We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid

— Benjamin Franklin

By Blue Bronc, a Trail Mix Contributor

Twenty days and only eighty more to go.  The “first one hundred days” agenda is much like sitting in the mixing bowl with the motor set on HIGH.  What the guy has done in these first days is essentially unheard of in the history of this Union of States and it is making a mess of the kitchen.

Why?  Why would this happen this way.  Many explanations are available.  The most common is that the guy in charge is really not in charge.  In business settings he would be the one to get the deal done.  Think of going to a used car lot.  This guy is the one to get you to sign on the line to buy the third hand Yugo without wheels.  Put him in charge of running something like the greatest economy on Earth and you get horse apples stuck in the gears.

The man has mental issues so severe that he should be under the care of psychiatric professionals and sitting at some home where he can yell at people to stay off the grass.  Many have hazarded an opinion that he has issues easily diagnosed in the DSM V.  Good for them.  Bad for us because the guy is sitting in the White House and making a mess of it.

He thinks he is queen of the hill and that the world must bow to his whims.  What he is finding out is that his dictates can and will be ignored or challenged.  And, he will not win everything, no matter how much he whines like a two year old denied a toy.

The guy lives in a world that only exists in his head and he is running a real world based on that.  His handlers exist in similar alternative worlds and speak his language well.  The rest of us are not invited in and without a Rosetta Stone to use for translations we cannot break through the barriers.

What happens next is a common question, best asked by the minute as the guy goes about destroying the United States as fast as he can.  It seems like he does know that at some point an adult will step in and put the little monster in a playpen with a binkie in his foul mouth.   How much damage will be repairable is another question adults need to ask themselves too.

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O, what a fall was there, my countrymen!

Then I, and you, and all of us fell down,
Whilst bloody treason flourish’d over us

The Tragedy of Julius Caesar Act II Scene III
William Shakespeare

By Blue Bronc, a Trail Mix Contributor

Although the beginning works to attack and destroy drumpf have been designed, it will not be by those who wish him ill that he falls.  He will by his own actions and words be taken down.  A man so mentally frail as to lash out in the manner of a petulant three year old will always be looked down on in an adult world.

I am afraid that our country will be rent apart prior to his removal from office.  When republicans (they do not deserve the respect of a capitol letter) scrap their own love of country and respect for the law to stand behind and uplift the man we can be afraid of them too.  They will follow him to the edge of a deep crevasse from which they either see the truth, or they blind themselves in idolatry and plunge America to it’s death.

Can the Democrats rally enough support to end this folly of idiocy any time before it reaches a terrible destructive climax?  I keep my faith in a handful of Republicans willing to risk ire of the child to save America from his tantrums.  These men and women are true to their beliefs and to a strong country of these United States.  Their actions are imperative to stopping a blunder, to stopping a wrong, to stopping a child who needs to be bundled in a blanket and a pacifier shoved in his mouth.

Will the Republicans and Democrats succeed?  They must, otherwise serious harm will be done to a once great country.

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‘The Spy Who Came in from the Cold’

… was the work of a wayward imagination brought to the end of its tether by political disgust and personal confusion. — John Le Clare

By Blue Bronc, a Trail Mix Contributor

Notes about the Russkies packing up and going home.

First, and most important, it is not the hacking the DNC that is the issue.  It is what they are doing that is not reported.  The DNC is old news.  Yahoo is old news.  OPM is old news.  VA is old news.  You do not know what they have been attacking.  Those attacks are why the GRU/FSB/SVR are booking flights home this weekend.  Getting them out of the D.C. region is the key.

Second, many of those kicked out were getting to be a pain in the ass.  Not much more is needed to explain their departure.

Third, which could be first, is to box the floater in.  If the orange lunatic wants to turn around and invite the GRU/FSB/SVR back in to reestablish spy operations he would be very close to treason.  This is as much for his “enjoyment” as poking Putin in the eye (sort of like closing down one of his eyes on the U.S.)

I do not know what is going on other than what is reported in the news.  But, I can guess there is something more behind this.  Most likely is a lot more going on to reach this point.  The DNC thing is a nice cover. (Don’t worry, the Russians already know that.)

