Another Kennedy

Last night Joe Kennedy III gave a speech which easily rivalled anything his grandfather—Robert—or great-uncle John ever gave.

He looks the part of a President. He is clean-cut, attractive, and immaculately composed. In addition, he had the wit and judgment to get the right help. His State of the Union rebuttal—so often an afterthought—actually woke me up after I had fallen asleep while Trump droned on.

See Jennifer Rubin’s review in The Washington Post and watch/read the speech itself at Politico.

Here’s to a talented young man in his early years of what now may be an illustrious career!

(By the way my last blog about Armageddon, which was intended as parodic humor, elicited from a majority of respondents pleasure. There were unfortunately, however, a few who thought I was genuinely predicting doomsday. To those I apologize. My lesson is that one person’s humor can be another person’s bad dream!)

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The Moments Before The Very End

Things are getting so bad on Earth that there appears to be a growing interest in in Armageddon. What should we do?

The answer is NOTHING, which seems effectively the same thing we are already (not?) doing.

Yes, there are risks created by rogue states in Asia and the Middle East. Yes, the United States might be on the brink of some kind of civil war. Yes, bitcoin and other cryptocurrency might disrupt and destabilize the world’s financial system.

And yes, there are extraterrestrial risks flying all over the universe all the time. (I mean asteroids, not aliens, but who really know what is out there?) We know that it is only a matter of time before another big object collides with Earth. In fact, a near miss by a huge asteroid is stirring up a lot of media attention at the moment.

There is nothing we can do except predict approximately when and where a collision might occur. If such an object is actually going to hit us, we might have about a week’s notice—plenty of time for Trump to find a way to blame the Democrats—but exactly where the impact will occur is almost certainly impossible to pinpoint.

The object is moving at a speed of about 72,000 miles PER SECOND. (In contrast, it takes about six hours to fly from New York to London at 500 miles PER HOUR. An asteroid would cover the 400,000 miles between the Earth and the Moon in a matter of seconds.) If any of us ever sees that object incoming, he or she will not have time to blink, let alone worry.

We all learn that the death rate has remained unchanged for all of human history. One death per person. No one gets out alive.

However, we seem to submerge the knowledge of our mortality in order to look ahead with curiosity and without fear.

It is true that a few people end their own lives, doing so for a wide variety of reasons. But most of us hang on, perhaps out of a never-ending curiosity about the future.

In the case of a global cataclysm (whether man-made or natural) the thing most to be feared is likely not death, but survival. The conditions we would have to live in would likely be so radically different that the overwhelming human thought will probably be a desire to join the fortunate dead.

If Armageddon does occur, just about the only thing that could be of some reassurance would be to have one little pill that would painlessly get the job done. Perhaps the makers of opioids could turn their greedy attentions to a new Armageddon market?

Au REVOIR! And bonne chance.

Our Language Traps?

Too frequently (these days in particular) we find ourselves in language traps—situations in which we discover we have said something very different from what we meant— which end up making poor situations worse.

For example, calling oneself ‘a very stable genius ‘may indicate the opposite of what the speaker intended.  The phrase appears to be an oxymoron.  Those two words are rarely in close association for good reason. ‘Genius’ generally suggests brilliance often accompanied by volatility. ‘Stable’ tend to signals steadiness with few surprises. But we should not be too surprised to hear those two words used by an oxymoron who uttered them.

In Macbeth, the Weird Sisters say “Fair is foul, foul is fair”. What can that really mean? It seems that the world has gone topsy-turvy, that right seems wrong and wrong seems right. In today’s polarized environment, it is almost impossible to tell what a word means anymore with any great certainty. One person’s fair is another’s foul. It is relatively rare for people to parse their thoughts and words carefully enough to avoid language traps. It is even rarer that a phrase like ‘a stable genius’ gets onto the evening news several nights in a row.

Hopefully this simple observation can relieve the medical sciences of needing to perform time-consuming mental examinations to make the point clear that the President is unfit for his office.

Any person who cannot think of a better retort than to call himself “a very stable genius” is not fit for any public responsibility!

The Well Hidden Truth About Trump

My last blog has revealed a couple of fascinating things.

First, there IS some interest in trying to spread Dump Trump BUTTONS to unify Americans quietly with a simple, single message. I look forward to feedback which I will share with you.  In the meanwhile, we have a few more buttons still available, if you are interested in being part of testing the waters.

In other Trump news this week: The new Michael Wolff book Fire and Fury looks literally amazing and may produce some new hot sparks. Meanwhile, Yale psychology professor Dr. Brandy X. Lee is adding her professional standing to a 25th Amendment process.

Somewhat surprisingly at the same time, the DOW is at 25,000 and there has been a further drop in the unemployment rate.

With today’s overall uncertainties we would not typically expect to see ever-rising securities values and continued improvement in employment rates, particularly with the entire social and values related reputational damage being done everywhere. How and why is that happening?

