So we had to endure another celebrity award show, this time the Grammy's, as a bunch of multimillionaires bravely spoke truth to power by regurgitating what everyone else there said and thought.
In the middle of this, Hillary Clinton got a cameo reading from Michael Wolff's new book Fire and Fury. Sure, Wolff has been caught stating multiple dubious claims and admits he doesn't even know if what he wrote was true, but whatever. The point here is that no matter how hard you try, you just can't make Hillary Clinton cool.
Presidents and politicians certainly don't have to be cool. But for some reason, the Left has tried to shove down our throats that a sick, awkward (or possibly drunk), pandering yet vacuous individual is "cool" or "hip."
Yes, her husband--despite his womanizing and perhaps rapey ways--was quite charismatic. Bill seems down-to-earth and like a guy you would like to get to know (although never leave your daughter alone with). Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, is about as fake and hollow as you could imagine. It's incredible that the mainstream Left can't see that.
It really screams that the mainstream is out of touch. What used to be cool; MTV, celebrities, etc. are now just a bunch of virtue signaling millionaires who whine about nameless trolls on social media who say mean things. Perhaps conservatism really is the new counterculture and Leftwing celebrities are the new church ladies telling us that rock music is the work of the Devil.
I never thought it would have come to the point that the Right is "cool" of even coolish, but here we are.
A while back, I made a "rule" that stated if "If a policy being proposed was that policy held by the United States or Britain at the time they defeated Nazi Germany and literally Hitler, it cannot be referred to, in and of itself, as fascist."
Now I may have to make another as it appears that a whole bunch of blacks and Hispanics are racist, xenophobic, nativist, white supremacist "literally Hitlers." According to a new Harvard-Harris poll,
"Most Americans support a much lower level of immigration – currently well over one million immigrants per year. Sixty-three percent of Americans support a level of less than 500,000 immigrants per year, including 55 percent of Hispanics, 63 percent of African Americans and 79 percent of Republicans."
In fact more Americans support zero immigration (9 percent) versus maintaining the current level (7 percent). And the vast majority want to favor immigrants who are educated and skilled,
"Nearly eight out of 10 voters think that U.S. immigration policy should favor those coming to the U.S. with specific skills or education, and not just based on the fact that they have a relative in the U.S. The support for skills-based immigration was even higher among African Americans, who supported a system based on personal merit by 85 percent. Hispanic voters also strongly support merit-based immigration over the status quo, with a solid 72 percent majority."
But the Left can always fall back to this argument:
I just finished reading the great, albeit incredibly depressing book Dreamland by Sam Quinones. The book outlines what had been a silent epidemic of opioid and heroin addiction that has and is actually concentrated amongst middle class whites.
The CDC estimates that between 1999 and 2016, 200,000 people died of an overdose on prescription opioids. Many more died from heroin and as Dreamland notes, as many as 80 percent of those addicted to heroin started off as prescription opioid users.
It started with the "pain revolution" where many in the medical establishment were trying to liberalize the use of opioids for those with chronic pain. The concern, of course, was addiction. But then came a one paragraph letter to the editor in The New England Journal of Medicine in 1980 by two doctors, Porter and Jick, who had no intent of proving anything. It read in its entirety as follows,
"Recently, we examined our current files to determine the incidence of narcotic addiction in 39,946 hospitalized medical patients who were monitored consecutively. Although there were 11,882 patients who received at least one narcotic preparation, there were only four cases of reasonably well documented addiction in patients who had no history of addiction. The addiction was considered major in only one instance. The drugs implicated were meperidine in two patients, Percodan in one, and hydromorphone in one. We conclude that despite widespread use of narcotic drugs in hospitals, the development of addiction is rare in medical patients with no history of addiction."
No serious person could think that one doctor relaying his experience in a controlled environment should count for much if anything. But this became the rationale (excuse?) to open the flood gates on prescribing OxyContin and other opioids en masse. Pretty soon, this paragraph was being referenced as a "landmark study" and was cited over 600 times in medical journals.
Perdue Pharma lead the way in basically prescribing different versions of heroin to people, often for relatively minor injuries. More and more got hooked. Then Mexican drug cartels, particularly from one small town named Jalisco started created franchises of sorts all over the United States. This match made in Hell pushed the opioid scourge throughout middle America.
Things may finally be turning, hopefully. There have been several large lawsuits against Perdue Pharma and others and doctors are becoming more careful about prescribing these drugs. President Trump has also declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency. But the malice and stupidity that allowed it to get this far are truly incredible.
