. Even more, not so much. What now? 

Some people are rioting. Some people are celebrating. Some people are burying their head in the sand. People are doing all kinds of crazy things… sane things… People are doing things. 

What should you do? I don’t know. Maybe you should do what you have always done. Maybe you should do what you have always dreamed of doing. Either way, do SOMETHING. 

Protest if you want. That is your right. Write to your Senators and your House Representatives. Believe it or not, elected officials do listen to you, at least to a degree. After all, they want to be reelected. 

What am I doing? Working on my hobby business, Made by Chanel. I make wax melts, candles, and body sprays. I love scented products and instead of paying a lot of money for various products and their many scents, I make my own. 

I am also a business consultant for Sweet Hollow Creations. SHC is a bath and body company. Handmade soaps, lotions, scrubs, all kinds of things. I love their products. It’s the only soap I use. Like, I bought a year plus supply. Partially to resale. Partially to use myself. 

I also breed mice. I love my little rodent family so much. 

I am also contemplating my career. Right now I am working on becoming a tax preparer and exploring that pathway. 

I am also thinking about my role in this society and what I want to contribute. Should I begin a career in public service or simply volunteer on the weekends? What steps should I take?

I implore you this: do something. Live your life. Build your life with a purpose.

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Deflating the Fed?

The Fed Is Swimming Dangerously In Uncharted Waters by Scott Minerd

Many people from all walks of life are terrified about what is happening at The Federal Reserve. The Fed’s balance sheet has dramatically increased over the last several years. The reason this has happened was because we have learned our lesson from the Great Depression — do nothing and things will get MUCH worse.

The author is right these are uncharted waters. Janet Yellen and the other central bank leaders have to be cautious about shrinking their respective balance sheets. The problem is that we don’t  have an example to go by. With the Great Depression we learned that an influx of capital can help stabilize the economy – even if just a little. We have not seen either a successful or unsuccessful reduction of capital. Therefore, all the concern is warranted.

With that in mind, you can’t live in fear. We might now have the direct experience to learn from, but we still have other lessons. Such as, care for the masses. Now granted our politicians don’t really do that for the most part, but … luckily not all of our officials are politicians. Keep that in mind. Some of our leaders do actually care and have morals.

Shutting Down the IRS?

Members Of Congress Push To Shut Down IRS Forever by Kelly Phillips Erb

This is one of the most ridiculous ideas Congress has ever had. This and ever other attempt to pass the blame to someone else. House Speaker Paul Ryan’s ideas are not much better. Repealing several bills, acts, etc. that benefit MANY Americans is not the answer either. How about they reinstate The Glass-Steagall Act? Or, maybe properly fund our many different departments and agencies? After all, government spending is one of the biggest (if not the largest)  money multipliers. Then again, reducing the tax code to less than 10 million words might help as well, but that is the duty of Congress.

Poisoned M&M’s

The other day I was having a discussion about the Syrian refugees. My argument was that we should welcome them into our country. My opponent’s argument was that we should not — for various reasons, most of them you have probably heard or even hold. Eventually, he said: I have a bowl of M&M’s, 10 of them are poisonous. You go first.

My response was a sarcastic: Let’s dump them all. 

Him: I didn’t say get rid of them. I said you go first.

Now, let’s discuss how ridiculous his argument is. Why is it inappropriate to use the analogy of poisoned food in comparison to the Syrian refugees, migrants, and even ISIS? Well, to begin with, it is ridiculous to compare a person to poisoned food. Why? Because what do you do with poisoned food? Do you eat it? Do you let someone else eat it? NO! Of course not, you throw it out in such a manner that no one will eat it because IT IS POISONED!

When comparing the Syrians to poisoned food, you are saying – whether you intend to or not – that they should be thrown away because a few of them are “poisoned.” BECAUSE YOU DO NOT RISK EATING POISONED FOOD.

Comparing them to a bowl of partially poisoned M&M’s is taking away their humanity. With such arguments, you get Trump saying that we should force them to registrar and wear identifying markers to distinguish them as others. Does that sound familiar?

It is wrong to treat people as others as less than human. Why? To put it simply, we as a species decided so during WWII and Hitler did the same – and worse – to the Jewish people of German.

Now, is poisoned food is a bad analogy and we want to stick with a food theme — what is a good analogy?

A quote that I have repeatedly seen on Facebook and accredited to Malala Yousafzai sums it up good: With guns you can get rid of terrorists. With education, you can get rid of terrorism.

Your ultimate goal will determine which stance you take. If you want to make yourself feel better today, you may take the gun approach — poisoned M&M’s. However, that is superficial. Increasing security to obscene levels and denying human rights to an entire nation and religion, will not make you safe. You may feel like you are doing something to increase your security, but ultimately, your efforts are probably in vain.

