Tuesday, July 24, 2018

FISA Warrant, Carter Page and Donald Trump

Read it and weep

Here is my take:  The document is so heavily redacted as to mean anything to anyone.  It adds nothing and vindicates no one.  The only thong that is reasonably certain is that Carter Page met with agents of the Russian Government and that he may or may not have been part of the Trump campaign.

My real issue here is that the incompetence and collaboration with the likes of Iran went nearly unreported during the Obama Administration.  "I'll have more flexibility after the election." went without comment.If you think the bureaucracy isn't against Trump, you only have to look at the evidence.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

California Split

The Beer:  Shiner Bock.  My go-to.

The Bicycle:  It is July.  I'm in Arkansas. It's hot and I'm old.

The VRWC:  Who brought the suit?  Does the court have standing to do this without a suit being brought?  What happened to "Initiative, Referendum and Recall"?

Monday, July 16, 2018

Pelosi Accuses Trump of Treason

This is important.  This isn't the usual partisan bickering or "playing to the base".  This kind of accusation is tantamount to accusing the President of treason.  Pelosi either needs to back this up with something other than her conjecture or she needs to be sanctioned.

I never fail to be stunned at what Democrats are willing to say and do.  This is no exception.  Even knowing how much the Democrats despise President Trump, I am shocked.  Whether it is this or Maxine Waters implying violence should be used against members of the administration in public or Rep. Cohen equating an unethical FBI agent with a wounded soldier, their rhetoric is not just over the top.  It is reprehensible.  This is not just a faux outrage, this is the real deal and Congress should take action.  The Democrat Party should take action, but they won't.  Just like the lack of sanctions against Maxine Waters.

Do we really want to risk putting these people in charge?  While I don't think much of Republicans, Democrats are demonstrably worse.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Constitutional Protections

The Beer:  GPA - "An above average beer"

The Bicycle:  Still recovering from my injury.  It may be a time before I get back up.

The VRWC:  I read a comment today stating that Sarah Huckabee should not have been served at the Red Hen because she's a "fascist" and fascists are not a constitutionally protected class.  Interestingly enough, the dictionary definitions refer to adherence to a strong central government with no dissenting view allowed, but only within a "Right-Wing" context.  The exception being Urban Dictionary which uses Mussolini's:

  1.  "Everything in the State"
  2.  "Nothing outside the state"
  3.  "Nothing against the state"
The state is all powerful, everyone must submit to the state and no questioning of the state is allowed.  I fail to see how that definition does not fit the American Left.  Who believes in a large powerful central government to handle all aspects of daily life?  Not the Right, but rather the Left.  Who believes everyone should be submissive to the State?  The Left (assuming the State is run by them).  There are no consequences for being anti-Trump, anti-Republican, anti-Conservative.  But if you are anti-anything that "belongs" to the Left, the consequences are severe.  Everything the Left disagrees with must be banned, from market-based healthcare to certain forms of speech to guns.  What the Left agrees with must be made mandatory.  "Free" healthcare, gay marriage, carbon tax.... 

There are no "constitutionally protected classes".  None.  Everyone is protected by the Constitution.  Everyone has the Rights enumerated in that document.  The government has given certain classes "permission" to be "protected".  That is, these protections are not special rights, but rather, "government permission".   The government cannot grant rights.  True Rights exist because the human being does.  They come from God (or, if you prefer, "natural rights"). 

Sarah Huckabee Sanders did not have a "right" to be served, but she is not a fascist, either.  The restaurant was private property and a private business.  But consider if a Trump supporter owned the restaurant and told Maxine Waters to go elsewhere.

Democrats lack the self-awareness necessary to understand that they come far closer to the definition of fascist than Sarah Huckabee Sanders ever thought of coming.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Teachers and Trainers

The Beer:  Some IPA I found here in Arkansas

The Bicycle:  An injury over the weekend is keeping me off my trusty steed

The VRWC:  The goal of the trainer in industry is to prove that he or she is smarter and trickier than the student.  In order to do this, there are some basic rules to follow:

  1.   Never emphasize any information during the training session.  This allows the trainer to throw out any question on the quiz, throwing the student off.
  2.   In an oral exam, always throw out your hardest question first.  This can sink the student quickly, sparing the trainer the need to actually evaluate the student.
  3.   Always be condescending in the classroom and never, ever offer extra help.  Make the student feel as small as possible.  If they have any hope at all, it must be crushed.  If the student is struggling, you don't need them
  4.   Use trick questions as much as possible.  This is critical for showing the student how much smarter and trickier the trainer is.
  I hope that this information is useful to all you trainers out there.

OK.  So, You probably wonder where this comes from.  If you have been "trained" in a corporate setting, chances are you have encountered one or more of these types.  In the corporate world, my experience is that line management doesn't know what good training looks like and probably doesn't care.  Training is something to be endured, not something useful.  This attitude permeates the corporate and industrial world.  Consequently, acceptable resources (not necessarily money, although everything is "money") never sem to be available.  Trainers are not "professional trainers".  It is a side job.  They are not put through train-the-trainer courses and are not given the resources (there is that word again) for continuing training.  Th result of all this is that employees in the US are poorly trained to perform their job functions and generally get by on experience.  A very quick Google search showed me literally hundreds of articles on the importance of training and the payback.  So, why don't business and industry provide the resources?  "Training" is not tangible.  The result is not like that new widget maker that is supposed to put out 1500 widgets and hour and does.  The payback for good training tends to be invisible; the measurements fall somewhere in the realm of black magic and voo-doo.  I can't definitively show that Joe makes more widgets after training than he did before simply because he was trained.  US businesses will not accept the intangible.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Critical Thought and Partisan Politics

The Beer:  Sweetwater 420 IPA

The Bicycle:  I am formally back in the routine, but my mileage is far less and the legs don't recover like they did a few short years ago.