I've noted before that I think the whole Russiagate thing is basically nonsense. Now it seems like Robert Mueller and his team are continually trying to prove me correct.
"The FBI mysteriously “failed to preserve” five months of text messages between a senior FBI agent who worked on special counsel Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia investigation and his mistress, an FBI lawyer."
Yeah, that's totally normal.
"Strzok, as a senior FBI official, worked on both the Clinton email and Trump-Russia investigations. He became the top investigator on the Trump-Russia case in July 2016 just weeks wrapping up his work as one of the top investigators in the Clinton probe.
"He was removed from Mueller’s investigation last summer after the DOJ inspector general learned of anti-Trump text messages he had exchanged with Page, whom he was having an extramarital affair with.
"Page was also a part of Mueller’s team, but left before the text messages were discovered."
Nothing to see here folks. Move along.
And somehow, it gets even worse than that. From Fox News,
"The Justice Department has given various congressional committees nearly 400 pages of additional text messages between two FBI officials who were removed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.
"One of the newly discovered messages, lawmakers said, appeared to indicate that Peter Strzok and Lisa Page knew that charges would not be filed against Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton as a result of the investigation into her email server -- before Clinton was interviewed by the bureau."
Absolutely Bush league (or perhaps criminal). I kind of believe government is always incompetent, but this kind of gross negligence even shocks a cynic like me.
So the Luddites were a 19th century group of English factory workers who destroyed weaving machines because "they took our jobs." Ever since, those who fear technology will increase unemployment and lower wages have been referred to as such. So far, their batting average is a respectable 0.000.
But things never happen until they do. After all, if we ever became so advanced that we created artificially intelligent cyborgs, it's hard to imagine we would have any jobs left, right? It might not matter, as we would be incredibly wealthy. But we would have to rethink economics, find something for people to do and prevent a sort of "techno-feudalism" from arising.
And everyday, I feel more and more that that is the future we are heading towards.
"Attention Seattle shoppers: Amazon is about to open its long-promised convenience store with zero checkout lines.
"Customers must scan the Amazon Go app upon entering the store. Sensors will then track their movements and charge shoppers' Amazon accounts for the items they grab. Customers just walk out of the store. No cashiers needed.
"Amazon Go's offerings include groceries, ready-to-eat meals, cold drinks and meal prep kits.
No employees will be necessary..."
For a more in depth look at this problem, check out the book Rise of the Robots by Martin Ford. It's disconcerting, although, given the amount of abundance such technology could bring, encouraging too, if we handle it correctly.
I just finished reading Drive by Daniel Pink and I must say that it is one of the best business and psychology books I've ever read!
The book discusses what Pink refers to as the "failure of Motivation 2.0." Basically, Motivation 1.0 is to find food, water, shelter, not get eaten by mountain lions, etc. Motivation 2.0 came to be around the time the firm was established. It was a simple matter of carrots and sticks. If you do good things, you get rewards, if you do bad things, you get punishments.
Turns out that this is not a very good way to do things. Indeed, Pink notes an analysis of 51 studies on performance based bonus incentives showed they actually hurt performance.
Pink offers seven reasons these carrot and stick rewards usually fail. The two that stuck out to me the most were:
1) They encourage cheating.
2) They can turn fun or interesting things into what feels like work.
He recommends trying to motivate people by inspiring their "intrinsic interest." This could be by challenging them, offering opportunities to learn and grow, to move up, etc. It's a lot trickier than the old carrot and stick model, but the research shows it is also a lot more effective.
So I have published my first article on ThinkRealty.com (and have an article set to be published in the print edition as well, I believe in March). The article discusses the pros and cons of managing yourself or hiring a property manager. The pros for hiring a manager:
- Save Time
- They Know More About Management (usually)
- Structure Already in Place
- Outsource Headaches
- Easier to say "No" (to tenants that is)
And for managing yourself:
- Save Money
- Gain Experience
- More Control
- Avoid Being Ripped Off (by unseemly managers, of which, unfortunately, there are a few)
- You Care the Most
As I conclude, "No matter what you decide to do, it’s important to put pen to pad and come up with the positives and negatives for each approach." Namely, you should know what you are getting into.
Check it out.
"Every day is a new life to the wise man."
The Righteous Mind
Star Slate Codex
Consulting by RPM