Tag Archives: Responsibility

Personal responsibility, along with education, I believe can solve all the problems in the world, all  of them.

Respect Literacy: Blogs are the New Book

Like books, personal blogs seem to have an innate ability built-in to the medium to bring out the best in people.

Do not confuse blogs with social media.

I have been keeping this list of my friends’ websites for several years now. Many are small business sites (pillars of society), none are vanity-driven, and all of the information is thoughtful, meaningful work by people who care. All of it is good. It represents the cream of 100+ years of electronic communication. That’s a strong statement and it’s true.

If you became literate and started reading books 500 years ago after the Gutenberg Press, you got ahead. If you understand the power the internet brings to people by enabling blogs, you get ahead.


What do Brazil, Russian, India, China, and the United States have in common? We all have capital cities that are geographically isolated from the populace by sheer size.

BRIC-US account for five of the seven largest countries in the world by area.

Brasília, capital of Brazil. Brasília’s population of 4.3 million is just 2.1% of Brazil. Distance to other major population centers: 16 hours to Rio de Janeiro / São Paulo, 30 hours to Salvador, 28 hours to the mouth of the Amazon River, more than 30 hours to Recife, Natal, or Fortaleza.

Moscow, capital of Russia. Moscow’s population of 12.5 million is 8.5% of Russia. Distance to other major population centers: 8 hours to St. Petersburg, 45 hours to Novosibirsk. Notable quiz question: how many cities in Russia are there with population over 2 million? Just two: Moscow and St. Petersburg. Wow.

New Delhi, capital of India. New Delhi’s population of 26.5 million is just 2.0% of India. Distance to other major population centers: 24 hours to Mumbai, 36 hours to Bangalore, 28 hours to Kolkata.

Beijing, capital of China. Beijing’s population of 21.5 million is just 1.5% of China’s population. Distance to other major population centers: 12 hours to Shanghai, 22 hours to Guanzhou, 28 hours to Xinjiang.

Washington DC, capital of the US. DC’s population of 6.2 million is 1.9% of the US population. Distance to other major population centers: 7 hours to Boston, 10 hours to Atlanta, 11 hours to Chicago, 21 hours to Houston, 39 hours to Los Angeles.

Social Programs

What happens if you administer education out of Brasília? Favelas. Brasília does not care.

How is Beijing on human rights? Xinjiang, what do you think? Concentration camps. Reeducation. Dystopia. Beijing does not care.

What are the chances of a fair election against Putin? Alexei Navalny, would you say Moscow meddled in your election? Dictatorship. Moscow does not care.

How is Washington DC doing on health? Multi-generational obesity epidemic feeding a bloated, confusing wealth care system that even the nurses don’t respect. We have a disease management system that profits from chronic illness and lobbies DC to continue poisoning Americans with high-fructose corn syrup, GMOs, sedentary lifestyles, and television advertisements for unnecessary pills whose side effects require more pills. Washington DC does not care.

Political Science

Want to give me a dissertation on why some large isolated capitals are okay and not others? Want to lecture me on why Washington DC is actually just fine? I am not a poli-sci major because I studied when I was in college and stuck with a real degree. Poli-sci graduates, your four years education is a bunch of details that cloud your common sense.

Common sense: sending tax money directly and automatically to a capital isolated from more than 90% of the population by more than an 8-hour drive is a horrible idea.

Follow the Money

What happens if I send my tax money along with millions of other people to a city completely separated from the population it “represents,” specifically designed to distribute tax money? Corruption. Cesspool. Swamp. Career politician = dictator.

In the US, people got frustrated and elected a reptile to fight a swamp full of reptiles. The professional thieves in DC have now ejected the foreign reptile and they think their swamp is safe to continue misrepresenting Americans and selling out to corporations.


Hell no. Europeans from Dublin to Madrid to Berlin to Athens are not stupid enough to send 20-30% of their income directly and automatically to Brussels. They are paying attention. We need to.

Drain the Swamp

Sounds like I support the storming of the capitol, doesn’t it? Sounds like I support Trump maybe?

Absolutely not. Debacles both of them.