Of interest to me is that Putin did not kick out any U.S. operatives at this time.  It is not out of the goodness of his large intestine.  He is KGB and does not have a heart (just wondering what another heartless soul, Cheney, thinks of his party leader kissing up to the Soviet KGB).  Why would he not follow tradition?  I can only guess that he expects this example of “good” will make his saddle buddy allow the GRU/FSB/SVR to come back in and start local spying again.

This action also wipes the slate a little bit clean so that the GRU/FSB/SVR will have to reestablish their networks.  That will take time.  Perhaps longer than four years and the floater will be out of office by time Putin gets operatives back in and doing the nasty.

The best of this is that the Soviets/Russians get kicked in the groin.  A few U.S. assets have been given to the GRU/FSB/SVR, but the loss may not be in the same scale as what was accomplished.

Next note:  GRU is military intelligence, a mix of NSA, CIA and local folk; FSB is local (Russian) intelligence but with some external contacts and SVR is spy service, sort of like CIA.  Be happy you do not have to deal with these people.

Next note:  Putin, and the FSB/SVR would rather have known operatives stay in Russia than to kick out those they know are there.  This is a multi-layer poker game.  Do you keep what you know?  Or do you remove what you know to wait for a new deal of cards?  Take a card on 16 or take a card on 17.

And, I am sure you are starting to build a question as to why I know this.  I am just like you, except I was exposed to this stuff a long time ago.

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It’s Discouraging To Think How Many People Are Shocked By Honesty

And how few by deceit. — Noel Coward

By Blue Bronc, a Trail Mix Contributor

Something occurred last year about this time that set me curious and with a questioning of what is going on in this world.  It was repeated this last Friday in another business exchange.  I do not know if it is my generation and those earlier which caused the disruption to my value system.  Or if it was my early religious experiences, which also affected me.

I drive a truck with a diesel engine.  If you have one you understand the need to replace two batteries, not just one.  As winter was approaching, or perhaps was knocking, it was time to replace batteries which barely made it through summer.  I drove over to one of the big box discount stores and purchased two new batteries.  Asked for the used batteries I said those were still in the truck and I would bring them back the next day.  That was fine and I was not charged a battery fee.

pinocchioAs promised I showed up the next day with the two used batteries.  As they were being transferred to a storage rack a comment came to me: “Thank you for your honesty.” 

At first I thought nothing of it.  I was happy not to have two nasty old batteries around.  And more important I gave my word to bring them back.

But over the hours of the afternoon and since I thought of that comment and wondered why the clerk felt he needed to say that.  Was theft that rampant?  Were the customers of this store, and perhaps all stores, dishonest?  It has been bothersome.  A nit in the drawers.

A singular statement until Friday.

I placed an order with a gigantic online retailer last Saturday for a new mouse and a murder mystery novel.  The mouse was to be delivered on Monday.  Excellent.  Monday, no delivery.  Okay, a mistake was made but of minor consequences.  Tuesday, delivery schedule was to bring a mouse and book to my door by eight p.m.  Tuesday, no delivery.  Wednesday, the delivery schedule was to be by eight p.m.  No delivery after eight p.m.  So I called the retailer and they could not get anyone at the delivery office to answer the phone.  I cancelled the order.

Thursday morning there was a box in my door.  It arrived, but was no longer mine.  I did not have time to deal with it that day but I did on Friday.  I called and it took a while for the customer service to understand that the articles were delivered and I would pay for them rather than send them back.  In fact about thirty minutes of customer service trying to figure out how to accomplish such a feat as reopen the order and pay for it again.

Several times during this ordeal I was told by the CS person “Thank you for your honesty”.  What?  I had no idea that agreeing to buy what had been bought, cancelled and now paid for again required honesty.  I do not understand.  I find it hard to comprehend that honesty was what I did.

Put these two experiences together, along with the current discourse of our country from the election and I am still unable to come to any valid conclusion. 

“Thank you for your honesty”.  A phrase that is so unusual outside of someone returning a wallet without taking the contents, that it catches with me.  “Thank you for returning these batteries” is what I expected first.  The second time I expected “thank you for your order (even if it is the second time)”. 

And now we have someone who might be the most dishonest person ever elected to be president leading by example.  I do fear for these United States.

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“Imagine putting you back on a four-day week. What does he think this is? The 20th century?”