The VRWC:  I think it has been clear for a while that critical thought gets lost in the new partisanship.  For the last decade, blocking the opposition in all things, whether we agree or not and whether good for the country or not has become the predominant form of expression.  The Democrats have taken a page from the Republican book this time and put it on steroids.  Republicans floated stories about President Obama that had just enough truth to be believable.  Some stories were true, but certainly not all.  It was all to give the base some red meat.  Get them riled up to take the House and Senate and eventually the White House.  We lost our minds.  No FEMA Camps, folks.  The Democrats have taken it a step further and are openly declaring from Day 1 that they will "resist".  Resist what?  Doesn't matter.  I'm not even certain they know.

Immediately upon the defeat of the chosen one (her ordination was certain, the election, a formality), Democrats have been busy delegitimizing  the President.  The media is a willing partner as are all the leftist organizations.

What is the result of this?  The result is that we no longer think critically.  Our bias is what is correct, evidence to the contrary be damned.  Here are some recent examples:

  1. President Trump met with Kim Jong Un.  The first President in my lifetime to meet with a North Korean dictator.  The goal is to remove the threat from NoKo, formally end a 70-year-old war and unite the two countries in peace and prosperity.  Trump supporters hailed this as "Peace in our Time", his detractors say he got played and the world is more dangerous because he's stupid, etc, etc, etc.  Anyone who thinks critically says, "This is a good first step.  The long term results of this first meeting remain to be seen."  The reply from both sides is stunningly hateful.
  2. The 1967 fire aboard the USS Forrestal is well documented.  A Zuni rocket on an F4 Phantom jet suffered an electrical short and misfire across the deck into waiting aircraft.  131 sailors were killed and 161 were injured.  It is required study for any sailor to this day.  A young Lieutenant Commander by the name of John McCain was aboard.  The errant missile hit right next to the aircraft which he was preparing to fly.  That is the only connection to the fire that now-Senator McCain has.  Now-Senator McCain is not well-liked in some circle.  I don't care for him; he has become a bitter hateful old man who lashes out at President, Party and constituents.  He also has inoperable brain cancer.  Those who do not like him have latched onto a story that he attempted a "wet start" on his jet and consequently set another aircraft on fire, resulting in the shipboard fire.  Clear video evidence, the Navy's investigation, eyewitnesses all indicate the cause of the fire was the rocket misfire.McCain's detractors are unwilling to even consider the evidence.  The behavior is so bizarre as to be the rantings of the mentally ill.

I see the symptoms, but I can't tell you root cause (other than "human nature") or provide a solution.  What I do know is that it is discouraging and I do not see a peaceful way out of it.

Monday, March 5, 2018

A Lesson in Faith

The Beer:  Tonight, it is a Bogle Cabernet with an 80% cacao dark chocolate.  A celebration of sorts.

The Bicycle:  I took a three mile walk tonight. I want this to be the start of my road back.


It has been a long 18 months.  I have always believed we would be delivered from this challenge.  With help from Charles, Donna and Lori, to whom I am truly grateful, we have been able to hold the line through the opening and closing of Paige's studio, the loss of Paige's mother, the loss of my job. We nearly lost the house and car.  The water and electricity have both been shut off at one time or another.  There have been times where I have allowed myself to fall into despair.  Job applications went out in vain.  But my faith, while sorely tested, never wavered. 

I am not the best Christian.  By far.  If I listed all of the ways in which I was not in line with Jesus' teachings, I would need more space than is currently available.  But like my Biblical heroes Joseph (of the Coat of Many Colors) and David, God has held faith with me through everything.

I drive Uber.  I enjoy it and while it will never pay my mortgage, it helps keep us afloat.  Paige's new job,while it pays well, isn't all we need.  I enjoy driving.  I meet great and interesting people.  They tell me their story and I tell them mine.  Last week, I picked up Jay in Dallas who was headed for Love Field.  As we drove, he asked about me and driving.  In the conversation, I mentioned my job search and he asked for contact information. The Engineering firm he owns has a staffing division. I gave him a copy of my resume and that was the end of it.  I told him how much I appreciated his interest and had no other expectations.  I've been here before.  But today, just before noon, I was copied on a email Jay sent to his people with my resume attached.  "If you have anything...."  Never super encouraging, but better than I had before. 

Today was a slow Uber day.  I was well below what I expect for weekday earnings.  I had resigned myself to calling it a day and waited for Paige to get out of work.  As I sat in the parking lot, expecting a wait of over an hour, the Uber driver app pinged me.  I never turn down work, so I responded thinking it would be a short trip.  I was wrong.  She just finished an interview and wanted to go back to Texas Woman's University in Denton.  A 40 minute trip.  Long trips are Uber "gold".  We talked along the way as is my habit.  I rejected a call from a number I didn't recognize and I took a bad news call from a friend along the way.  He had lost his job for doing the right thing.  When we arrived, she hugged me and told me what a blessing I had been to her.  Then she wished me Blessings from God and went about the rest of her day.  What I was paid for the ride made my earnings day.

As I was leaving, I decided to check a new voicemail.  It was from the number I rejected.  It was one of the men Jay had emailed.  A contract job with a client just came across his desk.  It was perfect for me.  I don't have it yet, but this makes 3 potentially high paying jobs on the front burner.  These things don't happen by accident.  After all of our trials and tribulations, our faith may soon be rewarded.