There is one fundamental aspect about America that feeds the corruption. The professional politicians in the swamp of Washington DC know it. Direct income taxation. Americans’ income gets siphoned directly from our paycheck before we even see it to get mad about paying it. The professional bureaucrat thieves from DC set it up that way purposely. Even state sales taxes do not have such an insidious arrangement – we see the price we pay and then the state sales tax gets added and we notice it and bitch about it. Even foreigners visiting the US complain about sales taxes.

$3.9 Trillion

$3.9 TRILLION per year quietly, voluntarily, automatically gets directed from Americans to far away Washington DC to fund the embarrassing circus of corruption that we show the world. It needs to end.

To put $3.9 trillion in perspective, which is just the income tax revenue of the US government in Washington DC:

$3.9 trillion would rank fourth in the world as a country’s GDP behind only the US (of course), China, and Japan. That means $3.9 trillion is more than the entire GDP of Germany. $3.9 trillion is more than the entire GDP of the UK. $3.9 trillion is more than the entire GDP of any individual European country. $3.9 trillion is more than the entire GDP of India.

$3.9 trillion sent to one city causes corruption: Washington DC really is a swamp.

The Solution

There is only one way to fix Washington DC. The bad news is it is difficult. The good news is it is straightforward and effective. We must repeal the Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Do this and America survives. Do it not and we continue to directly fund the DC swamp.

Defund DC. Repeal the Sixteenth Amendment.

The money does not disappear. DC does not disappear. The money gets directed to local and state governments where real people are paying attention. The taxes get managed by people who are not separated from their constituents by a continent that allows them to thieve at will. The taxes get managed locally by mildly shady local politicians who have to consider what their neighbors think. Local politicians are shady but get the job done. Career politicians are criminals.

Republicans, you want to drain the swamp? Do it. For real.

Democrats, you want representative socialism? Do it – but pay attention. Administer it from Boston Massachusetts, Austin Texas, Saint Paul Minnesota, Columbus Ohio.

Bernie followers, you want free universities? The systems are already in place. California public universities are already free. In-state tuition is already low in most states. Make it lower, but do it from that list of capital cities that are within a morning’s drive from all of their people who pay for it and benefit from it.

The US Versus BRIC and MORE Government

What separates the US from the BRIC countries? One thing has historically made the US the world leader and not among a list of huge countries that remain in the third world (BRIC). The one thing is our public schools. Our public schools are locally-funded and give the vast majority of Americans at least a chance at college prep. Our public schools are effective local government.

You want to tell me the US is becoming a third world country? I know. That’s the point. This is why and this is how to fix it.

You want to complain about the US and compare us to Brazil, Russia, India, or China? Sign up your 7-year-old for an exchange program to swap with a kid in any of those countries. Millions of 7-year-olds around the world would be signed up for the exchange. The exchange 7-year-olds would show up ready to wear the most restrictive uniform you could find, no cell phone, and starve his / her way through school for a chance to be educated in America. Their parents would put their 7-year-old on a plane tomorrow not to be seen until they are 18 if their kid had the chance.

Local funding works. Fund local social programs. Organize locally.

Replace DC.


Canada is probably the best example (besides the US so far) of a successful large country with a geographically isolated capital.

Australia finishes out the global top seven and might be a good counter-example but most of the population is on the east coast together with the capital. The Aussies have to stay united or they risk becoming a province of China.

Look down the rest of the list beyond India. Of BRIC-US, except for India, each is more than 3x the size of Argentina, the eighth largest country in the world. BRIC-US countries are huge. Our scales do not compare to any other countries in the world.

Argentina is the largest country in South America besides Brazil. Buenos Aires contains 34.7% of the Argentine population. If you include Córdoba and Santa Fe provinces, you already account for 49% of the Argentine population. Easily more than half of Argentines live within 8 hours of Buenos Aires. The rest of Argentina is Patagonia.

Kingdom of Denmark is high on the list only because of Greenland.

France is the largest country in Europe by area besides Ukraine. Paris contains 18.8% of the French population. Paris is not in the geographic center, and still the furthest major city is Nice at the southeastern extreme of the country, only 9 hours away. The European portion of France is the 48th largest country in the world by area. India is 6x the size of European France and Brazil is 15x the size of European France.

Gone Sailing

On 2 November 2020 I decided to depart the corporate career path (energy engineer) for the rest of my life. My knee-jerk solution was to learn to sail and make sailing my occupation somehow. Regardless of what I do, I made the decision because of a fundamental idea: I am convinced that true progress in the next several decades will not be in new technologies, but in learning to use the existing technologies in a more wholesome way. As I went down the list of categories on my blog, I realized my decision affects almost every category.