— George Jetson

By Blue Bronc, a Trail Mix Contributor

What is the future of countries which have moved beyond the industrial age and into the information age?  A world where increasing population is looked at as abnormal as there is no need for millions of unskilled or trade skilled workers?  Lands where dangerous and dirty jobs are not performed by humans, but by highly specialized machines, or robots?  Like it or not we are already in that world.

Growing up in Detroit a constant joke was “he is going to end up in the paint room” when someone who dropped out of high school future was talked about.  We all knew that the paint room was where auto bodies were painted on the assembly lines.  It was unhealthy and known to cause serious brain damage from the fumes of the paint.  It was were those who were unskilled were hired, and the paint rooms had plenty of turnover as most failed there and ended up dying young.

The paint rooms are now the home of extremely high technology paints and job specific robots.  People are not needed there anymore.  The cost of health care is cut to almost nothing as there are no more brain damaged former paint room employees.  The products are almost uniformly perfect, paint flaws are a rare exception now.  And, robots do not strike.  Okay, United Auto Workers rarely strike anymore either.

farmerHow about on the farm?  American farms are wonderfully productive.  Tremendous output.  One farmer driving a huge tractor does the work of dozens.  Farms are huge corporate endeavors.  Harvest requires more truck drivers to haul the corn or hay or soybeans than driving the combines.  The exceptions are the tender crops, lettuce, tomatoes, strawberries.  Those are picked by hand, but the research is always trying to find a machine to replace the immigrants who toil right now.

Retail?  Your computer does not complain that you are looking at too many shirts.  In store, the so called “brick and mortar” locations, cut costs with reduced inventories, try finding half sizes in shoes, and fewer staff, checkout is one register at a door, not in every department.  The competition is high and can be mean.  Specialty stores are fun to walk through, but you know the price is always better online.  Do you purchase something just to help the store owner stay in business?

Chinese steel is how America is built now.  There are a few steel producers in the U.S. still making the hard stuff.  But, they produce mostly high tech steel for special use.  Coal is dirty, making steel is dirty and dangerous.  I do remember back when the steel the Chinese made was terrible.  Products frequently broke, and then the Chinese imported American steel makers and the output increased in quality.  There are still many articles of low quality, but those are considered use and dispose of anyway.

I used to think bulky and heavy household goods could not be profitable if made outside the U.S.  Toilets for instance.  The products are made of clay, fired and glazed.  Cheap.  No need for skilled labor with high wages.  Then I saw products from Chile or Argentina cheaper than American made.  Unless they were being dumped in the U.S., dumping means selling cheaper than cost with the difference made up by the government, something else was going on as I expected those countries to have higher labor costs than China.

Electronics might have the parts made in the U.S. and the final product assembled outside of the U.S. Although an assembly line is used, it is not staffed by robots, but by humans.  One of the stories floating around last year was an entrepreneur who was going to make a new electronics assembly plant in an eastern state (Ohio maybe), he had hesitation because there was no “skilled” labor available.  Please forgive me for rolling my eyes.  Training might take several months, my electronics training was enhanced by camera repair training, working with very tiny and extremely delicate parts, declining to train his work force was a laugher.

So, where are we in 2017 America?  A land of thinkers?  A land of doers?  A place where education is rote and dictated by Congress.  No one works here?

autoNot exactly.  Factory output is high.  Auto plants are pouring out cars and trucks too.  American ports are expanding, both for imports and exports.  What has changed is the drop out of high school and get a middle class job at the auto plant or work on a farm.  Today’s auto and truck mechanics are more than wrench wranglers.  They need to use high tech tools on high tech machines.  They use logic in troubleshooting in ways their fathers and grandfathers never did.  Of course there is the down fall of relying on machines and computers to do work.  Someone walks in with an old marine alternator and asks the counter clerk to test it.  The counter clerk has no clue what to do because the part is not in the computer database and the failsafe, foolproof tester cannot be made to work without the database.  That is due to the dumbing of sales.  No more middle class auto clerks, lowest wages and no need to know anything about vehicles because the computer knows it all. (I digress)

America is not failing.  America is great.  A lot of low input people bought the Republican lies and now we have a con artist ready to take over the reins.

Take back America is what we Dems talked about in 2007.  It is time to dust that slogan off and start yelling it again.

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