However, if your goal is to be safe, you will take the educational approach. It takes more time, and the affects usually do not present themselves until years down the line, but the efforts have much longer lasting effects.

What food analogy works best with the Syrian-ISIS crises? Dirty food – not poisoned. Imagine you were carrying a tray of cookies, and you stumbled a bit. A few cookies fell of your tray. Some on to the side walk, and a few into a pile of manure. What do you do with all the cookies?

With the poisoned M&M’s scenario,  we had to throw out all the M&M’s because we did not know which were poisoned and which were not. With the cookies, we do know which are safe to eat–and which are not. We know which cookies fell into the manure. Those we throw out. There is no saving them. But the ones that did not? Those can be brushed off. Those we can save. Then there are the ones still on the tray. Those are still perfectly good.

The flaw with this analogy is that we witnessed the cookies falling. We know precisely which ones to do what to with little effort. With the Syrians and potential ISIS members it is a little more difficult. We can’t make an instant judgment as to which basket they fall into. That is why the refugee placement program takes so long to complete — 18 to 24 months or longer! If we try to make a quick decision about individual people we start thinking like Trump — they are all potentially poisoned — and thus start acting like Hitler.

I do not make light of Nazi comparisons, and dislike it when others do. However, if I recall my history right. It all started with registering a group of people. Marking them as other. Will we treat the Syrians as horribly  as the Nazi’s treated the Jews? More than likely not; however, the US also rounded up people of Asian decent during that time because of the attack on Pear Harbor. All I can remember of that situation — because it was barely mentioned in my history classes — was that they were not exactly treated nicely.

What I do know is this: if we start treating the Syrians as less than humane by taking way their human rights, it will only get worse.

To paraphrase a Lorax I know: unless someone cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to change. It’s just not.

 

Highways, Banks, & Congress

Congress to Eliminate Billions in Wall Street Subsidies to Fund Repair of Nation’s Highways by C Robert Gibson a Contributor of US Uncut

Lawmakers Weigh Cut in Fed Payout to Banks by Ryan Tracy a Reporter for The Wall Street Journal

A US Uncut article popped up on my Facebook discussing Congress possibly defunding banks to pay for the repair of US highways. This tickled my suspicious nerves. Of course, I had to look deeper into it. Then I found The Wall Street Journal’s article. This could actually be a thing.

Here is the problem with cutting the Fed dividend rate from 6% to 1.5%: Banks are counting on that 3.5% difference when creating short term (yearly) and long term budgets. So Janet Yellen is right, this does have unforeseen consequences. For many of them, Congress members are just diverting their eyes away. Some of the bigger banks could make up for the difference by not paying their execs HUGE bonuses, but not only will that not happen, the smaller banks don’t have that leeway.

I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand I am all for requiring the rich to help keep this country great — or make it great again — by financing infrastructure directly and indirectly. On the other hand, a 3.5% drop in expected revenue/income/etc is a BIG drop to makeup.

As stated previously, the “big” banks have areas they could cut that would not affect their customers, clients, or the “average” American. These include: not remodeling the million dollar exec offices, lowering exec bonus, reducing “marketing” budgets for their largest clients (businesses spend money winning and dinning their clients, especially their big client. It is reasonable to assume banks do too), and much more. However, we can all assume that these reasonable adjustments will not be implemented. Instead, overage charges will increase, and loan terms will become less favorable and the “perks” will be reduced for the smaller clients.

Banks will react to this, they can’t not react. In the end, someone is going to be hurt, and I doubt it will be the wealthy.

Gun Violence in America

The article I read: Congress Still Bans CDC Scientists from Studying Gun Violence by Janet D Stemwedel a contributor to Forbes

In the wake of more violence in America, it seems as if members of Congress are purposefully trying to make the government more and more ignorant. I was completely unawares that the US Congress had forbad the research into gun violence by government scientists. How ludicrous is that!

Whether you are for or against gun regulation, it is irresponsible to disallow research into the matter. If you are for gun regulation, allow research so that we may understand whether or not we need regulation. If you are against gun regulation, allow research so that we may understand whether or not we need regulation.

This brings to mind that a state congress has also forbad the testimony of scientists when *discussing* the issue of climate change. Was that Florida? I don’t recall. Why are more and more anti-science politicians being elected to state and federal offices? Why are those anti-science politicians then being allowed to be part of science-policy-making committees?

The way I see it, if a group is against globally approved research, they must fear that the answers will prove them wrong.

It is sad to be an American today. It is so hard to be educated in this country.

*****

EDIT: I should also add, that the CDC is not the appropriate agency to study gun related deaths. Also, there have been studies from other agencies over the years, though I don’t know which ones. However, gun violence — especially, mass shootings — remain a problem, and we as a society need to work towards an answer to reduce such events. We need to know why events happen, so that we can take action against them. “This will always be an issue, so let’s do nothing” is not an acceptable stance.