Brazil Now What Migration Series: I once again do not know where I will go.

English Lessons: language is basic. Will I teach English from a sailboat?

Industrial Change Surfing: Industrial Change Surfing is about decisions – this was an enormous decision based on industrial changes.

Rage and Frenzy Politics: I believe the current polarized divisive politics partly arise from frustration with the diminishing returns of tech. (A pause for sailing is in order!)

Real Estate: boats are floating real estate. (the tax is maintenance!)

Travel: Sailing is the oldest form of long-distance water travel!

Ventures Quarterly: I have not been faithful to quarterly updates lately, but this obviously represents a ventures update.

Evan Sayet on Modern Liberalism – OK Now What

2007: Evan Sayet – Regurgitating the Apple How Modern Liberals “Think”

Historical Context

The historical context I notice is that Evan Sayet presents himself as a New York Jew who would by his upbringing typically identify as a liberal, but due to events that were recent at the time of the speech – in 2007 – he identifies politically as a conservative Republican. He uses an analogous story – starting ~9:00 – to place himself and his own political conversion within the historical context of the points he drives home.

The Perceived Problem

Modern Liberals don’t think. Starting at ~9:30 Evan Sayet reasons out exactly why modern Liberals “don’t think.”

The Actual Problem

We are all considering issues nationally instead of locally. We are getting most of our information from impersonal national sources like television and the most popular participants on social media. We are imagining that our problems and their solutions come from national change.

Liberals usually think up change and drag conservatives kicking and screaming to a better place with national change while the conservatives filter the change with prudence. Now, Liberals are thinking up how to destroy what’s been created while both sides are distracted from important local problems with nationally-created mass media and consumer culture. Neither side will give up the comfort the system provides even while the system itself crumbles.

What the Mainstream Media Says

The mainstream media blasts entertaining political provocation like this at full-volume 24/7.

My Opinion

The idea that modern Liberals have arrived at a point where they can’t find anything to change is not new. I believe it is accurate. I believe the content of the video is a mostly-accurate description of what has happened to modern Liberalism. However, there are just a few words I would alter. Instead of saying modern liberals “don’t think,” he should have said, “liberals focus exclusively on how to make change nationally through government and mass media. In their fanaticism for change, near perfection has required them to consistently mess everything up.”


The core of the solution is to address our problems that appear national at a local level. The only way Hollywood and other national entertainment will improve is to be abandoned and replaced locally. The only way the federal government will improve is to be less by being challenged by local governments.

Evan Sayet gives the solution at 24:10. “We have to take back universities, schools, media, the entertainment industry.” I agree. This is best done with participation in local government, local decision-making, and local entertainment. If we must educate our own children because the Liberal-influenced education administrators will not do it properly, how can we get it done? Fortunately our schools are funded locally, but we must participate in their governance. How can we entertain ourselves locally? Live minor league baseball, youth sports, adult sports leagues, golf, live local bands, symphonies, plays, and concerts are the answer. Unfortunately we face the challenge to eliminate what threatens these things with complacency: TV and air conditioning. We must turn off the TV, open the doors and windows, go outside and socialize.

At 43:22 Evan Sayet says modern Liberals question authority and attack the ability to distinguish right and wrong, but we have not replaced the authority and morality with anything. We need to replace this authority locally. A return to dressing decent in public would help. Once we turn off amoral TV, what do we do? We will only know once we do it. If a state were to refuse federal funding in order to maintain sovereignty, what would be the effect? How would we fund local projects and infrastructure? Are we prepared to really challenge the power of the federal government? How can we prepare? Are we educated voters on these issues?

I list five “bad” items in my Industrial Plagues category that bring only comfort and complacency and should avoided to the max extent possible: TV, cars, air conditioning, sugar, pills. These five items are almost entirely new in our daily lives in the last century. They barely existed in 1900. Nationalism and the internet are equally as new as the “bad” five items, but they each have a good side. They bring more than just comfort and laziness. Nationalism keeps relative peace and the internet enables almost unlimited bi-directional communication. We must learn what these two things really mean in order to understand the solutions to the complete failure of national leadership. Nationalism is only effective if the large whole is made up of strong, healthy individual parts. We cannot outsource everything to the national specialization. Hollywood and Netflix cannot be our source of entertainment. The internet can enable local entertainment and I don’t mean friends on Facebook and YouTube. Blogging is a great way to experience the bi-directional internet. Blogging can be as simple as organizing your internet experience and sharing it with others in a positive way that you completely control. Pay attention to local events through the internet. The internet, unlike television and Netflix, is just as powerful locally as it is nationally.