It is well known and widely accepted that “markets never lie”—which simply means that facts are facts and markets, which are an amalgam of millions of peoples’ views of their worlds filtered through a financial lens, speak an opaque form of truth, if we are lucky enough to interpret the message correctly. That sometimes is NOT easy or obvious.

When it comes to their money, people vote with their feet. They either run away from risk or they run to it. At the moment it seems they are NOT seeing great risks?

Thus, one view of what the market is telling us today is that a lot of us have the big picture all wrong and Trump is right as rain and will pour endless peace and riches down on us all. This despite the damage he is doing to most other American values—economic and social.

(He, of course, will tweet that long and loud. OMG!)

The other much more likely meaning, in my mind, is that the market is telling us “HE REALLY IS IRRELEVANT” to America’s economic fabric, which is the very last thing he will ever want to hear or believe.

The “non-lying” market may be simply telling us that he is only a passing bad dream. People are, or should be, basically ignoring him—which may be why it has been so hard to mobilize the 70% of the population who oppose him.

People everywhere are doubling down in their own lives, working harder and better AND when Trump finally is gone, we will all see that we have been enjoying, since the beginning of 2017, the real aftermath of Obama’s amazing eight years of economic recovery from the depths of the recession.

That revelation—if it turns out to be accurate—may be that Trump cannot/will not take us into a crazy, unnecessary war and that our democracy can financially and economically run on auto pilot, at least for a time.

The geniuses of the markets’ wisdom—if correctly understood—have long been an amazing and surprising source of important guidance?

The country has been endlessly shown that there is really no reason to take Trump seriously, so it should come as no surprise that that fact itself has led to widespread belief that he is in fact truly irrelevant.

Let’s be sure to keep it that way!

Ba Ba Black Sheep – Have You Any Idea?

 

Very recently I wrote that I was surprised how few Americans who are worried about the overall political situation seem to feel a need to DO SOMETHING, other than worry and hope.

That started me thinking about two things: what could real people do to ACT—apart from mass public gatherings which tend to get out of hand—AND how could any such process be prompted short of some Pearl Harbor-type event.

Last week a 17 year old boy shot and killed his 17 year old girlfriend after she told him that her parents told her she had to stop seeing him because he was a racist anti- Semite. That struck me as about as far off normal as I have ever heard.  I guess we all have to be VERY careful.  But how long can we go along with this abominable state of mind Trump has engendered—whether he realizes and grasps his role or not.

If we do nothing, we are destined to have to wait impatiently for time to take care of events.

If we want to help mobilize a quite widespread public concern, it has to catch on and spread. For example, physical symbols of concern for AIDS, breast cancer, and lost soldiers are quite widely and continuously displayed.

It occurred to me that there are millions of people who think we should DUMP TRUMP but do not want to go around continuously talking about it.

As a test of the idea I had about 500 red and blue two-inch buttons made each with the slogan “DUMP TRUMP” in black.

I will send to anyone who reads this blog a handful of either or both colors on the simple condition that you will send me feedback on what you learned from offering them to friends or acquaintances.  Are people squeamish?  Would they pass along? Would they persist in wearing for a while?

Think of this as participating in an experiment that might even make you feel better?

Or maybe it’s a process that could really end up changing things?

More vs Better

Ever since some critter crawled from the sea, shook off the salt water and looked around, planet earth has seen more and MORE of everything.

The very essence of progress as seen under those conditions was simply MORE. More critters gathered together and Adam and Eve did their thing and soon there were still more.

As time passed there were more huts and then more villages. There were more grunts that morphed into the beginnings of language.

Then there were stone tools—and ever greater variety of tools.

Perhaps you have already picked up my theme and I do not need to spell out all the MORE that has been going on for the last several hundred thousands of years of the history of humanity.

Today we have spread more than 7 billion bodies across the globe and our population is growing more and MORE every year. Virtually every scientist alive has made clear that we are rapidly approaching the point of no return in how many people our planet can accommodate.

Is it more in and of itself that is now threatening our survival?

There are many people who think that basic human goals are much more complicated. They say humans want things to/be easy, simple, and fun. But, if they drill a bit deeper, they inevitably are likely to see that it is more easy, more simple, and more fun.

Why therefore is more the irreducible goal of progress?

Perhaps more is at the root of our universe? Since the Big Bang the Universe has been endlessly expanding into more space, more galaxies, more stars, more planets.

So we on earth have become caught up in more of everything. More people, more money, more fun, more booze, more cars.

It begins to look like may have to reexamine our cherished goal of more if we are going to survive much longer.

Assuming that we conclude that we should change our orientation from more to something else, how could we go about it without completely upsetting our apple cart.

We do not have to switch completely to a less orientation, although it might be useful to start with holding back here and there.

Our long term goals can be switched to BETTER. Better everything—better, more useful money; better, longer lives; better friends; better education etc.

Unfortunately, our desire for more seems to be as immutable as the law of gravity. And the laws of economics seem equally to be stacked against us.

That said better has a powerful appeal that just might be sufficient to animate enough humans to shift our orientation enough to slow down our apparent race to the end of life.