Global Carbon Transfer, and Evidence for Global Warming

Global Carbon Transfer

I have said before that we should call this concept we are all familiar with Global Carbon Transfer. That is what it is and always has been.

Global Carbon Transfer is directly measurable.

The term “Global Carbon Transfer” is completely accurate to what we are actually doing. We know that we are transferring carbon.

The name “Global Carbon Transfer” allows for consideration of other unknown effects that we have yet to identify that nobody even talks about.

We are transferring a lot of carbon from the ground to the atmosphere. This is an indisputable fact.

Simple Man’s Evidence for Global Warming

I personally believe that global carbon transfer is causing significant man-made global warming. Here is a list of the evidence that shapes my concept of the world, my personal observations that lead to my belief:

  • I learned in Physics class in high school in ~2001 that carbon dioxide reflects infrared light / heat more than the other more highly-abundant components of the atmosphere. This makes sense to me. It would be difficult to fake this, easy to confirm or refute. I put this under the heading of scientific fact.
  • We learned what the greenhouse effect is, and I have personally been inside both a hot car in the sun, and an actual greenhouse. Fact.
  • I have personally seen an equilibrium exhibit a large change based on a small increase in a catalyst. For example:
    • Milk goes sour if you drink from the carton.
    • I saw chemicals abruptly change color in chemistry class after just drops of liquid entering.
    • If I had drunk two beers this morning instead of two cups of coffee, my blood would have changed by less than one percent, but I would absolutely not have written this post.
    • Small change can yield big change.
    • Catalysts exist.
  • I have seen man affect the environment, both for good and bad. Some of these I didn’t personally see of course, but they happened:
    • Water quality in Columbus, Ohio versus Rio de Janeiro.
    • Chemical disaster in Bhopal, India 1984.
    • Smog in LA.
    • Scale of the Piper Alpha explosion in 1988.
    • Personal accounts of the reduction in litter in the United States following anti-litter campaigns in the 1970s.
    • Chernobyl of course, but that’s nuclear not chemical, a whole ‘nother level.
    • Urban sewage management, cities now versus 200 years ago.
    • Forests versus fields.
  • I see carbon entering the atmosphere that used to be in the ground from sources that are less than a century old. Sound ridiculous? It’s everywhere. Everywhere. Try not seeing it! We could not transfer more carbon if we started a campaign to transfer more. Everything we do contributes to carbon transfer, and is mostly new!
  • The earth is really really old. There has been a lot of time for plants live, absorb carbon dioxide, respire oxygen, die, and be buried in the ground. Let me repeat, really really old, and a lot a lot a lot a lot of time. A lot. There has been so much time in fact that I no longer view the air I breath as coming from “the earth in general,” but as being the breathed out breath of plants. Call me a tree-hugger, but it is an accurate concept, much more accurate than the “general earth air” idea that comes easy. The atmosphere is and always has been a product of life and vice versa. It is a two-way street.
Some more carbon numbers, click here.

Solved All the World’s Problems in One Sitting

Politics and Religion

I have discussed these things so many times on so many random occasions with so many different people that I can’t remember. It’s time to sit down and record it all. This also happens to be my 200th post, so what better time than now?


The Environment

“Global warming” / “global climate change,” – we should call this thing we all talk about “Global Carbon Transfer.” That’s what it is and always has been. This is directly measurable. It is completely accurate to what we are actually doing. We know that we are transferring carbon. The name Global Carbon Transfer also allows for consideration of other unknown effects that we have yet to identify that nobody even talks about. We are transferring a lot of carbon from the ground to the atmosphere. This is an indisputable fact.

I personally believe we are affecting the climate as well. When you start consistently transferring one substance within an equilibrium, which Earth is, and which we did with carbon starting in the mid-19th century, there will be change. The burden of proof should be on those saying that there won’t be change. Tell me how we can make a globally significant change in the composition of the atmosphere and it doesn’t have unintended consequences. How?

We should do something about Global Carbon Transfer, and saving the environment is not even the most important reason:

  • We (the United States now) fight expensive wars for energy resources. We should slow or stop this. We should challenge our consumer culture to save before we fight wars to waste energy on luxury comforts. Challenges are good for people and for countries. This challenge is worth confronting.
  • Heavy reliance on energy makes us weak from a national defense standpoint.
  • The most effective way to change our habits / culture / technology is to allow the price of energy to increase to a level where people have to make reasonable sacrifices to save energy. Yes, I am saying $10-$15 a gallon for gas. Yes, this might “crush our economy” in the short term. The media would say there’s a “crisis.” I am saying it is worth it. Solar panels would naturally reach grid-parity. Carpool. Produce and buy local. Vacation local. Fix goods instead of trashing them and buying new stuff. Choose a fuel-efficient car. Turn off the air conditioner.
  • Countries, like Germany especially, are way ahead of the US in implementing renewable energy sources. Any excuses for why this is the case are just excuses. We can win at this too.

Trump’s policy of “bringing us back to the old days” by continuing as world police and opening the energy flood gates to keep prices down is the policy of his with which I disagree most strongly. I wrote this in December of 2016.

We should create jobs and encourage education that has a future. Energy efficiency is the future, we have to transition, and we will be best at it if we have to consider our energy usage.


Using the label of “Muslim” to help identify terrorists is wrong and we have better ways of identifying terrorists than this unfair and dangerously broad label that includes many many good people. Most terrorists have called themselves “Muslim.” That does not mean that all Muslims are terrorists. What everybody missed while babbling on and on over the “Muslim” issue is that Saudi Arabia was not on Trump’s banned country list. Fifteen of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, and yet they are still essentially treated as an ally somehow, and have been for decades. The media doesn’t talk about this.

Terrorism can be best fought by a reduced reliance on foreign oil, both because:

  1. Our involvement globally is lessened, and
  2. Because less demand in the US lowers the global oil price, which reduces terrorism funding.

Notice that using less oil / energy goes to the root of each of the first two subjects in this post: the environment, and terrorism.


Americans are Americans first. Labels, poles, categories in the “news” media that separate by skin color or any race / nationality label are divisive and wrong.

Slavery was very very bad. Its long-term effects are worse than we typically allow for. An entire group of people was violently separated from their heritage and stripped of their culture. This takes generations to heal. This country fought its most deadly and costly war mostly over this issue, and the right side won in 1865. Blacks and whites fought together. Segregation continued after slavery ended, and that was wrong too, but that legally ended in the 1960s. We should celebrate our progress regardless of how far we think we still have to go.

On affirmative action, I agree completely with Justice Clarence Thomas when he ruled on Adarand Constructors v. Peña. Affirmative action is wrong.

Both sides of the media stoke and worsen any race problems that we may have. Denzel Washington, Will Smith, Grant Hill, Chris Rock, Spike Lee, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Floyd Mayweather Jr., and Ben Carson hire a bunch of white people and start their own media company to include a news channel. Label it something non-racial, just like the existing media conglomerates are labeled, and cover all news as they see it just like the existing media does. What would that look like? Compare that to what we have. It would be better.


Mexico is a country. People from Mexico are Americans once they are citizens, just like every other American.

We have allowed many Mexicans – mainly because of Mexico’s  proximity, and its poverty and violence – to enter illegally for a long time. That was wrong. We should not have allowed that and we should stop allowing it.

However, to all-of-a-sudden now hunt down illegals and send them out would be wrong also. It is not that simple. I’ve heard some interviews and it sounds like the law vs. the policy vs. the actual enforcement situation are each entirely different things especially in this case. Ask a border patrol agent about this. Only they really know the situation there. The rest of us are just arm-chair quarterbacks. Will we care about what’s happening there in 2 years when Trump and the media have moved on to who knows what other subject?

There should be a process to document all people living in the US and either humanely send them out or get them paying taxes. Leaving them in limbo is bad for everybody.

US Manufacturing

This is the issue on which I most agree with Trump.

We should make the tariffs at least fair so that we have a balanced society. Massively favoring foreign workers to the exclusion of our own is wrong. We know it caused the “rust belt” in the mid-west and somehow fixing it gets labeled as an insane  anti-global-economy trade war. How? The tariffs should have some semblance of equality. They haven’t been even close since the mid-1990s. Almost my whole life, I have used goods that say MADE IN CHINA. We know we don’t make anything anymore and we know why. The rest of the world may be unhappy when we fix the situation, (are they even unhappy, or is that a media illusion?) but we should make the deals fair.

On this issue, I’m not even saying that it was wrong to make the deals originally. I’m saying that the current extreme situation calls for some action, some change.

To go further, I believe that the lack of manufacturing jobs contributes to the current opioid epidemic because of the large groups of people with nothing to do. We have entire regions full of abandoned towns.

US Debt

We are in a lot of debt, both as a group of consumers, and our federal government. The Chinese and other creditors have a lot of cash. This puts us at a disadvantage economically. They are beating us at our own game. They own our dollar.

How does this connect with leveling the tariff playing field, or with interest rates? I don’t know that answer, but considering that economists say exactly opposite things from each other, it appears economists don’t know either, so I will just say:

Big debt is a big disadvantage.

I don’t even know which side is better on this. They each blame the other and they each run huge budget deficits.


Government handouts make dependent groups of people and entitlements don’t fix problems. Obamacare was the issue with which I disagreed most with Obama. How he thought that a 1,000+ page confusing medical care handout to a country – that’s us, the United States – full of people who can’t even stop eating to improve their health is baffling.

The level for being a “disabled veteran” is so low that a guy who bicycled from Columbus to Cleveland and Cincinnati and back for fun got labeled “disabled” for some lower-back and neck pain. It’s a disgrace to those who are actually disabled. That guy is me. I told the truth on my exit exam. I don’t take the money, but I’ll take the medical benefits because who knows what they would cost me considering I would have to pay government prices for them and my once-per-year medical check-up doesn’t drain the system anyway.


The First Amendment gives us the right to peaceable assembly. Boring!

The Second Amendment says,

… the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

Not boring! Guns!

The Second Amendment is about guns, right? Yes, that is half of it. What gets lost in this debate is that the real power behind it is the right to assemble in a firearms club – a militia. The first part says,

A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, …

I believe the Second Amendment gives the right for individuals to own guns. I believe it is important for people to understand guns and be able to responsibly use them. I own guns and I know how to use them.

Guns today are so much more effective now than they were when the Second Amendment was written that regulatory laws should delineate among different types of guns and regulate accordingly. A semi-automatic rifle, even a .22 caliber, enables one person to kill many unsuspecting people, even hundreds of people. I am for some gun control.


For you “gun collecting, de-regulate machine guns” nuts out there: if the scenario you are preparing for happens, you are going to run out of ammo. You will run out even faster with a stupid machine gun. Go to the local shooting club, be normal, make some friends, and talk guns. Those relationships will be worth thousands and thousands of rounds when the revolution goes down that you so love preparing for.

For you “no guns equals peace love and harmony” kumbaya hippie liberals out there: I have news for you. Guns exist. People do violent things sometimes. Guns are indeed more powerful now than before. They are also so easy to make now that you cannot eliminate all of them. So, if you can’t stomach taking on the responsibility yourself, or can’t stomach going to a shooting club to learn about a fact of life, then appreciate your law enforcement who walk the street everyday wearing a uniform that says, especially to criminals with guns and no uniform, “I have a gun, and I am here to use it if you fuck with me or anybody who is following the law.”

I thought seriously about applying to be a cop one time. For those few minutes of consideration, as I thought about what that would really mean for me, I gained a lot of respect for the police.


People should have a reason to get dressed up and go somewhere on Sunday morning. We should shut down the main streets on Sunday like they do in South America.

If you’re atheist, get dressed up and walk around in a park for no reason.

If you are from one of those Saturday religions who thinks the rest of us are pagan sun worshipers, OK Saturday is fine too.

Marriage: get married when you’re ready. Have a wedding. Throw a party and let your family and friends celebrate your relationship. Weddings are awesome.

Funerals: who is going to organize the ceremony when you die? If you don’t care, or you don’t want a ceremony, it doesn’t matter, the ceremony isn’t for you anyway asshole. You’re dead.

Catholicism has the best music and the best ceremonies. The Catholic Church takes a clear stand on various issues. I go to Catholic church on Sunday and I’m going to keep going for the rest of my life.

Movie Review: The Big Short

I just watched the movie The Big Short. It portrays itself as exposing the truth. It exposes the truth about the actions at the very top of the “housing crisis” problem, but it fails to really drive home the scope of the problem. Yes, people at the banks were apathetic, irresponsible, and crooked, and their actions ultimately resulted in taxpayers footing the bill. However, it portrays the other participants in the problem as victims, and I believe this is an injustice.

One statement in the movie in particular clearly emphasizes my point and I want to bring it up because it is so pervasive in our language. They quote a statistic about people being evicted from homes they lived in that banks bought for them by saying, “X million people lost their homes.” No. Those X million people never owned homes in the first place. The first people to be evicted in such a situation are those who took low-money-down, teaser-rate mortgages. That means they never paid a dime for “their” home. That’s the nature of such loans. The bank took a huge chance trying to give them something they never earned in the first place. They were irresponsible and undisciplined enough to take it and not pay. Maybe you could say they were naive enough to take it. Maybe even the loan sharks practically forced it on them. Regardless, they were part of the problem and nothing was taken from them that they actually earned. X million other people weren’t greedy enough to fall for such obvious gimmick loans, remained living right where they were, and happily waited out the crisis watching it on network TV over a new digital antenna.

Is the problem behind us? No. I don’t know what the next “crisis” is, but I know how to survive it. Avoid the following irresponsible, undisciplined decisions: cable TV (yes, that’s right, you will not know what to do with your spare time, see suggestions below), car loans (yes, save up then drive a used car), smoking pot (it makes you dumb and lazy I’ve seen it personally), credit card debt (pay it off by all means necessary especially by quitting the other items on this list), excessive alcohol (quit entirely if you have to).

I’m going to add to the list: ridiculously expensive but worthless college degrees. Students are the latest fad hapless debtor voters  for the government to victimize and force taxpayers to bail out. Oh, but certainly education is important! Getting drunk and high for 4 years and talking about your feelings is not an education, even if you pay $35K per year to do it.

Do: read. Information is out there.

Do: exercise. Bad health is expensive.

Of note, they show a guy with a family in the movie who is evicted even though he paid his rent because the owner defaulted. That is truly unfortunate. However, I personally work hard to ensure that those who pay their rent, as is reflected by their credit score, have a safe and stable place to live and pay their rent on time!

America’s Energy Infrastructure

Dear Mr. Trump,

I was a US Marine from 2007 to 2015. I flew CH-53E helicopters in the Marine Corps and completed two tours to Afghanistan. I completed my service as a Captain. I graduated from Ohio State with an electrical engineering degree in 2006. I am a civilian now, and I am happy that I will be starting a business in Columbus, Ohio in your de-regulated America.

I am a life-time Republican and I still find myself cheering for Republicans like I cheer for Cleveland sports teams. I just do. It’s in my blood. I especially relished your victory because of the brash exposure of phony politicians, and insidious media bias. Unlike a cheering fan, however, I no longer align with Republicans on every issue.

I read your two-page 100-day action plan as well as The Art of the Deal. I agree with almost everything on the action plan and I am encouraged that it will be executed by the competent team that you are assembling.

The one item that sticks out like a sore thumb, however, is your energy policy. Putting Americans to work producing $50 trillion worth of domestic energy from reserves like shale, oil, natural gas, and “clean” coal would be like spending millions of dollars to refurbish the brick façade of the Commodore Hotel. It is uninspiring, unimaginitive, and small-thinking. This stated initiative is especially disappointing because of the contrast with what could be. A state-of-the-art energy infrastructure that favors renewable sources and efficiency is the modern-day equivalent of having the world’s tallest building, which as I’m sure you are painfully aware, we no longer possess.

We could build the world’s tallest building, but we don’t because it is not worth doing. Creating an energy infrastructure in America that wins in measures like efficiency, per-capita consumption, and reduced reliance on limited natural resources, especially foreign sources, is worth doing. Energy acquisition and production is not just an environmental issue. It is an important economic, national defense, and national security issue. We spend trillions, and commit forces around the world to secure trade routes to attain energy from countries with whom we would otherwise rather not deal at all. Energy is an issue that every country in the world faces, and it is not going away.

This would require challenging the very American voters who elected you as president. Some of the policies would be controversial and potentially unpopular. However, to your credit in my opinion, this has never stopped you. Leading the world with the truly best energy infrastructure would require cultural buy-in at the most basic level. Such a cultural shift would have to be led by an independent initiator with a grass-roots following and credibility on the issue. Politicians quoting scientists telling us that melting ice and arguably-measurable increases in storm intensity will never assign the imporance that it deserves. The various other reasons to undertake these projects are more directly visible and more important anyway.

This would require innovation. I hardly have to say that America is great and always has been because of our ability to innovate. We are up to it if anybody is up to it.

This would be difficult. We fought a civil war to save the union and end the evils of slavery—difficult, but the right thing to do. We were the deciding factor in both world wars—difficult, but the right thing to do. President Kennedy challenged America in 1961 to reach the moon by the end of the decade—difficult, but we got there first, and on time. Opening the floodgates to easy energy would be predictable, boring, and easy. All three of those things are un-Trump and un-American.

We need new energy infrastructure projects, but we shouldn’t be dusting off the old brick façades from 1970. Our infrastructure is already big. It should be innovative, efficient, shiny, and new. It should win in every category and by every measure. It can and should be built by competent American private businesses with leaders like yourself, incentivized by natural market forces. We can. It is worth doing, and it is the right thing to do.

Nathan Ruffing

Thanks, but No Thanks

Dear Federal Government,

This just doesn’t feel right. I am not disabled.

Then why did I submit a claim? I submitted a claim because it is the only way to not be forced to pay for medical coverage that is falsely expensive because of your involvement.

For the record, I did not lie on my claim. I listed all my aches and pains–which thankfully are minor–and let the system decide. I got 10%. I really don’t know all the politics behind this issue, and I’m not a health care professional, but there is no way that I should be receiving free money.

I will be at my first annual check-up at the VA medical center, where the nurses and doctors have been very accommodating and professional, on the 16th because that is what I need, annual check-ups. I will continue to live a healthy lifestyle for myself, and to fulfill my responsibility to not drain the system.

I will continue to save my money when I can. I hope you can do the same. You can start with my two hundred some dollars a month. It would be nice to cash the check and throw it on the big pile that I’ve saved by not buying into the American consumer society that you’ve promoted, but I really don’t need it.

Thanks, but no thanks.

Statue of Responsibility

In January 2015, while on military assignment to Okinawa, Japan, I read the book Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. I had read it once before, but this time when I read in the book Frankl’s suggestion of a Statue of Responsibility on the west coast to compliment the Statue of Liberty on the east coast, it really struck a chord with me. I believe it is a great idea, I believe in the concept, and most of all, I believe in the movement behind it. I have since become involved with the movement. Click here for more information. The following is what it means to me:

As a service member and now as a veteran, when people thank me for my service, I appreciate it, but I want to tell them that while our freedom was won in the past by fighting wars, it is secured now by acting responsibly. If we want to thank our veterans, we can do so by doing our part to keep our country great. Let’s show our ancestors, who fought much more difficult wars than we do, that their sacrifice was for long-term good. I’m not talking about what we say, or who we support, or how we vote. I’m talking about what we do, and about how we live our life, because individuals’ actions affect our country as a whole. What we do as individuals affects who we are as a country and whether we will continue to be great.

In the United States, we have great freedom, wealth, and opportunities. With all this, we are presented with many options. Options are good, but they are simultaneously our downfall. We as individuals have to say “no” to many of the spoils of wealth and freedom that are available to us. We have to say “no” to credit cards and loans that overextend us financially, whether the lender is willing or not. We have to turn off our TVs and allow the resulting uncomfortable silence to motivate us to do something greater with our spare time. We have to say “no” to all the cheap, fatty foods that permeate our restaurants and stores. We have to say “no” to drugs, whether we are allowed to use them legally or not. We have to say “no” to all those things that squander our opportunities.

What can we accomplish as a country right now if we really try? I don’t know. If I ventured to guess, I would probably fall short of what is actually possible. We will only find out if we stop doing all the wasteful things that are holding us back. Free up our time, energy, and resources and fill it in with something productive. Volunteer. Become active in our neighborhoods and churches. Research charity organizations and make a contribution. Take a small leadership position in the community and make decisions for the greater good. I believe we can transform our culture. Let’s find out what is possible!